Common Ground

Childhood friends, turned more, turned upside down


18. Being Stupid

I watched as Bethany was enjoying the after party with her friends while I sat with my friends plus Matt, Alex and Tim at the bar. She was laughing and enjoying herself and for the first time in a long ass time she looked like she was really enjoying herself and looked really happy to have Aviana back in her life, which we all know she needed.
“She looks like she’s having fun.” Matt pointed out.
“Yeah, I think she needed Av back in her life. That and she looks so much less stressed out. I never noticed how stressed she really was until she like now, when she isn’t…like I just never saw it in her face until like now.”   I said, finishing off my beer.
“I think this could be the best thing that happened to her.”
“What do you mean?”
“Like, getting out of her parents’ house so she is able to be herself again. She was never herself completely when she stayed with them. Like she has been herself again now; out of her shell, getting back into her music, making her own choices again, doing what she thinks is best for her; enjoying her life again, you know?” Matt said. I looked over at her again and saw her laughing. I smiled to myself and looked down, spinning my beer bottle in slow circles.
“Yeah, I can see it more now than I did before. I said, half upset.
“What’s wrong?” Matt asked.
“I just feel like crap for not even knowing or realizing how much she was struggling. Like I’m supposed to be her best friend and I never even knew what she was going through. She never said anything to me and I never cared enough to notice…”
“Dude, she didn’t say anything to anybody. Hence why we were all in shock when all this shit when down. She kept it bottled up pretty damn well because no one really noticed until after she got out of there and started doing life her way and got the chance to think for herself. Don’t be so hard on yourself about it.” I nodded and looked back over at her, where she was still with all her friends.
I looked back down, smiling to myself, happy, knowing that I got to be a good portion of her life now and I was happy knowing that wasn’t going to change. I knew we were going to be okay, and I knew everything was going to be perfect; no matter what problems came our way, I knew we could make it through anything.

I was enjoying my night with my girls, loving that everyone has been getting along; new and old friends. I loved every minute of it. I loved how my life suddenly seemed to be coming together. I had great friends, I have a great guy, I was less stressed out, I was actually enjoying my life again and it was something I really missed.
“OH MY GOD, SHOTS!” Shannon yelled happily has she reached for them. We all laughed as we reached for them with her, taking them together.
“So how have you been doing with the whole online school thing?” Emily asked me as we sat down at the table.
“Actually, I love it. I love being able to cram all my school work into like 3 or 4 days and then have the rest of the week to myself. It’s a lot less stress on me. I miss seeing every one during the week though so I guess it does have its downfalls.”
“Yeah, we definitely miss you being around.” Sophie said, joining us. “It’s not the same around school to be honest. Like it feels totally different.”
“It can’t be that weird.” I said, half laughing.
“Oh, it is.” Emily said. “Like the whole atmosphere in the group is totally different without you there. I mean, lunch, hanging out in the morning, throughout the day, it’s nowhere near the same as it was when you were there.”
“Shit, I’m sorry guys.”
“Don’t apologize for doing what’s best for you.” Sophie said. “We honestly all just miss you being around.”
“I miss you guys too.” I said. “I guess it just means I’m going to have to try and make more time to see you guys more!” I said half laughing.
“Hey, we can totally try!” Emily said, happily. “I mean, shit like tonight is fucking awesome. I don’t remember the last time we all got to hangout all together!”
“Yeah seriously, this is great. I wish we could do this literally every day.” Sophie said, downing the rest of her drink.
“Of course you do; you and your drinking.” Emily said, rolling her eyes.
“Hey, I am young and deserve to be dumb. And anyway, you always tell me when I’m going overboard so it’s like I’m good.” Sophie said.
“Yeah, which is a majority of the time.” I said, laughing.
“Facts.” Emily said, laughing with me.
“You two just hate me.” Sophie said, rolling her eyes.
“No, we love you; that’s why we tell you when you’ve had enough.” I pointed out.
“Okay, fine…that’s valid enough.” Sophie sighed.
It wasn’t until around 3 when we finally all got around to leaving. I left with Trevor who actually stayed sober so he could drive me and a few others home. It took us another hour to get home and by that time I was sobering up a bit but still felt the alcohol. I was still kind of sad though to be honest after what Emily and Sophie had told me.
“Hey, what’s wrong?” Trevor asked after we dropped Emily off; our last stop.
“Just something Emily and Sophie told me.”
“What did they say?”
“I mean, they told me school sucks without me; like the whole vibe is different, the mood is different; I never knew everyone cared that much.”
“Yeah, you become the center of attention pretty damn quick, whether you realized it or not. Everyone wanted to be around you. Everyone wanted to be around you, talk to you, like you just put everyone in a good mood and when you weren’t in a good mood everyone wanted to try and make you feel better. I can’t tell you how many times Emily and all them came running to me asking why you were in such a bad mood when all that court shit came up. It was insane.”
“I never noticed it, honestly.” I said slowly.
“You have something about you that draws people to you; you always have.”
“That’s not true.”
“Yes it is; like shit, I was drawn to you since we were kids. Do you not remember me following you around like a puppy, wanting to do whatever you wanted to do?”
“I honestly don’t remember that at all.”
“Well I did, I followed you like a fucking puppy and I always wanted to be around you as we got older, and when I couldn’t see you as much it was almost like a piece of me was missing, I just didn’t know it until I got to see you more again, like when you got into high school and I saw you every day again. You have always been part of me, and you honestly make yourself a part of everyone; you really just have something about you that makes people want to be around you.”
“I don’t know what to say…”
“To what? All of it or to just the part about me to you?”
“I guess both, to be honest. I never knew I was like that. I was just…”
“You were just you.” Trevor finished for me. I looked over at him and he side smiled at me. “You’re just an amazing person and you should accept that.”
“If you say so…” I said slowly, not feeling the same.
“Why are you saying it like that?”
“I just don’t see what you guys see I guess. I just…I’m just a normal person with a whole lot of life issues and that’s about it in my eyes. I’m just a basic, normal person.”
“Oh you have no idea how incredible you are, Bethany. You re beyond amazing in so many ways, I don’t even know where to begin on how amazing you are. I mean…you have this incredible drive to accomplish anything you put your mind to, you have this aura about you that makes everyone want to be around you, your leadership skills are beyond what anyone could even imagine, you always have something new to say, there’s always something knew to learn about you, you have a way of bringing people together when we think nothing can be done, your music abilities are beyond what anyone could ever imagine, and if we are just talking about what I see in you, well I could go on for a long ass time; I think there is just so much stuff about you that is amazing. I mean, the way you surprise me daily, you know how to make me feel better when I’m upset, you’re beyond patient with me…and those are just some reasons on why I think you are but I could go on forever about why I think you’re amazing.”
“You didn’t need to say all that.” I said, half smiling, staring at my feet.
“I did; it made you feel better.”
“Yeah, it did.”
“Exactly.” Trevor smiled at me, grabbing my hand and squeezing it as we pulled into the driveway.
We got upstairs, changed, and I crawled into bed while Trevor went to tell his parents that we had gotten home okay. That was there thing; no matter the time, after a show, when we got home, we had to let them know so they knew we were okay. I thought it was nice knowing I could have a good night and not have to worry about getting ripped apart the next morning; they just want to know we were home safe and not in some wild accident or some shit. When he got back upstairs he snuggled up next to me. I snuggled into him as he held me close, knowing I was still a little upset.
“I love you.” I whispered.
“And I love you too.” He kissed my head and I smiled a little.
“How did I get so lucky?”
“I think I’m the lucky one here.” I giggled and looked up at him.
“You’re just perfect.”
“Nah, you are. But we can save this ridiculous honeymoon argument for the morning. We both need sleep and my mom said we’re having another family party tomorrow since my dad is home until Sunday; he leaves again on Monday.”
“Gah, shit…” I grumbled.
“Right, they always pick the best days. But we’re going to get through it and everything is going to be okay. We don’t need to set alarms. My mom said when we get up is when we get up. She was fine with it, okay?” I nodded, snuggling back into his chest.
“Okay babe…” I said as I started to drift off to sleep.
“I love you.” I heard him say once more before I fell asleep.

Beth and I woke up at around two in the afternoon the next day and already heard people outside. We dragged our asses out of bed to get ready, not wanting to make my parents upset.
We both showered real quick, got dressed, and were drinking coffee as we made our way out back where everyone was. Matt looked beyond miserably hung over while Bree and Alexis were hanging out with a bunch of my cousins. We joined Matt and he just rolled his eyes at us.
“How did you two sleep through all the commotion of everyone showing up and seeing dad?”
“Lucky, I guess.” Bethany joked.
“I wish I was as lucky as you guys. I’ve been up since noon when everyone started showing up. It’s been a rough couple hours here.”
“You look fucking miserable.” Melissa said, joining us. “You guys must have had a killer after party.”
“Oh you have no idea.” I said, laughing. I didn’t even really drink but being up so late really got me fucked up right now.” I said.
“Yeah, I’m just hung over.” Bethany mumbled, drinking more of her coffee like her life depended on it.
“Yeah I can see that; you really have not changed much. But either way, are you guys hungry?”
“Is there cheese?” Bethany asked.
“Just cheese?” I asked, laughing.
“There’s a cheese platter girl; I got you.” Melissa said before walking off.
“Literally, just cheese?” Matt questioned, rubbing his head.
“Oh hell yes. I love cheese.”
“Here you go.”
“My fucking savior.” Bethany said, taking the plate from Melissa while I was smirking and shaking my head. I honestly thought this was the weirdest thing to eat right after a night of drinking.
“Hey, there you are!” Mia said, walking over.
“Oh, hey Mia.” I said.
“You look like death.” Mia said, motioning to Bethany.
“I am dead. I don’t want to be a part of the land of the living right now to be honest. I’m just going to eat my cheese.” Bethany said as she drank more coffee and started eating her cheese cubes.
“Literally so weird…” Matt said slowly.
“For her, normal.” Melissa said.
“You did this a lot?” I asked her.
“Oh hell yes…do not drink a shit load in Paris and wake up there and not want fucking cheese. This will never compare.”
“She has a point.” Melissa said. “Nothing here will ever compare…she is so right.”
“Thank you for understanding my life.” Bethany said before finishing off her coffee. “Can you please go make me some more? I don’t think my legs can handle walking that far.”
“Yeah, no problem.” I grabbed her mug and walked inside to make her some more coffee.
“So how are things with you two?” I looked over and saw my dad.
“Things are actually really good. You know, it feels really natural with her.”
“Even with her being here?”
“We talked about it when everything started happening and we figured out a way to make it work.”
“That’s good; it shows you guys are serious about each other.”
“Dad…I don’t think I could be more serious about anyone but her. I mean, she’s my best friend and I never noticed until now how important that is in a relationship.”
“Yeah, did I tell you how me and your mom started dating?” I shook my head as I waited for Bethany’s coffee to finish. “We went to high school together; we were in the same friends group so we knew each other fairly well, hung out a lot, and we went off to college and never really lost touch. It was hard on the two of us but we always thought it was because we had become such good friends. But the summer after our junior year we just clicked and that was that. The long distance was rough but it was worth it knowing your best friend was waiting for you. You need the foundation of that friendship to make it work, but you also need to know all relationships are work and nothing comes easy. Your mom and I are still doing this, still fighting to make sure we can make it to the next day but we make every day we have together count because we don’t know what the future holds. I know you guys have that friendship, and I’m happy you guys took this seriously when it was happening, but you never know what kind of curve balls life is going to throw your way that you are going to have to fight through together. You need to remember it will always be you two versus the problem, not you versus her, okay?”
“Thanks dad.” I said, half smiling. My dad always had something to say but at the end of the day, it was always really helpful even if you didn’t need that advice at that moment. It always came true when I least expected it. He knew what he was talking about; always.
“Of course son, now, get back out there. Everyone has been asking where you were for the past two hours.”
“Okay.” I said laughing as I carried Bethany’s coffee back outside with me.
Her and I versus the world…

After dinner, I disappeared to my room for a bit. I was so overwhelmed with all the questions about my family and what had happened and it honestly was really putting me down; I just needed to disappear for a bit. I wasn’t having fun anymore, or what fun I could have with how bad my head was pounding.
“Are you okay?” I looked up and saw Alexis standing there.
“Yeah just…just needed to get away from all the questions about my family and what happened, you know? I know everyone means well but it’s really painful to talk about still.”
“Yeah I figured; I saw you face when you were walking away from my Aunt Lola that you were not okay.”
“It’s just not easy living like this. Like here, with you guys, I love it, don’t get me wrong, you guys are my family but I mean, I still haven’t totally wrapped my head around it yet and I’m still having problems talking about what happened with a lot of people. You guys, my friends, that’s one thing, but I also don’t know everyone in your family as well so it’s just weird.”
“Yeah, I can imagine.”
“And then there’s the fact that…I don’t know, all this change with school and my life, the band, everything seems to be happening to quickly and I’m really scared things are going to spiral out of control.”
“Why would you think that? Everything is going good for you right now.”
“I know, I know, but nothing good lasts forever.”
“And you and my brother; you guys have been insane about each other for years and it seems to only get better you two. Then if we’re talking about the band, I mean, you’ve loved music since birth too and that’s only been getting better for you too. You dropped out of school and found an option that is better for you; you need to try and be positive about all of this. You’re in charge of your life again.”
“This is true…”
“Just try and keep that in mind, yeah? You and Matt are closer than ever too, just to top it all off and plus, now you have legit girl time with us. Oh and you made new friends…like you have just got the world in your hands right now.” Alexis pointed out.
“Thank you…”
“For what? I was just speaking the truth.”
“Yeah, and I needed a little slap of the truth.”
“I’m always here for truth or slapping; whichever you need. I can mix them both too.” I started laughing and she smiled at me.
“Alexis?” I said after a long pause.
“What’s up?”
“I think today is that rainy day.” She nodded as I followed her up to her room. We sat on the floor smoking and I was feeling a bit better. It had been a long time since I had last smoked, about a year, but I needed this today. Between the headache and all the raging thoughts I was having, it was a rainy day in my head.

“Has anyone seen Bethany and Alexis?” My mom asked.
“I’ll go check inside for them.” I said, Matt and Bree close behind.
“Alexis’s room.” Bree said once they were out of ear shot.
“What?” I asked.
“Oh believe me, that’s where they are.” Bree said. We walked into their room as Bethany was exhaling smoke into a bottle filled with dryer sheets.
“What’s up?” Alexis asked, smirking.
“Everyone is looking for you two.” Matt said as I just stared at Bethany.
“Is this like a thing now?” I asked. “Every time I enter Alexis’s room you’re doing something dumb?”
“Excuse me?” Bethany asked while everyone else just turned to stare at me.
“That wasn’t a fucking joke…” Alexis said. “Wow…that was fucking rude as hell. You’ve smoke your fair share with me Trev, why are you giving Beth shit?!”
“Guys, can we not yell and have mom and dad come running up here?” Matt said, pushing us all in the room and closing the door.
“You know, that was just fucking rude.” Bethany said, standing up and pushing around us all.
“Where are you going?” I sighed, asking her.
“I don’t know; probably to do something stupid.” She said before slamming the door behind her.
“Good choice of words.” Alexis said, glaring at me. “She seems fine now.”
“And she wasn’t before?” I questioned.
“No, I found her all alone in her room after talking to Aunt Lola. But you know, it’s whatever.”
“Dude, you used to smoke with Alexis all the time; why on earth is it stupid for Bethany to do what you’ve done?” Matt asked me.
“She’s not that kind of person!” I said, throwing my hands up.
“Clearly, you don’t know her as well as you think you do.” Bree said, looking down.
“Yeah, that comes up every fucking time she comes up in conversation!” I said, getting upset. “Why on earth does everyone need to keep reminding me I don’t know my own best friend and girlfriend?!”
“Because you keep making dumb ass comments and pissing her off.” Alexis said before taking another pull.
“Really?” I snapped.
“I mean, you pissed her off all because you said she’s doing something stupid with me. I took offense too, by the way.” Matt sighed and walked out of the room while I just stood there, not sure what to do at this point. I did used to smoke with Alexis all the time, but Bethany just didn’t seem that kind of person until she was around Alexis a lot more.
“She’s gone.” Matt said, walking back into the room.
“What?” Bree and I asked together.
“Yeah like her car is gone.”
“Shit.” I grumbled, running to get my keys to go after her. 

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