For The Least Of These, page 10
I somehow managed to miss Rick’s mouth as the contents of my stomach spilled all over everything else. I pulled myself up on my hands and knees and managed to contain the rest of my vomit to a spot in the sand away from where we had been lying. I was lucky that only a small amount of puke had landed on my clothes. I rubbed some sand over it and felt that it was as good as new. I heard Rick cursing, and when I finally regained my composure, I found out why. My puke was all over him – from head to toe.
Still extremely drunk, I said, “Maybe we should go for another swim.”
I couldn’t really focus on Rick’s expression, but his words were clear enough, “It’s time to go.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to clean yourself up?” I asked.
“Go, I said. Go to the car.”
I started walking towards the parking lot when I realized that I didn’t have my shoes. I vaguely remembered leaving them in Adam’s car. It seemed like I’d left something in my sneakers. Something I didn’t want to lose on the beach. That’s right – it was my car keys. It slowly began to dawn on me that Rick and I were stranded at the beach.
Rick came storming up from behind and pushed passed me. He was carrying something in his hand, and I noticed that he didn’t have a shirt on any longer. He found a trashcan in the parking lot and tossed whatever he was carrying into it. Then he waited for me to catch up.
“Are you okay?” he asked in a much calmer tone than he’d been using a few moments earlier. I decided that his shirt was now in the bottom of the trashcan.
“I don’t have any keys,” I said.
“Keys? What are you talking about?”
“Car keys. I left them in Adam’s car.”
Rick started losing his composure again. “You MUST be kidding?” Before I could think of an answer, I heard a car pull into the lot. A few seconds later, a door slammed. I couldn’t see much farther than my nose, but I heard Rick say, “Am I glad to see you, buddy.”
I heard another voice. It was Adam. “I found Brandy’s car keys in her shoes, so I came back…What the heck happened to you?”
“Brandy can’t hold her liquor, so she gave it to me. I had to throw my shirt away. Give her the keys and then you and I can head back to the hotel.”
“I’m not leaving her like this. She can hardly stand up, much less drive.”
“She can sleep it off in the car. Come on, Adam.”
“No, Rick. I’m not leaving her.”
“Fine. Then drive her in her car. I’m taking the rental.” With that, Rick disappeared.
I felt someone take hold of my arm. I looked up into Adam’s face. “Brandy, are you going to be okay?”
“I don’t feel so good,” I said. “I need to go home.”
“Come on. I’ll take you.”
“What about Rick?” but even as I asked, I heard the car starting up. The tires squealed as he sped out of the parking lot.
“He’ll manage. Now let me help you to your car.”
I tried to walk, but I was too tipsy. I stumbled and almost fell. Adam caught hold of me. He slipped his arm around me and helped me walk over to Sam. Then he opened the passenger’s door and helped me sit down. After shutting the door, he walked around to the other side and slid in behind the steering wheel.
“I should have never left you alone with him,” he said. “I knew something like this would happen.”
“I think I’m going to be sick again,” I said. I barely got the car door open before I was retching again. When I’d finished, Adam offered me a handkerchief to clean my face. He started the car and we were soon on the highway.
“How much did you drink, anyway?” he asked.
“I lost track,” I said. “Most of the wine that was left. I probably drank close to half a bottle. I would have been okay if he hadn’t had those SweeTarts on his breath. Yuck! If I think about that taste again, you’ll have to pull over so I can barf.”
“Then don’t think about it. I want to get you to your room so you can sober up and rest.”
“You are always taking care of me, Adam.”
“Someone has to,” he said.
“Where is Alicia?”
“She said she was going to your room. Once I found your shoes and keys, I knew I had to come back for you. She took your shoes and your clothes from the hospital. She said she’d see us later.”
“I’m glad you came back. I’m way too drive to drunk,” I said.
I was still very drunk, but I couldn’t miss his next remark, “I know that you and Alicia followed us over here from Pensacola.”
I don’t know why I hadn’t wanted Adam to find out that we had followed the buses – especially since I had told Rick about it. Now that he knew, I didn’t want to have to explain myself. If I had been sober, I think I would have jumped out of the car at that moment. Instead, I pretended to be passed out. Adam tried to “wake” me, but when I wanted, I could be a pretty good actress, so he soon gave up and drove us on to the hotel.
When we pulled into a parking space, I began stretching as though I were waking up. Adam switched the car off and looked over at me.
“So, now you’re awake?”
I pretended to still be groggy. I didn’t want to talk about the buses.
“Brandy, I know you’re awake. Why don’t you want to talk to me?”
I opened my eyes and looked into Adam’s face. Being drunk just made me more determined to take his mind off those buses. Without even thinking, I raised my face to his and kissed him on the lips. To my surprise, he kissed me back. He put his arms around me and pulled me closer to him. The gear shift lever was poking me in the stomach, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t about to interrupt what was happening for pain or comfort. There was only one thought on my mind: How could he kiss me like this after seeing me vomit?
The kiss lasted a good three minutes or more. Adam had obviously forgotten the buses, so my strategy had succeeded. I knew I could move out of his grasp, but I didn’t want to move. Instead, I laid my head on his chest while he stroked my hair. I knew he was watching me, and then he said, “We’d better head upstairs.”
He helped me out of the car and kept his arm around me as we walked. I wasn’t sure if he was holding me up or just holding me. When we got on the elevator, he leaned over and started kissing me again. Unfortunately, the elevator moved fast and our ride soon ended – as did the kiss. He took hold of my hand this time and led me to the door of my room.
I didn’t have my key to the room, so Adam knocked. Alicia’s voice came through the door, “Who is it?”
“It’s Adam and Brandy,” Adam replied.
“Oh, um…I was wondering…” she said without opening the door, “…could you guys give me a little while? I’ve got something to take care of.”
I stared hopelessly at the floor. All of my thoughts were swirling around in my head, and I couldn’t connect them enough to demand that Alicia open the door.
Adam said, “I’ll take her to my room. I’ll call you after a while.”
“Thanks, Adam. I’ll make it up to you…somehow.”
As Adam led me down the hall I wondered what Alicia was up to. What was she doing that she needed to hide from me? The only thing I could come up with was Skylar, but I knew Alicia would never go back with him. Before my big drinking binge, I had even started wondering if Alicia really liked Skylar in the first place. Normally, when she liked a guy, she didn’t get upset when he started pushing her towards the bed. No, this definitely had to be something else.
We took the elevator up to Adam’s suite. I was still feeling intoxicated and woozy, but I did notice that he was staying in room 1002. He unlocked the door, and I stumbled inside – landing on the couch. His room looked almost identical to mine. He shut the door and walked into the kitchenette.
“Would you like something?” he asked.
“How about a Margarita?” I replied earnestly.
“No…I think you’ve had enough alcohol for one night. How about some coffe
“I never touch the stuff,” I said with a giggle. “Have you got any ice cream?”
“No. I’ve got some Cheese Nips and a Dr. Pepper. If you want anything else, you are out of luck.”
“Never mind. I wish I could brush my teeth. My mouth tastes yucky.”
“Why don’t I walk back to your room and see if I can get your toothbrush? Just sit right there. I don’t want you to fall and hurt yourself.”
“Yes, sir,” I said and saluted Adam. “I’ll be a good girl until you get back.”
He walked out the door and I started looking around the room. There wasn’t much to see in the sitting room, so I went into one of the bedrooms. There was a guitar leaning against the wall, so I guessed that this room was Adam’s. I started to feel lightheaded again, so I decided I’d better get back to the sofa. But then again, the bed looked very comfortable, and I might fall if I walked all the way back into the other room. Instead, I fell back on the bed.
Adam was saying softly, “Come on; wake up. I found you a toothbrush.”
I opened my eyes and Adam was leaning over me gently shaking my shoulder. He looked a little flushed, and then I realized that I was asleep on his bed. He must have thought that I was waiting for him. I jumped up and started apologizing.
“It’s okay,” he was saying. “There’s no need to apologize. I know you must have been tired. I’m not upset.” His words didn’t match his face. He was upset about something.
I grabbed the toothbrush out of his hand and rushed into the bathroom. He seemed to be following me, but I shut the door. Standing in front of the sink, I was horrified at the image staring back at me from the mirror. My hair was a tangled mess and my eyes were red and puffy. I probably looked worse now than I had with red paint all over me. I decided that the only solution was for me to take another shower.
While I waited for the water to heat up, I decided to brush my teeth. I noticed that the toothbrush wasn’t mine, and I remembered that my toothbrush was in Pensacola. Still, this one looked new and clean, so I supposed I would use it anyway. After all, it couldn’t taste as bad as the throw-up in my mouth. I also brushed my hair with a brush I found on the sink and I undressed. During this time, Adam called my name a few times, but I ignored him. Finally, I stepped into the shower and let the warm water engulf me for a while. My shoulders were aching a little bit, but the rest of my body had stopped being painful.
When I got out of the shower, I felt a little less flighty. I also felt clean and refreshed. I quickly realized that I didn’t have any clean clothes to put on and I started to get flustered. Especially since my puke scented clothes had vanished. Then I noticed a shirt and a pair of sweat pants hanging on the back of the door. The shirt was a light blue T-shirt and the sweats were navy blue. I guessed that they were Adam’s and that they would never fit me. But I tried them on anyway, and, surprisingly, both fit. I brushed my long blonde hair back from my face and then started into the other room.
Adam was waiting right outside. He still looked flushed for some reason. “I was worried about you,” he said. “I was afraid you might fall in the tub.”
“No, I’m feeling more surefooted now that I’ve had a shower. Oh, and thanks for the outfit.”
“Oh, that. It’s just my slouchy clothes. I thought you might be comfortable in them.”
“Has Alicia finished her mysterious errand, or whatever the heck she was doing?”
“Not yet,” he replied.
I sat down on the sofa and Adam joined me. “What time is it anyway?”
“Late enough that we should be going to sleep soon.”
“I guess you’re right. How long do you think Alicia is going to need? Did she tell you? She did let you in to get my toothbrush…”
“No, but it might be a while. You might want to think about staying here tonight.”
The thought of staying all night in Adam’s room should have brought back my longing for Rick. Instead, I thought it sounded heavenly. Rick had been such a jerk at the beach, and I was really mad with him. Adam, on the other hand, had been wonderful to me the entire night. So wonderful, I thought, that he will never invite me to sleep in his bed.
“I wouldn’t want to impose,” I said quickly. “Maybe I should call Alicia and tell her to hurry up.”
“Brandy, I want you to stay,” he said. Then he leaned over and started kissing me. It was undoubtedly the most passionate kiss I had ever shared with any man. At that moment, all I wanted was to be with Adam. My body was on fire once more, but it had nothing to do with the carb cleaner I’d used earlier. This fire was started by Adam.
I leaned back and pulled Adam on top of me. I could feel the heat of his body too, and I knew he wanted me as much as I wanted him. This moment made the whole horrible weekend worthwhile. I knew right then that I was totally over Rick and that he wasn’t half the man Adam was. Adam stopped kissing me as he tried to get into a better position. As his lips caressed my neck, I suddenly said, “Oh, Rick…”
You know the abrupt sound that’s made when the phonograph needle rips across the record and then everything is totally silent? That was exactly the sound I heard in my head as Adam removed himself from my body. I have never seen anyone move so fast in my life.
“Adam,” I began.
“No! You did not just call me Rick! Damn! I am such a fool!”
“I…I didn’t mean to. Honestly. It must be the alcohol that caused me to say it. Adam, please believe me.”
Adam was walking around the room pulling at his hair. He was clearly hurt. As he walked in front of me, I stood up and tried to soothe him. He shoved me back onto the sofa.
“Don’t touch me, Brandy. Don’t ever touch me again.”
I was crying now. Tears were streaming down my face. “Don’t say that Adam. I think I’m in love with you.”
My confession sent Adam into a rage. He wasn’t violent, but he was losing control of his emotions. He stomped around the room refusing to look at me. When I had just about decided that I should lock myself in the bathroom until he calmed down, he started laughing.
“You love me? That is about the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. You love me. I don’t even think you understand the meaning of that word. A few short hours ago, you were totally in love with Rick. For twenty years, as I recall. But now you think you love me. Brandy, love is more than being aroused when a guy kisses you. It’s more than admiring someone for being nice to you, and it most certainly is more than worshipping some rock star from afar for twenty years!”
I didn’t know what to say to Adam. I wanted to tell him that all my bravado about loving Rick hadn’t been the real me. I wanted him to know that I was normally quite sane and ordinary. Sure, I had always claimed to love Rick, but it was just a silly fantasy. Never in a million years did I believe I’d really meet Rick. When I realized that I was going to meet him, the fantasy just sort of took over. But Adam wouldn’t listen. So I just sat there staring at him.
He walked around in circles for a few minutes, and he seemed to calm down a bit. Then he said, “It’s my fault, you know. I knew how you felt about Rick and that you’d been drinking, but I allowed my emotions to take control and acted like a fool. I should have continued to protect you instead of turning into Rick myself and trying to take advantage of you. I’m really sorry, Brandy.”
I was speechless. Was Adam really apologizing to me?
He continued, “I shouldn’t have confused you like that.”
“I’m not confused, Adam. I want to be with you.”
He ignored me. “Don’t worry. It won’t happen again. I’m not usually like that. I don’t know what came over me.”
I knew that I should leave. Adam needed time to think, and I needed to devise a plan to win Adam over. I stood up and said, “I think I’ll call Alicia now and tell her I’m on my way. Whatever she’s doing, she can do it some other time.”
“I told you she was going to be all night. Trust me. You don’t want to go back tonigh
“A friend? What are you talking about? Just what did you see when you went to get my toothbrush?”
“I really don’t want to talk about it,” he responded. “She’s safe, so you don’t need to worry about her. I’ve already explained that you’ll be staying in my spare room. She’s probably already in bed. And I bought that toothbrush out of the vending machine down the hall. Alicia was too busy to look for yours.”
“I really don’t understand. Who is with Alicia? Why won’t you tell me?”
Adam didn’t reply. He had the same sad look on his face that he’d had when he found me sleeping on his bed. He was undoubtedly protecting me from something, and I had a feeling I knew what that was. I had a good idea who was in the room with Alicia, but I decided to drop the conversation for now. Adam was obviously shaken, and I didn’t want to upset him more.
“We should get some sleep. It’s after two, and this is going to be a big day,” Adam stated. I had a feeling he was referring to something other than the concert.
He walked over to his bedroom and told me, “Make yourself at home. You know where the other bedroom is.”
I started towards my bedroom, and then I heard Adam strumming on the guitar I’d seen earlier. The tune was unfamiliar, but it was beautiful. I found myself drawn to the music, and I stood in his doorway and listened intently. He sat on the edge of the bed playing and didn’t seem to notice that I was there. I found the music moving, especially because he played it with such emotion. When he’d finished, I said, “That’s a beautiful tune. Is it something new?”
“It’s something I’m working on,” he said brusquely. He was flustered that I’d seen him playing. He quickly placed the guitar on the floor and then he leaned back on the bed.
“I like it,” I said.
“I’m sure you’ll love it when I write the lyrics and Rick sings them.”
“Adam, please don’t...”
“Look, let’s not get into this again. We should get some sleep. I’ve already turned down your covers in the other room. I hope you get a good night’s sleep.”
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