Where Would I Be Without You - By CJ Hawk

Chapter One

It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to. You would cry too if it happened to you. Ok, it's not my official birthday yet, but the one time I plan my own birthday party; one very bad thing made everything else go horribly wrong. As I lay here singing that song over and over with just the one verse in my head, I felt the whole thing rehash in my mind like a hamster on a running wheel as I tried to determine where I went wrong. What made me think that I was capable of even making good choices? How the heck did I end up here? Drunk, naked in my bed, drooling into my pillow? I had cried to myself for hours thinking about everything that just happened. Wondering why I make such foolish decisions that lead me down a path of either shame or sorrow. How did I Amber Jones, five foot six, one forty wet, green eyes and brown hair with copper highlights, get to be who I am at this very moment, one extremely depressed sad birthday girl?

Just twelve hours ago, I was getting ready to head out and meet my family, my best friend Marion and her husband Carl and my kind-of new boyfriend Steve, at an up and coming Italian restaurant down on Seventeenth.

My mom had made the reservations for twelve people, but the place usually only sat four or six tops, so they made us pay an extra hundred for the backroom held for large parties. I only turned thirty once and told her to go ahead, and I would pay it. Besides, maybe Steve would be impressed with the room and... my new dress that I had just bought - dark blue, clingy, cocktail of a number with matching strappy heels. Not to mention, the two hours working on my hair into an updo and perfectly styled makeup, and I looked hot.

I felt hot and desirable, perhaps having something to do with Steve and my recent level of orgasms. I was looking forward to a great night of birthday wishes, fun chitchat, and then ending it with a very, very romantic night with Steve. Because, up until now, it was quickies during lunch at the motel down the street from my work every Wednesday and early Sunday mornings at my place. He claimed his job as a security manager at the airport had him working off hours, and he had a sick sister he helped take care of. However, he had guaranteed me that tonight, was our night. Even though, it had to be at my place because his apartment was being fumigated for bugs since an old lady neighbor died and wasn't found for too many, too ripe, days later. Just that mention, and I had no desire to sleep over at his place any ways. I had a feeling if I ever did, every time I walked by his neighbor's apartment, I would be completely slammed with sorrow and depression over how his neighbor died.

Looking back, my night started with a euphoric high of self-confidence and positive outlook. Somehow though, the night went horrible wrong. Where should I start? I arrived looking glamorous and feeling like a model, fifteen minutes early. I was greeted by my father Hal, who had already been on drink number four and was slamming it back, all because of my mother. She was riding his ass about something new that she found a thrill in riding his ass about. This is why my father drank and had an occasional fling on the side, not to my approval, but I could somehow see why he did. I grabbed my own shot of whiskey from the bar and slammed it back, and then I proceeded to walk confidently to the party room where my party was to be held. I was promptly overwhelmed with the birthday balloons and dangling ribbons everywhere. It looked like a toddler turned two birthday decorations. Big bold numbers three and zero were everywhere. Matching colored sparkly tabletop decorations were placed along the twenty-foot table that they were sitting us at, not to mention the confetti that was made of sparkly metal punches were strewn all across the table.

"Oh there you are." My mother screamed out. "Hurry up. The rest of the family is going to be here soon. You need to go change?" That was my mother. Always criticizing or degrading my clothing attire.