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from Whiskey Nightmare by Davin Rae

Chapter 5

I was startled by the loud vibration of my phone on the snack table. I quickly picked it up.

“One new message”

Sliding my finger across my screen I clicked on the messages app. My heart stopped. It read: Matt. “Hey, sorry I missed you this morning. Hope you slept well.”

I placed my phone on my lap and looked up in disbelief. I guess we must’ve exchanged numbers last night before he put me to sleep in his room. I vaguely remember stumbling around while some conversation ensued, which led to me apologizing and him offering me his bed while he slept on the couch.

I refreshed my phone and opened the message back up. Do I respond? Does he know I took the cash? A million and a half thoughts were running through my head. Deep breath, Zoe, deep breath.

I hit reply. “I did, thanks again for last night.”

I sent it and immediately set my phone aside, wondering if I made the right move. I tried to focus on the bland comedy show I put on to keep me occupied but I couldn’t even remotely concentrate. I glanced at my phone. Maybe I’ll take a shower.

I got up and flicked the bathroom light on, turning the shower handle to get it as warm as I could. Hot water was limited in my apartment so I had to be quick about my hygiene. As I undressed I took notice of my left hip. There was a massive bruise from where I fell, tender to the touch.

The hot water only lasted long enough for me to wash my thick hair and give myself a quick rinse. After that it became so cold I had goosebumps. That’s what I get for choosing a cheap apartment, I thought.

I dried myself off and wrapped my hair in towel, walking out to my bed. I grabbed a bottle of lotion from the bookshelf to soothe my skin and found my phone. No message. Figures. But just after I dried myself off completely and went to grab my clothes, I heard a vibrate. My head snapped around and I looked at my phone’s screen. It was a message.

Matt: “Do you want to meet up again soon?”

I wanted to immediately type YES, but I held back. The cautious side of me was worried this might be a setup, but the other side of me felt a connection and wanted to explore. I took the jump and responded.

“Sure, sounds good. Talk soon to set up a time!” I wanted to keep it vague and not show too much excitement or disengagement. About five seconds later he sent me a smiley face back.

Alright, I suppose that’s a good response‚Ķ

I finished getting dressed throwing on a sweatshirt and a pair of shorts. I laid back in bed and grabbed the remote again. Nothing. I turned the power off and threw on a pair of moccasins, grabbing my keys and heading out the door.

“Hey Zoe,” Josh said as he answered the door.

“Hey, mind if I take you up on the hang out? I could use some company.”

He opened the door and led me inside where I was greeted by Brutus wagging his tail side to side, his whole body shaking with happiness.

“Why aren’t humans like this?”

“It’s just the way we’re biologically wired,” Josh said.

I laughed.

“You want a drink or anything?”

I grabbed my stomach and motioned no. “Water will do.”

“Rough night?”

“You could say that.” I walked through, his apartment was pristine as usual. Every item was in its designated place. Papers were stacked in a perfect pile on his counter and his bed was made without any creases in the comforter.

“Make yourself at home,” Josh said as he went to his kitchen to grab a glass.

His apartment was slightly larger than mine, which allowed him room for a small couch and sitting area that was cornered off by an oriental room divider.

“Here you go.”

Josh joined me on the couch, setting my water and his beer on the coasters situated on the tiny black end table used as the area’s centerpiece. The whole place had a modern theme with black and white furniture. Even the dog bed looked contemporary.


We sat in silence for a little until Brutus decided to make a ruckus trying to jump on the couch.

“No Brutus. No.” Josh yelled.

“Awe, it’s OK. I don’t mind.”

“I don’t want him to bother you he’s almost 100 pounds.”

I laughed, grabbing one of his toys and throwing it. I took a sip of my water and made sure to place it back on the coaster. We started talking about work and I noticed his outfit was dressed up for a Sunday. He had on light blue shorts and boat shoes with a collared polo shirt that accentuated his deep blue eyes. His hair was the only feature I could say was slightly out of place. It had a ‘just washed’ look to it with strands lying about his face in no particular form. I wasn’t used to his hair not being perfectly gelled up. I guess he was cute in his own way -- by the looks of it maybe a little uptight but who was I to judge.

I immediately realized what I was wearing and felt underdressed, but continued to engage in conversation.

“...that’s a pretty cool story you’re w...

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