Chapter Two - Party Time
The first thing I thought as I stepped into the expensive house was, “Wow, it’s loud.”
Even though the party had only been on for around fifteen minutes it was already filled with half-drunk teenagers. All of the furniture in the lounge room had been moved to the side, creating a makeshift dance floor where music pulsed out of the expensive subwoofer speakers, the bass reverberating through the whole house and making the expensive China in the mahogany cabinets rattle dangerously.
Most people I knew from school werew there, dancing with someone, cup of alcohol in hand and bodies closely packed together and making inappropriate movements that would have made my grandmother blush. Geez, get a room.
I jumped as Jonathan appeared out of nowhere, drunk as hell and speaking with a slur. His normally lovely hazel eyes were hazed over, and his dark hair was plastered to his forehead, where perspiration was beading at his widow’s peak. He swayed on his feet. “Hey, my lovely ladies. How are you going?”
“We’re good, John,” I said, looking around with a facsmilie nod. “Nice party.”
He looked around and grinned, revealing a row of slightly crooked white teeth. “It’s a success, don’t you think?”
“Yeah. Are your neighbours OK with this?”
“Oh, yeah,” he said, and used an index finger to point out chatting and dancing folk. “They’re here right now! There’s Hank and Nora, the couple next door with an annoying dog called Clover. And there’s Kyle, who provided the beer. Then we have Jayson, Ramona, Carla, Tim, Sherrie, Luca, Tommy, Karina, Lucy, Moira, Rhonda and the twins Eric and Erica.”
I didn’t bother telling him that I didn’t really need the rundown of all of his neighbours who were attending the party. A simple assurance would’ve sufficed.
“Good to know,” I said, holding fast to Annie, who was gaping around the room in awe and looked like she would flutter off any second. I didn’t trust a slight girl like Annie not to get herself into some serious trouble at a party like this.
Just then his attention was snapped to someone else, and he screamed so loud that I thought my eardrums would surely burst, “Jacob! My maaaaaaaaaaan!”
He moved out of our way towards a handsome jock, and Annie and I started making our way through the crowd. I moved towards the refreshments table—which was conveniently located near the windows where I could get some cool air. It was stifling in here with all of the sweaty bodies.
Annie went to grab some chips, but I quickly pulled her hand away. “Don’t do that, Annie. That’s a communal bowl. Who knows who’s put their hands in there and what they touched before it.”
She shuddered and moved away from it, clasping her hands in front of her and staring around awkwardly, swaying back and forth on her feet and searching for faces in the crowd.
“Look, I’m gonna go get us a drink, but can I trust you not to touch any food on this table until I get back?”
She nodded. “Yeah, Grace.”
“What do you want?”
“Just a club soda, thanks. I’ll wait here.”
I turned around and went off to get our drinks, trying not to touch any sweaty bodies. Why did people do this kind of thing every weekend? My first impression was definitely not a good one. All I could see was alcohol everywhere and bodies that were doing things to others that I’m sure their parent’s would prefer they didn’t do.
I got to the bar and ordered two club sodas. Some football guy was serving drinks, and his eyes raked over my body in a way that made me want to take a few steps back despite the wooden table separating us. His eyes were hungry and animalistic.
“Are you sure you only want a club soda? I can add something if you want an extra kick.” The way he winked at me proved that he wasn’t talking about alcohol.
“Is that even legal?” I asked before I could stop myself, my brows coming together.
He gestured at all the underage drinking around us, at the fourteen year old girl who was staggering around blindly and looking about to hurl. I watched the scene with distaste. Seriously, how did middle-schoolers even make it here? Where were the parents?
“Babe, this whole shindig isn’t legal. But sometimes you have to take a walk on the wild side. I can help you if you like.”
I took a step back and said, “No thanks. I think I’ll pass.”
“Why, you too good for this?” he taunted, flicking a silver packet he had procured from somewhere unknown. The shiny covering was almost metallic, but through it I could see a couple of thick, round, dissolvable tablets. My stomach flipped.
“Um, yeah actually.”
“Oh, come on. You’ll love it. It’ll help you loosen up. You should try it.”
“You know what, I’m not so thirsty anymore so I think I’m gonna head off,” I said, taking a few steps back and going to walk back to Annie and get out of here. This place was a lot worse than my worst nightmares could conjure up.
But he grabbed my wrist and rather savagely pulled me back. “Hey, wait up, gorgeous. I’m not done with you yet.”
“Let go,” I said, keeping my voice low and calm in order to hide the fear that was currently making my heart race. I knew if I raised it like I wanted to, my voice would crack and give my fear away.
“Oh, come on babe. Loosen up a little. Let me show you how it’s done.”
I tried to jerk my hand out of his grip, but I couldn’t. He was holding on to it harder than I would’ve liked. Pain laced up my shoulder at the game of tug of war we were currently playing.
Just then someone appeared and ripped his hand off my arm so hard I heard the guy curse in pain, his voice coming out as a pained growl.
Before me stood Cole Adams, looking cute in a black t-shirt and jeans. His hair was perfectly tousled, falling all over the place in handsome spikes. He had a flawless, clean-cut, chiselled chin and plump, pink lips. He was tanned and bulky and tall, all sharp angles and contrasting tones.
And totally mouth-watering.
“Dude, lay off,” he said, sounding venomous and angry. “Is this how you get your kicks now? Scaring girls? Get out of my sight before I rip off your arm and force it down your throat.”
Despite my dislike for Cole, I felt some gratefulness towards him when the guy scampered away. Cole turned to me, looking mildly concerned. “Hey, you okay? He didn’t hurt you, right?”
“I’m fine,” I said haughtily. Maybe I sounded ungrateful, but I was a feminist, and totally embarrassed that I needed a boy to fight my battles for me. “I don’t need your help. I could’ve handled it.”
“Riiiiight.” He dragged out the word with a disbelieving look, knowing I was lying. “Look… just be careful, okay? Some of these people here are dangerous.”
“Believe it or not, I can handle it myself.”
“No, you can’t. These are football players, and you’re… you.” His eyes flicked to my slight figure, as if proving his point.
“Gee, thanks,” I said sarcastically, crossing my arms over my chest defensively.
“What are you even doing here? You never come to parties.”
I didn’t know whether or not to be happy or glad that he had noticed that I’d never turned up to a party, but pushed it to the back of my mind. I didn’t care if he knew!
“Trying to have a little fun,” I said, knowing full well I was lying. But how loserish would it be to say that my best friend had dragged me here since I had nothing better to do than sit at home watching reruns of reality TV shows?
“Fun?” He stepped closer. “I can give you fun.”
I blinked at his sudden change in attitude, before retaining my composure. “Maybe another day, hotshot.”
“But I just protected you! You should be thanking me,” he said. “Come on, I know some part of you is glad I saved you.”
“You wish,” I said, putting in a snort for good measure.
“At least dance with me. Come on, have some fun.”
I stepped forward, and leant towards him until my lips were nearly against his ear. I heard him swallow nervously, and grinned a little. My hand closed around a half-filled cup of some red substance, maybe red wine, and as I talked, my lips brushed against his earlobe.
“You want me to have fun?” I asked.
He nodded and swallowed thickly. “Yeah,” he breathed.
His voice was strangely thick, and I pondered it for a second before continuing. “You wanna know something that’s fun?” I whispered.
I could feel his smirk. “Yeah?”
“Revenge,” I whispered, and splashed the large cup all over him. His hair dripped with the effervescent liquid and his shirt and jeans went darker.
His mouth fell open in shock as he watched the rivulets of water fall off of him and stain the poor beige carpet. Jonathan Richard’s parents certainly had a big floor-cleaning bill ahead of them.
I froze as I realised what I had done. Why had I done that? If I was ever going give him payback, I would’ve done it two years ago. So why now?
Because you’re sick of seeing him get whatever he wants. The girls, the followers, the fanclub. There’s probably some girl around here crying right now because he broke her pretty little heart. Not only that, but the nerve. To mortify you in front of all of those people in that science lab—in the school—and then think he can play Prince Charming and save the day and seduce you into dancing with him. He deserved what he got.
Let me tell you something, payback is GOOD. It feels good, and on that six foot statue of goodness, it looks good. Wow, that’s a lot of good in one sentence. But it was all true.
I stepped back and realised everyone had frozen, was staring at us with gaping mouths, and Annie looked mildly horrified, her red-stained lips parting in surprise. Matt was frozen mid-sip, his cup halfway to his lips where he had been animatedly chatting with a handsome boy near the beer-pong table. Nobody could believe that calm, laid-back Grace could’ve just dumped a cup of red wine on the bad boy. Even the music had stopped, and the silence was deafening.
Then it broke. Everyone began chattering quietly, trying to understand what had just happened. Well, I didn’t know either. I went to grab my black cardigan and make a run for it. I heard him growl behind me and turned around just as he went to lunge at me. With lightning-quick reflexes I didn’t even know I possessed, I grabbed another cup, this time filled with beer, and threw it at him. It splashed all over him, drenching him even further.
I turned around and called, “Annie, let’s go.”
She immediately moved, running for the door, and just as I was halfway towards the door, he grabbed my wrist and pulled me to him so hard that our chests hit each other and I nearly stumbled, if not for his vice-like grip.
“You’re gonna pay for this,” he told me, looking murderous, his muddy-brown eyes stormy.
“I’ll look forward to it,” I said, my voice not betraying the inner turmoil I was feeling inside. In fact, I actually sounded confident - something I wasn’t feeling at the moment. “Until then, enjoy the party. I’m sure everyone would love to know just how exactly I made you wet.” I winked, and then called over my shoulder, “Ciao.”
I barely had time to wonder what I had just done before I ran out the door. And even as I started the car and drove off, I knew it would still be so silent in there you could hear a pin drop.