More than Exist(8)

By: Bethany Lopez

I followed her into the hotel and to the elevator.

“Do you have anyone special in your life?” I asked, wondering if that’s what kept her here. I was having a hard time understanding why she would stay and work where she does.

“Not a steady guy or anything,” she responded with a shrug. “I’ve steered clear of any real relationships since Bo. He pretty much broke my heart and left me here to fend for myself.”

Ginger looked utterly bereft for a moment, and I was about to move in and pull her in for a hug, then her face cleared and she shook her head.

“I don’t want to go there right now, you’ve had enough drama tonight. Let’s just talk of happy things, throw back some delicious strawberry lime margaritas, and let our sexiness drive everyone crazy.” The light wasn’t fully back in her eyes, but she was looking at me like she really hoped I’d let the topic go, so I did.

“Sounds like a plan,” I replied with a smile, putting my arm around her shoulders as we exited the elevator. “A margarita would be perfect.” With two shots of tequila.

After two margaritas, the lights seemed brighter and the music louder. Ginger and I were sitting at the bar, laughing as she told me about the night she’d caught Big Mike getting a blow job in the back room by one of the waitresses who wanted to move from the floor to the stage.

“I’m so sorry,” I said when I was able to catch my breath. “I wish you could wipe that from your memory.”

Ginger grimaced. “Unfortunately, nothing is getting that vision out. Not even bleach. Believe me, I tried.”

We started giggling again and Ginger put her hand over mine on the bar.

“This is the most fun I’ve had in ages,” she said, her smile a little wobbly. Or maybe that was my vision. “I don’t want to sound like a horrible person, but I’m glad your purse got snatched.”

“Me too,” I replied, surprised to realize that it was true. I hadn’t felt this alive in months.

I motioned for the bartender to serve us another round, when a light bulb went off in my head.

“Oh!” I yelled, startled both myself and Ginger.


“I could totally drive you to Dallas,” I screeched, bouncing as much as was possible on a barstool. “We could have a road trip, and I could drop you off at your mom’s.”

Ginger squealed, “Really? That would be so much fun, and a lot better than the stinky old bus. Are you sure? Isn’t that pretty far out of your way?”

“Nah,” I fibbed. “I’ll just go down to Dallas, and then back up to Louisiana. It’ll be worth it, not to have to drive part of the way alone.”

We both took big drinks out of our fresh margaritas, and I felt the room begin to tilt. I put my hand on the bar to steady myself before turning my attention back to Ginger.

“What do you say?” I asked when she came into focus.

“Yes,” she answered happily. “I’m in.”

“To road trips,” I said, raising my glass in a toast.

“To Belle and Ginger’s Journey of Fun,” Ginger said excitedly.

“Belle and Ginger’s Voyage of Laughter,” I replied.

“Belle and Ginger’s Expedition of…” Ginger looked confused for a moment, then giggled. “I can’t think of anything else.”

As I laughed along with my newfound friend, I had high hopes that my solitary trip would now include a little bit of excitement.

Chapter 5

Every morning I woke up and told myself that I wouldn’t drink that day. Having a headache, and occasionally nausea, just wasn’t worth it. And if I was hungover enough to actually throw up, then I’d swear that I was done. Yet somehow, by the time the afternoon rolled around, I’d start telling myself why it was okay for me to drink again, and then the cravings would kick in. Almost like niggling feelings that made me yearn for that first drink.

This morning was no different.

I moaned as bright sunlight hit the back of my eyelids, and I cursed myself for not having the foresight to close the thick curtains before stumbling into my bed and passing out last night.

The sound of delicate snoring had me opening one eye carefully, and I searched my memory for the events of last night when I saw the petite redhead sprawled out in the king-sized bed next to me.

Oh, right … Ginger.

I groaned as I pulled the covers back and slid out. I shuffled to the bathroom, wincing with each jarring movement, and closed the door as quietly behind me as I could. I leaned against it for a minute, allowing my eyes to adjust to the dark room, which was only illuminated by a small light in the corner.

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