Chapter 11 - Connor
I finally elbowed my way to the front of the bar, and filled a champagne flute for Mel, grabbing a beer for myself. There was no shortage of supplies at this party, that was for sure, but the problem was that a whole bunch of guys was congregating around the bar area, making it near-impossible to move.
I retraced my steps, looking for Mel. Everyone looked the bloody same at this party with their masks on. Who the fuck held fancy dress parties in this day and age? My mask was annoying the hell out of me, and I hated not knowing who I was looking at, because I could well be walking right past my own brother without realizing it.
Every second bloody girl was wearing black, too, and that was being generous. It was damn near impossible to try and find Mel in this crowd. Fuck this shit, I was most definitely not a fan of the whole masquerade idea, and that made my level of irritation towards the asshole that invited Mel, rise exponentially.
I sighed, looking around, and I thought I spotted her on the dance floor, but when I finally pushed my way through the crowd, I couldn’t see her anymore.
A frown formed between my brows. The whole thing with this guy who didn’t want to tell her who he was, wasn’t sitting right with me. What the fuck did he have to hide? I could see by the expression on Mel’s face when she talked about him, that she was falling for the guy. And I got that girls liked intrigue and mystery, but who the hell fell for a guy they didn’t know anything about? If Mel was looking for a bit of adventure in her life, there were plenty of other ways to get kicks that were safer than turning up to a stranger’s house, at a party where she knew no-one else. What if the fucker invited her here to try and drug her? Shit - I had to find her, right now.
My level of irritation and worry grew by the second when I couldn’t find her. I walked through every single room with party-goers twice, but I didn’t see anyone who looked like her. And I was just about to try and call her on the phone, when I finally spotted her, standing with her back to me at the bottom of the staircase, looking kind of lost, and relief flooded me.
“I got you a glass of champagne; I hope that’s okay,” I tapped her on the arm, holding out the glass to her as she spun around.
But as her gaze met mine, my breath froze in my throat, because I knew those eyes...
“Hail?” All of a sudden, the temperature in that room increased, and my heart was pounding furiously inside my chest.
“Connor?” She sounded surprised as hell, her lips parting and her pupils dilating simultaneously.
“Yeah,” I lifted my mask, deciding that I had enough of the damn thing, and the last person on earth I wanted to play games with, was Hailey Davis.
“Fancy running into you here,” she said coolly, but there was this look inside her eyes, which belied her tone.
“Are you... here with someone?” I asked hopefully, hoping that finally, I’d get her alone.
“Yes. Davis is at the bar, getting me a drink,” her voice was Arctic again. “Don’t let me keep you; I can entertain myself for a minute.”
I sighed. “Hail, please. We need to talk.”
“I have nothing to say to you, Connor,” she said adamantly, crossing her arms.
“I’m happy to talk if you’ll listen, darling,” I said, feeling more and more frustrated by the second.
“Don’t call me names. You’ve lost that privilege,” she hissed at me.
“I made a mistake. I apologized. I’m sorry for behaving like an ass, but Hail - I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to react to the situation, and that’s the truth. I’ve never...”
She ripped her mask off her face, her eyes throwing daggers at me. “I don’t care. I’ve moved on.”
“You don’t feel for him what you feel for me, Hail, and we both know it,” my irritation rose along with the tone of my voice. I was taking one hell of a risk here, hoping that I was right.
“You have absolutely no idea what I’m thinking or feeling, Connor! You’re making one hell of a mistake if you think you can just change your mind, snap your fingers, and I’ll come running back to you.” She was pissed. She was absolutely pissed at me; still, that much was clear.
We were starting to make a scene now; I could hear the voices dying down around us, and felt the dozens of eyes staring right at us.
“I’m sorry, okay? I was wrong to react the way I did. What do you want me to do, Hail? Tell me, because I’ll do it. I’d give anything to do things over.” I didn’t give half a fuck that everyone was staring at us. I only cared about what she thought.
“It’s too late, Connor. Way too late,” her eyes glistened with unshed tears, and I knew that she felt something, too; otherwise she wouldn’t care this much.
“It’s not too late, Hail. It’s never too late to make things right - we’re both suffering here,” I tried to talk some sense into her.
“It’s too late, because you went and slept with my sister!” She was yelling now, and I was getting angrier and angrier by the fucking second here, because the woman wasn’t listening to a word I’d said.
“I did not sleep with your sister,” I hissed at her, giving another step closer to her so that our faces were maybe five inches apart. And hell, being so close to her, was torture. I wanted to cup her face, pull her right into me, and kiss every shred of defiance right the fuck out of her.
“I can’t believe you, Connor!” She shook her head at me, and a tear ran down her cheek. And just then, that asswipe-boyfriend of her arrived, looking at me as though I was a threat to national security. Of course, I ignored him, not bothering to acknowledge his existence, because he was temporary in Hail’s life; it was just a matter of time before she realized it too.
“It’s not what it looked like - fuck, Hail, I keep telling you nothing...”
“No matter how you try to spin it, I know what I saw. You and Mel sneaking out of her room, still in your clothes from the previous night. You slept with my sister last weekend, Connor, under the same roof as I!”
There was a stunned silence in that room, and even the damn music stopped at that exact moment, meaning absolutely everyone at that party heard that accusation.
And just then, I spotted Mel on the stairs, next to a guy who I presumed must have been the asshole she was fast getting obsessed about. They were both wearing masks, but I took a second to look at him, trying to work out who the hell he was. Of course, it was impossible because of the damn mask that obscured more than half of his face.
“I thought you said there was nothing between you and Connor Blake...” I heard the masked asshole say to Mel, and my temper exploded like a hand grenade.
"There isn’t. For the last fucking time, everyone who cares to listen - there is nothing between Melody Davis and me. Last time I heard, it wasn’t a crime to have a friend of the opposite sex. Good Lord, people need to get a grip! Nothing happened, we fell asleep after a late night, and I stayed with her because she got drunk and felt sad. Do you understand?” I was close to yelling now, as well.
“Get out! You’re spoiling my party!” A chick wearing a mask - of course - fucking story of my life - yelled at me, and my eyebrows shot up to the roof.
“Gladly. This party fucking sucks in any event.” I gestured at Mel. “You coming with me?”
Her jaw had dropped, along with roughly eighty percent of people in the room’s as well.
“Why were you feeling sad?” The masked asshole asked Mel, and I was this close to rolling my eyes, even though I was usually pretty good at keeping my cool and not indulging in dramatics.
“Because of you...” she said softly, and he took her hand, and there was this tension-laden look that passed between them, which was a fair indicator that Mel was on the verge of making a really dumb decision.
“Mel, I don’t want to leave you here, fending for yourself. Let’s go, please,” I looked at her expectantly, but she was conflicted; I could see it.
“Stay. I’ll drop you home,” the phantom of the fucking opera said to Mel. “We have a lot to talk about.”
I looked him up and down again, but I simply couldn’t place him, masked like that.
“Mel, I don’t trust this guy. I can’t in good conscience just leave you here. I’m getting kicked out, and you’re my plus-one, so by default, you’re getting kicked out too,” I insisted, wondering if she was any closer to knowing who he was.
“I’ll be okay, Connor. Hailes and Davis are here, too; I’m not on my own,” Mel said softly, and I shook my head. Women - seriously.
I addressed the phantom, deciding to tell him exactly what I thought of this game he was playing with Mel. “And you... you better watch your step with this girl. If anything happens to her, I will personally end you, understood?”
He had a stoical expression on the quarter of his face that was visible, and I formed the impression that perhaps he wasn’t impressed by that somewhat proprietary statement.
“She’s safe with me, I promise,” he finally responded, his voice cool. And I couldn’t place that voice, although it didn’t sound unfamiliar either - but he definitely wasn’t one of my close friends.
“I’ll have my phone on if you need me. Any time of the day or night, Mel, I mean it,” I impressed on her, and she nodded.
I didn’t feel great about leaving her there, but she wasn’t a child, and I couldn’t tell her what to do. But one thing was clear, the Davis-sisters were stubborn as hell, and both of them were infuriating me right now. It was clear that neither of them was displaying particularly good judgment right now either, and I’ve had it with childish games.
I sighed, looking at Mel one last time, giving her a chance to change her mind. But she just stood firmly, holding the masked guy’s hand. And then I turned toward her hard-headed sister, and decided to leave her with some parting words, too...
“One day, it’s going to be too late, Hail. I’m here right now, but I won’t be here forever.”
And before she could respond, I swiveled around and walked the hell out of there, putting an end to one spectacular failure of a night. But what I didn’t know, right then, was that things would be getting a hell of a lot worse before they’d get better again for all four of us. Because it was destiny that our lives became intertwined, and we’d all find that out eventually.