she stumbled in at 2 in the morning, hair falling limply out of its bun. half of them didn’t seem to notice she was even there, at first. someone pressed a drink into her hand; she downed half of it in one go.
she’d already braced herself for the comments and jokes. any other day she’d be the butt of every one. did he tell them? he must have told them. she was too tired to decide if she was angry about that.
"what’s with her?" one muttered.
"take it easy man, she just got back."
"whatever, as if she—"
it must have been instinct, by now. she pulled herself up with a steely glare. “as if I what, boy?”
the offender laughed. she was already halfway across the room, hands balled into fists, when someone stepped in front of her, an arm across her middle when she tried to lunge forward.
"deep breath, hun. you can beat what’s left of his brains outta him in the morning." he turned to address the room. "I think it’s about time y’all get out."
they filed out in ones and twos. a couple of them cracked jokes with one another. a couple more gave her pitying looks. only when the two of them were the only ones left did she allow herself to sink to the floor and cry.