The day of the party arrived and I was dressed up head to two in gear that Abigail made me wear that I wouldn’t even dream of wearing at any other time. It was this vintage red and black corset dress except it wasn’t tight it just looked that way and it dragged along the floor so if I wanted to run I had to pick up the bottom or I’d trip. I had this Harley Quinn mask on and a black wig to match with the outfit also Abigail had done my make-up in a red and black theme. I hadn’t looked in a mirror so I had no idea how I looked but she assured me that I looked marvellous. But, how could I look marvellous next to her. Her outfit was more based around bright and lively colours so she would stand out even though she said that everyone else would be in bright colours so I would stand out. She didn’t wear a wig like she said everyone would but her hair looked so perfect it might’ve well been a wig.
“So, when we get there we go our separate ways but if anything happens or we want to leave we text each other. Skylar and Neil are already on their way there so we’ll meet them there and try to figure out who is who.” She was really excited about this and so ready to go to this party. “Oh, before I forget I wanted to give you this.” She handed me a long box with a white ribbon wrapped around it.
“I can’t take any presents from you, Abigail, you’ve done enough for me already.”
“Just open it, it’s for the party.” I opened it and saw long, silky black gloves and a gold necklace with a moon pendant attached to it.
“This is amazing but I really can’t accept this. It must have cost you a fortune.”
“My Dad gives me more money than I need so I might as well splash a little for my friend. Wear them I want to see how it looks on you.” I smiled at her and slipped on the gloves first. They were so soft and delicate and I just loved them so much. I put the necklace around my neck and Abigail hooked it together for me. “Aww, you look beautiful.” Then her face went deadly serious. “It’s time to go before we’re late.”
This party wasn’t a loud music, people getting wasted party. It was a sophisticated, high class party full of people in beautiful outfits dancing to classical music. This was my kind of party. We entered the hall where people were dancing to the waltz in couples and Abigail was soon picked out of the crowd by some guy who liked her. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to tell Abigail anything exciting but she was right about something. I did stand out. Everyone was wearing such colourful, bright clothes and there I was in a dark, gloomy dress so everyone would look past me.
“It’s magnificent, isn’t it?” Someone next to me said, I looked up at them and immediately recognised him.
“Mr Crange, I didn’t realise you came to student parties.”
“I don’t. This is for anyone of any age seeing as you can’t see them under the mask but with some people you just know who they are like you, Riley. The way you’re standing gave it away, you always look so uncomfortable at social events even in class.” I looked down at myself and realised I had my arms wrapped around myself, I dropped my arms and smiled at him.
“Everyone looks so happy with their dancing, I don’t know the first thing when it comes to dancing so I’d just look like a fool.”
“I don’t think you would,” He challenged me.
“Well I do.”
“There’s only one way to find out for sure. Would you care to dance with me?” He put out his hand and I looked around at everyone’s smiles and the dancing in time with the music. I loved it all and I wanted to be a part of it, I put my hand in his and he led me to the dance floor.
He was right. I didn’t suck entirely at dancing I mean, I did at first but I got used to it. I ended up fitting right in and smiling and laughing along with everybody else. I eventually got tired and had to sit a dance out while I watched Mr Crange dance and I smiled as I watched him enjoying himself.
“Who was that handsome man you were dancing with?” Abigail asked and sat next to me at the table.
“It was Mr Crange, he was just being polite though so there’s nothing going on there and anyway he’s happily married.” Abigail sighed.
“Why are the good ones always taken? I may sleep with a lot of guys but I don’t go after ones who are with someone. Anyway, I met an amazing guy who is an awesome dancer but he went to the bathroom and I have no idea where he went now. He’s wearing a green tuxedo like the Riddler, look out for him,” She said and looked around. “Have you seen Skylar or Neil? I’ve been looking for them but I must not recognise them or something.”
“I haven’t but this is a masquerade ball and people are hiding their identities so we probably won’t know what they look like until the end of the night. You could always text them and ask them where they are.”
“Good idea, this is why I need you. You’ve got brains girl and I’ve just got good looks and seduction skills,” She said and got out her phone pressing away at the buttons just as a guy wearing a black tuxedo and a raven-like mask walked up to our table.
“What a beautiful sight you two ladies are but I am afraid I can only ask one of you to dance.” He had a fake posh British accent put on that made me want to laugh but I covered my mouth with my hand so he wouldn’t be able to tell that I was giggling uncontrollably. “You, fair lady, dance with me.” It took me a moment to realise that he was talking to me.
“Oh…no, I just stopped dancing and I’m still pretty tired so I think I’ll sit this one out…”
“I’m available though!” Abigail butted in and tried her winning smile at the guy. He shook his head at her in a condescending way.
“No, my dear, I only wish to dance with this lady.” Abigail looked hurt and I couldn’t see her like that.
“Excuse you, it would be an absolute pleasure to dance with her and you’re missing out by refusing her offer,” I said and then meekly sank back down in my seat. Abigail smiled at me bursting with pride.
“I only said this because all the gentlemen are staring at your dear friend and I just wanted to give you a bit of attention,” He said and put his hand out to me. “Do you accept my offer?” Abigail looked at me and made her eyes wide while taking a sip of wine, I think. Something sophisticated yet alcoholic.
“Okay, but only because of a promise I made to a friend that I would try to live a little.” I took his hand and he gracefully led me to the dance floor. He managed to avoid the flowing skirts and the constant movements of everyone. We danced and danced and danced for what seemed like minutes but were probably hours. I started to feel like I had really found my Romeo but I didn’t want it to be like Romeo and Juliet I wanted to find out who he was now.
“It’s been marvellous to dance with you this evening, maybe our paths will join another time in the foreseeable future,” He simply said at the end of the night and kissed my hand gently. “It’s a shame that your mask is in the way of that beautiful face but we must not ruin this perfect ball.”
“Why does it have to end?” I asked as he still held onto my hand.
“Because, that’s what life is all about. Endings. And the endings are always the best part but our story has not finished yet, we still have a long way to go my dear.” He lifted his hand and stroked my cheek so gently it made me shiver. “But, we will leave this chapter on a good note.” He said and leaned in so his face was inches from mine, I could feel his breath on my skin he was so close. “Do you mind if I kiss you?” No one had ever asked my permission for this before and I liked it, I liked feeling like I was in control of the situation.
“No, I don’t mind at all.” He smiled and placed his lips on mine. The softness of his lips made my whole body go warm and he must have felt this because I felt him smile against my lips. When he pulled away he put his mouth close to my ear and whispered:
“To be continued.”
I couldn’t stop thinking about the mystery guy that I kissed. I told Abigail all about it and she was incredibly jealous but she said that she had met someone that night as well so it was okay. We met up with Neil and Skylar after that night and they told us that nothing happened to them, no action or nothing but I felt like they were hiding something from us. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I just knew that they didn’t tell us something. We went our separate ways after discussing everything that happened and on the way to our dorm building we started talking about Neil and Skylar.
“There was something odd about them, what could they be keeping from us?” I asked Abigail and she shrugged.
“I don’t know, Skylar won’t tell me anything about his friends.” Abigail was smiling and not even thinking about what I was talking about so I just let her be in her own little world.
“So, did you find out the name of the guy you met? Or even see his face?” I didn’t know either from my guy so I was secretly hoping that she didn’t either so that I wouldn’t be jealous.
“Well…I found out his name but I didn’t see his face but since the receptionist owes me I’ll be able to find out who he is in mere seconds but not today. Today I will rest for ages because my only lecture is late in the day, do you have the same luxury that I do?”
“Sort of, I have class after lunch which is kind of late in the day,” I replied and watched her as she balanced on the side of the grass, she looked so free and happy. She hadn’t looked that way ever since the first day I met her and I just wanted her to stay like that because she just had an aura of joy around her that I was dragged into. “So, what is this mysterious guy’s name?”
“Jamie, he’s just so incredible and he treats me like a princess. I wish that he could just stay with me for the rest of my life. Fuck, Riley, I really think I love this guy. I feel like Juliet and the last time I tried to be Juliet I didn’t feel this alive.” She was practically skipping along the path and I couldn’t help but laugh because she seemed like such a child but she really did seem like she was in love. “Okay, that’s it. No more sleeping around, I’m a one man woman.”
“Hold on, Abigail, you’re not even dating this guy and you’ve only met him once. Just get to know him a bit more and go on a few dates before you do anything else.”
“But….but…I don’t want him to think that I just forgot about him straight after what happened because he’s the only thing in my head and I want him to know that. I’m not going to screw anyone else until I know what’s happening with Jamie and me,” She said that sentence really quickly and took deep breaths afterwards. “I feel like an idiot but my hearts fluttering like mad at the thought of him. This is how everyone describes love so I know that this is it.”
“I didn’t know you were such a romantic, Abigail, wait until Skylar hears this.”
“I’m not going to tell him, I always tell him about all the guys I sleep with but I want this one to be different. I want him to like me and for Skylar not to get involved like he always does.” We got to our dorm building and for the rest of the way we stayed silent because we realised how tired we were and we didn’t have the cold air keeping us awake. As soon as we got inside our dorm I fell onto my bed and just went straight to sleep with actual good dreams.
Abigail was gone by the time I woke up and I assumed that she went to find Jamie. I got up and got changed into something more comfortable just before there was a knock on the door. I didn’t feel like seeing anyone at that time but I opened it anyway and someone flew in without even checking if it was okay with me.
“I’m going to tell you what happened at the party and I just want you to be cool about it because I’m not mad at Skylar anymore and I don’t want to ruin your friendship or anything, okay?” It was Neil and he was pacing back and forth and playing with his hands. He was clearly nervous about whatever it was he was about to tell me and I was intrigued to find out what it was.
“Yeah, okay,” I replied. “Sit down, you’re making me anxious.” He sat on the edge of Abigail’s bed and I sat on mine. “You don’t have to tell me this if you don’t want to.”
“But I do want to, you have to know and I was going to tell Abigail too but she isn’t here so you can just tell her whenever she gets back,” He was speaking rapidly and breathing frantically.
“You need to calm down, Neil, just breathe slowly and say what you need to say,” I said and he did as I said.
“Okay…so, me and Skylar have known each other for a long, long time and I’ve never told anyone about what happened between us because I don’t want him to be hated but I have to tell you. Back in high school I got bullied for being scrawny and they would, you know, beat me up and just hurt me in every way that they could and Skylar didn’t actually hurt me but he watched and he did nothing. I always looked to him and pleaded with him to help but he never did, I could’ve died on one of those days and he just looked on.” He got choked up for a second but carried on regardless. “Anyway, we were forced to be study partners and I was terrified of him at this point but he tried so hard to get me to be comfortable around him and eventually I did and I let my guard down. Then he invited me to this stupid party and when I went to the bathroom he blocked it from the outside and then when I got out everyone was there. They called me names and hit me and Skylar was the one who organised it and I loathed him for it. I tried to kill myself that day and my parents found me and I was put on suicide watch but I kept my hatred for Skylar bubbling so when I came to University I tried to avoid him but then Heather came along and you and we were forced to talk at the party. I talked to him about everything including my suicide attempt and he broke down in tears and said that he was sorry but they forced him to because they used to bully him and he just wanted someone to take the hits instead of him. Please don’t hate Skylar.”
“I don’t need your pity, Riley, I’m fine now and I just wanted to make you aware of the situation between us.”
“No, Neil, I don’t pity you at all. I can’t explain right now but someday I’ll tell you about it, I promise.”
“Okay…well, just make sure you don’t hate Skylar for this because he really does feel bad about it and tell Abigail about it as well. Anyway, I have another emergency study session so I’ll see you around,” He said and got up.
“Wait, you didn’t happen to see a guy wearing a black tuxedo and a kind of raven mask last night?” I asked and bit my lip in anticipation.
“Uh…I don’t think so but I’ll ask Skylar if he saw anyone like that. Was that the person you kissed?” He asked, suddenly very interested in this.
“Yeah, you didn’t get your Romeo experience did you?”
“Unfortunately no but there’s a lot more times that I can do this, I’m just glad that you got to have your Juliet experience. Anyway, I must dash now. See you around.” He left my dorm and left an empty space. Usually at moments like these I would feel incredibly alone and vulnerable but not this time because I knew that I had friends who were looking out for me all the time and I felt their presence whenever I was alone.