Bad For You

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11

"So what's the stitch?" Hannah asks a week later. She's sprawled out on the couch, aimlessly flicking through the television. My mother had picked up a shift at the bar so Hannah had come over to my place once I'd gotten home from practice.

"The stitch?" I swirl my spoon around in my yogurt cup before sticking it in my mouth.

"Yeah. With you and Theo."

When I don't respond Hannah raises a brow at me. "Well?"

I shrug. "There is no me and Theo. There's just me. And Theo."

"What does that mean?"

"It means exactly what I said."

"Well did something happen?"

"Actually no," I laugh dryly. "Nothing happened."

It was true. Theo and were 'good' as he put it. We still talked. Still texted. There was nothing noticeably different.

But yet something was off.

It felt like he was putting some distance between us. He wasn't his usual self like when we'd first met. Ever since that almost kiss and that day at my locker things were just weird. At first, I thought maybe I was imagining it. That I was crazy. But things were definitely different. We hadn't even hung out outside of school since pool night.

When I explain all this to Hannah she scoffs. "Wow. What an asshole."

I sigh. "Maybe he just doesn't like me." I'd thought about it, but at first I didn't want to admit it. Now I was thinking it might be true, even if it did suck.

"That's bullshit. He's the one who initiated this thing between you two. He did just enough to string you along, then as soon as you showed interest he backed off."

"That's not true," I argue in his defense. "I mean, he never said he liked me like that you know? That was all me. I guess I read the signals wrong. That's on me, not him."

Hannah rolls her eyes. "Why are you defending him?"

"I'm not. I'm just saying..." I chew on my bottom lip. "It's fine. I'm fine with us just being friends."

"Friends don't have phone sex with each other. I may be inexperienced, but I know that much. And it's weird that you did that together but he won't even kiss you."

"That was different. It was really late and-" I stop. "Can we just talk about something else please?"

"Okay. But can I say one more thing?"

Since we're on the topic, she might as well. "Yeah, go ahead."

Hannah sits up. "If Theo doesn't see how awesome you are, then that's his loss. Because you're a catch babe," she winks.

I smile. "Thanks."

"Anytime," Hannah grins. "Now that that's settled, how about a movie and-" her phone starts vibrating excessively. I give her a quizzical look.

"Hot boyfriend I don't know about?"

"Trust me, if I had a boyfriend you would be the first to know," she checks her screen. "It's Kitty."

"Kitty? Adams girlfriend Kitty?"

"Yeah. Don't let her tiny frame fool you, that girl is as aggressive as they come. She practically forced me to take her number so we could all hang out another time, just us girls," Hannah shakes her head. "I liked her and Eva, but there's no way I'd willingly hang out with that bitch Phoebe."

I couldn't say I disagreed with her. Hannah reads whatever is on her screen before a slow smile spreads across her face.

"What?" I ask.

"Change of plans. We're going out."

"Going out?" I laugh. "That's a joke right?"

"Your mom is working late right? We'll be back before she gets home. She won't even know."

I cross my arms. "Where are we going?"

Hannah switches off the tv. "A friend of Kitty's is throwing a party at their house."

"Another party?" I groan. "No thanks. The last one wasn't exactly fun."

"That's because we couldn't drink," Hannah stands up with a grin. "Now get up and let's get dressed. We're partying tonight."

___

I pull my skirt down and touch my hair again. "You look fine!" Kitty exclaims from the passenger seat. She turns around and gives me a supportive thumbs up.

"It's just-" I shift again. "This skirt is extremely short." I hadn't worn it since freshman year, and I'd definitely grown since then.

"But it makes your legs look great!" Eva laughs while driving. I turn to Hannah and she waggles her eyebrows at me. I blow out a breath and lean back in my seat.

This is an extremely bad idea.

After Hannah dragged me from the couch we proceeded to my room where she tore apart my closet. I had on a denim mini skirt with a thin tan belt and pink button up crop top. However only the middle is buttoned, exposing my stomach and a hint of cleavage. I didn't even have a bra on, just nipple covers. It was freezing outside so I had on my coat, but this time I would leave it in the car when we arrived. My hair was in a half up, half down style.

After I was dressed Hannah and I drove to her house so she could change. Thankfully her parents weren't home. It was date night. Eva and Kitty picked us up from there and Kitty even did my makeup. I was used to wearing a full face for recitals, but this was different. I had on bright pink sparkly eyeshadow with purple eyeliner. My cheeks are rosy with blush and my lips are coated in sparkly gloss.

By the time we arrive the party is already in full swing. The house isn't as big as Lauryn Hills but it's still fairly large. I could already hear loud music blaring from inside. There was a splash from the backyard where I assumed a pool was located.

Together we all walk up the winding path to the front door which was wide open. Multi-colored strobe lights flash. It smelled like weed and bad decisions. The living room was jam packed with grinding bodies dancing to some rave type techno beat. We squeeze our way into the kitchen which had been turned into a bar for the night and there was a separate table with snacks. People were everywhere, trickling down the hall and sitting on the stairs. I heard whooping and hollering coming from outside.

"Phoebe just texted!" Eva yells over the music. "She and the guys are on their way."

"The guys?" Hannah asks.

"Yeah. Adam, Theo, Jack, Oliver..."

I stopped listening after she said Theo. This was supposed to be a night to not think about him. Now he was coming here.

"I knew this was a bad idea," I mutter.

Hannah nudges my shoulder. "There's a simple solution to this."

"Going home?"

"No. Getting shitfaced."

"Ugh. Is your solution to everything getting drunk?"

"Pretty much."

"Let's do some shots before they get here!" Kitty grabs a bottle and reads the label. "Vodka! Perfect." She grabs three blue plastic shot cups and starts pouring them.

"Take a shot for me?" Eva asks and Kitty grins, grabbing a fourth cup. Then she hands Hannah and I a shot. I stare at the clear liquid swirling inside and take a tentative sip. Immediately I begin to cough and sputter.

"Rookie!" Kitty laughs. "Like this!" Then she knocks hers back in one fluid motion. Hannah copies her without flinching.

"Your turn!" Hannah exclaims. The girls start chanting my name.

"Aurora! Aurora! Aurora!"

Here goes. I tip my head back and swallow it in one go. It taste like rubbing alcohol and I grimace at the taste. The girls cheer.

"That was awful!" My face is still sour from the taste.

"I know! You're practically a pro tho. Most people can't take straight shots of vodka without a chaser," Kitty pours me another shot. "Drink up! Tonight you're getting the full party experience!"

Hannah and I take another shot, with Kitty and Eva hyping us up. I start to feel lightheaded. Woah. This stuff is strong. I can't believe peoples parents just let them have full access to their liquor cabinet. Or maybe they get it from somewhere else.

"Give me another!" I demand. Tonight I'm determined to shed goody-two shoes Aurora. And in order to do that I need to get drunk.

Really, fucking drunk.

"Okay, but after this I'm cutting you off," Kitty says. "Trust me, getting drunk is the fun part, but the hangover is a bitch. Also you're a total lightweight. You're already swaying on your feet," she laughs.

"Let's go dance!" Hannah exclaims, grabbing my arm. I grab Kitty and she grabs Eva, the four of us forming a human chain. With alcohol buzzing in my veins and lowering my inhibitions, we join the throng on the dance floor. I let my hair down and run my hands through it, letting my body move with the beat. The lights flash. Blue, green, red, purple, pink. Everything feels distorted, like I'm in a fever dream.

It feels amazing and freeing.

"I'll be back!" Eva yells. I'm barely paying attention to her and Kitty is in her own world, eyes closed as she runs her hands down her body while dancing.

Suddenly Hannah climbs on top of a table to dance and my eyes widen. "What are you doing?" I yell.

"Come on!" Hannah pulls me onto the table with her. She twirls me around and we dance against each other while laughing. At this point I'm feeling very drunk, so I don't even notice when Eva comes back with company until a familiar voice pierces my drunken fog.

"You guys drank without us?" Jack whines.

"Don't be a baby!"

Hannah and I look up to see Jack, Adam, Phoebe, and Theo approaching. Kitty squeals and runs up to hey boyfriend, jumping on him and wrapping her legs around his waist. Jack is arguing with Eva, Phoebe has a sour look on her face and Theo does not look happy. He hurries over to where Hannah and I are dancing. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Dancing!" I yell back with a grin. For some reason I'm excited to see him, even though in the back of my head I think I'm not supposed to be.

"Well get down!" Theo yells, somehow sounding both mad and concerned. "What if you break something?"

"Why do you even care!" Hannah says and I elbow her. She laughs.

"I got this," I shoot her a mock indignant look. Then I turn back to Theo and stick my tongue out. "You're not the boss of me!"

"Chill! She's just having fun," Jack laughs. Theo whirls on him.

"I will not chill! That shit is dangerous!"

I ignore them both and keep dancing. Then for whatever reason I decide it would be a great idea to attempt a pirouette on the table.

So it's no surprise when I slip.

Hannah screams as I topple down into Theo's arms, laughing the entire time. Thankfully I'm wearing spandex or I would've flashed the entire party.

"I fucking told you," Theo snaps at me as I wrap my arms around his neck and swing my legs.

"Oh boo hoo. You were there to catch me weren't you?"

"Oh my God," Phoebe rolls her eyes in disgust. "You cannot handle your liquor. It's embarrassing to watch."

I narrow my eyes at her. "You know what? Fuck you Phoebe."

She steps toward me. "What did you just say?"

"Girl fight!" Jack yells and Eva moves in front of Phoebe. Hannah carefully climbs down from the table.

"You're a jackass, you know that?" Adam rolls his eyes at Jack.

"Okay you know what, we're going outside," still carrying me, Theo turns and starts heading toward the sliding doors leading to the backyard.

"Drink water!" Kitty yells after me. I give her a thumbs up.

Once we're outside Theo sets me on my feet and I pull down my skirt. He looks pissed and I blink innocently at him.

"What?" I ask.

"What the hell was that?"

I pout. "She was being mean." Then I giggle. I guess I'm a happy drunk.

Theo sighs. "How much have you had to drink?"

"I don't know, like some shots or something."

"Have your ever drank before?"

I snort. "Nope."

"So you're a lightweight?"

"I guess," I shrug.

"You're being reckless," Theo glares at me. "You could have seriously injured yourself."

Suddenly I'm annoyed. "Why do you even care?" I cross my arms.

"What does that mean?" Theo frowns. "Why wouldn't I care?"

"Because. You're all wishy washy. You like me, then you don't."

"What are you talking back. Of course I like you."

"Then why are you being so distant!" I shout, wanting to see if Theo knows exactly what I'm talking about. By the guilty look on his face he does, so I continue. "It's like one minute we're clicking, and the next you shut me out! Or am I reading this wrong? Is it all one sided?"

Theo runs a hand through his hair in frustration. "It's complicated-"

"But it doesn't have to be," I insist. "Just tell me what's wrong."

He opens his mouth, and for a moment I think he'll finally be honest with me. Tell me the truth. Tell me something. Because I don't understand what we're doing. One minute we're close, the next he's pulling away. It honestly feels like we're stuck in some weird limbo and it's emotionally draining. All I need is for him to explain what's going on, so we can finally either be something more, or just be friends. And even if that thought hurts, at least I'll have an answer.

At least I'll have closure.

But Theo's face shuts down. Again. Like it always does. “It’s nothing,” he insists.

I step back. "You know what, forget it."

I spin around and Theo grabs my arm. "Rose wait-"

"Stop, just stop it!" I shake his hand off. "You don't get to call me that!" My eyes burn with tears. "Do you enjoy playing with people's emotions, is that it?"

"That's not it," Theo struggles to articulate his words.

"Then what?" I sniffle. "I'm a big girl. If you don't like me just say that. I think it's pretty clear how I feel about you, but I can't keep doing this back and forth with you. It's exhausting."

His shoulders sag. "I'm sorry."

I hold up my hand. "Just answer this. Do you like me as a friend? Or more?"

Theo sighs. “I don’t think I could ever like you as just a friend.”

"Then talk to me," I say softly, taking his hand. "Tell me what you're thinking."

Theo fingers a strand of my hair before tucking it behind my ear as I stare at him expectantly. "I care about you. A lot. And I want to be with you...but I can't."

"Why?" I ask in confusion. "At least tell me that much."

"It just has to be that way," Theo looks pained. "But we can still be-"

Instantly I pull back, shaking my head. "We can still be what? Friends? I don't think so. Friendship is built on trust and honesty. And apparently we don't even have that."

That's not fair," Theo argues.

"No, what's not fair is putting myself through an emotional blender, and for what? That's just too hard for me," I struggle to keep my voice even. "Maybe that makes me selfish, but I don't care," my hands drop to my sides. "You can't have your cake and eat it too."

Then I turn and walk away, my vision blurred by tears.

___




opinions? was theo stringing her along? did aurora do the right thing by walking away from him?

xoxo, g💓
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