FLAME

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Party

I have been thinking about what Hazel said to me. What did she mean when she said don’t trust Ryan? I was racking my mind to at least guess what she meant but nothing.

Since the day Ryan and I started dating, he didn’t give me a single reason to doubt him. I thought he was always sweet and a gentleman. There is not one thing to point out something about Ryan to doubt as far as I know. He is a perfect boyfriend.

But now as my mind was thinking all kinds of possibilities after I talked to Haze, I can’t help but think that what if he was just acting perfect. Jay and Vian warned me numerous times to stay away from him but I never once thought why. I always assumed that it was just because that they don’t like each other.

We drove in silence to Jackson’s house where the party was going on. Ryan was drowned in his happiness of their victory, so he didn’t notice my change of mood or he must have let me be because he thought that I was upset about what he did to Jay. Either way, he didn’t bother to ask me anything.

When we reached the venue, the party was already on full swing. Bodies were colliding in the middle of the house with almost everyone carrying a red plastic cup in their hand. I am guessing most of them are filled with alcohol even though we are not supposed to drink alcohol. Ryan grabbed my hand and guided me through the crowd carefully evading people who were dancing to the deafening music under the strobing lights.

Once we reached the kitchen, he released my hand and rummaged the refrigerator looking for something for us to drink. He knows that I am not fond of alcoholic drinks and he promised to not get drunk today for my sake and keep me company.

While he was searching for our drinks, I saw a guy who often hangs out with Ryan and Jackson talking with a girl. They dropped something like a tablet in their drink in between their conversations. They gulped it down and moved to some other place god knows what to do. What I saw, disturbed me in many ways that I cannot describe.

“Hey Ava, I asked you do you prefer Orange juice or apple?” Ryan shook me to grab my attention and looked in the direction that I was looking when he realized that I wasn’t listening.

“Uh… sorry. I will have the orange juice.” Saying that I grabbed the bottle from his hand and poured the juice in a glass myself.

“What is it?” he asked hovering beside me.

“I saw your friend using some kind of drug,” I said without looking at him closing the lid of the bottle.

“Okay?” he clearly didn’t understand why it would upset me.

“Do you take it?” I asked him in hesitation after a few moments of uncertainty whether to ask him or not.

“Hey, look at me.” he turned and made me look at him grabbing my chin.

“I am not gonna lie to you. I used to… in the past but not so often. I think I used it twice… maybe thrice but that was when I felt like crap and lonely. It helped me… at least for a while.” He stopped for a moment and then continued, looking into my eyes deeply.

“But I don’t need that anymore because… because I got you now. I haven’t felt lonely since I started spending time with you. You make me feel something more than I ever felt about anything or anyone in my life and I promise you that I won’t touch it until you are in my life.” He finished with a smile. His words washed away all the doubts I had about him. I smiled back and hugged him.

He then brought me to the couch in a room that was away from all the noises where all of his friends were hanging out with beers in their hands. We were able to talk to each other without shouting but we still could hear the music.

I noticed Vian standing in a corner sipping his drink, looking around, not interested in anything that was going around. I can see that he wasn’t enjoying it, but what I didn’t understand was why he came to the party in the first place. He never liked parties like this and on top of that, he would never leave Jay alone in that state… not even for Hazel.

I wanted to be with Jay, but I couldn’t refuse Ryan. I felt guilty for leaving him alone, and my mind was thinking about him when I am supposed to have fun with Ryan.

“Do you wanna dance?” Ryan interrupted my thoughts and pulled me from my seat.

He led me to the dance floor regardless of my fight against it. He started dancing to the music laughing and encouraging me to dance and I did in the end. To be honest, I started having fun forgetting all my worries even if it is for a minute.

Ryan left me alone on the dance floor when he got a call saying that he will be back. I looked around when he walked away. Vian wasn’t there where he was before. So I decided to go get another drink.

Minutes passed, but Ryan didn’t come back. I called him again and again, but it went straight to voicemail. I looked around the house searching for him, but I couldn’t find him. I was starting to get tired, and I wanted to go home so I called Vian thinking that he might give me a ride home but to my tough luck he didn’t pick up his phone either.

“Hey, I was looking for you.” Suddenly I heard Jackson from behind.

“What are you doing here?” he asked me noticing that I was standing alone and far away from the party. I just wanted to get away from the loud music to make a call.

“Did you see Ryan? I was looking for him.” I asked him thinking that maybe he knew about his friend’s whereabouts.

“He will be here. Come on, let get you a drink.” He gestured to go inside. Although I’ve talked to Jackson a few times, I still do feel uncomfortable being around him. But I just followed him inside deciding to wait for Ryan.

He offered me the same drink that I was having before and I accepted it, looking around watching people dancing and having fun playing games. Jackson left my side excusing himself for a minute after he offered me the drink.

I called Vian again just in case when I started to feel sleepy to the point that I couldn’t stop my eyelids from closing. I blinked a few times and gulped my drink to keep myself awake.

“What?” finally, Vian answered the call but I realized that he wasn’t so pleased to hear my voice.

“V, can I come with you when you are leaving the party?” I asked him uncomfortably. I wouldn’t have asked him if there was another way for me to reach home.

“Why? Where is your boyfriend?” he asked me harshly.

“I… I don’t know. I couldn’t get a hold of him.” I said.

“I already left the party… but I will be there in ten minutes. Wait for me outside.” He hung up the call as soon as he said the last word.

I was relieved to know that he didn’t hate me enough to leave me abandoned. I stood up from the high stool in the kitchen counter to go outside, but my legs gave away as if they were jelly.

“Oh… wow… careful.” Jackson caught me at the right time before I fell.

“I must be so tired,” I said smiling awkwardly freeing myself from his hold. I tried to stand by myself but I couldn’t without grabbing the wall nearby for support.

“You should take some rest,” Jackson said posing like he was ready to catch me if I fall again.

“It’s ok …ian... be here.” my tongue rolled off and I slurred. My mind was hazy, and I couldn’t think or speak clearly.

“You can rest until Ryan comes along. I will send him to you. Come on.” He said leading me through the stairs grabbing my shoulders on both sides supporting me.

I couldn’t resist or escape from his hold. I was feeling weak, and I just needed a minute to catch my breath.

‘I just have to sit for a minute.’ I repeated it inside my head. I even tried to sit on the stairs, but Jackson forced me to walk with him saying it’s just a little further.

Up on the stairs, to our left, he led me to a room and made me lie down on the bed. It felt nice for a second to lie down on the smooth surface. I was sweating and my body burned like I was on fire. I fought to keep my eyes open because I was afraid that I would fall asleep here if I did and something unexpected happened.

Jackson unbuttoned my top, and he kept going against my will saying that it would help me with the temperature. I got scared and tried to push him away, but I was too weak regardless I kept flapping my limbs stopping him from getting near me. I tried to call for help, but it just came out as a mumble.

“You are being a bad girl. I am gonna go get something to keep you tied.” Saying that he left the room, closing the door to the room. Now even if I find my strength to shout no one would hear me.

I gathered up all my strength to sit up. I tried to get up, but I fell back again on the bed like someone pushed me. My head felt heavy, and I started to lose my vision. I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.

A few minutes later, a figure entered the room again. I tried to move away thinking that Jackson came back from wherever he went. He ran to me and grabbed me as soon as he saw me trying to get up.

“No… No… Please… leave me alone.” I tried to free myself from his grasp. Tears rolled down my cheeks in fear.

“Hey, Hey… It’s okay. It’s me, Vian. Look… It’s V… I am here.” he cupped my cheeks and forced me to look at him. Relief washed over me hearing his name.

“V… I am so sleepy… I...” I couldn’t finish what I was about to say. The whole world darkened throwing me into the deep slumber.

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