“These are the nights I wish never had to end,” I told Molli, sincere despite the look she gave me. I raised my eyebrows and took another swig of beer. She puffed on the joint, then held it out to me. “You don’t believe me.”
“It’s not that I don’t believe you. It’s just that I think guys like you will say a lot of things to girls like me that they mean in the moment.”
I nodded through my own hit. “I’m serious. You don’t feel it? Nothing to do with my being attracted to you, although I am.” I smiled, trying to read her reaction. Credit to her, she had a good poker face. “There are just times when you’re so content with the company you’re in, the place you’re in, that you don’t want it to end.”
“Yeah. I know the feeling.”
The beer was almost gone. “Nowhere is open,” I told Marlon, our host.
“Shit,” he said. The music coming from the living room made it clear that people weren’t ready to let the party die down. A drunk girl crawled on hands and knees toward the bathroom. Half the party danced, while the other half hung out in corners talking on topics they knew very little about with the confidence only alcohol brings. Marlon sulked into the living room, defeated, knowing that without booze the party would slowly grind to a halt.
“No beer is a good reason for the night to end,” Molli said.
“Feel free to end it whenever you’re ready,” I replied. “A lack of libation won’t stop me from getting to know you.”
There was something sinister in her smirk, then. If only I could have brought myself to care what that something might be.
Of those that stuck around after the alcohol ran out, many had fallen asleep. Cradling one another on the couch. One passed out halfway up the stairs. I wondered if the girl crawling toward the bathroom had made it. I didn’t recall seeing her since then.
Molli and I stayed at the kitchen table. She was out of weed so we shared cigarettes. I had begun to sober up from the water that I was forced to drink as a replacement for the beer.
“How are you feeling?” she asked. Probably a trick of the light, but her eyes seemed to sparkle with the question.
“Excellent,” I said.
“Still want this to continue?”
“I said what I meant and I meant what I said.”
She lifted her eyebrows, shook her head, and reached for the pack of cigarettes between us. “You’re cute.”
“The sun will be up in another hour or so,” she said. My eyelids were heavy and the first pangs of hunger had hit. For her part, she looked as fresh as she had when I met her nearly six hours before.
“Watching the sunrise with you will be nice,” I said.
“But wouldn’t that mean the night’s over? We’ll get up from this table, the sun will rise, everyone will wake up, and routine will creep back into our lives. There won’t be any other choice.”
“I guess not,” I said. “It’s regrettable that we can’t just stop time until we’re ready for it to move forward again.”
“Yeah,” she said. “Regrettable.”
“I’ll be right back,” I said. “Don’t go anywhere.” Hunger could be ignored. Tiredness fought off. But there was no defense against my bladder.
The crawling drunk girl was asleep on the floor in front of the bathroom. I wondered if she had fallen asleep before or after she reached the toilet. One mystery solved, another to take its place.
As I drained my main vein, I thought about the nooks and alleyways my conversation with Molli had explored over the course of the night. Identified areas where I was as charming as I could ever hope to be and kicked myself for the times I showed my whole ass. In total, pretty even. I was clearly doing something right. She was still there, waiting for me at the kitchen table. Ready to fight the sunrise with me.
I opened the bathroom door and stumbled into the hallway. The drunk girl was gone. In the living room I heard voices and the music was playing again. I recognized the song from earlier in the night. This girl must’ve gotten up (crawled?) and wanted to keep the party going, Chuckling at the thought, I walked into the living room.
Everyone was there. Fresh faced. Beers in hand.
Past them, still sitting at the kitchen table, watching me, was Molli. I went to her.
“Did someone bring more beer?” I asked. “Does some liquor store I don’t know about open at four?”
Molli shook her head, then nodded toward the clock behind me.
“These are the nights you wish never had to end,” she said. “I like you. I want you to have your wishes granted.”
No way. Impossible. “Good one,” I said. “How’d you get these guys to go along with you?”
“There’s nothing to go along with. You don’t want the night to end. It doesn’t have to.”
I laughed. Not only was she beautiful, and smart, and witty, but she had a knack for practical jokes. “Ok. Well, when the sun comes up in another hour are you still gonna watch it with me?”
“If you want to watch the sunrise with me, we have more than an hour to wait. But I’m a little confused by your sudden change in heart.”
I slid a cigarette from the pack between us and lit it up. “Well, while we wait tell me about the best job you’ve ever had.”
My head bobbed toward my chest, jolting me awake. “Alright there, champ?” Molli asked. “You gonna make it?”
“Yeah, I’m good. Bit hungry, though. What do you say we get some breakfast soon? There’s a diner down the street that opens at 5:30.”
Marlon approached me from the living room, worried. “Did you bring more beer?”
I hesitated. If this was a practical joke, it was a damned good one. And she had coordinated it fast. I couldn’t have been away from the kitchen for more than two or three minutes. “I’m surprised you’re awake. You looked as done as a burnt dinner when you went to bed.”
“What are you talking about?” Marlon asked. “Dude, we’re almost out of beer. Did you bring more?”
I glanced at Molli. That smile was still there. Something sinister was still behind it.
“No. I didn’t.”
“Do you know where we can get more?”
I was speechless. Marlon shook his head and skulked back into the living room, no doubt to tell the other party goers of the dire booze situation.
Before Molli could speak I whipped my phone from my pocket. Its screen said it was 2:06am. “How…”
I leapt from the kitchen table and ran to the back door. Throwing it open I stepped into the yard, expecting to see a nascent pink and orange hue as the first rays of sun crested over the houses of the neighborhood.
But it was dark. The only lights the sickly yellow glow from the kitchen window.
Molli appeared behind me. “You wished for the night not to end. So it won’t. I’ll do that for you.”
I spun toward her. She really was something else, this one. “I meant it,” I said.
“Then come back inside. Sit with me. Enjoy the night.”
We went back inside, together.