"I think it might be time for you to go to bed."
"No, you shut up."
The door to Click's bedroom had defeated him much more easily than he had expected. The doorway had moved, he could swear it. He didn't though; that would be silly.
He was on the floor now, watching the light of his kitchen flicker on and off. Confused, he directed his queries towards Emily. "I am so drunk I can't even see when a light's on? It makes everything look shiny and then not so shiny much."
"No Josh, you just haven't been looking after your light bulbs," came the subtle quip at his expense. "Light, electricity, money, none of them are really your friends all that much anymore, are they?"
"Still got you."
Emily's face wandered into his field of vision, looking benevolently over him like his own personal guardian angel. She was smiling an uneven smile that warmed him in delicate places. "You're right," she told him, "you have still got me. I've known you longer than pretty much everybody but my mother now; I don't want to go anywhere. Well, maybe a nicer flat somewhere. You want to come with me?"
"Can you afford it?"
Emily laughed at him. She had led him very well, but he was drunk, and that was technically taking advantage. Sleep was oddly welcoming to him for a man laying on a cold tile floor, but Emily held his attention well with her thighs. In the next moment, she was kneeling down beside him, bringing her face much closer to him and once again offering that heartwarming smile. "You most certainly need to go to bed and get some sleep. You're seriously drunk, and you have a lot to do when you wake up in the morning."
The concept of sleep, as consoling as it would have been, wasn't one that Click fancied, since it would mean that Emily would be going home. Also, sleep meant less day left, and more tomorrow quickly. Click didn't want tomorrow to come. In fact, if time had the common decency to just go backwards a bit to the point before he had invited Julia down to fix his problems. His problems had been his own, and now they were shared and obvious.
"Sleep sucks," he told the air. "The morning sucks. Work sucks."
"No, we're not going to do that," Emily said, with another little laugh. Before he had seen it happen, her hands had wrapped around his waist, and he could feel her lifting him up far more easily than his masculinity would have liked. "We're going to get you to bed, and to a pleasant and calm sleep so that you can wake up in the morning careful and raring to go out into the big bad world again."
"It's a very very bad world, you know," muttered Click.
"Of course I know, now come on, help me out here."
"I don't get it. You're the one who gave me all that to drink and now you're all upset that I'm drunk," whined Click, in full awareness of his tone and temperament. "Now you're wanting me to go to bed, and you're going to leave. That's two things I don't want. You need to make me a deal, or owe me something really big if you want to get what you want out of me."
"Honey, I always get what I want," Emily told him, the taste of Harmony on her lips.
"Not true, you give out what other people want. Profession or no, you give your happy away to people. I've seen it. I don't miss a...wait, where did you go?"
Emily's hands had vanished from his back, leaving a departing warmth behind. Her profile had also left his view, much to his surprise. A quick slam of the door gave him a clue as to where she might have gone. She had left him in silence, on the floor and with not even a slight explanation.
"I think it might be time for you to go to bed."
"No, you shut up. I'm not finished talking," the voice of fury was shouting over at Julia.
With Jerry beside her, Julia had left Bob and Danny's place with the intention of a social smoke. Jerry, as it turned out, was a constant and colossal smoker once he was drunk. Before alcohol entered his system, his pack would be barely touched, but all of that changed after a few drinks.
Dim had been waiting for them as soon as they had left the building. He was covered in mud, dripping wet, and seemed intent on becoming moreso. The canopy that sheltered Julia and Jerry from the rain while they indulged their drunken addictions was one that Dim was avoiding.
"You being here is royally p--sing me off," Dim shouted towards them both. Jerry had a hand in the doorway to keep it from closing, which would be a perfect escape should Dim become as violent as his shouting was threatening. "You're supposed to be at the Office, not being a prissy little maid directing the play with our stupid manager as a puppet. I want you to f--k off and go back to Matthew bloody Cooper so I don't have to see your face ever again. I knew he wouldn't have done it on his own. He's a f--king coward and that won't change, but you put him up to that crap!"
"Hey, just calm down now, Dim," Jerry said slowly, attempting to be the mediator. "I think we should-"
"Shut the f--k up! I don't care what you think and you deserve to go to hell you treacherous bloody leech!"
"You're so overdramatic," announced Julia, voice raised in laughter. "Does it really have to be somebody else who does all these things to you? Could it be that you're just undeserving of whatever good stuff does manage to come your way? The bad for the likes of you is still wonderful to others as it sounds to me."
"Butt out, you've got no business sticking your nose in here," Dim sent back at her. He was growling like an animal, gnashing his teeth and clenching his fists together tightly. There were no signs of calm, patience or sanity. This man was on the warpath, and people were more likely to get in the way than not. His muscles were tensing as though there were spasms flying through him completely at random. "You think you people can all just turn on me like that? Do you really think I'm just going to let it go and let you off scot free? Maybe you think I'm just going to spit and shout, but then go back to bed real pleasant and placid as anything? I'm going to f--k you over like you f--ked me over. I'm going to do exactly the same back as you've done to me, but I'm just going to take chunks out of your face instead of your work and money. You think you can just hire somebody else and nothing changes? You don't get to make the decisions - I make the decisions."
Dim had began to march menacingly towards them, his full weight on every footstep, slamming down into the ground where even Jerry and Julia could feel the vibrations. In response, Jerry was opening the door wider with one hand, while using the other to try and shift Julia behind him. Julia, of course, wasn't moving at all. One hand wasn't going to make her do anything that she didn't want to.
"We're not finished once I'm done either," continued Dim, enough cold rage in his eyes to terrify a sober man. "When I want to do something, that's what I'm going to do, and your stupid little pretty boy routine isn't worth s--t. First, I'm going to cave your face in, then I'm going to go up those stairs and see to your friends too. You're all going to pay, and no glass door is going to stop me. Are you afraid, Jerry? You should be. You got lucky earlier, but now I'm-"
Too close now for Jerry's liking, Dim faced a fast reaction before he was prepared. First, Jerry shoved Julia aside almost perfectly so that she would land on the floor inside the building. Then he released the hand holding the door open so that it would shut behind her, and took the three steps between himself and Dim at a sprint. He brought his fist forwards with all of the momentum that he had gained, but Dim easily stepped into the arc of the punch and smashed his forehead into the nose of his old guitarist.
In a horrible stroke of bad luck, Jerry was not taken down by this, but left with an arm sticking out as though to hug his opponent. This was Dim's next target. He wrapped his huge hand around Jerry's shoulder, squeezing it tight and holding his target in place. Then he went back to the face again with his free fist. One punch wasn't enough, especially in this close. Four didn't satisfy him, and the shouts of anger that came with each one stayed with Jerry for a long time afterwards.
Jerry now barely conscious, Dim flung him aside into the puddles of the street curb. Julia had only just managed to get to her feet with her head still swimming with alcohol, but she could see Dim's intention just before he put his bloody fist through the pane of glass that made up most of the automatically locking doors to the building. His own blood mingled with Jerry's on and between his fingers, but Dim had enough adrenaline pumping through him to walk straight on through the weakened pane that was left behind from the initial attack. There was shouting behind her, but it didn't quite register. She took slow steps backwards, but Dim had no trouble closing that gap with his superior stride.
This had been a bad idea. It was obvious now. She should never have bothered to help anybody when this was such an obvious result. Leaving Click alone would have been the single best thing that she could have done. Being her usual self would have been even better, but she had decided to try and be decent. The end result was either a severe beating or death, neither of which she truly looked forward too.
There were sirens now, outside. Something was going on, but she kept her eyes where they were until the moment that her back hit the wall, and the end of her potential escape.
As Dim finally reached her, Julia found herself missing somebody from much closer to home. The Firebrand building may have been cruel and annoying, but there were certain people there that she actually wanted to see again. This was as big a surprise as she had ever had. She didn't want to be hurt, and she certainly didn't want to die. In fact, she had no intention of dying. Julia Barratt was not the kind of woman who died at the hands of a great hulking brute with an IQ lower than spinach. Dim should be the one suffering, and she could most certainly make that happen. Physically was unlikely, but his was a life that she could, and should, altogether ruin.
With half a mind to shout the warcry of 'f--k Josh Curwen!', Julia bared her nails and aimed for the throat.