Chapter One

The summer air brushes across my skin smelling heavily of liquor. The beginning of a summer party to liven up the night. I set up my cups for another round of beer pong and look up at all 6'4 of my childhood friend, Jason.

  "Where are those college friends of yours?" I ask.

  He looks at his phone and says, "They just pulled up."

  I hear the sliding glass door open, and I turn my head to see if his friends look like him. Jason looks like a sun kissed underwear model with his broad shoulders and muscled appearance. It’s easy to say he gets around; me being one of the people he has gotten around to. 

The two men coming through the door were just as attractive, if not more. I recognize the first friend walking in immediately and smile brightly at him. His name is Malik, and we have a peculiar friendship that seems to revolve around Jason. He smiles back, running a brown hand through his thick, curly hair. The second man walks through the door, and I openly gape at him. He looks directly at me. My cheeks flush. He flashes a quick smile as I take in his appearance. Tonight, his clothes are simple: dark blue beans and a blue shirt with what I assume are his initials. M.W. His dirty blonde hair is pulled back into a messy bun. 

Trying to distract myself, I dip my ball in preparation for the game. I hear the door opening again, but this time it’s Rebecca’s bleach blonde hair and long legs walking up to me. She wrinkles her nose and squints, shaking my phone at me.

"Hey, it’s Blake," she says plainly.

I sigh, taking my phone and walking over to the quiet part of the yard to answer my husband’s call.

"Hey."

  "Hey.”

  I listen to him inhale deeply then exhale asking, "What are you doing?"

  "I’m at your brother and his girlfriend’s house having a summer party."

  "Who all is there?"

  I list off all the people who I know but let him know of the people I don't know. Rebecca, his brother’s girlfriend, follows me out into the yard and mouths, are you okay? 

  I shake my head no and out loud she says a little too loudly, "Gabby! Come on, it’s the next game!"

  I smile, thanking her silently. Out loud I say, “I’ll be there in a second."

  She winks and heads back inside to the rest of our friends.

  "Do you want to go?" Blake asks.

  "No, it’s fine. How are you? What are you doing?" Questions rush out reaching for anything to talk about.

  I hear a knocking sound on his side of the phone.

  "Who is that?" I ask.

  Silence as I listen to him open the door.

  "Hold on," I hear him whisper. He picks up the phone.

  "Hey, I got to go. I’ll talk to you later."

  "Okay, I love you." But the line was already disconnected.

  I look down at my phone for a moment now pissed off. I shove the device in my back pocket and head inside to finish the game. Rebecca is there waiting for me by the door, and a shot of some type of clear liquor is shoved into my hand. I quickly down it, feeling the burning warmth run down my throat. Looking back at her, I smile and she hugs me. Being taller than me lands my face right between her chest. I can’t help but laugh as she looks at me questioningly and very intoxicated.

  "Come with me to the bathroom," she says as she drags me up the stairs. I’ve never understood the need for girls to cluster in bathrooms, but I follow her long legs and blonde hair. She runs into the bathroom while I sit on the top stair. I sit there lost in my thoughts and don't realize she has come out of the bathroom. I raise my hand indicating for her to help me up, but instead she intertwines her fingers with mine and swings her leg across my waist to sit on my lap.

  "What are you doing?" I ask, letting out a nervous giggle.

  She puts a finger to my lips, "Shhhh."

  I shake my head wondering what the hell is wrong with her, then suddenly she grabs my face and her lips are on mine. I know I should stop her...but I don't. She pushes me till my back is touching the floor. My frustration at life slowly boiling up inside me. Who knocked on his door? Why was he whispering? Why did he just hang up? I place my hand in her hair, grabbing enough to pull her face back from mine. I can see the longing all over her face; I know exactly how she feels in this moment. I kiss her with every ounce of anger and pain I feel. She jumps up, pulling me with her into the bedroom. The door closes and she pushes me back into the door. It's my brother-in-law’s room and for some reason that doesn’t bother me. 

  Covering me in drunken kisses, she starts to pull her clothes off but makes the mistake of saying, "You like this. You like me better than your husband?" 

  She leans in to kiss me again but I push her back. I won’t make the same mistakes as my husband. 

  She looks confused as I say, "I think I hear someone. Get dressed."

  I press my back against the door and it creaks. She jumps, mistaking it for someone coming up the stairs. Rushing, she puts her clothes back on, smiling like she’s just won a prize. Planting one more kiss on my mouth, she opens the door for me to walk out first. I bolt down the stairs and run right into the familiar M.W. shirt. I immediately feel my cheeks flush, but it doesn’t go unnoticed. He lifts a hand to my cheek.

  "What are you doing?" he says with a curious smile. 

  Rebecca bounces down the stairs pushing me into him. His arms wrap around me, preventing me from falling. He smells like French vanilla, cigarettes and something I can’t quite place. He’s so warm. What’s wrong with me? I push myself back looking at him. Complete perfection. 

  "She was helping me find my nose ring," she says pointing at her newly replaced body jewelry.

  Good lie, I mentally praise. I shrug my shoulders, but he gives me a look as if seeing right through her.

  "Let’s take shots!" she shouts grabbing my hand to pull me away, but I reach out and grab his hand.

  He shakes his head. "We’re actually getting ready to leave," he says fumbling over his words.

  "One for the road then. You’re not even driving," I laugh while dragging him into the kitchen. 

  "Screw it," taking a glass from Rebecca.

  "Malcom," he says looking at me.

  "Gabby."

  "1...2...3!" Rebecca shouts.

  I pour the burning liquor down my throat, thinking I would never forget this night. Or his face.

 

Morgan GillespieComment