5. I PUNCHED THE WRONG ASSHOLE
By the time Friday afternoon rolls around, I am dreading the party. I have worked three shifts at the cafe and actually enjoyed it. I didn’t see Mia’s uncle, Brody, since he told me I am hired. It was kind of strange, essentially Mia runs the whole cafe by herself. Her uncle does the figures and is also working on a ‘project’.
“Come on. Sit. I’ll do your makeup,” Liv ushers me to a chair, near her dressing table. She doesn’t give me an option to decline and over the last few days, I have learnt that there’s no point arguing with Liv. Makeup brushes are sprawled everywhere. She begins working on me and I hope she doesn’t go overboard.
“Have you ever been to one of these?” I ask nervously, a frat party isn’t my thing.
Liv laughs, “Not a frat party, but I’ve been to plenty of house parties. You’ll be fine, drink, have fun,” she reassures me but I don’t buy it. I have a feeling this is going to be a disaster.
She doesn’t let me look in the mirror until she finishes the ‘masterpiece’ as she calls it. I gasp when she hands me a mirror. “Wow.”
“I know, I’m good,” she laughs again and I can’t stop looking at the girl in the mirror. Me. I can’t stop looking at myself. I haven’t worn makeup in a long time and even then, it didn’t look this good. Liv didn’t go overboard, my eyeshadow is light but my dark circles are covered and my appearance looks...vibrant.
“Thank you,” I say and she shrugs like it’s no big deal.
“Now, do you have something to wear? A dress preferably?” She asks with her eyebrows raised.
“I’m sure I can find something,” I reply and quickly head for my room before Liv tries to dress me in her extremely short clothing. It does wonders for her body, but I am not comfortable showing that much skin.
I pick out a white sweater dress and some black sheer tights, I don’t think this is what Liv meant when she asked me if I had a dress. However, it’s chilly outside and I am not freezing my ass off for the sake of this party. I pair the dress with black boots and look myself over in the full-length mirror by my closet.
The dress hugs my curves nicely and I pull the scrunchie out of my light chocolate brown hair, letting it hang loosely down my back. When I walk downstairs, Liv has two shot glasses lined up. She pushes one towards me and I’m about to decline when Liv pouts, “Come on, pleease.”
Live a little.
My dad’s words echo through my head. He gave me a whole speech to encourage me to come here. I guess this isn’t what he had in mind but I have to start somewhere. I surprise myself by reaching for the shot glass and throwing my head back while the contents of it spill down my throat. My instant reaction is to cough and gag but I hold back the urge and eventually the taste of ethanol fades.
“By the way, that’s not my first choice of an outfit...but on you it looks amazing,” Liv says after taking her shot. She went with a black mini dress, at least it has sleeves, I don’t want to be dealing with a case of hyperthermia.
It is only a fifteen-minute walk to the frat house, the boys are already there so it’s just me and Liv. The air feels cool and clean, I can hear the blaring music from a block away and understand why the locals don’t live this close to the college.
Once we are on the correct street, it is clear where the party is. College students are all around the front lawn, some of them talking to their friends, laughing and some of them already throwing up. I turn away before I feel sick.
Liv takes my hand in hers and pulls me towards the front door. She says hi to a few people and they greet her back. She doesn’t stop until we are inside and she is pouring us drinks into two, red cups. She hands me one and bobs her head to the music, searching for the group.
I do the same and I finally spot Josh, next to him is Theo and Zach. I yell over the music, “There they are.” Nodding towards their direction.
We push past a group of guys and I feel a hand slide around my waist. I turn around and come face to face with an older boy. He smirks, “How about a kiss, baby?”
I grimace at the idea and honestly wonder if that ever worked for him before. “How about a broken nose, jerk?” I retort and he instantly lets go of me.
I see Theo take a few steps towards me to embrace me in one of his bear hugs, but to my surprise, Josh beats him to it.
“I’m glad you made it,” Josh says with a grin. Theo doesn’t look too happy but quickly plays it off.
“Didn’t really have a choice,” I joke and look at Liv. She is already by Zach’s side, making sure that the girls around them, know that he is taken. I don’t blame her, they seem to be lingering.
“That’s not what I want to hear. Tell me you came for me,” he jokes back and I can’t help but smile. I can tell he already had a bit to drink, I can smell the alcohol on his breath. I notice Theo standing to the side talking to a girl with his eyebrows furrowed. When he notices me looking at him, his expression instantly changes and he gives me a smile.
I don’t notice Ace and I am grateful that he is not here. It’s been a few days since the incident and I have done my best to avoid him. The more I think about it, the more embarrassed I get. Ace saw me naked and then I yelled at him, it wasn’t exactly the ideal situation. Especially, when he already hated me for some unknown reason. I still didn’t understand how he has such nice friends when he is...an asshole. That is the only word that perfectly describes him.
“Hey, what’s up with Ace? Is he always so...moody?” I decide to ask Liv. We are upstairs in Theo’s bedroom, Liv didn’t want to use the gross bathroom downstairs and I couldn’t blame her. As soon as we opened the door, it reeked like vomit. Theo told us he has an ensuite and Liv dragged me upstairs with her.
“No, not usually. At least not anymore,” she says, fixing her hair. She already had a few drinks and she is more talkative than usual.
“Any more?” I prompt and I sit down on Theo’s bed while I wait for Liv to fix her bobby pins.
“Yeah, he went through something a couple of years ago but he’s better now. Why do you ask?”
“Uh, I don’t know. He doesn’t seem to like me,” I admit. It’s not that he doesn’t like me, he hates me.
“Ace takes time to warm up to people. I’m sure he will come around soon,” she reassures me but I am not so sure that’s the case. I wonder what he is like when I am not around, I can’t imagine him being anything but a rude asshole. However, he must be different with other people.
I push the thought of Ace out of my mind. I am fine with acting like he doesn’t exist. Once Liv is done fixing her hair, she then pulls out a whole makeup kit from her bag. My mouth gapes open, how that even fit in her bag is beyond me. She spends another fifteen minutes touching up her face and asks if I need something. I shake my head.
My makeup is fine and I don’t see the point of adding more to deal with drunken, horny college boys.
We walk back downstairs, “I’ll be right back,” I say.
I head to the kitchen, pushing through the crowded house. Whoever is going to clean this mess tomorrow has my sympathy. Cups are everywhere, vomit is in the sink, floor and even on the walls. I try not to breathe through my nose as I empty my cup down the sink.
It was my third drink and I don’t know how I got through the first two. But Liv insisted. My head is already spinning. I didn’t like the way alcohol made me feel, I fill up the cup with water and drink that instead. Trying to get rid of the way my body tingled all over. I refill it before turning around.
I come face to face with one person that I didn’t expect to find here.
Asher. My ex-boyfriend.
His caramel locks curl over his forehead just like I remember. He seems the same, except drunk. Very drunk.
“Calla,” he says my name like almost not believing that he is seeing me. I give him a small smile.
“Hey,” I say. I’m aware that this must be a shock to him. At least I knew that Asher would be going to this college but I left him completely blindsided. However, I didn’t owe him anything, he left me.
“I missed you so much,” he says and comes closer towards me. I take a step back and stare at him in disbelief. I know this is only the alcohol talking and he doesn’t really mean what he is saying.
“You look so good, did you change your hair?” he asks and examines me. I didn’t change my hair. It’s the first time I look put together in a long time and we both know it. I am getting my life back on track. Without you, I want to say but hold my tongue.
Asher was the popular boy in highschool. Tall, handsome and the captain of the football team. I was the cheer captain. It was inevitable that we would end up together, isn’t that how it goes? Asher was my first everything in a physical sense. However, I wasn’t sure if I loved him, we were young and have only been dating for three months before my mother died. Everything changed after that.
“Asher,” I warn him but he is drunk. He leans into me and I push him back. “Stop.”
“Don’t be like that. You never looked this good when we were together, especially after...” he begins.
I feel anger bubbling inside of me. He always knew how to get a reaction out of me. Before I know it, my fist retracts and I squeeze my eyes shut. I feel my fist collide with something, Asher’s face I hope. But when I finally open my eyes, to my surprise Asher’s face is completely intact.
He dodged my punch and he looks amused.
My eyes dart to the left of Asher and I lock eyes with a very, very pissed off Ace, holding his bleeding nose.