Thanks for reading this. It's just an idea I had a while back, so I appreciate it. I haven't been able to find a fitting title for this yet, but I intend to get one soon. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm happy to hear them.


Forever and Ever and Never Again

Chapter 1

Party Girl

Steph was the mistress of everything I didn't know; makeup, parties... boys. To be honest I wouldn't have even went to the party if she hadn't lugged me along.

"How do I look?" Squinting, I scrutinised my friend's outfit. It was a little like asking a deaf man if she could sing. Was she meant to look curvier or slimmer? Was the black skirt supposed to be rolled up an inch? Was the blue pencil line meant to contrast her grey eyes or give them colour? I could name maybe two of the things on the dressing table, including the hairbrush.

My friend stared back at me, a lipstick-smeared grin on her powdered face. Realising I had to say something, I pulled a smile in the hopes that I didn't look like the fashion-idiot we both knew I was.
"Great! It's great, you look really, really pretty," I managed to keep this up for almost five minutes, babbling like a baboon. Showing off a perfect set of sugar white teeth, she twirled, the tiny skirt clinging to her in a way that made my green dress even drabber.
"Perfect. Hmm... you're not gonna to pull like that," she commented, grabbing my wrist and setting me down in front of the mirror before I could protest. I nearly asked her, When have I ever wanted to pull? I viewed boys like I viewed Steph's makeup bag- I couldn't understand most of it, and what I did understand was still odd. Since I knew from experience that resistance was futile, I closed my eyesand tried not to flinch as Steph jabbed at my face with a brush.

"Don't suppose you're gonna let your hair down a bit tonight, are you? Have a drink or two?" Her tone told me that she was frowning. Once she finished faffing about with my face, I told her no. I'd tried to like drinking, honest, I did, but I couldn't see the point in going to my party to fall asleep against the toilet rim(not that I'm admitting to anything there). And anyway, I had practice in the morning. Steph wasn't impressed. "So? Come on, Rach, everyone drinks," she told me, as though this was a great reason.

"How many are going again?" She just have sulked if I told her no again.
"Just a couple. Hugh's coming,"
"Who?"
"Hugh, you donut. You know; tall, blonde, film star gorgeous," That made me laugh. A good-looking boy. So that was why her skirt was an inch away from public indecency. At least she had the legs for it."Which do you think? "Crimson Wine or Scarlet River?" she asked, her eyes flickering between two identical red pots. Maybe twenty minutes later, the ordeal was over and Steph had dragged me to the door like a little girl dragging her mother to the toy shop. "And don't think you're off the hook," she warned. "As a friend, I am making you have some fun tonight whether you like it or not."

After being greeted and let in by a chubby boy with dark hair, I shuffled into the house, smoothing invisible creases out of my dress as I watched Steph give the boy a bear hug and dart through a door. Within seconds, I was lost in the crowd and the blaring music and the bright lights bouncing of the silver "Happy Birthday!" banners. How had the host fit all these people in his living room? Magic? Sheer effort? A bit of both? Maybe it was just me panicking, but I could have sworn half the sixth form was there! At least! I glanced longingly through the blinds, watching the taxi speed off. Oh well, I tried to tell myself, it would've been rude to run out anyway. And maybe I'd have fun if I tried. No need to panic.

No need to celebrate, either, the pessimist in me muttered. Trying to shut the voice up, my eyes flickered across the room. Steph had long-since abandoned me for a blonde boy, battling her false eyelashes so much I thought they might flap off her face and out the window. That was Hugh, then. Dancing in the middle of the room was the boy from the door, laughing as he spun a girl with glasses. Even Anne, a tall, blond beauty who Steph said had been with six different blokes before she'd even hit seventeen, was chatting to a plain brunette in a leather jacket. Choking on the smell of booze and sweat and cigarette smoke, I grabbed a soft drink and managed to make my way towards the patio door for some air. Shoulders hunched slightly, I peeked at the smokers leaning against the garden fence, their faces lost in a haze of mist and their fag ends glowing like tiny suns in the black night. I racked my brain for something to say. Perhaps I could ask them if they wanted a drink? Then again, maybe they'd be annoyed that I was interuptting them. After all, Mum always smoked when she was stressed out. Maybe they wouldn't want some random girl butting in?

I never found out.
"Excuse me," When I turned around, I nearly dropped my glass of cherryade. Was I shallow for trembling at that gorgeous grin? If I'd been Steph, I would have said something witty or flirty, but it was as though the words in my throat had shattered. I was trapped, spellbound.

His hair stuck up at every angle, gelled to acheive the sort of "just out of bed" that probably took an hour to do. His eyes had to be the greenest I'd ever seen, brighter than a peacock's plumage. A confident smirk grew on his face as those eyes stared back at me, drinking in my shrunken posture and dull brown eyes. What an idiot I must have looked.
"Do I know you?"

I can't imagine how stupid I must have seemed, standing there as wordless as a mute or an idiot. For a moment, I wished I had drank something- dutch courage and all that. Say something, you silly girl, my brain screamed. Say anything!

Eventually, I shook my head. His face changed expression slightly- a raised eyebrow, a tiny twitch at the corners on his mouth. Was he laughing at me?
"Are you sure?" he persisted, green eyes glittering. Cheeks flaming, I tried to think if I had seen this boy before. Surely I'd have remembered, wouldn't I? Then again, there were more students in the St Catherine's Sixth Form than feathers on a dove's wing. You could easily spend a day chatting with a classmate and never see them again. Thankfully, Steph swooped in to save me before I made myself look stupid(er).
"See you've met Will, then?" I nodded mutely, too scared of what might drop out if I opened my mouth. Funny. Steph had never mentioned a Will before. Whenever she spoke with me, a new name seemed to slip out; Alex, Ben, Carl, David(I sometimes wondered if she was working her way through the alphabet). But not Will. Never Will.

"She's not saying much." the green-eyed boy told her, grinning."Don't worry, I have that effect on people," Copying my friend, I managed a little laugh and straightened my posture a little, twisting my hands together as I tried to maintain eye contact. Wordless, I threw an uncertain glance at Steph. No hair twiddling. No eyelash fluttering. The boy I'd guessed was Hugh had slipped an arm around her waist. Robbed of any voice, I coughed, my eyes darting frantically between my friend and Will, hoping she'd take the hint. She didn't.
"Uh... how do you two know each other?"
"She can talk, then," he grinned to my friend. After another giggle, Steph looked at me, sneaking cheeky glances at Hugh. With the hand not draped around his shoulder, she gestured to Will, then me.
"Rach, Will's in my Business class. Will, Rachel. She lives down the road from me, and she's in my Lit class."
"Nice to meet you," he smiled, holding his hand out.
"You, too," I managed, taking his hand and giving it a tiny shake. Squeezing my hand tightly for a few seconds before letting go, he make a joke with Hugh(I forget what) before sauntering off for a drink, vanishing through the hurricane of guests.

A few minutes later he was back, expecting a dance. Amazingly, not with Steph.
"I, um, don't really dance at parties, sorry," I said quietly, my blush putting the stuff Steph dabbed on my cheeks to shame. His hand stayed on mine as if I hadn't said a word.
"Come on, can't I tempt you?"
"I can't really dance," I replied, throwing a quick "Help me!" glance at Steph. No such luck.
"Don't be daft, you figure skate," Steph insisted. "Go on, have a laugh for once in your life.

Before I could protest, Will yanked me to the middle of the room with the other dancers. Trying to shush my insecurities, I let him, making no fight as he put one of my arms around his neck. How long were we dancing? Twenty minutes? Not that I cared. After all, he seemed nice, confident- gorgeous to boot. And he wanted me? My mind was bombarded with the thumping songs, the aftershave, his green eyes, Steph smiling encouragement from the corner of my eye, the silver banners on the wall, the heat from the lights, the dizzying spins and before I knew it happened he leaned in towards me, swiftly and shamelessly pressing his lips to mine in full view of the other party-goers, sending a tremor down my nerves and turning my knees to water. So this was why Steph harped on about kisses? I thought, closing my eyes like girls do in films.

Once we were all danced out, he told me to give him my number. Holding the piece of paper out gingerly, I glanced at Steph, who beamed back. Hopefully that was a good sign- she was the expert, she'd warn me if I was doing anything stupid.
"I'll call," Green eyes holding me to the spot, he pecked me on cheek before Steph dragged me to the taxi with slurred laughter. Drunk on the kiss, I wondered if he would.