M I D N I G H T

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viii. betrayed teens

I should’ve expected something like this when James said party. Red LED lights, massive amounts of sweaty people dancing. His huge house, even bigger than Nina’s. We walked in and I was taken back by the huge crowd on the main floor.

Alexander and James received a loud cheer when they arrived and walked around to talk to people. Nina took my hand and led me to a space in the living room that was relatively un crowded.

β€œI’m gonna get us some drinks. What do you want?” She shouted over the music.

β€œCoke,”

β€œGot it,” She left to get us drinks and I stood watching the people jump up and down. It smelled like sweat and smoke. I could barely breathe. I’m not sure why but the entire vibe of the whole night was different. Everything was so....intense.

β€œHey,”

I looked up and saw a cute boy with brown hair and blue eyes looking at me.

β€œI saw you standing, thought I might get you a drink,” He smiled, charmingly.

I took the water bottle from his hands and looked at it. The cap was still sealed so I assumed it was okay. β€œThanks,” I said.

β€œCorvina, I got your drink!” Nina quickly walked over to me. β€œSorry Nathan, I have to talk to her.”

Suddenly annoyed, Nathan just rolled his eyes and walked away. Nina led me to the back patio outside where the air was a lot clearer and I could hear her a lot better. She snatched the water bottle out of my hands.

β€œDon’t drink this.”

β€œWhy? It’s still sealed?” I asked.

She squeezed the water bottle and the tiniest spurt of water came out from under the label, β€œHe used a syringe.”

My eyes widened. Guess never take a drink from a stranger really applies to everything.

β€œI’m gonna pour this out. I’ll be right back,” she quickly left me again and I looked up at the full moon.

I always forget how bright it is until I see it again.

β€œWhy are you alone?”

I felt the warmth of his presence behind me suddenly and I could smell his cologne. It was much more pleasant than the scent that was inside the house. I turned around to face Alex and I took a step backward, taken aback by how good he looked in the moonlight.

He chuckled and walked forward, pressing his body to mine, β€œDo you see something you like, Corey?”

β€œStop calling me that.” I huffed.

β€œWhy?” he whispered as his eyes softened. He pushed a piece of hair behind my ear, β€œam I making you uncomfortable?”

The sincerity in his voice surprised me and I felt my chest warm a little. My heart was pounding and the butterflies in my stomach were going crazy. I calmed myself down a little.

β€œNo,” I said softly.

It was true. It was pretty cold outside and his jacket wasn’t really cutting it anymore. His body heat radiating off him and I enjoyed it. Another part of me also didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of me saying yes.

β€œGood,” Alexander whispered deeply, his face slowly nearing mine. I swallowed, thickly and looked at his lips as they approached mine. My eyes naturally fell shut and I waited for them to press against mine.

His hand pressed against the small of my back and then-

I felt a hard flick on my forehead.

I winced, rubbing the sore spot and glared at Alex who was smirking down at me. He opened his mouth to say something my phone started to ring. He clenched his fist and stayed silent, allowing me to take the call.

β€œCorvina, where the actual hell are you?” My mother’s voice loudly entered my ear and brought the phone away from my ear.

β€œI’m with some friends...” I trailed and nervously looked at Alexander who looked down at me, bemused.

β€œGet home. Now. Mike is worried sick.”

I cringed.

After muttering an β€˜okay’ I told her I would be home shortly.

β€œDo you know where Nina is?” I asked him.

β€œLast I saw her she was in the kitchen, why?”

β€œI have to go.” I looked down and suddenly remembered I was still in his jacket. I moved to take it off but he stopped me, with a frustrated sigh.

β€œYou’re cold, Corey. Just keep it and give it back to me Monday.”

β€œAre you sure?” I asked skeptically.

β€œYes. Corey.” He rolled his eyes and then walked back into the house to join the party again. Suddenly feeling colder than before I shivered at his absence and walked back in to find Nina in the kitchen with a plate of barbecue chips.

β€œOh hey! I got us snacks,” she shouted.

I told her I had to leave.

β€œLike right now?”

I nodded.

β€œGive me a sec, I’ll go get James’ keys and then I can give you a ride.”

I shook my head, β€œNo it’s fine. I can just walk.”

β€œCorvina, it’s late and almost midnight. You are not walking out alone.”

I sighed but it was probably for the best. Nina quickly drove me home and I jumped out of the car, waving goodbye.

I braced myself before walking into the house. I saw Mike, sitting on the couch. Alone.

Where was my mom? It sounded like she was here. Mike’s head turned towards mine and a gross smile made its way to his face as he looked me up and down. I hugged myself and quickly ran up the stairs. Thankfully he didn’t follow me.

I grabbed some clothes and a towel and walked into the bathroom, making sure to lock the door behind me. I stripped out of Nina’s dress while the water warmed up. I stepped into the shower taking a deep breath.

I can’t believe he flicked me.

Suddenly feeling embarrassed, my cheeks heat up again and I look down, letting the water run over. I closed my eyes.

Click!

My eyes shot open and I hugged myself.

Click!

What is that?

The door opens and I stepped back into the far corner of the shower.

I had made sure to lock the door.

What happened next is still fuzzy. I only remember a few clear moments.

How Mike found a way in, I had no idea.

β€œIt’s Corvina, not mom!” I shouted, but my voice was shaky. I heard him chuckle and I hugged myself, backing into the corner of the shower, the hot water still running. Mike stepped in, fully clothed in his red flannels shirt and blue jeans. I saw a hand with dirty fingernails and hairy knuckles reach out to me.

I screamed and stepped out of the shower as quickly as possible, throwing the curtain behind me. I missed the bath mat and slipped, hitting my forehead on the sink. It started to bleed. I heard him heavily step out after me.

I scrambled to get up, my knees and palms scratching against the tile floor. My throat became clogged and my movements were sloppy and slow. I still managed to leave the bathroom before he could get to me.

I ran to my room and slammed the door. I locked it and heard him pounding it. He shouted and I flinched at his voice. The door creaked and the split second of fear I had, that the door would break, made me shove everything off my desk and push the massive thing in front of the door.

The blood rushing in my ears was too loud and it was all I could hear. I opened my closet door and locked myself inside. I’m not sure how long I was in there. All I really remember is crying so hard I threw up and then passing out.

I woke to the sound of the front door opening.

I heard my mom laughing with Mike. Louder than I ever could make her laugh.

Suddenly, I heard Mike leave, probably to get food at a gas station or something. I got dressed and went down stairs. My mother was smiling, looking down at her phone. She smiled when she looked at me. I sighed and told her that we should talk.

I told her everything. About Mike. About what had happened that day. I pointed to the large cut on my forehead. Her face was empty before she responded.

It’s not really worth repeating what she said, but in short, she didn’t believe. She called me psychotic, and told me I was trying to sabotage her happiness, just like when I hid the pills under the bathroom sink.

Never in my life had I felt so...so....

Devastated.

My own mother.

My fists clenched and I impulsively walked out the door. I couldn’t stay in this house. I couldn’t be there. Especially if Mike was going to be home soon.

So I walked out, under the pale moonlight.

The tears hit the minute I stepped off the driveway.

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