Friday, February 26, 2016


Alicia knew better than to try and reason with him.

The music was pumping. Beer flowing. And two-thirds of his paycheque was unspent.

From her perspective across the room and by the exit, Jason wasn't coming home any time soon.  She slipped her hood up over her head and stepped out into the rain.  The steady thump thump of club music gradually gave way to the relentless splash of rain against the pavement.  Within half a block, Alicia was soaked to the skin.

She let herself into her apartment and hung her coat up on the rack by the door. Water slid off it to drench the hall carpet.  No matter how often she talked to Jason about his drinking, her brother always blew off her concern.  He was young, gainfully employed and free to blow off steam.  He wasn't worried about losing his apartment or going hungry because he had parents and four other siblings. Never mind that most of them were married with families of their own, Jason was the baby. And everyone took care of the baby.

Alicia plugged in the kettle, took down her favourite mug and contemplated how to get through to Jason. He was an adult. It was time he took responsibility for his own actions.  It was time she let him sink or swim under his own power.  She was done looking out for him. Done feeding him, done housing him and done lying to everyone about how well he was doing with his life.

Alicia poured boiling water over the tea bag and set the timer. While the tea steeped, she walked into the bathroom and filled the tub. A splash of soothing lavender bath salts dissolved in the steaming water.  Once bath and tea were ready, she cranked the volume on her tablet, set the mug on the floor beside the tub and stepped in to the hot water.

Pure bliss.  Forget Jason. Forget his crappy attitude.  Forget it all.  She filled her lungs with the scented steam and closed her eyes.

A creak in the hallway caused a frown. She lived alone.

A crash followed by a giggle and Alicia knew exactly who was in the hallway.  "Katie?"

Her younger sister stuck her head in the bathroom doorway.  "Hey, Alicia.  You'll never believe who I ran into at Dev's."

"I have no idea."  She pulled the bubbles up her chest.  "Get out and let me get dressed."

"Hey, Alicia."  A green-eyed blond head joined Katie's in the doorway.  "Nice bubbles."

"Brad." Alicia hooked her foot over the tub's edge and used it to slam the door shut.  So much de-stressing after the bar. Nothing like your ex ogling you to increase your blood pressure and fill you with mortification.

She yanked the drain stopper loose, sloshed herself out of the tub and grabbed her dressing gown.  Wet hair plastered to the back of her neck so she scooped it up to secure with a clip.  A deep breath to fortify herself, along with the reminder that she dumped him, and Alicia was ready to face Brad and Katie.

There was no good reason she'd bring Alicia's ex over unless Katie was intent on giving Jason a run for his money as the family drunk.  Alcohol had clearly destroyed all her brain cells. The audio feed of Thanksgiving played on a loop as Alicia walked down the hall.

Would she ever forget the sound of squeaky bedsprings and impassioned moaning?  Her life was a freakin' cliche.  Not that it was bad enough to catch her fiance pumping away in her bed but to catch him alone was worse. Brad had one hand around himself and another crushed around a photo of Alicia's mother.