Alcohol makes Abbie sentimental.
She stops by the liquor store to pick up Crane’s favorite rum (that's another story for another day) because she’s at a total loss. How do you attempt to cheer up a guy who just found out he had a son who may or may not have died as an infant? And a wife who didn’t feel compelled to even tell him about it?
So, yeah, rum sounded like a good plan at the time.
She’s not so sure now. She managed to get Crane off the floor (one small step) and now he’s downing the rum like there’s no tomorrow. She downs the rum a little more slowly because she has to drive him home. She has to go home to eat Jenny’s attempt at Thanksgiving. But she’s one mug down and the warmth feels so good and so she keeps pouring more into the cup until things get hazy.
He looks up slowly. She’s never seen his hair down. He looks like drunk Jesus. She starts to laugh.
“Why, Lieutenant,” he says very slowly, like the syllables are sticking to his tongue, “are you laughing?”
“You look like Jesus.” She starts laughing harder. It’s either laugh or cry.
She could barely look at Crane when she told him her vision. A bit like being punched in the face while also having a truck run over you. Slowly. Repeatedly. She hated she had to be the one to tell him. She was also glad that she was the one who told him.
“I beg your pardon?” Crane raises an eyebrow in the most condescending way possible, but his other eye droops and so his face is lopsided.
“You. Look. Like. Jesus.”
Crane fingers his hair. “I am not entirely certain how I am to take such a statement.”
Abbie downs the rest of her mug before pouring another drink. Her hands are shaking just a little. “I’ve never seen you with your hair down.”
It’s an intimate statement, she knows. It’s the rum talking. It’s the rum making her talk about what she’d be thinking but never say. In vino, veritas, she thinks wryly.
“Considering my hair was drenched in blood, it seemed wise to wash it.” Crane grips his mug harder. His mouth tightens. He takes a long swallow of rum and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand.
Abbie lets the silence stretch. She knows he has to say it.
“Why didn’t she tell me?”
It’s said softly and laced with such a sharp pain that Abbie wants to cry. What can she say? Katrina, you shady piece of shit, she thinks. You have so much to answer for.
“I don’t know,” she says instead. She’s not that wasted.
Crane starts to tremble and Abbie sees tears in his eyes. He swipes at his eyes roughly before grabbing the bottle of rum from across the table. He drinks straight from the bottle.
“She might not have had time before she cast her spell on me but in every vision she never said a word—”
“Why didn’t she tell me? Why!” He stands and suddenly picks up the bottle of rum and throws it at the wall. It shatters in a bang, glass spattering across the floor in a river.
Abbie gapes. The glass shimmers in the fading sunlight. She then watches Crane breathe like he’s run a marathon, his fists clenching and unclenching. Abbie pulls his mug away from his reach. She’s a little afraid of him. Or afraid for him.
The moment stretches painfully thin.
“Um, well, that was the only bottle I bought,” Abbie says lamely.
Crane doesn’t hear her at first. His breaths begin to slow, and he sits down again. Eventually he covers his face in his hands and laughs.
“Oh, Lieutenant, please accept my apology,” he says as he laughs and cries simultaneously. “That was ill done.”
“Considering that was thirty dollars worth of rum…I’d say so.”
Crane uncovers his face. “Thirty dollars for a bottle of rum?”
“I won’t tell you how much the sales tax was. You’ll start throwing everything at the wall."
Crane just laughs the saddest laugh Abbie has ever heard. Pouring the remaining rum from Crane’s mug into her own, Abbie slugs the liquor. It burns on the way down. Her eyesight seems blurry, and then she realizes she has tears in her own eyes.
Katrina, if you can hear me, I want you to know: Go fuck yourself.
She knows Crane will never think those words. So she has to do it for him.
“Crane, I’m sorry,” she says.
He sighs and starts flexing his fingers like he does when he’s upset or agitated or thinking too hard. It’s a tic that Abbie noticed early on and finds endearing. “It’s not your fault, Lieutenant.” He looks directly at Abbie. “‘Tis my wife who has to answer for her actions, not you.”
Before Abbie can reply, Crane reaches across the table and takes her hand. “My dearest Miss Mills,” he says softly. He looks down at her hand. “Abbie.” His thumb strokes across her knuckles and Abbie wants to break down and sob right then and there, it hurts so much.
“I am sorry you were the one to bear the burden of this knowledge.” He looks up from her hand but doesn’t let it go. His eyes pierce her—literally, figuratively, Abbie feels herself splintering like that glass bottle. “But I am glad it was you who told me. There’s no one in this world—this one or the previous—that I trust more.” And he kisses her hand.
Abbie feels the kiss everywhere. She blames the alcohol. She blames the day’s events. She blames Katrina.
Alcohol makes Abbie stupid.
She wants to say…oh, everything.
But she just returns her hand to her lap and strokes the place where Crane’s lips had touched her. She wants to tattoo that feeling into her skin.
“Crane. You’re welcome.”