I was a nervous wreck by
the time Saturday rolled around. I don’t know if I was more nervous about being
around Phillip or going to my first party in years. Felicity was handling it
well, but then again, she was used to this.
With my heart pounding, I pulled up to Felicity’s house, turning the radio down and honking the horn twice. The door opened and Felicity came out. She was wearing a sequined emerald green dress with a low cut back and shiny blood-red pumps. Her hair and makeup looked like it had been done by a professional. I immediately felt under-dressed. My eyes narrowed on her stomach, which looked bigger than normal. Felicity had put on weight. Strange.
She climbed into the car, saw me and stared. She was still looking a little pale but maybe it was just from horror. “What – exactly – are you wearing?!”
My stomach sank even lower and I frowned. “But I thought you liked this outfit.” I said, gesturing to my black skinny jeans, collared blue top and knee length boots.
Felicity nodded, “Yeah, I do. But for the movies! Not a party!”
I sighed and sat back in the seat. “Oh well.”
“Did you even put makeup on?!”
“And oh my god. Your hair!” she groaned miserably, touching one of the curls I had attempted to organise in a stylish way.
“Flick! Stop! It’s just a small party! It’s not like the Queen is coming.”
Felicity grumbled and I pulled away from the curb. We drove in relative silence, the only sounds were from the radio and my best friend muttering under her breath. We drove through the town and it was abuzz with Saturday night activity; people going out for dinner, the movies, meeting up with friends and going on dates. I sighed. I’d never been on a date before.
Before I even turned into the street I heard the pulsing of the music and as we got closer my teeth started to chatter in my mouth. I parked a few doors up and we walked up to the house, Felicity walking confidently in her six inch heels towards the door. The front garden was filled with people, all wobbling when they walked. Flick and I passed a group of boys smoking, but I could determine from the smell that it was not tobacco.
Phillip’s house was huge. It was modern, but classic as well. There was a grand staircase, a chandelier in the foyer and the floor was covered in wooden floorboards which shone. I saw people in the living room watching a football match, snacks sitting on the coffee table. The house seemed to be packed with people all holding the same red cups filled with beer and other assorted beverages.
“I thought this was going to be a small party.” I yelled over the music. Felicity gave me a strange look.
“This is small.”
“And there’s alcohol?” I gasped.
“Most people here are eighteen.”
I glared at her. “Felicity. We live in America. The drinking age here is twenty one.”
“Yeah and it’s bullshit.” She stated. She came to stand in front of me, putting her hands on my shoulders. “Listen to me. This is supposed to be fun. Have a drink. Talk to people. Meet some tall handsome prince charming. Or a girl. I don’t judge.”
“I’m straight, Flick.”
“Hey, I’m just saying. Dance like we do in your room at sleepovers. You do that, you’ll get some guy’s attention.”
“I am definitely not doing that.”
Felicity scowled. “Just try not to be a buzzkill for once in your life, Rhea.” She said before she stormed off.
Left to my own devices, I grabbed a can of creamy soda from a nearby cooler, the outside slick with condensation and ice. If I was going to drive Felicity home, I was going to be sober.
I searched the house until I found Felicity again. She seemed to have gotten over our little spat from before because she looked totally in her element. I watched her most of the time, dancing and drinking and talking to a lot of people from the school newspaper. I noticed that a lot of boys from our year and even a few older looking ones were shamelessly checking her out whenever she walked past or was in their line of sight. I’d never been vindictively jealous of my best friend, but it was hard not to envy her. Not just her looks but her confidence, her style, this ability that she has to make people like her. Like now, she was happily and easily flirting with a guy that looked like he was in college, whereas I was standing awkwardly at the side of the room, holding a can of soft drink and not dancing.
“You look as awkward as I feel.”
I raised an eyebrow and turned to the left. It was Phillip. He was holding a bottle of something and I took note of how I had to crane my neck to look at him. “Excuse me?”
“Ah, she speaks!” he laughed. I blushed. “You were so shy earlier this week that I thought you might be mute.”
I laughed and watched him sip his drink, though he didn’t take his eyes off me. “Yeah right. You’re just...intimidating.”
He almost choked. “Oh?”
“Well, have you seen yourself? You’re a giant.” I gestured up and down. “Not to mention you’re popular, smart, on the football team…do I need to go on?”
“Please do. This is doing wonders for my ego.” He grinned. Phillip looked like he was getting better every day. His face didn’t look as thin anymore. He offered me the bottle. “Want some?”
Surprise forced an answer before I could think it over. “Oh, no thanks. I’m driving and I don’t like alcohol.”
“Neither do I.” He grinned. “It’s root beer.”
I was surprised once again but still refused the drink. He shrugged and kept drinking. I pursed my lips, unsure as to what I should say. Phillip was tapping his fingernails on the glass of his bottle in time to the song that was playing loudly through the house.
“Your friend looks like she’s having a good time.” Phillip stated suddenly. I was yanked from my thoughts and I looked around for Felicity. She was dancing with some guy, who had his hands on her hips and was holding her very close to her body. She had a plastic cup in her right hand and her other tangled in his hair.
“Yeah. She’s likes to cut loose.” I mumbled.
“My definition of cutting loose is a little different to hers, I’m afraid.”
Phillip frowned. “Is that a bad thing?”
“No. Just different is all.” I replied. I looked around, “Shouldn’t you be with your girlfriend?”
“Is there another girlfriend?” I laughed. He went a little pink.
“I’m kind of avoiding her.”
“We had a big fight last night on the phone and it wasn’t pretty. I just would rather she didn’t say anything now. I threw this party so that we could all kick back and have fun before school starts getting too serious. I don’t want it to be ruined.”
Okay, I needed to know that. Thanks for sharing.
“You don’t look like you’re having much fun.” He stated.
“This just isn’t my scene.”
“Then why did you come?” he asked, leaning against the wall.
“Well, you invited me. And Felicity is quite insistent.”
“So, you don’t really want to be here.”
“What’s with all the questions?” I demanded, feeling a little flustered.
Phillip help his hands up in defence. “Hey, I’m just making conversation.”
I didn’t reply, simply watching Felicity dancing in the dimly lit room. She looked a little drunk but she hasn’t fallen over yet, which is a good sign. The silence between Phillip and I was deafening though.
“Oh crap.” Phillip cursed. I glanced up.
“What? What’s wrong?” I asked, setting my drink down. “Are you okay?”
“It’s Melanie. She’s coming this way.” He said, ducking down so she wouldn’t be able to see him. Smart. He was easily spotted because of his height.
I craned my neck to see around the people that crowded the makeshift dance floor, but I didn’t have to wait for long. She had found Phillip.
She looked very lovely in a blue skater dress and high heels, her long black hair looking shiny and perfect. Her facial expression, however, was annoyed and flustered.
“There you are!” Melanie exclaimed, looking at Phillip who seemed to be in pain. “I’ve been looking all over for you!”
I shrunk back, feeling awkward. I slipped away from the scene that was no doubt about to unfold and went out the back door. The backyard was as crowded as the house. The pool was glowing under the lights and people were swimming despite the cool night air. I shivered a little and glanced around for something to do.
“Hey! Rhea! Come here!” I turned towards the voice and saw Dustin and Josh waving their arms in the air trying to get my attention. They were standing by a small fire pit and seemed a little tipsy. I wasn’t sure if I should go over there but they looked so eager and I was a loner right now. So I shrugged and walked over to them. My feet were starting to hurt from the boots I was wearing and I could feel the pain slowly creeping up my legs. Why did I choose boots with heels? Ugh. When I got close enough, I sat down near the fire and the heat from the flames instantly warmed me.
“Hey,” Dustin smiled, “You looked a little lost.”
“Oh I was just escaping.” I said, pointing over my shoulder with my thumb. “Phillip is kind of getting ripped into by Melanie, or at least I suspect that’s what’s happening. It didn’t look good when I left.”
“Crap.” Josh hissed.
That instantly concerned me. “What?”
“Melanie and Phillip…they’re heading towards splitsville.”
“They’re breaking up?” I gasped. This was unbelievable. They were the power couple of the school. Phillip was popular and hot, Melanie was popular, gorgeous and class president. They suited each other so well that it was impossible to imagine them breaking up. They had been together so long it had become a way of life during high school. Sort of like the crappy cafeteria food.
“They were falling apart before the accident.” Dustin explained, “But when Phillip found out she hadn’t even been to visit him because she was away over the summer, damn was he mad.”
“Well wouldn’t you be mad too if your girlfriend didn’t visit you for weeks because she wouldn’t get on a plane? I’m fairly certain she could have found some time to check in on him. Hell. I was doing my community service and I still visited the poor bastard every chance I got.” Josh said.
“You were there a lot too, weren’t you Rhea?” Dustin asked, turning towards me. I nodded.
“I did volunteer work at the hospital. Mostly in the Children’s Ward though, but I would look in on Phillip every now and again.” I lied. I hate lying, but it was less embarrassing than the truth.
Dustin looked very impressed and Josh grinned at me. We each turned around at the sound of a glass breaking and shouting. Melanie burst through the back door and climbed down the steps, storming across the yard and out the gate that led into the street. I saw she was crying, but mostly she looked pissed.
Phillip came out after her, flustered and angry, scanning the crowd for Melanie. I watched as he stood there for a few minutes, looking through the crowds of people for her but when he realised that she had disappeared, his shoulders slumped. He trudged his way over to us, not saying anything. I could feel the tension in the air right away. I jumped when Phillip suddenly kicked a plastic chair over before turning to stare into the fire, his hands on his hips. I bit my lip.“I think I’m just going to go.” I whispered to Josh who nodded. I turned to go in search of Felicity. This wasn’t the way I thought that this night would go.