The Lies of Youth

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“I don’t know who I am,” you blurt, and his head snaps up as his eyebrows wrinkle in confusion. You clear your throat and look away, and mentally picture the skating rink, the toddlers on the ice learning to ice skate, the couples who looked madly in love, and the lone skaters moving to a rhythm of their own. They all resemble you, the toddlers who depend on their parent to guide them and not let them fall, just like when your parents’ guide you in everything, even mundane decisions that they couldn’t care less about. The couples remind you of you and how you needed to fall in love with yourself before you let anyone else do it for you. The lone skaters looked so blissful in their own worlds, navigating through the crowds of people without a care in the world. Much like you, you didn’t care much about anything, really. You marched to the beat of your own drum and were often daydreaming of a life much different than the one you were leading.

Romance / Drama
Age Rating:

This Isn't A Good Idea

“Are you kidding me? That’s what you’re wearing? We’re going to the most exclusive end of the year party and that’s what you wear? Why are we even friends?” her whiny voice teases on a snicker and your eyes are squinting in annoyance.

Meet Zoey, your roommate slash pain in the ass slash kind of best friend. She’s a size zero and the stereotype of what men want. She’s currently sporting a very short crop top, and a shiny sequin skirt and you’re staring at her like she’s lost her mind.

“Okay, not too much on my outfit. I don’t even want to go to this party. I’m literally only going for two reasons: the booze and because you promised you wouldn’t leave me. Also, you have some nerve, it’s forty degrees outside! Who wears a crop top in this kind of weather? You’re mad because I’m dressed appropriately?” you say as you sneer at her continuing, “Yeah, okay don’t come complaining to me when you get a cold,” now it’s your turn to scoff as you flick her off from where you’re standing by the door.

With a roll of your eyes you say, “Are you ready to go? I want to go so we can come back home; I can eat my ice cream and watch The Grinch.”

“For the hundredth time,” she says softly, and you squint again assessing her harshly.

“What was that?” you ask and cup your ear and lean forward.

Her mouth opens then as she gives you a sharp once over and grimaces again, ignoring your question, then she reiterates, “You really are wearing that?”

You say nothing, just pin her with a look that says, you have one more time and look up towards the heavens.

She senses this as she puts her hands up and looks to the door as a ding comes from her phone, she glances at it and with a huff says, “Aight, you’re lucky the rideshare is here. Let’s go!”

You shuffle your jacket on and push open the door of your loft, only to be met with a gust of wind and from the corner of your eye you see Zoey shiver.

You bite your lip to keep from laughing and she glares at you as you say, “I thought you never got cold?”

She tongues her cheek in an attempt to not laugh as she smacks your arm, “I mean I do sometimes. You wouldn’t know, now would you? I don’t think I’ve ever even seen you wear a short-sleeved shirt. Besides, I’ll find someone to keep me warm tonight and who knows maybe you’ll get lucky too,” she states as she waggles her eyebrows.

You make a sound in your throat then and say a firm, “No thank you,” as you journey down the stairs.

You get to the curb and hop into a dark sedan where you’re greeted with a friendly man by the name of Jack.

Jack looks like he’s in his late fifties, but age really is just a number. He’s hip to all you and Zoey’s infinite colloquialisms, and even lets you borrow the aux cord when you mention that you wouldn’t mind listening to your favorite artist to which your friend replies with, “ Nuh-uh if you put on anything remotely close to that I’m not paying for my half of the ride. Mr. Jack you should see her playlist, it’s depressing.”

You look at her and think to yourself, Her half? Who’s paying for the other half? I didn’t even want to come out. You just hand her the aux cord and she begins to play a song about popping pills and spending money.

Mr. Jack looks between the two of you then, and he says in a gruff voice, “Y’all do plan on paying though right? I’d hate to give my new friends a bad rating.”

You shake your head at him and jerk your head towards Zoey as if telling him through body language that she’s stuck with the bill.

Out loud though you say, “Definitely Mr. Jack! We wouldn’t do you like that.”

He lets out a raspy chuckle then, shakes his head, and resumes driving. When you pull up to the frat house, you immediately wince. Zoey pays him for the fare, and you give him a $15 tip and a smile as you two vacate the car.

Mr. Jack bids you goodnight and tips his head in your direction as you two clamor out of the car and stand upright. You hear the house before you see it, there’s a Megan Thee Stallion song on that says she’s a Big Ole Freak.

You cannot relate.

Your friend tugs you and you morosely follow, keeping her upright as she stumbles in her too tall heels.

When you walk through the door, the party is already in full swing and the weed is in rotation. You turn to ask Zoey if she wants to partake when you notice that she’s already gone. Okay… you think to yourself if there was an award for having the world’s worst friend, she would win every year. If not the winner, she’d be a close runner up.

Not all the times you had were bad though, she really wasn’t like this the first half of freshman year. She was fun to be around, and she’d been with you through thick and thin and although she was a hoe, she was your hoe. This was not one of her finest moments obviously you think as you find a wall to perch on. Almost immediately after getting comfortable on said wall someone spills their vodka cranberry directly onto the jacket that you’d thankfully zipped up. They rush out a sorry and stumble into another person on their way out of the living room.

This was Zoey’s fault. You navigate to a couch and huff out a breath, grab your phone out of your purse and begin to scroll through your library, that is until you feel a pair of eyes on you. At first you brush it off, who’d be looking at you? You were at a frat party, hosted by HGS or HGL or something, you honestly aren’t even certain the name of the frat, but the name wasn’t too important, what was important was the fact that you’d been abandoned at said frat after all of twenty seconds.

There were women here, half dressed with bralettes and shorts that literally resided in their cracks, and here you were with your favorite pair of skinny jeans, a thin long sleeved shirt, your favorite pair of ankle boots, and minimal makeup. So, you were certain no one was looking at you of all people.

You get off the couch and make a hasty bee line for the kitchen.

Tequila, that’s what you needed right now.

Your abandonment leads you to drink, with you not knowing a soul here you decide to get piss drunk, I mean why not? School is over, you’ve aced your classes and you deserve it. You push through drunk bodies and find your way to the kitchen in search of booze and smile mischievously when you get there.

It’s a nice kitchen too, you think to yourself as you take into account its vast island, luminous fluorescent lights, and deep sink. Snapping out of your fantasy, you grab a cup and scan your options. Okay, so we’ve got cheap seltzer, subpar cider, even worse absinthe and... your eyes slide and when you see the familiar label, you grin, tequila, just what the doctor ordered.

You grab a solo cup from the stack and proceed to pour it into your cup, only easing up when it hits the halfway mark. You hear a chuckle from beside you and you swipe your eyes to the side to discover where the sound came from. It’s amazing you hear it, with the music at its loudest and people constantly chatting. It was a beautiful sound, full of youth and it sounded genuinely happy, something you hadn’t been in a long time.

Your eyes easily find the source, seeing as you and the guy are just about the only two in the kitchen. There’s a poor girl throwing up what seems to be literally everything she’s ever eaten in the kitchen sink, and her friend that’s holding her hair and rubbing her back. Well, it was a nice sink, it’ll certainly hold some memories. There’s a guy leaning against the island on the other side... is he texting? Then there’s a girl dipping a chip into some guacamole next to you. When you see him, you almost drop your cup because, oh.

He looks innocent somehow, with his lowered eyes, pouty lips, and a deliciously long nose. He has dark, curly hair that screams bedhead and ... he’s saying something. His mouth is moving but you can’t hear anything so caught up in the trance of his eyes boring into yours. He must sense this, because before you know it, he’s placed a hand at the small of your back and you immediately try to jerk away because maybe he’s pushing you to get to someone else.

Yeah, yeah that’s got to be it because there’s no way he’s talking to you. Maybe he needs to talk to guac girl, that makes sense, you nod as you take a step back to allow him room to get to her, he cocks his head to the side and shakes his head and you gesture to the girl as a way to explain your actions.

He leans close to you then and beckons you closer and as he cups a hand at your ear, you feel his warm breath fan your face as he says, “Where are you going?”

So, his voice doesn’t match his looks. Nope. It’s just as dangerous as his inquisitive eyes. You’re certain that this is who wise people warn to stay away from. Men that looked innocent tended to be the opposite.

His voice is all bass and velvet, and it reminds you of a warm sunset wrapped in streaks of yellow and orange. He stares at you, hand still on your back and eyebrows raised. He asked you a question, you should probably answer before he thinks you’re ignoring him, right? But as you open your mouth you close it just as quickly confused on what exactly you should say.

You shake your head and jerk your thumb towards the general vicinity of the couch, too afraid to use your vocal cords. He smiles then, a wide smile that matches his eyes and you try to smile back. He slides his tongue between his teeth and fixes you with a look.

“Need some company?’’ he says, and you really do a double take this time because, seriously, who is he talking to? You crane your neck to inspect the kitchen and realize that you’re the only two left in here.

Okay, so he is talking to you.

Through the haze of your shock, your mouth simply opens and closes and he's chuckling slightly at your uncomfortability.

"Why?" flings out of your mouth and now it's his turn for his mouth to gape.

This party was as you said, a bad idea.

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