September 2018

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"Urgh, what the hell is wrong with me?" I complained loudly as I made my aching body sit. "Why did I allow you to do this?"

I grabbed onto my forehead and tried to shove some of the headache away. I couldn't even gulp because my throat was so dry, this was the worst I'd felt in a very long time. The more I moved, the more the booze sloshed about in my body, so I did what I could to remain still.

"Me?" Natalie laughed while rasping. Her deathly pale face suggested suffering on her end too. "You're the one who went all nuts. Don't you remember?"

I really didn't, but I wasn't about to get into that. The one fact I remained aware of through everything was the reunion tonight. Escaping Natalie's clutches wasn't going to be as easy as I first assumed it might be, so I needed to find a way.

"I need to eat."

I heaved at my friend's remark, almost vomiting at the mere mention of food. Nothing would be going into my stomach for a very long time.

"I need to lie here and keep as still as I can, because I really don't want to throw up."

We lay next to one another for a while in our individual beds, both struggling through a world of self-inflicted pain alone. Still, even through all the agony, I much preferred to be here with Natalie, than by myself. Here, I had a friend, someone to talk to.

"So, have you finally changed your mind about tonight?" Natalie turned to look at me. I wanted to do the same so she could see how serious I was, but I couldn't. "You must want to. There has to be other people you want to see."

"I can't go anywhere, I feel like I'm going to die."

I hoped joking around would help, but no such luck.

"Come on, Carlie, I really want you to come with me. Scott might not even be there."

I slid my eyes closed as I admitted the next, very embarrassing part. "I checked. He replied on the group thingy and said he's definitely going."

Natalie groaned. "Oh, come on. He could change his mind and you'll miss out on, like, the best night ever. Is it really worth not going on the off-chance?"

I fixed my gaze on the ceiling, examining the swirls in the paintwork closely, just to give myself something else to focus on.

"Please, Carlie. You have to come. I'm so afraid I'm going to see Gaz."

Oh...of course. I almost forgot I wasn't to only one who'd have to face an ex. How could I ignore my friend had a complex situation of her own back in her university days? I got so wrapped up in my own mess I wasn't thinking about anyone else.

"Is he going to be there?"

"He hasn't posted in the group, but Freya's invited him so he might be."

"You'll be okay seeing him though, won't you? You're engaged and happy."

She blew out a giant breath of air filled with enough sadness to actually force my head to turn. It brought on another wave of nausea, but thankfully it didn't go all the way to sickness. Her expression fell, I could see a strain behind her eyes that I hadn't seen since we met up.

"You are engaged and happy, right?"

"Oh no, don't get me wrong, I's just looking backwards and seeing the person you once were and the life you used to have, well, it's dangerous isn't it? It makes you wonder what if."

Wow, I had to admit that statement went someway to making me feel a little better. At least I wasn't alone in my stirred-up emotions.

"Gaz will turn up, you know?" Natalie continued. "He's a party boy, he always was. I'm sure he won't be able to resist hanging out with the old crowd again."

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