Drink Another Between Night & Blue
My sister gingerly lifts my hand away from the glass. It’s half-full, but my eyes can’t seem to make out the color of whatever diabolic mix I had made in my stupor.
“Same story as always, huh?”
I blink again and again, trying to focus my eyes on her. She always liked baggy shirts. All the better to show off her collarbones.
“Well,” I throw my hands up, “that’s how it went.”
“Honestly. I know you’re eager to try out the thing you learned in that book, but try to keep it down to one girl.” I focus on her horn-rimmed glasses. Yeah, that’s right. My doting big sister in a nutshell.
I make a grab for the glass, aiming to drink another Between Night and Blue. This time, my sister doesn’t stop me.
I down it in three gulps, not bothering to allow myself to taste the drink. Between Night and Blue. The drink I made up, with no rhyme or reason save to forget my monumental failure. Failures.
“So the first girl,” I drawl, slumping on the table. “She was alone, had a polka-dot skirt, and… fuck. I keep on going back to that skirt.”
“Knee-length?” she offers. Her inquisitive face is propped up by her hands.
“Shorter. Compliments her stockings. Man, wish I had a tape measure to check out those ratios.”
I rise suddenly from the table, throwing up my arms. “Whoosh! Looked at me funny. Said she had a boyfriend. ‘Course I don’t believe her. Try to flatter her more.”
I nurse my head, feeling the pain sink in. “That’s when she pointed to this tattooed dude chatting with the bartender. I… made a tactical retreat.”
“An utter rout,” my sister says, offering me a consoling grin. “This is the Cold Night girl, right?”
“What about the Blue Angel one?”
I stare at the pepper shaker on the side of the table. What can I do, it’s 4 AM, with the alcohol wreaking havoc on my system. It’s even a miracle that I got home.
“Blue Angel… Blue Angel.” I decide to call her that. “Blue Angel’s a close call. Pretty young. Possibly underage.”
“Really?” She’s grinning.
“At least it looked like her first time. Bar virgin and all that. Anyway, she got friends with her, but they were spinning on the dance floor. I… thought she was pretty, sitting like a proper lady. Like she were ashamed of her cute little breasts.”
“Tell me more about these breasts.” I try to imagine my sister’s voice as a hard-boiled detective’s, straight from one of those noir shows.
“Right in the middle of B-cup territory. They were cute. She was cute. Made small talk with her. Weather, upcoming holidays, that kind of stuff.”
“You said she was a close call.”
“I was getting to that, sis.” What did I put on my drink again? Between Night and Blue is such a dumb name. And I can’t even remember what I put in. I think I was trying to make a Bloody Mary, but my mind fizzled out midway and thought of a dozen different cocktails. My throat burns for some reason.
“She was smiling. And blushing. She’d taken a few sips of margarita and looked emboldened enough. Those soft cheeks definitely had a crimson sheen in them.”
“I pulled out,” I confess. “Just, you know, walked away. She was too nice. Fish out of the water, you know? I’d damn be ashamed if I caught her. Too trusting, too easy. She was too good for me, sis. You understand, right?”
“I do.” My sister stands up, walks to my side of the table, and lifts me out of the chair by my arm.
“I do.” She repeats, hoisting me on her shoulder. I feel so light. I don’t even resist. My stomach sloshes, dangerously courting my gag reflex. I suppress it for her.
“I love you.”
“Don’t hit on your sister, idiot.”
“Idiot. That’s not what I meant.”
I sobbed all the way to bed.