David by Michael Mann

July.

The morning light started to seep itself through the closed blinds, like an unwelcome visitor, reminding me of the end to the night. I looked around the unfamiliar room. The clothes in a heap on the floor, of which only half were mine. The hanging pictures of the unknown smiling groups of friends seemed all to be looking at me, but their smiles seemed like judging smirks. The naked man who was snoring next to me with his unwanted hand grazed across my bare chest.

I gently slid it off, as not to wake him and sat up, kicking my feet off the bed and firmly planted them on the bare wooden floor. I tried to get my bearings as I felt the oh too familiar headache of a hangover start to pound in my head like a children’s brass band playing the national anthem, and none of them were in key!

The nightstand beside me had the remains of the night; sticky crumpled tissues, empty latex wrappers and a small open bottle filled with liquid that smelled and lingered in the air, which wasn’t helping my headache. Hidden beneath the war zone of sex, was a small digital alarm clock.

5:30AM

I had to get home, and soon.

As I stood up to look for my underwear, I noticed the snoring suddenly stop and a dry croke of a voice said, “Leaving in the middle of the night?”

I didn’t stop as I was now looking for my other sock.

“It’s morning.” I said.

I heard him shuffle across the bed and heard the alarm clock slam back on the nightstand.

“It’s still the night.” He then sighed “Didn’t you enjoy yourself?”

I couldn’t deal with this amount of neediness, at this time of the morning. I had to go.

“I’ve got to go home.”

“I could make you breakfast.” His voice was suddenly behind me as I felt his breath on the back of my shoulder, and he was kissing up my neck. I quickly shrugged him off and moved to zip up my jeans.

I couldn’t look at him. I couldn’t even remember his name. I’m sure it began with a J… John? Jason?

“Do I at least get your number?”

Why couldn’t I find my shirt?

“Well?” His voice sounded annoyed. I turned to look at him, and his eyes looked like a sad puppy. It was then I found my shirt on the bedpost beside him. I reached out to take my shirt but Jasper (?) seemed to smile as I reached out for my hand. When I ignored him, his face suddenly went from a sad puppy to an angry bulldog.

I went to leave the room when he called out behind me. “Bye then!”

“Bye Joe.” I said.

“My name’s Jake!” I heard him call out, but I was already walking down the stairs and heading for the exit. Luckily for me, Jack had left his keys in the front door, so I was straight out of the house and looking at my phone’s GPS to figure out where the hell I was.

They say fresh air does you the world of good. These people have never experienced a hangover with a head full of poppers before. As my phone’s GPS found my location, it told me I was an hour away from my house. Twenty minutes by car journey with the current traffic. I fumbled for my wallet and prayed I had some cash on me for a taxi. Luckily for me, I found a £20 note slipped in the corner of the leather seam.
I quickly dialed a taxi and waited by the nearest bench as I let the morning breeze soothe my aching head. My phone vibrated with a text message and a small silver Volvo pulled up to the curb.

“You Dave?” A voice from inside the car said. I looked at the text and the taxi company had told me the driver had arrived and his name was Carl.

“You must be Carl.” I didn’t say anything else and climbed into the back of the car.

“108 Langdon Court…?” Carl started to speak but I quickly passed him the £20 note and asked for no talking and no radio.

He huffed but kept quiet for the fifteen-minute ride. Clearly, he was speeding, which I preferred.

As the streets around me started to become more familiar I noticed the street sign and asked Carl to stop here.

“But you aren’t near your door yet mate.” He said but I had already unbuckled my belt and reached for the door handle. “Alright dick head!” Carl shouted as he slammed on the emergency break.

The car had barely stopped when I was already out of it and slammed the car door.

“Keep the change.” I said as the small Volvo pulled away.

I was five minutes away from my house, and as I looked at my watch I was exactly on time. As I walked by the row of old Victorian houses, and the park with the fresh green trees I turned the corner and saw my front door.

6:15AM

I quietly opened the door and heard the dogs barking.

“It’s just me! You daft sods!”

“David?” Her voice echoed through the corridor from the lounge.

Susan came through the door, tying her dressing gown around her every growing bump. She was getting so big.

“How was your night shift?” She asked as she kissed my cheek.

“It was fine.” I said as I held her in my arms for a moment. I felt her yawn into my chest. “The baby keeping you up all night again?”
“He’s a night-owl, just like his father.” She said as she looked up into my eyes.

“I’m going to get a shower.” I kissed her forehead and started up the stairs towards the bathroom when Susan called after me.

“I’ll have breakfast on the table in twenty minutes for you.”

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