The bitter taste of lemon flowed through my mouth as I took another sip. I put the glass down on the stained table and stared into its cloudy depths. It seemed almost magical in that moment, the cloudiness half-concealing the bottom of the glass. That moment seemed to last forever until the bell rang and a chilly breeze blew in.
The Red Drilbur(named after Martha's shiny drilbur she caught as a child) was usually quite empty on a thursday evening. It was a struggling bar in eastern Driftveil city. The lowly lit interior had become my first home in many ways, from the always beaming owner Martha with her wide crimson smile to the quiet atmosphere that inhabited it. I knew every bartender by name and they knew me by name(unless they were new) : the constantly chilled out Rosie, shy(usually) but caring Pia and the enthuastic Mark. Bartenders seemed to come and go every few months, maybe they all leave for a better place, or maybe they just get fired. Whatever the case, new ones are always welcomed by me and the fellow patrons of the Red Drilbur. The place had always been a place for me to go and talk about my struggles and get away from it all. My first concert was here at 10, a local indie rock band who I still have their signed CD of to this day.
The newcomer entered quietly excluding the tinny bell that announced their arrival and turned everyone's heads to the door. Padding in through the wooden door he took a stool at the counter and asked Pia for a glass of water with little enthusiasm, she provided little back. Looking at them they seemed familiar somehow, short yet shaggy grey hair with a few strands of white adorned the head with a red beanie perched on top. They wore a heavy black jacket and grey pants with a silver belt round the waist, grey boots covered their feet and a gloved hand they held their glass of water. They looked tallish and had tanned skin. "Thanks." they muttered to Pia, in what sounded like an alolan accent after hearing them speak more. Draining the glass down and placing it on the counter they got off the stool and started looking around. "Thanks for your service, sir" Pia replied, she appeared confused at what the person was looking for.
With a piercing look in my rough direction, a realisation seemed to come over their face and they started strolling towards my table from across the room. The familiarity seemed stronger as i saw their face, gaunt red eyes with bushy black eyebrows and a hard mouth. I turned to Chomp, who was snoozing on my lap and wondered if she knew what was happening as she probably dreamt of food. Her fur looked to have hints of purple mixing in with the usual yellow, sighing, I hoped I wouldn't have to deal with hangry Chomp right now.
Reaching my table, the person brusquely sat in front of me on a faded armchair.
Taking their gloves off and placing them on the table, they offered their wrinkly hand out to me.
"Hello Marnie." speaking as if they knew me for years. I froze, a bit freaked out at how this guy knew my name as childhood memories tore at me begging me to remember who the fuck this person was.
"Ermmm, hi? how the hell do you know my name" Raising my voice slightly towards the end as it came flooding back to me. Holy shit, it was him?? I wondered how he found me for a second until I realised, oh yeah of course he told him where we where, guess he doesn't have much better to do.
He seemed to notice my expression of shock and chuckled to himself dryly, "Been a long time hasn't it?".
"Over 10 years, Nanu" nodding with annoyance.
Coolly nodding in agreement he said "You were so young then, must have been 6 or 7. Now you're all grown up, Chomp doesn't seem to have grown up though."
"I mean she hasn't got much bigger but err, she does have tantrums a lot less than she used to, maybe she's just getting lazy" I replied with a tone of indifference. "Anyway, what do you want from me I haven't seen you or dad in 11 years in person and now you turn up at my favourite bar and expect me to act normally and talk to you about my childhood memories???" I raised my voice a lot more than I meant to, bringing concerned stares from the 4 other people in the bar.
"No need to get angry."
" "No need to angry??", BULLSHIT he and you should be here right now helping me and mom, rather than sunbathing at his private mansion"
"Sorry, look you do remember it's your mother who took you away from him, he would not get a warm welcome if he had appeared on your doorstep right now."
"It wasn't HER fault he acted the way he did, and I don't need you to defend him Nanu." Nanu was his closest friend, I saw him a lot when I was younger and he was one of the better parts of living with him if i'm being honest. "Anyway, just because you were better than him doesn't mean you can do his dir-"
"That's not why I'm here, calm down Marnie."
"W h y a r e y o u h e r e t h e n ??" I was fed up with Nanu already, fuck had the years made me so bitter towards people I onced loved.
"Let me get the damn point and I'll tell you" That was the first time he had spoken more than a quiet word this evening. I noticed then his eyes seemed to be raw around the edges and he looked well, quite emotionally distressed. I would have snapped back at him angrily but I decided to listen.
"Marnie, it's about him. Not "dirty work" for him but him. You see he's, gone. dead." Tears welled up in his eyes as he edged the words out.
"My dad is, dead?" I spoke feeling confused, I thought he was in good health wasn't any older than 60. Wasn't like he was lacking for money or anything.
"You're not joking i" The fuck, I knew this day would come but I didn't know I would feel this conflicted about it. "I'm, not sure how to feel, he was a right bastard but."
"What he was is not why I'm here" Nanu articulated, clearly regaining some of his composure. Reaching into his jacket pocket he pulled out a white envelope and placed it next to my lemonade. "To my daughter, Marn(ie)" was inscribed on the front in neat black cursive.
"I don't want it Nanu"
"I can't make you want it but he told me specifically to give it to you."
"Yeah cause my mom would have spit in your face and told you to fuck off back to Ula'Ula"
"His thoughts exactly, please just take it I know you don't really want to but otherwise everything he did will go to nothing" he said pleading now.
"Listen I'm not taking this back to Alola, you take it right now or I burn it"
"GO AHEAD" I angrily exclaimed. I was done with both of these guys for the day. Chomp started to stir on my lap, yawning showing her razor sharp fangs.
"Please, I know you and Taylor are struggling. I don't care what you thought of him, he wanted to help you and her with this."
"Of course YOU would say that" Pondering my options I sat back and thought about what to do. I worked multiple jobs for Mom at the market and we still struggled to pay for our monthly costs. He had offered financial aid when Mom left him but she refused to take it, not like it would have helped in the long run but we had struggled for years to afford everything.
"How did he die anyway?" I questioned, out of genuine interest.
"Yes. In the coroner's report, I could give you a copy of it if you would accept something that simple."
"How is it not in the national news here yet?"
"Media hasn't found out yet, your dad wanted me to help make sure you got the will and news before the media did."
"How long has he been dead?"
"Not long enough for the media to find out."
If nothing else whatever he left to me and mom would help us get by a few more months. I sighed with annoyance. "Fine, pass me his will"
He picked it up gently and handed it to me. I slid it in a hidden pocket in my leather jacket. He stood up and put his gloves back on.
"See you later Marn", leaving a cutting of lined paper with his phone number on next to my lemonade. He started walking towards the exit.
"Don't call me that, but thanks Nanu. but don't ever turn up out of nowhere ever again" Chomp woke up and stood up at this, staring at Nanu intensely. "See Chomp knows it so you better not" Chomp nodded in agreement letting out an aggressive squeak.
"I'm not scared of a morpeko." He commented as he swung the door open and left the bar. The bell rung in agreement.
Taking a Pillowwy out of my top jacket pocket I popped it into Chomp's mouth before she got hangry. Necking the cloudy dew I picked Chomp up and went towards the counter, making sure to grab the stool Nanu didn't sit on.
Placing Chomp and the empty glass on the counter I lay face first on it. I regret accepting that I thought to myself. Pia watched me lie there for a few minutes then simply asked "You okay?"
"Kinda, kinda not. thanks for asking" Cocking my head up.
"It's cool Marnie, if you don't mind me asking wasn't guy part of Alola's island challenge somehow. I read it in a book somewhere a while ago and recognised his face."
"Yeah, ex-dark kahuna of Ula'Ula island"
"Huh didn't realise Nanu was that famous."
"I don't know is he?" I muttered, feeling worn out from everything.
"Hey if you ever need to talk to me don't feel wrong asking" she spoke while cleaning a beer glass.
The bar slowly filled out until it was only me, Pia and Chomp who was sleeping on the counter. Pia was probably my favourite bartender, we got along the most. She had medium length curly red hair tied back for work usually and shining golden eyes. She was about an inch taller than me and teased me constantly for it, she was also a few days older than me and teased me for it. Having turned 19 2 days ago while I had 2 days to go.
"What was that about your Dad, anyway?" Her question cut through the air and surprised me.
"It's okay no need to answer, sorry, that was rude I shouldn't do that."
"It's cool, you're allowed to do it for me. Anyway basically, he dead" I laughed dryly at it, tickling Chomps belly to her enjoyment.
"Wow, the Great Grimsley. Gone from this world." She lamented sarcastically, making a dramatic hand gesture.
"Never thought I'd see the day." Smiling at her sadly I picked up a sleeping Chomp and waved goodbye.
"See you on Saturday Marnie" Pia cheerfully shouted as I walked towards the door.
"See ya Pia" cheerfully shouting back as I opened the door into the harsh winter of Driftveil. Nanu really didn't look like he had enough layers for Driftveil to be honest, I thought as I left the Red Drilbur for my 2nd home to the sorrowful chime of the bell.