I awake to the door to our door slamming shut. I jerk forward slightly, my eyes instantly pinched shut to defend against the light of morning.
Lord. God damn mother fucking lord, my brain is exploding out of my skull. I turn to my side, pulling my knees close to my chest. Which is bare. Fantastic.
I open one eye, wait for it to focus. An impossibly dark shoulder is all I see.
Squeezing my eye shut again, I search for some memory of this shoulder, or, better yet, the person to whom it’s likely attached.
Fucking Las Vegas. We were at a club. Me, Karen, Sophia, Val — what the fuck was her name? Valerie? Val — whatever, that’ll come back to me. We were at a club, dancing. Drinking. No shoulders from what I can remember, though.
Maybe seeing more will help. I brace myself. Open both eyes, and push myself up to look at his face. Wow, good looking. Did good for yourself this time, Darcy. But who the fuck is he?
I push myself up to lean against the bed, which is when I realize that this isn’t actually our room. Mystery man’s sporting a bit of morning wood. That’s an understatement, I think, cocking my head to the side. Sure wish I remember that.
Slowly, I lean over the bed, looking for my inevitably discarded dress. I see a hint of the thin, red, slinky cotton dress near the foot of the bed between a spilled bottle of champagne and a broken champagne flute. I slip out of bed, clumsily kicking my phone from the folds of the sheets.
I pull my dress on. It’s sticky with champagne, but the fabric covering my tits feels like a victory for the morning. Sometimes not being naked is a pretty big victory in itself.
I steady myself on the dresser while I pick up my phone. Two missed alarms. Karen, it read.
We’d had this thing in college. If I left a party with some guy, I’d program an alarm into her phone. If I wasn’t home by the time it went off, she was supposed to call and make sure I got home alright.
Damn, that had to have been annoying for her, I think now. Seemed reasonable at the time, I suppose.
I see my heels and purse by the door. I’m not out the door fast enough.
I’m on the same floor, at least. I follow the numbers to our room, find the door wide open.
Val’s standing in the door frame, her hand over her mouth.
“What the fuck, V?” I feel like that’s a good enough substitute for her name.
She whirls around, her face filled with shock. “There’s — that guy! And so much blood!”
I raise my eyesbrows at her. “I know you don’t know me very well, V, but practical jokes will get you killed when I’m hungover like this.”
She just steps aside and points. There is definitely a guy in one of the beds. And yes, there is definitely dried blood on the pillow around him.
But he doesn’t exactly look like a stiff or anything. Pinkish skin. His chest is moving up and down lightly. His face is turned in the other direction.
I roll my eyes at V, then saunter into the room and around the bed. The guy is definitely alive. And cute. Tall, dark hair. Pretty sharp features, at least from what I can tell by what’s not covered in blood. Looks like someone got into a fight last night — his nose is swollen and is likely the source of the blood around him.
“He’s fine, V,” I say in a loud, fairly patronizing manner. I meant to make her feel a little silly, but only succeeded in exacerbating my headache. V just exhales in relief, then creeps closer.
“Who is he?” she whispers.
I shrug my shoulders. “Probably belongs to Karen or Sophie. You haven’t seen them, have you?” I poke the guy. He doesn’t respond.
“No, I, uh…” she stammers and blushes. “Well, I kind of slept with you last night. So I just got back in here.”
I look back up at her. “You sure about that?”
She gives a nervous laugh. “Yeah. I mean, I woke up next to you. I was dressed and everything, so it’s not like…you know.”
I poke the guy again, harder this time. He turns his head, utters a little cry of pain. I don’t blame him. On closer examination, his nose looks pretty gnarley.
“Well, that’s cool. I’m assuming you don’t remember where Karen or Sophie ran off to?”
She shakes her head, while bloody guy mutters, “Sophie…”
“Hey, buddy.” I poke him again. “You okay?”
He opens one eye. Sees me, which is no doubt an unpleasant thing to wake up to at the moment. “You know Sophie?”
He nods. “Where the fuck is she?” He tried to sit up, stops quickly as his face scrunches in pain.
“Honestly, we were hoping you could tell us,” I say to him. “V, you wanna get a rag and some ice for his face here?” She nods quickly, grabbing the ice bucket and running into the hall. I get a towel wet and start wiping the blood off of his face.
“So who are you, buddy? What’re you doing in our room?”
“I’m James. I’m a friend of Sophie’s. At least, I thought I was. She brought me here last night. I dunno why she’d leave me here, though.”
“Back!” V held the ice in her hands triumphantly.
“Awesome, you ice James’s busted face here, I’m going to find out what the hell happened to our dear friends last night.”
I leave James in the care of V, pull out my cigarettes and head to the balcony. Sweet view, I think as I pull the door shut behind me. I hardly remember seeing it last night.
I dial Karen. No answer. I dial again. No answer. “Fucking Karen,” I mutter. As I say it I’m struck with how many times she’s said the same thing about me for the exact same reason in college. Except, to be fair, this wasn’t our little college town. This was Vegas.
I dialed one last time.
“Hello?” She sounded strangled and hoarse on the other end.
“Kare bare-ass. Where you at?” I ask in relief as I lean over railing.
“Mmmmm,” she groans. I hear shuffling. “I dunno. With Ryan.”
“Ryan? Like dude-you’re-banging-from-Portland Ryan? How the hell did that happen?”
I wait for her to elaborate. She doesn’t. “K, well that’s swell. Where can we pick you up? You with Sophie?”
“Mmmm. Sophie. No. I can meet you in an hour. At –”
“Hello? Karen?” I look at my phone. Call’s ended. I dial. Straight to voicemail.
Her phone’s dead. That’s just perfect.