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A whiskey on a Rocky Start

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The glass door opens, causing a gust of briskly cold winter wind to rush in along with a petite girl, the traces of smoke cling lightly onto her white buttoned blouse and wild curls. To odd eyes she’d seem out of place in the big apple but to her she seemed out of place everywhere.

It’s loud in here, obnoxiously loud. As soon as she walks in a man talking to what seems to be his wife (since they wore the same matching wedding bands. tinted in shiny gold that wraps on the fourth ring finger on the left hand) looks up. Memorizing her slightly baggy ripped boyfriend jeans hungrily, she give him a disgusted look and hooks her thumb under the Caramel satchel that ran across her body taking one of the parlor seats. Her leather covered elbow holding the weight of her head as she waits to ask for her drink.

The neon sign behind the bartender blend into her big brown eyes for a second. Hopper’s going to be so pissed if he finds out she’s in this place, illegally. But she’s got a fake ID she’ll improvise. She snaps out of the thought when the the man in a bright yellow vest asks her what she’d like to drink.

“A Whiskey on the rocks” she answers, the bartender nods and goes to work on the beverage. She’s surprised for a moment, since he didn’t ask for any identification, but the place is packed the guy must be tired by now, or the liquid eyeliner is working wonders for a casual looking 18 year old.

She looks side to side, searching the faces that lined the stools, happy expressions, a few stressed, some flirty. Different people with different stories in the same place at the same time with different intentions. She sits there twidling her thumbs, she’s never been to a bar alone but it seemed like the right thing to do when she passed it. She was coming straight out of New York Public Library after stress had consumed her, due to all the essays and projects assigned with such a short deadline. the only thing on her mind after hours of work was.

“I need a drink”

She looked down at her creamy white hands and pretended to be normal for a solid thirty seconds, then she opened her satchel and took out a Dare Devil comic. “What's the point, these are all just some strangers” she convinces herself and gets sucked into the comic, almost missing when the bartender slide her the drink she had ordered. She gave a thankful nod, grabbed her drink and siping at the straw, she flips to the next page.

after she’s half way through the comic, all that’s sliding through the straw is the slight taste of ice with alcoholic residue. She calls the bartender and does a roll with her finger, like she sees the adults do in the movies. He nods and takes the cup and she’s proud of herself for looking so..Mature? Hopper would be proud, not about the bar thing, he’d be furious. But about her acting like a real adult, he had been hesitant about letting her go to Manhattan, it was an hour away from Hartsdale and the little house they had in the suburbs. But she gave him valid reasons and had promised to call. And El /never/ breaks a promise. So he let her go, even if he loses shit here and there when it’s four in the morning and she calls him “Just to talk” when the nightmares are intolerable.

And to be honest, she had been scared too. About making friends and passing classes. El was smart, absorbing information like a sponge, but when it came to communication with other people, her luck was cut short. But it had been okay, her dorm mate was nice and so were some of the people in her classes. inviting her to eat and go out. Sometimes she did, most times she didn’t, It didn’t feel…right? She just had too much on her mind to drown herself in alcohol before a big exam or really any class at all .

the bartender gives her the drink and she grabs it and drinks it, too sucked into her comic to pay attention to the warm body that takes the empty stool next to her.

“Dare Devil? What volume?” The voice asks, she doesn’t bother to look up

“Three.”

“ah, I love that one” he gives a little snort in the end, unintentionally. It’s familiar causing her to look up.

holy shit.

“Dustin” she breaths, and she knows he doesn’t hear it through the tapping of glasses and sounds of chatter. There’s no way in hell he knows what she just said.

She stares at him and he smiles in confusion. His cheeks have hallowed out showing off his jawline, and his hair was styled in short curls as he smiled his blue eyes crinkled, she’d only seen that smile on Dustin, but now he showed off his pearls of white teeth

“Holy shit, you have teeth” he didn’t hear it but he read it off her lips

That causes him to inspect her, the features of her face, something about the amber in her eyes and button nose remind him of Hawkins.

Wait

No it couldn’t be.

“El?”

She mutters a curse word under her breath but doesn’t break eye contact, he swings his arms around her in a tight hug and in an instant she hugs back just as tight. it’s a bit weird since their both still sitting.

After a second they let go, both eyes are a bit watery. God, he hasn’t seen her in what? Six /years/! They thought she was dead but she was here, alive and well.

“How are you here?”

She’s gulps but dustin keeps talking

“How are you alive?”

“I-“

“Holy shit the party’s gonna freak” the boy exclaims’

“No!” She puts her hand out

“No?”

She shakes her head “You can’t tell them, they can’t know I’m here or that you saw me”

he’s eyebrows scrunch up “Why?”

She sighs “it’s a long story”

Dustin looks back somewhere and El follows his gaze to a round table filled with her old friends and three other members (a boy and two girl), her heart drops when Will looks right at her with questioning eyes, she quickly turns away as if the sight burned her and starts to stuff the comic into her satchel

“Wait, El!” She plops a certain amount of cash on the counter and speed walks through sweaty body for the exit.

When she gets outside a big hand gently grabs her wrist causing her to turn

“Listen, I promise to not tell the others but I have to know what’s going on and then we work out how to tell the party”

She shakes her head

“Friends don’t lie, remember? Please just-“ he doesn’t finish, knowing El probably knows the rest, God this feels like a bad dream

(Or a good dream, she wasn’t entirely sure.)

She huffs and grabs a pen from her satchel, lessening the grip Dustin has on her wrist to write the dorms phone number on his arm.

“You Promise.” She states before she lets go, to which he nods and she does it back as they release eachother slowly.

After she whistles a taxi and says a “Nice to see you again, Dustins” and he returns it “same here El”

She gives a small smile and gets into the cab and Dustin walks back in after it drives away.

“How’d it do Dusty?” Max asks when Dustin plops into his seat

“Same old” he shrugs

And the subjects dropped with Lucas roaring in drunk laughter and a few giggles come from the girl snaking Mike’s arm lovenly.

Dustin downs the cup of copper colored whiskey in one shot, and shouts “ONE MORE ROUND”

Will eyes him for a second as his boyfriend snuggles him into his side. All Will knows it that Dustin,

Is a /terrible/ liar.