I went out one night after A-levels with Dakin, Lockwood, Crowther and Timms. It was not a usual state of affairs, but Dakin had invited me, and I didn’t have anything better to do, so I went.
We went to a little dingy pub over by the university, somewhere where no one would look too closely at us, and where we might, I presume was the logic, find some pretty girls who might be willing to dance, snog, and more. I wasn’t interested in that, but not being investigated seemed reasonable.
The place smelt of smoke, alcohol and sweat. Furthermore, the place was dimly lit, hiding the filth I knew was present. I instantly knew I should have stayed home, but then Lockwood offered me a drink, and I knew there was no way out.
I took the beer, and downed it rather faster than I normally would, hoping that the alcohol would at least dim the sense that I was hopelessly out of place. It didn’t.
We sat down loosely around a table, and the others pulled out their smokes. Crowther offered me one, but I turned it down. Immediately I was up for ridicule as a goody-goody and everything else besides. Though I pointed out that it had no relation to my beliefs, I was mocked for them too.
Soon enough there were girls at our table. Lockwood’s girlfriend arrived with a friend, and soon he, Crowther, Timms, and their assorted ‘friends’ were off elsewhere, leaving only Dakin and I at the table.
“Posner would kill to be me right now,” I said, trying vainly to find a topic of conversation. This was apparently not one that Dakin liked.
“Shit, Scripps, do we have to talk about this now! There’s a whole night ahead of us. With girls. What would we need Posner for? He’d just drag us down - sort of like you’re doing, only worse.” He winked at a girl passing our table.
“Thanks for telling me I wasn’t needed. I shouldn’t have come in the first place.”
The bitterness in my voice surprised Dakin. “I would have thought you’d like it. Here, I’ll get you some water.”
He grabbed the next waitress going by, and asked for some nice clear liquid for “his friend here”, and winked conspiratorially at her. I suspected that everything he did was entirely based around girls, and may have made some mention of it, which he dubbed “absolute nonsense”.
The waitress brought me a shot glass of clear liquid, and apologised that it was so small, but there were so few glasses that it was all they had. I suspect that by now the alcohol was working, because in hindsight that sounds absolutely ridiculous. It was a pub for heaven’s sakes! But anyhow, I drank it.
Things started getting a bit fuzzy around the edges after that, so I’m not sure when it was that Posner came in. “Fuck,” Dakin exclaimed, and immediately grabbed the nearest girl and headed for the bar, in an attempt to escape.
Posner saw this, but he also saw me, now totally alone. He came toward me, and sat down. “I called everyone to find out where you were. Akthar didn’t know. Dakin, Lockwood, Crowther, and Timms were out. Finally, Rudge told me. Of all places, why would you lot choose here?”
He sounded hurt, and I wanted to answer, but all I could manage was a slurred “I - Dakin chose - I came - nothing better - I don’t know -”
Perhaps out of sympathy, or perhaps disgust, he cut me off. “You’re drunk. You should go home.”
Somehow I knew, despite my state, that he had wanted to talk, and I tried, but he continued on.
“And is that vodka I smell. Scrippsy, you’ve really done it now. Your parents will be furious!”
They wouldn’t be, really, but Dakin, fuck you, I really thought it was water.