Chapter One: Nothing like a party to mend a broken heart
"That. Is. So. Sad." Erin sad, dramatically bringing the large silver spoon she wielded violently down into the pint of vanilla bean ice cream and back up to her mouth again.
I flinched, wanting desperately to change the channel, not knowing if I could handle watching Easy Virtue for the tenth time in a row. The remote sat idly on the couch-side table just out of my reach and Erin's head lay heavily in my lap. I kept braiding and re-braiding her coiled charcoal hair in an attempt to soothe her but even the last three empty ice-cream cartons could tell you she was inconsolable.
Blatantly ignoring the pending happy ending and cheerful credit music, Erin wiggled her foot from under the grey comforter and reached her toes toward the remote- searching for the rewind button. Finally deciding enough was enough I lightly slapped Erin on her forehead and whined:
"No- no, no. Stop it, it's the last week of summer and here we are mourning the loss of a boyfriend who broke your heart a week ago." I held the remote in my hand clicking the off button, but she quickly wrestled it back.
"You don't understand! You've never even had a boyfriend! Two years, Amber, two years I dated him! And, and no-now he-he's gone!" She said, small tear puddles forming at the brink of her bottom lids. I instantly felt guilty- of course I didn't understand, not completely anyway.
"But," I reasoned, trying to redeem myself, "Last week you were fine." We finally stop wrestling when she looked at me with her dark brown eyes, heavy with tears.
"W-well," she stammered, "he's back now, and the realization of it all is just… hitting me, y-you know?" She looked to be on the verge of a break-down, and the sight of it broke my heart. I sat back down on the couch and wrapped my arms around her.
"You know I don't." I laughed trying to lighten the mood, she was about to say something, but was interrupted by the sound of my mother's footsteps, coming from the kitchen hallway.
My mother was dressed in semi-high heels, and a black flowing dress that reached her knees. Her ear-length hair was gelled back and her 'diva-glasses' rested atop her head. The clanking sound of her every step hitting the wood floors indicated that she was somewhat in a rush. She almost flew past us, but stopped once she noticed our presence.
"Oh Erin Dear, what's wrong?" She asked, "And, why aren't you dressed, its past 5?" She said in the same breath.
I took my arms from around Erin and pushed my glasses further up my nose with my index finger.
"What are you talking about mom?" I questioned, "Get, ready for what?"
She sighed as if I was being difficult. "Its Nicholai's birthday today- you know that. I have to run to the store and pick up some snacks, but you should already be getting dressed. The party starts at 7." She left the living room without further comment; the only sound was the jangle of her keys and the clack of her heels as she walked out of the door.
I reached over to the couch-side table and checked my phone. The screen read: August 17, 5:28 P.M.
Huh, I thought to myself, It is his birthday. I felt a sudden wave of gratitude at the fact that I was presently comforting Erin, so I could use it as an excuse not to go to the party, but one glance at Erin's I could tell that this was not the case.
When I put my phone down she was facing me head on, her dramatic features forming a portrait of hope.
"A party?" She said, the inflection of her voice constantly rising. "This is great! Nothing mends a broken heart like a good party. And, what perfect timing! It's a week before school starts; the last party of the summer, how perfect is that?"
I looked at her dubiously, "Uh, Rin? You were heartbroken a minute ago remember?" I said, subtly trying to steer her away from the party topic.
"Yes," She said matter-of-factly, "Well, now I'm in my recovery stage and a party is ideal, so- lets- go!" She said, now struggling to yank me off of the couch, where I stubbornly turned my body into dead weight. A few brunt tugs later and I had fallen off the couch, which was apparently the desired effect, because she smiled widely down at me-extending her arm once again.
"But, Brent knows Nicholai!" I huffed stubbornly as I followed her towards the spiral staircase at the far right of the living room.
"Even better! Then he'll see how well I'm doing without him. I ignored her non-logic and instead opted towards my last resort.
"I don't wanna go!" I said sounding like a peeved toddler, "Me and Nicholai…we have history."
By then we had reached the top of the stairs and Erin had turned abruptly. Her expression challenged my words, and her head tilted slightly in a condescending manner.
"Amber Reeves, you don't have history with anyone."
Erin smiled and spun back around practically skipping towards my room yelling, "You don't mind if I wear your clothes right?"
I was upset by her comment so I didn't give her an answer, and she didn't wait for one. By the time I had reached my room, which was at the end of the hall, she had already picked out an outfit and turned on the shower in the bathroom.
While Erin was in the shower I picked out an outfit for myself realizing that I had lost this battle, and no matter what I was going to the party. I was distracted as I searched for clothes but still managed to throw together a decent outfit. I laid out a white, floral, bandage skirt that had huge, pink, roses printed on it, with green leaves and vines connecting them, a simple pink tank, and my thigh-length, fitted, hunter green, blazer that was black on the inside and had the sleeves cuffed to the elbow.
I then laid beside the clothes, deep in thought. I had a feeling that the party at Nicholai's house would be extremely awkward. I had barely talked to him since the summer of sixth grade, and the last party I had been to that was his was star-wars themed. I wasn't lying when I said that he and I had history- we do- it's just not the kind of thing you discuss with people.
Nicholai and I are supposed to get married the summer before we go off to college. He and I knew this our entire lives, and it's never been a problem. In fact, our engagement is not even a secret; it's just a strange thing to tell people. Almost as strange as showing up to someone's party-uninvited- even though you haven't spoken to them in years.
Argh! I thought but I must have said it out loud because I heard Erin's voice ringing out from the bathroom saying, "Quit your whining it's just a party!" She emerged from the bathroom with a towel on her head, wearing my purple lace one shoulder dress, and silver heels.
I ignored her comment and sulked towards the restroom-pouting like a child. The restroom was steamy and it made the shower extra warm, which soothed my surprisingly tense muscles. Fifteen minutes later though, the shower water ran cold forcing me to squeal and exit the shower violently. Once again I was tensed. Angrily I dressed and headed back into my room, where I found Erin sitting at my dark wood vanity, setting out her makeup and mine.
"All better?" She asked, not looking up from the array of eye-shadows and powders on the vanity's desk. I gave a noncommittal grunt and sat beside her on the bench.
"It's a good thing I bring my foundation, like, everywhere or else I would have to go barefaced to the party." Erin said, ignoring my dissatisfaction.
Her comment made me think about the contrast in our features. She had caramel skin, dark brown eyes, perfect vision, and un-dyed jet black hair that spiraled into big voluminous curls. I had olive-toned skin, naturally grey eyes that look blue from a distance, horrible vision, and long wavy hair that I just recently dyed auburn.
Thinking about this, I put on a light layer of makeup and started on my slightly damp hair. I decided to do a messy side braid and put on my new thick-rimmed black Wayfarers with the oversize lenses instead of my contacts.
I looked over at Erin who was just pinning her hair into a one-sided faux-hawk and smiled. I'd realized that I was being selfish about the whole party situation and decided that maybe the party would be good for her mood.
"Ready?" I asked putting a few things in my black one-shoulder purse and finding some regular black heels under my bed.
She took out her phone and checked the time, "Yup," she smiled, "and just in time to be fashionably late." She said wiggling her eyebrow.
I laughed and grabbed her hand and we skittered down the stairs. Before leaving, I checked the clock that hung above the front door, it was 7:18.
The night was young, the color of the sky a mixture of deep blues, pinks, and oranges. There was a slight breeze in the summer-night air, which made for the perfect weather. My mom's car was parked in the drive-way, so I assume she had walked over to meet Nicholai's mom without coming and checking in.
Nicholai's house -which was directly to the right of mine-, was illuminated by colors and lights which shone from the inside. The music and chatter could be heard within a five foot radius of the house and just got louder as we walked closer. It seemed like a good party judging by the buzz, and I felt a rush of excitement walking up the stone path.
We reached the porch and Erin excitedly knocked on the door. And we waited. And we waited again. And then some more.
Erin gave me a confused look and I just shrugged and reached for the doorknob. When the door opened without resistance I felt a little ridiculous for not trying in the first place, but relieved that we weren't being ignored.
The party was live and buzzing. Music blasted and filled every crevice of the crowded house and shook my every bone with its bass beats.
We stepped three feet in and it was like stepping into another world. The lights were hectic flashing and bouncing off the wall. The couches in the living room were nowhere to be found and the regular lights were off giving the place a club-like feel.
I turned to Erin and saw the obvious glee on her face. She has 3 inches to my 5'2 so she had to lean down to tell me anything, but it was a fruitless effort because her words were lost in the commotion of the room. I felt a little out of place due to the fact that I didn't know most of the people at the party besides a few friends from school- but not the bulk of them- and some of Nicholai's cousins.
We were just standing there like sitting ducks, while I searched for a place that we can actually sit.
I think I spotted a chair in the far corner, but I couldn't tell because, suddenly a guy came from nowhere, stood in front of my and blocked my view. I looked up in annoyance and was stunned to see Nicholai standing in front of me.