Chapter 24 | Daxten

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'Another,' I say to the bartender, sliding my glass towards him.

      I notice his stare. He's debating giving the drunk any more glasses of whisky. Two can play that game. I stare back. Harder. Stronger.

      After a moment, he pours. That's what I thought.

      'Thank you,' I say as I snatch the glass. I down the contents quicker than he poured it. I let out an audible sigh and roll my head back.

      It hurts my throat. Still, it doesn't hurt half as much as the rest of me. My bruised shoulder stings every time I move my right arm. My heart strangles me every time I think of my sister, every time I think of Brando.

      I ruined both of their lives. I can't wait for this damned flight to end.

      For a moment, I debate returning to my suite. I look around the bar as I swing on my stool. I grab the edge of the bar to keep me from falling.

      The room spins. It takes me a minute to see everything properly. Since the turbulence, a few of the first-class passengers decided to return to their suites. Nobody was allowed in until everything was cleaned up – broken glass, spilled drinks. Only a handful returned. Some of the people I don't recognize from before.

      The man – the horrible, homophobic, ignorant man – is one of the few to return to the bar.

      I've had this fight in my head for the past hour. I've wanted to walk over there and smash his face in for his narrow-minded attack on Brando and me. He chased Brando away and he's never coming back. He's never coming back to me.

      I don't even care that my eyes sting from the sudden tears that form there. I push them back. I'm sick of crying. I'm angry. I'm really fucking angry.

      A man in a smart waistcoat sits on a stool near me. 'Hey,' he says.

      Part of me wants to ignore him. My eyes take in his appearance. He's double my age, at least, his silver hair tied up in a petite ponytail. His face is smooth, either with good genes or plastic surgery. I can't tell which. He looks at me as he accepts a drink from the bartender and smiles.

      I decide to reply with a meek hello. There's no point in being rude, even if I want to ignore everyone. The back of his head is a little familiar. I think he was sitting alone before, back when Brando and I were having drinks. He probably witnessed my heartbreak.

      That makes me want to ignore him even more.

      'You seem like you're trying to drown your sorrows,' the man notes.

      'I wonder what makes you think that?' My speech is slightly slurred. I'm about to ask for another drink but I think better of it when I feel a belch lodge in my throat.

      He gives a small chuckle. 'I've been there. Believe me, I've been there.'

      I doubt that. Doesn't it just frustrate you when someone acts like they know you? I'm sick of people acting. Be honest. Don't give me a riddle when I don't even know you. You don't know me. I don't even know me.

      Ask me who I am, and I won't be able to give you a straight answer.

      'Are you telling me that you've danced with a boy in front of bigots and had that boy run away and never want to talk to you again?'

      I laugh at my own misfortune. I'm taken back when the man says yes.

      Now I look at him, truly look at him. I didn't notice his eyes before. He may be coated in luxury, wearing all the nicest things, showing off his expensive watch, but the real fortune lies in his eyes.

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