The first thing Max saw when he woke up was the part of Liz's hair, directly in front of his nose. Max followed the curve of the long strands to where they slid out of view. He carefully, briefly, tightened his arms and his hands, just to check. Yes, he really did have an armful of Liz.
"Morning, Evans. You wanna let go of my ass?"
Max blinked, and with some effort, focused his eyes past Liz's head. Maybe eight or nine inches away from his face, just behind Liz, was Kyle Valenti.
"Your hand. My ass. Squeezing. Not cool."
It was at this moment and Max realized his was going to be sick. He disentangled himself as best he could and tumbled out of the bed. He tried to pick himself up, breathing deeply.
"Bathroom's this way," Kyle said, yanking on his arm.
Kyle managed to pull Max upright, and shoved him into the hall, then into the bathroom. Max, appropriately grateful, fell on his knees before the toilet and heaved.
Kyle sat down on the floor beside him, leaning on the cabinets. "You're a lousy drunk, you know that, Evans?"
"What the hell happened?" Max asked weakly, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand. He looked down at himself. Shirtless, but he was wearing his pants. That was something. He risked a glance at Kyle. Lots of naked chest. Max looked down. Legs encased in jeans. His fly was open. Max looked away.
"Well, I didn't want to be alone in my misery over Liz and her blind date," Kyle said, stretching, "so I hunted you up and got you to get drunk with me. And then you suggested that we go win her back."
Every other week? Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, alternate Saturdays?
Max shook his head. "Did we?" he asked. He pushed himself upright unsteadily, flushed the toilet, stepped over Kyle's legs to get to the sink.
"I'm not sure. I think she was kinda confused by the both of us thing," Kyle answered. "I was kinda confused about the both of us thing..."
Do you love him? Even a little?
Why, Max? What are you asking me?
Would he make you happy?
"You gay, Evans?"
Max looked down at Kyle. "What?"
"Well, I wondered. You said some funny things when you were drunk, about hiding your real self all the time," Kyle explained.
"Everybody hides their real self," Max said. He brought a handful of water to his mouth, swished, and spat.
"Then when we got Liz into bed, I was thinking it was gonna be all about Liz, but you--you--" Kyle shook a finger at him, laughing softly. "First you kissed me, which kind of threw me. Then you jerked me off, which, well."
Max glanced down at Kyle's open fly, brown plaid boxers visible. He looked away quickly.
But I know how to do this.
"Any of this coming back to you, Evans?" Kyle asked.
"I don't know." Max shook his head. "Where are we?"
"My house," Kyle answered.
Max looked at him in shock.
Kyle grinned, pulling himself up with a towel rack. "Don't worry, amigo. Dad's out of town. How do you think I thought I could get away with running off with the booze in the first place?"
"Liz. Liz, wake up." Max sat down on the bed beside her.
Liz stirred. She opened her eyes and smiled at Max softly--then pushed herself up quickly, eyes wide. "Kyle--we're at Kyle's--in Kyle's--"
"Yeah," Max agreed.
"Where is he?" Liz asked anxiously.
"Cooking breakfast." Max took Liz's hand. "About last night--"
"It was crazy," Liz said. "What were we thinking?"
"I--actually--I don't know." Max looked down. "I can't remember much of it."
"You--no. Don't do this to me," Liz said angrily. "God, Max, how much did you drink?"
"Not much," Max insisted. "It's got to be because I'm. You know." He glanced warily towards the door.
"And I suppose now you want to go back to 'It can never be, we're to different,'" Liz said. She was crying a little, and Max felt like shit. "And here's proof, right? You're so different you black out after having--what, one beer? Two? What's not much, Max? Tell me that!"
"A sip," Max said quietly. "I only remember taking one sip--I think it was whiskey."
"But it was enough," Liz spat, "that you weren't responsible for your actions, is that right?"
"That's not what I'm saying," Max said. He took both her hands and got off the bed to kneel on the floor. "I--whatever I did, I have to, to face the consequences--"
"The consequences!" Liz said, outraged. "Is that what I am to you, a consequence?"
"No! I'm saying this wrong." Max sighed. "What I mean is, I know I can't take it all back. I know that. All I was trying to say was--I can't remember. So I need you to tell me. So I can take responsibility."
Liz's expression softened. "So... did you mean it, when you said you loved me?"
Max swallowed. "Of course. Of course I love you."
"And Kyle? You love him too?"
"I what?" Max asked, blushing hard. He looked up at Liz--and she was grinning.
"I think he might let you off the hook."
"Except for the part where he thinks I'm gay," Max sighed.
"No, no... you're just a friendly drunk. You love the world." Liz lay back down and leaned over the edge of the bed to kiss his forehead.
"Liz--I meant what I said," Max said, hesitantly. "I want to accept responsibility for everything I did."
Liz drew back on folded elbows. "So do you? Love Kyle?" She raised her eyebrows and stared down at him, wide-eyed.
"Well, no," Max admitted. "Although he was being surprisingly nice to me last night." He cleared his throat. "From what I can remember." He glanced at Liz. She looked bemused. "And also, he's cooking breakfast for us."
"Yeah. That's real nice of him." Liz was still looking at him strangely.
"We should go eat," Max suggested, suddenly uncomfortable.
Liz frowned at him a moment, then said, "Yeah. Okay. I'm hungry. Let's go eat."
She rolled over and got off the bed, pulling her dress down. Max stood up, picking up his shirt from the floor and pulling it over his head.
Liz walked out of the bedroom.
"Dumb!" Max muttered to himself. "I am such an idiot." What the hell had he gotten himself into?