Last time: Tracy went to a party. And then there was a fight.
“Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?”
Claire stood in the kitchen, fists on her hips and what could only be described as a truly terrifying look on her face. Davis was clutching his chin and glaring at her from the doorway.
“What the hell was he doing here in the first place?” Davis yelled right back at her. Tom had split the second the metaphoric dust had settled, right after a dark look towards Davis.
“He was here because a lot of the guys who frequent The Pen are here, and because he had two friends with him who not only vouched for his good behavior but told me he hadn’t touched alcohol since the night he grabbed her. Do you think I would have let him near her if I didn’t think he’d actually meant it?”
“I’m right here,” I couldn’t help but interject. “I don’t know why you’re getting all pissed at her when you’re the one who started the fight.” I jumped down from the counter and stepped between the two of them to break the glare-off. “Do you think I’m an idiot who can’t take care of myself? Did you see me letting him take me off into a dark room by myself?”
“Seriously Tracy? Three weeks ago, he had you pinned against his chest and his hand under your shirt.”
“And this week we were talking, and I was the only one drinking, Davis.” I spat the words at him. “It’s not like I was planning on going home with him. In fact, it’s not like I was planning on going home with anybody.”
Davis remained silent but his eyes had dropped to the floor. Claire stepped around me then and put a hand on his shoulder.
“Go get cleaned up. You know where the bathroom is,” she said quietly and pushed him towards the back of the house. The party was clearly over. People had been filtering out since the fight broke up and now the kitchen only held a few people from the bar, Mike and one or two of Claire’s friend from the neighborhood. I dropped my head into my hands, my skull already pulsing with the effects of the margaritas.
“How do these things happen to me?” I groaned when Claire was close enough to hear me.
“This happens frequently then? Fights starting over you in the middle of simple house parties?” She guided me towards the living room and the couch that Mike had thrown a pillow on one end of and a blanket on the other.
“No, I mean, how do I get myself into these ridiculous situations? I’m not dating either of them. I’m not a moron who thinks that a guy who tried to feel me up is all that different just because he’s sober. And yet, a fight has happened.”
I dropped to the sofa and kicked off my flip-flops before settling back onto the cushions.
As I closed my eyes and let my body sink heavily into tipsy oblivion I heard Claire’s murmur: “Oh Trace. I love that you think you’re not with Davis. It’s cute.”
I woke to bright sunlight in my eyes and a piercing headache. Davis’s hand dropped into my field of vision cupping three Advil and then handing over a glass of water that I took gratefully.
“Sorry,” we both said at once.
I smiled, and he laughed. We were straight out of When Harry Met Sally.
“How do you feel?” I asked next, my hand reaching toward his chin and the comically large band aid that was covering the cut.
“It’s fine,” he shrugged. “So, not to ambush you mid-hangover or anything, but do you want to go out?”
My eyes popped back open, and I squinted to take him in standing over me.
“Seriously?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said with a slow smile. “Claire may have hit me over the head last night and told me that I wasn’t allowed to treat you like you belonged to me until I actually asked you out.”
I laughed loudly at that. “Davis? You treat me like I ‘belong’ to you? I’ll knee you in the balls.”
He had the good graces to wince as I continued laughing.
“Is that a yes?” He asked when I stopped laughing.
“I supposed we could attempt an actual date,” I allowed with a smile. “But if you ever punch a guy because I’m talking to him, I will kick your ass myself.”
Cover art for Headed towards the Right Decisions was created by Maritza Lugo.