I stand, and close my eyes taking a deep breath.
"Lily . . . " Blake whispers.
I turn on my heels and run for the door.
Fuck this shit.
Black spots disturb my vision as I push hastily through the halfway house doors, into the blazing morning sun.
My head's pounding with Sammi's sobs, Blake's whispers, and the look on Jax's face. Knots form in my stomach and it's as if someone made me swallow dirt. I might puke.
I can't go back right now. The last thing I want to see is the pain on everyone's face, and I'm certain things with Blake are over. I'm not in any state to deal with that right now. I turn left and speed walk away from the halfway house.
My chest aches like someone hit me with a sledgehammer. The past is in the past, and dwelling on it does me no good. It hurts, physically, to think about. Being here, and with Blake, is turning my world on its head, my past, present, and possibly future slamming together in ways I never thought possible.
A green canopy catches my eye as I pass by storefront after storefront. I stop and look up. The Green Turtle, a bar with an advertisement for having the best bartenders in Baltimore. I open the door and step inside. The air conditioning raises goosebumps on the back of my neck. I glance around the room as my eyes adjust to the inside light.
An older woman stands behind the bar. She looks over and smiles as she wipes a rag along the counter-top. I move toward her and slide onto one of the stools, fishing my credit card out of my pocket.
"You look like you're having a bad day, hon. What can I get ya?"
"I'm not much of a drinker. What do you recommend?" I twist my head to crack my neck.
"Depends on what you want outta drinking."
"I want to get so drunk I forget my name," I say unable to hide the pain.
She gives me a sad look. "In that case, let me introduce you to one of my favorite shots, and a mixed drink that could put a grown man on his ass."
She pulls four bottles of liquor out and a container of tonic water. She mixes the three dark booze in a double shot glass, and the water and clear booze in a tumbler. Setting them in front of me, she gives me one last grin and walks to the other end of the bar.
She refills beer coolers as the shot sits ominously in front of me.
Here goes nothing.
The glass is cool against my fingertips, my hand trembling slightly, and I throw it back. I cough as it burns my throat, slamming into my stomach. Fuck, that's some strong shit. I set the glass down and pick up the tumbler taking a long gulp. The clear booze burns worse than the shot.
"You want another?" The bartender smiles.
"What the hell is that?"
"The shot's called a Three Wise Men. All big booze. The drink's a gin and tonic."
"Another of both," I mutter downing the rest of the tumbler.
She brings another round, and I throw back the shot without hesitation.
Three hours later the lunch crowd comes in, and I decide to find a new bar. I'm already buzzed and it’s just past midday. The fact I'm still thinking about Blake tells me I haven't had nearly enough booze. I take a cab from Towson to Fells Point, stumbling upon a bar called, The Horse You Came In On.
That sounds promising.
My feet aren't working the way I want them too, and I stumble, slower than normal to the door and step inside. I take a seat at the end of the counter and flag down the bartender. This place is dark and cool, and close to Blake's apartment. It's a good place to finish getting shit-faced.