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Piece of a Piece #1 - That's Some Sexy Coffee

One of my bad habits is working on multiple projects at the same while struggling to finish any of them. "Piece of a Piece" is going to be a series of posts where I share pieces of short stories, novellas, and/or novels that I happen to be working on. A peek behind the curtain of my chaos, if you will.

Warning: Explicit Language


I don't remember the car ride to Megan's apartment. I don't remember her walking me up the stairs or sitting me on her couch. I don't remember her wrapping me in a blanket or any soft words she may have said while all of that was taking place.

I only remember the paralyzing, bone-breaking sobs from the night before.

My body aches like I've run a marathon. My throat is mangled and raw. My eyes feel like they've been glued shut, and my face feels swollen. Whatever pillow I'm lying on feels like it's caked in something sticky, and with a grimace I realize it's probably some very sexy nose-leakage.

"It lives," Megan says from somewhere nearby. Her tone is sarcastic but insulated, the way you might lower your voice when talking to someone with a massive hangover.

Incidentally, that's exactly how I feel.

I cough, mouth full of cotton, and get my hands underneath myself and push. I don't want to face Megan yet, so I rub the heels of my hands hard into my eyes.

Megan doesn't say anything else, but I feel her eyes on me and hear a casual sipping sound. I sniff and the deity-blessed scent of coffee wafts to my nose. I have to literally stop myself from moaning. I hear the sound of something sliding across a wood surface and peel my eyes open to see a mug of the sweet life-giving drug on the coffee table in front of me.

This time, the moan cannot be restrained. I wrap both hands around the mug reverently and pray to the porcelain receptacle that boldly declares: HERE'S A CUP OF CALM THE FUCK DOWN.

I drink as much of the coffee in one swig as the heat will allow.

"Jeezus, that's good coffee." My voice cracks.

"I know," Megan says. "I'd marry it if it were legal for people to marry brewed liquids. I wouldn't even miss the sex. Although, it's a modern blend, so I'm sure it wouldn't mind an open marriage. It might even suggest it. It's a very progressive roast. European. Totally organic."

I nearly commit the sacrilege of spitting up my coffee, but manage to hang onto it.

I drain the mug and finally turn to look at Megan. She's sitting in a tasteful, low-backed chair that matches the couch I slept on, one leg crossed over the other at the knees. She's watching me with a bemused expression, which I find I rather prefer over the caution and disgust I was expecting to see.

"You know," she says, "people should give you more credit."

I don't say anything, but I brace myself for whatever she has to say.

"I'm surprised you haven't punched more people in the face."

I don't know how to react to this. I stare at her with my mouth hanging open. Her smile turns into a grin, and I look back at my empty mug with my own cautious smile. My face and neck are warm with embarrassment, but also relief. Megan starts giggling in short, quiet bursts, and my body starts to shake with silent, restrained laughter. She snorts, covers her mouth, then doubles over and has to put her coffee mug down to sustain the full-body laughter that overtakes her.

I can't hold it in any longer, and I put both hands over my mouth and nose and start laughing out loud, a haggard wheezy noise as my lungs struggle to compensate. My stomach hurts, and my head pounds, and I laugh for so long that I wonder if I've finally gone manic.

Megan and I manage to wrestle some sense back into ourselves. We look at each other, both red in the face and breathing heavily. The energy in the room has changed; I don't feel so stupid anymore. Or like I'm trying to breathe underwater.

Megan knows what my life looks like now, and she took me home, poured caffeine into me, and tolerated my snot on her designer throw pillow.

She just takes a deep breath and sighs. She stands and walks around the back of the couch, smacking me in the shoulder on her way to the front door.

"Let's go get a fuckin' bagel."

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