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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3. Chapter Two: Shots, Shots, Shots, Shots

November 2017

Matthew Johnson is, undoubtedly, the most fun person that I’ve ever met. He also finds any reason to host a party due to the fact that his parents are almost always traveling, leaving him home alone most of the time. He hosts parties for Halloween, Christmas, any other holiday, birthdays, and, sometimes, he doesn’t even try to give us a reason. However, the party he’s hosting tonight, is for my birthday. I hadn’t wanted a party, and I begged him, Brandon, and Chris to not call this a birthday party. I wanted to hang out with Shay at my house and watch movies like we had done when we were younger. I wasn’t so lucky.

I arrive to Matt’s house much earlier than last time. So early, in fact, that only he and Brandon were here. I know that Brandon tries to spend as much time away from his home as possible, so it’s not really that surprising to see him here. What is surprising, however, is that Ellen is not draped on his arm.

“Maggy May,” he says to me, pulling me in for a hug that seems so casual to any onlookers (which, would only be Matt), but it means so much more to me. “I have the most wonderful birthday present for you,” he whispers in my ear before pulling away from me. My breath hitched at the thought of what he possibly had gotten me, undoubtedly something sexual tonight.

“Okay,” I breathe the word, and it’s almost inaudible.

Matt notices me from across the room, and promptly comes toward me to place a kiss on my cheek. It’s a friendly kiss, and Matt does this nearly every time I come to a party (because Matt is always the first one at a party, even if it’s not his own, thus always there before I am), and it makes me long for Brandon to do the same, to give me some other kind of genuine affection in public. But I know it’s a birthday wish that will never come true. “I bought you a lot of alcohol for your birthday,” Matt tells me, laughing.

“And how did you manage to do that? You’re not of age yet.”

He winks at me. “Ah, a secret I’ll never tell, Maggy May.” Before officially coming to one of Matt Johnson’s parties, I would have never realized that he is basically an alcoholic. His grades in school are fantastic (I know because the two of us, plus Chris, are all in a battle to be valedictorian of our senior class), he’s one of the star players of the soccer team (the general reason the four boys of the group hang out), and generally put together. Though Jo and I have both shared concern for his intense drinking habits, neither of us (nor anyone else in our group) have brought it up to him yet.

October 2016

“Jo, can I talk to you a minute?” I ask the pretty brunette, who is silently watching her boyfriend play beer pong against Brandon. We’re at his annual Halloween party, and I’m dressed as a pineapple. Jo and Matt are dressed in burglar costumes. I haven’t seen Ellen yet, but I did see Brandon in a hippie’s costume.

She nods, whispers something in Matt’s ear, and follows me into his private bathroom, never even asking why I want to talk. No one but the eight of us ever use this bathroom, so I know that I can count on it to be a good place for privacy. I lock the bathroom door as soon as we enter, and she takes a seat on the edge of the large bathtub in there.

Jo doesn’t speak, but instead waits for me to say whatever it is that I’d dragged her into this room for. At first, I think that it’s weird, since Jo and Ellen had never been too fond of Shay and I joining their group almost a year ago. I figure that she must think it’s something important for me to want to pull her alone. “I’m concerned about Matt.” I expect her to get jealous, or defensive (like I know that Ellen would have if I had brought something up to her about Brandon) but she doesn’t.

“I am, too,” she admits, her voice quiet, and I realize that she knows that I’m talking about Matt’s drinking problem. “He’s an alcoholic, I think.” She looks up at me, waiting for me to agree with her. Her face looks sad, but in her eyes I see relief. I think about how many parties Matt must have thrown before I began hanging out with the group. I wonder how long Jo has thought this of him, and how long she’s waited to talk to someone about it.

I nod, solemnly, realizing that it’s kind of ironic that the two of us are definitely under the influence of alcohol and talking about one of the closest people to us being an alcoholic. “Have you ever talked to him about it?”

She shakes her head, regretfully. “I haven’t even said anything to Ellen about it, and she’s my best friend.” I sigh, trying to think of how we can try to get him some sort of help. “I think he does it, throws all of these wild, big parties to fill this big, empty house.”

“I agree, but I still think that he’s got a problem that we should talk about with him.”

November 2017

I suppose that’s why I let Matt throw this giant birthday party for me, and why I probably won’t say anything to him about how much he drinks tonight. Also, because I’ll be a hypocrite if I do mention anything to him. I’ll be drowning my sorrows tonight, too, because I don’t think I’ll be able to watch Brandon and Ellen all night on my birthday, especially thinking about the present Brandon had promised me for after the party.

“Can I get a pre-birthday party shot with you two?” I ask, watching them set out the wide variety of the alcohols that Matt had just claimed to purchase.

Matt cheers and Brandon winks. “Oh, you know we love to do birthday shots with you, Maggy May.”

“Which one would you like?” Matt asks, already slicing a lime into quarters.

I laugh at this, pulling my long ginger hair into a ponytail, “I think you already know.”

Chris arrives with Shay and Leon not too long after, and Jo and Ellen arrive after that. Ellen complains, “We’re never the last ones to the pre-party!” before kissing Brandon for an annoyingly long time. Jo’s face expresses concern for the twenty-plus bottles of various alcohols set out on the kitchen counter. “Is this all for tonight?”

“It’s not every night that our very own Maggy May turns eighteen,” Matt says, already slightly tipsy. I’m assuming that he had started drinking before Brandon or I arrived.

“Speaking of,” I hear from behind me, and turn around to see Chris, “I got you something.”

I smile at him, “You didn’t have to do that.” I think back to the last time I had met up with Brandon, when he had told me that Chris had (and still has) a crush on me. I’d laughed at it then because I couldn’t think of anyone being remotely interested in me. I’ve been emotionally unavailable for nearly two years, but I suppose that only three people know that.

“I can’t let my favorite person not get a fantastic gift on their birthday,” he says, smiling at me. I notice as Brandon moves closer to us, perhaps trying to listen in to what we’re saying, as we’re in a corner of the kitchen away from everyone else. I sometimes hate that I’m always very aware of where Brandon is in the room.

“Well, Matt got me all of that alcohol,” I say teasingly, gesturing to the array of bottles lining Matt’s kitchen counter. “That’s going to be tough to beat.”

He holds out a medium-sized box, and ushers me to open it. I laugh immediately when I see what it is. “You got me a personalized margarita glass!”

He shrugs his shoulders, “I figured that you might use it a good bit tonight. There’s something else in there.” I look in the bottom of the box and sure enough, there’s another object in the box. “Since Matt never has any margarita salt, and I know that’s your favorite part of the drink.”

Chris has to basically pick me up in order for me to hug him, but it’s not a very big deal for him. “Thank you so much, Chris. You’re actually my favorite person ever.”

“Hey, love birds,” Brandon calls from across the room. He’s moved back toward the rest of the group since the last time I had seen him. “Are you going to come join us or spend the whole night making out in the corner?”

The rest of the group makes kissy noises at us, but Brandon’s mad, and I know it by the way that he looks away from me as soon as I meet his eye. He slings his arm around Ellen’s shoulder, and turns to look at me, his eyes beckoning me over to the group. “I wonder what his problem is,” Chris mutters as he puts me down.

I look up at him, and then back to Brandon, whose eyes are still trained on me. Watching and waiting for me to move. I nod at him, just ever so lightly, that I’m not entirely sure that Chris could see it. “I have no idea,” I respond to him, and walk over toward the larger group.

 

“Happy Birthday, babe!” Shay shouts too loudly and hugs me.

I smile at her, “Thanks so much.”

“Do you want to come stay over after the party? I know you wanted to do something different than this for your birthday.” I look over at Brandon after she says that. I know very well that he is diligent about listening in on any conversations that I have. I hate that he’s so invested in everything that I’m doing even though I don’t get to be invested in his.

“I actually have somewhere to be after this,” I say, pretty quietly to her. She looks up at Brandon, who I notice looks away from the two of us. He knows that Shay knows all about the affair he and I have been having, and sometimes he gets extremely uncomfortable around her because of it. She shakes her head and walks away from me, off to find Leon and Matt, wherever they had gone to. I awkwardly stand around with Jo, Ellen, and Brandon, who is now paying me no attention. I sigh, this is going to be a long, long night.

It’s hardly even an hour after the party starts that I want to leave. It’s my birthday party so a lot of people have been coming up to me all night to hug me and kiss my face, and I don’t like it. Not one bit. I hate playing this popularity game. Before Leon transferred to our school and started hanging around with Shay, Shay and I had been pretty low on the popular scale. We weren’t uncool or picked on or anything like that, but we didn’t have many other friends. Realistically, Shay and I only kind of hung around one another. The only reason I stay around now is Brandon, and of course for Shay, but it’s tiring work pretending to be enjoying myself in a large crowd when I’m very much not.

I’m trying to think up an excuse to leave when Brandon pulls me out onto the back porch. We immediately both sit on the stairs, and I feel okay for a minute. “You looked like you needed out of there,” he says after a minute.

“Yeah, I haven’t been feeling too hot,” I admit, worried that he’ll take my statement as not wanting to have sex with him tonight. But I totally do want to have sex with him.

“Why did Shay say that you didn’t want to be here tonight?”

I sigh, and think back to the day I had told Matt last week that I really, really didn’t want to have a big party for my birthday. We had done it last year (and we do it for everyone’s birthdays) and I never enjoy myself. I only come for Brandon anyways, and he seldom gives me the time of day at them. “I don’t like parties.” It’s easy to admit this kind of stuff to Brandon. He and I have an easiness between us where we don’t have to lie or hide our feelings when we’re together. Everything is so simple. Well, minus the affair part of the relationship. That part makes it more difficult.

He snorts. “I know you don’t like parties, Maggy May. I’ve known you for two years. The only reason we ever started talking was because of how much you hated being at a party.”

I chuckle along with him. He’s right. Of course, he had already known that I hate parties. Of course, he had known that I would rather spend my birthday anywhere else but here. Except, of course, here is where he is. “I told Matt I didn’t want to have a big thing. I wanted to have a small thing with just the few of us and bad movies and not an underage, alcohol-filled party again.”

“Matt said you wanted this.” Brandon says this so quietly, I’m not quite sure that I hear him. “Why would Matt say you wanted a big party when you didn’t?” I think about Matt’s facial expression when I told him that, how he said that I could only have been joking.

“I told him I didn’t want one, and he said it would be fun, because we always have fun, and so I said okay.”

Brandon turns to face me, “You should learn to stick up for yourself, Maggy May.” Then, he stands up and leaves. I stay put for a moment longer, just like I had on the night that we met.

 

I wander into Brandon’s house, wondering once again where his father is. I know that his mother left a long time ago, and I know that his dad is never here when I come over, which is about three times a month. “I didn’t just bring you here to have sex, you know,” Brandon says as I take off my coat.

“No?”

“No, but you’ll definitely be getting some birthday sex.” The look on his face is mischievous, and his lips are turned up in a smirk. “It’s been too long since I’ve been with you.”

I take a seat on his bed, a piece of furniture that I’m fairly familiar with, and wonder briefly if he ever brings Ellen over to sleep with him on his bed. I brush the thought quickly away, both because I hate thinking about Ellen when I’m with Brandon (not because I hate her, but because I feel bad for her) and because I already know the answer. No one else knows about Brandon’s parental situation. They never come to games but he pushes that off on work (everyone knows that his dad works a lot). It’s insane to me that people who have known Brandon for much longer than me have no idea about his life in the way that I do.

“I originally had a different idea, but I figured I’d give you what you really wanted for your birthday.” He turns on an older looking television, and puts in a DVD. It’s The Notebook. I laugh and push him playfully when he climbs in the bed next to me. “Happy birthday, Maggy May,” he whispers in my ear.

We don’t even make it through half of the movie before we’re panting in his bed together, but I’m okay with that. Even though I hated the party, this has been the best birthday ever.

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