One Feeling

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The After Party

I peeped at Jaxon's GPS and saw that we were three minutes away. My heart rate wasn't calming down and I could feel my face getting red. I looked outside the car window and watched the cars speed past us. I tried staring at the intricacy of the trees, but night had fallen, and the trees could only be seen when the headlights of the cars highlighted them. I calmed with the sound of the car's engine and the sound of the tires brushing against the asphalt at high speeds.

When the car stopped, I slipped out of my daze and saw that we had pulled into Jaxon's house. It was bigger than I imagined it would be. It was two floors and was adorned with a large wrap-around balcony that was furnished with an array of rocking chairs and benches, as well as dog beds for a dog I presumed they had. The white barn-style clapboard that surrounded the house made the house look clean.

As I stepped out of Jaxon's car, I saw the others pull up in their cars. I waited awkwardly next to Lia for the others to exit their cars and for Jaxon to finish up whatever he was doing in the trunk of his car.

"What's up, bitches?" Michael yelled as he neared Lia and pulled her into a quick kiss. I studied the peck closely, wondering what the hell they saw in each other. As they parted from the kiss, Michael wrapped his left arm around Lia's waist as his other held a six-pack of beers.

I gave him a quick smile before I replied, "All's good. What about you?"

"Just ready to get fucking wasted. Summer's ending, George," he replied quickly. I had no fucking clue as to why he had decided 'George' was a good nickname for me. We weren't at the 'nickname level' of friendship. Hell, I barely knew the guy.

I nodded at Michael and diverted my attention elsewhere. I quickly peered at Jaxon who now had a bottle of vodka in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other. I think tonight they would find out that I've never drunk before.

"Everyone," Jaxon yelled loudly, "The party has started. Bring your booze and get ready to get as shit-faced as possible." He handed his two bottles to Zoe and ran towards his front door. Everyone followed him and waited as he tried to find the key to open it up. A minute or two later, everyone was settled in the living room of Jaxon's lavish home.

It was as if we were all waiting for someone to tell us what to do because we were all silent. Some indulging in the variety of booze available, others, like me, watched silently.

"Okay, let's lighten up the mood," Zoe said in a tone that could only mean one thing: she had something planned.

"Yeah, let's lighten it up people," Willow repeated loudly. Willow was like a leech in my life. She was a blood-sucking bitch who just wouldn't let go. I don't know how people even dealt with her for more than two minutes because with one sentence, I'd already felt like I'd had enough.

"I think people will warm up in a minute, babe. Let them get a little tipsy before you try to play truth or dare," Jaxon interjected. He followed his remark with a light chuckle and warmly rubbed Zoe's back. It was one of the few times I had seen Jaxon act caringly towards Zoe. In all honesty, I had no idea what she saw in him. She said he was different from all the douchebags she'd dated before, but I saw little change. For once, it wasn't a white, blonde basketball player; it was a white, blonde football player. I'd always kept my thoughts on her love life private, and this time would be no different.

The party continued, and Jaxon's prediction was correct. The more people drank, the wilder they got. The party spread throughout the entire house and the laughter and shouting of people could be heard from every direction. Like in the car, Jaxon had put on some rap music, making the speaker-covered house vibrate with each hit of the bass.

"Not much a drinker I take it," Jacob remarked as he walked closer to me. He had a smug smirk and a half-drank beer in his hands.

"No, not really," I quickly replied in a slightly annoyed tone, hoping he would get the hint that I didn't really feel like talking to him. I think it's safe to say Jacob and I have never seen eye-to-eye on pretty much everything, and our silent rivalry wasn't met with such a formality as saying 'hello' at a party.

"I wasn't one either," Jacob continued, "but sometimes it's better to go to the dark side." He smirked at me and walked away.

I wanted this party to be over. The music was so loud I felt like I was mere minutes away from becoming deaf, and watching drunk people dance and make out wasn't that entertaining. I stood up from the couch I had been sitting on and walked slowly towards the kitchen to grab a bottle of water. As I neared the fridge, I was stopped by the mumbling I heard in the pantry.

"No one can know about this," a girl's voice mumbled. I tried to decipher whose voice it was, but it was too low for me to recognize.

"It's a secret forever," replied a manly voice. Different scenarios ran through my head of what the mysterious voices could be talking about. Was someone pregnant, or maybe someone was cheating?

I stood in place for a long time, hoping that they would come out of the pantry, but much to my dismay, no one did. I called it a lost cause, grabbed my water, and headed downstairs to the basement. In the stairs, I saw Paine, one of the only people at this party I, sort of, enjoyed.

"Hey, Paine!" I said in a cheery tone as I smiled at him.

"Hey, G," he replied quietly.

"I'm heading downstairs, wanna come?"

"Sure," he said as he turned around to go back down the stairs. It was my first time in the basement and not much was different from the living room.

"Let's sit over there," Paine yelled into my ear as he pointed to the empty loveseat. The music was louder than it was upstairs, making the yelling seem like nothing but a soft whisper.

We moved to the loveseat where we sat awkwardly, waiting for the other to start the conversation.

"You know what classes your taking this year?" Paine yelled again.

"Yeah, I think everyone does," I jokingly said. Schedules had been released two weeks ago, so I knew every class period by memory now.

"I mean, yeah," Paine chuckled as he pulled out his phone and scrolled through his photos until he found the screenshot of his schedule. I took the phone out of his hands and examined his schedule.

"Hey, we've got two classes together," I said to Paine with a smile on my face, "Calculus and Physics." I was pleasantly surprised that Paine had decided to take another year of Calculus since barely anyone else was. For most people, the class was hard, but for me, math was fun and maybe for Paine, it was, too.

"Oh yeah," Paine replied as he pumped his fist in the air, "But I know you're taking so many more APs than I am. You're like obsessed with them."

"I just happen to like a challenge," I responded snappishly. "And I'm only taking five," I giggled lightly, not because what I said was funny, but because I needed Paine to know that this was all in good fun.

"Yeah, okay," Paine huffed with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. Was he really hurt that I took on more than he did? It's not like it mattered, he did better on standardized tests than I did. That's what colleges wanted to see, not someone who took the challenge but failed to meet the expectations.

"It's truth or dare time, bitches!" Zoe yelled at the top of her lungs. Everyone was quick to meet as they huddled around Zoe on the basement couch. Jaxon turned the music down and everyone's side-conversation whispers filled the new silence of the room.

"I guess we're a part of this," Paine whispered into my ear. I felt a slight tingle in my neck when he did so. I wasn't attracted to him sexually, but his presence always calmed me.

I threw my hands into an 'I guess so' gesture and diverted my attention to Zoe who was giving instructions on how this truth or dare game would go.

The beginning rounds of truth or dare were tame, but after a couple of rounds, the questions became more risqué. Why Willow asked Zoe "How many times have you and Jaxon fucked?" was beyond me. The dares also started becoming wild. Instead of 'lick Michael's armpit,' now it was 'make out with another girl for two minutes'. It was beyond me why boys found girls kissing each other hot, but that was a question for another day.

"Okay, Georgia, truth or dare?" asked Jacob with that annoying smirk of his painted on his face. This told me one thing: no matter what I chose, I was fucked. I pondered for a couple seconds what would be my best choice in this hellish scenario; the dare would probably be to get naked or something stupid (like always) and the dare was probably going to be super invasive into the intricacies of my life.

"I'll go with truth," I responded in a defeated tone. I slapped my hand on my thighs and reclined onto the couch as a signal for Jacob that I was ready for whatever he was going to throw my way.

"Ooh," Jacob remarked rapidly, "I want to know how far you've gotten sexually." Fuck. Of course, it was about sex. What is a teenage boy going to be thinking about except sex? I was quiet for a couple of seconds trying to decide if I was going to lie to all these people. I didn't want them to know the truth; I was embarrassed, frankly. What eighteen-year-old hasn't even kissed a boy?

"Come on just tell us," Lia whined. I needed to make a decision quick. More and more people bellowed their wants for me to answer Jacob's goddamned question.

"Okay, fine. If you must know," I reclaimed, trying to give myself a little more time, "I haven't done anything."

"Fucking hell," Jaxon cursed in a loud whisper. Everyone's facial expressions seemed to match Jaxon's words. Like I've said, it's not that common for eighteen-year-olds to be this far from losing their virginity. Hell, most of them lost it three years ago.

It took a couple of more rounds before everybody decided that truth or dare was over and that we needed to continue the booze-binge of a party. I'd fucked everything up.

Willow had gone off trying to find one guy that would give her the attention she craved. I wondered what drunk-out-of-his-mind guy was going to be making out with her tonight. Or maybe like last time, she would pay them to make out with her.

Zoe and Jaxon left the room, but their moaning could be heard from ten feet away. Now I kind of understood Willow's invasive question. These two bone every ten-fucking-minutes. I'm still waiting for Zoe to have her revelation that Jaxon is still not the guy she should be going for.

Lia and Michael were outside in the patio having a quiet fight. I don't know why they tried to pretend as though they never fought. If a person who has never been in a relationship knows this is toxic, it must be really toxic. Couples fight: just have the fight, resolve the issue, and move on.

Jacob and Paine had gone back to their respective homes, leaving me alone on the basement couch with my water bottle in my hand. Jaxon's rap music had been lowered, but its faint sound could still be heard. I found myself staring at my reflection on the TV in front of me and I started thinking about my life.

Everyone around me, all my so-called friends and my family had found someone to spend time with. No matter if it was a summer romance, another short-live relationship, or the love of a lifetime, they all found someone that mattered to them. And I hadn't found that, in a romantic or platonic sense. I didn't give a flying shit about these people. Sure, I was invested in their lives, but it was in a reality TV show, meddling way; not the way I was supposed to care about them or their feelings.

I snapped out of my thoughts with the creaking of the door and I turned my head to see what was going on. Zoe exited with messy hair as she held the comforter tight around her body. I smiled at her and saw her head towards the bathroom. I refocused on my reflection and an epiphany came to me at that moment.

I need fucking therapy.

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