4- The Party Continues
An hour and a half into the party, and everyone was having a grand time. Or so it seemed they were, from the loud chatter that carried throughout the room.
All 19 of the other contestants, plus Amanda and Hope, were mingling together, discussing different things. Conversations about TV shows could be heard; who wore it better on the previous big red carpet event; whether or not the Steelers truly have a chance at winning the Super Bowl this year; what the homework in English was; ’no, no, of course it would only seem that way from so-and-so’s point of view’; and everything in between. Really, there was so much talking that I was surprised I didn’t get a headache from being so close to it all.
Where was I in all of this mess? I was hiding in the corner of the room. Sitting in a chair up against the wall, quietly observing things. I preferred this to being in the jumbled mix of the noisy 21 people in front of me. I didn’t have anything to talk with them about, so why would I try? I honestly didn’t care one bit about the red carpet, or sports, or straight up high school drama.
Thankfully, Amanda was stuck in full blown conversations, one right after the other, and didn’t notice my absence from any of said socializing. I’m sure that as soon as she does—if she does—she is going to drag me over and force introduce me to all of the girls and guys. I kept my eye out for Rye, the one that I had met in the kitchen earlier, but he was always with a minimum of one girl. It seemed like he was really into the whole thing. From the outside the others must think he was simply relaxed, though after watching several exchanges, you can see the careful watch he gives with his eyes as he takes in what he’s seeing. It was interesting to see how observant someone could be.
I held in a groan as I noticed a guy pointedly making his way over to me. I was really hoping to avoid the whole ‘me interacting’ part, and this kid was doing nothing at all to help me with it.
“Why are you over here by your lonesome?” He drawled out in a country accent. Eyeing his apparel, the cowboy boots on his feet completed his look.
I saw no reason to try and sugar-coat anything, and this time was no exception to me. “I was kind of forced into this,” I said, then thought a second. “Not kind of, I was forced into this. So I’d really rather not be around everyone.”
A frown tugged at his lips. “That’s no reason to not have any fun. Come on, let’s start with your name.”
I looked at him. He didn’t seem all that bad... and it wasn’t like he was asking me on the first date, he just wanted my name. “Thera,” I finally said. “And yours?”
“The name’s Graham,” he smiled. “Your name is pretty unique.”
“So I’ve heard,” I muttered. When he asked what I had said, I simply changed subjects. “So, did you want to get punch together or something?”
“Doesn’t matter to me where we go, I’m just hanging around for now.” I didn’t know what else to say, so I just got up and headed toward the kitchen, where the table with punch and food stood. I assumed that he would follow me in here, considering that we had just been discussing this together. I poured a cup for myself, and feeling a foreign, spontaneous act of kindness was needed, I poured one for Graham. When I turned to give it to him though, it wasn’t he who stood there, but Rye.
“We’ve really got to stop meeting over food and beverages,” he said.
“If I remember correctly, I was here with a cowboy. Where’d you come from?” He smirked and I immediately put a fake wall up between us. I didn’t know what this guy was getting at, but smirks were always a red flag for me.
“Same room as you, though I wasn’t holed up in the corner away from interactions.” My eyebrows shot up. People didn’t usually didn’t notice me, and they certainly have never called me out. I guess he really was as observant as I had thought him to be.
“I’m surprised you saw me with all the girls you had hanging off of you constantly,” I retorted. I was not backing down from this fight.
“Is this jealousy? I must have made a better first impression than I thought.” He was still smiling and I scoffed. Then, without thinking, I slapped him. It must not have been hard enough, because he continued smiling. As if me slapping him confirmed his point.
“One, I just met you today, and two,” I paused for effect, looking down to his shoes and back to his face, “What’s there to be jealous of anyways?” The trick with winning a word fight with most boys is to hit ’em where it hurts. Right in their big, fat, self-confident egos. His smile fell causing one side of my mouth to tick up. Rye stuffed a handful of Skittles in his mouth and walked away. Check. I’ll take that as a victory.
As he was passing through the doorway, Graham made his way in. “It’s about time,” I said, handing him his cup I had poured.
“Sorry ’bout that,” he said, looking inside the cup at the liquid before taking a sip. “We need to head back to the other room, though. Amanda and Hope have a little message planned. Said to gather anyone that might be in the extra rooms or bathroom.”
“Sounds good,” I said, though I meant quite the opposite. It was most likely thank yous, introductions, or guidelines that they intended on spewing about. None of which I actually cared about.
Let’s just hope there are no more surprises.