Charlie Ever After

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Chapter 30| Charlie

"What the hell am I going to wear?" I'm beyond frustrated and not having Lydia here is only making me more tense. Scout is great, but I can tell that even she's overwhelmed with how frantic I am.

"Relax, girlfriend. It's just a party." She says from her bed.

I glare at her, huffing out a dramatic breath as I flop down on my own bed. "I just want to look HOT!"

"Bitch, you'd look hot in a paper bag." She rolls her eyes at me playfully before getting up from her spot in bed, walking over to my dresser. "Anyway, it's a college party. Not prom."

She spends a few moments rifling through my drawers before she pulls out a black, lacy bralette.

"What about this?" She holds it up against her own body and examines herself in the mirror.

On me it comes down to the bottom of my rib cage and it does make my tits look pretty nice.

"But it's just a bralette. What will I put over it?" I ask

She shrugs her shoulders. "You have a grey open knit cardigan, don't you?"

"Yeah..." I say hesitantly, not sure where she's going with this. Is she really suggesting I wear a bra as a shirt?

"Well..." She digs the cardigan from my laundry pile and gives it a sniff before shrugging her shoulders. I furrow my brows at her before shaking my head; just letting her do her own thing. She starts rummaging through my drawers again, pulling out a black pair of skinny jeans with ripped knees. She throws the clothes at me before returning to her side of the room, shuffling around in her own closet, pulling out a black belt with a gold buckle.

"Alright, try this on." She sounds out of breath, and I don't blame her. She just picked out an entire outfit for me in like two minutes flat; she still hasn't even started getting ready and it's already six.

"The boys will be picking us up in two hours, don't you still have to get showered and ready?" I question her as I start peeling off my comfy clothes and pulling on the outfit that she picked out for me.

I stand in front of my mirror and pull the elastic from my hair, my dark locks falling around my shoulders in waves.

"Yeah, but two hours is plenty of time." She says as she stands in front of her closet, surveying the clothing she has.

I scan over my body, and I can't help the grin that spreads across my lips. Tanner is going to die when he sees me.

I do a full 360 in the mirror, checking myself out before I take the clothes off and gather my shower supplies. "Be right back." I yell to Scout as I'm heading out the door.

"The boys will be here any minute." I say as I stare at Scout in bewilderment. "I thought you said two hours was going to be enough time?" I mock her.

"Shut up." She grumbles as she tries her best to do her makeup and somehow get dressed all at the same time.

Right on que, there's a knock at the door.

I make sure that Scout is completely dressed before I open the door. Tanner and Collin are both standing there, looking handsome as ever.

I give Collin a fist bump as they walk in and then pull Tanner into my arms, giving him the tightest hug and a big kiss on the lips.

He grins down at me and pulls away, holding me at arms length as his eyes devour every inch of my body. He lets out a throaty groan before pulling me back into his arms, whispering in my ear, "Just you wait until later. I hope this shirt isn't expensive, because I plan on ripping it off of you." He hooks his finger in between the cups of the bralette, pulling it towards him before releasing it- the material snapping back against my skin.

A soft gasp escapes my lips, and my heart picks up speed. "I don't wanna wait." I whine and pout up at him.

He just grins at me in reply and steps away from me.

Collin is almost frozen in spot, gawking at Scout. She hasn't noticed yet and I can't help but to giggle, knowing that she'd eat him alive if she saw him staring.

I sneak up behind him. "Take a picture, it lasts longer." I whisper into his ear and he snaps out of his trance.

"Dick." He grumbles and I burst into a fit of giggles, tossing a wink his way.

"How much longer Scout?" I ask and she sighs.

"Ten minutes, I have a few more curls to put in." She grumbles.

I walk over to her, taking the curling iron out of her hand and getting to work. I manage to finish her hair in five minutes and in seven we're out the door.

Once in the hallway, Scout pulls a few airplane bottles of alcohol from her purse. She hands them out, Tanner denying his because he's driving. We all stop for a moment, clinking the little bottles together and throwing them back; each of us make our own disgusted faces as Tanner laughs at us.

"Ahh it's so great watching you all suffer." He grins maniacally.

The shot instantly warms me up as I return to Tanner's side, wrapping my arm around his waist.

The drive is smooth sailing despite the fact that we're all packed into Tanner's barely four seater truck like sardines. I'm already two airplane bottles deep and I can feel the warm, fuzzy feeling spreading throughout my entire body. I can't stop the giggles that wrack me as we all joke around and laugh at each other's goofiness.
As I sit here, my gut hurting from laughing so hard, I look around at my new little family and I can't help but drift back into the thought of how nice it is to finally feel like a normal young woman, to belong- not that I don't belong with the Ramirez family, but somehow this feels different. This feeling is something new, something my own; and I did it without the help of my crutch- Lydia. I made these friends all by myself, I found tanner... almost all by myself.

Tanner and Collin make it out of the truck before us girls and they both open the doors for us. Me and Scout look at each other with a knowing grin.

Tanner pulls me into him, and Collin offers Scout his arm. She rolls her eyes playfully before gently punching him in the shoulder. The look on his face is priceless and all of us nearly die laughing. After our laughter dies down, Scout links her arm through Collin's and the four of us walk up to the door- which is open. We push our way through the crowd to the kitchen, where all the alcohol is set out.

While the boys are busy across the room making our drinks, Scout comes in close.

"Collin is actually pretty cute." A blush is creeps it's way to her cheeks.

My eyes widen and a squeal escapes my lips. "Really?"

"Slow down there, killer." She giggles and nudges me with her hip. "It's still early, that could change." She grins and the boys return, passing us our drinks.

I hold my cup to my lips and take a long sip as Tanner leans up against the wall behind me and pulls me into him. I giggle as the drink sloshes over the side of the cup, spilling over my hand. I lick the sweet liquid from my fingers and Tanner's eyes fill with the familiar inferno that drives me wild and I can already tell how tonight is going to go.

I wide grin spreads across my face as I run my tongue slowly across my upper lip, teasing him further. He leans his mouth against my ear and I can faintly hear a throaty growl escape his lips, above the loud music and talking.

He tugs me in closer by my belt loops and nibbles on my earlobe. "Just you wait, baby." He whispers and I can feel myself already throbbing with his promise.

I look over and Collin and Scout are no longer next to us, they're now in the living room, dancing- if you can even call dry humping, dancing.

I turn Tanner's face to their direction and we both start laughing.

"You owe me twenty bucks." I grin mischievously, bringing up a bet we made. He didn't think that Scout would ever go for Collin, but seems that I proved him wrong.

He lets out a groan and throws his head back dramatically. "Fine." He reaches into his back pocket and pulls out his wallet, retrieving a twenty. He grins and snaps the bill straight before stuffing it in my bra, right between my breasts.

I squeal and lean up on my tippy toes, kissing him. "Fair and square." I grin at him.

An hour goes by and I'm two more drinks in. I'm definitely drunk.

"I have to pee. I'll be right back." I kiss Tanner on the cheek and push off him, making my way upstairs in hunt for the bathroom. I check a few doors; opening a bedroom door, obviously disturbing a couple in bed together.

"Woops!" I giggle and shut the door quickly before moving onto the next.

"Well, well, well. This is who Tanner settled with." The icy voice sends chills down my spine. I spin around and I'm met by a piercing set of brown eyes. The short brunette has her arms crossed over her chest and she's dripping with disgust.

"Excuse me?" I can't keep the bite from my tone.

"I said, you're the trash that Tanner settled with." She walks closer to me, her arms dropping to her sides as she comes face to face with me. Her eyes search my face for a moment as a wicked grin tilts the corners of her red painted lips. "He's not the perfect man he paints himself to be. You'll find out soon enough." She stares me down for a moment more before turning away and disappearing downstairs before I can even say anything back.

I'm left there stunned and speechless and for a moment I wish she was still in front of me so I can wrap my hands around her stupid little neck. My anger is coursing through my veins, now and I can't find the bathroom soon enough. After two more doors I finally find it. I close the door behind me, sinking down to the floor as my heart hammers behind my ribs.

I feel sick. I crawl over to the toilet and lift the lid, heaving but nothing comes up. My head is spinning and I'm not thinking clearly. I need my bed. I want so much to be wrapped in Tanner's arms but what that girl said has my alarms blaring.

I make my way back downstairs and head immediately to the living room where I find Scout and Collin making out on a chaise lounge in the corner.

I bend down to Scout's level when she notices me.

"Can we leave please?" I whisper.

She studies my face for a moment before she nods.

She leans down to Collin's ear for a moment, whispering something before giving him another soft kiss. I instantly feel guilty, but I need to get home and for right this moment I need some space from Tanner until I can make sense of what I was told.

Scout climbs off Collin's lap and I can see the disappointed look on his face. I shoot him a sorry glance before we make our way to the kitchen to find Tanner. He's talking to a few other guys when I walk up to him. He wraps an arm around me and introduces me to his friends, but I don't quite catch their names, my mind is elsewhere.

"I'm going home baby. I want you to stay and have fun. I just think I had too much to drink." I try giving him a smile.

He looks over to Scout then back at me. I can see the uncertainty in his eyes, but I try not to let it get to me.

"I love you." I whisper to him and give him a small kiss. He pulls me into him for a hug and I have to choke back the tears that swell in the corners of my eyes. I know I'm drunk. I just have to sober up and process what happened.

I sigh and pull away slowly, blowing him a kiss before walking out with Scout.

We call an Uber which arrives in a matter of minutes.

"So, what happened? Are you okay? He didn't do anything, did he?" She gets increasingly worried.

I shake my head. "No, but I'm pretty sure I met his ex-girlfriend tonight." I sigh.

She just looks at me for a moment before leaning forward to speak to the driver.

He pulls off at a small convenience store and Scout pulls me out of the car. We both walk in, a few men inside the store practically breaking their necks to get a look at us. I cover my body with my arms, self-consciously as Scout pulls me to the back freezer. She piles container upon container of ice-cream in her arms and then makes her way over to the chips. She grabs as many bags as she can, without a word before making her way to the counter.

"Pack of menthols too." She says to the guy behind the counter and when I glare at her she shrugs her shoulders. "What? Just when I drink." She offers as an explanation.

We grab our bags and make our way back to the uber and climb in. Within minutes we're back at the dorms and we haul our bags of goodies up to our sixth floor dorm room.

We dump everything out on Scout's bed and climb in after settling back into our pajamas.

She opens the window next to her bed before reaching into her night table and pulling out a bottle of whiskey. She opens the bottle, taking a sip before pulling out the pack of cigarettes and lighting one. She holds the cigarette towards the window, blowing her smoke out the screen.

"So, spill. Everything. I know you're holding back."

I watch her take another drag from the cigarette and I hold my hand out, waggling my fingers at her to hand it to me.

I take it between my fingers, unsure of myself but I lift it to my lips and take in a long drag. I cough and sputter on the smoke but with the second drag it becomes a lot smoother.

I sigh and pass it back to her as I work on opening the whiskey bottle. I take a long sip and screw the lid back on.

"Okay," I sigh. "Ready."

Scout folds her legs in front of her and focuses her attention on me.

"So, I was on my way up to the bathroom and this bitch said that I was the trash that Tanner was dating now and that he's not how I perceive him to be, blah blah blah." I sigh and take another drag of the cigarette as she hands it to me, making a face as I exhale the stale smoke.

I chase the taste with the even worse taste of whiskey and almost gag.

Scout takes in what I say for a moment as she takes a long sip from the bottle.

"Wow. Well, first off; what a cunt. Second off, Charlie; I wouldn't worry about it too much. I see the way Tanner looks at you. He loves you. So, what if he isn't this perfect person. No one's perfect." She shrugs her shoulders and finishes the cigarette, putting it out in an old water bottle.

I sigh. "I know. I just got so overwhelmed and being drunk didn't help the fact. I just got so mad, Scout. I wanted to throw her down the stairs; and now I ruined a great night for the both of us." I throw myself back on her bed and cover my face with my hands as I feel tears burning the corner of my eyes.

"Charlie, baby. Chill. It's okay." She grabs my arms and pulls me up, pulling my hands away from my face. "Look at me."

I sigh and look at her, tears streaming down my cheeks.

"Tanner loves you. You didn't ruin anything. You were having a moment of vulnerability. Everyone has moments like that."

I nod and try to stop the tears. "I know. I just..."

I break down, sobbing and end up telling Scout everything. I tell her about my mother, I tell her about Gavin. I tell her every thought and every insecurity until I can't speak anymore. She sits there patiently and listens to every single word I say and at the end she just holds me and reassures me that there's nothing wrong with me and that Tanner loves me with all his heart; and for the second time tonight I can't help the overwhelming sense of gratitude I get for my second chance at living a normal, happy life.
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