Rafael woke up. That was a good sign, that meant he’d slept. The sudden headache and fuzzy tongue told him it had been an alcohol induced sleep but that was better than nothing. He hadn’t opened his eyes yet but he could tell he wasn’t in his own bed. That wasn’t a good sign. He was still clothed though, another good sign. When was the last time he’s drunkenly ended up in someone else’s bed? It has been a long time.
He couldn’t put it off indefinitely, so he opened his eyes. It took a few seconds for everything to come into focus. He was alone in a small bedroom.
Rafael dragged himself up into a sitting position. A couple of suit jackets were hung up on the door of a small wardrobe, another one was crumpled on the floor. None of them looked like his. There was a bedside table with a discarded charger and glass of water. No pictures or anything to suggest whose bedroom he was in. He gratefully drunk the glass of water.
A further inspection of the room didn’t tell him where he was. There was nothing in here, whoever lived here clearly didn’t spend much time in here. Rafael could hear noises from the other side of the bedroom door, the muffled sound of a radio and the clunk of pans. The enticing smell of bacon wafted into the room and his stomach growled a warning.
Parts of the evening before came drifting back. He was at his regular bar with Liv. It had been an evening of small talk, both of them avoiding the subject Rafael couldn’t stop thinking about. Liv had left, she had a child to get home too after all. Rafael didn’t want to go home, home to his empty apartment where the Householder case would play around and around in his head. It was the kind of case every lawyer dreads. And he couldn't help. If anything he’d made it worse. So he had committed himself to drinking the bar dry if it meant he’d fall into some sort of sleep that evening, that had worked apparently. But then what happened?
A few more moments of deep thought gave him the answer. Sonny had shown up. He was looking for Liv as he’d uncovered something that was going to help the case they were working on, but he missed her by about 10 minutes. Rafael couldn’t for the life of him remember what it was, but he'd been impressed Sonny had come up with it, he seemed to remember actually complimenting the detective. Deep down he knew he should do that more often, Sonny was a good cop who always gave it his all, Rafael just wished he would use that law degree he worked so hard to get, he hasn’t seen Sonny so passionate about anything since he finished it.
Rafael had then done the unthinkable, but as they say misery loves company.
“You’re off the clock now right? Join me for a drink.” He gestured to the empty chair next to him. “I’m buying.”
“Are you sure?” Sonny noticeably hesitated, Rafael wondered if he’d crossed a line.
“Yes I’m sure, come on sit down, it’s a limited time offer” In hindsight Rafael realised he may have had one too many by this point.
“Well when you put it that way.” Sonny removed his coat, hung it on the back of the chair and sat down. One thing he did remember clearly was that Sonny was wearing a dark navy suit, it was a good colour on him.
Then they did small talk, more small talk. Rafael hated small talk. But it soon led to the topic he'd been pointedly avoiding with Liv.
“I love my job, I really do, but I hate it as well sometimes.” He finished his latest drink and signalled for another.
“The Householder baby?”
“Yes.” He paused “The father shouldn’t have been charged.”
“He got probation, whatever they’re going through he took the baby and threatened the police, we didn’t know it was a paint gun when we were outside. Probation was the right call.” Rafael dreaded the response to his next statement, but he had to say it.
“The mother is right; the baby should be allowed to die peacefully.” He kept his eyes locked on his refilled drink. It wasn’t his job to hold that opinion but the facts of that case had kept him up at night since he got involved. He played it over in his mind every which way and only ever came to the same conclusion.
“I agree.” Rafael’s head shot up and he gave Sonny a confused look. That was the last answer he’d expected. He’d half expected the detective to just walk away without a word.
“Your church would disagree with you there.”
“They do disagree with me, yours will too.”
“I’m more of a Christmas Catholic these days, though if my mother asks I go to mass every week.” He forced a chuckle, then another pause “Religion has been on my mind since that case.”
“It’s bound to. I didn’t envy you with that. It’s the kind of case that puts me off becoming an ADA.” Sonny took a sip of his beer, on reflection Rafael had had too many of his own drinks to notice Sonny was still on his first.
“You shouldn’t let it put you off, these are the cases that test us, remind us we're human and that everything isn’t black and white.” Rafael could feel the alcohol taking affect at this point but he continued drinking anyway. He ordered a double and everything after that was a blur.
Time to face the music and hopefully get out of here with minimal further embarrassment. He assumed he was at Sonny’s apartment but there was a chance Sonny had left him at that bar and he’d wandered home with someone else. He didn’t know which option was worse.
It took more effort than he’d like to admit getting up. He pondered when the last time was that he was this hungover. Probably around the last time he’d drunkenly ended up in someone else’s bed, he thought those days were long behind him. He looked down at himself, he was wearing his brown trousers and undershirt, which meant his teal shirt was somewhere in the apartment along with his tie, waistcoat, jacket, shoes and suspenders.
Rafael paused at the door, took a deep breath and slowly opened it. He peeked out into the main living area and saw Sonny. He had his back to the bedroom and was cooking something in the kitchen. It smelled greasy and wonderful. Rafael had never been to Sonny’s apartment before. It was small and neat. The living area and kitchen were open plan. He could tell a lot more money and thought had gone into the kitchen area than the lounge. Rafael remembered that Sonny loved to cook, anyone walking into this apartment could tell that.
The front door was between Rafael and the kitchen. For a brief moment he considered making a run for it but he spotted his jacket and coat on the other side of the room which hopefully contained his phone, wallet and keys, three things he’d need. Before he could consider his next move Sonny turned around.
“Ah, perfect timing, I was about to come and wake you up.” He smiled at Rafael. “I’ve made you fried egg and bacon on French toast with cheese.” Rafael was stunned into silence for a moment.
“That’s my favourite morning after food, how did you know?”
“Because you told me, in great detail, last night. Even drunk you made it sound so good I nearly whipped up a batch at 2 in the morning.” He gestured to the 2-seat table at the edge of the kitchen. “Sit, I’ve just put the coffee on.” Rafael walked over to the table, trying to hide how unsteady on his feet he still was. His breakfast, which he could swear was the best smelling thing he’d ever come across, was placed in front of him. The urge to dig in was strong but he remembered his manners and waited for Sonny to join him. A steaming hot coffee was also placed in front of him, he breathed in the aroma. This was nearly heaven. Sonny sat with his breakfast, a matching meal, and they both ate in silence. Well silence apart from Rafael’s grateful little noises. He didn’t know if it was the hangover talking but this was the best meal he’d had in as long as he could remember. He’d have to remember to say yes next time he was invited to a squad meal.
The silence continued once they were both done. Sonny had poured Rafael another cup of coffee which he gripped with both hands. He was avoiding eye contact with Sonny for the moment, but knew he’d have to say something.
“Thank you, that was delicious.” His instinct told him to make some kind of quip about finally finding something Sonny was good at but logic told him he probably shouldn’t try to aggravate the person who took him in last night, despite as much fun as it usually was.
“That’s ok, nothing worse than a hangover on an empty stomach. And judging by the bloodshot colour of your eyes that’s one hell of a hangover.” Rafael looked up at Sonny. The detective looked as bright eyed and fresh faced as ever. “Ouch. How much had you had before I arrived?”
Rafael tried to remember.
“I don’t know. Enough that Liv told me I should go home when she left.”
“So why didn’t you?”
“I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts.”
“And if I hadn’t have turned up?”
Sonny sighed and leaned forward on the table.
“Well I’m glad I did, though I probably should have cut you off a lot sooner.”
Rafael winced. “How embarrassing was I?”
“That depends on your definition of embarrassing.” He paused which Rafael felt was unnecessarily cruel “I never knew you could sing, I’d love to hear you sober.” Rafael went red.
“Oh god, I sang?”
“Oh yes, you sang Walking in Memphis while staggering in New York, then you very successfully sang Me and My Shadow with yourself. I’m impressed at how coherent you were considering you’d drunk about half your body weight in scotch.” Rafael hid his face in shame and Sonny couldn’t help but laugh. “Don’t worry councillor, it’ll be our little secret.”
“What else did I do? Dare I ask.” He needed about a gallon more coffee to deal with this hangover. He wanted nothing more than to slink home stopping at every coffee shop on the way, but he also had to know. Sonny leaned back in his chair and smirked at Rafael, he was clearly enjoying this.
“You talked mostly, at length, I don’t even know what you were talking about half the time. I’m not sure you knew either.”
“That sounds about right.”
“And you threw your phone in front of a taxi after claiming you were going to rip up your law degree and move to Paris.” Rafael raised an eyebrow and looked over his hand at Sonny.
“Yeah, you were trying to book a plane ticket on it, I was trying to stop you so you threw your phone in the road. I’m sure there was some kind of drunken logic to that.”
“I can’t even speak French.”
“That didn’t seem to bother you. I managed to grab what was left of it, the SD card might be salvageable but you’re going to need a new phone. Good luck explaining why to the DA.”
“Urgh, it just gets worse. Is there anything else I should know?”
“That’s probably the worst of it.” He paused, he looked like he was debating what to say next.
“What? What aren’t you telling me?”
“It doesn’t matter. I’m sure it was just the alcohol talking.”
“Come on Sonny, what else was there?” Sonny smiled broadly.
“Nah, I’m going to keep that one for myself. Don’t worry I won’t hold it against you.” He looked at his watch. “I’ve got to get to work soon, lucky for you I’m on a late start today or I’d have been dragging you out of bed hours ago.” Rafael glared at him for a moment but it was clear he wasn’t getting any more about last night.
“Ok, well thank you for putting up with me, and for the breakfast. I’m sorry you had to, and I’m sorry for whatever I said.” He got up and started looking around for all his belongings.
“Everything’s over there.” Sonny pointed to the chair his jacket and coat were draped over. Rafael could see the rest of his stuff carefully folded and piled on the seat. “I’ll give you a lift home on the way in.”
The drive home was blissfully silent. Rafael’s headache came back with a vengeance as soon as he started thinking about the rest of the day. He’d have to go into work as he didn’t have a phone to contact Carman and ask her to rearrange his appointments, but he’d at least be able to have a shower and a shave first. He knew he’d have to find a way to pay Sonny back for his kindness last night. He was just glad it was Sonny that had found him at the bar and not Amanda or Fin, neither of them would have been so understanding that’s for sure.
They arrived outside Rafael’s building.
“Here we are councillor. Don’t spend too long mopping about last night, Richardson hired Buchanan as his attorney yesterday so we need you on top form later.” Rafael groaned
“You should have let me go to Paris.”
“Well if you do decide to jump on a plane later let me know, I’ve always wanted to visit Notre Dame.”
“Deal. Thank you again, I mean it.”
“It’s not a problem.”
Rafael smiled at Sonny before getting out of the car. He headed to the front door, time to face the day.