Dude was flat-out exhausted, but Alice was as happy as a lark. She hadn't even had anything to drink all evening (because the same bartenders who had advised her to make friends with customers had also advised her that the fastest way to get fired--or not to get a job in the first place--was to drink while working).
The two passed Peter, who had just gotten up and was about to start another painting.
"Come on, guys--have a drink with me!," Alice exulted. "I deserve one after being so good tonight!!!"
"Not me, Alice," said Dude wearily. "I've got to crash."
Peter had already started his painting,
but gave in to Alice's enthusiasm.
"Okay," said Peter, indulgently, easing himself onto one of the barstools. ('Geez,' he thought to himself, 'drinking at 5 o'clock in the morning....') He smiled at Alice. "So, tell me about your big night."
(Peter noticed Alice was missing the bottom part of the shaker with the bottle.) "Are you SURE you haven't had anything to drink???"
Alice laughed off her sloppiness (and there was now a mess on the floor behind the bar). "No, really, nothing. I KNOW I'm exhausted, but I'm too wired to go to bed just yet!"
"This is delicious, Alice," Peter complimented her.
"I know, right?," Alice exulted.
"Tonight was AMAZING!," gushed Alice.
"I made SOOOOOO many new friends! And I'm just SURE I could get people into a bar once I get a job!"
"That's great, Alice!," Peter said sincerely. He was happy to see her so animated
and hopeful about the future.
The two talked for a few more minutes, then Alice gave up trying to stay awake.
Peter resumed his painting, and Lou got up and went back to her programming. "Geez," Lou said, spying Alice on the loveseat and sounding disgusted. "How much did she have to drink at the Blue Velvet Lounge tonight???"
"Reportedly, nothing," Peter said, sounding a bit annoyed. "And she made us both a drink when she came home, but she barely touched hers."
Lou said nothing.
"And you might try to cut Alice a little slack," Peter admonished. "I've known her for only a week or so, and even I can see she's trying to change."
Once again, Lou said nothing, but thought to herself, 'It's BECAUSE you've known her for only a week or so that you're getting fooled by this....'