a/n: a bit late, but i've been pretty busy since before new years. some of this was taken from my own new years eve this year, except mine was at a club, and Grease Lightning was playing when the guy kissed me. groovy. kind of. mostly unedited, but it's just for fun. enjoy!!
EX MARKS THE SPOT
Harvey didn't appreciate getting kicked in the shin. But that's what he got -- twice.
"Ow," he yelped whilst throwing me an annoyed glare. The second time I kicked him, I earned an, "Ow, fuck!"
"That's right," I muttered, carefully wiggling my toes out in my beat-up blue sneakers. They seemed unhurt, despite the trauma they'd just been put through. Thankfully.
Harvey was spluttering expletives at me. "Sh--Fu--Hell--Mother--Cu--"
"Oy!" I punched him in the arm, frowning. "Don't say that word."
Harvey scowled back. "I was going to say 'cucumber'."
"Sure you were."
I rolled my eyes. "The only time you'd say 'cucumber' is if there was a porn sale." I met his stare with two raised brows. "If you get what I mean."
Harvey humphed. "I get what you mean, nerd. And still--ow. You didn't need to kick and punch me."
"I kicked you twice, as well as punched you. Once."
Harvey's scowl reappeared with a side-helping of a glare. "Oh yeah," he growled, rubbing his leg through his baggy jeans. "Thanks for reminding me, Meg."
I rocked back on my heels, almost tripping back into the gutter beside the road. "No problem. But it's your own fault for bringing me here."
Harvey's pain was immediately forgotten as he perked up and glanced over his shoulder at the house. There were still Christmas lights up around the roof and front door, as well as Santa Claus gnomes peering out of the garden hedges. I stared at them, hating their unmoving black eyes and bushy beards and little red hats.
I decided the sudden impulse to kill was a bad thing, so I turned my attention back to Harvery. He had actually dressed up tonight, or as 'dressed up' as an alternative skater type could dress. He wore his usual jeans, with the ripped knee and the tartan patch on the back pocket, as well as a dark grey shirt that clung to his slim hips and shoulders with ease. On his head was pulled a knitted black cap that covered the chocolate mess of hair he called 'manageable'.
I called it barely.
Despite Harvery's eyebrow piercing and jigsaw tattoo that covered a large portion of the side of his neck, he was truly a mummy's boy at heart. But, if I was fortunate enough to have a mother like Harvey's, I'd be a mummy's boy at heart, too.
Except, you know, with breasts and better hygiene.
Among other things.
"Come on, Meg," he whined, tugging impetuously at the hem of my shirt. "You wanted to do something tonight, so we are!"
I eyed him wearily. "I was thinking a movie and maybe going to the docks."
He stared at me as if I'd turned into Buffy. "It's New Years Eve!"
I nodded slowly, rolling my hands in the air in typical, Duh! fashion. "Dude, I think I'm aware of that fact. Hence, the, you know, going out..."
"But we need to par-tay like it's nineteen ninety-nine!"
I huffed. "Well, we'd be eight years too late."
"You know what I mean!"
"Yeah, I do, but I wish I didn't. It's actually rather depressing that I can understand you."
"Shut up." Harvey swung an arm playfully at my head and, laughing, I bent backwards to pull off a superb Matrix move. But my shoe slipped off the side of the gutter, and instead of doing a Neo, I did a Meg -- which was pretty much the same, except for, you know, the ending, which involved me on my hands and knees, cussing crossly, and not flying away into the sky.
Which would have been pretty awesome.
"Owww," I wailed.
Harvey was pointing and laughing. "Ha! God punished you!"
"Keanu punished me," I muttered, grunting as I hefted myself up. I sniffed at Harvey, and drawled sarcastically, "Thanks so much for helping!"
"No problem," he laughed, "you looked like you had it all under control, anyway, what with the 'shit's and 'oh fuck's and, my favourite, 'timberrrr'."
"I didn't say that."
Harvey was still chortling. His pointing had stopped, however, which was fortunate for him, because if his finger had been directed at me any longer I would've bitten it off. It the nicest manner possible, of course. "It would've been funny if you did," he announced loudly.
Rolling my eyes, I looked over Harvey's shoulder at the house behind him. I didn't even know whose it was, more than likely one of Harvey's skater buddies; full of intoxicatated, stoned teenagers with sticky fingers and sticky eyes. I'd planned on having a quiet night, even though it was New Years Eve. I wasn't big on the whole party scene, not like Harvey was. Despite us having been friends for years -- before puberty kicked in and made us awkward people-haters with bad teeth and hair and an unhealthy obsession with Dragon Ball Z -- we really weren't that much alike.
I was the floater of the school. I didn't really have a 'clicque' or certain group of friends. I knew and talked to everyone, but not enough to really claim them as my 'people'. Harvey, however, had his gang; the skaters and smokers and general slack-offs. I spent most of my time with them, despite not having the co-ordination to stand on my own two feet let alone a piece of board with wheels, despite choking on air most of the time that didn't even contain some form of cancer-causing smoke, and not even having the motivation to slack-off most of the time.
Which was a feat in itself.
So what was I to do when Harvey brought me to this place when telling me, in the car, that we were going for ice cream?
Kick him, of course.
Which I'd done, twice already, so it'd sort of lost its point. But I did settle an angry glare on him and cross my arms. Seeing my stance, Harvey's eyes transformed into those of a Puppy Dog; and not a kicked puppy, more like a tortured puppy, or a shaved, pierced and tattooed puppy, such was the begging in Harvey's eyes.
And who was I to reject him?
Meg Zettley. Naturally.
"Pretty pretty please?"
"Um, let me think... N. O."
"Pretty please? With sugar and capsicum and chocolate sauce and coriander?"
"...um...make that a NO to the power of ten."
"Harvey. No. I said No, and I mean no. NO."
"...Chester Ex will be there."
I was already at the porch steps, and I looked over my shoulder at Harvey and pretended to be confused as to what he was doing down by the road. "What are you waiting for?" I called, nudging my head towards the door. "Let's par-tay!"
Harvey crowed his victory.
I lost Harvey the moment we stepped inside, soon after I inhaled a lungful of mutant oxygen-sweat air that had me clutching at my throat and rearing back for the door. But Harvey's words had sunk into my mind:
Chester Ex was here.
Imagine the most perfect guy ever... And add a lip-ring and a sexy grin with dimples and a black mohawk and the most navel-melting laugh in the history of navel-melting laughs -- and you will get just a glimpse of what Chester Ex was like.
Just a glimpse, because Chester Ex was too perfect-- beyond perfect -- to put into words.
I had tried, and failed, many times over the last year, since I'd first glimpsed his glorious face, to find a way to describe him. But it was impossible. There weren't enough adjectives in the dictionary to create a picture of just who Chester Ex was.
He was just...
I sighed dreamily, before hacking out a cough.
Someone thumped me on the back, which just made it worse, and I told him so. "'ou're makin' eh worse," or I tried to.
"Sorry," he said, and slowed his hand to a rub that swept between my shoulder blades and teased the loose bits of hair at the base of my neck.
My shoulders tensed on impulse, a reaction to the goosebumps, and I moved away. Throwing him a watery-eyed glance, through which I determined he looked more Hollow-Man than human, I gave him a nod. "Thanks," I muttered, before moving quickly away.
Give some space for my humiliation to blossom, which it did, starting with a burning in my cheeks and a loud 'You're an Idiot' voice in my mind.
"Stupid," I muttered under my breath as I pushed by drunken party-goers.
"What?" screeched a skantily clad girl, staring at me with wide red-rimmed eyes.
"You called me stupid! I heard you!"
Gritting my teeth, I shook my head. "No, I didn't."
"Yes! You did!" She was pointing at me now, trying to pull herself up to her full height but wobbling so much I was scared she'd fall on me. "You called me stupid!"
"I didn't. I called myself stupid," I said reasonably.
She blinked slowly at me and I could practically see the cogs plunking away in her mind; very, very rusty cogs. "Oh." Then her dainty nose screwed up and she said overly loudly, "Why?"
"Never mind," I muttered and pushed past her. She squawked in surprise and flailed comically, and I left her that way, hissing, "Idiot," as I did; hoping, masochistically, that she'd hear me. She didn't, and I was both relieved and dismayed. But it was no matter; the whole house was full of girls like her, rubbing themselves up against girls and guys and sofa's, discriminating against none in their plight for the title of New Year's Eve Slut. Because tomorrow they'd pledge, in typical fashion, to change their ways for the New Year.
It would never happen, though. It never did.
Half an hour later, I was seriously contemplating suicide. Or mass murder. Or both, if it could be achieved before the clock struck midnight. I couldn't find Harvey or Chester Ex, even though I'd searched the entire house. I really didn't know what I'd do if I found Chester Ex; probably just stare, like I usually did. From a distance or from behind a plant --
Meg Zettley, Stalker.
Chester Ex didn't even know I existed. He was a couple of years older than me, which just added to the appeal; he was twenty years old, the Older Man, while I was just eighteen, the Younger Girl. I had just finished my last year of school and liberation was the best feeling in the world. All I'd done for the last few weeks was sit in my house and watch my entire box-set of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. Occasionally I went out with Harvey, to the skatepark or the movies, or I even went to spy on Chester Ex as he hung out with his friends at the docks.
I did that a lot; spying on Chester Ex, I mean. He was just such an easy target, though. Easy to find and easy on the eyes.
Just thinking about him had me craning my neck above the bobbing heads of the dancers, searching for a spiked black mohawk. I found a few green ones, and a pink, but no black, which was a kick to the gut. Sighing, I sunk back on my heels.
No Harvey, no Chester Ex. I was stuck in a high school kids paradise and all I wanted was to leave. How pathetic could I get? Checking my watch, it was with regret that I realised there was still a whole forty minutes before the stroke of midnight -- in other words, forty minutes until freedom. Until then I had to find something -- or someone, preferably Chester Ex -- to occupy my time. I cracked my knuckles, wincing as I did, and started for the stairs.
I'd find that elusive Ex boy even if it led to cooties.
Ten minutes later found me raiding the fridge. Bent over at the waist, my head was stuck in, and I was deciding on whether the occupants of this house were even human. Or all teenage boys. Because apart from a container of expired cream, a half-eaten bag of Maltesers, a single slice of chocolate mudcake which had the letters Ha, Bi and Wes in green icing, and a rather large quantity of orange juice -- I was talking at least five litres of the stuff -- there was nothing very much edible.
Screwing up my nose, I decided on the cake, figuring if I didn't eat it now, someone else would later. Just as I was straightening up, though, someone stepped up behind me and said casually, "Hungry?"
Half-turning, I said, "Looks like it," before realising I couldn't turn completely around without making myself hip-to-hip with this guy. I stayed how I was, my leg just barely touching his and my crooked elbow pressing into his chest. The fridge door was stuck open and it's cold air was slowly dampening my legs. "Um," I gave him a careful look, not wanting to make too much eye contact in case it was construed as something else, and asked, "Do you mind moving?"
"Oh," he said, blinking glazed blue eyes slowly. He stepped back, holding his hands up and grinning a dimpled grin. It was then I noticed the lipring, a metallic pink loop, and I stared at it a moment, entranced, before realising just what I was doing.
"Thanks," I muttered, skirting around him.
He said, "No problem," and closed the fridge door.
At the counter, I pulled the plastic wrap off the plate, and dragged my finger through the chocolate icing. Just as I was licking it off, the guy came to lean against the bench in front of me, a respectable few feet between us.
He stared at me with laughing eyes. "Is it nice?"
I nodded and glanced down at the cake. "It is."
"I'm glad you think so," he said, and I looked at him in confusion. He motioned to the plate. "It's my birthday cake."
I froze, and my mind hissed, Shit, shit, shit, shit. "Ah...you're not serious, are you?"
He nodded, and grinned as he smeared the green letters with his thumb. "It did say 'Happy Birthday, Weston, before it was eaten."
"Oh god." I bit my lip. "Sorry. I didn't know."
"I sure hope not," he said, cocking a dark eyebrow. "Otherwise I'd take it you didn't like me." He added, "or that you just like cake."
A nervous laugh came up from my throat and I busied my hands re-covering the cake with plastic wrap. "I...was just hungry."
"I figured," he commented. "And you don't have to do that." One of his hands was placed on mine, effectively halting my ministrations. "You can eat it, if you want."
Casting him a quick, anxious glance, I pulled my hand away from his and said lightly, "I'm really not hungry anymore."
"No?" He shifted slightly closer, and my stomach squeezed tightly in response. He looked at me through a fringe of dark hair and I studiously tried to not look at his lipring. Pink really wasn't my colour. He added, "You're really not hungry?"
I quickly shook my head. "Nope," I rushed, "I'm really not. So I think I'll just--"
"You can have that cake, if you want," he cut in, lifting the plate up and holding it in front of my face. I stared at the chocolate icing as he leaned in closer, and I swallowed uncomfortably. "I'll let you..."
"No, no, it's OK," I blurted. I met his eyes briefly, biting my lip as I struggled not to stare at his mouth. No, Meg, no! Liprings are bad! Bad! Don't stare, don't stare -- I knew I had to get away. "Um, I've got to go. My friend, inside, I need to find him."
"Yes, my friend! Harvey will be looking for me, I need to go, now. Um, sorry again!" And I practically ran away, dodging the people that loitered in the entrace to the kitchen. The pumping music throbbed into my body as I frantically looked for Harvey. I didn't want to look over my shoulder, in case the guy -- what was his name? Wester? Weston? -- decided to come after me.
When I found a secluded corner a few moments later, I released a relieved breath, and muttered, "Crazy cake guy," as if he was the cause of all my problems. He wasn't, of course, but I needed someone to blame, and since Harvey was M.I.A, this West person -- Wheatus? Weezer? -- was the next best thing. Especially because he tried to feed me cake when I didn't want cake. Well, I actually did want it, but not when he was practically pushing it into my face, almost demanding me to eat it.
No one could blame me for being freaked out. Or for bolting. No. Anyone would have reacted in the same way, but perhaps with more subtlety...
Meg Zettley, Unsubtle.
I groaned and rubbed at my face. This party, which had started downhill, was now burrowing quickly to Hell. I needed something to pass the time, at least until midnight, until the New Year was finally here and I could get away. Something, anything...
Seven minutes later had me gulping down a Screwdriver. The orange juice was sour and the Vodka burnt my throat, and as I screwed up my face and blanched, I knew I had found that something...
There were nine minutes to midnight and I couldn't find Harvey. Anyway. I'd looked up and down the house, outside and in the street, I'd even peered into the steamed up windows of the cars outside. That bright idea had almost scarred me mentally for life -- who knew teenagers had so much skin to bare?
There was no Harvey anywhere that I could see. So I decided to ask someone. I tapped the closest girl on the shoulder and asked professionally, "Where's Harvey?"
She stared at me, blinking slowly, before saying, "I don't know a Harvey."
"OK." I nodded and smiled warmly. "Thanks." As I crossed to a dancing couple, I concentrated on not wobbling as I walked. It was such a hard thing to do when my vision was slightly unfocused and I kept licking my lips, wondering at the numbness and the fuzziness of my teeth. It was no matter though, I decided, tapping a guy on the shoulder. He pulled away from the girl's neck and stared at me in dazed confusion. I smiled and asked, "Do you know where Harvey is?"
The guy gave me a strange look before dipping his head back into the girl's cleavage. I took that as a definite NO and turned on my heel. When my stomach flopped unpleasantly and my head span, I stood still, too afraid to move in case the alcohol decided to revolt...
It was feeling very likely.
"Oh crap," I murmured as I searched for an escape. The stairs materialised in my view and by the time the thought crossed my mind to ascend them, I was already at the top step, holding into the railing as if it was my last hope of survival. I stared frantically down the hall, wondering which door led to the bathroom as I kept my mouth closed, trying and failing not to think about the way my stomach was slighty creeping up my neck. In a daze I fled to the end of the hall, ripping open the door and almost crying in relief when a pristine white toilet bowl was presented to me.
The next few moments I'd rather not recount; I'll just say that I never wanted to eat spagetti again.
Flushing the toilet, I stood with weak legs and held heavily onto the edge of the sink. I stared into the mirror. "That's not me," I said, blinking at the face that blinked back. Short blonde hair with a side fringe that was currently plastered to my pale forehead with sweat, weak green eyes that were bloodshot and hazy, and cheeks that were flushed red with exhertion. "It's not me," I said again in a voice I couldn't distinguish as my own. I closed my eyes and sighed.
Someone pounded on the door and my stomach flopped unpleasantly in surprise. "Oy, I need to piss!"
When I opened the door, the guy leaned back quickly. "Sorry," I muttered, pushing by him.
"You alright?" he called at my back but I ignored him, slowly making my way downstairs. The thumping music and smokey air had my eyes smarting and my innards quenching, so I made a bee-line for the front door. But before I reached it, someone grabbed hold of my arm and tugged me into the throbbing mass of dancing bodies. My cry of resistance was lost in the beating of some remixed techno song. Hands were on my hips and I fidgeted to escape; my belly did not appreciate the moves I was being forced to make, and I grimaced, holding my abdomen gently.
I'm going to blow, I thought, but then the feeling passed, and the hands left to find more willing prey. Suddenly dancing seemed like a good idea. Why not? I thought, grinning as I started to move my hips. And then the Cake Guy -- Weston? -- was in front of me, smiling as he met my eyes and nodded. I nodded, too, for no reason at all, and I wasn't as surprised as I should have been that he moved closer and matched me move for move. He really was quite attractive, I decided as I casually inspected his face. Taller than me by a couple of inches, with dark hair that was just shy of touching the collar of his shirt and eyes the colour of rain clouds. And I stared at his lipring, wondering if it had hurt to get it pierced. When I looked up, Weston was watching me watch him, and his lopsided smile revealed white teeth.
And suddenly people were standing still and counting down at the top of their lungs, and it took me a moment to realise why. "Five! Four! Three!--"
Oh, I thought, nodding as I realised, New Years Eve.
I glanced at Weston, to see if he had been stumped for a moment like me, and the crowd shouted, "One!" and started cheering just as I met his eyes.
In a single smooth motion, he stepped forward and his mouth bumped into mine, his hands holding my cheeks, and I stood for a moment in surprise. What was this? And then I decided I didn't care and closed my eyes, kissing him back. With my response, he pressed nearer, sliding a hand down my back to push me closer. When his mouth opened, I took the initiative and slid my tongue out to meet his. My hands were on his back, in his hair, and it hit me belatedly that he had a lipring.
Suffice to say, pink was definitely my colour.
Finally, when the thumping music registered in my mind and my senses had returned somewhat, I broke away, breathing heavily. Weston held onto my back, keeping me close, and his grin was appreciative. "Wow," he breathed, "you're a great kisser."
"Um," I said intelligently.
"Seriously," he leaned forward and pressed his lips to my jaw, "I've been wanting to do that all night."
"Ah," I said again and smiled awkwardly.
Weston laughed. "I made you speechless, huh?"
Senselessness was pushed aside by pride. "No," I said prissly, "just wondering if I should tell you that before you kissed me, I was upstairs blowing chunks."
His mouth opened slightly in surprise, and I thought, Yes! Speechless! but then he smiled and shrugged. "I know," he said. "You ran into me coming out of the bathroom."
I gave him a look. "And you still wanted to kiss me?"
"What can I say?" He shrugged slowly, giving me a sly little smile. "Vomit or not, you're still hot."
I made a face. "Gross."
"And kinda creepy."
I bit my lip. "Um..."
Weston laughed and brushed the hair away from my brow in a decidedly tender gesture. "I'm going to go get a drink, you want to come?"
I looked into his navy eyes, warring with myself. It must have been the alcohol that made me nod and say with an unsure smile, "OK."
Harvey and I left the house close to sunrise. He looked a little worse for wear, having lost a shoe inside and had someone cutting a big chunk of his hair away. He swayed as he walked, but so did I, so we supported each other down to the street. As we started down the path, I asked, "Where were you at midnight?"
Harvey suddenly turned to me, wide-eyed. "Dude! I went looking for you! And what did I find?"
He pointed a finger at me as I winced, murmured hopefully, "Not me?"
"No! I found you! Sucking faces with the Other Ex!"
I frowned. "What?"
He gave me an incredulous look. "Don't tell me you tongued him without even a name first!"
"Of course I got his name," I snapped, before saying, "...his name was Weston..."
"Yeah, dude, Weston Ex."
I stopped and stared at him in shocked horror. "Chester's brother?!"
Harvey duhed loudly and tapped me on the head. "No shit, loser."
And another realisation. "That was their house?!"
Harvey rolled his eyes. "And she's on a roll..."
I scowled. "How come I couldn't find Chester, then? If it was their house?"
Shrugging, he said, "How the fuck should I know? I was pissed before eleven. Only knew it was close to twelve because some girl tried to kiss me."
I gave him a look. "As if you'd object!"
Harvey snorted and pinched my side. "Like you did?"
My scowl returned and I crossed my arms. "Shut up."
"Aww," said Harvey, swinging an arm over my shoulder. "My little Meggy's growing up."
"Little Meggy will be kicking up if you don't get off me," I growled, fighting to get away from him.
"Don't hate me because you swapped spit with the other Ex!" crowed Harvey, laughing as I strode away from him. But I heard him behind me, singing as he walked, "Meggy and Weston! Sitting in the sand! Wherever the EX is, marks conquered land!"
Harvey was an idiot. But he was my idiot.
I stared down at my hand, just making out the scrawled numbers of Weston's phone number on my skin. There was an added mark which I had just passed off as a crossed kiss, the kind you add on to letters and messages.
An X, black and bold.
Meg Zettley, Idiot.