LOCATION: CITY HALL, SCVRS
TIME: LATE EVENING
The night proceeded as expected; loudly and drunkenly. Kriss going feel his energy sapping away as he sat at a table quietly and did nothing. It was just going to be this for hours on end, wasn't it. Just hours more. He glanced at his hands, wishing he had brought a book or something so he could at least attempt to justify not talking to people.
His phone started buzzing. He slid it out of his pants pocket and glanced at the Caller ID.
[Incoming Call: Chief]
Kriss flipped the phone open and pressed it to his ear, shuffling quickly to the door and out into the night air."Kriss."
"Hey Kriss, am I interrupting something?""No."
"Didn't think so," she said with an audible sigh. "Where's Allison?""She has gone home. I suspect the alcoholic atmosphere upset her stomach."
"The...oh no. How much booze is there?"
He looked through the open door. "Quite possible every variety in existence. Wine, champagne, whiskey, vodka, rum, -"
," Snap said through her teeth. "Are you okay?""I am fine."
"You want out?""Yes."
"Alright, come on back to the squad for the night. I'll swap out with you. I'm already at the building, so I'll drive the second ambulance over.""I will wait until you arrive,"
he said, a wave of relief rolling over him.
"Don't bother," she replied, jingling a set of keys near the mouthpiece of her phone. "I'm leaving now. Come back and get some rest.""Yes ma'am."
"Thanks, Kriss. See ya."
The call ended abruptly. Without a word, Kriss re-entered the building, retrieved his trauma bag, discarded his drink, and left, taking the shortest route possible back to the rescue squad. He passed Snap, who beeped the horn at him. It took him less than fifteen minutes to park and gut the ambulance, checking to be sure that everything was in its place and ready for the next call. A fellow paramedic was sitting at the front desk on her phone. She waved at him before going back to her smartphone. He didn't return the gesture and chose instead to head straight to the back to take one of the longest showers of his life. He changed into pajamas (a blank shirt and a pair of gym shorts), then headed back to the lounge area. The unfinished crossword puzzle was still sitting on the table, challenging him.
With a shrug, Kriss dropped onto the couch, grabbed the puzzle and a pen, and scowled. He was never going to get this thing done.
Location: Hawthorne aprtment
Time: Sunday, Late evening
Allison hauled herself out of her vehicle and slammed the door closed, clicking the auto-lock button on her key and heading for the front door. It was unlocked and she could see a light on under the door. Whispering a word of encouragement to herself, she opened the door."Mom, I've home,"
she said quietly, hoping she was asleep. She wasn't. The soft-eyed raven-haired woman on the couch lowered her book and looked over her reading glasses at her daughter.
"Hey honey, I got your text. How'd it go?" she asked. It was a simple enough question, but there was a seriousness to it that made Allison uneasy."It went pretty well. Kriss was there. I saw a couple people that I met at the racetrack so I got to say hi to them. Food was pretty good too. And I got to dress up nice! So it was fun."
Her mom narrowed her eyes slightly. "I saw it on TV earlier. Looked like there was an open bar. Were they serving alcohol?"
There it was. She knew the question would be raised eventually. At least she didn't smell like booze. Her mom would have known it in an instant. Instead she was giving her daughter a chance to be honest."Well,..."
she said. The silence that followed answered her mom's question and she lowered her head. "Yeah. There was. I got invited by someone and I didn't think to ask. I didn't realize it was going to be...like it was.I didn't drink anything though! I swear, mom, I really didn't."
The familiar tint of red returned to her cheeks as her mom stared her down. "I should have left when I got there. I almost did, but I wanted to be, you know, classy, I guess. I knew you were going to be really mad, but I saw someone I recognized, so I wanted to say hi. It was awful. Someone at the table had been drinking...you know..."
Allison couldn't even bring herself to say the name "whiskey" in front of her mom. "I almost threw up and I left like immediately afterwards. You can talk to Kriss, he can vouch for me."
Her mom stared her down, reading her face carefully for evidence of lying, but she found none. She had to admit that, if nothing else, her daughter was honest. That didn't excuse her remaining present at such an event for so long.
"I should ground you. But I'm not going to. How about settling for 'get a shower and go straight to bed?' and we'll forget it ever happened?" she said in a softer voice, silently grateful that Allison hadn't participated. The girl nodded and stretched her arms."I'm exhausted anyway. Sorry again. And thanks."
It felt like days until Allison finally collapsed into bed, finally free of the weight of guilt that had followed her home. She was joined by the cat, who hopped onto a free area and claimed it as his own. She had just enough energy to wish it goodnight before the two of them passed out.