"Owwwww..." Maren groaned, pressing an ice pack against her temple. "What did I say about exceeding your limit?" I scolded her.
"I only had four glasses of wine but somehow I got drunk and woke up with the worst hangover I've ever had!" she winced again and cussed.
"Wine has a higher alcohol concentration than beer. Of course, you were going to get drunk and your low alcohol tolerance certainly didn't help your situation." I told her. She rolled her eyes at me and flipped me off. "You look like shit."
"I feel like shit," she replied. "I'm hibernating for two days straight as soon as I get home today."
Kevin came to our table with a tray. "Okay! I have a cup of coffee for Bev. A glass of water and painkillers for you." He said passing out the items. "Oh! I also brought you one of those chocolate muffins you had yesterday. I saw how much you loved them so why not."
"Aw, Kev. That's so sweet." Maren smiled.
"It's what a good man does for his woman." He returned the smile. "Plus, it was fun taking care of you while you were drunk last night."
"Fuck off." She scoffed shoving his shoulder.
"Love you too, babe." He pecked her lips.
"Ew! PDA." I grimaced. "I'm glad y'all worked things out but don't be acting all mushy and lovey-dovey in front of me, please."
"Jealous?" she taunted.
"Please," I rolled my eyes. "why would I be jealous of you having a man babysitting you when I pretty my do that all the time. But I am grateful that you took care of her in my absence, Kev."
"Speaking of; where did you disappear to last night?" she asked.
I felt my insides twist and turn in the most painful way possible. The lump in my throat started swelling, cutting off my supply of air. "I saw your text, but you didn't say where you were going, and I got worried." she told me.
"I went to the art museum that wasn't far from the venue. I wasn't able to there since we were busy making preparations for the gala." I answered. I wasn't really lying about going to the museum that night but that was only half of the truth. The half I didn't want to talk about.
"I really am a shitty friend." She sighed, slumping her shoulders. "I technically ditched you."
"It's okay, Mare." I forced a smile. "It wasn't really my type of scene anyway."
"Well you could have just told me," she pouted.
"I know, but I didn't want to be a third wheel and I didn't want to ruin your night." I said with a sheepish laugh.
"Kevin and I would have ditched the gala and went to the museum with you. Or anywhere you wanted to go for that matter." She said. "Yeah. A friend of my girl is a friend of mine too." He agreed.
As I was about to open my mouth, I spotted Matthew entering the dining room and made his way towards our table. In an instance, I felt a wave of panic and the knots in my stomach tighten more and more. He was the last person I needed to so and I wasn't ready to face him. "I just remembered; I need to call Brooke before we leave." I stood up getting ready to leave.
"But you didn't drink your coffee..." Maren trailed off when I left without a word. I could still feel their confused gazes pierce through me as I was leaving.
The journey back home felt very long. Just like before, Maren and Kevin were seated in the back while I was at the front with Matthew as he drove. The only difference was, Maren and Kevin were cuddling, watching a movie on Maren's iPad. Matthew and I on the other hand were quiet throughout the trip. Matthew would pass me a few glances here and there while I didn't even spare him a peep. the atmosphere around us was suffocating us like an anaconda constricting its victim, crushing its ribs ensuring it runs out of air, waiting patiently for its prey to fall limb under its deadly hold and devours its meal in one gulp.
Neither of us dared nor bothered to break the silence between us and lighten the mood.
Finally, our journey came to an end when we made it to the city, our home. Maren and Kevin were dropped off at her apartment and that unfortunately meant I was going to be alone with him. "Can you drop me off at my sister's house, please?" I spoke for the first time since we left Eaglesvale.
I didn't need to look at him to know that he was surprised that I finally spoke to him, but I could sense his confusion and his urge to ask why I wanted to go there instead of going home. "I already asked her if she was okay with it and I'll tell my grandmother when I get there." I responded, hoping that what I said was enough to answer his question and keep him from questioning me even more.
Without saying a word, he changed course and took me where I wanted to be. After fifteen minutes of driving and giving direction, he pulled over in front of a small semi-detached house in a small suburban neighbourhood.
"Thanks," I said languidly, unbuckling the seatbelt until Matthew put his hand on top of mine, stopping me in the process. I looked up to him finally. "I know things are a bit awkward between us but for both of our sakes can we just forget it happened and move on?" he said. Imploring with me. My face held an unreadable expression as I processed his words. "Forget it happened and move on." I crowed with no emotion in my voice.
"I just want things to go back to normal. What happened in Eaglesvale stays in Eaglesvale."
I stared at him with a hard look. "Do you honestly think things will ever be the same after that? Do you think it's going to be that easy to just leave it there and acting like it never happened?" I asked.
He opened his mouth but closed it soon after indicating that he had no answer. I exhaled a sigh. "Fine," I decided. "I'll forget it happened. I'll forget we ever talked all together. What happened in Eaglesvale stays in Eaglesvale."
"Bev..." he said but I unbuckled my seat belt and got out of the car to retrieve my backpack and suitcase. Once I secured my belongings I walked over to the front door and never looked back.
There was a knock.
"Go away." I answered.
The door opened and the light was switched on by my sister, who had an unamused look on her face. "Last time I checked; this is my house. I could kick you out and take you home if you're going to be giving me that attitude, you know?" she told me with firmness radiating in her voice. I rolled my eyes as I turned to my side, my back facing to her in the process. "Beverley, what's wrong?" the concern replaced her firm tone. "You usually come here when something happened or when you're trying to avoid Dad."
"Nothing's wrong, Brooke. I just felt like coming here." I answered monotonously.
"Uh-uh. You call asking to stay here for the rest of your recess - which I have no problem with - come into my house and walk straight into my guest room instead of talking to me and you expect me to believe that there's nothing wrong?" she snapped. "Either you tell me what the fuck is going on or you go home and take your bullshit with you because I ain't having it."
Silence consumed the atmosphere around use like a space ship entering a black hole. When she didn't get a response from me, she sighed and sat next to me. "Bev, I know you came here because you did something, you're not proud of and you want my advice on how to deal with it," she said. "but I cant help you if you don't tell me what happened and what's going on."
I took here words in and started ruling out possible outcome if I decided to share my problem with her. After finalising and coming to the conclusion that she deserved to know, I sat up straight and looked her dead in the eye. "Have you ever had a one nightstand?"
Brooke was taken aback and confused by my question, but she answered it, nonetheless. "During sophomore year in Uni. It was with a guy I was close with...or so I thought."
"What was it like?"
I observed her closely when she pursed her lips in deep thought. "It was the most magical thing that had ever happened to me." She started. "He was a gentleman, really sweet and patient. It was exactly how I pictured my first time. It felt like I was in a never ending dream once you're in that moment of bliss and security, you never want it to end."
I nodded, understanding what she was saying. "But when morning came, that's when the dream ended, and reality bitch slapped me in the face. He was already out of bed and getting dressed by the time I woke up. He didn't even touch me; didn't talk to me; didn't even look at me." She frowned, knitting her eyebrows together and swallowed. "It stung that he left just like that and made me feeling like I was used - which I was. It stung even more when stopped talking and associating with me all together. I was a miserable wreck at the time. I had lost count of the days I spent crying myself to sleep."
I swallowed the lump in my throat as she continued. "The thing about one nightstands is that they can damage a person emotionally, especially if the person gets easily attached. I was lucky I wasn't too attached otherwise I would have been screwed." She told me. "Sex is supposed to be emotionally intimate not just physically. It's kinda like giving a part of yourself to someone, trusting them with your body, being vulnerable with your partner. And for someone to exploit that just so they can have their way with you for their selfish needs is enough to make a person build walls around them to protect themselves and they will keep building those walls no matter how many times you keep breaking them.
"That's one of the things that pisses me off about hook-up culture. People just fuck just to for the hell of it without giving a shit about the other person's feelings."
"I see..." was all I could say, looking down at my interlaced hands. The silence returned for a bit until Brooke broke it with a question that made my blood go cold and create a bigger lump in my throat. "Did that happen to you?"
Damnit, Bee! Why did you ask a hypothetical question if she was going to catch on and connect the dots?
"Beverley?" Brooke took my hands into hers, now getting worried. I looked up to her and opened my mouth, but I couldn't utter a word, not even a syllable to answer her question. I didn't have to say anything. My inability to speak was an answer in itself and enough confirmation.
"Oh, Bee!" she pulled me into a hug. My composure faltered and I felt my body give out and melt into her embrace as if it was exhausted from a very intense exercise. My body started shaking and my breathing became ragged, but no tears left my eyes, nor did I cry. My emotions were all over the place. I didn't know what or how to feel about the fact that I slept with Matthew on the night of the gala.
A/N: what are your theories on what happened on the night of the gala?👀☕