“Bloody hell Gracey. I can’t remember the last time I saw you in here.” Billy leaned against the bar. “Are you all right?”
Grace struggled onto a barstool. Three gin and tonics had left her boneless and headachey. “I’m just fine.” She gave him a loose-lipped grin. “I just needed to have a night out, that’s all.”
“You’d better have another drink, then, the usual?”
“No, just a diet Coke, I think I’ve filled my quota for alcohol for the night.” She didn’t want to spend the rest of the night sleeping with one foot on the floor to stop the bedroom spinning.
“Lightweight,” Jane giggled.
“I’m out of practice.”
“Nah, you’re just in love.”
Billy handed her the Coke,. “Are you really?”
“She’s been obsessively checking her phone all night.” Jane sipped her vodka and Red Bull.
“I wish you hadn’t reminded me of that.” Grace had tried very hard to forget that Christopher hadn’t phoned.
“Come with me.” Billy took the glass from her hand and led her onto the dance floor as the DJ played a slow song. The floor was filled with couples necking but, at least, it was quiet enough for talking. He took her hand and put his arm around her waist.
Grace sighed. There was something so comfortable and familiar about Billy. She wished he were taller.
“Why are you so upset, Gracey? You don’t go on benders.”
The gin made her weepy. “I don’t know. I really don’t. I think I love him, Billy.”
“There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s about time you had someone.”
“I’ve only known him for two weeks. It’s not supposed to happen that fast.” She closed her eyes and rested her chin on his shoulder.
“Sometimes it does. Sometimes you can’t help yourself. What did I tell you at Wolverhampton?”
“Bollocks and enjoy the ride, I believe.”
“There you go then. Don’t think too much. Sometimes you do that, Gracey. Sometimes you just need to let things happen.”
“Or not, he phones every night. He hasn’t tonight.”
Billy kissed her cheek. “Did it occur to you that he’s feeling the same? That he’s as scared as you? We get scared too. I saw the way he looked at you, the way he stood so close to you. You’ve got to get over this crazy idea that you’re not good enough. You are.”
“Really? You’re not just saying that to make me feel better, are you?”
“There are times when I could just shake you. It’s the truth. If you weren’t taller than me, I’d … well, you know.”
She smiled. “I know.”
“Now, do yourself a favor. Call a taxi, go home, go to sleep and try not to get your knickers in a twist. What happens will happen. Love isn’t supposed to mess you up inside, it’s supposed to make you feel good.” He stepped back. His eyes glittered in the spinning lights of the room. “Promise me that you’ll not get all churned up over this. Promise me that you’ll just let things happen.”
Grace looked at him. For once, he was serious. “All right, Billy. I will, I promise.”He grinned. “That’s my girl. Come on, I’ll get you a taxi. I’ll sort Jane out too. Go home and sleep.”