Chapter 6 | Valentine's Day
A total of two months have gone by, and thankfully, I haven’t had another run in with Jeremy.
Christmas break consisted of me lying to get out of going to Ethan’s, meanwhile trying to explain to both of them that I just don’t feel like going anywhere each time Liam or Ethan asks why. Luckily, they haven’t pressed me on the issue, and I spent my Christmas day lounging around with dad to keep him company in mom’s absence.
This was the first Christmas in my entire life, that sucked. Not having mom around, on top of constantly worrying about Jeremy, made it almost unbearable.
But, now that school is back in session, it seems as though things are finally returning to normal.
Today is Friday, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s also Valentine’s day.
Yes, that was indeed sarcasm.
I normally don’t mind Valentine’s day, but that’s usually because the group doesn’t celebrate it. We are all single, and all friends, so we normally just do our own thing.
Lexi, however, managed to meet a guy at the grocery store of all places. They’ve been on a few dates already, and she seems to really like him. His name is Carter, and all she seems to do is talk about him.
Liam and Ethan already gave Carter the rundown about how to treat their best friend. Although, Lexi is more so their baby sister in a sense, the same way that I am.
Regardless, that means that Lexi won’t be joining Ethan, Liam and I for our night out.
“I can’t believe you have an actual date for Valentine’s Day.” I sigh.
“Me either.” She shrugs. “But I really like him Dal.”
I watch as her eyes light up when she talks about him.
“Trust me, I know you do.” I smirk. “You are absolutely smitten.”
“Oh whatever. It’ll happen to you one day missy, and then you’ll understand.” She smiles wide and I shake my head.
“I don’t want, nor need that kind of drama in my life.” I laugh. “I’ve had my share of dates in the past, and there’s a reason they never worked out.”
“Yeah, because you’re too picky.” She scolds. “You need to just get out there and meet someone.”
“Don’t lecture me. I’m perfectly fine being single.” I say, pointing my finger at her. “If I really wanted to have a boyfriend, I don’t think it would be that hard for me to get.”
“Wow, someone’s conceited.” Lexi rolls her eyes playfully.
“You know what I mean.” I sigh with a smile. “I just don’t need that in my life right now.”
“How have you been holding up anyway? With everything?” She asks, her expression now serious.
“Eh, I’m alright.” I shrug. “Just taking things day by day.”
“Has you know who, given you any trouble lately?” She raises a brow.
“Nope. It’s honestly such a relief. I think I finally got through to him.” I smile.
“Good. He was totally starting to scare me for a bit there.” She grimaces.
“Don’t worry, if something happens, you’ll be the first to know.” I nod.
“Well duh, that’s because I’m the only one who knows.” She smirks.
“Whatever. Help me pick an outfit for tonight.” I say, getting up from my bed and walking over to my closet. School let out early today, so Lexi and I have been lounging around at my house for majority of the afternoon.
Ethan and Liam went over to a friend’s house for a bit, so they will be back in about an hour.
We normally all do dinner, and then a movie. Since Lexi isn’t joining us, I’ll be stuck in between dumb and dumber. One of my biggest pet peeves in the entire world are people who talk during movies and TV shows. Low and behold, Ethan and Liam both share that flaw.
“Why do you need to pick an outfit? Who are you trying to impress?” Lexi smirks, hinting at the fact that I don’t have a date and am only going to be with the boys.
“Can’t a girl want to look decent sometimes?” I deadpan.
“Alright, let’s see.”
Lexi gets up from my bed and helps me pick out an outfit. We settle on a pair of black high-wasted skinny jeans and a burgundy crop top with my pair of black sandals. I straighten my blonde hair and brush it so it cascades down my back. I apply light eyeliner and a fresh coat of mascara to my grey-blue eyes.
“You look hot.” Lexi smiles. “I’m jealous of your blonde hair and blue eyes.” She admits.
“Please, it’s so cliché. Everyone loves big brown eyes, which you totally slay by the way.” I smile back at my best friend. Nothing wrong with boosting each other’s confidence every once in a while.
Once I’m finished getting ready, I allow Lexi to borrow some of my clothes. She gets ready here at my place, and has Carter pick her up here.
We both hear a knock at the door.
“Girls, get down here.” I hear my dad shout.
“Your hot date is here.” I smirk and Lexi’s cheeks redden just a tint.
We both rush downstairs and see Carter making small talk with my dad.
“Dad, he’s Lexi’s date, not mine. You don’t need to interrogate him.” I sigh with a laugh.
Carter smiles over at Lexi and me once he sees us.
“I’ve known Lexi since she was a little girl. Since her father isn’t here at the moment, I’ve made it my duty to act as the father-supplement.” My dad says in all seriousness. I know he’s trying hard not to crack. He’s never been the serious one.
“Now son, I can assume you will have her home at a decent hour and no monkey business? She’s still innocent and pure, so do not change that in one night.” My dad points a finger at Carter and he tries his best not to laugh.
Meanwhile, Lexi’s eyes bulge out of her skull.
“Yes Sir, of course!” Carter is quick to respond. “No business of monkeys will be in the schedule for tonight. Promise.” Carter smiles and I know he’s trying not to laugh as well.
“Good. Now get going. Lexi, you look beautiful.” My dad smiles and Lexi gives him a quick hug before yanking Carter out of the house. I assume she didn’t want my dad to continue his insane, father-like rant.
“Bye guys! Have fun!” I shout with a wave. Carter turns around to give me a wave back, but Lexi is already pushing him into the driver’s seat of his car, before she runs and slides into the passenger seat.
Once I shut the front door, I turn to look at my dad who is smirking.
“That was fun. When are you going to get a boyfriend so I can do that more often?”
My eyes widen slightly, before I sigh. “Not going to happen anytime soon.”
“And why not?” He raises a brow as I follow him into the living room. We both take a seat on the couch as I wait for Ethan and Liam to get here.
“I just don’t have time for a boyfriend right now. It’s the end of senior year. Finals are coming up soon and graduation is right around the corner. I haven’t even put in any applications for college yet.” I rant, crossing my arms over my chest.
“Awe, sweetie. You need to relax. Your senior year is supposed to be fun. You have plenty of time before you need to worry about any of that.” My dad says, pulling me into his side for a hug.
“You know me dad, always the over achiever.” I joke while looking up at him. He laughs and I feel the rumble of it through our hug. I miss just spending time with my dad. It’s been harder to do so without mom. He’s always working, to keep himself busy.
I’m the same way, but with school. Anything is better than dwelling on the fact that she’s gone.
“Yeah, you’re a real golden child.” He jokes, and I fake a gasp.
“That was cruel.” I playfully pout.
Suddenly, the door swings open and in walks Liam.
“Hello family.” He smiles. “You ready Dallas?”
“Yes.” I turn and give dad another hug before getting up and following Liam to the door.
“Don’t be out too late kids.” Dad says and Liam gives him a salute before we leave and close the door behind us.
“Ready for a wild night?” He asks and I furrow my brows.
“What do you mean?”
Once we reach the end of the driveway, I see Ethan in the passenger seat, and someone else sitting in the back.
“We’re going to a party tonight.” He smiles wide.
“What happened to dinner and a movie?” I gape, but as I pull the back door open to climb inside, my stomach drops at the person sitting in the other seat.
“Hey Dal.” He smirks.
Oh no. Why him? Why now?
I suddenly lose the ability to speak, as I stand beside the curb with the car door still wide open.
“Are you going to get in or what?” Ethan asks from the passenger side seat. He’s looking back at me with furrowed eyebrows.
“I, uh, why are we going to a party? That wasn’t the plan.” I finally manage to say.
“Because it’s Friday night and there aren’t any good movies playing tonight.” Liam says in a ‘duh’ tone. “Just get in.”
I swallow the lump in my throat before I slowly climb into my seat. I shut the car door, and press my body as far up against the door as I can. Anything to be as far away from him as possible.
Liam begins driving as Ethan turns up the radio. Skrillex booms through the speakers as I try my hardest not to look over at Jeremy. I can feel his eyes on me the entire ride.
What the hell am I doing?
I should have stayed home.
Once we arrive at the party, I’m the first one out of the car. Jeremy thankfully didn’t try anything on the ride over, but just being in his presence alone is enough to put me on edge.
I’m walking alone down the driveway and up to the house as Ethan appears beside me.
“I’m sorry about this.” He says while placing his arm around my shoulders. “It was Liam’s idea.”
“You are allowed to say no.” I deadpan.
“Yeah but, he’s been wanting to party a lot lately. I think it might have something to do with your mom. He hasn’t said anything to me, but I can feel it. I tried to talk him into following our tradition, but he said traditions never last so why bother?” Ethan frowns.
Wow. I never realized how bad Liam has been hurting. I’ve been so caught up in the Jeremy drama, and my own emotions that I haven’t been paying any attention to my brother. I frown at the thought. He lost a mother too, it wasn’t just me. I suppose it’s been affecting us both differently.
“I’ll talk to him when I get the chance. Probably won’t happen tonight though.” I shrug. “Let’s just let him enjoy himself for now.”
“Deal.” Ethan smiles. “One condition though.”
“What’s that?” I smirk up at him, once we reach the entrance of the party.
“You have to enjoy yourself too.”
I think about that. How can I possibly enjoy myself knowing that Jeremy is wandering around in the same exact party? He’s capable of anything at this point. I can’t let my guard down.
I can’t tell Ethan that though, so I just nod and smile as we walk inside the house. I instantly smell booze and sweat so I sigh. Do people not know how to use air fresheners, especially when throwing a party?
“Follow me.” Ethan says, so I do.
We push past drunken teenagers until we finally reach the kitchen. “Drink?” He asks.
I’m hesitant, but decide I should at least have a few. There are plenty of other girls here to keep Jeremy occupied. I just hope they know how to stand their ground if things escalate into unwanted territory.
I swallow my first drink, and grimace as the alcohol burns my insides. The heat sores through my entire body, and for a second, I feel as though I’m having a good time.
Ethan and Liam are playing a round of beer pong, so I stand on the sidelines to watch. They are normally undefeated, but tonight, they have some pretty decent competition.
“Hey Dallas!” A girl from my biology class shouts as she approaches me. I don’t even know her name, if I’m being completely honest.
“Oh, hey, you!” I fake a smile. “How you been?”
I’m internally rolling my eyes at myself.
“Great! Glad to see you out and about. You haven’t been to a party in a while.” She smirks, her breath fresh with booze.
“Well, here I am.” I smile as I raise my hands.
“Come on, we should take some shots together!” She smiles eagerly, as she grabs my arm and yanks me away from the beer pong table.
“Um, I don’t think so.” I say, but she doesn’t hear me.
Thanks a lot, loud music.
Once we reach the kitchen, she pulls me over to one of the many countertops where a bunch of different alcohol bottles rest. She grabs two shot glasses, and then turns to me.
“Which one?” She gestures toward the many options.
“Jack is fine with me.” I shrug, knowing that I am not getting out of this.
She pours us each a shot, before handing the small glass over to me.
“Cheers, bitch!” She smirks while we clink our glasses together.
We each take our shot, and I wince at how harsh the alcohol is as it slides down my throat.
“That was amazing! Want to do another?” She asks.
“No thanks, that’s enough for now.” I smile, and she playfully pouts before nodding.
“Alright, cool. Let’s get back to the game!” She grabs my arm and yanks me through the crowd yet again. Once we reach the beer pong table, I see that Ethan and Liam are both taking a swig of beer.
I suppose they may become defeated tonight after all.
The final ping-pong ball is thrown, and just like that, Ethan and Liam lose.
“Fuck!” Liam shouts wildly. “So close!”
Both he and Ethan take their last swig of beer, and I can see it in their eyes that they won’t be able to drive tonight. I don’t think any of us will be able to drive tonight.
Speaking of, where is Jeremy?
Something is telling me I shouldn’t go looking for him, but the cloudier part of my brain is saying he may be our only ride home.
I wander off into the crowd of people, but can’t seem to find him anywhere. The alcohol is steadily becoming more apparent in my system, as I walk out of the front door.
Finally, I see Jeremy sitting outside alone near the curb of the road.
I manage to walk over to him, and I sit down beside him, letting my legs lay out straight in front of me.
He turns, and is almost surprised to see me sitting beside him. I’m surprised too.
“Hey.” He replies.
“Why are you out here?” I ask, turning to look at him. Since we’re both sitting down, we’re both at eye-level with each other.
“The breeze is nice. It’s too crowded and hot in that sweat box.” He gestures to the large house behind us. “What about you?”
“I came looking for you.” I say, and his eyes slightly widen.
“Are you sure it’s me you’re looking for? That doesn’t seem right.” He admits with a light laugh.
“Believe me, I know.” I half slur. “But the rest of us have been drinking, so it looks like you’re our designated driver.” I half smile, still looking over at the side of his face.
He finally turns his head and we lock eyes.
“Well, it’s a good thing I haven’t had anything to drink, or we would all be screwed.” He smirks.
“Eh, not really. They do have a thing called Uber.” I shrug, looking back down at my lap again.
Jeremy lets out a laugh before shaking his head. “You’re cute.”
As wrong as this is, I begin to blush.
And then, my drunken mind starts to reminisce.
“Remember when we were about eleven, and we pulled that prank on Ethan and Liam?” I smile, looking back over at Jeremy.
“God yes. Those idiots would’ve fallen for anything.” He laughs. “I can’t believe we convinced them that if they dyed their hair orange, the two girls from their class would finally agree to date them.”
“They went to school with orange hair for weeks!” I laugh. “Those two girls were repulsed!”
I accidently let out a snort, and that makes Jeremy laugh even harder.
Once the laughter dies down, I’m back to thinking realistically.
“How come you’ve been acting so different?” I ask in a hushed voice, “What happened to make you change?”
Suddenly, Jeremy’s eyes turn dark. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He shrugs. “But I must say that crop top does wonders for your body.”
My stomach drops.
“See! There you go again! One minute you’re perfectly normal, and the next you’re a total creep!” I sigh.
I go to stand up, but Jeremy wraps his hand around my wrist, pulling me back down.
Fear settles inside of me as I sit beside him once more. He pulled me closer to him, so our legs are now touching. He rests his large hand over my thigh, and keeps it there.
“I can’t help it, Dallas. I’m drawn to you.” He admits, his eyes clouding over as he watches me intently.
“But I don’t have feelings for you, Jeremy. Not at all.” I say, but that only makes his hand tighten around my thigh. It almost hurts, so I try to wiggle free from his strong grasp.
It’s no use. He’s too strong for me.
“Eventually you will Dallas. Eventually, you will.”
That’s all he says before he finally lets go of my leg, standing up. He reaches his hand out, but I don’t take it. I stand up myself and begin to walk away.
A few seconds later, his arm goes around my shoulders as he walks in step with me. “Let’s go get our boys and head home.”
I glare as we walk back up the driveway to the entrance of the party, but before we open the front door, Jeremy pulls me into his side as he whispers in my ear.
“I will have you Dallas, one way, or another.”