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In Vino Veritas

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"Yeah, I feel for ya, man," Ray said, and tossed back his shot. "I really do." He slammed the shot glass down and called for another. "Women."

Danny nodded stupidly, staring at his own glass. "Women," he repeated, and hadn't quite finished getting the word out when he lifted his glass to take another sip. He choked rather impressively as a result, eyes tearing up, lungs burning. Ray leaned over and gave him a few very unhelpful claps on the back.

"She lied to me," Danny said, articulating the words carefully. Even so, Ray didn't appear to understand, so he tried again. "She lied to me."

"Women," Ray said again. Apparently it was the refrain of the night.

"She lied to all of us." He swung his arms wide to indicate the enormity of Sydney's deception, knocking the empty shot glass over. The gesture made the room start to rotate around him in a slow, lazy spin, and he dropped his head down to the bar to try to make everything still again. "Been lying for years," he mumbled, mostly to the varnished wood under his cheek, but Ray seemed to have heard him anyway.

"Women," he chimed in.

Danny lifted his head and decided he could probably deal with the spinning. It was kind of a nice metaphor, after all. He wasn't quite sure what it was a metaphor for, exactly, or even if that was the right word for his situation. Sydney would know.

He ordered another drink.

"Says she's on a business trip," he continued. Ray nodded, and they took the shots in unison, the sharp crack of glass on wood competing with the bad eighties music playing from the jukebox in the corner. "S'posed to be in San Diego." He said the words as if the city had been another Sodom or Gomorrah, and it might as well have been, because Sydney certainly wasn't in San Diego, and for all Danny knew she might well be in Sodom or Gomorrah, except he was fairly sure they had been destroyed, or something, Lot's wife and pillars of salt, and, his mind circled hazily around to a point as catechism was filtered through the alcohol, and anyway, maybe someone had lied about that too.

With that digression, it finally became clear to him that he might have had a little too much to drink, and he had the bartender call him a cab.

Ray was a friend to the end, helped him out to the curb and offered a helpful push into the back seat of the cab. Danny heard one last parting "Women!" before the cab door slammed shut.

Two hours later he was nursing a scotch on the rocks in his own apartment, staring moodily at the language textbook Sydney had dropped to the floor earlier.

"Love her anyway," he said out loud, as if Ray was still there with him.

He made his decision, and stood up on shaky legs to go find the phone.