WHEN DO YOU STOP being the person you used to be?
“Screw you, Alec Henderson!” Grunting profanities under her breath, she weaved through the throng of walking-one-night-stands and underage drinkers.
Her eyes momentarily fell on Alec, the best friend who had abandoned her on dry-land only to be found shagging a red head in Mrs. Parker’s slick leather couch.
She shouldn’t be here.
She was satisfied being home, wrapped in her fuzzy blankets, surrounded by her puffy pillows, tucked in the comfort of her bed, binge-watching reruns of GOT with the tempting sound of popcorn popping in the microwave. Her mouth watered, relishing the thought.
If only Alec hadn’t crashed in front of her house threatening to wake the whole neighborhood with his nightmarish singing.
If only Mia hadn’t climbed up her window, consistently complaining about her five inch Jimmy Choos which led to Dawn wiggling inside yesterday’s jeans and pull on her brother’s varsity jacket which she had found in the laundry basket over her plain white tank top.
Mia tended to be a soppy drunken mess and she still couldn’t believe her best friend had pulled that card on her.
Now, here she was stuck with the ‘we-are-too-cool-for-this-party’ club playing designated driver to her two best friends who would undoubtedly be shitfaced by the end of the night.
It wasn’t like she was socially awkward or didn’t know how to have fun, but she knew better than to rave about on a school night.
The intoxicating stench of cheap booze hit her nostrils and the music went obnoxiously loud. Her head hammered like a drone, she felt like an orchestra tuning up from within. The neon lights beamed and the disco lights dazzled overhead.
The dance-floor trembled beneath her feet. Red cups flew everywhere and a disgusting glob of puke garnished the once-shiny-white marbled floor now tattered in footprints. The pool was swarming with empty beer cans and STDs.
The Parker Manor appeared more like a pub down Brooklyn in abundance of puberty-stricken adolescents with their hormones all over the place, who failed to distinguish a person from a pillar than the aristocratic, posh palace of a business tycoon such as Calum Parker.
Needlessly to say, everything here screamed sex, emotional meltdowns and bitchy hangovers to nurse the following morning.
She rolled her eyes at Mia, in heels she could never pull off and a dress short enough to put her catholic family to shame, flirting with her next heartbreak, a blonde quarterback who appeared too old to be a junior in highschool.
Mia caught her gaze and smiled giddily, her eyes twinkling with the kind of sparkle she knew all too well.
This wasn’t good.
Mia Thompson was infamous for her Chanel purse and dysfunctional relationships that never lasted the second week. Jumping from seniors, to sophomores, to grads, to baristas, to temps, to interns, to substitutes-Mia Thompson had done it all.
As bizarre and unpredictable her taste in guys turned out to be, Mia was a believer in trying out every shoe there was to see which one fit her right. With blue eyes, sun kissed skin, cherry blonde locks and her cheer-leading high-maintenance attitude, Mia didn’t have to throw herself at guys; she was a born crowd-pleaser.
Alec Henderson came afterwards, back in middle-school her and Alec were fellow nerds and shared the same obsession with ′The Big Bang Theory’ and ′Doctor Who’. However, as they grew older Alec grew out of his geek-pimply-thirteen-year-old phase and she never did.
She always thought they made an odd clique but they were her constants, for as long as she can remember, it was the three of them bonding over tea-parties, play dates, picture books, tubs of Ben and Jerry’s and soppy chick-flicks .
All she knew was that once there were puberty-stricken-phases, schoolgirl crushes, firsts, break up anthems and their little entourage jumping into the bandwagon of Mia’s ultimate highschool experience.
“Dawnie Poo!” Alec hurled one of his gangly arms around her neck in a headlock. She crinkled her nose at the major B.O. with a hint of fruity perfume. That red head.
Perspiring, he slurred in his slightly tipsy state, “Non-alcoholic and bleh! Just like you wanted,” a glass of fruit punch wobbled in his hand, she quickly grabbed the drink and gulped it in one go as he sloppily dropped beside her on the couch.
“Did I ever tell you that you have a big mouth?”
She glared at him, “And Alec, did I ever mention that you can spew about more than as much as BS than any other man in Pennsylvania?”
Not paying much heed to her words, Alec’s almond-shaped eyes flickered on Mia and her new man, “Who’s our new boy-toy?”
“Tim Graham. So far all I know is that he doesn’t go here. Must be a gate-crasher.”
“Sweet! I tell you what, fifty bucks if they last more than two weeks!” Alec slammed $50 on the granite slab.
“Don’t jinx it will you!” She slapped his arm away.
Alec scrunched up his mouth and his face turned green. He leapt out of the couch scurrying off to the washroom. She watched him stumble across the dance-floor and shove his head inside a eucalyptus pot. Alec was a lightweight and in denial about being a lightweight.
Just then, Caleb Parker’s eyes caught her in daze from all the way across the room. Green eyes scanned the room, green eyes fell on her. Green eyes smiled. She always believed Caleb Parker had the prettiest of smiles. In that moment, she was a goner; whisked far away from this highschool rave to a place where perhaps the happily-ever-after existed.
The golden boy and the star quarterback of Avery Fields High with his angelic face; leafy green eyes that half of the population of Avery Fields High swooned over; charming smile that made her feel giddy with butterflies and the body of a Abercrombie model;he was known to drop girls like Kleenex.
She wasn’t sure if he was looking at her or looking right through her.
Would the boy at the pinnacle of the social hierarchy look at the flat-chested, pasty-skinned seventeen-year-old-girl-stuck-in-the-body-of-a-nine-year-old-boy or the bar right behind her flooding with several gorgeous red-heads and blondes in skimpy clothes?
The probability of the latter sounded much more promising.
Nevertheless, she smiled all giddy-teenage-fanatic like then dropped her gaze fiddling with the hem of her jacket, embarrassed for doing so.
Then out of the blue, a gasp came from Penelope Grace and people gathered around the pool, whispers followed and Caleb Parker’s smile faltered.