thanks to @jakelovesamy for spending basically her entire day alternating between providing ideas and being a generally reassuring person. thanks to anonymous, who sent in the prompt below. and thanks to kokomo, for providing a passable title.
75. “I’m going for a swim. Do you wanna join me?”
The 2018 Detectives-Only Getaway takes place in an icy New York February. It begins with the hot tub and one of Charles’ less adventurous meals, but by late afternoon on the first day, the inhabitants of the house have moved into the basement and uncorked several bottles of wine. From the outside, it would be easy to assume that the beach house is deserted, its owners waiting for warmer months to use it. All of the lights are off, the curtains are drawn, and everything seems still and quiet. There’s no reason to believe that anyone would be spending a weekend at a beach this far north in the winter. And yet, invisible from the outside, dim lamps are flickering in the basement where six adults are crowded in a circle, voices rising as their third game of Never Have I Ever comes to a close.
Amy stares across the coffee table at Jake from her position on the floor with a ferocity that unnerves her friends. Charles is slowly scootching away from his best friend, distancing himself from the subject of Amy’s scrutiny, and even Gina has inched away from Amy, trying to pretend that the lasers shooting out of her friend’s eyes aren’t the most terrifying thing she’s seen this week. Amy holds four fingers on her right hand in the air defiantly, almost as though she’s daring someone to force them down. Only Jake, sitting across from her with heavy-lidded eyes and an absent-minded grin, seems unfazed by her glare. He holds his one remaining finger casually in the air as he takes a few large gulps from the bottle of beer he’s grasping loosely in his free hand.
“Jake! You can’t just drink whenever you want! We’re playing a game!” Amy is scandalized, shifting her weight as though she’s getting ready to leap over the table and knock his beer out of his hand, like she did during the first round.
“Come on, Santiago, lighten up. Drinking is fun,” Rosa contributes from her position in the corner, where she’s curled up and hugging a bottle of vodka. She lost their third game nearly half an hour ago, and since then she’s been heckling from the sidelines and drinking vodka like it’s water. Amy had tried to cut her off an hour ago, when she first started to slur, but Rosa had pulled out a pocket knife and chugged her drink defiantly, so Amy decided to leave her be.
“Yeah, Amy!” Jake sounds less like a boyfriend and more like a whiny teenager, but everyone’s too far gone to tease him for it. “Anyway, it’s your turn! Just go so I can drink already!”
Amy nods, pausing for a few seconds to think. She chews her bottom lip and furrows her brow - three rounds into Never Have I Ever and even she’s running out of new activities to trap people with. To stall for time, she takes another sip of her beer, pretending she doesn’t hear Rosa and Jake protesting about fairness and equal enforcement across from her.
And then, in a burst of inspiration, she has it.
“Never have I ever kissed Amy Santiago.”
The room is silent for a moment, while everyone takes a second to think through the sentence. And then, with resignation, Jake lowers his final finger, and chaos erupts.
Amy jumps off the floor so hard she almost knocks the coffee table over - Terry, whom she’d assumed to be asleep, catches it with one hand, eyes still closed. And then Gina and Rosa are pointing at her, shouting incoherently about legality. Charles is trying to provide comfort for a remarkably untroubled Jake, who’s busy chugging the rest of his beer, laughter etched in every line of his face.
Amy is ignoring all of them, doing her best victory jig around the room. She manages to find a clear space, which is a relief because she can only seem to control two of her limbs at a time, and she definitely kicked Charles’ shin on her way out of their tight circle.
“Undefeated champion!” she shout-sings. “Beat that! Three rounds in a row!”
Gina, who’s now stretched out into Amy’s vacated spot, replies lazily, “You know that means you’ve done nothing, right? Never been to a sewer rave? Never stabbed anybody? Never performed in an interpretive dance competition?”
“I mean, we all knew you were a nerd. The real tragedy is how little you got to drink, Santiago,” Rosa slurs.
In response, Amy throws her head back and chugs the rest of her beer without a breath. Then, on impulse, she slams the bottle to the floor with a flourish.
What she intends to be celebratory and badass quickly turns into a mess. The bottle shatters, and she discovers that it was much less empty than she thought when beer splatters across her toes. Charles shrieks, concerned for the carpet beneath them, prompting Terry, who’s been jarred fully awake by the commotion around him, to clap his hand over the smaller man’s mouth. Rosa and Gina, meanwhile, are shrieking with laughter on the floor. All of a sudden, Amy sees the hilarity in her position, one leg extended sideways, caught mid-dance, and her foggy mind decides that lying down and laughing sounds like an appealing course of action.