“I really need a round of shots if I am going to get through tonight,” I admit. Anna and I are standing in the kitchen of the Harper house. Our vodka bottle is placed on the white marble kitchen island, and our bodies are leaning against the edge. Anna glances at me, “Yeah, me too.”
Jennifer left us for a junior who drunkly had asked her for a dance, so we are left by ourselves in the kitchen - that for once is empty for people.
“I actually wanted not to drink today,” Anna then follows up and I turn to look at her. “I don’t want to do something…” She takes a deep breath, “stupid.”
I understand exactly what she is referring to. Anna is scared that if she gets too drunk, then she will spill her secret. No one knows that Anna is into girls, no one except from Kathleen, Jennifer and I. And she is terrified that anyone in this small-town will figure out. Small-towns are not known for being the most open-minded places, so Anna has been it hiding since she was eleven. I wish she did not have to, but I would have done the same. Next year she will be off to some big city and then she will never have to hide again.
I want to say the right thing, but I am just a seventeen years old girl, and I am not sure what is right and wrong - so I end up saying what I think: “I think that maybe you should follow your gut. In ten months you will be somewhere different with wonderful people and you will have thousand of drunken nights. Maybe you should keep it down this year… I mean… Are these people worth it?”
She looks me in the eye for some long seconds, before shaking her head.
“You will have so much better nights once high school is over,” I assure her. “And you will have some lovely girl to kiss at midnight too.”
She blushes and her let her eyes fall to the floor. “Yeah. You’re probably right.”
“I am sure there is something in here!” A loud voice breaks through the air, and my eyes shoot up to the open door. Jonathan Morgan enters the kitchen with a bottle of tequila planted firmly in his right hand. He stops in his tracks when he sees us.
“Ladies,” he greets us with a nod. The funny thing about the “We do not like East Haven”-group, is that they always treat our little group nicely. We are not friends, but we are more than school mates.
“Morgan,” Anna mumbles and from the corner of my eye I can see her small hand lock around the neck of our vodka bottle.
“Did you find some?” The familiar raspy voice from English then speaks, and right behind Jonathan Morgan, Harry’s frame appears. I feel my stomach tighten, and I swift my weight to my right foot. “Hey Barbie,” he sends me a small smile, before glancing at Anna. “And you are Anna right?”
“Yes,” Anna says. “We have English together.”
“Right.” Harry says and then forgets about the two of us for a moment. “Shall we find some?” He is looking at Jonathan, who nods and steps further into the kitchen.
“You do not happen to have seen some lime or lemon, do you?” Jonathan asks as his eyes scan over the kitchen desk.
“Try to the fridge,” I say and reach out for the bottle that Anna still holds tightly onto. Our eyes lock. “I need some,” I mouth and she lets go of the neck. I can hear Jonathan open the fridge as I screw off the cap.
“You are a god, Stewart,” Jonathan breathes. He must have found what he was looking for.
“Goddess,” I correct him under my breath, but he does not seem to hear it - Harry on the other hand catches my small remark, and a wry smile creeps over his lips. He - in that moment - decides to speak to me.
“You’re gonna drink that?” He nods towards the bottle in my hand. I screw the cap one last time and pull it off.
“I was planning on it,” I raise the bottle a little. It is heavy. “Why?”
“Did not think of you as a drink-straight-out-of-the-bottle girl.”
My heart sinks a little, and for the first time what a guy thinks about my drinking routine affects me. I part my lips slightly to say something for my own defence, but I can not quite muster up the words. Anna is quick to understand and saves me from a moment of uncomfortable silence, “Well when there is no juice or soda, you’ve got to get it down in some way.”
Harry is silent for a short while, before nodding. “Of course.”
He seems thoughtful. He always seems thoughtful and I feel weighed down by his silence. “We are preparing some tequila shots if you’d like,” he finally speaks and I breathe out, realising that I just held my breath for many seconds. I blink fast a few times, trying not to feel too dizzy as I suck in a big amount of air.
“Babs would!” Anna says, and my eyes shoot to her with a “shut up”-look. She shrugs playfully. “She loves tequila.”
Harry’s forehead wrinkles slightly. He looks surprised once again, and I am starting to believe that I have disappointed him for the second time this evening. “You do?”
I swallow and force a smile, “I do. But you really don’t have to waste it on m-“
“- No-no, I insist.” Something about his voice makes me back down. I am not willing to fight him about whether he wants go give me free alcohol or not. I am secretly very pleased with his offer. No one likes pure vodka. It takes something to keep your stomach from turning too much.