Before I Met You

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Chapter Sixteen

“YOU’RE TELLING ME that you still haven’t gotten into her pants yet?” Cameron erupts into a fit of laughter and almost falls off the couch when Dion throws a pillow in his direction.

“It’s a work in progress.” He shoots back, sending all of us a sly grin. “Trust me, it’ll get there.”

I lean over to pick up the remote from the coffee table and switch the television on. I’m not in the mood to be around everyone, but I know that I should be with others instead of being by myself.

“All I know is that I don’t know why you’re wasting so much time on one girl.” Rodney shakes his head and opens up a beer. “It’s been weeks, dude. Do you know how many girls you could have slept with by now?”

“I bet money I could sleep with her before you.” Cameron challenges, arching an eyebrow in his direction.

“As if.” Rodney laughs until he starts to cough. “I’m pretty sure Amelia’s only into black guys. You wouldn’t have a chance, Cameron.”

I actually laugh at Rodney’s joke, causing Dion to laugh as well.

“Whatever.” Cameron mumbles and reaches over for a beer from the table. “All I know is that I need to get drunk tonight. Classes this semester are no fucking joke.”

He can say that again. I already have a test next week that I’m not looking forward to at all, and I’ve hardly had the time to study. Well, I just haven’t made the time to study. I’ve been too distracted.

I’ve thought about Elena for the past week after our fight on campus. The nightmares have gotten worse, and I haven’t been able to stop relapsing. On Wednesday I stayed sober, but on Thursday I did it again. I’m so ashamed of myself that it’s like I can’t stop.

“Oh, look who it is.” Cameron smirks when Dion’s phone starts to go off. Dion shoots him a glare and brings the phone up to his ear.

“Hey.” He smiles uncontrollably, but immediately shuts up and furrows his eyebrows together. “Is she okay?” He asks.

I pop my eyes up to his and suddenly am interested in his conversation.

“Bring her back to the dorms. I’m sure she’s okay.”

“Who?” I ask, all of them turning to look at me. I realize that I’m now on the edge of my seat, my palms becoming sweaty.

Dion holds a finger up to me. “Hey, calm down. She’s going to be fine. Do you want me to come help you? I’ve dealt with this before.” Then he looks at me, his eyes slightly narrowing. “Yeah, I’ll be there in ten.”

He hangs up the phone and stands to his feet, searching around for his shoes. “I’ve gotta go help Amelia.” He mumbles. “Elena is completely trashed at some party and she doesn’t know how to handle it.”

“I’m coming.” I immediately say back to him. “Let me just find my shoes.”

“What? Why?” Everyone turns to look at me and I don’t know what to say. All I know is that I feel guilty as hell. I’m the one that hurt her. I’m the one that treated her like she didn’t mean shit to me. Now she’s on an alcohol binge. Great.

“Just because.” I mutter back, unsure of what else to say. I go into the hallway and slide on my sneakers as Dion does the same and we head outside without a goodbye. I can’t help but get nervous since I’m unsure of what state she’s actually in.

“Is she... like, alright?” I finally ask. We get into his jeep and buckle up, but before he starts the car he turns to give me a sideways grin.

“Do you want her to be?” He asks.

“It’s not like I don’t want her to be. What’s the big deal?”

“Oh... I don’t know.” He chuckles and backs out of the driveway. “Just the fact that you legit raced out into my car within seconds at the thought of her not being okay. That’s all.”

“It’s not a big deal.”

“If you say so. I know I said to not get involved with her, but if she makes you happy then I say go for it. I haven’t ever seen you like this with someone since-”

“Please stop.” I say through clenched teeth and stare down at my lap. Little does he know that Mia is all I’ve been dreaming about this past week. Little does he know that I’ve relapsed six out of the seven days.

My phone goes off to thankfully cut off the awkward silence between us, so I answer it without even checking to see who it is. “Hey.” I say.

“Honey, I’ve been trying to get ahold of you for a week and a half!” My mom shrieks, causing me to pull it slightly away from my ear. Dion lets out a laugh when he hears her voice.

“Hey Mrs. Quan!” He shouts into the speaker.

“Oh, is that Dion? I miss you boys so much. Ask him if he’s coming home for winter break.”

Letting out a frustrated sigh, Dion says he is and they go into a rant about what they’re going to do when he gets there. Both of our families are really close since we’ve been best friends for so long, and I just know that they are both going to torment me into going back too. I don’t want to go back there after this summer. It was hell.

“I just think you should reconsider.” My mom finally sighs. “I think you and Dion would have so much fun here.”

“Dion might.” I reply bitterly. “But that doesn’t mean that I will. Do you not remember what happened, mom? Do you think it’s easy for me to go back there and be okay? It’s not. I can’t handle being back there, and I definitely can’t handle the silence from dad either. I’ve told you this.”

More sniffling surrounds the car from the phone, so I let out a sigh and throw my head back against the headrest. I can’t deal with everyone else’s shit when I can’t even handle my own. Why can’t she just understand that I don’t want to go back there just yet? Maybe in the future I’ll be ready, but right now Florida has allowed me to escape all of those memories I’ve tried so desperately to forget.

“We just miss you.” She mumbles. “I’m so sorry that you had to go through so much pain, honey. You can’t blame yourself forever. Instead of talking about things you just bottle it up, and it’s not good for-”

“Goodbye mom.” I hang up the phone and Dion gives me an annoyed glance.

“That was fucked up.” He says in disapproval. “That’s your mom, bro. She just loves you.”

“Well then maybe she should respect that I need some space. I never claimed to be nice.”

Dion pulls up onto the curb outside of what looks to be another fraternity. There’s a huge white sign draped across the house, but half of it fell down so it’s unreadable. I can see heaps of people out on the lawn, plastic cups and beer bottles scattered everywhere.

“Mel said they’re coming out now.” He checks his phone and shoves it into his pocket before he steps outside.

“Since when did you start calling her Mel?” I wrinkle my nose up in disgust and put my hands into the pockets of my leather jacket. “You guys are giving each other nicknames now?”

“Thank god you’re here.” Amelia whines in the distance before he can answer and I see Elena’s arms draped over her shoulder. She can’t even walk correctly.

Dion and I jog over to the both of them and before he can even touch Elena I move her other arm onto my shoulder. Just from touching her I can feel the tingling sensation run throughout my body with excitement. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s nice to be close to her again.

She narrows her eyes at me when she looks up, mumbling something incoherent. She’s really fucked up.

“We’ll drive you guys back to the dorms.” Dion says. He opens up the passenger door for Amelia and then opens up the back door for me to help Elena into. It’s a struggle at first, but I eventually am able to get her to lift her leg so that we can both stumble in.

“Thought you weren’t speaking to me?” She giggles. I know that Dion and Amelia can both hear this, so instead of touching more on the subject I just roll my eyes and settle back more into the seat.

“You need water.” I decide to say. “I’ll get you some once you’re in bed.”

“Suuuuure.” She drags out, giggling some more. I wish she didn’t have to be cute as hell when she’s drunk. “Once again, I thought you weren’t speaking to me?”

“I’m speaking to you now, aren’t I?”

She bites on that fucking lip and meekly nods before she lets out a huge sigh and rests her head on my shoulder. Dion gives me a look in the mirror, but I ignore it and let her do as she pleases. Contact from her feels nice. It’s like a drug. But I know that this drug has the worst consequences.

Her tight black mini dress is running up her thighs, almost revealing her underwear. I’m trying to ignore it, but memories from the back alley of the club keep flickering into my mind. I want her so badly. I am trying to fight this battle within myself to not get too close to her. If I do anything more I know I will become attached.

Then again, I think I already am.

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