Note: This chapter might be triggering.
It was nearing eight o'clock and both Yvette and I were, for all intents and purposes, dead. You wouldn't have been able to differentiate us from a zombie. My hands were cramped, my stomach was trying to eat its way out of my body, and my brain couldn't tell orange from blue. At least I had finished two and a half of four pieces. Yvette had just finished her second.
"Je me faut une bière fort," Yvette mumbled, collapsing face first onto the couch. I was lying on the floor, an arm tossed over my eyes.
"English, Evie," I managed to mutter.
"Nique ta mère et ton anglais," was her response.
"I don't even know what that means," I groaned, rolling over and looking up past my lashes at her. She turned her head to face me but kept her eyes closed.
"First. I need a strong beer. Second. Fuck your mom and your English," she translated.
I wrinkled my nose, "Gross. I'm not Oedipus."
"Whatever. I'm dead."
"We can do something about the first thing though. There's a bar nearby isn't there?"
Yvette didn't reply for a moment and I thought she had passed out until she rolled off the couch and got to her feet. "Allons-y, mon chou."
I got to my feet and we both quickly cleaned up as best we could before heading out. I still had paint here and there, and strands of Yvette's blond hair was crusted with grey clay. We entered the first bar we saw, one that neither of us would usually go to. It catered to those college frat boys that were the root of college related horror stories. It was loud and cluttered and you'd have had to be desperate for cash to work there.
When I saw a group of boys leering at Yvette while placing bills at the center of their table, I put an arm around her waist and pulled her next to me, muttering under my breath near her ear, "I know you can take care of yourself, but for my own sanity, please stay near me."
She ignored the obvious glances that were giving even me a disgusted chills and pecked my cheek, "It really is too bad that you're gay."
I rolled my eyes, "Even if I were even remotely interested in a woman, you're into vaginas."
We went over to the bar, Yvette grabbing the only free seat by the end and me standing beside her like a wall against the rest of the bar. We ordered our drinks and sipped then as we complained about Xiao's dictator persona and chatted about finally being able to teach again. Yvette had her eye on a woman in her adults' classes on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and missed the "curvy, adorable, cocoa-skinned, walking wet dream that swore in Spanish" – her words not mine – immensely. I, on the other hand, missed my kids. They were always energetic and a joy to teach.
"We probably should have just dropped by a convenience store to get our liquor," I commented as I leaned back against the counter and scanned the badly lit establishment. My eyes were soon drawn to a table near the bathrooms. Under the shoddy lighting, I could see that there were three men, two of whom were laughing boisterously, their grins drunken and malicious. One of them was holding up the third man who looked as if the only thing keeping him from crumpling to the floor was the other two's arms. I highly doubted he was even conscious.
I watched as the two talked to one another, leering at the one in their hands before dragging him towards the bathroom.
There was something incredibly wrong about the scene.
"Yvette," I started but she seemed to have been watching the three men as well.
"You go, I'll get whoever's in charge," she said. I set my glass down and quickly made my way to the men's washroom. Upon entering, my visions flashed red.
"What the hell are you doing?" I demanded, rushing in and pushing the taller of the conscious two to the side. His belt was undone and his pants were already unzipped. The other man was wrestling with the barely conscious man's clothes. His pants were already pushed down to his knees and he was being manhandled onto his front.
"Ey, man, you can have a turn too," the guy with his pants still on replied, seeming to completely misunderstand or not even register my anger. "The guy's a fucking fag. They're always askin' for it," he finished with a drunken slur as he turned their victim over, letting his face look to the side. Now that I had better lighting, my eyes widened in shock as I recognized the wasted brunet on the floor.
"Really?" I replied, trying to tone down my growing rage as I stepped towards Dan.
"Yeah," the first one sneered. "We're just giving him what he wants, right, James? That's all these sickos want. A big, fat cock up their ass."
My jaw was clenched so hard it was a miracle my teeth hadn't shattered from the pressure. I knelt down and turned Dan's head so he was looking at me with glazed over eyes. There, but not there.
"He drunk?" I questioned.
James nodded, "Yeah. He was wasted, moaning about how his boyfriend wouldn't love him or some shit. Sean and I just helped him to a few more drinks. We'd have roofied him but he's drunk enough."
I nodded and in a flash, my fist connected to the scumbag's face.
"What the fuck?" Sean exclaimed in surprise as his partner clutched his nose in pain, red liquid dripping onto the grungy off-white floors. I wasted no time in grabbing the James by the shirt and delivering several more punches to his body before throwing him into the sinks. He slid to the floor, eyes rolling up as his head hit the counter.
No longer stunned, Sean charged, swinging his fist at me. I tried dodging but he managed to cuff my chin, throwing me to the side.
He jumped on me and we went crashing to the floor, my back slamming into the linoleum with a resounding thud, the force pushing all the air out of my lungs. In my daze, he swung at me again. My eye was sure to be a wonderful shade of black and blue the next day. We grappled, twisting on the floor to get leverage over the other. But I was an art junkie, not a gym one. I had no chance of winning, so it was a good thing that that wasn't my goal. All I had to do was hold out until Yvette brought help.
After one well aimed smack to my face, I nearly passed out from relief when the bathroom doors opened and a burly man ripped Dan's attacker off of me. Yvette came rushing in immediately, gasping at the sight of my probably grotesque looking face. She turned around and, in true Yvette fashion, slapped Sean before ramming her knee straight up into his groin. The man she had brought along grimaced with me.
Yvette came back to me, a flurry of French phrases leaving her lips.
"Evie," I interrupted, sitting up, "I can't understand a word you're saying and my face really hurts."
"Hey, I'm Mark, you okay? I'm really sorry about this, I've got someone calling the cops right now," the burly man, Mark, said, holding Sean against the wall.
I got to my feet just as a low groan echoed from behind me.
"Oh, shit," I cursed myself for forgetting the very reason I felt like a punching bag. Turning around, I rushed to Dan, gently moving him so he was on his back. "Hey, hey, can you hear me? Dan?" shaking his shoulder
Blearily, his eyes opened but the brown orbs were still glassy. He made a muffled sound before his skin took a greenish tint and I hurriedly helped him sit up and turn to the side so he could empty his stomach.
I held him, rubbing his back as he retched and heaved. When he was done, he fell limp and I barely managed to stop him from falling face first into his vomit, instead pulling him against my chest so I could tug his pants back up.
"Is he going to be okay?" Yvette asked, calm enough to have reverted to English, however heavily accented.
"I think so," I said, adjusting Dan in my grip and getting to my feet. He was heavy, or rather, I was really weak, so it took a bit of effort to get one of his limp arms around my shoulder with I held him tightly around the waist. I nodded to James, "Might wanna keep an eye on him. He hit his head but…"
"Will do," Mark replied, sirens grew in volume outside while the bar hushed down to whispers. Sean's struggling began anew even as he grimaced in pain from Yvette's blow. He started cursing at us, and if I didn't have Dan in my arms to be worried about, my fists would have made a reappearance to rekindle their friendship with Sean's skin.
"Let's get out of here," I said, nodding my thanks to Mark and waiting for Yvette to get the door for me since I had an armful of passed out Dan.
We ran into an officer almost immediately but my insistence on getting Dan somewhere to rest led me to giving her my number so she could get our statements when Dan was better. She offered us a ride with one of her coworkers to which Yvette and I were grateful for. We went to my place and Yvette helped me get Dan to my bed. He had stirred a couple times during the drive and ride up the elevator but once I had him settled under the covers, he was sleeping like a baby.
Yvette and I left my room, closing the door behind us quietly.
"What a night," she sighed, leaning against the wall.
I put my weight on my bedroom door and nodded in agreement, "You want me to call a cab for you or are you staying the night?"
"I'll go home. Besides, if I stay, where the hell are you going to sleep? You've only got a couch available."
I shrugged, "Not like I haven't slept on the floor before."
Yvette rolled her eyes, "Bonne nuit, Lesley, and put some ice on your face. I'll see you tomorrow."
I nodded and walked her to the door, giving her a kiss on the cheek and getting two in return before she left. I locked the door and went to go check on Dan one last time before I hit the hay. Peeking my head into my room with only the moon and hallway lights to aid my vision, I could see Dan's outline on my bed. He was curled up on his side, snoring lightly. I stood there long enough to feel mildly creepy before I finally shut the door and settled on my living room couch for the night. My bruising could wait to be taken care of for when I woke up.