About two hours later, I am dragging a very drunk Jennifer out of the front door. Her slender arm is thrown around my shoulders, as she lets her entire body weigh down on mine.
“I don’t want to go home,” she cries as she stumbles beside me. I fight to keep her on both feet. It is a struggle since she is so much taller than me, and is forced to bend down a lot in order for me to support her.
“We are not going home,” I say and tighten my grip around her waist a little. She does not reply, but moves along with me. It takes a while to get her down the two steps of the staircase to the front yard. It takes her even longer to reach the street, where different groups of smokers are standing. It has always managed to surprise me, how none of Anne-Marie’s neighbours are bothered by her annual party. Perhaps her parents pay for them to keep the police out of it. It seems like an interesting thought for a second, but then again, maybe they just do not care.
“Is she okay?” Jonathan Morgan’s voice sounds as he calmly approaches us. “I am fineee,” Jennifer sighs and lifts her head a bit. “I just need’a drink,” she mumbles drunkly. Jonathan looks at me and I shake my head. He replies with a little nod.
“Reed?” He asks and Jennifer nods clumsily. “You want a drink?”
“Yes!” She exclaims.
“Let me get you one, okay?” He glances towards me, letting me know that he is referring to something non-alcoholic. “Barbara will just sit you down on the kerbstone and then I will be back in a minute, alright?”
Jennifer nods once again and obediently let me walk (carry) her to the edge of the sidewalk. Here she sinks down like a sack of potatoes; heavily and quickly. She does not bend her long legs, but instead stretches them out so that she is sitting like a child in a sandpit. I slide down beside her and brush her long light-brown hair back over her shoulders. If she by chance wants to vomit, it will be easier for me to keep it out of her face like that.
Like Jonathan promised, he returns a minute later with a bottle of water in his left hand and a glass of orange juice in his right hand. He kneels down in front of Jennifer and hands her the red cup with juice. She willingly takes it and raises it to her lips, before taking a sip. She does not seem to notice the lack of vodka in the orange liquor, and lifts the bottom of the cup further up.
“Stew?” Jonathan whispers as Jennifer gulps down the juice. I turn my eyes away from her, “Yes?”
“Do you want me to take care of her for a while?” He asks and first I want to say no, because I would not leave Jennifer drunk with some boy, but then I play his words over in my head again. It is Jonathan Morgan. He might have a bit too much edge, but he is not a bad person and without realising it, I pull up on both feet and give him a small nod. With all honesty I would love not have the responsibility for Jennifer for once, and in this moment, I trust Jonathan Morgan.
Jennifer does not notice when I step backwards and slowly make my way away from where she is sitting. I need a cigarette before I think about heading back inside. I let my hand slip down in my bag. There should be a pack of mint Benson & Hedges Dual, but when I impatiently search through the bag, my fingers never brush a hard-cover cardboard pack. It takes a minute of aggressive searching before I realise, that I must have lost it.
“You’ve got be kidding me,” I mutter through my teeth and breathe in deeply. I know that I said I would quit party-smoking, but somehow it seems a lot harder than I first imagined. It is like the crowd, the noise and the alcohol makes me crave the peace of breathing in the toxic smoke. I have never liked when people smoked, and if I see a young girl smoking on the street I am quick to judge her for the stupid decision - but here I am, growing frustrated because I can not find the killing thing to put between my lips.
“You okay, Barbie?”
I feel my heart skip a beat by the sound of his voice. Why is he always catching me when I am alone? I feel cornered up as I turn around to face him. My eyes travel from his white, slightly buttoned down, shirt and to his face. The wry smile is pulling at the corner of his lip.
“I’m fine,” I breathe and stumble half a step backwards. He is fast to react, and before I know it, his large hand is closing around my upper arm. “Woah,” he says slowly, locking my gaze with his. “Drunk?”
I shake my head fast and instantly feel groggy.
I can feel his fingers against my skin, they are burning into me. Had it not been for my sense of reality, I would have believed that I would wake up with a burn tomorrow. A burn shaped perfectly like his lithe fingers. As I try to focus on anything but his touch, he decides to not take my slight head-shake for an answer.
“Barbie,” he demands and I breathe in deeply through my nostrils.
“I have been drinking,” I then say. He was there when I started, so he is well aware of that. I do not feel very drunk, but I am intoxicated.
“I know. I asked if you were drunk.”
“I am not,” I insist. “I am just a little bit…”
He raises both eyebrows.
“A little bit drunk,” I finish in a low voice.
His smile grows and my head starts to spin faster. I need a cigarette or a place to sit.
“I am aware.” He simply says. I wrinkle my forehead a little and wonder why he felt the need to ask. The way he acts messes with my head in a way I am not sure that I like. I feel like I have no control around him. I am caught up in his eyes when Juliane’s blonde silhouette enters the picture. She is walking towards us with long steps, resulting in her appearance only seconds later.
“Harry,” She starts out, and Harry’s hand falls from my arm quickly. The scene reminds me of this thursday in the parking-lot. Juliane turns to glance at me and her eyes narrow a little. “Barbara?” My name rolls of her tongue questioningly. “Barbara again,” she then whispers under her breath as if she needs the confirmation herself. I remain silent.
“What’s up Jules?” Harry asks and turns his side to me. Juliane’s wide grey eyes shift back to him.
“I just wanted to say that I am staying here tonight,” she sounds unsure all of sudden. “You don’t have to take me home.”
Harry nods, “Okay. Just find me if you change your mind.”
Juliane sends him a smile, before moving her right hand closer to his arm. Her fingers brush lightly against the white fabric of his shirt. “Can I talk to you?” She mouths. I start to feel awkward and even a bit unpleasant. Harry gazes at me briefly before following Juliane. I move from foot to foot, trying to make time pass. It is distressing to know that two people are talking about you, especially when they make it so obvious. The two options in such a situation are to either listen or to walk away. My curiosity leaves me hanging with sharpened ears.
“What are you up to?” I can hear Juliane hiss. She is trying to keep it down, and her eyes keep on wandering to me. I shoot my eyes downward, trying to find my shoes interesting enough to keep my attention.
“What are talking about?” Harry asks innocently.
Juliane sighs, “I don’t like it, Harry.”
“You don’t like that I am being friendly towards Barbara?” He almost manages to sound surprised.
“I don’t like that your game.” Her voice is flat.
“But you like me.” Harry is smiling and it pierces his voice.
“I love you, but you should tuck your dick back in.”
When those words escape Juliane’s mouth, mine falls wide open. This time I am not capable of picking my jaw up from the ground. Time freezes for a short second, before it starts spinning too fast and I lose control. Nothing she just said makes sense to me. I love you. She said she loved him. She said it as if it was the most casual thing in the entire world. You do not say that to someone you just met. You can not act so close around someone you have only known for a week.
I damn myself for having lost my pack of cigarettes, and even more for letting my heart pick up its pace enough for the blood to run to my cheeks. I sink down in a kneeling position and close my eyes. The alcohol is not helping on the light-headed feeling that spreads in me. It is not Juliane and Harry’s relationship that gets the best of me, it is the feeling of tequila and having no idea what is going on. I feel like I just became a part of something I was not supposed to. Something I do not want to be a part of.
I would like to stay as far away from anyone’s drama as possible. The thought of being involved in something bad with Juliane scares me to death.
“Barbie?” I can see Harry’s shoes as he steps closer to me. “What are you doing down there?” His voice sounds carefree. He does not sound like he just had the conversation he did.
“I just…” I want to say that I feel sick, but I do not. I feel dizzy and I feel tired. The alcohol is starting to weigh down on me more than it did before.
“Let me take you home.” He insists and holds down a hand for me.