Seven minutes in Heaven
I lay in bed listening to the rain drumming against my window, it sounded loud enough to shatter the glass. My mind replayed Liam sitting up alone in the darkness of my tree house, legs hidden under a sleeping bag trying to cling onto any ounce of warmth in the mists of a thunderstorm.
He was up there right now, dangerous, cold, dark and alone.
What was he doing up there?
I could hear faint snoring sounds coming from the other side of my bedroom wall, my parents were asleep. Although I was tired there was no way my brain was going to shut off and let me sleep. I needed to speak to Liam. Throwing on my raincoat and grabbing the torch I snuck outside on a mission to get some answers.
The rain hasn’t slowed down at all and the lightning kept pounding through the sky leaving a glow of electricity in the night air. It was scary. Even scarier knowing I had to climb up a tree in all of this. I gripped onto the soggy cedar planks and kept climbing until I reached the top. Shining the torch into the darkness where Liam once sat all I saw was emptiness. Liam had gone.
Sunlight invaded my bedroom and I woke up disoriented, dreaming about haunting eyes ringed with sadness. I needed to speak to Liam, I needed answers. I needed to see if he was okay. Today was Saturday, I knew the soccer team would be throwing a party somewhere like they do every weekend after a Friday night win. I just needed to find out where.
Tia, where is the party tonight? You up for it? X
Always! It’s at Jordans tonight. Come round about 7, I have a dress for you! xXx
The waft of scrambled eggs and bacon hits me as I walk downstairs, more of moms delicious cooking, I’m not complaining, in fact it puts the biggest smile on my face and with a nod of appreciation I feel grateful that they are home. I tuck into my cooked breakfast at the kitchen counter and pluck up the courage to mention the party to my parents. Surely they couldn’t say no.
“Mom, I know we’re meant to have another movie night tonight but Tia has invited me to a party with her to celebrate the teams win yesterday. It’s okay if I go, right?” I tried to sound casual, not giving away the nerves I felt inside.
Her eyebrows raised in shock, I’m not sure if she quite believed I had asked her this question since I never go to the parties. “A party? It’s not like you to go to a party. Will there be boys and drinking there?”
What’s with the questions?
“Uh... yeah I think so. But I’m not going to be participating in any underage activities.”
“Oh I don’t know Olivia, I don’t think it’s appropriate we allow that. It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s just that I don’t trust others.”
Oh, so now she wants to play the parent.
“Mom, you leave me alone all the time. I could have any boy round, I could drink all the alcohol, heck I could even throw my own party but I don’t. I’m responsible, I go to school, maintain my grades and stay out of trouble. Besides I need to look out for Tia.”
I know by the reaction on her face that I’ve won her over. She simply nods in agreement because I’ve basically got her by the balls and I let out a sigh of relief knowing tonight I’m going to hopefully get some answers.
“You’ll look hot in this.” She dangled a light blue dress in front of me, 3/4 length sleeve, full lace and it came to just above my knees.
“Sure, it will do.” I didn’t care what I wore I just wanted to see Liam.
“That really brings your tan out Liv! Girl you look H.. O.. T hot!”
“Thanks” I smiled shyly at her as my cheeks flushed with colour.
We pulled up outside Jordan’s mansion, like Zak he lived in the wealthy part of town. Little shrubs and fairy lights lit up the front yard making it look beautifully elegant. I imagined important balls and galas taking place here. His front entrance was intimidatingly big, huge double doors surrounded by a marble framing and two expensive looking lanterns on either side.
“wow.” Tia took the words right out of my mouth as we both looked on in awe.
There were no people scattered around the lawn and no music pouring out of the open windows. I started to worry in case we were not at the right place. With shaking hands Tia knocked on the heavy, gold knocker. A small lady with a kind face opened the door, she appeared to be in some kind of cleaning uniform and I made the assumption that she was some form of housekeeper. Jeeze, Jordan has staff.
“Hi... um... we’re here for a party, did we get the right address?” Tia pulled together enough confidence and spoke for the both of us.
“All of Mr Peers guests are through the back entrance”
She gestured towards a big metal side gate which Tia & I cautiously went through. Following the faint sounds of a boom box we were led down a long path and into a field of beautiful flowers, a water fountain and more twinkly lights. The further into the garden we got the louder the music became and the more drunken teenagers we came across.
Music resonated out of an annex at the bottom of the garden, the windows glowed with moving, colourful lights and it was clear to see the party was taking place inside the building. Linking Tia’s arm in mine we walked through the singular door into a darkened hall, the only thing lighting the room was disco lights that bounced from the walls to the ceiling to the floor admitting patterns of colour in different directions. A huge DJ booth sat center stage and fog blew out of two machines on either side. Lining the room were large booths made up of purple leather sofas that curved round circular tables. It was clear this room was built for the sole purpose of hosting parties and events.
I glanced around the room looking to lock onto familiar eyes but I couldn’t see him anywhere. The room was chaotic with dancing bodies, people making out, beer pong, keg stands, drunk people puking into trash cans. Not my scene at all. It was getting too much, my anxiety was building and I needed to escape. Grabbing onto Tias hand I pulled her towards another door across the room.
We walked past the bathroom line and entered a door to the left of the corridor, it appeared to be a games room with a gigantic screen which covered across the whole entire back wall. Game consoles of every kind sat proudly on a unit close by and air hockey, Foosball and table tennis tables sat behind brown leather sofas. It was much quieter and contained less people, Liam being one of those people.
Everyone turned to us as we walked in, like we had entered a room that was out of bounds. Liam stood to the side of Jordan, Zak and Ben. If he reacted to me being there then it wasn’t obvious, but then again Liam is really good at hiding his emotions. A sly smile stretched across Jordans lips and I felt my own quiver knowing something was coming.
“Look who is here. Oooolllivvvveee.” He dragged the syllables of my name out in a drunken slur. Stumbling closer to me and wagging his finger in front of my face.
The cat was about to play with the mouse, I could feel it.
Liam stepped forward and placed his hand on Jordans shoulder. “Jordan” his voice was intimidatingly low and posed as a warning threat to Jordan.
“no.. no.. no.” Jordan slurred pushing Liams hand away. “Why you at my party prude?”
“I’m not a prude.” I defended myself. Jordan let out a monstrous laugh.
“Not a prude? Prove it.” His finger continued to wag in my face, I felt like bending it backwards and breaking it off. He’s such a dick. “Lets play a tiny game.” He closed his index finger and his thumb making an ‘o’ shape with his hand to emphasis the word tiny. I tried to keep my face impassive in an attempt to prove Jordan wasn’t getting to me. “Seven minutes in heaven.” he blurted out.
I scoffed. “Isn’t that what kids play in middle school.”
“Yeah because they’re less of a prude than you.” he replied with an evil cackle. “You go into my cinema room over there and I’ll send someone in after you. We’ll lock the doors for seven minutes and you gotta do whatever they want in that time. I’m picking the person.”
“That’s dumb!” I exclaimed.
“I’m not a prude!” This guy was seriously getting on my last nerve.
Oh God. Jordan’s sly drunken smile stretched wider across his face, knowing that he had won. Zak, Liam and Ben watched the encounter unfold, all shell shocked by my agreement to do it.
“Good. Now who to pick.”
Jordan walked by his friends who all stood in a line like they were waiting to get picked for a soccer team.
“Zak, you’re religious right? Want seven minutes alone with the Virgin Mary?” Jordan teased and Zak laughed in reply, I rolled my eyes but kept my game face on.
“Pack it in Jord, you can’t make her do anything she doesn’t want to” Liam spoke up in my defense, angry at his douche bag friend.
“She agreed to it Liam so shut the hell up. What about you, Ben? You guys want to rekindle the old burning flame, only this time go further than you did last year?” I cringed, I think Ben did too but I couldn’t look at him.
I could see Liam standing tense, clenching his fists down by his sides. I think he was losing his patience with the drunken mess that stood in front of him.
“Liam, you’ve almost fucked every girl in our grade. Now is your chance to get someone otherwise impossible unless you married her... even then I doubt she would put out.”
Liams lips spoke nothing but his face said everything. He was pissed, extremely pissed and in that moment I felt safe. I knew he wouldn’t let his friends do anything bad to me that I wasn’t ready for.
“Ok Olive, you go into this room and I’ll send one lucky guy your way. Will it be bachelorette number one, bachelorette number two or bachelorette number three?” Jordan mocked the situation with a game show host voice.
“You don’t have to do this Olivia. You don’t have to prove anything to this jackass.” A worrying look etched across Tias face as she pleaded with me to not go in the room.
“I won’t do anything I’m not ready for, don’t worry. But I am going in.” I told her feeling sure of myself.
Jordan opened up a door to a dark room with lines of red leather chairs all facing towards a big screen that sat in darkness. The black carpet felt thick and lush under my feet and the whole atmosphere felt cozy. I sank down in one of the chairs, it was comfortable but my heart was racing as I questioned my decision and lost hope that Liam would come to my rescue.
I felt like many minutes had past by before someone joined me in the room. My mind ticked over what I would say to get myself out of doing something ‘rude.’ I weighed up my options I could cope with Ben joining me. Sure, he’s a sleezeball but he would probably be the easiest to say no to. I wasn’t sure on Zak, I think he would pressure too hard even though he’s dating the head cheerleader, I don’t want to assume he would force himself on me but I also don’t like my chances. I secretly hoped for Liam, I know he wouldn’t expect anything, it would also be a good time to get some answers but I don’t think Jordan would let me off that easy.
Behind me I heard the rattle of the door handle and a slither of light bled through the darkness from the open door. Jordan uttered something in the background about the timer starting and I could feel a presence standing behind me, I knew someone was with me in the room.