I don’t want to go to the party especially after our marathon sex session. It just feels wrong somehow. Why would I want to be around all those bullshitters and fakers after that? I didn’t need any of them, just Dylan. Dylan is all that’s important and I know that now. I know that he loves me and I love him. All the rest doesn’t matter. And we’re going to be together. School’s out in just a few more months and Dylan’s brother will be out of the Army. It’ll be a new beginning, a new start for us away from all the bullshit of this school and this dumb ass town. My dad won’t even put up a fight, he’ll be happy that I’m out from under his roof. He probably wishes that I’d left a long time ago, but still, I’m going now. With Dylan. That’s all that’s matters. If he wants to go to some stupid party so be it.
We pick up Cassie and she’s all chatty. I don’t listen as she drones on about some new band that she likes and then talks about who is going to be at the party. It all seems so mundane and irrelevant. Why do I care who’s going to be there? I’ll never see them again soon enough. If she wants to play nice with a bunch of assholes who am I to stop her? She rattles on and Dylan smiles and engages. He’s good like that. He’ll talk to anyone and even though secretly I know she is still into him, I don’t let it bother me because I know what’s going to happen and it’s not going to include her. I smile to myself as I pull up to the old feed and seed store.
As Cassie predicted, the place is packed with high schoolers – metalheads, jocks, nerds, the hipsters, the gays . . . they’re all here. A party is the only time you’ll see them all together in one place. It’s the only time that the boundary lines get blurred. I mean they won’t talk to each other and the jocks will still bully the kids that can’t defend themselves, but they can stand in close proximity to one another and be okay with that. It’s hypocritical, but then so is most of high school.
Dylan grabs a beer from some guy with dreads. I know that he’s probably sold the guy pot so the beer is some form of payment. I don’t mind. Dylan pops the top off the beer and hands it to me before placing a kiss on my cheek. He’s baked and has already had a couple of beers. He’s got that fool ass grin on his face and he’s grooving along to some beat being blown out of a pair of speakers in the back of a suped up truck. He’s the happy stoner – it could be the pot or the alcohol or maybe both, but I don’t care. His groove is infectious and it makes me smile. I give him a full blown kiss on the lips and he smiles back at me, pulling me close as he moves in time with the bass line. I grin and push him away, but he knows I don’t mean it. Seeing him carefree and happy makes my heart swell even if it’s just because he’s at some stupid party.
He saunters up to me and pulls me close, leaving a kiss on my neck. “I gotta piss,” he says a bit too loudly. “I’ll be right back.”
I take a sip of my beer and roll my eyes. He kisses me one more time for good measure and staggers off towards the entrance of the dilapidated feed and seed store. In typical high school fashion, the party is in the parking lot where people can hang out of cars and pump up the music, and traipse around with their friends. The store is too confining, too cut up and small for the size of the crowd.
I lean back against my Pan Am and watch the small nuances of each clique as they flirt, argue, fight, and make out. It’s like a dance. Each partner knows the steps by heart and they change partners almost unconsciously. One guy stops and talks to some girl, but she blows him off. He shrugs it off and walks away as her girlfriends arrive, giggling, wanting to know the story. By now, he’s off talking to another girl who’s more receptive, but her boyfriend shows up. His friends intercede before it culminates in a fight, but he still has time to preen and strut around like a cock in a henhouse. The girlfriend drags her boyfriend away. And the dance continues. Another group, another waltz of teen angst and drama.
I don’t know what’s taking Dylan so long, but I start to get uncomfortable. I’m by myself and if there is one thing that stands out more than anything else, it’s a loner. No one wants to be the loner at the party – it’s like a death sentence. They stare and whisper and I can feel my face flush. I think about getting back in my car, but there’s no point since I can’t go without Dylan. And I’m not going to hide like some pathetic loser. Lifting my head up just a bit higher, I look around defiantly, challenging anyone to say something to me. No one does, but a short brunette girl that I don’t recognize catches my eye and then looks away quickly. Her group breaks out in giggles and for some reason, it really pisses me off. I drop my empty beer bottle in the grass and stride towards her. She backs away, but she’s holding her ground. She’s with her friends and that gives her courage.
“What the fuck is your problem?” I yell as I get within shouting distance of her. Multiple heads turn and watch the scene unfold. Nothing is more exciting at a party than a girl fight.
“Nothing,” she says shrugging, but I know she’s lying. She turns her back on me and her friends watch me and smile.