"Emma, come out of there!" She yelled again. Mom could have all the fun she wanted, talking to the bathroom door, I wasn't listening. "Your guests are arriving. Your friends!"
"Go away!" I called back. This whole party was a ridiculous idea. No-one would turn up anyway. In fact I cancelled my birthday that morning, so there was no need for a party. I specifically remember saying that there needn't be a party because I had postponed my turning eighteen. No day of birth, no celebration. "And turn off that lady gaga! You can't try and lure me out of here!"
She'd gone crazy with her streamers and flashing lights. The house actually looked pretty cool. Not that I would ever admit that to mom.
"Please, Emma." She pleaded through the door. "Tom is here. You two are pretty close now, aren't you?"
Define close? I mean, we kissed. But that was just weird and would never happen again. I felt like I was kissing my grandmother. Just awkward.
"We most definitely are not. I don't even like Tom Petty." That's not true, some of the songs were fantastic!
"Emma, that is so rude!" Mom chastised.
I heard Tom Petty laugh outside the bathroom. "Don't worry, Susie." He said. "We both know how Emma really feels about me, she's just in denial."
"That is not true, Mom. Un-hear every word he tells you." I stalked up to the closed door, pointing a finger at it. "It's all made up."
"Sorry, Emma, we can barely hear you." Tom yelled, I could hear him fine. And it wasn't that loud out there. "Did you just say 'it's all true, every word he says'?"
"What?" Why that lying little snail brain. "I did no such thing!"
"What was that?" Why couldn't he hear me. Gah, he needs his ears checked. "Emma? I can't hear you, what?"
Fed up with the hearing impairment, I threw open the door. "Boy," I narrowed my eyes at Tom. "I am going to free fall you down a canyon!" Behind him, I saw, the party wasn't the abandoned mess I thought it would be. From what I could see, the jocks were here, with a date or friend along side them. And Louise Mouse waved from beside the punch bowl, swaying alone to the music.
"Happy Birthday!" Tom cheered, grabbing at my arm and pulling me out of the bathroom. "You have guests to greet."
"Mom!" I whipped my head around to alarm her. "Help. They're making me conform."
"Go have fun, Emma." She shook her head. "Libby and I will be at Sarah's."
My eyes shot to extreme wideness. "You're leaving? What if someone prank orders fifty pizza's? How will I pay? And what do I do if people start swinging off the chandelier? Mom! Who's going to hand out rice crispy treats?"
She smiled, despite herself I would think. "If you want rice crispy treats you can make them and serve them yourself but make sure to clean up. And if some one orders pizza, I suggest you send it back or eat it. You have plenty money saved up to pay. As for the chandelier...well, Emma, we don't have one."
So then my mom began to leave the house, taking Libby, who was talking to Louise, with her. I turned to Tom once mom waved and closed the front door. The song playing switched to Bad Romance.
"She was kidding about the chandelier." I said, looking up to an empty bit of ceiling. "It's off at the cleaners. We thought it would be best. Didn't want everyone to be jealous." I shrugged. "You know how it is."
"Oh I definitely understand." Tom nodded. "Oh, you're being waved over. By the shy girl." He said, pointing toward the lounge room.
I huffed, saluting him, and heading toward Louise. Boy oh boy did my house look different. The lights were off, only two lamps and the white lights we use on the Christmas tree littered the room.
"This place looks amazing." Louise gushed.
I figured I should take credit, it was my unwanted birthday and party after all. "Oh really?" I shrugged. "Just thought it would be something different. No big deal."
"Well it's awesome." She laughed. But her laugh froze when he eyes found something behind me. "Emma," She leaned forward, whispering.
"What, is Jason coming toward me or something?" I guessed, smiling. I had become used to Louise's nervous whispering and freezing and running away. Now, I anticipated it.
Her eyes met mine. But I saw no fear in them, I saw pity. "What is it?" I asked, turning about to see. It was Lucas, walking into the house with some girl. His arm draped around her shoulder, hers held his waist. They stopped to chat to Jason in the entrance. Jason didn't look happy.
"I'm so sorry, Emma." Louise put a hand on my arm. Jason continued to talk to Lucas and the girl, distracted with his, what looked like lecturing, he glanced my way. He caught my eye and held the gaze for a moment before he noticed Lucas' head turn the same way. And then my eyes met his.
"Don't worry about." I told Louise, breaking the gaze just as quickly as it started. Louise stared at me glumly. "How do you feel about getting slizzard, Mouse?"
An hour later, Louise and I could be found in the same place. The lounge room. I still hadn't had a drop of anything resembling alcohol, not that anyone else knew that. For them, it seemed like I was drowning in the stuff. I had limited Louise's intake too. She might not know it, but her "drunkeness" was but a light buzz. I was watering down everything she drank. It gave her a confidence I hadn't seen before.
Jason was leaning against the same wall as Louise. "Are you sure your mom won't care that we drank her vodka?" Louise giggled.
I put about three shots worth in the punch. Not exactly enough to inebriate anyone. "It's fine, I doubt she'll even notice."
She giggled some more. "I love this song!" She sung when something by Rhianna came on. It wasn't my thing.
"Well, then." Jason smiled. "Would you like to dance?" He asked. Mouse grinned so big my eyes hurt from the white.
She nodded tightly, not blinking once. "Louise," I said, quietly beside her. "Breathe." She made a squeaking noise of excitement and they headed to where others were already dancing.
I stood on my own for a minute, just looking around. This party wasn't going too bad. Jared, his date who I had met, Laura, and a few other were talking animatedly around the sofa. Heaps of people danced in the centre of the room and a drinking game was being held in the dining room. I wasn't too sure how mom would feel about the drinking but I would claim innocence. It's not like I provided the booze.
I decided to walk around. A few people I'd only met a couple hours before waved or patted me on the back, some nodded, telling me how great my party was. I smiled at the fact that most would have hangover the following day.
I headed down the hall, regretting my decision immediately. Lucas came out of a room, and headed my way. He paused momentarily having seen me. I stilled in my spot.
"Emma." He said, beginning his trek again.
I panicked, looking to my left and right. Aha! Saved! I opened the door beside me and ran in, locking it behind me. My bedroom might be without a lock but the bathroom wasn't lacking. I stood staring at the door, waiting for some superhero force to barge it open or a lazer to burn out a hole but instead I heard knocking.
"Emma, come on, I know you're in there." He said, knocking some more.
"No." I called through the wood. "I don't believe I am."
"Yes you are." Damn him, calling my bluff.
"Fine. I am. But I'm not coming out." Well this felt oddly familiar. Back to where my night began.
I heard him sigh. "What are you doing in there? Are you hiding?"
Me? Hiding? Never. Why would I hide from him? "Of course not!"
"Then what are you doing?" He demanded.
"Obviously..." I said, looking around the room. Quick brain, what do people do in bathrooms? "I'm urinating." Yeah, that's good. I turned on the tap for effect.
"You are not."
"Um yeah, I am. It's what normal people do in bathrooms, Harvey."
"We both know that you are anything but normal, Emma."
I thought about that. Well, not so much thought as fumed. Again, I threw the door open, it was a timeless act, to glare at Lucas.
"What's wrong with me trying to be normal for once?" I yelled at him. "Maybe I don't want to be the only person without friends. And I'm not any more. Or haven't you noticed? I do have friends now, people like me! I don't need you any more!"
Lucas stepped forward. "You think they would be your friends if it wasn't for me?" He said just as loudly back. "I was your only friend! Even though I tried my hardest to be something more. You just couldn't handle it. The same way you won't let anyone here get close to you. You have friends now because I've told everyone you're not as cold as you seem. People don't think you're weird or crazy, Emma. They think you're mean."
I pushed him, once. Then twice and then a third time, until he hit the wall behind him. His jaw squared and I noticed then how close we were. Lucas' chest pressed against my own and his shallow breaths mimicked mine. Down the hall I could hear the murmurs and quiet music. Apparently the party goers found our fight more interesting than any alcohol.
"Get out." My eyes dropped to the ground. I couldn't bear looking at him any longer. When he didn't move I raised my voice. "Get out! Now!"
Tom rushed toward me, stopping at my side. He lay a hand on my arm. I gulped in an attempt to swallow the lump in my throat. A heat, a blurry and uncomfortable, confusing heat swarmed within me. What could I do? Not one word could explain the way my entire insides sunk at his words. Breathing became an effort and I could only close my eyes and sink to the floor, the noise of Tom yelling at Lucas blurry in translation.
I don't know how or when everyone left. I don't remember what happened for the rest of the night. I only remember Tom cradling me while Lucas stared from the front door, waiting for Jason.