Home | Prologue | Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter Five | Chapter Six | Chapter Seven | Chapter Eight | Chapter Nine | Chapter Ten | Chapter Eleven | Chapter Twelve | Chapter Thirteen | Chapter Fourteen | Chapter Fifteen | Chapter Sixteen | Chapter Seventeen | Chapter Eighteen | Chapter Nineteen | Chapter Twenty | Epilogue | Thanks
This Christmas


"Yo, lady, over here, 'k? I'm in serious need o' some more stuff..."

I rolled my eyes and walked over. After all, it's my job to be nice to the customers. Even if they're drunk. Even if they call me "lady" when they know my name. Even if I'm falling asleep because I had to stay up all last night wiping the counter down after some moron decided to try and dance on the bar...

"Look, dude, I think you've had enough..."

I swear, when I write an autobiography, that's what I'm going to call it. That way, people will be warned to leave the book on the shelf before they even get a glimpse of what my pathetic life is like.

"No...never enough...trust me, I could drown in this stuff and it wouldn't be enough..."

I looked up. I admit it, I'm a sucker. I should know by now that you've got to be hard to work in this business, but I don't. I care, and I listen. God knows why, of course, since you can hardly understand people when they're somewhere between drunk and delirious, but I really do feel obligated to listen. Besides, seeing a tattooed freak near tears is NOT a normal occurrence, even in the shithole that I work in.

"Hey, just slow down, okay? And why isn't it enough?"

He looked sad. Really sad. And, suddenly, I was getting drawn in.

"You drink when it hurts, right? You drink to make it stop hurting." He paused and looked at me with tear-filled eyes. "It ain't stopped yet, you know what I'm sayin'?"

I did. Not that I was about to admit it, but I did. "What hurts?"

He groaned. "My head, for one thing..."

Why do guys do that? One second, they've got your heart twirling between their fingers, and then they go and fuck up the moment. Makes you wonder exactly why you go after them at all...

I stood up a little straighter. "Exactly why I think you've had enough. Your head's going to be splitting in the morning..."

He waved an annoyed hand at me. "Yeah, yeah. Hangovers. So fuckin' what? It hurts less then, you know? Your head hurts more than your heart, so it don't matter."

Do not get involved, do not get involved...

"You know what? Instead of trying to steal bottles off the counter when I turn my back, why don't you tell me why your heart hurts?"

And, while you're at it, tell me why I listen to mine. I really wanna know. 'Cause I could avoid a WHOLE lot of trouble if I knew how to actually let my head do the thinking for once.

"Lotsa reasons..."

I leaned in, God help me. "We don't close for another hour and a half, buddy. I've got all the time in the world."

He actually half-smiled at me then. "You're sweet, y'know? Whatsh your name?"

I sighed. Yup, I was sinking. Totally sinking. And I knew I'd cry over this one at home too. "Taylor."

"Taylor?" He wrinkled his brow, then sighed. "Taylor. Taylor, do you know how to love?"

Well, let's get straight to the point, why don't we? Whatever happened to chivalry? I mean, geez, how's a girl supposed to get to the love part if a guy can't even make himself likable?

"I guess."

"Could you teach me? 'Cause, y'know, somewheres along the way I got totally fucked...and I forgot."

Well, golly gee, I think he sunk my battleship. Houston, we have a problem...

"I can't help you unless you talk to me, okay? And no more drinks."

He pouted. "Okays...but you gots to know my name first, doncha?"

"And what's your name?"


I never, in a million years, thought that I'd remember that name so fondly.