The party was winding down by dawn. Dusky light filtered through the curtains and illuminated the empty, two-story house, revealing beer cans and liquor bottles littered the kitchen, sheets were scattered in the master bedroom, the couch and end table had been overturned in the living room, and the next-door neighbor’s son, Sam, was asleep in the bathtub.
Guests had steadily begun to stumble home since midnight until only Elizabeth and I remained – although there were still five unclaimed vehicles on my front lawn: at the beginning of the evening, I’d confiscated every set of keys – albeit, willingly – and it appeared only half my guests had been able to, in their drunken stupor, locate the “well-hidden” basket of keys beside the door.
Elizabeth made her way to my side, tripping over her own feet twice and bumping into a chair, before bursting into a fit of giggles. Her usually primped and glossy hair was in disarray, loose strands tangled and sticking out at odd angles. Her thick, waxy lipstick was smudged, and pulled into a wide grin as she looked up at me. I was less than impressed when she asked for her car keys, her breath an undercurrent of vodka and lime.
“You’re not driving home,” I stated. I shifted my weight, moving to block her view of the car-key basket. Her expression hardened.
“I’m fine,” she insisted.