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Just a Number

By:A.D. Ryan

Just a Number



A.D. Ryan






1. Fever Dreams



It’s dark as I stumble up the four stairs leading to the house—though, being two in the morning, I suppose “dark” is to be expected. I shake my head and laugh quietly at myself. This is precisely why I should have stopped after my sixth beer and my...my...Shit! Just how many shots of tequila did I have? Should I go to the hospital to see if I have alcohol poisoning?

“Don’t be stupid, Amy,” I admonish myself aloud, fumbling in my purse for the keys to my dad’s house. After finding them, I try several times to slide the key into the lock. The double vision brought on by the mass amounts of alcohol clearly makes this simple task even harder. Finally, I bend my body into a ninety-degree angle to look at the lock dead on, and I succeed, turning the key slowly so I don’t wake Daddy.

He’s actually not expecting me until tomorrow—or is it today, now? What time is it, again?—but my friend, Liz Murphy, wanted to head home for Thanksgiving early, and since she was my ride, I decided to do the same. I tried calling to give Dad a heads up, but he’s one of those prehistoric guys who a) doesn’t have a cell phone—which is totally crazy—and b) doesn’t have an answering machine. You can imagine how it was growing up in a house with a phone that couldn’t go farther than the kitchen; he was privy to a lot of my phone conversations up until I got a job and could afford my own cell phone.

So, when we got to the house earlier, Dad was nowhere to be found. I figured he was at work still, so I left my bags upstairs next to my desk, and then accepted Liz’s offer to go to the bonfire that a few of our old high school friends were throwing just on the outskirts of town. One of the guys lived on an acreage, and his parents had given him permission to have a bunch of people over. Who could turn that down?

When we arrived, the party was in full swing, and we were each handed a beer before getting sucked into doing a few shots with Sarah and April... That’s when things begin to get a little hazy.

After closing the door as quietly as possible, I turn around and head up the stairs. Having grown up here, I know that the third step from the top has a squeak near the center, and to avoid being caught sneaking by Dad’s room, you have to basically hug the wall—of course, you could just skip that step, but in my current state of inebriation, I’d probably fall down the stairs, and then all of my stealth will have been in vain.

I make it to the top of the stairs, smiling and mentally high-fiving my teenage-self for still being able to sneak past my father’s bedroom door at two in the morning, undetected. It isn’t that I think I’ll get in trouble for getting in at this hour—or for being drunk, for that matter, as I am newly twenty-one—I just don’t want to wake him up thinking his house is being burglered...um...burgled? That’s a word, right?

I press my face into my hand, ashamed that this is what has suddenly caught hold of any working brain cells that aren't currently bobbing in a pool of beer and tequila. I open the door to my room, closing it softly as well since it’s right across the hall from Dad’s, and I begin to take my clothes off. I’m far too unbalanced and drained to go through my bag to find my pajamas, so I crawl beneath my blankets in just my bra and panties and relax into my single bed, instantly met with the fading, yet familiar and comforting, smell of the fabric softener my dad uses...but there’s something else too—something equally familiar that awakens something in the recesses of my brain. I can’t quite put my finger on it as my eyes drift shut and sleep sets in; all I know is that I like this particular smell. A lot.

With the amount of alcohol flowing through my veins, my dreams start off strange and confusing, but eventually they change into welcome—and somewhat erotic—images. Okay, so “somewhat” might be an understatement. What can I say? I’ve been sexually repressed for the last few months. The last guy I dated was really sweet, but we just grew apart over the six months we were together. It’s unfortunate, because the sex was pretty great.

God, I miss sex.

The way a man’s hands would move over my body, up to my breasts as he lowered his face to take a pert nipple into his mouth… Or how about the way his tongue would flick the sensitive peak before he grazed his teeth over it? It was enough to drive me wild with desire.

My dream slowly morphs from the crazy, psychedelic happenings of leprechauns and unicorns racing down a rainbow path and into one where I’m lying in a king-sized bed with a faceless man who smells absolutely amazing—all sex and deliciousness—and my body begins to warm.

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