[Don't nobody say it, I know how long it's been since I've given a Murph post - Happy Belated Christmas, Heather Ann. And there should be more shortly.]
Never thought I'd be sitting here.
It was slightly overwhelming. And it had started off great, too.
I was sitting in the ER waiting room, literally twiddling my thumbs as I waited for someone to come get me. I'd been with Murphy up to a point - until they'd taken him for a CAT scan or something, and then they'd kind of kicked me out. Punted me, more like, into the damn waiting room.
We headed down the street, my fingers twined with Murphy's. I had no idea where we were going, but I trusted him. And if I didn't feel comfortable, I had no qualms about walking away from whatever and wherever we were. Including Murph.
"Some of the football guys live here," he said as we tromped up someone's front porch. "These are the good guys." He looked at me, kind of sly.
I took the bait, mostly because I'm good like that. "And where do the morons live?"
"Besides our building? Down the street."
I chuckled and followed him inside the crowded house, sandwiched between Devan and Murph. There was immediately a chorus of "Hey!" from almost everywhere over the thumping music, some back thumping, and a few, "This is Olivia?"
Which absolutely floored me.
Murph talked about me!?
"You gotta meet Colby," Murph said, taking the beer he was offered. "Something?"
I shook my head. "We got the whole dry season thing goin' on."
To my utter amazement, Murphy pawned his beer off on one of his teammates. I looked at him like he had a second head. He just shrugged.
I pinched the bridge of my nose.
A nurse appeared at the door. "Olivia?"
"That's me." I followed her back through a maze of curtained rooms until I found a somewhat dazed-looking Murphy.
I should have known that even hanging around a guy named Murphy would tempt the universe. I just never figured on this.
Never figured on Bobby.
There was - I was speechless. Absolutely speechless. To see Bobby and whatever loose-moraled girl-thing he was dancing with. And here I am with Murph.
I jumped when Murph put a hand at the small of my back. And then relaxed.
"What's goin' on?"
"Ex of mine." And really, that was all I wanted to say. Really, really. Nothin' more to say about the guy who had broken my heart little over four months prior. And then he'd gone and found a girlfriend.
Least I thought.
I leaned against Murph's hand, sinking into the furnace-like warmth of his body. It was a long story, me and Bobby, one that I might share later, if I was feeling particularly....in the sharing mood.
"I want you to meet Colby."
I followed Murph through the crowd and into the kitchen. There was a door that led from the bar in the other room to the kitchen, though it was closed. There were fewer people in the kitchen, mostly football players, and I realized that I was probably one of the only females in the house. Murph left me to shake hands with the mountain of a man by the sink. He was then motioning me over and despite the fact that I was dwarfed by these two, I went anyway, probably because I don't have any self-preservation. And I was feeling decidedly nervous because this was....well, I have no idea who this person is to Murphy.
"Olivia, this is Colby," Murph said. "Colby's my brother's best friend from back home."
Which meant that if Murph was close to his brother then he was close to Colby, who was probably practically family.
Which made me incredibly nervous.
Mountain man had sandy hair and blue eyes. He extended his hand and mine was immediately lost in his palm. Damn these football men and their massive hands!
Murphy gently squeezed my side and then left us with a, "Be right back."
I had to squash down my panic and damn if that panic put up one hell of a fight.
"Hi," I said, sliding my hands into my pockets just to have something to do, and not seem fidgety.
Colby filled a glass of water and handed it to me. "Murph talks about you. A lot."
My cheeks burst into flames. "He does?" I asked, because yeah, I'm good like that.
He chuckled, but not unkindly. "Murph...he doesn't say much. But when he does, he usually has a lot to say. And he's got a lot to say about you." He grinned. "He likes you." His grin got wide. "He likes you a lot."
I couldn't help it - I preened a little. Murphy apparently talked about me to his friends, including the guys he considered family. There was...wow...
And that's, if I remember correctly, when everything went down the tubes.
I lingered by the edge of the curtain and twisted my hands together, a habit from my childhood. It took Murphy a few seconds to focus on me, but when he did, he smiled, if a little uncertainly.
And there was no way that I couldn't go to him. I plopped into the hard chair by the bed and looked anywhere but Murph. I really couldn't shake the feeling that this was somehow my fault.
I stood in front of Colby, blushing and floundering with what to say when there was an almighty crash from the other room. Colby set his own glass down and went by, careful to not bump into me. The music had shut off. I left my glass by the sink and followed.
There seemed to be a Mexican Stand Off in the main part of the house and sirens were slowly getting louder in the silence - noise complaints from the neighbors, probably.
I edged forward, more so to see than hear the argument that was apparently getting worse. Murphy, of course, was in the middle of it, standing off to Devan's right and a little behind him. I somehow wound up at the front of the crowd, next to some of the guys from Murphy's floor. They smelled a little like alcohol, but not overwhelming.
" - All I'm sayin' man is that if she wants to dance with someone else, you let her," Devan said. His eyes were a little dilated, but he was still moving well. And his voice was level.
"She came with me, she stays with me."
Oh, lord, that was Bobby's voice. And this was, of course, over a girl.
The sirens got closer and when Murph looked around - looking for me - I knew he was warring with himself over whether to stay with Devan or get me out of there.
Colby stepped in. "All right, guys, take it outside and quick because the locals are coming."
And Bobby, ever the honor student and probably more than a little inebriated, took a swing at Colby. Which pushed Murphy, Devan, and three-quarters of of the crowd into action and I got gently shoved to the side with someone saying, "Elf'll kick your ass" and then it was pandemonium.
I was lost in a sea of bodies, shoved towards the door and then back in as the cops showed up, along with Campus Security.
Someone took my hand and tugged. I followed, and made it to the front lawn. Colby was talking with both locals and Campus Security, and I looked around for Murph. He'd been in the middle of the brawl, and yeah, despite the fact that he was a big boy and could take care of himself, I was worried. So I pulled out my phone.
"Olivia! Hey, Olivia!"
I turned. That was Devan's voice. I followed it like a lifeline.
Then wished I hadn't.
Devan had one hand on Murphy's shoulder, literally holding him down so he remained sitting on the ground as a campus EMS person tried to look at him.
"He got thunked on the head," Devan explained. "And, ever the knight in shining armor, was trying to find you."
I smiled thinly. "Concussed?"
Devan shrugged. "Maybe."
There were more sirens. An ambulance now.
For my buddy, Murph.
And from whatever the hell was on Devan's breath, I was thankful none of the locals had been over to see us.
"How drunk is he?"
Devan and I snapped our heads around to look at the paramedics that had somehow showed up unannounced and were ninja silent, even with all their gear.
"What?" I blundered, ever eloquent.
"He - Tobey, from his name tag - looked at me like I was stupid; Devan edged away, and my psychic ability kicked in. Someone was going to probably produce a breathalyzer. And try to shove it down mine and Murphy's throats.
"How much as he had to drink?" Tobey repeated, in a voice that said he was clearly not happy with having to deal with this.
I matched him glare for glare. "Nothing." And you'd have thought I'd said the sky was green. I shrugged. "He hasn't had anything and neither have I. We're sober."
Which, apparently, when you're in college and at a busted-up off-campus party, it's damn near impossible to believe.
Murphy, ever my knight in shining armor, saved the day by turning an unhealthy shade of pale and slurring, "I think I'm gonna puke."
I backed up out of range, since, usually, when someone says they're going to puke, they usually end up doing so. I shoved my hands in my pockets; Devan was long-gone. "I think he got hit in the head."
Tobey immediately began probing around Murphy's head. He must have found the bump because, as though on cue, Murph lost his dinner down the paramedic's front.
And it didn't smell like cheap beer.
He rolled his head on the pillow to look at me.
"Hi," he blinked.
"Hey." I scooted closer and tried to ignore the fact that I was in a hospital and that Murphy was wearing only his gown. His jeans and shirts (the boy layered, bless him) were in a plastic bag by the chair leg. "How's your head."
He grunted, which was probably a good indicator that it hurt and his manly pride wouldn't really let him say anything more about it. "Can you get my phone?"
I looked at him.
"Pants pocket," he clarified.
I started digging through the bag, and then his jeans. I came up with his phone, pausing at his giggle.
And Murphy giggling? I don't care if it was the by product of probably being concussed, it was downright creepy.
"What?" I asked, staving off a headache of my own and debating with myself over the merits of looking at the clock on the wall.
He gave me his best shit-eating grin. "You've been in my pants."
Which was so utterly ridiculous on his part that the only thing I could do after I had processed it, and stopped staring, was to laugh. If he remembered this tomorrow, he'd be apologizing for weeks on end. And when I saw he was plugged into a IV, I knew he was on the good drugs and hey, been there, done that, and bought the souvenir t-shirt. I'm sure I'd said some pretty interesting things while medically under the influence. And I'd seen some pretty trippy stuff, too.
"Who am I callin'?" I asked, trying to re-focus him. Murph reigned himself in surprisingly quickly.
"Liam," he said.
I looked at the phone like it was going to attack. Who was Liam?
"Liam," he repeated, noticing my utter confusion. "My brother."
Oh. His brother. Okay, that was natural. Call the sibling, and figure out how to progress to the -
Wait. His brother? Oh. Shit.