Ronnie's heart skipped a beat as Mike greeted her back, a jovial grin spreading across her cheeks. "Well, I was actually looking for Hunter. You see, I lost him at the game and-" Before the girl could drone on for an excessively long amount of time about her night and how obviously well Kennedy and Eli went together, her words were cut short by Mike's voice. She was a little disappointed that the momentum of her gabbing had been lost considering Mike had hardly been giving any attention to what she was saying anyway.
She craned her neck out to see what he was looking at. Before she could scrutinize the bottle the two of them had laid their eyes upon, she was whisked away from their placement in the crowd toward the table.
A bottle of liquor? Ronnie was still somewhat of a kid, but she was no stranger to parties. Although she did much prefer heavily diluting her alcohol with copious amounts of juice or soda, she wasn't one to disappoint one of her suitors. "Yeah, I can totally party! Bring it!" she cheered, grabbing a cup and pouring a sizable amount of the drink into it. She downed about a third of it before pulling the most twisted, pained face she had made in her life. It was horrid, but she'd rather take the pain than look like a wimp in front of her crush. Well, one of them, at least.
Being called "babe" was enough to push her through the misery of it all, prompting her to force a weak smile, which just turned into a brief coughing fit. Disgusting. "Why don't... you... have some?" she suggested between coughs and gags, holding out the bottle for him. Oh god. With this much in her cup, she was on track for one unforgettable night. Or forgettable, depending on how much she finished.
Mike, as he watched the kiddish girl cough and gag at the liquor, held back laughter from behind a hand cupped over his mouth. For a girl who was at nearly every party, she did a bad job at downing liquor.
Upon being offered the bottle, Mike chuckled and took the thing from Ronnie. "Wow," he said, coughing to disguise his laughter as he grabbed himself a cup, "really getting it started, Veronica." He poured his cup half full. "You not gonna finish your cup?" he asked, holding his cup up to his mouth. "That ain't the spirit."
As he took a long drink from his cup, his eyebrows furrowed.
He'd just remembered that he'd driven himself here.
Shit. Looked like he'd need a DD-- he wasn't about to wreck his car again.
He lowered his cup, grinning, and he moved to put an arm around Ronnie, though he quickly decided against it and instead put it behind his own head. "Ronnie, who did come here with? Or did you drive yourself?"
Thank God that he had the liquor in him-- when it started to work, he would surely need it, because, at this rate, his vague flirtation/vague conversations with Ronnie were going to make her think that he actually liked her or something.
He leaned against a wall. "I figured that more people would be here," he said, looking about himself, "but, you know, I'd be great if it were just you and me." He looked her over.
Okay, no, he couldn't say that and act like it was genuine. She inflated his ego, but that was the only thing about him that became inflated due to her, and even her ego-inflation made him annoyed. She was such a bugger. Kinda like a gnat, but one who scared off all of the girls in his vicinity just by its presence.
He was tempted to do the same thing that he'd pulled when Ronnie first began to bug him-- the whole I have a skin condition that means that people with your texture of skin can't get within five feet of me without making me break out-- but that had bugged what little conscience he had too much, and he'd had to say that oh, I was miraculously cured!, and he felt like she would be at least slightly suspicious if he went back on his miraculous cure excuse.
Instead, he cleared his throat and changed the subject back to alcohol. "Drinking's always the best way to get things started. Things seem kinda dull right now, but in thirty max? We'll all be loose." He pointed to his drink and grinned. "You know, people around you confess things that they wouldn't otherwise. Ya hear all kindsa things that you wouldn't otherwise." He gave her a wink. "Finish your drink, babe. You'll wanna be loosened up when everyone else is. It's never fun to be the sober one of the bunch."
In hopes that it would help her believe him, he finally put his arm around her and grinned down at her. "Ya know, maybe you'll even get a kiss or som'n tonight." He winked at her. "Or a lil' more, if you ask nice enough."
Okay, this was too much. The irritation in him was fueled by his flirting-against-his-will-for-the-greater-good-of-getting-this-simp-off-his-back, and it was all that he could do to drop everything that he was holding, walk out, drive home, and get to punching the punching bag that the landlord kept near the dumpers of his apartment.
To help himself bear it, with his free hand, he tilted his cup back up to his lips and downed the rest of it.
At this rate, Ronnie wasn't going to be the only one utterly wasted-- though, unlike her, he could handle his liquor, so he'd need a lot more to do the trick.
This group was weird and Zeph really didn't know how else to describe it. But hey, riding in the pedovan (it was a freaking pedovan no matter what the so-called Beanman might argue) was at least better than having to walk all the way to the party. Plus, at least this wasn't a real date because then he'd have to, you know, try. Instead, he could stay more or less quiet.
Except for the fact that he was alone. In the front seat. With Charlie. While Groot and Rocket argued in the backseat over who knows what and the other blonde had resigned to sitting in silence. Yeah.
"Uhh... wonderful weather we're having."
Fudge him. He should've just walked.
At least the drive to their apartment was short but Zephyr still found himself being swept up in following the rest of the group up to Charlie and Groot's (he may have forgotten their names) apartment. He waited behind Ash and Lin, his foot tapping lightly against the ground with slight nerves, until it was time to leave and pile back into the van.
Alright, his second chance for conversation as Groot and Rocket launched back into some argument.
"You know, I really thought it was supposed to rain today but I guess it's always sunny in LA, right?"
What the fuck was wrong with him? Was he the fucking weatherman or something? Good hell, someone shut him up.
Zephyr sank down into his seat in defeat and waited impatiently for them to get to the party. He was far too thankful as the pedovan pulled into a parking spot but, before Zephyr could even react or say thanks for a ride or anything, Rocket was yelling and bolting out of the car and seriously. How the hell did that kid have so much energy?
He was still staring after the crack kid with jaw slightly dropped, a puzzled expression on his face, before he heard Generic Small Blonde #2 announcing that she was leaving and then he watched as she also bolted across the ground after Rocket. Seriously. Upperclassmen had to be some of the weirdest people Zephyr had ever met, and he wondered if it was only a matter of time before him and his friends were behaving in the same way.
Well, guess it was time to get out. Zephyr climbed out of the van and (awkwardly) walked over to Charlie and Groot. He gave Charlie some very not at all awkward finger guns. "I'm going to go, uhh... find my friends and see what they're doing. But I did promise you a date so if you need me for a dance or something later, you know where I am." He said with a slight grin.
And then Zeph, in all of his awkward energy, turned and followed after the path of Rocket and Blondie towards the party -- where, once inside, he was quick to stick to a wall and scoot along the edge. His gaze peering across the crowd every now and again, but he didn't make any move to approach anyone. At least not quite yet.
Charlie finished pulling on her shoes just as Trevor made his appearance, tote slung over his arm and all. Straightening up her posture, the faintest of smiles crawled onto her lips as Lin cracked the joke about Trevor looking like a Karen. To be fair, he wasn’t wrong with his assessment. Ash joined in on the laughter, the giggles bubbling from her despite her efforts to stop them.
With Trevor leading the way, Charlie waited for everyone else to leave the apartment before locking the door firmly shut, giving the handle a little jiggle for security before following the crew down the stairs and out into the parking lot. After Trevor finished looking over his precious Rachel, Charlie swung the door open and hopped inside. Normally, she would have participated in the bicker for a few cheap laughs and a distraction until they got to the party. Instead, Charlie focused on the gentle thumping of the music playing just under the voices of Lin and Trevor, her fingers tapping careful rhythms on the steering wheel.
It was almost relieving to pull into one of the few empty parking spots by Kordei’s apartment, the van hissing to a halt. Before the engine seemed to be fully off, Lin was taking off like a bullet with Ash trailing close behind. Zeph and Trevor exited next, leaving Charlie alone in the car. It was quiet, the noise of the outside world muffled by the layers of glass and metal that sat between Charlie and the exterior of the van. For a moment, she paused, hands gripping the steering wheel with iron security. For a moment, just a single moment, Charlie allowed herself to breathe. She had a job to do and it was time to do it.
Stepping out of the van and locking the doors, Charlie shoved the keys into the pockets of her jeans and pulled a slanted smile onto her face as she walked over to beside Trevor. It was then that Zeph spoke with some rather… tasteful finger guns. Charlie nodded and threw the finger guns right back.
“I might just hold you to that, Zeph.” Charlie said sweetly, nodding him to the door. “Go have fun.”
Alone once again with Trevor, Charlie tucked her hands in her front pocket and let a hefty sigh fall from her chest. She didn’t have to lie or keep any walls up with Trev, nor did she have to say anything in his presence. There always seemed to be a general understanding that if the one or the other wanted to talk, they would. That sort of silent comfort reminded Charlie of her brothers, all three of whom she desperately wanted to see after the night she had just had. Charlie just stood quietly for a moment, leaning up against the car and taking in the cooling night air.
“I suppose we should go make sure Lin and Ash don’t go into liver failure, huh?” Charlie asked, pushing her body off the car with a swing of her arms. Making her way up the stairs, Charlie faltered for a moment outside of Dei’s apartment. People were already inside, she could hear their voices through the door. Was she supposed to knock? Fuck it. Charlie pushed the door open and made her way inside.
The apartment was much classier than Charlie had expected, far more organized and almost poetic in a modern sense. Of course, it felt like a through and through bachelor pad, but at least there wasn’t trash strewn haphazardly across the floor and mysterious stains on the wall. That’s all Charlie could ask for.
Spotting Amy across the room with Dei, Charlie took a step to approach them but instantly stopped dead in her tracks. She looked busy with Dei, why would she go and interrupt them? Noticing a few other familiar faces, the anxiety that had been bubbling in her chest began to raise again. Charlie really wanted to go home, she had a bad feeling about the stupid party. But what kind of loser would she be if she disappeared after getting rightfully reamed online, abandoning her friends for her own self pity?
Charlie made a wise decision and found the quietest, least inhabited corner to become her home for the evening. Maybe she could slip out during the party and wait in the van until everyone was done with their partying. She was really only there to make sure everyone got home safely anyways. Mindlessly, Charlie found herself surveying the ever growing crowd. People were carrying on, laughing and downing shots as if they were water. It seemed, even if just for a fleeting second, that nothing had happened.
Somewhere in the party, Charlie and Lin would be fighting out their shot battle. Trevor would probably smoke some weed and then join in for fun. And Zeph. Well, Charlie was certain she wouldn’t see him for the rest of the night. More people would arrive and begin dancing and drinking, causing white noise that Charlie could get lost in. She simply had to wait until then. She could make it until then. She had to make it until then.
This night was going well so far. Hunter gave her a nice hug, even touching her lower back. He was obviously interested in her. Briar couldn't help but grin as Mikey came to talk to her. He was smoother in person than over Twitter. Wasn't half bad looking either. The girl smiled and laughed along with him, even touching his chest for good measure. Then he looked away and his whole demeanor changed. Looking towards the door she saw Ronnie. The crazy red headed girl. Then just as quickly as he came in, Mikey was walking away. He left his bottle with her though, which was a fatal mistake. Taking a long pull of the bottle, Briar wiped her mouth. Didn't even burn. Felt like water going down. She closed her eyes, enjoying the feeling of the alcohol slowly going into her blood stream. She was going to get absolutely hammered.
Nickie was being a bitch but Briar paid her no mind. It's sad really... Nickie is all over Hunter. I'm sure he probably does have feelings for her but he also doesn't want to be exclusive. And she is all over him. It shows how low her self esteem is. That's also why she's such a massive bitch, I'm guessing. I don't even feel threatened by her... Just sad. With those big blue eyes. Aw I could cry. But I won't. Why would I be threatened by a bitchy little munchkin? Briar thought to herself before coming back to her senses. Hunter was back talking to Nickie with a bottle of Whiskey, offering shots. Then he turned his attention back to her. Taking a few steps closer she grinned. "Aww I'm sorry for hugging and running! Next time we can hug as long as you want. But I've already got it handled. Alcohol is pretty easy to come by when you're a pretty girl but I would love to take a shot with you two!" The brunette said tossing her hair over her shoulder. Taking a shot glass from Hunter, she shot the whiskey her face not changing at all. Looking over at Nickie who made a repulsed face, she couldn't help but giggle. "What's wrong Nickie? Can't shoot whiskey?" She asked, raising her eyebrow a little bit. Then Nickie started getting all touchy with Hunter, whispering something in his ear. Briar rolled her eyes, letting Nickie have her moment. Grabbing ahold of Hunters arm she gave him a warm smile. "Three's a crowd. I'm gonna go mingle but uh... Come find me later." She said looking Nickie up and down one last time before looking back at Hunter. Walking away from the love birds, Briar figured she would find Mikey. He was still talking to Ronnie. He even looked like he was flirting with her. Are you kidding me? He was just flirting with me... I am not losing another man to this little girl... Absolutely not. Shaking her head and distracting herself by taking another large swig from Mikey's bottle. It was half way empty by now. Pulling her hoodie off and ditching it on a chair, Briar checked herself out in the nearest mirror. Her boobs were out, her stomach was showing, she looked good. Fluffing up her hair a little bit she was ready to go.
Briar confidently strolled through the party, complimenting random people, saying hello, all the things a social butterfly would do. She was absolutely in her element. The music, the people, the drugs... It was like paradise to her. 'Accidentally' bumping into Mike again, spinning around and giving him a surprised look. "Oops! Oh hey Mikey. Guess I found you again... Maybe it was meant to be huh?" Batting her eye lashes and turning on the charm, Briars attention moved to Ronnie. She looked at the girl for a second before grinning to herself. "Oh...? Looks like someone has in a hole in their lip!" Bringing her hand to Mikeys face, she gently ran her thumb from the corner of his mouth to the bottom of his lip wiping a little droplet of his drink that was left behind. Slipping her thumb in her mouth and not breaking eye contact with Mike, she gave him the sex eyes. Letting the eye contact linger before shooting Ronnie a victorious smile. "So what are we talking about over here?"
The party had really started bumping. The alcohol was flowing, people were talking, flirting, and dancing. Other people anyways. Wyatt hadn't really moved his back from the wall. He was content people watching. He had already managed to see some drama play out. It all looked pretty petty but it was fun to watch nonetheless. Wyatt wasn't the only one on the wall though. Looking over to his left he saw a cute dark haired boy. As soon as Wyatt looked at him his heart did a flip. This was his fatal flaw, falling in love with strangers he had never met. The young boy couldn't help but stare a little. The mystery boy seemed like he wasn't enjoying himself at the party. His body language was so obvious. Arms crossed, staying against the wall, not even smiling. Taking a drink from his bottle for a little liquid courage, he couldn't help but gag a little. Wyatt was a mixed drink type of guy not a straight vodka type. Mustering up all his courage the blonde walked over to Wren. "Hey! You don't look like your having too much fun over here... My names Wyatt! What's your name?" he said giving Wren his warmest smile. Now that he was closer, Wyatt could really take the boy in. He had these soft brown eyes, soft curly black hair, and great bone structure. Noticing the scar near his eye, Wyatt's face instantly changed. Without even thinking about it, Wyatt raised his hand to touch the boys cheek. Running his finger along the scar before taking his hand back. "What happened...?" he asked gently. He could tell that Wren was still uncomfortable. Wracking his brain for something he could do to make his new friend feel better. Remembering the large handle, Wyatt held it out to Wren. "Do you want a drink? No way I could drink all of this by myself... Plus I don't mind sharing with cute boys." He could feel his cheeks getting red. Not sure if it was the compliment he just gave or the heat of the party. It didn't matter to him either way. The party had gotten a lot better now that he had someone to flirt with. Awkwardly ruffling his hair and giving Wren one of his famous heart melting smiles, he searched the boys face for any sign he was interested. Getting shot down would really ruin the vibe.
It wasn’t often that hunter allowed himself to be bothered by most of what might tick off someone lower than himself, but after he had not only brought what he had to assume wasn’t a cheap bottle of whiskey over and poured Briar a shot for good measure, she went up and left him hanging. He let that get to him for all of ten seconds before he downed his shot of whiskey without even flinching. To be honest, he should have suspected Briar would leave as soon as he arrived. She could blame it on three’s a crowd but something clearly bothered her.
And another ten seconds later, Hunter shrugged. Briar didn’t matter right now -- Nickie did.
As she had moved closer to him, Hunter let his lips curl into a smile. How long had it been since the two of them were this close? Probably not long but still, it was nice. He enjoyed being near Nickie and the part of him that wasn't a total d-bag was having their stomach starting to toss and turn from the excitement.
And then he heard her whisper in his ear and the moment was too good to pass up: he stole a kiss from her. It was a light peck on the cheek but Hunter knew, as soon as he did, his heart was going to be beating so fast it might threaten to exit chest center stage. “I’m happy to hear it.” His voice was low and tender. Hunter’s arm came on her side that faced out, stopping along her waist. He was comfortable around her. “I was worried about you.”
It was always the same thing their seemingly endless fights invariably came back to if the two boys couldn't stay silent about their feelings for too long. It was always love that was the issue. Or maybe, to be expressed more clearly, it was lack thereof which had been fuel for the slow burn heartbreak unavoidably flowing through the unstable relationship, now causing the modest foundations of it to tremble. But even in the worst of fights the two ever had—and there'd been many—Oates never raised his voice at his boyfriend as much as he did just now, and by Callum's sudden drop in volume, it showed just how surprising the moment was for the both of them. Pent up feelings and things left unsaid long ago were coming up to the surface, and Oates simply wasn't himself, but a mere silhouette acting of pain, a mere contour coming from distress and panic.
Taken aback by his own rage, something he didn't feel for a very long time, Oates couldn't continue speaking, he couldn't find it in himself to yell again, or maybe a part of him didn't want to go back to being a 'bad' person he was years ago...but luckily, his friend—the one whose existence in the room Oates' mind nearly ignored—started arguing, and it was exposed by the emotion-filled echoes that traveled the hallway he was perplexed.
Mere two sentences, but the room went silent. Oates asked himself this question so many times, and by now, he decided that the answer wasn't one he wanted to know, because he knew it would've broken him more than anything else...and he didn't want to be broken again.
From feeling his blood pumping in his head to now focusing on every breath, on every blink, the boy was expectant of the answer, hoping it wouldn't come and destroy him, but it was almost as if a part of him knew it wasn't going to be the one he wanted to hear. He acted accordingly.
"Don't even say anything... We both know the answer," He spoke, this time, his tone an almost average volume. His anger was once again melancholy. The intensity of being close to his boyfriend vanished as he stepped away, walking the two steps to his locker, taking his phone, and securing the lock. "Maybe, if I make you so miserable...if nothing about me brings you joy...if I'm the person who brings out the worst in you...maybe then.." His voice broke, and tears started to once again form in his eyes. "Maybe then we shouldn't be together." He couldn't look at Callum, so he turned away and walked.
Lin, upon seeing that Ash had appeared beside him, gave a loud laugh and formed an L with his fingers on his forehead. "Haha! Egg!" he snarked. He looked about himself, grinning widely. "Hey, Ash, let's find the drinks. Let's get this started! I'm ready for my money."
Excitedly, Lin pushed his way through a small crowd of people near the door and made his way around the room, looking for a stack of cups. Cups...cups...cups...
Lin spotted a stack of red solo cups on the edge of a small table, and he waltzed up to the stack and sat out two cups. "Ash! Yo! Come..."
His voice trailed off as his eyes caught sight of Charlie from across the room. He felt a pang in his chest again, and he stared at her, frowning, working his jaw. She looked so...lonely.
And then he had a great idea. Absolutely great. We're talking Einstein level.
Just trust him. It was brilliant. Don't ask.
He poured some liquor into each of the cups, and then, eyes set, he walked over to Charlie, grinning. "Charlie," he said, pushing a cup into her hand, "come join us." He took her hand. "Even if you're not betting, you're forgetting everything tonight, 'kay?"
With that, he began to drag her over to the table with the cups on it in a way similar to how Charlie'd drug him onstage tonight.
Thinking about that made his heart pang again, and he looked back at her with a grin. "Hey, you're staying with me tonight, 'kay? You're gonna have fun, end of story."
He stopped at the table and picked up his cup, then looked over at Ash again. He held a cup out to her. "You ready to lose?"
As Trevor watched Charlie leave, his brow furrowed. Something wasn't right with her tonight... She was being...odd. Did it have to do with that fight with Evie? Was that why Crack Kid had been hugging her?
He sighed deeply and looked at the bag on his arm. Ash and Crack Kid had laughed when they'd seen him, but it wasn't about the aesthetics. It was functional, and if he was going to be the drink fridge, he might as well do it right.
He checked inside his bag one more time to make sure he'd gotten everything, and he noticed a bottle missing from it's place.
It had to be that feckin' Lindsay kid.
He slipped his tote back onto his shoulders and rubbed his temple. He could feel a headache coming on...
Okay, deep breaths. It was just a bottle. Besides, he was still in the parking lot. There was no reason to have an aneurysm out here.
With a sigh, he began to make his way to and up the steps. The party would be a lot better when he was in it, but right now, thinking about having to deal with drunk Crack Kid made his mouth dry with disgust.
He stepped inside the party, and his eyes immediately went to Ash. He felt a fuzz catch up in his throat upon seeing her, and he let out a soft cough and walked over to her, trying to dismiss the thoughts of hey, she looks hot, doesn't she? from his head.
He silently walked over to Charlie, Lin, and Ash, and he sat his drinks down at his feet. He looked at Ash. "Darlin', ya all get started right quick, don'cha?" He grabbed a cup and the bottle and poured himself a drink.
Upon having her cheek kissed, Nickie's heart fluttered. "W-Worried? A-About me?" She gave him a shy smile and put her hand to her cheek.
Gah, she was blushing.
A giggle bubbled out of her, and she looked back up at Hunter. "Hunt," she said, leaning against him. His hand on her waist made her face heat up even more. "You're...great." She laughed. "Wait, no...the beeeest." She gave him a bright smile.
She got that light-headed feeling that she always got around him, and the butterflies in her stomach fluttered. She, slightly panicked that she might embarrass herself, stepped out of his reach to pour herself another shot and toss it down her gullet.
From the corner of her eye, she spotted that Mike boy talking to a certain redheaded simp, and she let out a soft nnn sound as she remembered how that redhead-- she didn't even want to think her name-- had stood so close to Hunter at the game.
She looked back at Hunter, jealousy pitted in her chest. "Hey, Hunter?" she asked. "At the game...Ronnie..." She walked closer to him.
How could she ask this without sounding crass or clingy...?
The party was finally starting to fall into swing. Kordei had thrown parties before, most of them spontaneous get-together's, or orgies he'd organized in the past. Those seemed like ages ago now, and the only recent one that Dei was able to recall was in his sophomore year summer. Dei was comfortable boasting his apartment because he adored the faces of those who appreciated the architecture of it all whenever they arrived. Apartment usually didn't shout "party," and yet here the turnout was. Obviously, it was all paired with his dashing features, and the foot and a half trophy on display as it was seated on the living room coffee table.
The first to arrive had been Nickie. He'd heard of her briefly, but nothing more. Dei offered a chin-flick from his leaning position over the counter, and simply tossed another chip into his mouth. Next was Briar though, who'd been just as lively as she was on Twitter. Her embrace was awfully quick, and while it'd initially caught Kordei off-guard, he would've been more than fine with it going a little longer. He hadn't paid much mind to the students that followed into the party, and was rather focused on something Amy had said.
She was right. It was his night. But so were so many other ones. Dei didn't realize how much he missed the clubbing, and partying environment till he threw this party. Hell, he hadn't used his fake I.D. in months. While part of him wanted to settle down and love Amy, another part was hoping to return to the thrill of his old life. Evelyn was a sure reminder of the thrill-- but the idea of stopping at just her? Now he was aiming to double down on his plans. The "Committed" Kordei had ran his run, he'd decided there and then. Thank God for his amazing decisiveness and self-confidence, Kordei thought. Following tonight, and however many nights he pleased, he'd be a free bird.
"Trust me, I'm gon' have a drink with everybody tonight." Dei smirked. He pulled out two glasses from the cupboard, and placed them on the counter between himself and Amy, followed by an opened bottle of Vodka, and Peach Schnapps. Kordei fixed the drink whilst humming the tone of a Chris Brown song in his head, and topped off the drinks with ice before sliding Amy's over to her.
"But you lucky cause don't everybody get first drinks with the kid." Another grin spread out onto his lips, followed by a peck on Amy's nose. He spun on his heels and leaned backwards onto the counter, this time, facing the ocean of students ahead of him. "Your performance was awesome by the way. We both took dubs tonight." Kordei noted with another sip of his drink. Though he was seated right next to Amy, his mind couldn't be any more farther from her than it'd been in a long time. Eyes scurrying, and searching for the familiar sight of Amy.
But of course they had to fall on Charlie. For whatever reason though, Dei wasn't upset to find her hidden in the corner of the room. He simply asked, "Why's she here? I figured she'd have stayed home if she had all that shit to say about me on Twitter. I... obviously don't care, anyways."
Ash rolled her eyes when Lin grabbed cups. This was not how drinking bets were done, alright? You did shots. Trust her. She had experience. So when he got distracted and headed off to get Charlie (which, to Ash, was a total big old flag that they were definitely into each other), she slid her way towards the cups, beverages provided by Dei, and... the shot glasses. Bingo. With a smile, she grabbed two and hesitated for a moment. Was Trevor drinking with them? Was he doing shots?
Probably. So she grabbed a third. What about Charlie? Like, sure, she was supposed to be driving, but it wouldn't hurt her do a couple... like she should be able to still see the road. Ash presumed. It wasn't like she had ever tried to drive drunk. So, without further ado, she grabbed a fourth shot glass and made her way over to the table for the bet.
Was Ash nervous? Yes. Did Ash think she was going to win? Also yes, but that didn't mean there wasn't a certain amount of nerves still going through her system. Look, she was a nervous person by nature and now there were people who had bet money on her and far too many people that had bragged about her ability to hold her liquor, which may have not set quite right with Ash. For example, she had never wanted to be the drunk of the school but apparently she was. Amazing. Really.
She slid into one of the chairs at the table, setting the shot glasses down in front of her, as Lin and Charlie made their way back over. Ash looked at him, one eyebrow raised, and a little smirk on her face as he held the cup out to her. "Lin, please," she said and picked up one of the shot glasses with a smile. "This is the only way to do a drinking contest. We'll die if we try to chug straight liquor out of a solo cup."
Ash took the bottle off of the table, checking the label briefly to see it was tequila. Perfect. This would knock Lin out nice and fast and then Ash would be able to enjoy the rest of her night doing... something. Look, she hadn't quite thought that far. Parties were typically her scene, sure, but the last party she had went to had ended... well, she would really rather not think about it. And thinking about it made her smile falter and her teeth started to dig into her lip again.
"We'll do shots." She started and unscrewed the top of the bottle, pouring a shot for herself and one for Lin, which she slid across the table. Ash looked at Charlie curiously before pouring one for the other blonde and pushing it in her direction. "In case you want to join in for just one shot." Look, Charlie had had a hard night, too! She deserved to get drunk!
They could figure out getting home later.
Ash picked up her shot glass and was prepared to down it when Trevor finally caught up to them and she couldn't help the grin that returned to her face. Not for any other reason then clearly that she was glad to see her totally platonic friend because when it came to her and thinking about any kind of crush? Well... Ash liked to pretend it wasn't a thing. Plus her and Trevor? They would never work out. Literally, the two of them couldn't be more different. End of story -- and she would never understand why people thought there was more to them than met the eye.
"Hey, Trevor." She said with a smile. "What can I say? I'm ready to outdrink someone." Ash's gaze shifted from Trevor towards Lin with a smirk and then she brought the shot glass to her lips and downed it. It burned like hell going down but she managed to keep a grimace off her face as she set the shot glass down.
One down, like two to go and Lin would be too drunk to carry on. She thought.
"Oh, we should play a drinking game." Ash suggested. Look, drinking without purpose was boring. "Like after Lin admits defeat, of course."
"No, no, I'll finish!" Ronnie assured Mike, taking another large sip from her cup. It was almost worse the second time, causing her to gag so hard there were tears in her eyes. "Party...!" She laughed nervously, stifling a coughing fit.
"I almost came with Eli and Kennedy, but I had already ordered a Lyft so I went with this really hot driver in his early twenties. It's too bad, I kinda wanted to go with the two of them. But I think they'll probably give me a ride home. But at the same time I don't wanna intrude because they're so totally into each other and..." Ronnie rambled on about love again, only stopping to finish what was left in her cup.
Ronnie's eyes were fixed on Mike's face the entire time he spoke, only briefly breaking eye contact to pour another drink. Her eyes widened at every word he said and her heart was beating insanely fast. Every implication he made fed more and more into her false hope that this was getting somewhere. She could barely muster any replies, nodding her head to everything he said. She was completely under his spell.
Her jaw dropped as soon as Briar arrived, standing frozen and staring in awe as she girl so confidently made a move on the current object of her affection. She looked like a deer in the headlights, utterly lost on how the hell she was supposed to respond to Briar so blatantly challenging her. Her shock turned into fear as she realized he could slip away at any moment if this went away.
"Um, I think he's with me!" she interjected, taking another sip of her drink for courage before stepping between the two and wrapping her arm around Mike's shoulder. "Right?" He looked up to Mike and gave him a toothy grin, depending on him to perform his best 'Begone thot!'
If this girl thought she could just take away her chance at a man so easily, she had another thing coming. She wholeheartedly entrusted her heart to Mike, who had been so clearly into her the entire time. The fact that Briar had just encroached on her male territory sent off numerous alarm bells, but Ronnie by nature wasn't confrontational. She had to hope for the best that the little display of affection she pulled out of her ass would be enough to send a sign to her. But the problem is, would she care? She was willing to forgive Briar if she had maybe already had a little too much to drink or something, although this didn't seem to be the case based on her general flirtatiousness in Twitter. Get your own man!
"Mind your own business!" Callum spat, growing extremely weary of Rome's interjections, "You don't know what he wants." So it was true. The two of them had been talking about him after all. What else could explain Oates persistence in questioning him about love earlier on? He had dreaded the ideas Rome could have put in his boyfriend's head, although a twisted part of him knew Oates had probably already felt this way for a long time.
He stood silently, devastated, as he realized how incapable he was of answering the question. At the heart of it, he was actually afraid. His faltering surprised even himself, although his energy had slowly been on the decline as Oates stood his ground. It wasn't a pleasant feeling to have someone raise their voice at you, he thought, still at a loss for words. He stared blankly back at the boy after he said not to speak, knowing he had given the absolute wrong answer.
He shook his head vigorously as Oates began to list the misconceptions between them, his heart aching at the thought that he really believed he had brought the worst out of Callum. He didn't even know what came over him before. He had no comprehensible explanation for any of it. "No... you're wrong... please," he pleaded softly, unable to raise his voice past a whisper while Oates spoke. It took almost everything out of him to refute him, knowing well that was the extent of how far he could deny it. If this was all it took to take the resolve out of Callum's voice, he began to understand why Oates hadn't stood up for himself before.
He could do nothing but watch Oates walk away, stuck in place staring forward, feeling like a useless idiot. He called out for the confidence to reach his arm out and stop Oates, but he had nothing left in him. Oates was leaving him. He wouldn't even look at him. He had fucked up. Bad. Dumbfounded, he stood in place for what felt like an eternity, a familiar numbness washing over him. His gaze drifted to the floor, his face blank and his mind empty. The wheels had stopped turning in his head. What am I supposed to do now?
Barely a minute in, and Wren was regretting so many life choices that led to this moment where he was leaning against a wall, watching other teenagers drink and smoke and snort and argue and kiss and do all sorts of things that he really could not approve of or condone. His parents had given him a very serious talk about peer pressure about a year ago, back when parties and things became prominent with kids his age. Wren couldn’t imagine why anyone would give in to peer pressure. Who cared about being ‘cool’ or ‘fun’? Why risk being healthy or safe because of what other people thought of you? When he had expressed those thoughts, his parents had explained that a lot of people felt a need to be accepted, but Wren could not relate to that, and his parents said that most people just thought differently to him. He understood that part, even if he would never empathise with the thoughts of his peers. The only unhealthy habit he had taken up was smoking cigarettes, but he only smoked rarely. It provided him a temporary feeling of relief when he was very overwhelmed by something, but generally he only smoked once or twice a month, if at all.
He was just starting to very seriously consider leaving, when a blonde boy made his way over to him. Wren stated at him openly, the social cue of ‘don’t stare’ being one he had yet to grasp. He furrowed his eyebrows at the opening comment, but never one to ignore a direct question, dutifully answered, “Wren,” before cutting himself off abruptly as the boy - Wyatt - reached out and touched him. Wren’s heart almost doubled in speed; he really hated strangers touching him. He froze on the spot, his mouth slightly agape in a shocked expression, not even hearing Wyatt’s whispered question. Before he could event think to jerk his head back, Wyatt’s hand was gone. Then a drink was being held out towards him, and Wren’s eyes drifted down to it. Wrinkling his nose, he leant down slightly to smell it, and as soon as the tang of alcohol hit him he moved his head away. “No,” he said, then, remembering his manners, added “thank you.” on the end.
He had no idea how to even process the ‘cute’ comment - cute was such an abstract verb, and could be used in so many different ways, and Wren was nowhere near versed in social interaction enough to gauge what Wyatt had actually met - so he searched for something else to say, remembering how his parents and doctors had taught him to contribute to conversations to keep them flowing. He wasn’t sure if he wanted this conversation to flow or not, but his parents had wanted him to talk to people, right? After a moment, he cleared his throat. “And please don’t touch me without asking.” Great, now that was out of the way... What was he supposed to say now. Wren looked around awkwardly, obviously warring with himself in his head, before his eyes moved back to stare at Wyatt once again as he delivered a very forced and practised sentence. “Are you enjoying the party?”
Callum telling Romir to mind his own business only pissed Rome off even more. Rome would never tell Oates what to do in his relationship, not serious decisions at least, but he certainly considered himself more than invested in his friend’s wellbeing. “Know more than you, apaprently,” he taunted, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning away from Callum. Before he could start arguing again, Oates was talking, and the defeated tone in his voice made Rome want to cry. He looked over at his best friend, all traces of anger vanishing from his face and replaced instead by sympathy and sadness. He watched Oat grab his things from his locker, and as much as Rome disliked Callum, even his heart hurt from hearing Oat’s words.
He heard Callum plead behind him, but Romir wasn’t interested in him when Oates walked away. Well, he did turn back to give Callum a look of ‘you fucked up’, for good measure, before quickly walking after Oates and catching up to him. Not caring how it would look to Callum, since Rome’s one and only focus right now was giving his friend the care and love and attention he needed, Rome wrapped his arm around Oates tightly and kissed the side of his head, on his hair. “Everything is be okay, yes? Is his loss,” he whispered, squeezing Oat reassuringly.
MOOD: bestie to the rescue
LOCATION: school hallway
OUTFIT: Cheerleader's outfit, complete with crop top and booty shorts.
The moment Oates turned his head around and started walking through the long hallway, he knew a mistake was made. He didn't let his boyfriend answer, and he didn't give him a chance to explain himself even if it didn't look like the tall boy was going to. Every step he took, he wanted to sob and cry and scream just a little bit more, and knowing Callum's eyes were on him made it that much worse. He knew there was anger in Callum's eyes, and he didn't know how he felt about that at the moment. He also knew there was a chance those eyes had pain behind them, maybe even a coat of tears on them, and even if he was the one done wrong here, he couldn't help but wonder if the right thing to do was to turn around and comfort the boy he loved.
Rome's arm soon found its place on Oates's back as the boy's lips offered a feeling of reassurance—a soft kiss being planted into his hair. The words leaving Rome's mouth were just enough to get Oates to not break right then and there, but it was a close call. Only when the two boys finally made it out of the school and walked into the cold autumn air—Oates's tear covered cheeks glistering under the bright yellow parking lot lights—he finally let the jailed cries in his throat free. Now sure the reason for his tears couldn't see him, nor hear the echoes of any vulnerable sounds leaving his mouth, Oates's hands wrapped around his friend, holding onto him as if he was a lifevest and everything else the freezing ocean. He let almost his entire weight lean onto the other boy as he placed his head onto Rome's shoulder, now weeping.
Only a few minutes passed before Oates managed to calm himself down enough to ask the only question on his mind. "Did I hurt him? Please tell me I didn't...please..." He begged.
Oates didn't know why he did what he did, but he needed to apologize immediately. The sheer fact that he now had Rome, a friend that was there for him—along with the fact Callum now had nobody... It hurt more than anything else. It hurt more than even Callum not loving him.
Mike watched Ronnie, stifling his laughter by downing a bit more of the drink in his cup, when he felt someone bump into him. He lowered his cup, looking in the direction of whoever bumped into him. "Hey, watch..."
His voice trailed off when he realized who it was. Briar, the girl from earlier. The one he'd left his bottle with. "Hey, Briar."
As he listened to her talk, his eyes slipped around her body, snagging particularly on her chest and thighs, then finally settled on her face. At her insult to Ronnie, his only thought was: Girl's got balls.
He watched her intently as she gave him the eyes and stuck her finger in her mouth. A grin slipped onto his face. Girl's got balls, and I like it. "We're not taking about--"
"Um, I think he's with me!"
Ronnie's voice interrupting was a like a dart to his temple, and a vein popped out at his forehead in irritation. He repeated in his head a simple phrase.
And then she fucking wrapped her arm around him and leaned onto him with a right?.
And there went his mantra.
A dark scowl coming onto his face. He looked down at her. "I'm not here with fucking anyone, Ronnie." He pulled away from her.
Looking at her, he felt all of his rage from the night swell in his throat, and he wanted to vomit.
He was about to say something he'd regret.
His voice, when he spoke, was full of anger. "God, can you not learn to back off, you cockblocking simp? What makes you think I'd want to get with you? You're just a kid." He looked at Briar, and then Ronnie again. "I can't keep dealing with this shit. You act like you own me and my attention any time you see me. What the actual fuck? Where did you get that from?"
He looked at his drink, and he felt the strong urge to throw it down at the ground, but instead, he clenched his jaw tightly and glared hard at Ronnie.
Hunter was enjoying his time with Nickie. He always had found her to be great company. She had this calming effect on him that made it nearly impossible for him to feel what sometimes felt like pressure placed on him by Chas and Kordei. It wasn't that he didn't love those two -- of course, he loved them. They looked out for him and treated him on their level, but even he had to admit that maybe he let his true self get lost in his bravado.
But around Nickie, he didn't need to. She already liked him long before he developed a chick magnet skin. But even so, as Nickie's gaze went elsewhere, he followed. His eyes shifted to his immediate left and he saw Ronnie over with Mike. He and Mike weren't all that close but when he saw him making the moves on Ronnie, a wave of relief passed through his face. It wasn't until Nickie mentioned Ronnie did he visibly grimace.
It wasn't that he didn't like Ronnie. She was nice and all, and he knew she liked him. It was her constant need to be around him any chance he got that made the boy cringe whenever he saw her. It was her inability to take neon sign-lit hints that made him despise her very presence. It was the fact that when he made it obvious he wasn't into her, she never picked up on it.
"I guess I never thought about it." That was the truth. Sleeping with Ronnie would imply he could stand to be in her company long enough for that to happen. So as he shrugged, Hunter shook his head. "I can't think of any reason why I would." His mouth curved into a smirk, gazing at Nickie with a mischievous curiosity. "Why do you ask?" He asked, his tone teasing in its nature.
It would have been easy to excuse herself and slip out of the party, to go and relax by herself in the van instead of under the watchful eye of what seemed to be everyone. Okay, maybe everyone wasn’t watching her, but it certainly felt like it. Every eye turning her way felt like a silent passing of judgement, like they were trying to get into her innermost workings. The very feeling made her skin crawl.
Charlie had been moments away from sneaking her way out of the apartment when she looked up and made some rather unfortunate eye contact with Lin who, like a man on a mission, made his way across the room. She braced herself for whatever would come next, though she wasn’t entirely certain about what that would be. Before she could react, a drink was placed in one of her hands, the other grasped firmly in Lin’s.
“Lin, I’m driving.” Charlie eventually managed, trying to keep the alcohol from spilling out of the cup.
Before she knew it, he had dragged her across the apartment to where Ash was filling up shot glasses. People continued to talk about alcohol and the shot competition and how everything would be fine, Trevor eventually showing up to the group. The tightness began to swell up in Charlie’s chest again, her face paling. Slowly, she set the cup down on the table and silently hoped that no one noticed the shaking of her hands.
“I can’t drink, I’m driving.” Charlie repeated, the strength in her voice beginning to drain. “I promised I’d get you all home safe and I’m not going to fuck that up for you, not after everything else I’ve fucked up and everyone else I’ve let down tonight.”
The words had fallen from Charlie’s lips before it truly hit her that she had spoken them. Instantly, Charlie’s mouth snapped shut, her body stiffening with the insufferable ache of guilt. Wonderful, now she’d successfully bummed out any good vibes in the room. Taking a step back, she wrapped her arms around her abdomen again.
“I’ve… I’ve gotta go.” She stammered as she turned around, swiftly and silently exiting the apartment.
Charlie took the stairs two at a time until the cool air of the night hit her bared skin. She felt physically sick, nausea chewing away at her stomach while her lungs seemed to struggle to get air in. She slid down the wall beside the front door, trying to steady her shaking hands and calm her racing mind that had taken off without permission.
God, she was on a serious fucking roll.
Charlie hoped no one would follow her, allowing her the desperate moment of peace and quiet she needed. Pulling her knees up to her chest, she focused to steady her breath. Charlie couldn’t help but feel embarrassed. Foolish, even. Every effort that day had ended in failure, every smile turned to frown, every extended hand slapped away. She couldn’t even stay sound enough to not ruin the party that everyone was looking forward to. Her attitude was disgraceful. What the hell was going on with her?
Sitting in silence for a few minutes, Charlie bowed her head forward to rest on the top of her knees. Her breath was beginning to slow, though her fingers refused to still and her mind still raced around inside her skull. She needed a distraction, something, anything to get her thoughts to slow.
Picking up her phone, Charlie went to dial in her eldest brother, Mark’s, phone number in when she noticed the notifications. Twitter, again. She seriously needed to delete that stupid fucking app. But of course, Saint Charlie herself couldn’t keep her nose out of things. Wyatt, of all people, saying they needed to try to be nice. What the hell did he know? Charlie owed nothing to anyone who didn’t respect her back, who didn’t respect the people she considered family.
Maybe her next decision wasn’t the smartest move in Charlie Howell history, but she found herself asking Ash how much alcohol she had. Fuck it. They wanted her to drink? To forget the shit of the evening? She would.
Returning to the inside the building, Charlie made her way back up the stairs and to Kordei’s apartment, walking in through the front door. Making her way straight for the table where Trevor, Lin, and Ash still stood, Charlie said nothing to anyone as she grabbed a shot glass, downing the angry liquid with ease, refilling the glass and taking another shot directly after. Placing the glass down on the table with a loud clack, Charlie took a breather and looked to her friends.
“Two to what, one? I’m in the lead. Let’s get this party started, shall we?” Charlie said with the first glimmer of a real smile on her face for the first time that evening. Turning to Lin and Trevor, a devious smirk replaced the smile as she looked at both of them. “Try to keep up with Ash and I, will you? And do your best not to puke on any expensive furniture.”
Pouring the next round, Charlie handed a glass to each of her friends, raising her own in the air once everyone had a shot.
Briar couldn't help but grin as Mikey checked her out. It was so obvious. Then Veronica made her move. She was claiming Mikey boy right in front of her, even asking him to agree with her. Then she wrapped her arms around him. Oh my god is she serious? She is so clueless. I thought she was in love with Hunter? That was too much competition for a scrawny white boy so I figured I'd give Mikey a chance but Ronnie has her claws in Mikey too? Well not for long. When I'm done with him he won't even know who Ronnie is.
Her eyes darted to Mikey, watching his face quickly turn sour. A vein was even popping out of his forehead. He quickly pulled away from Ronnie, setting straight the fact that he wasn't here with her. He looked really hot when he got mad. Briar would make note of that. Turning back to Mikey really letting Ronnie have it. Cockblocking simp? That's a good one. Then as soon as she thought he was finished, Mikey looked over at her. It must've inspired him because then we went back for seconds. Finally finishing with a 'fuck off' that was like icing on the cake. Ronnie looked like she was about to cry but all Briar could seem to focus on was how hot Mikey looked with that scowl and the clenching of his jaw. Giving the little girl a victorious smile, before raising her eyebrow a bit. Seemingly saying 'I rest my case'. "Bye bye Ronnie." the brunette said gently, giving Ronnie a small wave. "Hunter is over there though. He mentioned you. You should go say hi. I'd get there soon though Nickie is all over him." Then with a wink and a smile, Briars attention was back to Mikey who wasn't looking so bad anymore. Actually quite the opposite. Stepping closer to Mikey, she looked up into his eyes. The intensity still burning all across his face. It was definitely a turn on. "Is it bad that I wanna kiss you right now? I mean that was so hot... You look sexy when you're angry. Plus I'm honored that you didn't want Ronnie to cock block you bad enough to tell her to fuck off... It was sweet." Her whole body was tingling at this point. She felt great but Mikey still looked a little tense from what just happened. Handing Mikey his (nearly empty) bottle back, she fished her lip gloss out of her pocket. "You take a shot. I'll put on some lip gloss, then I'll give you a kiss that will make you forget all your troubles. Sound like a deal?"
Rome could tell the entire way through the school that Oates was holding in his emotions, so Rome tried to walk them both out as quickly as possible so that Oates could let it go. Rome knew his friend. There was no way Oat would get through this without crying. And, lo and behold, as soon as they stepped outside, Oates was hugging Rome and letting out the emotion that Rome had hoped he would. Rome only held his best friend as tightly as possible, trying to comfort him as best he could without words for the time being. It was hard when English wasn't your first language, and Rome found actions spoke louder volumes anyway.
He frowned at Oates question and shook his head, holding his friend a moment longer before pulling away enough to grip Oat by the shoulders and force him to look at Rome. "If he is upset, is good. Means he care at least a little. Besides, he deserve it," he said passionately, strongly believing that Callum should be experiencing all, if not more, of the emotions that Oates was experiencing right now. Knowing what his friend was probably thinking, Rome stared Oat in the eyes, and for once, had an extremely serious expression on his face. "Oat, you are not in wrong here. Callum is one who should apologise you. Not other way around."
MOOD: bestie to the rescue
LOCATION: school hallway
OUTFIT: Cheerleader's outfit, complete with crop top and booty shorts.
Wren seemed like he didn't really want to talk. He was giving short responses. Then he even turned down the booze. The thing that was supposed to make him friends. Wren looked like the wheels were really spinning in his head, thinking of what to say. Then he said not to touch him. Wyatts brow furrowed and he felt his eyes start to sting. Oh come on Wyatt... Don't cry. Don't cry. He wasn't trying to hurt your feelings he just doesn't like being touched.... So what if I like to touch people? Its okay... But if he thought I was cute he would be okay with it right?
Since Wren didn't want any, Wyatt took another sip from the bottle. Thats when he noticed that Wren was staring at him. Like... a lot. Wyatt's cheeks turned pink and he adverted his eye contact. "What are you staring at?" The boy asked crossing his arm. He started to feel self conscious now. Maybe he thinks I'm ugly... That's why he's staring at me... I should have known he wouldn't like me. "Well I don't really have any friends. And the guy I tried to hit on told me not to touch him. What do you think?" He pouted a little bit. Wyatt could be really pouty when he felt rejected. And he did. He quickly softened back up just by looking at Wren. He was really cute. Letting out a sigh and ruffling his hair, Wyatt came up with something. "I take it you don't smoke... Well I'm gonna go outside for a little while and smoke. The fresh air sounds great. Do you wanna with me? You can tell me more about you... If you want. If you don't like me or whatever then you can just tell me..." The blonde mumbled, twiddling his fingers expecting to get shot down. If so then he would just go have to find some other cute boy to smoke with. There had to be lots of hot guys at a party like this right?
"Oh" slipped out of Nickie's mouth subconsciously, and she gave a small laugh afterwards. She knew that Hunter was...promiscuous, you know, and she couldn't say that she minded him being promiscuous or any of that. Haha! No. Never.
Now get off of her back about it, conscience. She wasn't possessive or any of that.
No. She wasn't. It wasn't like she'd just had a mental break over seeing Ch...seeing him kissing someone else.
Listen, it was fine. It was fine. She definitely took his word, definitely fully believed him, and even if he was lying, she didn't care.
"I-I was just curious," she said, forcing a smile. "It's good! I was just...wondering."
Repeating it doesn't change what you did it for, Nick...
She cleared her throat and giggled. "I need some more to drink. One sec."
She couldn't handle alcohol very well, and she knew this, but it would keep her from self-destructing even more, right? That was what she told herself as she downed another shot, and she looked back at Hunter, smiling.
She definitely wasn't still worried. She definitely still wasn't feeling concerned.
She definitely wasn't. Nickie? Possessive? No.
She had no reason to be! She and Hunter weren't exclusive! She could-- and had-- slept with other guys, and he could sleep with other girls-- and he probably had...
Agh, thinking of him and someone else made her...agh...
Another question slipped out, without it even registering in her head. "Okay, but what if Ronnie, like, offered? Like, super super forward? And you two were alone? And, like, she wanted to? Like, what then? Like, would you?"