I push my way through the obnoxious drunks all around me to make my way out to the back deck. Kelly always tells me she gets hot when she drinks so I often find her with the crowds of people outside. I step out the back door and realize I know my best friend as good as I thought I did when I see her and Kyler standing on the back deck leaning up against the railing with drinks in their hands.
“Hey guys.” I say.
“Hey!” Kelly smiles
“What’s up Charlie?” Kyler replies with a smile.
“You guys should have seen what just happened.” I sigh.
“Wait, what?” Kelly asks. “What happened?”
“Jackson Thomas happened.” I say.
“Oh, this should be good.” Kyler laughs and Kelly slaps him on the shoulder giving him a death stare like she is telling him to knock it off without actually saying the words.
“He just threw a fit, shouting at this guy Brandon I was playing beer pong with, in front of everyone.” I spit. “I guess he was mad we hugged, I don’t even know. What makes it worse is when Brandon asked him what was going on, he looked right at me and said nothing anymore.”
“Yikes.” Kyler says.
“Kyler, not helping!” she hisses.
“Okay, okay sorry.” He smiles
“Okay so let me play devils advocate here. Jackson isn’t used to the whole trying to date thing, right?” she asks.
“I guess not.” I reply.
“Maybe he is just trying to figure out how to act, not sure how to handle jealousy yet.” She says. “I mean, if he hasn’t dated before then this is all new for him.” She tries to assure me.
I let out a deep sigh. I can’t decide if I agree with the way she sees it, but I think it may be best I try to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“What do you suggest I do then?” I ask.
“I think you should go find him!” She replies. “Try and talk this out. It’s stupid for you both to stay angry over this.”
“Okay fine.” I say with a smile.
I make my way back into the house, checking the living room where beer pong games are still being played first but he isn’t there. My next stop is the kitchen, when I walk in there are couples making out on the counter and people mixing drinks at the table, but still no Jackson. I decide to walk up the stairs in the house to the loft area at the top of the stairs, it’s almost like a second living room up there. I scan the room looking for Jackson and that’s when I see him, sitting on the couch with a bleach blonde sitting on his lap.
“Don’t make a scene.” I think to myself over and over.
I don’t want to be like him, I don’t want to cause people to stare and whisper but at the same time I want him to know I saw him. I don’t like playing games, so I won’t be a pawn in his anymore. While my thoughts are spinning on what I want to do next, fate takes over for me as Jacksons eyes meet mine. I stare at him for a minute before shaking my head and turning to walk out of the room.
“Wait!” he calls after me.
I don’t stop though; I keep my feet moving towards the stairs. I do not want to do this now; I have no desire to fight back and forth with him when he clearly doesn’t take whatever is going on between us seriously.
“Charlie stop!” he booms.
“Why should I?” I yell with tears threatening to fall.
“How can you act like this right now?” he shouts. “You were just downstairs all over Brandon!”
“All over him? Are you kidding me?” I yell. “Get a clue Jackson, it’s called being friends.”
“I didn’t know friends touch each other like that, that’s news to me!” he booms.
“It’s called a hug.” I shout. “What do you care anyways? You are clearly over it.” I say pointing to the blonde still sitting on the couch, watching us along with everyone else.
“I was mad, okay. That’s all.” He says softly.
“Really? Is that all it was?” I say. “What if I wouldn’t have come and found you Jackson? Would you have slept with her?” I ask.
“Charlie No, I-“ he tries to answers.
“You know what, don’t even answer that.” I interrupt. “Whatever game you are playing, I won’t be apart of it. I guess I should have known huh?”
I turn away before he can get a word in. As I make my way down the stairs, I feel the tears touch my cheeks, I couldn’t fight them anymore. I let myself get to involved with him, falling for him so quickly. I have heard the stories about Jackson, I knew he was a player, but he made it seem so real, like I was special.
When I make it outside the cold air hits me and I take a deep breath of it in trying to collect myself and control my emotions. I know Kelly will be going home with Kyler, so I decide it is just best for me to get in my car and go. I had been drinking but I only got a slight buzz and after everything that happened with Jackson, I am now completely sober. When I reach my car, there is a guy leaning up against it in black jeans and a dark hoodie.
“Excuse me?” I ask. “That’s my car your leaning on and I need to get home.”
“Why?” he asks.
“Uh, because I want to?” I question with attitude.
“Is something wrong?” he says.
“Is that really your business?” I ask
I take a good look at him and I realize I recognize him. He is the guy who sat next to me in my finance class, the one who knew my name when I had never seen him before. The realization causes nerves to shoot through my body.
“I know you; you are in my finance class.” I nervously blurt.
“No, I’m not.” He replies with a smirk.
“You sat next to me in class last week, I remember.” I say.
“Yeah but I’m not actually in that class.” He smiles.
Something is off about this situation, about this guy. My gut feeling is telling me to get as far away from him as possible. The smirk across his face sends shivers down my spine as my palms start to sweat. He hasn’t moved from pressing his body up against my car.
“I actually just remembered my friend is supposed to ride with me, so I better go get her.” I say and turn my back to head back into the party.
I feel his hand grab my arm with force and I try to yank it away but I am not strong enough.
“What the hell, let go!” I shout.
“I thought we were having fun out here, why don’t you just stay?” he says pulling me in forcing me closer to him.
I look up at him, his eyes are wild, they aren’t glossy or bloodshot so I know he isn’t drunk. He grips his arms around my body and tries to push me down the road beyond where my car is parked.
’Let go of me!” I kick and shout, trying to escape his grasp.
“Stop shouting!” he barks and covers my mouth with his hand.
I try to scream still but they are muted by his hand. I kick and thrust my body around trying to loosen the hold he has on me even the slightest bit so I can get away but he doesn’t budge. I decide my only option is to attempt to bite his hand so I can scream for help. I give it my best shot as my teeth clamp down on the inside of his palm causing him to jerk it away from my face,
“HELP! PLEASE!” I shout
“What the hell?!” Jackson booms while running up the road towards us. “Get the hell off her!”
When Jackson reaches us, he flings the man off of me and tosses him onto the ground. Jackson is much bigger than the guy who attacked me towering over his lanky body, he drops down to him and his fist makes contact with the mans jaw. He repeats the blows to his face over and over again.
“Jackson stop!” I yell. “You’re going to kill him.”
He doesn’t let up though, he continues pounding his fists into the mans face. I have never seen this kind of rage from Jackson as his face is red with hate pulsing through it.
“Stop!” I scream again.
One of Jacksons teammates Jake runs down the street toward us causing an audience of people to follow. He grabs Jackson from behind and yanks him off the man he was beating. Jackson lunges towards him again but Jake pulls him back again with the assistance of another player on the team name Chance. They both stand in front of him pushing there hands against his chest to hold him in place.
“Hey!” Jake shouts. “Hey! Calm down right now!”
“Let go of me.” Jackson booms. His face is beat red and his eyes never leave the man laying on the ground.
“No!” Jake yells. ”He has had enough!”
“You’ll kill him Jack!” Chance adds.
“He touched her; He was trying to touch her!” Jackson screams.
Both Jake and Chance turn their heads to look at me and they both look like clarity washed over them, like they understand why he is so angry now. I can’t help but wonder if he had told them about us but in this moment, I am to shaken up to read to much into it.
“Are you okay?” chance ask still holding Jackson in place.
’Yeah- I – I’m fine.” I stumble through my words.
“See, she’s fine.” Chance says to Jackson, speaking in a calmer tone with him. “She’s fine, it is going to be okay.”
“Breathe Jackson.” Jake adds.
I see Jacksons breathing slow down as he finally peels his eyes away from the man lying on the ground. He unclenches his fists and the veins that were once popping out of his neck start to disappear. Jake and Chance finally let go of him and pat him on the back as if they are trying to reassure him. He looks over at me and I stare back at him. I am thankful to him for coming outside when he did, even if he I was just terrified, he was going to murder someone on my behalf.
“Let’s go inside.” Jake says
“You too Charlie.” He adds with a smile.
Everyone is still standing along the street staring at us, most the expressions on people’s face are fear and confusion. No one knows exactly what led to Jackson beating someone within an inch of their life. I am just glad it is over now.
“Or not.” I say aloud as cop cars come piling down the street with their lights on.