What did girls even wear to a party? The questions was dumb - only I didn’t know what to wear. I felt pathetic. And I felt even more pathetic when I Google searched ‘party outfits’. I came up with ball gowns, fancy dresses, women and girls with barely any clothes on their bodies. But I did find an example that I liked the most.
I didn’t have the exact outfit, but I had something similar. I got up from my bed and dug through my closet, then found what I was looking for. A floral tube top, stopping just above my navel, along with high-waisted black shorts, studded at the sides and ending shorter than I was used to. I decided on black TOMS instead of the black heels I’d found, then dashed a bit of eye makeup on, along with a light lip gloss. There wasn’t much I could do with my hair, so I simply pulled my bangs back with a bobby pin and called it good.
I didn’t know why I even owned these clothes. I guess my mum just had this idea that I was friends with everyone. She thought that I went to parties while they were gone, as did my father. Why they didn’t care, I had no idea. Weren’t parents supposed to care if their child was drinking under the age? But in contrast to their belief, I neither had friends nor went to parties. But given that they weren’t here ninety-nine percent of the time… I was a devout introvert, because just my presence was an inconvenience for everyone. It was about seven thirty when I was finally ready, then headed down to grab a snack before Niall came.
Niall had said he’d pick me up tonight, and I was weary to be in a confined space with an unstable person. Though, Niall had been kind today. He didn’t abuse me, didn’t put me down with his words. He’d even asked me to come to one of Keaton’s parties. And from the conversations I’ve heard in the hallways, Keaton’s parties were usually anything but tame.
But Niall was acting different. Was all he needed just some time alone with me? Was that all it took to make him see that I’m not his enemy, nor his punching bag? After about ten minutes of internal debate, I decided I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. Niall was changing.
I grabbed a quick bite of toast, then took my phone in my hand. It wasn’t much to eat, but I figured that I’d have something to eat at Keaton’s. I wouldn’t get drunk, I told myself. Niall would probably have that covered, and I didn’t feel comfortable riding home both intoxicated and being driven by an intoxicated person.
Soon, there was a knock at the door. I sighed, my heart leaping a bit. I walked down the main hallway, but stopped just short of the door as the wall mirror caught my eye. There were bruises in the shape of fingertips dotting my thigh - from when Niall had hurt me. I winced, remembering the incident. I turned my forearm up, and sure enough, the fading scabs were there as well. I hadn’t remembered to cover them up, and I didn’t have the time to anymore. Another knock at the door made me jump, and I quickly opened it.
Niall was dressed in a red polo with tan shorts, ending just below his knees. His hair was combed to cover his forehead, per usual. He wore a smile, stuffing his hands in his pockets. I couldn’t help but smile back, despite the previous view of the marks made by him.
“Ready?” he asked. His eyes traveled up and down my body, and I leaned against the doorframe, a bit embarrassed. Did I look okay?
I nodded. “Yeah.”
He then nodded back and started walking back to his car. I followed, making sure to lock the door as I left. I hid the key under the flower pot by the door, as my mum and dad always instructed, then walked the rest of the way to the curb and opened the passenger’s side door.
Niall started the car as I slid in, the radio beginning to play a soft Michael Buble song. He quickly turned it off, then threw the car in gear and pulled down the street.
“You listen to Michael Buble?” I asked. Honestly, I was more open with him when we were alone, rather than with other people. He was tolerable when we were alone.
He nodded. “He’s my favorite artist.”
I smiled, tapping the armrest. “Why did you turn it off, then?”
Niall rounded the corner and gave a side smile. “Didn’t think you liked him as well.”
I nodded. “I do.”
He flicked the radio back on. “Then we’ll listen.”
I watched out the window as the many houses went by, listening as the radio went on. It was a lovely song. The lack of talking in the car was nice. I didn’t have to think of the right thing to say, didn’t have to figure out ways to not set him off. I only listened to the comforting radio in the background.
“You look good, by the way,” Niall said about five minutes later.
Something in my chest tightened, but it wasn’t such a bad feeling. There was warmth throughout me as well. The comment flattered me. And the most interesting thing was that… Maybe I liked the feeling.
“Thanks,” I said shyly, turning my head to look out the window and hide the blush that crept across my cheeks.
It was quiet until I heard the pounding bass from a block away.
“That’s Keaton’s,” Niall said, turning down the street. The lights from Keaton’s garage and house lit up the otherwise dark street, and there were already people stumbling around in his front yard, drinks in hand.
“I didn’t think that people would be drunk this early,” I said, rubbing my left temple.
“Believe me, they’re not,” Niall snorts. “Some of the guys are, but most of the girls are just acting.” I sighed. “What?” he asked, pulling up behind a car parked about fifty feet away from the house and turning toward me.
“I don’t know,” I said, looking down at my hands in my lap. “I’ve just never been to one of these before.”
“You’ll be fine,” he chuckled, unclasping his seatbelt. “Just don’t take a drink from anyone but the bottle itself.”
This did nothing to calm my nerves, but I unbuckled my seatbelt and stepped out of the car anyway. Shouts and cheers reached my ears when I shut the car door, and I bit my lip as I tucked my phone into my back pocket and fell into step alongside Niall. His shoulder brushed mine a few times as we walked up, and I was very conscious of his movements. Though I was comfortable with speaking and interacting with him, the physical contact still brought up weariness inside of me.
“What’s your number?” he suddenly asked, taking my wrist lightly and stopping me. “You know, just in case we get separated at all.”
I hadn’t though of what I’d even do at this party. I mean, what was I supposed to do? I had no friends to talk to, no place to go, nothing to do. What had I expected to do? Agreeing to come was a bad idea on my part. But was Niall implying that we’d stay together the whole night?
“Oh,” I said. I relayed my number to him, and watched as he typed in my contact name. He entered something else into his phone, and my own vibrated in my pocket.
“I’ve just sent you a text,” he said, starting to walk again. “That way you’ll have my number as well.”
I nodded, following suit. I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about him having my number. It gave me a weird feeling, something I’d never witnessed before. I couldn’t describe it.
“Niall!” one of the girls shouted as we started walking up the drive. “Niall, how’ve you been?” she said more sweetly, drink in hand as she swayed up to him. She pulled him into an awkward hug, holding her drink out so none spilled on him while he kind of just stood there. Her gesture annoyed me for some unknown reason.
“Camry,” he said, stepping out of her embrace. “I’ve been alright.”
She frowned, but only for an instant. Her clumsy smile was back on in an instant, and she swayed to the beat of the music. “Dance with me,” she said happily, tugging on his hand.
I bit the inside of my cheek, feeling awkward. Camry was acting as if she and Niall were the only two there, ignoring me. I was used to this kind of treatment, but this instance made me a bit upset. For what reason, I didn’t know why.
“No thanks,” Niall said to my surprise. Why wouldn’t he have danced with such a lovely girl?
He turned, resting a hand on the small of my back and gently pushing me along with him. His fingers brushed my exposed skin, and I stifled a shiver that crept up my spine. Why was I responding this way? I never had before.
Niall lead me inside, where the music was the loudest. The lights were turned down and there was a strobe light going, making me feel a bit disoriented. A hoard of people danced in the living room, and several girls danced against eager boys.
“You want something to drink?” Niall shouted above the music, taking his hand away.
“I thought you told me not to take a drink from anyone,” I shouted back, laughing a bit.
He smiled and nodded. “I did. Sorry.” Niall lead me over to the counter and poured himself a cup. “Guess that’s a no, then?”
“Hey, Nialler,” Keaton slurred, suddenly appearing beside Niall. How he’d managed to get drunk in this amount of time, I didn’t know.
“Hey,” Niall replied, punching him playfully. “A little tipsy, are we?”
“Naahhh,” he drawled out, taking another sip of his drink. “Hey, listen. I gotta show you something.”
Niall nodded, setting his drink down on the counter. “I’ll be right back,” he said in my direction.
I was about to protest, but Keaton had already dragged Niall away. I bit my lip, standing there awkwardly. I crossed my arms in front of my stomach and leaned up against the kitchen counter. Not knowing what to do, I just watched the pulsating bodies dancing in the flashing lights.
He said he’d be right back, right?
It’d been at least two hours, and Niall still hadn’t come back.
I’d moved from the kitchen counter to pretty much just leaning against a wall, arms crossed with my hair thrown over my shoulder. No one had bothered talking to me yet, as if they would anyway. Niall was the only one who wanted me to come.
Niall wanted me to come.
The realization made me feel weird. It was that feeling again, in my chest and stomach, something I’d never felt before. Niall had wanted me to come here, actually wanted to be with me. But he wasn’t exactly here at the moment.
“Hey, I know you,” a girl slurred, walking up to me. “You’re Samm Carter, the girl from my history class that doesn’t talk.”
Well, that was blunt. I suddenly got a bit defensive, but didn’t let it show. Instead, I nodded. “Yeah, that’s me.”
“What are you doing here?” she said, cocking her head to the side and raising a clumsy eyebrow.
I shrugged. “I don’t know, honestly.”
She giggled and hiccuped. “Well, you look great! I’m Mia, by the way.” She suddenly reached out and took a hold of my arm. A sharp intake of breathe reached my lips as she turned it over, revealing Niall’s nail marks.
“Erm,” I said, tugging my hand away and holding it behind my back.
She gave me a look of pity. “Here,” Mia said, holding out her cup. “Takes the pain away. Takes everything away.”
I hesitated. I didn’t want to get drunk at the same time as being driven home by a drunk person. But her argument was persuasive to my ears. Takes the pain away. I’d been feeling a lot of emotional stress lately, due to Niall’s mood swings and everything. I just wanted to forget about it for a minute.
Against my better judgement, I took the drink from Mia. She smiled. “You’ll enjoy the party much more.”
And with that, she danced away with a cheer of excitement. I stared down at the brown liquid in the cup, wondering what was in it. Niall had said not to take a drink from anyone, but then again - Niall had said a lot of things. If this took the pain away, I was open for it.
I checked the clock on the wall. It was only ten thirty, but it felt so much later. Fishing my phone out of my pocket, I checked to see if I’d received any messages. Just like always, I hadn’t. Not from Niall, not from my parents, not from anyone. No one gave a damn about me.
It takes the pain away. It takes everything away.
I took another look at the cup in my hand, then tipped it back, dealing with the sting on the way down.
What in God’s name is going on? Why is it so hot in here? Why can’t I see anything? Who’s touching me?
It was coming in blurs to me. The whole night flashed by, ten thirty to eleven, eleven to one. That girl, whatever her name was, had been right. It did take the pain away.
I sniffed, opening my eyes. As soon as I did, I flinched. There was a guy plastered to my face, kissing me. What? His hands were on my exposed stomach, the music still pounding in the background. My back was pressed up against the wall, and my arms were straight at my sides.
This guy was kissing me. His hand moved up farther, to the fabric of my top, just to the side of my chest area. I stiffened, but didn’t succeed in getting him to move. I suddenly felt claustrophobic. Despite my intoxicated and blurry state, I was aware enough to know that I wanted him off, and I wanted him off now.
I pushed hard against his chest, but he didn’t move. The guy only ground his hips into mine, pressing me further up the wall. I turned my head to the side, trying to escape his kiss, but instead his lips moved down my neck. I pushed against his chest a bit harder, but to no avail. I let out a grunt of frustration. Why was he touching me?
I was getting flustered. I’d definitely had too much to drink, and felt like I’d pass out. The music was starting to hurt my head, and the flashing lights did nothing to help. It was hot in the house and was getting hard to breathe. I needed to get out of here, now.
But before I had any more time to do something about it, the guy was already being torn from me. His touch thankfully went away, and I closed my eyes as the heels of my feet hit the floor again. Thank God.
But as soon as I opened my eyes, I saw Niall’s angry expression. He was yelling at the guy who’d been kissing at me. But why would he do that? The guy’s expression also got angry, and I got even more confused. The room was getting even hotter, and I didn’t think I could stay conscious for much longer. The drinks were really starting to effect me.
I couldn’t make out what they were saying. The edges of my vision were turning black, and my breaths were coming slower. My head began to pound as Niall flipped the guy off and came over to me.
“Are you alright?” he asked, putting a soft hand on my shoulder. I tried to nod, but that took too much energy. Instead, I collapsed into his arms, not really aware enough to worry about what that might entice.
My world went black a second later.