"Happy Hour" is a follow up to another short story, "Rehab" - I'd recommend reading that first to get to know the characters a little.
Her dress was ruined. It hadn't cost much, and it was hardly as if she didn't enjoy buying new clothes, but still. Was it that hard not to get blood everywhere? Seemed to Mallory that Seth never spilled a drop of vodka, but when it came to the red stuff he became a dribbling child. She never could stand messy eaters.
"Calm down," she told her reflection. She knew this was just one of those moments that transpired in a relationship, where every single thing her husband did, and the way that he did it, felt like it was done with the sole purpose of driving her crazy.
"Breathe," she said to herself. The hot, nauseous sting of irritation, so much worse in its own way than real fury, began to abate. Mallory tried to think of something positive, and found it when she remembered that at least they hadn't killed this one. Knowing Seth he probably wouldn't have minded, but she'd stopped before things went that far. Ever since the pretty redhead, going all the way had bothered Mallory.
"You alright in there, sweetheart?" Seth's voice through the door almost sounded like it belonged to someone else.
"Fine, baby," she called back, swabbing her dress uselessly with a damp cloth. "Out in a minute."
By the time she emerged from the en suite, Seth had expertly cleaned and patched up the neck of the tattooed, peroxide-blond young man who had offered himself up to them so willingly, and was now reclined on the king size bed. He had a pretty face, softer than the anchors and swallows that decorated his lean torso might suggest. Mallory could see straight through the ink and piercings; anyone with a place this nice, with a bathroom that big, wasn't an outsider. He was a daddy's boy. That biker jacket slung over the bottom of the bed probably contained an iPhone and the keys to an Audi.
"Ready to go?" Seth asked. Mallory nodded. She wanted out of this dress. The pale sheets on the bed were spotted red.
"Try salt water," she told the boy.
"Bye, Billy," Seth called out from the doorway.
"Bye," the boy said. "Wait, what? My name's..."
"Anybody who tries so hard to look like that," Mallory said, indicating his lean physique and bleached hair, "has earned the right to be called Billy."
All that got her was a blank look. God bless him; he was probably oblivious to who Billy Idol actually was.
"Get some rest," she suggested, fishing around in her handbag. "And take a few of these." She tossed him the little bottle of iron supplements she bought a few weeks ago for just these occasions.
"You're so thoughtful," Seth took her hand in his as they made their way down the stairwell. "How about we go get drunk then fuck 'til dawn?"
"Drinks are on you," was her answer.
It was going to be one of those nights. She knew it straight away. The awful kind, where it didn't matter how much she had to drink, she was never going to be able to relax. Seth had no such problem, of course. He rarely did. He sank vodkas and caressed her thigh while she couldn't stop thinking about the red marks on her dress and the young man they'd shared like a platter of nachos.
"Honey," she whispered in his ear, then repeating in a louder voice when it became clear he couldn't hear a word: "I'm really tired. Why don't you have a couple more drinks and I'll see you at home?"
He nodded, and kissed her goodnight. But Mallory had no intention of going home.
She retraced her steps with minimum effort, arriving back at the apartment only a few hours after she and Seth left together. After knocking on the door, she very nearly turned and left. But she didn't. She waited, feeling rather conspicuous and out of place; a woman in a soiled dress, obstructing an otherwise perfectly respectable hallway. Then Billy answered the door.
“You're back,” he said, and she could imagine that for a moment he feared she'd returned to finish him off.
“I'm back,” she said, and stepped forward. She could see him suppress a flinch, but he didn't move. She reached out slowly to brush his bottom lip with her thumb, something Seth had done earlier that evening, right before sinking his teeth into the youth's throat. He had drank, and drank, and the young had man just let him. Wincing, and occasionally crying out in pain, but not resisting.
“What...” Billy said, in the here and now, “what do you want?”
Mallory lowered her hand and placed that same thumb just between his jeans and his belt buckle. When she leant forward to kiss him, he didn't flinch at all. He wasn't afraid of her any more. She wondered if he could taste his own blood on her as their tongues tentatively met.
She guided him to the bed, just like she and Seth had done earlier, and pushed him down. He fumbled with his belt while she unfastened her dress. His jeans barely made it past his knees before she was on top of him; the skirt of her dress rode up around her waist while the upper half slid down, revealing her pale breasts.
It only lasted a couple of minutes. While Mallory kept her eyes fixed on Billy's tattoos, he stared openly up at her. When he came, she covered his mouth with her own to halt the moans. Then she stood up.
"You're all bloody," he said after she had pulled the dress back up over her shoulders. He was right; the stains from earlier had already faded to the colour of rust, and something milky had seeped into the hem. Warm just a moment ago, it grew cold against her leg.
“Yes,” she said quietly. “I am.”
Mallory knew she'd have to get rid of the dress now. She should have known better than to wear white.