Phoenix Chapter Seven: The New Year

Phoenix Chapter Seven: The New Year

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg
"

The New Year

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Chapter Seven: The New Year



Six days later, Rogan contemplated 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'd stopped shoving her single friends at him. No match making since that Halloween party. Finally, he decided to just stay home. 


This was a little less agreeable than spending Christmas at home, as he had always enjoyed New Year's Eve. But he didn't want to go anywhere by himself, and Ryan and Rita's guests were really not his type of people anyway.

 

Rogan grabbed a sub on his way home at 5. After his dinner, he kicked back and prepared to watch The X-Files. They were running a marathon on TV, and he liked the quirky old show with the huge cell phones and ridiculous aliens. 


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


He thought. Benny's was possible, but he didn't want to run into Issac, David and Freddy. They were sure to be there. There was Molly's Tavern, where he went with the band. But it was on the other side of town and the buses weren't running. He considered his own neighborhood. There was Que Sera. It was 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 was. 


The warmth of the bar rolled over Rogan as he entered. It started drizzling almost immediately, making it a very wet ten minute walk from the snakehouse. In the bathroom, he pulled his hair out of its hair tie and shook it. A couple of passes with a comb and his damp hair smoothed out. He nabbed a stool at the bar and the bartender caught his signal. 


“Tecate.” Out of the corner of his eye, Rogan saw a pretty brunette down the bar looking at him. He raised an eyebrow and she smiled. He turned his attention back to the bartender as she put the beer in front of him and took his twenty. When he had his change, he made his way over to where she sat with a couple of girl friends. He squeezed in by her left side, the side without a girlfriend, and gave her the smile that always seems to melt hearts. 


“I'm Rogan.” He proffered his hand.


“Jill.” She was 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 indicated her full cocktail glass. “But we can toast. Here's to a wonderful year.” Their eyes met and Rogan maintained contact a bit longer. 


Glass clinked and they both sipped their drinks.


Rogan was now lounging against the bar, very close to Jill. He didn't try to avoid touching her when the mass of people coming and going jostled him. Instead, as people pushed in beside him, he allowed himself to be pushed even closer. He could feel her heat, they were 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 put 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 said.


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


They chatted on, hindered slightly by the noise of the crowd and the music. Rogan leaned closer to catch her voice, then tried putting his hand on her shoulder. She stiffened and said, “Please don't touch me.” 


Ouch. 


He removed his hand and scooted back a little to give her space. “Sorry.” He raised his beer in a salute and said, “Have a great night,” and slinked off to lick his wounds. He decided to finish his beer and head on home. 


As he pushed into the crowd again, people around him started counting down to the new year. He looked at the TV and saw Madison Square Garden and the ball. He waited as everyone around him counted aloud. Four, three, two, one. The bar exploded with cheering and noisemakers. Couples kissed, friends hugged each other, everyone seeming to be surrounded by people they knew. He drank the last of his beer and pushed his way out of the bar. 


It was still drizzling, and the cold seeped in through his jeans as he walked. It would turn to sleet soon. His head was down, trying to avoid the wind blowing raindrops into his face. He wished he had brought his Motörhead hat.


It took a while to realize the car honking was honking at him. The window rolled down and there was Allison in the passenger's seat. She gestured Rogan over and asked, “You need a ride?” 


He thankfully scrambled into the back seat. Andy was driving.


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


“I'm alright. 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 stopped at a red light, Andy kissed Allison and murmured something in her ear. Rogan flashed on the night after the accident, to the memory of Allison's warm, dreamy smile and soft words. Jealousy shot up. This night kept getting worse.  Then Andy was in gear again, paying attention to the road. They dropped him at the snakehouse and he ran through the sleet to the porch. 


Upstairs, dried off and in warm sweats, Rogan blessed the radiator heating system that kept the house warm enough for the snakes. He turned on Pandora while he combed his wet hair. It was not until the lyrics began that he noticed it was Fade to Black playing on Pandora now. His mood plummeted more. He couldn't stand this song, but felt powerless to turn it off. The lyrics went 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 turned the music off and punched a couch cushion. Might as well just go the f**k to bed. He couldn't remember a worse new year.



© 2021 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 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Year 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 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Year 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 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wathanya.5KY3

1 Year Ago

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

I personal.. read more
SweetNutmeg

1 Year Ago

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

1 Year 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 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Year 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 February 15, 2021


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SweetNutmeg
SweetNutmeg

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***I am on hiatus and not returning reviews.*** 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.) A.. more..

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Phoenix Phoenix

A Book by SweetNutmeg



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