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The Game of Cat and Mouse

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Rhys didn't even realize what he had on until he was out in the public domain. Surely, it did not match. His tuxedo print shirt he hadn't worn but still washed since Junior year was wrapped tightly around his torso. The man hadn't realized how much it had shrunk. His sweatpants were baggy on him and threatened to fall off at any given moment. Rhys had to tie around the front and tuck it behind itself. His shoes were sketchers. His fashion sense was currently terrible.

He was more nervous about the upcoming event to focus on his anxiety sourcing from the weird looks his coworkers were possibly giving him. Rhys paced hesitantly to Yvette's apartment. His knuckle raised as he contemplated just going home instead of doing this and dealing with the wrath of the requistionist at a later time. It wasn't until he heard the faint sound of Vaughn laughing did he press down on the flimsy oak door that separated the hallways of Hyperion and the private living area.

Yvette opened the door, hands on her hips and a squint in her eyes. "Well, glad you could join us," Yvette spoke impatiently. However, it wasn't a mad impatient. Her tone was dazed and perky. She had started without him.

"Sorry. I couldn't find anything to wear." Rhys gestures at his outfit and groaned at the thought of how idiotic he must have looked in a third-person point of view.
"Don' worry 'bout it." Yvette giggled, closing the door once Rhys entered. Towards the kitchen bar counter perched Vaughn. He was holding an unopened bottle of some sort of ale in his hands.

Rhys noticed how tightly Vaughn grabbed at the glass exterior. He could've sworn his knuckles were turning white. It wasn't until Rhys sat next to him did Vaughns clutch notably ease. "You made it." Croaked the shorter man.

Rhys gave a nod and smiled. "Wouldnt miss it for the world. You know me. I'm a party animal."

"After we start work, I can assure you that you'll never hold that title again."

Rhys looked out of Yvette's window out into the depths of the space surrounding them. The glow of the stars and the tint of the surrounding planets' glow set forth an easy feeling for Rhys.

"I'm nervous about drinking." Vaughn confessed, "I mean. I've been around people that drink. Some are really, really happy... others..." Vaughns' face grew dark, "Others show a side of them you never knew they had." There was an awkward silence before Rhys gathered the courage to clamp a hand on his friend's shoulder.
"You don't have to start big. A few beers probably won't do much... Besides, if you feel it's getting to be too much or you start acting dramatically out of character, we can always just sober you up with some ice down your shirt."

"Don't you dare." Growled Vaughn, though he added a smile.

It wasn't long until Yvette came stumbling over to the two, a bottle of Irish Whiskey in her hand. She must have had a few taste tests before her guests arrived because Rhys was starting to see how different Yvette was acting.

"Hey, you two." She sang, "Y-Yall wannsome this?" She held out the bottle and shook it a little, giggling at nothing.

Rhys shrugged and took the bottle from his friend's hands. This wasn't his first rodeo so it wasn't as intimidating. He raised the bottle to his lips, his nose taking in the strong smell of what was similar to Hydrogen Peroxide. One he opened his mouth and raised his head to take a swig. The Whiskey sure tasted like it too. The sensation of the liquid burning Rhys' throat and tightening his airway a little was relaxing. That was until he coughed from the after effect.

Vaughn looked at the alcohol nervously. "C-Can I maybe have some?" He bounced his leg up and down and was visibly anxious once again. "I'll take you up on your monitorization deal... it's not like we need a designated driver in a space station."

Rhys reluctantly handed Vaughn the bottle, prepared to pat him on the back if he choked. As Vaughn raise the liquor to his lips, he clamped his eyes shut and did it as quick as he could. The only thing he did wrong was take way more than he should've. It was only into his third or fourth sip did the man decided to give up. To nobody's surprise, Vaughn gasped for air and coughed and Rhys patted his back.

"You good?" Rhys asked, leaning forward to try and get a glimpse of Vaughn's face. All Vaughn could do in that current moment was nod. It took a good minute for his lungs to realize they weren't being filled with liquid.

Yvette snickered at the small man's reaction to the awful tasting liquor. "If you don't like that, I got others." She slurred, "They're really... really good."
Rhys eyeballed the businesswoman and raised a brow, "You sure you're a requisitionist? You should be a taste tester instead." There was no effort given to hiding his sarcasm.
"Oh, ssssshutup." She leaned against the counter for a means of support, "If I wanted to hear some dollar store Jackass tell me what I can and can't do, I'd ask you." The mean undertone given made it hard for Rhys to remind himself that Yvette was intoxicated. She didn't know what she was saying.

Vaughn cleared his throat and got up. "Yvette. Calm down. He was just joking." Rhys smiled at his defendant, but he was getting a scoop of the dish too, "Rhys. Quit being an ass."
Folding his arms like a toddler, Rhys whirled around in the stool and just spun for a few seconds. "What else you got? Vodka? Maybe some Rum?" His lips curled into a sweet smile, "Ah, how I miss the days of pineapple juice and some Malibu." Is that a girly drink? Maybe. But Rhys didn't care for the "putting hair on your chest" drinks. If he wanted to feel like acid was being poured down his throat, he would've drunk the tap water provided poorly by the space station.

"Box' over there." Yvette pointed to a corner with stacks of pizza boxes. Around them were three empty bottles of the same Irish Whiskey he was offered.

"Jesus, Yvette. You had this all just tonight?"

Vaughn noticed what Rhys was talking about and swiped the bottle of alcohol from Yvette's unsteady hands. "No more. Who knows how many drops until you end up blacking out?" Lacking the strength to do anything, Yvette just leaned against the counter and giggled to herself.

Rhys opened the stack of fake delivery boxes. It was intelligently planned out. Whoever had manufactured the hiding compartment did a good job of making the exterior look realistic, the top blending in so well it was hard to find the opening. Inside was the hole with several different types of alcohol in a very carefully cut out hole. Whoever was offering this as a sales product must have been making bank.

Rhys found an eight-ounce bottle of some strawberry shortcake flavored Vodka. It was always good to try something new, the salaryman thought. As he opened the top, the smell of strawberries and cream with a mix of alcohol hit him in the face. It was both an alluring and a strong smell. It wasn't until the man had taken a good sip did he decide if he wanted to continue.

The alcohol had the same burning sensation as any other would. This one though had the very elevated taste of strawberries and shortcake. Rhys found himself taking an alarming amount in such little notice.

Amid his intoxicated friends, Vaughn sat there in pure silence. Watching Rhys take the bottle like a champ was enough to get Vaughn up onto his feet. "I've got some reports I need to do for my new boss. I'll leave you guys to celebrate."

Before Vaughn could manage to reach the exit in his hurried state, Rhys grabbed him by the shoulder. "Is everything okay, bro?" He wasn't as wired as Yvette, but his eyes were glassy and his face flushed a deep maroon. The heat of his hand against Vaughn's shoulder would've signified intoxication without a visual perspective.

"As I said: I've got a report."

"Man. Why is all you ever do is work?" Terrible English.

"What?" Vaughn raised a brow, turning his body to look at Rhys, "What are you talking about?"

"All you ever do is type away at your desk or write your thesis statements or whatever." Rhys replied flatly, "You never want to do anything with us that's remotely fun. I don't know why. Are we just that bad." Yvette was too into her laughter to defend Rhys.

Vaughn's brows furrowed and his fists clenched a little. Despite showing anger physically, the look in his eyes showed hurt. "Or maybe I'm just not as arrogant as you guys are! You're getting drunk on our first night of work, Rhys! If word gets out, how do you think you'll be taken?" There was a huff of anger as Vaughn backed away, "You want to talk about being professional and mature? What about this exactly is professional and mature? Making sure you don't get alcohol poisoning?" Vaughn had never been this much of a critic, especially to Rhys.

"Vaughn... I-"

"Save it for when you're sober, Rhys. I'm going home."

With that, Vaughn disappeared into the hallways of Hyperion, the door slamming shut. Rhys turned to Yvette, who was startled by the crashing of the entryway. "What did you do?" She asked, rubbing her eyes. The alcohol was now making her extremely exhausted.

Rhys shrugged and took another good swig. He was angry with himself for sure. But Vaughn was right. He'd have to apologize when he was sober.
It didn't take very long for Yvette to call it a night, telling Rhys to go home and rest. When he tried to mention the Vaughn situation, all he got in response was a "He'll get over it." Rhys was buzzed enough to believe it.

Rhys stumbled his way home, contemplating going to Vaughn's place and apologizing. At least he wouldn't have to suffer too long with a lecture.
When he walked into the pitch-black living room smothered in clothes, he collapsed on the couch and closed his eyes. His eyelids grew heavier and heavier the more he looked into the nothingness of the room.

Live now, suffer later. That's what Rhys told himself as he drifted into a very heavy slumber.