Talk was cheap.
People said things they didn’t mean, kept promises they couldn’t keep and went back on words they said.
Especially my mother. Who decided after all that I’d be allowed to have my eighteenth birthday party. She insisted that it was cruel to take away a traditional milestone, but I’m fairly certain it was because of how depressed I’d been lately. In all honesty though, I wasn’t depressed, just physically and mentally exhausted.
“Please mum. It’s okay, I really don’t want it,” I begged.
“Nope. You have to have it. It’s a rite of passage,” she argued.
She was standing in the kitchen, one of her formal pantsuits on as she washed up our dirty breakfast dishes. She was on her way to work while I was on my way to school, which had recently become my worst nightmare.
If the looks I was receiving weren’t sad and apologetic, they were angry and furious or pleased and stuck up. I’m sure you could guess which looks came from which people. If it wasn’t bad enough, even one of my teachers had approached me and suggested I see the school counselor, which despite being supposedly depressed, just made me more embarrassed.
“Mum,” I said sternly. “What happened to being grounded until I’m 30?”
She stopped washing the dishes to look at me. She crossed her arms, and her left foot began to tap impatiently on the floor, a sign she was about to seriously roast me.
“Maizie. You are having that party, getting drunk and having a good time!”
It was silent for a little while as I just stared at her.
“You know mum, you have a different kind of parenting method.”
She smirked and shrugged her shoulders. “I’m a cool mum.”
I had to suppress a snort at her reference to Mean Girls. She was one pretty, cool mum, not that I’d ever tell her out loud. Much like the other people I associated myself with, her ego was big enough.
I walked out of my kitchen, dragging my fluffy socks across the wooden floors. I was only about half way up my stairs when I heard my phone start going off like crazy. I knew it’d be Rosie probably freaking out about my party. I wouldn’t be surprised if my mother had told her already. Sometimes I think my friends are closer with my mother than I am.
I decided to ignore Rosie’s call, deciding I’d rather receive my head ache at school rather than over the phone. I sent her a quick text letting her know that we’d talk about it later.
In the meantime, I undressed, goosebumps forming on my skin from the sudden cold air. The hot water felt like heaven on my cold skin. My muscles instantly relaxed under the hot stream of water.
I was exhausted by the time school had ended. I was being hit with exams and assignments and I felt like I was drowning. All I wanted to do was go home and take a nap. But I knew my wishes weren’t going to come true, as Rosie dragged me through the aisles of the grocery store.
“Calm down Rosie, you’re going to rip my arm off,” I whined. Her grasp on my wrist lessened a little bit, but she still didn’t let go.
“We have so much to do! We need to get the food, the decorations and obviously a smoking hot new outfit! Your mum did say she’d be leaving for the weekend, right?”
Rosie was blabbering on. I wasn’t surprised really, she was more excited for my huge party than I was. It was the talk of the school today. A few people had approached me during school to find out details, who would be going and where the best hook up places in my house were. My room was definitely off limits.
“Yes, she did say that,” I drawled out.
“And that’s it? She’s just leaving you alone of the weekend, knowing you’re throwing a huge party?” Rosie asked.
“Well, no...” I mumbled. “There are rules.”
“Care to share with me what those rules are?”
I sighed. “The house is to be spotless when she gets back. Not one sigh of a party. Nothing broken, otherwise I pay to have it fixed. And if she finds out there were drugs in the house I’m a dead woman.”
“Oh,” was all Rosie could manage to say.
“Yes, and as my best friend, you get the lovely task of helping me clean up the mess,” I smiled.
I watched her expression dropped. I wanted to laugh, loudly, but instead I clamped my hand over my mouth and snorted. I knew that would dim her excitement.
I swung my hand over her shoulder and continued to lead us through the aisles. We grabbed the value packs of any unhealthy food we could find. I knew that most people probably wouldn’t be too occupied with the food, which only meant more for me the next day.
“Oh!” Rosie sounded in the middle of placing a large pack of chips in the trolley. “I’ll go grab plastic cups for beer pong!” she announced and started running down the aisles. This time I did laugh at her, before browsing the shelves for my favourite food.
I was too occupied deciding on which type of cookies to grab that I didn’t even sense someone approaching behind me.
“Maizie,” the deep voice spoke.
I jumped, placing my hand on my chest as if it would stop my heart from beating a mile a minute. I turned to the familiar voice, shocked to be seeing the person in front of me.
We stared at each other for a few seconds, before his eyes took note of the very full shopping trolley.
“Hungry?” Theo asked. It was supposed to be a joke but neither of us laughed, yet I saw a pity smile on his lips.
“It’s for my... party,” I said, each word becoming quieter as I realised what I had just said.
“Oh, yeah. I heard about that. Happy birthday.”
“Thanks,” I mumbled quietly.
It was awkward. We weren’t sure how to act around each other. I didn’t know if he hated me, or if he knew the reason Sebastian broke things off with me. Heat rose in my cheeks and I awkwardly began to rock back and forth on my heels. It was hard to keep eye contact, so I adverted my eyes to the not-so interesting ground.
I raised my head for a moment to look at Theo, but he wasn’t looking at me. He was looking at the promise ring Caylee and Rosie had given me for my birthday. He looked confused and I swear I could’ve seen a hint of hurt in his eyes.
“Who gave you that?” He questioned, a little rougher than he intended I thought.
“Caylee and Rosie gave it to me for my birthday. It’s a promise ring,” I quietly answered, tucking my ring finger in the knuckle of my other hand.
“Oh,” was all he said.
For a brief moment I thought that Theo had seen the ring as a threat. To him? I didn’t think so. More so his best friend who broke my heart. It was a fresh of breath air that Sebastian had such a loyal friend, I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t doubt that Theo would tell his friend about was currently happening.
“He’s just as messed up as you are,” Theo suddenly spoke. “He was stupid to break things off with you for such a petty reason. We told him what he told us; that you were different, that it didn’t matter. We don’t really know what goes on in his head these days,” he finished.
I nodded silently. I didn’t agree with Theo for a second. I was more of a mess than Sebastian, anyone could tell from a distance. Yet, I didn’t say anything. What was there to say?
“Has he...?” I couldn’t bring myself to say it. It felt low of me to be asking his friend such things. I honestly don’t think I wanted to know the answer. I would either be ecstatic or even more broken than I was before. It was foolish of me to ask.
I let out the breath I was holding in.
“Vanessa?” I whispered.
Theo shifted uncomfortably. He hesitated. “She’s tried, but she really did it this time. He hasn’t spoken a word to her since.”
I didn’t know what to say or feel. Be happy he hadn’t moved on? Be upset over the fact that he broke my heart? The one thing I knew was my worth and Theo was right, I didn’t deserve to be heartbroken over a petty reason. Sebastian was afraid of commitment and I knew that now.
“I have to ask... Jaxon?”
I frowned. What did Jaxon have to do with anything. Did Sebastian really think my standards were so low as to run back to that cheater? I knew I couldn’t be mad at him for that assumption, I’d made the same one about him running back to Vanessa. It wasn’t fair of me, even if he was a jerk.
“God no,” I said. “I wouldn’t run back to him if he was the last person on this earth. Not after what he did.”
Theo looked confused. “What do you mean? What did he do?”
“You don’t know?” I asked. He shook his head. “He told Vanessa. How do you think she found out?”
Theo shook his head, lost in his own world. I was just as confused as he was. How did he not know that Jaxon had a part in this? His name was written all over it, alongside Vanessa’s. It was clear that even after she’d lost Sebastian, she hadn’t told him the truth.
“I have to go,” Theo said, before turning around and storming off.
It was at that moment that Rosie rounded the corner with over three dozen red solo cups. She had a large smile on her face which quickly dropped when she saw the confusions on my own.
“What did I miss?”