There were 2 versions of this section; this was the one my beta voted for. Let me know your thoughts if you'd like the one where something DID happen.
The friends went out to their favorite watering hole and between them they ordered eleven shots.Greg had one more than Josh did, but neither was in any condition to drive home at 1:30 am, when the bar closed.
“I got keys…somewhere,” Greg slurred.
“You ain’t driving outta here, Mac. Neither is your friend,” the bartender insisted as he called a cab for the drunken duo.
Fifteen minutes later, the cab pulled up to Josh and Kim’s house. Josh took Greg’s hand and pulled him out of the cab.
“Thanks,” he said to the driver.
“No problem, buddy. Fare’s $30.”
Josh swiped his credit card in the machine while Greg waited for him on the front porch steps.
The whole outdoors seemed to spin for the man and he held his head in his hands.
Josh walked back over and hoisted him up on his feet. “Come on, off to bed for you and me.”
Greg laughed. “Don’t you dare drop me!” he blurted out.
Josh shushed him. “Hey! My kids are sleeping, keep it down drunken boy.” he admonished his friend.
They stumbled indoors and Josh deposited Greg on the recliner before diving onto the sofa. They both fell asleep instantly.
At about three am, Josh heard Kim whisper in his ear. “Honey? Greg fell on the floor, and it woke me up. I need your help to pick him up.”
The man’s brown eyes opened; he blinked at his wife. Looking toward Greg, he saw his friend—contorted on the floor in a very unnatural pose but still out cold. He shook his head, and tried to focus. “Uh, yeah. Come on; let’s put him in the spare bedroom.”
Josh carefully picked up Greg from the floor by his armpits while Kim took his ankles. They dragged him to the guest room which was fortunately right off the living room. Gingerly, they laid him down.Josh pulled off his shoes, sweater, and jeans, for a more comfortable slumber, leaving only his socks and underwear.
Josh felt his own clothing tighten. He wondered if it was Kim or Greg’s presence that caused it. He considered his wife of fifteen years. She’d always been a beauty, diminutive at 5’1” compared to her husband’s 6’3” chassis. Her once waist-length blond locks had been shortened to her shoulders for practicality. Her blue eyes were still as gorgeous as ever though, pale with a smattering of green. Also in the medical field, Kim was an RN. They’d met at the same hospital where he and Greg had met all those years ago.
Josh looked down at his slumbering friend; the man didn’t stir at all. Josh and Kim tucked the covers in around him and made sure he at least looked comfortable. Being the practical type, Kim had retrieved a towel and a trash can for him, in case he should vomit.
”Good idea. I might need one of those myself,” Josh commented.
Kim gave him a look. “Hmm, maybe you ought to stay out here too, then. I know you hate getting sick in our room.”
Josh nodded. “Very true. Besides, I don’t want to leave him. He’s in such a bad state.”
“I understand that. You’re such a dear friend to him, honey.” She hiked herself up on the balls of her feet and beckoned to his lips.
He kissed her lightly but felt nothing. Very odd!
Kim pulled away and wiped the kiss away with her hand. “Blea!Holy crap! How much did you guys drink?”
“Way more than we should’ve.”
“Well, get to bed and sleep it off. You two drinking buddies’ll know better next time.”
Josh hugged her quickly. “Yes, dear.”
She swatted his behind and winked at him. “You sleep this off, Joshua Adams. Go take care of your bud. I’ll be right back with that basin.”
“Will do.” He smiled at her and lay down on the sofa again.
A moment later, Kim returned with a basin and towel for her husband. “Hope you don’t need to use it.”
He looked at it and grimaced. “Me too. Good night.”
“Night.” She walked down the hallway and out of sight. Josh heard the door shut.
Josh gathered up two more blankets from the linen closet, deciding to sleep on the sofa. A half-hour later, he awoke, thinking of his friend who was housed a mere fifteen feet away. He stood up, clothed in only his low-rise green and orange striped cotton briefs, and wandered into the spare bedroom. He lingered in the doorway for a moment and observed his best friend.
Greg was on his side, facing the doorway. His eyes opened when he saw Josh heading his way. He looked at his friend and outstretched his hand toward him.
“Josh? That you?”
”Yeah, it’s me. You alright? Need anything?”
Greg shook his head. “No, just woke up in a strange place, kinda disconcerting.”
Josh laughed. “You’re at our place. You and I got way too drunk, need to sleep this off.”
“Mind if I sit with you?”
“That’s fine. You feel alright?”
“Eh, as well as can be expected I guess. You warm enough?”
Greg rubbed his arms. “A little chilled. Aren’t you freezing in just your drawers?”
Josh stood up and got another blanket. “I’m fine. Alcohol makes me warm.” He laid the cover over his friend and tucked it around him. “There. Better?”
“Yes, thanks, mom. What’s with the sudden mothering?”
“Comes with the whole parenting thing.I guess I’ve gotten a tad maternal. Especially with my daughter.”
Greg nodded. “She’s such a lovely little girl. Has Kim’s eyes.”
“Love them both to death.”Josh sat down at the foot of the bed. “Warm enough now?”
”Yeah, I’m good. You heading back to the sofa?”
“Uhhh…yeah. Really don’t want to puke in the bedroom. We brought you a little basin in case you get sick. It’s right here on the floor.”
“Ah. Thanks. Well…good night.” He turned on his side and fell asleep quickly.
Josh sat quietly and watched his friend sleep. Even though Greg was turned away, Josh could still see the lovely brown eyes in his mind. The hair, the body…dammit. Why did that keep cropping up in his mind?
“Love you,” he whispered.He stood up softly and walked back out to the sofa.
At 11 a.m., Greg awoke first. He stumbled out into the living room, holding his stomach. “Uhhh… Josh? You out here?”
“Yeah, I’m here.” He looked up at his friend.“You don’t look so good.”
“Could you stop the room from spinning for me? I almost put my face in that basin, luckily it was still empty.”
“Sit down before you puke all over me.”
Greg took a seat in the adjacent chair. “I didn’t think we drank that much, but it was hard to stop once we got going.”
Josh sat up and tossed the blanket aside. “That’s for sure. Oof…my head.” He rubbed his temples.
Kim came around the corner. “Well, aren’t you two a sight? The kids giggled their way past you this morning on the way to school. That was fun to explain.”
“What did you tell them?”
“That their father and his best friend went out and had too much to drink. I wanted to stress, to Ben especially, the dangers of drinking.”
Josh nodded. “What did he say?”
“He just looked at you and shook his head. Wondered what you were thinking.”
Greg rubbed his arms. “It started out as a celebration, but it went too far. I need to get back home.”
”I’m sure you two have sour stomachs. You want some tea to settle them?”
Both men nodded. “Yes, please.”
She walked off to the kitchen.
Greg groaned as he forced himself from the chair and back to the spare bedroom. He found his pile of clothes and dressed.As he pulled on each article, he thought of his wife, Amber, and his two kids. His mind spun back to when he first met Amber. She had jet black hair, and she was very fit and muscular. She wanted to be a photographer; she still dabbled in it, but she’d given it up to be a doctor’s wife. He wanted to give her and the kids everything.
Josh knocked quietly on the door. “Greg? You alright?”
“Yeah, come on in.”
Josh was still clad only in his underwear as he sat down on the edge of the bed closest to his friend.
“Hey, how you feeling?” Josh asked.
“Horrible. How many drinks did I have?”
“I stopped counting at four shots. It was only midnight. I don’t even know what time we got in.”
“Do I look okay?”
Josh shook his head. “To be honest, you look like hell, man. Your eyes are bloodshot. I’ve got a terrible headache. I brought you some aspirin.”
Kim knocked on the door and carried in a tea pot and two cups. “Something for your stomachs, gentlemen. I hope you guys recover.”
The phone rang and Kim ran to get it. Both men held their heads to stop the pounding.
“Greg! It’s Amber!” Kim called back.
Greg picked up the phone beside him in the bedroom. “I got it. Hi, honey.”
“How ya feeling?”
“I have a five alarm hangover and just generally feel rotten. Kim was good enough to make us some tea.”
“Why did you drink so much?”
“I have no idea. It didn’t start out that way for sure.”
“When will you be home?”
Greg glanced up at his friend. “Uh, as soon as we get his car.”
“Is he there?”
“Yeah, hang on.” He handed the phone to his friend.
“Hey, Amber,” Josh said quietly.
“Hey, next time hold back on the fire water? You two are physicians and ought to know the perils of alcohol.”
Josh chortled. “Yes, mother.”
“Well, at least he was with you. I knew he’d be looked after. Bring him home safe.”
“I will. Bye, Amber.”
“Bye.” He hung up the phone.
Both men took a few sips of tea. Kim walked in again, carrying Josh's robe and handing it over to him.Josh noticed she was studying them rather acutely before she asked, “How’s the tea?"
“Good.Thank you, Kim.”
“Thanks.” Josh smiled at his wife as he took the robe and looked back at his friend. “I think we need to just relax and sober up.”
Things were fairly silent between the two as they sipped their tea and sobered up. A half-hour later, after testing to see if a light meal would stay down, Josh and Greg left to retrieve the car.
“We didn’t get a chance to talk too much last night or today. Are things alright at home?”
“Yeah, why wouldn’t they be?”
“I dunno. I just got this weird vibe off of Kim. You two seemed to have some tension there. Something happen?”
Josh cleared his throat. “No. We’re good. Really.”
Greg gave him a sideways glance. “Come on now, don’t hide anything from me. Best friend, remember?”
“I know. Trust me, I know. I’ll tell you everything once I know what the hell is going on inside my own head. Alright?”
“Fine with me. I’ll be around if you want to talk.”
“Thanks, bud. Let me get my head together.”
Greg socked Josh lightly in the arm. “Later.” He exited the vehicle and waved goodbye.
Greg hugged his wife hello and kissed her.
“Hey, sexy.You feeling better? How much did you drink?”
He moaned as he brushed a hand over his stomach. “More than I ever want to again.”
She shook her head. “So this toast to a dying patient turned into a binge?”
Greg bowed his head a bit. “Yes.”
Amber shook a finger at him. “What’m I gonna do with you?”
He wrapped his arms around her. “Let’s see what we can go figure out.”
She laughed at him and shook her head. “Incorrigible. That’s what you are, mister.”