Phoenix Chapter Seven: The New Year

Phoenix Chapter Seven: The New Year

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg

Chapter Seven: The New Year



Six days later, Rogan contemplates his New Year's Eve plans. He vetoed Ryan and Rita's party, as Rita made it clear she wanted no repetition of the Kirstin fiasco. At least she's stopped shoving her single friends at him. No match making since that Halloween party. Finally, he decides to just stay home. 

This is a little less agreeable than spending Christmas at home, as he has always enjoyed New Year's Eve. But he doesn't want to go anywhere by himself, and Ryan and Rita's guests are really not his type of people anyway.
 
Rogan grabs a sub on his way home at 5. After his dinner, he kicks back and prepares to watch The X-Files. They're running a marathon on SyFy, and he likes the quirky old show with the huge cell phones and ridiculous aliens. 

After a couple of hours of TV, Rogan is restless and gets out his guitar. But he doesn't want to practice now. He's not in the mood for listening to music either. He prowls the room, for once not content with his privacy and solitude. Finally he puts on his long sleeved Slayer shirt and tucks it in, to display his skull and crossbones belt buckle. Boots and motorcycle jacket, he's ready to go. Go where? 

He thinks. Benny's is possible, but he doesn't want to run into Issac, David and Freddy. They are sure to be there. There's Molly's Tavern, where he went with the band. But it's on the other side of town and the buses aren't running. He considers his own neighborhood. There is Que Sera. It's your standard neighborhood bar, rather like Molly's, stools at the bar, some tables, a pool table and a jukebox. Maybe a little nicer than Molly's. He could knock back a few beers, maybe see if he can find some company for the evening. 

Que Sera it is. 

The warmth of the bar rolls over Rogan as he enters. It started drizzling almost immediately, making it a very wet ten minute walk from the snakehouse. In the bathroom, he pulls his hair out of its hair tie and shakes it. A couple of passes with a comb and his damp hair smooths out. He nabs a stool at the bar and the bartender catches his signal. 

“Tecate.” Out of the corner of his eye, Rogan sees a pretty brunette down the bar looking at him. He raises an eyebrow and she smiles. He turns his attention back to the bartender as she puts the beer in front of him and takes his twenty. When he has his change, he makes his way over to where she sits with a couple of girl friends. He squeezes in by her left side, the side without a girl friend, and gives her the smile that always seems to melt hearts. 

“I'm Rogan.” He proffers his hand.

“Jill.” She's even prettier than he initially thought, striking wide green eyes and very kissable lips. 

“I'd buy you a drink, but you already have one.” Rogan indicates her full cocktail glass. “But we can toast. Here's to a wonderful year.” Their eyes meet and Rogan maintains contact a bit longer. 

Glass clinks and they both sip their drinks.

Rogan is now lounging against the bar, very close to Jill. He doesn't try to avoid touching her when the mass of people coming and going jostle him. Instead, as people push in beside him, he allows himself to be pushed even closer. He can feel her heat, they are so close. 

“I, personally, could not stand one more moment alone and had to flee my own home. How did you end up here tonight? Are you a refugee as well?” 

“No, I live just around the corner and fancied a drink with some friends.” 

“Ah, better off than me. Here I am all alone, seeking refuge in a bar.” He puts a hand on the back of her stool, not touching her but leaning in just a fraction. “Do you have a resolution this year?”

“I'm quitting smoking,” Jill says.

“And you came here, a nonsmoking bar. Very smart.”

They chat on, hindered slightly by the noise of the crowd and the music. Rogan leans closer to catch her voice, then tries putting his hand on her shoulder. She stiffens and says, “Please don't touch me.” 

Ouch. 

He removes his hand and scoots back a little to give her space. “Sorry.” He raises his beer in a salute and says, “Have a great night,” and slinks off to lick his wounds. He decides to finish his beer and head on home. 

As he pushes into the crowd again, people around him start counting down to the new year. He looks at the TV and sees Madison Garden and the ball. He waits as everyone around him counts aloud. Four, three, two, one. The bar explodes with cheering and noisemakers. Couples kiss, friends hug each other, everyone seeming to be surrounded by people they know. He drinks the last of his beer and pushes his way out of the bar. 

It's still drizzling, and the cold seeps in through his jeans as he walks. It will turn to sleet soon. His head is down, trying to avoid the wind blowing raindrops into his face. He wishes he had brought his Motörhead hat.

It takes a while to realize the car honking is honking at him. The window rolls down and there is Allison in the passenger's seat. She gestures Rogan over and asks, “You need a ride?” 

He thankfully scrambles into the back seat. Andy is driving.

“Hey, man. How you doing?” is Rogan's greeting.

“I'm all right. We had to give Allison's friend, Terry, a ride home. She drank way too much at the party where we were. Is it the new year yet?”

“Yeah, it turned midnight five minutes ago. Thanks for the ride, this is s****y weather.” 

“No problem. It seems to be our job to ferry people around tonight.”

When they stop at a red light, Andy kisses Allison and murmurs something in her ear. Rogan flashes on the night after the accident, to the memory of Allison's warm, dreamy smile and soft words. Jealousy shoots up. This night keeps getting worse.  Then Andy is in gear again, paying attention to the road. They drop him at the snakehouse and he runs through the sleet to the porch. 

Upstairs, dried off and in warm sweats, Rogan blesses the radiator heating system that keeps the house warm enough for the snakes. He turns on Pandora while he combs his wet hair. It's not until the lyrics begin that he notices it is Fade to Black playing on Pandora now. His mood plummets more. He can't stand this song, but feels powerless to turn it off. The lyrics go on...

Things are not what they used to be
Missing one inside of me
Deathly lost, this can't be real
Cannot stand this hell I feel
Emptiness is filling me
To the point of agony
Growing darkness taking dawn
I was me, but now he's gone

F**k. He turns the music off and punches a couch cushion. Might as well just go the f**k to bed. He can't remember a worse new year.


© 2019 SweetNutmeg


Author's Note

SweetNutmeg
Thank you for reading. Any comments, large or small, are very welcome and appreciated.

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Featured Review

Ah, the first on here to read the crisp new pages gleaming white. very nice chapter well it was until the end no that I am depressed again. not sure if was the song choice or the chapter ended so abruptly, but i'll get over it. either way nicely done,

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

2 Weeks Ago

I am cruel. Not only do I torture Rogan, it is my goal to torture my readers as well. Imagine me rub.. read more



Reviews

I feel this sentence could be better worded--"It was a very wet ten minute walk from the snakehouse, as it started drizzling almost immediately."

"wet motorcycle jacket"--a small thing, here, but motorcycle jackets are made of leather, which water doesn't penetrate.

A comma is needed before and after Terry-"Allison's friend Terry a ride..."

In this sentence, I think you could leave off the last three words--"Rogan is now lounging against the bar, very close to Jill in the crowd"

Jill's rejection surprised me, as it seemed she was tentatively okay with his presence.

Except for these small things I've mentioned, I think the chapter is good. Poor Rogan--I don't know if his being alone is his fault, or just fate.

Posted 1 Week Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Week Ago

Thank you for your careful reading and ever helpful comments. I fixed those small things you pointed.. read more
I thought it was going to be about Jill! You got me there.

Also,

“Please don’t touch me.”
Ouch.

Brownie and cookie points for you from yours truly!

There’s, as always, something I’d like to point out.

1. “ Glass clinks and they both sip their drinks.” There’s a space before the sentence starts. Damn formats!

2. When Andy kissed Allison, “jealousy shoots up.” This made me recall an interaction we had about envy vs jealousy. Did you purposefully choose the word “jealousy” to show that Rogan feels entitled to Allison even though he wasn’t dating her? If so, you’re doing a good job.

3. The third line of the lyrics of the song, “Deathly lost, this cant be real,” I’m not sure if the absence of an apostrophe is just the way the lyrics are written or a simple mistake.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wathanya.5KY3

2 Weeks Ago

I see. That makes total sense, and, as I said, you’re doing a great job.

I personal.. read more
SweetNutmeg

2 Weeks Ago

I think every writer interested in improving accepts nitpickings in the spirit they are meant, as he.. read more
Wathanya.5KY3

2 Weeks Ago

It’s reassuring to hear that. I recently, and by recently I mean I literally started last night, s.. read more
Ah, the first on here to read the crisp new pages gleaming white. very nice chapter well it was until the end no that I am depressed again. not sure if was the song choice or the chapter ended so abruptly, but i'll get over it. either way nicely done,

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

2 Weeks Ago

I am cruel. Not only do I torture Rogan, it is my goal to torture my readers as well. Imagine me rub.. read more

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Added on August 1, 2019
Last Updated on August 7, 2019


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SweetNutmeg
SweetNutmeg

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I am back and returning all reviews of "Phoenix." I'm here to improve my writing. I love critiques that give me critical feedback, as well as praise. (Although, I do like praise. Gotta be honest.) .. more..

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Phoenix Phoenix

A Book by SweetNutmeg



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