I gazed at the girl looking back at me in the mirror with scrutiny. I wore a deep red vest over skin tight jeans, tan boots grazing my thighs. My hair was loose and my make up was minimal- I had meant what I said about the whole ugly duckling to swan malarkey, I wasn’t impressing anyone tonight.
I was going for him.
I smiled as I remembered him carrying me to bed last night, kissing me on the forehead before he left, his scent lingering in the room and finding its way into my dreams. I couldn’t believe so much had happened so quickly, but who was I to argue with destiny?
I pulled on my leather jacket and made my downstairs to see Elijah laying on the sofa, his eyes widening at the sight of me. We hadn’t really spoke since the whole Ray episode last night, and I didn’t want to have the conversation now. He gazed at me with curiosity, a smile playing on his lips.
‘Do you want a ride?’
I knew this was his attempt at making amends, and seeing as I did need a ride I nodded.
‘That would be good. Do I look ok?’
I gestured down at myself and he sat up as he smiled his approval.
‘You do, actually. So where is this party?’
We made our way to the car that sat on the drive, as I quickly sent a text to Bailey letting him know I was on my way. I mumbled the address to Elijah who raised his eyebrows.
I shrugged as he drove, not wanting to talk too much. My nerves were sky high, a party was so far from my scene it was unreal. Elijah glanced at me, sighing.
‘If you need me tonight, just call me. I have no plans.’
It was as close to brotherly protection as I was going to get and I smiled gratefully.
‘Thanks Eli.’ I said quietly, his seldom used nickname foreign on my tongue. He nodded in response as we drove wordlessly and I wondered if we were ever going to have the Ray conversation. As if on cue, he spoke suddenly.
He cleared his throat and I swallowed hard, not wanting to have any confrontation. My brother was certainly popular with the opposite sex, but his lack of interest in them led me to believe he was probably a-sexual or gay- so I was still surprised to say the least.
‘It’s fine.’ I said in a small voice.
‘It’s not a fling.’ He said simply, and I snapped my head towards him in shock. His eyes flickered over to me and he smiled, before turning his eyes back to the road. ‘I won’t hurt her, Belle.’
My heart softened at the childhood name he reserved for tender moments such as this, and I simply nodded as the car slowed outside the address I had given him earlier. The music was audible from inside the car, the shrieks of laughter and calls of ‘chug, chug, chug’ filled the air as my palms began to sweat.
‘Rather you than me.’ Elijah remarked casually and I groaned.
‘I can’t believe I’m doing this. I hate parties.’ I muttered as I unclipped my seatbelt.
‘Yet here you are.’
‘It’s a compromise, right?’ I half asked as I looked at my brothers bemused expression, his eyes twinkling with amusement.
‘It’s an experience. Be safe.’ I pushed open the door as the music grew louder, and I grimaced as I waved goodbye to Elijah. I turned to face the house, checking my phone to see a text from Bailey.
Come to the kitchen, can’t wait to see you x
Wow so I was going to have to walk in on my own? I started to shake with nerves, and I almost wished Elijah was still there just so I could go home. As I stood deliberating my next move I saw someone lighting a cigarette from within the darkness of the trees that lined the lawn.
‘If the choice is go in there or go home and watch Netflix, I’d go home.’ He quipped and I let out a nervous laugh.
‘Is it really that bad?’
‘Well, it looks it. I haven’t decided if I’m going in or not yet.’
He sucked on his cigarette as he gazed at the house, and I noticed he was around my age.
‘Do you go to school around here?’
His gaze flickered over to me and he nodded.
‘Yeah, Folkwood. You go to Harford right? Anyway, I’m Sam.’
He stuck his hand out and I shook it, noticing it was firm yet warm. He nodded at the house.
‘Shall we give it a go then Annabelle? If its that horrendous we just walk straight back out.’
I smiled then, the thought of walking in with anyone better than walking in alone. He tilted his head as he smiled at me, and I nodded.
‘It will probably be full of jocks and cheerleaders, yawn. I’m only here because my cousin begged me to come. He’s desperate to be a social butterfly.’ He rolled his eyes as he threw his cigarette to the ground.
‘So what group are you in? Clearly not the jocks or cheerleaders.’ I smiled as he laughed, running a hand through his blonde hair.
I’m not sure. Stoners maybe?′ He shrugged and I decided I liked him, despite having only known him three minutes.
‘Let’s go, Stoner.’ He raised his eyebrows at me and coughed in disbelief.
‘I’m not actually a stoner.’
‘Whatever, be whoever you want to be Sam.’ We reached the house and we moved through the crowd easily, heading for the kitchen. My eyes scanned the crowd for Bailey but I couldn’t see him. My stomach knotted with anxiety as a girl ran over to Sam.
‘Sam! Where have you been? The guys are looking for you. I’ve told them all about your-’ She stopped as she looked at me with shining eyes.
‘Oh, hey! I didn’t realise Sam was bringing anyone.’ She gushed, her eyes widening with suspicion.
I shook my head as I began to correct her as Sam swiftly moved in. ‘This is Annabelle. She’s a stoner.’
A smile played at his lips as she blinked.
‘Oh.. that’s great. I’m Macy.’
I was about to tell her I wasn’t actually a stoner when I suddenly felt someone staring at me from across the room, and my eyes locked with the deep blue ones I had sought out earlier. He moved towards me effortlessly through the crowd, his eyes never breaking from mine. He reached us quickly as I noticed his presence demand attention from Macy and Sam who looked at him in surprise.
He spoke quietly, yet my skin tingled at the sound of his voice. He held out a hand to me and I took it, a feeling of electricity shooting up my arm from his touch.
‘You look insane.’
He whispered to me as his lips grazed my neck, before turning his gaze to Sam who was looking at me in surprise.
‘This is Sam, and Macy.’
I gestured to them both as Bailey nodded.
He said dismissively, and I saw an unreadable expression on Sam’s face as he smiled at me.
‘Look after yourself Annabelle. Good to meet you.’
He pushed past Bailey as the two of them glared at each other with pure hatred, and I felt Macy put her hand on my arm.
‘Boys hey? Come find me if you get bored.’ She giggled and looked at Bailey
appreciatively, tossing her red curls over her shoulder as she walked away.
I smiled as she left and turned my gaze to Bailey who was staring at me, his jaw clenched in anger.
‘What were you doing with him?’
He demanded, his voice suddenly cold. I blinked in surprise as I searched his eyes with mine.
‘He was just outside, he walked me in.’ I stammered as he nodded wordlessly. ‘I looked for you but I couldn’t see you.’
‘I was here, in the kitchen as I said on the text.’ His voice was blunt and emotionless and I chewed on my lip nervously. His face softened as he touched my cheek, his other hand on my waist as he pulled me close to him.
′ I’m sorry. I’m glad you are here.′
I looked up at him and felt myself lean up to his lips, as he brought his mouth crashing against mine, kissing me roughly. He lifted me up onto the counter as we kissed, and I forgot we were in a room full of drunken people until I heard cat calls and whistles around us. We broke apart as he smiled, his hand on the small of my back as he gazed at me.
‘Shall we just leave?’
He suggested as I laughed throatily.
‘Yeah, because that’s exactly how I pictured losing my virginity.’ I teased as he let out a low growl.
‘Don’t mention that to me, please. It drives me insane.’
‘Okay.’ I bit my lip and his eyes burned into mine.
‘Don’t do that either.’
I pouted then and he groaned, his eyes closing as he buried his head in my neck.
‘What did I do to deserve this torture.’