A/N: Yeah I know... today is the day of random updates. Enjoy it, let me know whatcha think pleaseeee.
It was kind of funny to think of the last time I was at a party I was when I'd demanded cherry coke from Logan, stared at Owen from across the kitchen, gotten scratched by a cat, and dragged a stoned Sara home with Logan driving. Now I was coming from East Township's resident drug dealer's house with the boy I'd had a crush on for, well, awhile.
But we didn't go to the same house as last time, it wasn't in the city. It was actually in my neighborhood. And this party made the last seem like a friendly get-together. The street was lined with cars and people were sprawling out of the house and onto the front lawn. When we made our way into the house, the floors seemed the be vibrating with music but it was so distorted I couldn't tell what it sounded like. We passed by a lot of people I recognized from school, a lot of seniors, and even more kids I'd never seen. But Owen seemed to know everyone. I stood next to him for a while (and downed two cups of beer) as he talked to all of these people, but seeing a familiar red head, I removed myself form his side and followed someone I believed to be Sara. I was in the bright and crowded kitchen but had lost the girl I'd been following.
I took out my phone and called Sara but just got her voice mail. I put my phone back into my coat pocket and looked at what was going on around me. There was a keg on the floor and two guys were monitoring it. I recognized one—Sean. I knew that he was friends with Owen and Sara knew him too. He was one of those guys that would have probably been my type—cute and skinny and all except his bangs hung in his face were bleached. Again, I just had a problem with guys that did stuff like that. Nonetheless, I walked over to him.
"Hey, Sean?" He gave me a puzzled look, but handed me a new plastic cup anyway. I took it from him. "I, or, um, we don't know each other but I'm Mae. I think you know Sara, do you know if she's here? With Kelley maybe?" I clearly had a problem speaking to people I'd never met.
His demeanor changed and he nodded knowingly then said said something. His voice didn't carry over the music that had suddenly turned up dramatically.
"What?" I practically yelled over the thumping music.
He shook his head and leaned closer to answer me. "Never mind. And Kelley and Sara aren't here. You here with Owen?"
"Yeah—and thanks." I yelled back, and took my beer filled cup out of the kitchen to another crowded room. I didn't recognize anyone and I took a few arbitrary sips to have something to do with my hands. I kept moving because I felt awkward as usual so I wandered from room to room and before I had realized it, my cup was empty. I went back to the kitchen and Sean filled it up again.
Halfway through it, I was on my way upstairs hoping to get away from the blaring music. Most of the doors were closed and, too scared that the high school cliche's were true, I didn't open any of them. I walked town the hall to a door that was open, just slightly. Feeling fuzzy, I pushed the door open and walked into a room that was lit by a lamp in the corner. It was a boy's room to be sure but I wasn't sure if it was Logan's or not because there wasn't anything personal—no pictures, nothing. Noticing my cup as now empty, I tossed it into the garbage next to the desk. I looked down as I walked over to the bare desk and opened the top drawer. Other than a few CDs with hand written labels, it was empty. I shut the drawer and turned to leave.
Logan was standing in the doorway.
If I had had my wits about me, I'd have apologized or at least rolled my eyes at the irony but my mind wasn't moving as fast as it usually did. So instead I said what was really on my mind.
"Is this your room?" And I didn't even feel need to be apologetic about wandering around his house.
He didn't even look abashed. "Yeah, it is. Did you get lost or something?"
"Oh, should I not be in here? It was just loud downstairs."
"Well, I shut the door so people wouldn't come in here... you know." He shifted his feet.
Unconsciously, a giggle found it's way out of my mouth. I put my hand over it to stop the sound, but it just made me laugh harder. "Don't worry," I managed between giggled, "that won't be happening as long as I'm here."
I didn't know why he wasn't laughing. "Well, even if that's the case, I kind of wanted no one in here."
My laughing stopped when I heard how his tone sounded like it had yesterday. "Ohhhh," the word seemed to drag on, "you're still mad at me, aren't you?" I sat down on the bed without realizing my feet had taken me there.
He folded his arms across his chest and looked away.
"But Owen said you're not mad at me at all! You're mad at him!" I thought I was musing to myself but Logan's reply didn't clarify.
"Mae, you're drunk." He hadn't moved from where he stood by the door and his arms were still crossed.
I just rolled my eyes and scoffed at that.
"Well..." He said and I didn't get what he was so obviously insinuating.
"Do you need a ride home or something?"
"Geez, I can take a hint." My legs wobbly, I lifted myself up from the bed.
And even though I wasn't on my A-game, I still heard him mutter, "Apparently you can't."
"What is it? You've always been nice to me and now you're being..." I struggled for the word. "Difficult."
"Well, I'm not going to wait around for you!" His hands had dropped from their previous withdrawn position and he took a few steps closer.
"Fine, you don't have to! I don't even need a ride home from you, I can walk home."
He threw his hands up in a last-ditch attempt. "That's not even what I'm talking about." I tried to think of when the conversation had moved on from him telling me that he wanted me out to, well to whatever it was he was on about.
And again, if I'd had my wits about me I'd never have said it, but I said the first thing that came to my head. "I don't know what I did. And, and I know I've always been short with you, I don't know... But this is the second day you've been mean to me, and you're never mean to me! Can't things go back to how they were, like we can be friends or something, ok?"
He didn't say anything, just looked straight in my eyes.
I didn't wait for a reaction but, feeling foolish again, I added, "Or we don't have to be friends. If you don't want to. Just stop whatever it is you're doing."
"Friends," It wasn't a question or a statement, I didn't know what it was. "Well, as your friend, let me give you a bit of advice."
I bit my lip and tried to focus on what he was saying.
"Stop smoking with Owen." My mouth slowly made it's way to an agape.
"What? How did you even," I stopped myself. "Don't assume I'm smoking with him. Don't assume I smoke at all!" I angrily stood with my arms akimbo.
"Mae, I know that you went to Mitch's with him. Besides, your eyes are—"
Panicked, I hurried past him to the mirror that was over his dresser and attempted to see just how red my eyes were. But I couldn't tell, and I couldn't focus on them. I turned to Logan and grabbed his arm in horror. "Do you think it's really noticeable?"
He let out a short laugh. "No, I doubt anyone else noticed or really cares." Logan looked down to where my hand held his arm. I let my arm drop back to my side but still stood unnaturally, for me at least, close to him. "Sorry, I didn't mean to freak you out or anything." He said without breaking eye contact.
"Oh, it's ok, I just over reacted."
"I wouldn't have said anything if I'd known you'd get so upset. I just saw Owen downstairs and he told me where you guys had been. I just didn't... I didn't expect it from you I guess."
"I know, this is the first time I've smoked with him. I honestly don't, you know, all the time." I felt like those meth or cocaine users that were on TV denying they had a problem, an addiction—but I really didn't. At least smoking wasn't my problem.
Logan just nodded. We stood there, and it should have felt awkward, but for some reason it didn't. I didn't feel like I needed to leave the room or whip out my phone to act like I had something to do. And maybe it was the alcohol but I felt almost drawn in. Like a magnet, like I was physically being being pulled in. I looked at Logan and I almost winced at his transparency; he felt it too. He quickly looked away but looked back at me as he started to say something. "Mae, I—"
The door opened.
"Hey! There you are, I've been looking for you." Owen slid into the room. I stepped away from Logan and felt my heart sinking. And that only made me feel worse for myself, and the entire confusing situation. Owen slid his arm around my waist. "What have you guys been up to?" I didn't hear suspicion or even jealousy in his voice, but I knew he was pretty good at hiding those kinds of things.
Logan shrugged. "Nothing. I found Mae wondering around my room."
"I wasn't wandering—it was too loud downstairs and I could find you." I poked Owen in his side for effect. I looked up at him and saw that he and Logan were staring at each other. I bit my lip anxiously, but still didn't know why Logan was mad at Owen.
"Nothing going on up here then?" Owen asked again and I detected just a bit of misgiving in his voice. But I didn't have chance to qualm his fears.
"Why? You're not worried about anything, are you?" Logan had a good natured look on his face, but his voice had that edge in it I'd been hearing a lot lately.
Before Owen took it any further I jumped in. "Oh please, would you two stop," I laughed lightly and hoped they both would back down. The tension seemed to fade and the stare down ended.
"Hey, would you mind waiting downstairs for me? I'll be down there in a minute." Owen asked as he released me. I got nervous, Owen and Logan were still looking intense and whatever was really going on between them, well, I didn't want it to escalate here.
"Why? Let's just go now, Owen." He gave me a quick glance and shook his head.
"Yeah, Owen, I think you ought to leave now." Logan said antagonistically.
"Mae, go downstairs." I grabbed his arm and tried to pull him away from Logan and away from what could turn into a bad situation.
"Yeah Mae, you probably don't want to see you pot head boyfriend get his ass kicked."
Before Owen's fist went soaring toward Logan's face, I put myself between them and held a hand on both of them to keep them apart. Owen's hands were in fists and Logan just seemed happy to have him all riled up. "Stop! Both of you, calm down," I looked at Owen, "and shut up." I looked at Logan.
"I'm out of here." Owen muttered and turned to leave. I walked behind Owen out of the room to make sure he didn't turn around to lunge at Logan. I turned back at him, "Why are you doing this?"
"Me? This isn't me, this isn't my fault. Or maybe it is my own fault." With one hand Logan pushed the door shut behind Owen. I watched it close with a quiet click.
"I don't want to get into it with you now, even though it seems like you're looking for a fight—"
He cut me off, "I'm not looking for a fight."
"Really? Well, Owen was about to punch you in the face, and it didn't seem totally unprovoked."
He laughed at that. "You don't know the half of it, if anything, I should be the one," he paused. "Nevermind. Whatever."
"Yeah, whatever." I opened the door again.
"Ugh," He groaned. "Wait, don't leave with him. He's not sober." Logan's voice had lost it's indignant tone. He was looking at me seriously. "Don't roll you eyes. I'm serious." I hadn't even noticed that I had rolled my eyes. But if I did it was because Owen wasn't too bad off, he could probably easily drive me the few blocks back to my house.
"It's fine. Or, he's fine. Don't worry about it." Logan grabbed my hand when I reached for the door. Then I really rolled my eyes. "What, are you going to drive me home? Because you'd better if you're making me ditch Owen."
His eyes lit up for a quick second, then he let go of my hand and shoved his hands in his pockets. "Yeah, I'll drive you home. I mean," he stopped, "I'll drive you." He affirmed again.
"Fine. I'll tell Owen to head home. Alone." I walked out of Logan's room and looked down the empty hallway. He wasn't there so I went downstairs to the crowded rooms. I went from room to room, without seeing Owen's blonde head. I pushed against the crowd and got outside, looking for his car. It was gone. Shocked, I hesitated for a moment then slowly sat on the porch steps and had a cigarette. I shook my head, why did he ditch me? It wasn't a big deal, but I was still confused as to why he hightailed and left. And I knew it was probably because he was so pissed at Logan he knew he had to leave.
It was around midnight and people were still filtering in and out of the house. People weren't being too loud, but I doubted the suburban neighbors would be likely to let the party going on much longer. I was putting out my cigarette when Logan came outside.
"Sure. Yeah, let's go." He held out his hand to help me up and I took it without a second thought. I followed him to his car, which he had parked down the block. It was an old red something, with rust spots on the hood. I was taken aback when he opened the door for me.
"You don't have do that." I said standing in between the car door with him on the other side.
He tilted his head. "What?" His brown eyes were mischievous.
"Open my door. You don't have to be so..." I didn't want to say "You don't have to act like my boyfriend," it seemed too awkward to say it to him of all people.
"What, courteous, chivalrous, gentlemanly?" I knew what he wanted to say, in his playful way; doesn't Owen do this for you? And, well, he didn't.
I sat in the car and waited for him to shut the door behind me. "Aren't you worried about leaving the party? What if something happens?" I asked him as he got in and shut his door.
"No more harm than if I was there." He gave me a cheesy wink and started to pull out of the tight parking spot. It was only a couple blocks to my house, a stop light and a park, the drive took maybe four minutes.
"Here." I said when my house came up and he pulled the car close to the curb. I was about to get out but, I waited. Just hesitated for a second, that's all it took. I was getting that feeling again, like before, in his room—that magnetic feeling. And, feeling more sober now, I couldn't really chalk it out to be alcohol induced.
"Mae, before I—"
I knew, just by the stupid, silly, ridiculous look in his eyes that he was going to say something stupid, silly, and utterly ridiculous. "No, don't."
"Just don't say anything... stupid." I didn't want to say stupid, but that's just the first thing that came to mind.
Logan furrowed his brow. "Stupid? What could I possibly say that would be stupid?" He was goading me, like he always did. But everything seemed more intense than it usually did. I wasn't even feeling annoyed with his teasing.
"I don't know. Just don't complicate things." I looked away from him, out the window. Starting to feel uncomfortable, I moved to open the door.
"Wait," Logan said, staring straight ahead. He waited a minute before he said anything, like he was going over things in his head before he spoke. "You know that Owen didn't know who you were until I told him?"
I shook my head. "So? What does that matter? He's the one who asked me out." I paused and let the silence take over for another brief moment. "Do you expect me to thank you or something?" I didn't get him, and I really didn't get what he wanted me to say.
"No, I don't want you to thank me. And what do you think; if it'd been me, you wouldn't have given me a chance." Again his voice had lost that teasing tone, he sounded almost defeated. But I couldn't see where this was coming from.
"What do you mean give you a chance? You never made an—" Then it hit me. The first time I had talked to him, in the hallway Logan knew I worked at the radio station, Logan followed me and asked my name, and he even found me at my locker the next day and called me Twiggy. Finally, the past few weeks with him made sense.
"It was kinda hard to make a move on a girl who's into your best friend." His brown eyes found mine and I felt like running out of the car.
"Logan... I didn't know. Really. I thought you just..." I bit my lip feeling worse than I had for a while. I really had just thought he like to bother me, to get a rise out of me, but apparently that wasn't the case. All the recent confusing fighting and unclear signals were finally, well, clear.
He laughed a little. "Did I say something stupid?" He asked but I really wasn't seeing the humor. This seemed like such an awkward situation, a situation I didn't want to be in at all.
I took in his dark brown eyes and felt like telling him I had no idea. I sighed. "No, it's not stupid. You've just really complicated things."
"I know I should have kept my mouth shut, but I couldn't. I couldn't when Owen told me you'd gone with him to Mitch's and then I saw you in my room," He stopped abruptly. "... I just couldn't see you there with those people." I didn't like this feeling I was having, of hearing (and seeing) him so defeated. Especially knowing it was my fault.
But I felt like I had to defend myself. "I didn't want to go over there. I mean, it wasn't my decision. But Owen had to stop there, it wasn't a big deal." I tried to shrug it off.
We both were quiet and I was thinking that I should just leave and hope that the awkwardness went away. Logan's words stopped me though.
"Why are you with him?"
And then I did the worst thing I could've done considering the situation. For a split second I thought I was fixing whatever was broken, but as soon as I did it I knew I was complicating things way more than Logan had by admitting how he felt.
I kissed him.
I kissed him and I could tell by the way that Logan was reacting that he was letting me do this, as though it was for my own piece of mind. And considering the fact that he'd just told me he had wanted to be the one with me, not Owen, I was surprised by his response. Or lack of one, really. So I moved my body away from the door, towards him and brought my hand up to rest on his chest. I could feel the warmth coming from his body through his thin hoodie and his heart racing.
He stopped and pulled away so that our foreheads were pressed together. "Mae, this is..." He whispered.
"Just don't say anything." And in those few seconds, I could have had a moment of clarity and pulled away. But I didn't. So Logan pulled me closer to him and kissed me back as I'd have imagined he'd kiss me; unhurried, slowly—almost teasingly so. And I wanted to stay that way for a while but I could feel it and I know he did too; the obvious betrayal in doing this. To his best friend and my boyfriend. The kiss we were sharing was weighted with more than just a few weeks of built up tension between us, I felt my own selfish confusion and Logan's desire to finally be able to kiss me.
We pulled away simultaneously. I couldn't look away from him, I waited, wanting him to say something that would fix what I had done. He tore his eyes away from me, shaking his head and looking away.
We stayed quiet for what must have been minutes. But I didn't look away from him. "I'm sorry." I finally whispered.
He stayed silent and shook his head again. I wanted so badly for him to look at me.
I tried again. "I shouldn't have done that, we shouldn't have..."
Logan still didn't say anything and wouldn't look at me.
"Please say something, Logan." I sounded like a pathetic little girl, pleading with him.
He got out of the car, came around to my side and opened my door. Shocked, I didn't move. I couldn't believe he was reacting like this. "So that's it? Are you not going to say anything to me?"
He finally made eye contact with me and his brown eyes looked vacant, no sadness, no anger, no frustration. Just nothing. I got out of the car and wondered why I hadn't just walked home. I pushed the door closed behind me and watched Logan walk back to the drivers side.
He stopped though, and opened his mouth as though he was going to say something. But then closed it again.
"What?" I asked quietly.
"The typical answer to 'why are you with your boyfriend?' isn't to kiss his best friend."
He didn't let me finish. "I never thought I'd let a girl get between me and my best friend. But I will make sure it never happens again." I felt that familiar tightness in my throat as he slammed his door shut. I was rooted to my place on the curb and saw Logan drive back to his house.
Swallowing the shock and hurt and confusion that was threatening to spill out in a mess of tears, I left my place on the curb and walked to my house.
And I knew I was in for a sleepless night.