The rest of the week passes in a blur. Adam tries hard to talk me out of my slump, but I can’t stop thinking about Bash. He hasn’t texted me at all this week. Even worse, Kaleb has been avoiding me as well. He’s come to school even less lately. And when he is at school, he looks exhausted and runs down. I wonder what’s going on with him, but I can’t bring myself to talk to him either.
When Friday rolls around, everyone is talking about Olivia Connors’ party. Apparently, it’s going to be the party of the year. Adam’s going and he invited Cameron, the girl from the bowling alley. He asked me to come along, but I said no quick. The last time I went to one of Olivia’s parties hadn’t turned out well.
I’m sitting in my car staring up at my house, afraid to go inside. Leo isn’t home. He left me a voice mail earlier saying he wasn’t even sure when he was going to be home. He even made a note, like always, saying that he had a police officer patrolling the area tonight. I don’t know how he has so much authority in the police station, but I’m thankful for it. I’m still a little freaked about what happened the other night. I haven’t talked to Bash, but Adam was sure it was him.
I finally get out of my car and step into my silent house. Nowadays, the silence is loud and deafening. I wish I could shut it out. Silence leaves too many holes in my mind to let in the dark thoughts. I power on my stereo to drown out the silence and my music streams through the house. I plop down at my desk and start sorting out the edge pieces to a puzzle Leo bought me a while back. He said that it would help my mind keep occupied. Sometimes I wish I was like my puzzles: with all its pieces matching up perfectly. Instead, I was like a puzzle that had too many pieces missing to ever be whole again. It was starting to become overwhelming.
I finally give up on the puzzle and try to get some homework done. I can’t even focus on the math equations though. I scribble down some incoherent answers and push my notebook away. I need something else to get my mind off tonight.
My phone buzzes to life and I’ve never been so relieved. I pick it up quickly to see a text from Adam. He’s once again begging me to go to Olivia’s party tonight. He even promises that he won’t leave my side all night. I don’t him to promise that though because he’s bringing Cameron along with him.
I think it over a moment, but end up saying yes. I stand to my feet and stand in front of my closest to try and find something to wear. I picked out my favorite blue off the shoulder tee, a pair of black skinny jeans, and my black Vans. I curl my hair easily and do my makeup dark.
When it’s time to leave I lock the front door behind me and walk towards my car. I plug my phone up to the speakers and play my favorite song. I’m determined to make tonight a good night. I’m not going to let my current situation drag me down.
Olivia Connors’ house isn’t far from mine. When I reach the house, I find a parking place and take in a deep breath. I lock my car up as I step onto the cracked driveway. Olivia’s house is packed like it was last time. Her yard is already littered with red plastic cups and drunk teenagers. When I step into the house, someone screams from upstairs and then rides a trash can lid down the stairs.
It doesn’t take me long to spot Adam. He’s sitting on the couch with Cameron close to him. She’s laughing at one of his jokes. Adam notices me then and turns his attention to me. He stands to his feet and hugs me quickly.
“You made it!” He beams. Then he turns back to his date. “Cameron, have you met Greer?”
She nods slowly and puts a fake smile on her face, “yeah, briefly.”
“Hey.” I wave to her.
“Can I get you something to drink. No alcohol, of course.” He offers.
“No, it’s okay. I can get it.” I tell him and disappear into the crowd. It was quite clear that Cameron didn’t want me around. She was the kind of girl that wanted Adam all to herself. I feel bad for my friend because if Cameron gets any more possessive, I know it won’t work between them. Adam has made it known on several occasions that I was important to him. He wasn’t the kind of person to just ditch me for a girl.
I slip through the crowd and step into the kitchen. I maneuver my way around several people to get to the island where the drinks are spread out. Once I finally do, I pop the tab of coke and pour it over ice.
“Greer!” A voice that I’d compare to nails on a chalkboard yells over the crowd. I groan and I have to fight the urge to pour something harder into my soda. Olivia is wearing her usual club attire: today it’s a pair of skin-tight jeans and a shirt that might as well be considered a bra. ”So glad you could make it!”
“Where’s your usual posse?” I ask her as she shows up in front of me alone.
“They’re around here somewhere.” She laughs. “What about you? Where’s your too-hot-for-you boyfriend.”
I clench my jaw to keep from yelling and take a deep breath, “He couldn’t make it.”
She studies me a moment before letting out a rich laugh, “He dumped you, didn’t he?”
I say nothing. I know she can read the answer on my face.
“I knew it. I knew it was only a matter of time before that happened.” She laughed harder. “There was no way you could keep a boy like that.”
“Would you leave me alone, please?” I beg.
“No, I don’t think so. You’re at my party after all.”
“Fine, I’m leaving.” I turn around and head for the door.
“Yes, run, Greer. You don’t belong here, nerd. You never did.” Her taunting voice follows me. “It’s time you realize that.”
I’m at the door in a second. Adam notices me run by and he calls my name. Olivia laughs as I throw open the door. My feet hit her front stairs two at a time. Tears are streaming down my cheek. I’ve officially hit the breaking point. My emotions were washing over me like a tidal wave and I couldn’t stop them. I’d taken one punch too many.
Adam still calls after me, but I ignore him. I slip into my car and power it on. I throw it into drive and peel away from her house. I knew it wasn’t a good idea to come here. Especially in the mindset that I’d been in.
My phone starts ringing a moment later. I ignore it without hesitation. I know it’s Adam calling to ask what happened, but I can’t even talk to him right now. My speed is above the limit, but I keep going faster. I barely know where I’m going, I’m just driving.
But apparently, my subconscious had been directing me somewhere.
Once my car’s in the park, I stare up at the house that I’d driven to: Kaleb Nixon’s.
My feet carry me from my car and up his driveway. Kaleb’s Mustang is in the driveway, but Irene’s car isn’t. My knuckles rap against his front door without hesitation. I hear movement inside the house. Someone curses and I recognize Kaleb’s husky voice. The door pulls open a moment later. His hair is a mess like he’d just woken up. He’s shirtless and wearing sweat-pants low on his hips. In any other circumstance, I’d enjoy the view. Right now, my vision was blurry with tears.
“Greer?” Kaleb looks behind me and then brings his worried gaze back to my face. “What happened? What’s wrong?”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know where else to go.” I sob.
He doesn’t even question me. He steps aside and ushers me into his dark house.