All For Him

Maggy and Brandon are obsessed with each other in the unhealthiest way. They're hooking up behind their friends' backs, Brandon has a gorgeous girlfriend, and Maggy is totally in over her head at parties. But, she'll do anything for Brandon. And, to Maggy, everything is about him. Until their relationship is either open or over.

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5. Chapter Four: A Bad Birthday

December 2017

“Happy Birthday, Matt!” I exclaim as I hug him, his wet lips immediately hitting my cheek. “Oh, how are you?” I ask him, noticing that he’s already had quite a few drinks in him this evening, due to both his glazed eyes and his breath smelling heavily of beer. Looking around at the small group consisting of just myself, Matt, Brandon, and Jo, I realize that this could be an issue for the night. The pre-party hasn’t even started. I glance in Jo’s direction, feeling sort of concerned that about him. She doesn’t look at me, despite my eyes begging her to. I follow Jo’s gaze back towards Matt, who is pulling his phone out for the fourth or fifth time since I arrived just a few minutes ago. His face looks anxious, and his normally done up hair is ruffled all over the place, sticking up in weird places. He looks disheveled and unhappy and I immediately feel unhappy for him.

“Are you okay?” I jump slightly because Brandon is suddenly standing next to me. He chuckles at me being startled.

I shrug, “Yeah, but I’m not too sure it’s me who you should worry about.” He looks quizzically at me, and I feel ashamed that he has no concerns about his best friend, and that’s the moment that I start to see Brandon Collins outside of the love (or maybe drunk?) goggles I’ve been wearing for the entirety of our relationship.

Over the next half hour, guests pour in and Matt pretends to be happy, but continually checks his phone. This seems weird to me because he’s most certainly not the type who is attached to his phone at all. In fact, he’s most likely in the group to set it down and forget it somewhere because he hardly ever uses his phone. Ellen and Shay, on the other hand, never went anywhere without their phones in their hands. Shay considers herself a social media mogul and I assume Ellen just gets bored often, because she hardly ever posts on any social media, but she always knows what’s trending, plus all of her friends are typically around if her and I are anywhere in the same vicinity.

As I drunkenly watch Matt pull out his phone once again, it hits me that he is continually checking it because his parents haven’t wished him a Happy Birthday yet. My heart sinks. I used to complain that my parents forced me to spend my birthdays with them instead of with my friends (Shay), but realize that it’s much preferable to what Matt goes through. Not only are they not here for his eighteenth birthday, they couldn’t even be bothered to call or text him a birthday message.

To anyone else (with the exception of Jo) at the party, Matt looks like he’s having a fun time. But I see the anxiety and worry in his face, and it breaks my heart. After all, I’d only ever seen him like this once before, which was on his birthday last year.

December 2016

“They don’t love me.”

I feel shocked and jump when I realize that someone else has entered Matt’s personal bathroom. Thankfully, I had just finished using his toilet, so nothing too uncomfortable can happen, besides someone almost walking in on me while using the bathroom. Plus, fortunately, the way Matt’s bathroom is set up, the toilet is out of view from the door. I first walked I curse myself for forgetting to lock the door, but traditionally, this is the point of the night where Brandon would come and find me, so I didn’t lock it in case he wanted to come in. Only, it’s Matt’s voice that I just heard, not Brandon’s.

I step out from where the toilet is and see him in front of the mirror, running his fingers through his hair. He notices me, and quickly wipes the tears from his eyes, sniffling a little bit. “Shit, I’m sorry, Maggy May. I didn’t mean to walk in on you. I just…” He suddenly stops speaking, probably trying to decide what to say to me now that I’ve caught him so upset.

I shake my head, “Don’t worry about it. It’s your bathroom, right?” It’s a light attempt at a joke, trying to make things less awkward and ease the tension in the air, considering he knows I just heard him concerned over someone who may or may not love him. I don’t even have to ask what he was talking about; his drunken self explains anyways.

“My parents aren’t around a lot.” I nod, urging him to continue talking if he wants, and I think that he does. Obviously, I spend nearly every weekend at his house, so I know that his parents aren’t home, like, ever. “I asked my mom if they would be able to make it home for my birthday, and she acted like I was being so selfish for asking that. She told me how busy her and my dad are, and I should be grateful that they aren’t super in my business like everyone else’s parents are, and that, well I guess that it’s just selfish.”

A frown appears on my face, and I suddenly miss my parents a lot, and I feel bad that they don’t know that I spend every weekend basically drunk and having sex. “You’re not selfish for that. All you want is to be surrounded by people who you love and who love you.”

He shakes his head, “You don’t get it, Maggy May. They don’t love me. I didn’t hear a word from either of them today. It’s like they spend their entire lives trying to let me know that they regret my existence.” His eyes widen, almost as if he’s shocked himself by saying that out loud. I bet he’s never expressed these feelings before. “I think that they’re mad at me for asking them to come home, and I’m pretty upset.” I can hear how tight his voice is, and I know that he wants to start crying once again.

“Matt,” I say, my voice quiet, and probably filled with pity that I so desperately am trying to keep out of it. I want to comfort him. I want for him to feel safe with what he just told me, but he doesn’t let me finish my sentence. I’m not sure what I would have said to him anyways.

“Can you just give me some time alone in here, Maggy?” His voice sounds so defeated that I don’t think that I can do anything but leave him be in his bathroom, crying on his birthday, and that’s what I do. I leave him all alone.

December 2017

It’s around eleven p.m. when Brandon sneaks out back to see me. I hadn’t even gone outside for him to come out and meet me. I wasn’t entirely sure that I even wanted to be with Brandon tonight. I’d decided to stay sober this night to keep an eye on Matt, and I’m sure that Jo had already decided that also, because I hadn’t seen her take a drink at all the entire evening.

“Hey, Maggy May,” he says to me, his words slightly slurred. Was he normally this drunk when they got together? How had she never noticed?

I nod at him, feeling slightly annoyed by his presence. It shocks me, a little, that I am so upset with him right now, but I realize that the entirety of my love life with Brandon Collins has been spent basically drunk. I attribute all of the feelings I have for him to before learning about Ellen. After that time, my feelings for him only escalated when I was drunk. “Are you okay?” He asks me for the second time tonight.

“I’m fine,” I say, my throat feeling tight. “But I don’t think that Matt is.” I hate myself for a split second for telling Brandon. After all, Matt’s issues are mostly a secret between me and Jo, but this one is between me and Matt. I don’t think I ever told Jo about that night in Matt’s bathroom. “He was drunk before the party even started.”

Brandon looks appalled that I would dare say anything negative about his best friend. Is he really so preoccupied in his own problems that he hasn’t noticed Matt’s? “I would kill for my dad to not be around ever,” he says. Whether or not he wants to admit it, saying this acknowledges that Matt has issues regarding his parents, and I wonder if he’s ever talked to Brandon about how he’s feeling. I doubt that he has.

“We all have different issues?” I say.

“What’s your issue, Maggy?” He scoffs at me, probably incredulous to how this time we normally spend setting up our meetings for the evening turned out so poorly.

Rolling my eyes, I respond, “Right now, it’s you.”

I turn around and leave him standing there. It’s gotten far too cold outside for me to wish to be there any longer, and Brandon being a pain to me is not helping me tonight. He doesn’t follow and I didn’t expect him to. I walk towards Chris, hoping that he can help me have a good time. After all, I normally have a lot of fun hanging out with him, not only at parties but also outside of them. Often, Matt, Chris, and myself would have study groups. Sometimes Shay would join in, but she’s always been pretty adamant that she does her work way better when she’s alone. Plus, she isn’t in as many AP classes as us other three are, so her homework is often different than our homework. I feel like rolling my eyes when I see that Ellen is standing next to him.

“You look cold,” Chris says to me and puts a hand to my face. “Your cheeks are really red.”

I shrug, “Had to get out of here for a minute. So many people around.”

His warm hands are still on my cold face, and I don’t really want them to move. Sometimes, I think that if I didn’t have my head shoved so far up Brandon Collin’s ass, I would be able to date Chris. We’d probably be able to make one another happy.

“Did you see Brandon out there?” Ellen asks me, and it kind of startles me. I don’t think that Ellen has ever initiated a conversation with me. “I can’t find him anywhere in here. He’s always disappearing.” She says this in an accusatory tone toward me, as if I’m responsible for his disappearance. I am, but I’m still upset by her thinking so.

Even still, I nod at her. “He’s smoking a cigarette.” I’m not super smooth at lying at a moment’s notice, so it’s sort of a bad lie. I’ve never seen Brandon smoke anything for as long as I’ve known him.

“Brandon smokes?” She doesn’t wait for me to answer (really, I think she was asking herself the question) and heads toward the back porch, her blonde curls bouncing as she angrily struts her way through the kitchen.

When I turn back to face Chris, he says, “I didn’t know that Brandon smoked either.”

I shrug, and coyly smile at him, “He doesn’t, as far as I know.” He laughs at this, and runs a hand through his thick hair. “I just don’t feel like talking to anyone but you tonight.”

He smiles, “World got something out for you tonight?” I mumble something along the lines of ‘I guess’ and take the drink he has in his hand for me. “Yeah, you look like you’ve got some catching up to do.”

I see Jo and talk to her, quietly and quickly, about making sure that Matt is okay tonight. I offer to help her clean up tonight because we both know that Matt will want to be alone. He never wants for Jo to stick around after the parties. She thinks it’s because he doesn’t want her to see him upset. I urge her to talk to him about his problem. “I’ll be fine here tonight. I’m going to sleep in a guest bedroom to make sure that he’s okay. I’ll probably spend half of the night awake anyways, so I can use that time to clean.”

After that, Chris and I don’t really leave our spot from the island in Matt’s kitchen. We drink and laugh and have fun together. As the hours go on, I notice that he continually gets closer to me with each drink he has. By two a.m., we’ve both switched to water, but are still pretty intoxicated. Brandon and Ellen come up to us, and I can already tell Brandon is upset with me. Whether it’s for telling Ellen he was smoking, trying to talk to him about Matt, or the close proximity I share with Chris currently, I can’t be sure. It’s probably all of them.

“Goodnight, you two,” Ellen says to us, her words morphing together. “We’re heading back to my house for the night.” It’s easy for me to not react to this, even though I’m fully surprised. Brandon never spends party nights with Ellen.

He looks at Chris and I, close together, and says, “You two have fun tonight.” They then leave.

“What’s his problem? He’s always acting really mean to you,” Chris notes, searching my eyes for any kind of answer as to why Brandon Collins is always mean to me. Except, Chris has only ever seen this incredibly mean side of Brandon because it only comes when Chris and I are pushing the boundary of being ‘just friends’.

I shrug, and as much as I want to tell him the truth in this moment, I lie and say, “I have no idea what I ever did to him.”

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