It was a beautiful, peaceful November night in Port Wood. Clear skies with stars that were shining so bright you could take a picture, and still be able to make out the stars. The wind was just as peaceful; moving in between the trees as if it was whispering sweet secrets. Many people were sitting outside just enjoying this wondrous night; sitting on their balconies and patios just talking and taking in the beauty of the night. Night’s like this were rare, especially in November where it would usually be cold and rough, as if mother nature was mad, and on a search for someone.
You could hear music ever so slightly coming from a house down the street where some teenagers were having a party. The age range was fourteen to nineteen. There were booze, drugs and everything else you can expect at a party. But this wasn’t just any party, it was Cassandra’s birthday - and today she turned sixteen.
She invited everyone she could think of, since she wanted this to be a night, and birthday, worth remembering. Cassandra talked her brother into buying booze for her party, as she knew about something that he did three months prior to tonight, and she held it against him, both knowing that their parents would not approve of it, and they would never allow him to go to Florida with his friends. He agreed, as long as she’d conceal all the evidence of the booze, and the massive party, before their parents got home the following night.
There were people all over Cassandra’s house, talking and laughing. In the basement there were guys playing beer pong, and girls huddled in a corner checking out all the older guys.
At this very party though was Bridgette Atwood, Cassandra’s best friend since grade three. Bridgette has been having trouble finding herself since she started high school, and now that she was a sophomore she promised herself she’d find herself no matter what, and Bridgette feels that hanging around with older teens from her high school, and hearing how their lives are going, will help her find out what she wants out of life, and where she wants to be.
Bridgette’s parents, of course, are completely against how their daughter is acting. They never expected their daughter to turn out like this. They always made sure she had everything she wanted and needed, and made sure to give her all the love they could. For the past 2 months they kept telling her that God was with her, watching her, and that he’ll never leave her side. That he’s always there if she needs to talk to him or ask for guidance, where Bridgett would just reply “Yeah, whatever.”
But on this very night, at this very party, their nightmare came true, as Bridgette met Manfred, a seventeen year old senior at her high school. She was more than overjoyed when he started talking to her, for she knew he was one of the jocks, not only in his grade, but also at the entire school. Her friend Bethany has had the biggest crush on him since she saw him last year playing football, and when she accidentally dropped her books in the hallway and he helped her pick them up.
Bridgette just sat there beside him, trying hard not to blush or make a fool out of herself. She wanted him to be impressed, and she felt the only way to do that was to act more mature than she really was. But Bridgette didn’t know what was in store for her.
“So you go to Red Oaks, right?” Manfred asked Bridgette as he opened his Corona.
“Yeah, I do.” Bridgette said as she played with her hair, staring at the floor.
“Are you a junior?” He passed Bridgette a beer.
“Umm, no, I’m a sophomore, but I think I’m very mature for my age.” Bridgette smiled as she took the beer and opened it.
“Yeah, I get that mature vibe from you. I like it. Most girls your age are so immature. I don’t really talk to them. But I’ve seen you around the school, and have wanted to start up a conversation with you for a while now.” Manfred takes a sip of his beer, put it’s down on the living room table, and puts his arm around Bridgette, who turns beet red.
“Wow, he’s wanted to start a conversation with me? I’m dreaming!”Bridgette thinks to herself.
“Do you know what you want to do with your life?” He asked as he moved a piece of hair out of her face, and smiled at her.
“Not really, its’ so hard trying to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life, you know?”
“I understand that. I want to go to Law school. My dad’s a Judge, so my parents want me to follow in his footsteps.” He says as he takes another sip of his Corona.
Bridgette’s phone starts vibrating in her pocket. She jumps a little and quickly takes it out of her pocket. She looks at the screen and realizes that it’s a phone call from her mother. Bridgette smiled at Manfred and said “Excuse me, I need to take this.”
Bridgette got up and walked outside to the front yard, and sat on a bench. She looked at her phone, which was still ringing, rolled her eyes, and answered “Mom, what do you want?”
“Bridgette Leanne Atwood! Do you know what time it is? It’s almost two in the morning! What time are you planning on coming home? We agreed you could go to Cassandra’s party if you were back by eleven o’clock. You have school tomorrow.”
“I know, mom. I’ll be home soon.”
“Should I get your father to come pick you…?”
Bridgette cut her mom off “NO!” She quickly said. “I’ll get a ride from Cassandra’s brother.
“Oh…Steve is there?” Her mom wondered.
“Yeah…” Bridgette lied. “He’s making sure the party doesn’t get out of hand, you know.”
“Okay well, be home by three…and I mean it!”
“Okay mom, I promise.”
“See you soon, Love you.”
“Love you too. Bye.”
‘How embarrassing…’ Bridgette thought as she hung up her phone. ‘He probably thinks I’m a loser now.’
“Hey Bridgette, the party is inside you know.” Cassandra yelled from the door.
“Yeah, I’m coming.” She said as she ran to the door.
“Who were you on the phone with?” Cassandra asked
“Oh, well Manfred has been looking for you.” Cassandra nudged Bridgette.
“He has? Where is he?”
“He’s in the backyard. Are you having fun?”
“Yes, I am! This is an amazing party!”
“Thanks, I’m going to go talk to Brandon now.” Cassandra said as she walked to the basement.
Bridgette walked to the sliding door in the kitchen and poked her head outside to try and find Manfred.
“Hey!” He said from the back of the yard standing near Cassandra’s mother’s garden.
Bridgette walked over and started drinking another beer. So far she’d had 5, and is starting to feel it.
“Can I talk to you in private?” Manfred asked holding his hand out.
“Yeah, of course!” Bridgette said as she took his hand and followed him to the other side of the yard.
“I like you. I think you’re very fun, and interesting. I was wondering if you wanted to be with a guy like me.”
“I do.” Bridgette said so fast she didn’t even know she said it.
“Great. Are you going to hang around here some more, or were you planning on heading?”
“My parents are expecting me home soon actually.”
“Oh, well…do you need a ride home?”
“Yeah, I do actually.”
“I can drive you home if you want.” He smiled.
“That’d be great! Thank you!”
Bridgette started following him back into the house, to the front door, and to the driveway where he parked his car, which was a 2008 Volkswagen Golf. As they got into the car, Manfred leaned over to Bridgette and kissed her. She felt her entire body tingle. But Bridgette didn’t know that each kiss would lead to more, much more than what she had anticipated.
As Bridgette walked into her house she waved to Manfred and he reversed out of the driveway. She stumbled upstairs and got changed out of her clothes. She then fell on her bed repeating the entire night in her mind with a smile on her face, and she kept going over her first kiss with Manfred. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
“You’re finally home.” Bridgette’s mother says as she stands in the doorway wrapping her robe around her waist.
“Yeah…” Bridgette says as she sinks her head into her pillows.
“I smell a ton of alcohol!” Her mother walked into her room and sniffed around until finally walking over to Bridgette and sniffing her hair. “Oh my…Bridgette! You drank! You’re under age! How could you do this?” Her mother yelled.
“Leave me alone please. I’m tired.” Bridgette grumbled.
“Of course you’re tired; it’s 3:28 a.m.! Gosh, Bridgette, you smell like you drank an entire case of beer!”
“What’s going on in here?” Bridgette’s dad asks as he knocks on her door.
“Your daughter drank way too much.” Bridgette’s mother says as she walks over to her husband giving him the ‘do something about this’ eyes.
He cleared his throat and said “Bridgette, why would you drink? Not only are you under age, but it can lead to some bad things. You’ve been giving your mom and me a very hard time since you started high school, and I for one, am sick and tired of this. You are ruining your life by rebelling like this. Going to parties, not taking your schooling seriously, staying out late, what’s next?”
“Please leave me alone. I need to get some sleep.”
“Bridgette, we’re only telling you all of this for your own good. We don’t want you to end up like your Aunt Catherine.”
Bridgette’s Aunt Catherine got pregnant at seventeen, after drinking and doing drugs for two years. She’s had to work 3 jobs just to take care of her son. Kirk, her sons father, left her and since then has been trying to make ends meet just to give her son, Nick, a good enough life.
“I won’t end up like Auntie Catherine.” Bridgette said as she lifted her pillow up and put it over her head.
“Were there drugs at that party?” Her father asked.
There was silence. Bridgette’s mother walked over to Bridgette’s bed and wiggled her foot. “Bridgette, answer your father.”
“No.” Bridgette lied.
“Are you telling the truth?”
“Yes. There were no drugs. Do you really think Cassandra would let drugs into her parent’s house?”
“Well, there was booze at the party, so I had to ask.” Her father said as he scratched his beard.
“Bridgette, can you please think of what you’re doing to your life? You need to take all of this seriously. We can understand if you don’t know what you want to be, that’s fine. I had the same problem when I was your age. But I never turned to booze and partying. I do not want this to be my daughter. God is watching you right now and is shaking his head. He’s disappointed in you, but he forgives you. He knows high school can be hard, and we know this too. But please, not for us, but for yourself, can you please take your schooling more importantly. You want to get into a good College or University, right?”
“You do know Colleges only look at Grade twelve and maybe even Grade eleven, right?”
“That’s not the point young lady!” Her father snapped. “We want you to do well no matter what. Now, we let you dick around last year in Grade nine, but it’s time to smarten up. Not next year or when you’re in Grade twelve, right now. I want to see at least 70’s on that report card at the end of the semester. Okay?” Her father said as he walked out of Bridgette’s room and into the hallway.
“Got it, now please, for the third time, can you two leave and let me sleep? I need to be up in 4 hours.”
“Okay honey. Sleep tight.” Her mother said as she walked over to the door, turned off the light, and closed the door.
In her parents room they were lying in their bed. Her mother was reading a book, while her father was just staring at the ceiling.
“What’s bugging you Tony?” Bridgette’s mother asked her husband.
“I’m just wondering where we went wrong. Did we spoil her? Not give her enough love? Give her too much love? What did we do to make her feel like she needs to act like this? I always thought when I had a daughter, that she’d be a good kid. Not do anything bad, not follow trends and cliques in high school, and all that stuff the ‘cool kids’ do.”
“Oh Tony, We did the best we could. Besides, high school is tough. It’s hard transferring from middle school where you’re in one class with all your friends, and one teacher, to four classes with four teachers, and 4 different groups of students. She’s trying to find herself. I know this isn’t the best way to do it. But I’m sure things will get better.”
“I hope so. I want her to be someone. I want to be proud of her, point to her, and say ‘that’s my daughter’.”
“She will make us proud. We just have to have faith in both her, and God. Now let’s go to bed.” Bridgette’s mother said as she leaned over and kissed her husband, put her book on the side table, turned off her side lamp, and went to bed.
Bridgette’s parents were right; she was going to be someone, and make them proud. But she’d have to go through some very difficult times in order for it to happen.