Whisky Flavored Night

By AMBER MILLER | Published: June 17, 2010

It’s raining when I walk out of the police station. This is the second time this month that I’ve gone to the police station. It wasn’t my fault this time. Damn Robbie Marsden, always pulling something. This week it was picking a fight with Butch Morris. Butch is one of the meanest guys in school. He’s big too. But Robbie had to be stupid and pick a fight with him which meant tonight when Butch came by Al’s looking for him I had to settle the fight. Some moron called the cops and me and Butch got arrested. They let us go though. It had to be about midnight. That’s not good. I wondered what my brother was going to say. Since dad took off last month for the rodeos it’s just been me and my two older brothers: Sammy and Smokey. Sammy’s cool, I’ve always been closer to Sammy. He listens to people and he gets everything. He’s a real good looking guy and he knows it. He’s like movie star good looking. He’s tall with wavy dark brown hair. His eyes are light brown, a real strange color. They’re like reddish-brown. Sammy’s about seventeen, closer to my age than Smokey. Smokey’s about twenty, real tall like Sammy but built like our dad. Sammy’s kind of thin-framed but not Smokey. Smokey has dark wavy brown hair. His eyes are the same reddish brown color that Sammy and I have. We get our eyes from our momma. She died years ago, right after I was born. Smokey’s been looking after us for as long as I can remember. I guess in a way he had too, otherwise we’d be all alone. I feel bad for ole Smokey though. He could have gone off to college but he had to stay behind with us.

The streets are real lonely at this time of night. The wind was blowing slightly and it made the garbage in the alley ways rustle so it sounded like someone was following you. I’ve walked home from here before, that doesn’t mean I like it. I almost wished I had called home and asked one of my brothers to come get me. But if I had done that Smokey would have come and I’d have to listen to a lecture on the way home. I didn’t want that. My sides were already hurting from where Butch kicked me and I had a bruise on the side of my face that was throbbing and hurting. I didn’t need Smokey yelling at me too. I pulled my jacket a little closer. It used to be Sammy’s but he out grew it. He’s been growing like a weed lately. I get a lot of my clothes from my brothers, except for my jeans. I have to get new jeans if I out grow them.

When I finally got to our house I stopped on the porch and looked inside. Smokey was at the table, looking at the bills and shaking his head. He sure does that a lot. Sammy was asleep on the couch. I opened the door easily and carefully stepped inside, trying to be as quiet as possible. I didn’t want to disturb either brother.

“Glory Louise Harlow.” I stopped dead in my tracks. I know that voice. It’s Smokey’s. I turned around and sure enough there he was, standing by the kitchen entryway. His arms were crossed over his chest and he had a look on his face that promised instant death no matter what I told him.

“Where the hell have you been?” he said.

“Out.”

“Out where Glory?” about this time Sammy woke up and smiled. “Hey Glory, how’s it going?” Sammy rarely gets mad at me, or anyone for that matter. He’s real levelheaded. Unlike Smokey, who looked like he was going to bash my head in at any moment.

“I was at the police station alright.”

“The police station?!”

“Yeah, the police station. I got into a fight and someone called the cops. It ain’t no big deal!”

“Dammit Glory, it is a big deal!”

“It’s just a damn fight Smokey, you got into them all the time in school.” That was a big mistake. Everyone knows that Smokey got into a lot of fights in school and he used to be proud of his record. But nowadays if you bring it up he just about blows a gasket. I guess he doesn’t want me and Sammy to remember he was just as much of a troublemaker as we are. Before either of us could say anything Sammy got up off the couch and pulled me by my collar into our room. Probably a good thing, Smokey looked pissed. Sammy sat down on the edge of the bed and started pulling off his sneakers. I sat down and did the same. We both got ready for bed and I crawled under the blanket. Sammy turned off the light and laid down on his side of the bed. I laid on my back, staring up at the ceiling and trying to get to sleep but I couldn’t.

“Hey Sammy,” but Sammy was out.

The next day at school everyone wanted to know about the fight with Butch. It’s a big deal anytime I get into a fight but it’s a really big deal if it’s a fight with Butch Morris. It was kind of cool at first. I like being the center of attention. I felt like a big shot. By lunchtime though, it was getting old. I walked into the cafeteria and looked around. I spotted the guys all the way at the back of the room. I walked down there and sat down. “The Guys” are a group of boys that Smokey, Sammy, and I have grown up with. Sammy was sitting next to Court Roberts. Court has been friends with Sammy for years. Court still treats me like a kid sometimes but we get along pretty well. Court is tall, maybe even as tall as Smokey. He has jet black hair and dark blue eyes. He’d be a good looking guy if he wasn’t such an asshole. Next to Court is Kyle Genet. Kyle is still a junior at eighteen and a wisecracker if I’ve ever seen one. He don’t like school much and will do about anything to get out. He ain’t too bright but he’s a decent guy. He’s got sandy blonde hair and light brown eyes. He’s not too handsome but the ladies like him because he’s funny. Next to him is Robbie Marsden, my best bud since…well…forever. Robbie and I grew up together. Robbie is kind of a small and everyone thinks he’s a teacher’s pet. It doesn’t help that he has red hair and big blue puppy dog eyes. I guess that’s why he stays in trouble so much. It’s like he has something to prove.

“Hey Glory.” said Robbie. Kyle looked at me and smiled.

“Hey Harlow, what’s happening?” he said. All eyes were on me now. Even Court was looking at me. I guess they heard about the fight.

“Not much, it’s school. Don’t nothing happen in school.” Kyle, Robbie, and Sam laughed. Court wasn’t paying any attention. I was trying to do the same. Kyle was about to say something but the bell rang. We all stood up, cleared our trays, and walked out.

After school I decided to head over to Flo’s. Flo’s is an ice cream shop where all the kids in town hang out. Smokey would be pissed if he found out I didn’t go straight home but Sammy was at Flo’s too so if Smokey found out, I had an excuse. I sat down at the bar next to Sammy and he smiled.

“Hey sis, shouldn’t you be at home?”

“Shouldn’t you?” I replied smartly. Sammy shrugged. Kyle leaned back and saw me. I didn’t even know he was there.

“Hey Glory, what are you doing here?”

“Hanging out, same as you nimrod.”

“Boy, when ole Smokey finds out you gonna be in a world of trouble.” said Court.

“Well geez, I sure didn’t think about that.” I spat back sarcastically. Court gave a short laugh.

“No, you don’t think about nothing do you Glory Harlow?”

“Now wait just a minute here bud. How in hell’s name do you think you are?” I said, sliding off the barstool and stepping around Sammy so that I was face-to-face with Court.

“I think I know a bit more than you little miss.”

“Oh really?”

“Yeah really. I mean, you ain’t but fifteen.” He said, hopping off the barstool. Sammy turned and looked at Court, so did Kyle. They both looked worried.

“Sixteen…I turned sixteen two months ago.” Court rolled his eyes. I was sick and tired of him. I punched him good and hard. He fell back against the bar and looked at me like he’d seen a ghost. I’ve never hit Court before. I don’t think I’ve hit anyone in our gang except for Robbie.

“I’m sixteen goddammit, so stop treating me like I’m five.” I walked out and started heading home. I’ve always had a pretty nasty temper so I don’t think they were too shocked. Court might be but Sammy and Kyle weren’t. When I got home the house was quiet. Smokey’s at work and won’t be home until five. I sat down at the kitchen table and started working on my homework. I’m pretty smart; I’ve always done well in school. I just don’t like school. What kid does?

When Smokey got home Sammy was still gone. Sammy wouldn’t get in trouble though, he never does. Smokey likes Sammy better I guess. Every time he goes to yell at him, Sammy just makes some wisecrack and he’s off the hook. Smokey wasn’t mad. He just sat down at the dining room table and pulled out that shoebox, the one with the bills in it. I hate that damn box ‘bout as much as Smokey does, but for different reasons. That box makes Smokey mad, ‘cause of all the stuff he’s got to worry about. When he gets mad, we all pay the price. I’ll say it again, I hate that damn box. And it doesn’t help that Sammy’s not home. If Sammy was home, he’d take some of the edge off Smokey. But he’s not so when Smokey came into the living room and sat down in “his chair” I sat up straight. Smokey has a way of making you feel guilty, especially if you are. I finally decided after a few minutes of painful silence to get up and leave.

“Did you finish your homework?” said Smokey. I turned to face him and nodded. I grabbed my jacket from the coat rack by the door and walked out. I didn’t tell him where I was going or when I’d be back. He’d yell at me for that later but right now, I didn’t care. I pulled my jacket on and kept walking. The wind was a little cold but I didn’t care. I like wind. By the time I got to the bar though, I was glad to be out of it. I sat down at the bar and Bucky walked over. I’m only sixteen and Bucky knows that but I’ve been coming in here since I was fourteen. Bucky used to be a friend of Smokey’s, that’s why he lets me come in here.

“Hey there darlin’, you want-”

“A beer Bucky.” I said, cutting him off. He nodded and grabbed a beer, popping the top off before setting it down in front of me. I usually drink whisky but tonight just wasn’t a whisky kind of night. I grabbed it and took a huge sallow. Bucky laughed and patted my shoulder in that friendly bartender kind of way.

“Jesus, take it easy kid. No one’s gonna steal it.” I rolled my eyes and Bucky moved down the bar to help someone else out. Overhead “I’m Alive” spilled out of the speakers and mixed with the sounds of mindless chatter and drunken laughter. Kenny Chesney’s voice seemed to blend into the others and I wondered why Bucky even turned the radio on. I took another swig of my beer as someone sat down next to me. I tried to ignore him but from the moment he spoke, I knew it’d be hard.

“The usual Bucky.” said the stranger in a low familiar voice. Bucky sat a shot of whisky down in front of him and was about to say something but another person walked up to the other end of the bar and Bucky had to go get him his drink. I turned to the stranger and took in his jet black hair and tanned skin, his dirty blue jeans and scuffed up boots.

“Court?” I said reluctantly. He turned and faced me, doing a double take once he realized who I was.

“Glory, what the hell are you doing here?”

“What are you doing here Court?”

“Having a drink, God knows I need one.”

“Oh God, if got a sob story I don’t want to hear it.”

“What the hell makes you think I’d want to tell you anyways?”

“Hon, you’re drinking whisky. You’re gonna wind up telling someone.” Court, who had been staring at his whisky, looked at me. Much to my surprise, he smiled. Well it was more like a smirk but close enough.

“What do you know about whisky?” he said, still smiling.

“Enough.” He laughed and so did I.

It was almost midnight and I was still sitting at the bar next to Court, telling stories and laughing. Court and I were still fairly sober. I’ve had two beers; he’s had two shots of whisky. We’ve been talking for a while though.

“Can I tell you a secret?” I said to Court, dropping my voice so that only he could hear.

“Sure, shoot.”

“I hate you. I’ve always thought you were the most infuriating, ignorant man on the planet.” He smirked a bit.

“Funny, I could have said the same about you.” It’s not really a secret that we don’t like each but there, somewhere between drunk and sober and staring into the eyes of my most hated enemy, it made perfect sense. I was sitting close enough that I smell the whisky on his breath. Oddly enough, I could smell the dirt and the sweat that came with a hard day’s work and it was the most incredible smell to me. I caught his gaze and held it. There we were, in a smoke-filled bar off some back road, staring into each other’s eyes and looking at each other, really looking at each other, for the first time in sixteen years. He reached out and touched my cheek. I could feel the calluses in his hand as they brushed my cheek. I brought my hand up and laid it over his. We moved closer and closer to each other until I could feel his breath against my lips. I looked deep into those dark blue eyes, the color of the night sky, and I swear I could see heaven. Before either of us knew what was going on we kissed, our lips coming together and setting off fireworks in me like it was the Fourth of July. It was gentle at first, then he got a little more demanding. I could taste the whisky on his breath. I could feel his muscles tense under my hands. Every part of me cried out for more, I ached for more, and I was almost to sober to give in but almost doesn’t cut it. I pushed back and held my hand out to stop him.

“Let’s get out of here.” I said breathlessly, I almost didn’t recognize my own voice. He looked at me for a moment, like he wasn’t sure. Then he took my hand and pulled me off the barstool. We had paid for our drinks a while ago so I wasn’t worried about that. I wasn’t worried about anything. All I wanted to do was lose myself in him and that’s what I planned to do. We got in his truck and drove to his house. He lives with his mom in a tiny one bedroom house. It’s just him and his mom since his brother left last summer. His mom was passed out drunk on the couch. She’s always been a drinker. We made our way to his room and he closed the door behind us, locking the door and seemingly locking out the world. I put my hands on his chest and had to stand on my tiptoes to kiss him. He kissed back passionately and ended it long enough to push me down on the bed. He was kissing my neck and undoing my top at the same time. It seemed that time had stopped. I didn’t know if it was seconds or hours that had passed but I didn’t care. He pulled my shirt off and let it fall to the ground. He pulled his own shirt off next and it was as if he had taken away my last once of control and possibly his own. I sat up and damn near knocked him over. Every part of me wanted to feel him, be near him. I thought I was going to explode if I didn’t get close to him again. I kissed him while my hands gripped his shoulders and pulled him closer until I was sure we were as close as we could be. But even then I wanted to be closer. So, in the dark and moon lit room, we made love. Though not a soul in the world, including us, could understand it, it was beautiful.

I woke up in Court’s arms the next morning. It wasn’t like in the movies were the girl wakes up and doesn’t remember where she is or what she did, I knew. Just thinking about it made me breathless. I knew I couldn’t stay but I didn’t want to leave. Smokey’d be pretty mad but at least it’s a Saturday, he doesn’t mind me staying out on Friday night. I closed my eyes and fell back asleep pretty quickly.

The next time I woke up was a little later, maybe seven thirty. I could see Court, in nothing but his boxers, searching for his clothes. I let out a short laugh that was almost something of a giggle and Court turned to face me.

“I think I’m the one that’s supposed to search for my clothes and awkwardly run out.” I said when he didn’t say anything. He kind of smiled and picked up my shirt. He tossed it at me and I laughed.

“Put it on.” I was a confused. I wrapped the sheet around me and began searching for the rest of my clothes. When we finished we walked out and got into his truck. We stopped at the diner and got some breakfast. The reality of what we had done was setting in. neither of us spoke for a while. After breakfast court said he’d take me home. We decided not to tell anyone what we did. He dropped me off outside my house and drove off without even saying goodbye. I walked in where I found Smokey and Sammy waiting for me. Sammy looked relieved, Smokey looked pissed.

“Where were you?” they said in unison, but in different tones of voice.

“I got a little wasted.”

“And Court Roberts brought you home?” said Smokey before I could even finish.

“Yeah, I crashed at his place last night because I was to wasted to drive.” It’s a halfway believable excuse. Smokey knows me enough to know I would never drive drunk. He might not believe that I was drunk though. I rarely ever get drunk. I don’t like losing control. I had no problem with it last night though.

“See, I told you there was a good reason.” said Sammy, causing Smokey to roll his eyes. He took a good long look at me and frowned.

“Fix your shirt sis.” I looked down and saw that one of my buttons was off. I rolled my eyes and sighed. I knew I’d been caught.

I didn’t talk to Court for a couple weeks. We saw each other, sat at the same table and passed each other in the hallway, but we didn’t talk. It was Friday again, two weeks later. I decided to skip lunch and go over to the football field to have a smoke. I had to ask Kyle for a cigarette. He always has some. I don’t usually smoke so I don’t care any. I headed out to the football field with the cigarette between my fingers. Someone would have a lighter, someone always does. When I got to the bleachers there was only one other person there: Court. I sat down next to him and sighed.

“Got a light?” I asked. He turned to me and handed me his lighter. It’s one of those novelty ones with a flag on the side. It was a cheap looking lighter so I figured he got it at some dime store or something, maybe a gas station. I lit my cigarette and gave him his lighter back. I took a drag on my cigarette and stared out at the football field. The wind was barely blowing; the sun was hiding behind the big gray clouds overhead. It’s real depressing weather.

“So, what have you been up to lately?” Court said, finally breaking the silence.

“Nothing, you?”

“Same.” Again it was quiet. I took another drag on my cigarette and blew a perfect smoke ring. That’s a trick that Smokey taught me years ago, before he got so mean. Court took a drag on his cigarette and blew a smoke ring. I looked at him and he smiled. I smiled back.

“Nice.” I said, still smiling.

“You brother taught me that.” I nodded and took another drag. I was tempted to blow another smoke ring but I had something to say.

“Court, are you mad at me?” he looked like he was mad and stood up.

“No, hell no. I’m just mad at myself.”

“Well it takes two to tango buddy. You didn’t act alone.” I said, standing up from the bleachers to go after him.

“Hell I know that but you’re just a kid Glory.”

“Sixteen! I’m sixteen! Only a year younger than you Court Roberts!” he turned back around to face me.

“Dammit I know that but it don’t make it right.”

“Who the hell cares whether it’s right or wrong?” I looked into his eyes, the color of the night sky, and remembered that night over two weeks ago when we let down our guard. We didn’t care then, why should we care now? He took two steps forward, closing the gap between us, and brushed a strand of Cherry Coke colored hair out of my face. It’s the only thing that makes me stand out from my brothers, my hair. The bell rang but neither of us moved. Court’s lips covered mine in a hot passionate kiss that damn near left me breathless.

“Meet me at the bar tonight, okay?” he let me go and began to walk away.

“Not until you answer me this.” he spun on his heels and looked at me.

“What?”

“Do you love me?”

“Hell no, I hate your guts.” He said smiling.

“I hate you too.” I said with a wink. “See you tonight.” And with that he was gone and all I had left were the butterflies in my stomach and the promise of another whisky flavored night.



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