When I wake up the next morning, for a moment I forget where I am. With my long flight and deep slumber, it was enough to make anyone confused upon waking. I then glance around the room and remember that I am in Janice’s sister, Sandra’s house.
Checking the clock, I see it is past ten O’ clock, so I decide to get up and start getting ready.
It takes me an hour to take a shower and get dressed, so by the time I am ready, it is already eleven O’ clock. After finishing a touch up on myself in front of the mirror, I leave to go downstairs.
When I get into the kitchen, I spot both Janice and Elsie at work preparing food on the counter. They both look over at me as I enter.
“Morning Lizzie,” says Elsie. “Or should I say afternoon.”
I laugh. “Sorry I’m up so late.”
“Don’t be. I assumed you were probably tired last night. I trust you slept well.”
“Very. Thank you.”
Elsie then walks out of the kitchen into what I suspect is the dining room, and I take a seat at the kitchen table and glance in Janice’s direction. She is very quiet as she tosses together a bowl of salad. Her face looks so focused on the task and she doesn’t even bother to look up at me.
“Afternoon Janice,” I say, trying to break the silence, but she still doesn’t look over. I can’t tell if it’s because she is ignoring me or if she really was so far away that she didn’t hear what I said. I also can’t help but wonder if it has anything to do with our talk last night.
“Janice!” I say, raising my voice slightly.
Finally, Janice seems to catch notice.
“Oh hey, Liz,” she says, smiling in my direction. “When did you get down here?”
“A couple minutes ago. I was trying to talk to you, but you seemed so far away.”
Janice nods. “Yah, I guess I was just daydreaming.” She says this with a little shrug, but I don’t by it. I can tell by her face that something is wrong and is it just me, or did her eyes seem a bit red?
I am not able to ask, for she then finishes the bowl of salad and pours it onto a plate. I then follow her to the dining room table. Elsie and Sandra are already there and start serving themselves when Janice sets down the plate of salad.
“So you two got anything planned for today?” Sandra asks when I take my seat beside her.
“Not sure.” I look up at Janice. “What are you thinking?”
“Well, we could check out the capital,” she says. “It’s not too far from here. I really want to save the beach for later this week. I have a surprise to show you.”
I smile intrigued. “I can’t wait.”
“There is also this amazing club downtown that I thought we could check out tonight. I hope you brought something smashing to wear.”
“Janice, I don’t know about that place,” says Elsie. “You know it can get a bit rough.”
Janice smirks. “You should talk. Wasn’t that club your go to when you were in your “wild” phase?”
“I’m just saying! Lizzie and I can handle ourselves. The bar isn’t the same as it was when you used to go there. There’s new ownership, remember?”
Elsie frowns. “I suppose.”
“So don’t worry. I wouldn’t take Lizzie somewhere dangerous. We’ll be fine.”
I try and stifle a laugh. It is funny to see the two of them going back and forth like that. Judy and I were completely the same way, especially when she turned fourteen. Suddenly, she had changed from a little girl to a young woman. She was developing body-wise and personality-wise, that I didn’t even recognize her. Her friends had even changed and she was hanging out with the more upscale clique at her school. Very strange, for it is a big difference between her and me in school.
Even so, we would still talk and spend time together, and so it is a shame that things are the way they are now. I would give anything to be going back and forth like the way Janice and her sister are, but with everything going on back at home, I don’t know when that will be a possibility.
“Hey, Elsie and I are just looking out for you,” Sandra says then. “I know we’re a pain, but we just love you and want you to be safe.”
Janice sighs. “I know, but I’m twenty-two you guys. Not the scared six-year-old little girl I used to be.”
Things get quiet at the table after she says that, and I have a feeling they are all thinking about their past lives before they came to Marina Beach. I myself even feel awkward, so I decide to try and make an excuse to leave.
“I should go up and get ready,” I say, breaking the silence. “Do you need help with the dishes?”
Sandra shakes her head. “No, Lizzie, you’re our guest! Go on up and I’ll take care of it.”
I then nod to them and make my way upstairs. Maybe they had sensed the awkwardness as well.
Afterwards, Janice and I then head off for the capital. It ends up being a very nice and informative tour. We walk through the whole city building learning about the history of Marina Beach. Apparently, the city is actually known as just “Marina”, but it referred to as Marina Beach for having one of the most lavish and largest beaches in the nation. It is a frequent tourist destination and summer seems to be their busiest season yet.
All the while during our tour, Janice looks a bit down, but every time I ask, she keeps saying every thing is fine. After a while, I decide to just leave her be.
By the time we finally arrive back home, it is already almost seven. We then eat some leftover teriyaki pineapple chicken with rice for dinner and afterwards, I go up to get dressed for tonight. Luckily, I did happen to pack a clubbing dress. I don’t know what I thought I was going to do with it exactly, but I just felt like I should bring it along just in case. Turns out it was a good thing.
Janice comes in a couple minutes later.
“Wow! You look great!” She says. “Is that the dress that Abby picked out for you last year for the Greek Gala?”
I laugh. “You guessed it.”
The Beta Gamma Kappas had been hosting it last year and had chosen “Monte Carlo Night.” Abby had insisted that I get a new more stylish dress and after all her persistence, I finally caved.
“It still looks great,” Janice adds, smiling.
“Thanks. You look great as well.”
Janice then glances at the clock hanging on the wall of the room. “We should head out. The club opens at nine and it’s almost time.”
Just as she starts to turn, I pull her back again.
“Hey, I didn’t make you uncomfortable last night, did I?” When Janice frowns I elaborate. “Having you tell me all that stuff that happened to you when you were younger?”
“No. Why do you ask?”
“You just seem a bit off today and I want to make sure that it’s not because of me.”
Janice sighs. “No it’s not, I just…” She drifts off looking towards the floor. “Just know that it’s not you. It’s just me mulling over something.” She then shakes her head. “Anyway, we should head over to the club before the line gets too long. Once I had to wait for an hour to get in.”
I want to question her more about it, but I decide to just let it go.
We then wave goodbye to her sisters and then I follow Janice out to her car.
The place looks great with fluorescent colored lights lighting up the place. As soon as we get in, Janice makes a beeline for the bar and I follow suit.
“I’ll take a martini,” Janice says to the bartender. “What do you want Lizzie?”
Now, I’m not much of a drinker, in fact, I don’t really drink at all, so normally when I go to bars I just order a Shirley temple. But not wanting to embarrass myself, I order what my mom suggests to do.
“I’ll take a virgin margarita,” I then say, and the bartender gets started preparing our drinks.
“You’re not drinking again?” Janice asks and I shrug.
“You know I’m not a drinker. Besides, I love the way those margaritas taste.”
After downing our drinks, we make our way over to the dance floor. I notice the floor it clearing up a bit, which makes it not so crowded. Janice dances with me and then a few other guys before walking back over to the bar. This time, I notice that she is ordering shots, which makes me a bit nervous. She never really orders shots unless something is wrong. What was going on with her?
Still, I don’t want to ruin her fun, so I try to stay dancing on the dance floor while still keeping an eye on her. She spends most of the night by the bar and at some point, I see her flirting with the bartender. That cause me to start moving over. I know that if Greg could see her right now, he would not be too happy.
As I near her, I suddenly freeze when I see the sight in front of me. Janice is standing on the bar counter, dancing and jumping around. People move back and laugh, some even snapping photos with their cell phones.
“Janice!” I call up to her, “What are you doing?”
“Just grooving to the beat, Liz!” She says, stressing the “o’s” in the word “grooving”.
She then spins and dips her backside toward the floor causing some of the guys to shout catcalls to her. I can tell she has had one too many shots and it is definitely time to leave.
“Lizzie! Get up here!” she calls. “We can do the Beta Gamma Kappa cheer!”
I sigh, reaching over to catch her hand. “Okay Janice, it’s time to go.”
“No way! T-the night is stillllll y-young,” she slurs.
“I’m sure it is,” I say, finally catching her hand. “Now come on.”
Janice nearly falls on me as she slips down. “Buzzkill,” she says frowning at me, but I ignore it and lead her toward the exit.
The alleyway is empty when we get outside and I realize much too late that we have taken the wrong exit. When I try to reopen the door, it doesn’t budge.
“Great!” I turn and look at Janice who is twirling around and giggling. “Do you have any idea how to get back to the car?” I ask.
Janice just lets out another giggle and points to our right. “I t-think that way, but I don’t remember,” she says slowly. Her body is starting to slay.
I sigh and then lift her arm and put it around my neck to support her. We then walk over in that direction, and sure enough, I see her car parked a couple streets away. Thank goodness. I then wrestle her car keys from her and after helping her into the backseat, I start the car and am off.
It takes us almost forty minutes to get back to her house, due to the fact that she is the most unreliable navigator. Not that I expected any different with how intoxicated she is. I am relieved when we finally walk through the doors into the house. Janice shakily makes her way up the steps and I follow behind to make sure she doesn’t trip and stumble down the steps.
“Okay, I think you should just lie down and rest,” I say when we get to her bedroom.
Janice frowns. “Why?”
“Because you’re really drunk and I don’t want you to hurt yourself.”
Janice sighs. “Fine.” She then leans over to me. “You’re such a good friend. I loooove you.”
She then puckers her lips and starts leaning over to me. I blink and then pull away in surprise, trying to hold back a laugh. She really is wasted.
“I think it’s time for bed,” I say again, trying hard not to cough from her alcohol drenched breath. “You lie down and sleep, and I will see you in the morning. Okay?” I move her towards the bed and she drops down.
“Okay,” she says, and then she finally stays put. Goodness.
Back in my room, I change into my night clothes and lie upon my bed. It is pretty clear to me that if Janice had been willing to get that drunk -something she had never done before-, something is definitely going on with her. I only hope tomorrow I can get down to the bottom of it.