‘That shit’s finished too,’ Elle said, pointing to another table.
He was, and the women he was with were finishing up as they watched. ‘Don’t we have to get these jugs to the bar?’
The other group noticed they weren’t alone in their victory and picked up the jugs.
‘Run!’ Elle said.
They did, kind of. Staggered would be a more apt description. But the other group didn’t seem unsteady on their feet at all as they rounded tables.
Ciara bumped into a girl who hadn’t finished yet and managed a convoluted apology while she got back her balance.
‘Move it!’ Elle screamed.
Ciara scampered to catch up. They reached out with the jugs, ready to throw them on the bar. The bartender’s eyes were wide and he shuffled back to the wall of spirits as they approached.
Team Persistent were neck and neck with them now, and since the girls were fast Ciara knew they were going to lose.
‘That bag’s mine lady. Back off,’ Elle said to the other group.
‘In your dreams,’ she replied.
Ciara slammed her jug down on the bar, and a loud smash splintered her ears. She blinked at her glass – still fully intact. Both Gem and Elle were beside her, with their jugs on the bar too, without so much as a scratch but her friends were looking behind her with their mouths gaping.
Ciara spun around and staggered a little. A woman from the other group had dropped the jug. Glass was scattered all over the wooden floor, shining like little diamonds in the light. At least the woman wasn’t hurt, but by the way her eyes narrowed she wasn’t happy.
‘So, guess you bitches won by default,’ the woman said.
Gem laughed. ‘It’s not our fault you’ve got butter fingers.’
‘I’d say the best bitches won,’ Elle added.
Ciara squeezed her eyes shut, but changed her mind the second the room started spinning.
‘Come on girls, time to go.’ She had visions of getting into a cat fight there was no way she’d win. Especially now the alcohol seemed to be doing its job.
‘After our victory pic,’ Elle slurred, pulling the phone out of her pocket and pulling them close. Ciara didn’t see the flash and dreaded how she looked in the picture but before she could ask to see it Elle had already launched it into social media land.
‘I think I’m going to be sick,’ Gem said.
‘Fresh air will help,’ Ciara hoped.
They collected their prizes and Elle took the bag since she didn’t want Gem throwing up on it. Somehow the air only increased the horrible, dizzy feeling and Ciara wished she’d ignored Elle’s advice to starve herself earlier. She was definitely getting something more substantial than a salad when she got back.
‘I don’t even care that I’m tempted to be sick in it, this was so worth it,’ Elle said, hugging the new bag to her chest.
Ciara ignored her, pulling her body through the massive pool. Gem was on the patio near Elle, perfecting her morning yoga routine.
She’d already done twenty lengths before breakfast, but not to burn off all the calories from her mammoth cocktail. This was so not about keeping fit.
Last night after they’d gotten back, she’d raided the fridge and found it lacking so had ordered a pizza. The others had gone to bed, saying they were not eating that many carbs when they had a beach day coming up.
While she’d stuffed her face, her mind had gone back to LA, her first night with Zack and something had happened that she never thought possible. She’d gone and completely lost her sanity.
She’d pretended he was there with her, sharing the pizza and was telling her about himself. He’d told her he wanted to study architecture because he was passionate about sculpture and that he worked out because it took his mind off everything.
And worse, she’d started talking to herself in reply to the imaginary questions!
Though she knew her conversation with him was an alcohol induced fantasy, she hoped to find some truth in it so she tried tearing through the pool doing as many laps as possible. It was helping a little. The burn in her muscles and the rolling feeling in her stomach were stealing most of her concentration.
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