3 / the morning after

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Ishaana woke up to the smell of cigarette smoke wafting in from the open balcony, a chilly breeze fluttering over her naked body that was covered by little more than a sheet, her skin prickling in the cold

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Ishaana woke up to the smell of cigarette smoke wafting in from the open balcony, a chilly breeze fluttering over her naked body that was covered by little more than a sheet, her skin prickling in the cold. Rolling over, she seemed to anger the headache that had settled in her brain, suddenly throbbing when she moved and she let out a groan. She had drunk a little too much last night and now she felt the effects, a jackhammer of a headache pulsating behind her eyes, and it was agony to lift her head to squint at her phone. Just about hanging on with six percent battery, the bright screen showed her that it was already twenty past ten in the morning.

That wasn't the only thing that popped up. Beneath the clock was a message from a contact she had saved as cdsety, a text that had buzzed into her phone at half past one in the morning. She vaguely remembered giving him her number, laughing as she had put it into his phone and he had added his to hers: clearly it was him who couldn't spell his own name and the message made little sense either. He'd wanted to check if it was fake, and she had proved that it wasn't when she had received his text. So he had her number, she thought. It usually took more than one night for her to let someone have that.

For a moment, she lay perfectly still with her hand clasped over her forehead and her eyes shut, willing her hangover to wait until later, when she could curl up on the sofa with Melody for a day of recovery in front of the television. Any time she went out, she tended to have to write off the next day as time to recuperate with plenty of water and usually a hefty supply of terrible food. The house was often littered with takeaway containers after she'd had a night out, and she could always be found wrapped up in blankets on the sofa.

But today she would have to find her way home, which meant over an hour on the train and a two mile walk, unless she could face the bus. The thought alone turned her stomach, and she groaned in hungover pain as she pushed herself up, eyes screwed shut as she dragged leaden legs over the side of the bed. She didn't move from that position for several seconds as she hung her head in her hands, willing herself to stand when all she wanted to do was sleep.

Cold and shivering, she squinted at the floor in search of the clothes she had discarded last night and stumbled over to her jeans. She didn't think twice about pulling on yesterday's underwear before she tugged on her jeans, shuddering at the chilly denim on her skin, and she had to lean against the wall with a sigh as she glanced around the room for her t-shirt. She hadn't worn a bra, she remembered that much, but there had been a t-shirt at some point.

And there had been a man, too, but there wasn't one anymore. She had fallen asleep beside him, passed out in an orgamisc drunken haze, but he was nowhere to be seen. Though the door to the balcony was open, there was no-one standing on the narrow ledge and with an arm across her breasts, Ishaana crossed the floor to swing the door shut, drawing the curtain to protect the last of her dignity while she searched for her top. Plenty of Casey's clothes were strewn about, draped over the chair and the desk and slipping off the bed, and she scowled a sigh.

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