Home > Bayonet Scars #3 - Rev

Bayonet Scars #3 - Rev
Author: J.C. Emery


J.C. Emery - Bayonet Scars #3 - Rev

Rev (Bayonet Scars #3)
J.C. Emery

romance/new adult/erotica

 

THERE IS NO other place I’d rather not be than here right now. The four walls that surround me are covered in various posters for everything from the upcoming Strawberry Festival to the street sweeping schedule, and a scattered collection of educational posters geared toward kids. This room doubles as the library’s community room and the children’s wing. I spent hours in this room as a child. I’d find one of the bean bags in the reading nook and curl up with the latest Babysitter’s Club book. Back then, I had no idea they held meetings like this here.

Alcoholics Anonymous.

I move into the room slowly, trying to keep behind a couple that enters just before me. They’re practically crazy-glued to each other’s side. There’s the faint scent of tequila that emanates from one or both of them, I can’t tell. A man rushes past me and hops into one of the last empty seats that form a tight circle in the corner of the room. His short brown hair is a mess, like he’s been pulling at it all day, his shirt is haphazardly buttoned, and his tie has been yanked loose in an apparent frenzy. This is supposed to be a safe place, but nobody ever really feels safe here. Exposed, vulnerable, lacking… sure. But safe? No. At least I don’t.

A few chairs down from the disheveled man sits Mindy. Her strawberry blonde hair is up in a messy bun. She’s rocking black yoga pants, an exercise top, and sneakers, like she’s the poster child for inner peace or something. In reality, I’m pretty sure she thinks downward dog is some kind of sex position, but hey, she looks comfortable. She gives me a wave and pats the empty seat next to her.

Kindness, I remind myself. I need to work on being kind. It’s number ten of the twelve steps to recovery: admitting when you’re wrong. I may not have drank the Kool-Aid, but even I can see the value in taking personal inventory, and that’s part of the reason I showed up tonight. I’m not an alcoholic. According to my former therapist, I’m a martyr whose poor decisions are triggered by the unrealistic expectations I put on myself. We can call it whatever we want. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m being dragged to a meeting that I don’t need, nor do I want. But Mindy both needs and wants it, and if me being here can help her, I’ll do it. Even if I want to claw my own eyeballs out in the process.

The couple in front of me grabs chairs from a stack in the corner. The circle is basically full now as the couple wiggles in between other attendees. I squeeze through at the other end and sit down in the seat Mindy’s saved for me without meeting anyone’s eyes.

“Thank you for coming,” she says. I nod—keeping quiet is for the best. I wouldn’t even be here if not for her insistence. She used to be fun, but that led to her being too much fun. And the downfall was anything but. That’s how I’ve ended up here. All the therapy in the world hasn’t taught me how to say “no” to her. Meetings like this actually do me more harm than good, and my real problem isn’t booze, but family. Just being in this room confirms my absolute worst fear: that I’m a failure.

I couldn’t save Mindy; I couldn’t save myself. I couldn’t make my parents proud— I couldn’t even tell them the truth about why I’d failed them. It doesn’t matter that every person in this room is struggling with these feelings and their own demons. That’s the thing about insecurities. Nobody else’s problems can lessen your own.

The meeting gets underway like they always do. Nothing special happens. The speaker identifies herself as an alcoholic right off the bat, like they encourage all alcoholics to do. There is no shame here, they say. Mindy nods beside me, and her voice is reverent as she recites the Serenity Prayer. It’s all God grant me this, and God grant me that, like it was God who put the bottle to their lips.

“Do we have anyone here who is new to A.A.? Anyone who’s in their first 30 days of sobriety? We don’t want to embarrass anyone. We just want to get to know you, and we believe that a fundamental part of your recovery is taking that first step and admitting that you are powerless over alcohol,” the speaker says.

The man I followed in raises his hand, and the woman with him gives him an encouraging pat on his knee. He introduces himself as Joe. He, too, is an alcoholic. He explains that he had been sober for several months, but then he lost his job and it went all downhill from there. It always starts with one drink, which leads to another, and then another. That’s the difference between me and these people. My life falls apart, but it’s not because of alcohol. I can stop drinking when I need to, and I have. I just have an uncanny talent for bonding myself to the absolutely most needy and self-destructive people I can find.

During the sharing session, Mindy raises her hand. I was hoping she would keep to herself this meeting, but no such luck. She’s never gone to a meeting in town before, but if she’s nervous, it doesn’t show. The idea is that we’re all supposed to be anonymous, but this is a small town and Mindy’s dad is a cop. It’s a big deal for her to be here, which is why she asked me to come with. Hiding her past from our family isn’t conducive to her recovery. I don’t know if Uncle Harry has any suspicions, but after tonight he might get tipped off.

“My name is Melinda, and I am an alcoholic. I’m also an addict, but I like this group better,” she says with a guilty smile on her face. The group welcomes her with kind words. She clears her throat, takes a deep breath, and says, “I have been clean and sober for three years, four months, and nineteen days now. On a good day, it’s easier because I have so many successful clean days behind me. On a bad day, it’s no easier than it was on the day I went to jail. I’m in a good place now and I wanted to just say it out loud that I’m glad I have my best friend back home to support me.” She leans over and wraps me in a side hug. “Holly has always been there for me, and she’s a great friend.”

I try to smile at the room, but I’m afraid it comes out as a grimace.

“Would you like to introduce yourself, Holly?” the speaker asks. I shake my head, but Mindy elbows me in my side.

“My name is Holly, and I am not an alcoholic, but I have plenty of other issues.” The attendees wait for me to continue, and when I don’t, the room is dead silent.

“Welcome, Holly. We’re glad you could join us,” the speaker says. She moves on, talking about how an alcoholic’s support system is so important to their recovery. She praises me for helping Mindy in her journey and mentions step nine: making amends, because in order to be able to truly recover, one must make amends with those they have harmed.

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