The Third Day
by kbk

"I had a girlfriend. She died." - Bernard.

The third day after the Phone Call, which certainly deserved capitalization despite the horrifying echoes of Emily Dickinson, Bernard woke up to find there was no booze left in the house. Even the bottle of sweet sherry, which had probably passed through at least three owners before being handed to him at the engagement party, and which he barely even remembered opening, lay empty on the floor where it had rolled out of his unconscious hand.

He pushed himself into a sitting position, and the world tilted. It could have been because of a meteor striking somewhere on the near coast of America, but most likely it was because Bernard was still drunk. He was glad of that. It made the world just a little less harsh, and let him stop thinking about anything he didn't particularly want to think about.

It took twenty minutes to put his shoes on because he kept stopping and staring into space. Also, it took several attempts to tie the bow. It could have taken a lot longer if he'd had to search for the shoes, but they were sitting neatly on the shoe rack in the corner because it always annoyed Emma when he just left things lying about. She would really yell at him if he hadn't tidied up before the next time she came over, because the place was a tip, empty bottles and ripped-up paper all over the place. But of course that wasn't a problem because she wouldn't be coming over again. Ever.

Bernard carefully locked the door behind him and set off to the nearest off-license, cursing as the sun stabbed into his brain via his optic nerves. He withdrew his limit at the first cash machine he came to, and spent the next five minutes staring into the middle distance trying to decide what he should spend it on.

In the end, he left the decision to fate and the man behind the counter.

Back home again, shoes kicked off haphazardly, clinking bags set down and one bottle of whiskey extracted, Bernard crumpled to the floor and gazed blearily at the smashed picture frame by the wall. The photograph had been taken by one of Emma's friends - the one that had made the Phone Call, if he recalled correctly - and Bernard had stuck it in a frame as soon as he got it. He was barely visible in the picture now, hidden behind the star-shattered glass, but Emma still shone out through the cracks: her bright smile, her beautiful hair, the ring he'd given her proudly held up for viewing.

She had kept putting him off whenever he tried to talk about the wedding. He hadn't really minded, though he'd yelled a bit, because he'd supposed they had plenty of time.

He laughed quietly at himself for his foolish optimism. Then he opened the whiskey and took a deep slug.

He started, gently and quietly, to weep.


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