Drunken Fights Still Cause Black Eyes
Last time: Tracy and Claire had a “heart-to-heart” on the whole Davis issue, and Tracy expressed her lack of enthusiasm for her upcoming job.
Nothing goes the way it’s supposed to, does it? I had asked Mom the rhetorical question during our last phone call. There was no hemming or hawing on the other end of the line. She just agreed.
It was just supposed to be a fun party. A little get-together with Claire and her friends and their friends to celebrate a good summer and the approaching fall. Instead, I caused a fight. Not awesome at all.
The evening had started out well enough. I showed up with Claire’s boyfriend, told to come early to so I could meet everyone before the night got away from us.
“Tracy! Come help me with the limes.” Claire was determined to stock a full margarita bar even though the coolers were overflowing with beer, and no one was really looking like they wanted to go to the effort of making a cocktail that was more complex than popping a cap off a bottle.
“You’re taking hostess-with-the-mostest a little far, don’t you think?” I had laughed a little at her, grabbing a handful of limes and splitting them quickly with the bar knife she slid across the counter towards me.
“Shut up and cut.”
“Yes, you’re welcome,” I said, grinning at her. “Am I going to know anyone at this party?”
“Yes,” Claire replied. “Davis will be here. So will the boys from the kitchen. Nell is invited but never makes an appearance. The rest are our friends from the neighborhood. You might recognize a few of the regulars from the bar. Some usually show up at some point.”
“Cool,” I said, returning to my limes.
Claire had returned to her mixing. I had cut limes. And people had begun to filter into the party. By the time I had met half the party, I had also had three margaritas because Claire did not want those limes to go to waste. When I felt a warm male hand rest on my lower back, I hadn’t blinked. I had just turned to smile at Davis, but he wasn’t there.
Good ol’ Tom was there with a sweet smile on his face, and a respectable distance between our bodies. I was tipsy. He was not leering in my face. And I was a little sick of talking to people I had never met before.
It wasn’t the brightest decision I had ever made, and I probably should have thought about it more in retrospect. Seeing Claire raise an eyebrow at me from across the crowded kitchen didn’t even phase me.
“Tom!” I had to shout over the music just to be heard. “How are you? What are you doing here?”
“Well, the boys and I heard there was a party going on, and figured we should check it out.”
“Great! Are you having a good summer? How have you been?”
“Good. I’ve been good. Listen, I’m really sorry about earlier this summer. I shouldn’t have had so much to drink. I shouldn’t have touched you. I was stupid and I’m still kicking myself over it.”
And then we were sitting in the corner, me on the counter, Tom in front of me, and laughing at some crazy story that Joey was telling us. I had my hand on his shoulder, and his hand was on my knee. It felt good.
My eyes had been scanning the room for Davis occasionally, but I hadn’t seen him yet. The hair would have caught my eye, right?
Claire had checked in on me a few times. I had waved her off with a smile, having fun with my new friends.
“Want another?” Tom had asked, offering to go get me another margarita.
I swished the ice in my red cup back and forth. The salt lingered on the edge of my lip, and the buzz was pleasant but not overwhelming, so why not?
There were a few hazy moments by the time that drink was finished. I leaned against a cabinet and rested my temple, no longer paying attention to Joey’s story, smiling lazily at Tom and licking the salt from the edge of my cup before making a face.
The next thing I heard was Davis’s angry voice.
“Get your hands off her!” he shouted.
Tom’s hand disappeared from my knee, but I felt the woosh of air his body left when Davis shoved him into the other counter next to me, both hands on his chest.
“Did we or did we not tell you to stay the hell away from her?”
“Dude, I wasn’t touching her. We were just talking! Right Tracy?” Tom’s voice had gotten a little higher with the question, and it jerked me from my slump but not enough to actually get words through my teeth.
Davis pushed him again and stepped further into his face before growling: “You aren’t allowed to talk to her – to any of our girls.”
“We’re just talking, man. Back off.”
He shoved Davis back, and he stumbled. It gave him just enough momentum coming back to pop Tom in the chin, and then they were off.
Tom’s fist came up and caught Davis in the jaw. Neither backed off. They just stepped closer and closer to each other, their backs rounding as their muscles bunched to fight. The people around us had stepped back. There was a clearing in the middle of the kitchen, and when Davis’s foot snagged around and caught Tom’s knee, they both went down.
Claire’s shout, and then Matt and Joey pulling Davis and Tom apart, put a stop to the fight. Blood dripped from Davis’s chin and Tom’s eye was beginning to swell already.
I just sat there, dumbfounded, on the counter with both hands over my mouth.
Cover art for Headed towards the Right Decisions was created by Maritza Lugo.