ix. drunk confessions

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ix. DRUNK CONFESSIONS

Three jello shots of gin and tonic, a Manhattan on the rocks, a tequila sunrise, and $100 worth of alcohol later, I was absolutely and utterly trashed.

As the last shot of bourbon slid down my throat, the momentum of my awful mistake hit me like a truck. The only sensation I could feel was the familiar numbness of bad decisions starting to trickle in from my fingers.

I wasn't even close to winning the drinking game either. In the beginning, confidence surged within me; Chase was easy to beat, and Skye tapped out without participating. It takes me a while to locate the former's semi-drunk body.

Chase was easy, his blond hair and tall frame stuck out against the crowd. Skin tight fabric from the bodies of several women surrounded him as they danced together on the dance floor. I contemplate helping him out, but by the grin on his face, he seemed to be enjoying himself.

The immaculate Skye was engaged in conversation with a man in a table by the corner. She leaned in slightly, indicating interest in her partner. She didn't drink anything though.

Xavier was harder to beat in our wager, though eventually he got distracted by a girl and tapped out to go talk to her. My eyes landed on the two against a far wall—unapologetically going at it.

That just left me and the one person I had to beat. Ace Blackwell.

But tonight, I really doubted Ace was actually a man. He downed at least five shots of gin without even wincing. He has to be part machine. The CIA must have done something to him.

Intoxicated, impaired, and intrigued, my mind beings to ramble.

Maybe he is the first Terminator, sent here to gain our trust then wipe out the entire human race.

"Why do you think I'd what to wipe out the entire human race?" Ace asks. "I'd wipe out you for sure, but not the entire race."

My eyes go wide. Shit. Can he read my mind?

"You're saying everything out loud. You're an interesting drunk, Cupcake."

I grip his bicep to steady myself as I stumble to leave my seat. "Go have fun," I gesture at the dance floor. At least three different women have approached Ace in one capacity or another. I felt bad when he turned them down in order to babysit me, and I didn't want him to miss out.

Ace looks me up and down with a raised eyebrow. "I think you need me here with you."

"This is all your fault," I pout.

He chuckles. "And why is that?"

"If you weren't so tolerant to alcohol,"—hiccup—"then I wouldn't have drank so much."

"We both know the real reason you over drank in order to protect your ego."

"Again, I still think you're the one using your large ego to overcompensate for something. Something very small..." For some reason, a series of uncontrollable laughs start to escape from my lips.

"Sometime, when you're not drunk, I'll show you," Ace winks.

"Why are you always like this? It's surreal..."

"I guess you just bring out the—"

One of my fingers suddenly becomes sentient and presses itself against his lips. It surprises both of us that it's not the middle finger. "Alright, enough talking. Go dance with people. Watch Banana Bread, I'm fine. I can stand!"

Channeling my inner toddler, I wave my arms to balance myself. I was sure I could stand; it's something I had been able to do for the last nineteen years. But no, instead, I fell when trying to demonstrate how well I could use my legs.

Luckily, Ace caught me by my waist as I stumbled.

Sober me would have never even been caught dead being held up by anyone, especially Ace. Drunk me was okay with it. His arms, warmth, and scent brought a sense of comfort in my semi-conscious mess. Numbness gets the last of my legs, and my arms wrap around him tighter.

The stubble on his face gently pricks my finger as I run my touch across it; the sensation fascinated me. Ace gently swoops me up and rests my head on his chest. The rhythmic beating of his heart brought me unannounced comfort.

"Alright Cupcake, let's go home."

~

The next thing I remember was the sensation of my bed. Ace places me down and tucks me in with the blankets. His hand lingers on the doorknob while his golden gaze lingers on me. Despite Ace's discerning ability to read my expression, I'm rarely ever able to read his. Tonight was no exception.

Fortified walls were set up all around him. Grey walls that, in spite of my best ability, I would never scale. I'm sure that whatever he's had to do under the guise of being an agent was the reason for these barriers.

But I too, was an agent now.

And I was determined to learn more about him.

"Tell me a story," I mumble. My request makes him freeze, and Ace cautiously takes a seat at the foot of my bed.

I nestle deep in my bed and look at him with anticipation. He moves so that he's sitting up beside me on the bed. One of his hands trails through my hair. Hesitance clings onto his every breath, gaze, and motion.

"What do you want to know?" Ace responds. The sound is overwhelmingly deep and soft.

"You sound like cotton candy... Tell me the story of why you became an agent."

A genuine smile forms on his lips. "Both of my parents met on the field. My mom was a field agent assigned to capture my dad, a con artist. She brought him in, in fact. Later he became an agent for her. I guess you can say our family trade is saving the world."

I tug at the jacket he's wearing. "They sound amazing. Can I meet them one day? They have a lot of explaining to do since they gave birth to you."

His eyes flicker from mine. "They died on duty. I feel like I'm continuing their work here."

My fingers intertwine with his. My head rests against him.

"I lost my dad too," I say. "He was a police officer from North Carolina. Died on duty. He used to always call me his nightingale."

"I'm so sorry," Ace utters.

My throat clears to move on to other conversation. I don't know how I let it slip out. Despite being inebriated, my father was my closest guarded secret.

"Why is your name Ace?"

"Like I said, my dad was a con artist... The first time my parents met, he tricked her through a card game. The card he tricked her with was the Ace of Hearts."

The smile on his face and twinkle in his eyes that surfaced whenever he talked about his parents was unparalleled to anything else. It's contagious, and I find myself smiling too.

"Is that why your on this team? Because your father was once a con artist? You're a CIA agent, yet you seem to be fine with crime."

"I suppose so. Even though you guys are criminals... I don't believe any of you are bad people. Maybe just the wrong place at the wrong time."

I let out an accidental yawn, interrupting his train of thought. "You should probably get some sleep," Ace says. I oblige, taking out my contact.

"Stay with me," I find myself whispering.

And he does.

Octavia: "Vote because just maybe, I don't hate Ace as much as I used to."

AN: This chapter, by far, is the sappiest ever, but it was so fun to write. I swear to god I'm going to make you fall in love with an imaginary character. Muahahaha

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