It’s two a.m. and I’m sitting at a diner, waiting for my pancakes and bacon. Heather is sitting across from me, twirling her curly red hair. We’re both pretty drunk, and while I live within walking distance, she has to drive all the way back to Billerica.
“You can stay over if you’d like,” I say.
“Thanks, Ryan, but I think I’ll be good to drive once I get some food in me.”
I hear a slurring in her voice, even as she tells me she’s okay. She’s had quite a bit to drink, and I doubt a Denver omelet will sober her up enough to make the 15-mile trek back home.
Our food comes and we both perk up a bit. Drunken pancakes have never tasted so good. Towards the end of the meal, I make the offer again. “Are you sure you don’t want to crash at my place? I can take the couch if you want.”
“I’m fine,” she replies as the waiter brings our check. “I just had to get some food in me.”
We split the bill and I walk her to her car. It’s not that far, but it takes us a while to get there. Mostly because she stumbles two or three times along the way. I imagine her getting into an accident on Route 3, but I bite my tongue. I don’t want to be too pushy, not if I want to see her again.
We make it to her car, where she has a ticket on her window. She wads it up and shoves it in her purse. Then we hug good night. I go to kiss her on the cheek and get her lips instead. Then I try kissing her on the lips only to get her cheek.
“Well, good night, Heather.”
“Good night,” she says, fumbling with her keys as she tries to get in the car.
“Are you sure you’re good to drive?”
“I think so…” She pauses. “No.”
“No. I’m too drunk.”
“Come stay over, then.”
“What about my car?”
“You already got a ticket. Don’t worry about it.”
“Okay, Ryan. Let’s go.”
She grabs me by the arm and we walk back to my place. As we stumble down the street, I wonder what comes next. Is this night over, or has it just begun?