Head pounding, Gloria awoke on the floor of Marnie's bedroom. She groaned and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. "Fuck tequila." She stumbled to the bathroom and rinsed her face. Staring in the mirror, she combed her brown hair into place with her fingers. She gargled some spearmint mouthwash, which she figured was Marnie's.
Passing through the living room, Gloria carefully stepped over the sleeping bodies. Most of them were Team Yell. Some of them, she wasn't sure. She recognized faces from the blurry night before, though. Once in the kitchen, she found a red solo cup on the counter, washed it out and filled it with water at the sink. Fighting the hangover, Gloria chugged the water and filled up the cup once more before turning to sit at the kitchen nook.
"Shit!" she cried, startled to find Piers sitting at the table.
Piers snorted and brought a coffee mug to his lips. When Max still hadn't moved, he sighed, "Sit. There's more coffee." She hesitantly sat down on the bench next to him. Piers always made her nervous. He was too hard to read.
He stared at her, looking her fully up and down before standing up. She watched him move across the kitchen and fill up another mug. He wore sweatpants and no shirt. For seeming so thin, he had some surprisingly defined muscles.
The thud of Piers placing the mug on the table before her brought her back to her senses. "Ugh, thank you so much. I feel like shit," Gloria laughed nervously as Piers sat back down.
"Look like it too," he mumbled, giving her another freezing stare.
"Fuck you!" she growled, face flushed. She took a swig of coffee and turned away to look out the kitchen window. He let out a chuckle. What she felt confused her.
Several minutes passed before he commented, "I'm surprised you're still such a mess with alcohol. You've been champion long enough, you should hold your liquor now."
She rolled her eyes, struggling to manifest a clapback. She gave up. "You weren't at the party last night, were you? Isn't this your house?" Gloria asked, trying to redirect the conversation.
Smirking and eyebrow raised, Piers replied, "You sure you didn't just black out?" Seeing her jaw tighten, he said lightly, "Yeah I was in the studio most the night. Had some ideas, tried to see 'em through. Got back late enough that people were too drunk to notice. I think you were already in my sis's room. Doing whatever it is you two do in there."
"Jesus, Piers. Do you have to make everything weird? Marnie and I are friends. Don't be a creep," Gloria retorted.
Piers shrugged. "I thought you liked girls."
Gloria felt the heat rise in her cheeks. "I like people," she responded tersely.
"Hmmm?" he hummed quietly, resting his head in his hand as he thought about her response.
The following silence was quickly interrupted by the clumsy steps of Raihan meandering into the kitchen. "Wassup?" he grinned. Gloria could not tell if he was still drunk or just absurdly laid back.
"I gotta head home," Gloria stated flatly, grateful for an escape from the increasingly uncomfortable encounter with Piers.
"Oh, alright. Later, Gloria!" Raihan waved as she left. Piers said nothing. Gloria did not look back. She could faintly make out Raihan speaking to Piers in an apologetic tone, "Yo did I interrupt somethin'? Sorry man."
She shut the door behind her and walked to the train station. Being around Piers made her head churn. Granted, she was hungover too. She relished the stillness of the train station in the early morning, allowing her to wash away her tumultuous thoughts.