I feel my mouth lift slightly in a half-smile. I think I’m kind of awake, and kind of still asleep, but I’m pretty sure that I can feel something tickling my arm and shoulder.
I’m slowly drifting into consciousness, becoming more and more aware of my surroundings as I come awake.
I feel feathers insistently brush against my bare shoulder, tickling my skin and making me giggle like an idiot.
It must be Paulie, my cockatoo. He’s the sweetest little thing. He sometimes flies into my bed and sleeps on my pillow, right next to my head.
He’ll occasionally sleep in my hair if he’s feeling particularly anxious that night for whatever reason, or if he feels threatened and needs reassurance of his safety, especially if my hair’s being extra big and frizzy.
My vet says my hair calms him down and it was the very thing that bonded us when I first got him a little over five years ago.
I just have to keep him away from our family cat, Mitsy, whenever I visit my parents. No matter how many times I bring Paulie over, Mitsy always gets so hostile toward him, and she even extends that hostility to me more often than not.
She used to love me a lot, but that’s clearly changed. Ever since Paulie came into the picture, she’s been acting different towards me. Really different.
Like most cats, Mitsy’s extremely territorial, and perhaps she felt betrayed that I got another pet or something.
I guess I can cross her name of my loved-ones list, right after that insufferable bastard, Lenny’s.
Ugh. I’m thinking about him again. I don’t want to think about him. He’s the very fucking reason my head feels like there’s an automatic drill inside it right now.
I absently move my legs, shifting them haphazardly around my bed until my feet find the floor, and I realize I still have my heels on from last night.
Jesus, just how bad was last night that I passed out with my damn shoes on?
The strappy stilettos are without a doubt one of my most uncomfortable pairs, too, and somehow, I didn’t feel their usual blood-constricting effects at all.
Well, at least up until now.
On the bright side—if you can even call it that—at least the numbness in them is finally gone and I can feel my legs now.
My God, I was beyond wasted. Not at all a good look for someone who works at an advertising agency. I really hope none of the company’s clients—past or prospective—was anywhere near that club last night. The very last thing I need in my life right now is to get blacklisted for “unprofessional conduct and display”.
It may not have been during working hours, but as long as I work for Gruman Advertising, I’m still a representation of the firm, and trust me, they do not, under any circumstances, represent super drunk women stumbling around in uncomfortable faux leather heels.
I feel around my bed absently as my eyes remain closed, and my hand comes into contact with more feathers, but something’s off about them.
Paulie is a fairly small bird. These feel too large to be his, and they’re too many as well. They can’t possibly be his feathers.
I frown as I continue to keep my eyes shut, not wanting to fully subject them to the harsh rays of daylight coming through my window just yet, but my hand continues to feel its way around my bed.
I realize there can only be one explanation for this; my pillows somehow got ripped open and now their feathers are scattered everywhere.
I breathe out a tired sigh. I’m so not looking forward to cleaning up the mess with this stupid hangover I have.
But just then, my hand comes into contact with something else; something far more alarming than feathers—skin.
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