Who Says? Chapter 4

Her cheeks hurt a little from all of the smiling. She also had to continuously wipe away tears from laughter. The four of them sat in a booth in the middle of the bar, steadily adding more empty glasses to the collection.

The lights were bright above them, but with all of the alcohol and accompanied laughter, it didn't really affect Andrea all too much. Arnie had rosy cheeks, as well, and he was telling a story about a banker and a penguin. He finished, saying, "Too bad it's so cold!"

Everyone laughed and raised their glasses. Andrea took a few large sips and shook her head. "Rum and I have never really gotten along." She stuck her tongue out and they all laughed.

The waitress walked up to the table and asked if everyone would like another round. She looked to Andrea and smiled wildly, brown eyes prodding her on. Andrea said, "Sure," wondering why the woman was so interested in making a larger tab for them. Nevertheless, it was supposed to be a fun night, so she did anyway.

The clock read midnight, its sixty spokes poking goofily.

"To new beginnings!" Rebecca said loudly. Everyone raised his or her glass but Andrea. She thought about the meaning and her heart sunk.

Rebecca pointed her baby face to her, her red hair done up tight. "Come on, Andry; I know what you're thinking. Just go with it—I promise it’ll be okay. He won't be mad." She put her hand on Andrea's and rubbed with her thumb. She nodded to the glass.

Andrea sighed and said, "Alright..." She joined the pack and ended up drinking half of it, her body pushing her to move on a bit faster. If only she could end it all.

She burped and giggled a little. No one seemed to mind, all enjoying their last drink. Everyone, including her, had work the next morning and couldn't afford to continue the liquid excitement. They glanced around one another, smiles dripping.

A few minutes later, after they paid their tabs, Arnie covering hers, gentleman he was, they all said good-bye. Andrea walked alone to her car, already missing the company. Though she felt the food in her stomach, the alcohol swam through her body like a dolphin on speed. She stumbled a bit after walking up a few steps into the parking garage, and once at the top, hunched over, she grabbed onto the metal railing, the cold lightly soothing her skin. The lamp reflected off its surface, reminding her that she had to keep going.

She sighed once realizing she'd parked the car at the opposite end of the floor. Every spot had cars in them when she'd arrived four hours earlier, and she didn't want to be any later, so she stayed on that level. With glum, she remembered how she had told herself to limit the drink consumption. She shook her head irritably remembering that was Sydney's recommendation. That girl was off, despite her talents. Either way, Andrea chided herself for thinking of the brat at such a crucial time when she should be concentrating on walking over the concrete in the lonesome parking garage.

After devoting a couple of minutes to steadying her balance every eternal second and fumbling for her keys the entire time, she saw her Impala sitting patiently, a half-cocked smile on its rear end. Don’t judge me, she thought, and then laughed aloud after considering what had gone through her mind.

Prodding the key in, she opened the door, then slumped onto the leather seats, cool against her open back. She took a few breaths, letting the alcohol sit. Reaching out, she aimed the key into the ignition, but it knocked against the side of the wheel and dropped out of her hand. It jingled as it rolled about the floor between her feet. She tried to reach down, but almost too soon, she rocked back into her seat. Funny, she thought, with fear creeping upon her like a deadly spider, this was her first time using the headrest.

Then she felt a hand against the side of her neck. Tears welled up in her eyes, but she couldn't speak, even her vocal chords stationary. The fingers were very delicate as they moved up and pressed up to her artery, holding still for a full ten seconds. And then a needle caught her eye, the glint of the metal flashing off the mirror.

"It's okay," Sydney said so very soft. "This is an antidote for the drugs you ingested at your dinner party."

 Andrea tried to tremble, but her helplessness began to fade away at the girl's presence. She hoped that Sydney could be trusted.

She replaced the needle with a damp white cloth. Sydney pressed it lightly against the injection spot and said, "You should be able to move and speak, now."

Andrea closed her eyes and wept a moment of her life away. She brought a shaky hand up near her neck and asked, finally with the trembling voice she had wished to use, "Can I touch it?"

Sydney nodded. Andrea felt it, millimeter-by-millimeter, afraid that her finger tips would betray her and force her back into the end of her life.

"W-What..." she said, not willing to finish the sentence. No, she couldn't finish it, another fear clogging her heart.

"I'll give you a moment to calm down," Sydney said, now resting against the backseat.

 Andrea turned around slowly, and after taking a few breaths, the alcohol still distorting her senses, said, "I'm not sure what happened, but thank you for breaking into my car and saving my life."

Sydney continued to speak softly. “As I tried to tell you earlier today, you might not like who I found as our lead. Well, leads.”

Andrea gulped and nodded. “I think,” but she stopped. She kept breathing, feeling her body slowing down and edging her closer to sleep.

“Perhaps I should have told you that my antidote also forces the affected into a deep sleep; this way—”

However, Andrea didn’t hear the rest. She closed her eyes and let the medicine take effect, and soon enough, she entered her dreams.


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jheld
Novel / Novella
Mystery
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