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Lucy’s heels clicked across the linoleum floor of the bar. Let them look, she thought, ignoring the curious stares of the clientele. They were of no consequence to her.

‘A large glass of Merlot,’ she said, her eyes not making contact with those of the barman.

She climbed upon a stool, her long fingers wrapping around the stem, finding comfort there.

She lifted the glass to her lips, the sweet scent of dark cherries and plums seducing her nostrils, the familiar raw desire catching in her throat. God, she needed this. After the day she’d had. To face what was coming next.

‘Stood you up, has he, love?’

Lucy turned to the man at her side; late twenties, wayward hair, kindly eyes.

‘What? No, I’m not waiting for anyone.’

‘You up for some company then?’ he asked, one corner of his lip upturned.

Lucy put the glass down, the moment spoilt.

‘No. No, I’m not. Thanks.’

‘Hey love, don’t go. I didn’t mean anything by it. What about your drink?’

‘You have it,’ she called over her shoulder, eager now to leave the place.

Outside, she breathed in the cool night air and dashed across the road to the building with the red peeling paint on the door. She climbed the stairs, eased open the door and took her seat, acknowledging with a small nod of her head the others.

She steadied her breathing, paused a moment, before standing up, her cheeks colouring slightly and said,

‘Hello, my name’s Lucy and I’m an alcoholic.’

By Jill

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