"You two look like shit." Jarrod plops down on the couch next to Ari. "Busy night?"
"Busy drinking." Quincy grimaces.
"Worst.idea.ever." Ari mutters. "I'm never drinking again."
Ari and Quincy nod placatingly.
"Not good enough." Noemi says, placing her hand over her heart and waiting for them to follow suit. Ari narrows her eyes at Jarrod when he snickers at the scene. "Now repeat after me. I, say your name, will not release the contents of my stomach in front of Weston."
Ari and Quincy repeat her words with matching grimaces. "Good." Noemi smiles. "Now we can go."
Weston leads them to his upstairs office and leans back against his desk with a serious expression as Noemi introduces everyone. Ari doesn't like the way he practically stares into your soul while he supposedly "commits your name to memory," but he seems nice enough and doesn't linger long with idle conversation. Thank the Maker. "So... when would you like to start?"
"Tonight?" Noemi offers.
Both were obviously worried in their own ways and Ari appreciated that they cared enough to be concerned, but she also hated it. Really hated it.
Especially when they stared at her, full of pity, like Jarrod is now.
"How are you holding up?"
"I'm fine." Ari stirs her drink absentmindedly trying not to appear as downtrodden as she feels.
"You are fine." Jarrod quips, eyebrows waggling suggestively. "But you're also a liar."
"All right, all right." He puts his hands up defensively, his sly smile telling her that he's about to try to persuade her into doing something stupid. "I just don't see the point of stewing here all alone."
"The point is to get thoroughly sloshed, enjoy a few cigarettes, and pretend that I'm still not one of those pathetic girls that pines after some guy."
Ari narrows her eyes. "If you say meaningless sex.."
"Meaningless sex." He answers at the same time. Ari rolls her eyes. "Anytime I'm feeling down, I find someone to feel up. If you know what I mean."
"Ew. And no." Ari makes a move to leave the bench, and this conversation.
"Okay. Okay. No sex." Jarrod laughs. "But at least get out there. Get a few numbers. Flirt. It may be just the thing you need right now."
Ari sits back down with a pout. "Why are you so hellbent on this?"
"I don't like watching my friends suffer."
"Or you just really want someone to hit the bars with you."
"That too." Jarrod smiles. "Come on. Please. It'll be fun. I promise."
It may be the drinks she's consumed, but Jarrod's idea is sounding better by the minute. And he seems genuine in wanting to help. "Hmph." She sighs. "Fine."
The guys that Ari attempts to flirt with aren't her type, as Jarrod tactfully points out, but she isn't looking to do anything more than score a few free drinks and keep her mind off Quincy.
"Why did you really take me out tonight?" Ari asks in a feeble attempt to distract her own thoughts. "You could have picked up any of those girls tonight and brought them home. Don't think I didn't see you turn away that redhead at the last bar."
"I was your wing-man tonight and since you weren't in the mind to bring anyone home, then neither was I. Besides, she wasn't my type."
Jarrod shrugs as he joins her on the couch. "In truth, Noemi was worried about you and wanted me to keep an eye on you while she's out of town."
"Sounds like her. So this was just a favor then?" Ari thought that she and Jarrod were friends, but if he was only hanging out with her because someone asked him too...
"No." He interrupts. "Well yes. But I wanted to do it. You're, uh, someone I like to be around."
"I am?" She asks quietly. She likes the way his hand feels on her back as he slowly traces circles with his thumb, and the way he smiles with surprise when she leans in to his touch. She shouldn't be doing this, they shouldn't be doing this.
"Uh..." Jarrod mutters, not even sparing a glance at the side of the bed that Ari is occupying, "... we fucked up, didn't we?"
Ari nods mutely, bunching the sheets around her tightly. "I'm going to go to my room now." She gets up to dress quickly. "This never happened, Jarrod. Not a peep to anyone."
"What never happened?" Jarrod leans back on his pillow with a light laugh when Ari frowns. "It's already forgotten." Ari doesn't respond. All Jarrod hears is the door of his room click shut.
Sleep is always better than thinking about a mistake.
I had an editing mishap this go around and decided not to fix it. And by "not fixing it," I mean I was far too lazy to re-edit everything - so overly contrasted pictures it is! : /
Quincy, Jarrod, Noemi, and her yet-to-be-revealed husband Gunther are all available at the RL Sims Blog.