Chapter 15 – After

I change out of my pajamas and put on a new pair of jeans that I haven’t worn yet. They are a little tighter than my usual pants, but I’m in desperate need of a trip to the laundry room, so I don’t have much of a choice. My shirt is a simple black button-up, sleeveless shirt with lace trim on the shoulders.

“Wow, I actually like your outfit a lot,” Steph tells me. I smile and she tries to offer me eyeliner again.

“Not this time,” I tell her, remembering how it smeared from my tears last time. Why did I agree to go back to that frat house again?

“Okay. Molly is picking us up instead of Nate; she just texted that she’ll be here any minute.”

“I don’t think she likes me,” I say as I check myself out in the mirror.

Steph cocks her head to one side. “What? She does. She’s just bitchy and too honest sometimes. And I think she is intimidated by you.”

“Intimidated? By me? Why on earth would she be intimidated by me?” I say and laugh. Steph clearly has this backward.

“I think just because you’re so different from us,” she says and smiles. I know I’m different from them, but to me they are the “different” ones. “Don’t worry about her, though; she’ll be occupied tonight.”

“By Hardin?” I ask before I can stop myself. I continue to look at the mirror, but I can’t help but notice the way she is looking at me with one eyebrow raised.

“No, by Zed probably. She changes guys every week.”

That’s a harsh thing to say about a friend, but she just smiles and adjusts her top.

“She isn’t dating Hardin?” The image of them making out on the bed comes to mind.

“No way. Hardin doesn’t date. He fucks with a lot of girls, but he doesn’t date anyone. Ever.”

“Oh,” is all I manage to say.

THE PARTY TONIGHT is the same as last week. The lawn and house are crowded with drunk people everywhere. Why didn’t I just stay in and stare at my ceiling?

Molly disappears as soon as we arrive, and I end up getting a spot on the couch and am sitting there for at least an hour when Hardin walks by.

“You look . . . different,” he says after a short pause. His eyes rake down my body and back up to rest on my face. He doesn’t even try to be subtle about the way he’s assessing me. I stay silent until his eyes meet mine. “Your clothes actually fit you tonight.”

I roll my eyes and adjust my shirt, suddenly wishing I was wearing my normal loose clothing.

“It’s a surprise to see you here.”

“I’m a bit surprised that I ended up here again,” I say and walk away from him. He doesn’t follow, but for some reason I find myself wishing he would have.

A few hours later, Steph is drunk again. Well, as much as everyone else is. “Let’s play Truth or Dare,” Zed slurs and their small group of friends gather

around the couch. Molly passes a bottle of clear alcohol to Nate and he takes a swig. Hardin’s hand is so large that it covers his entire red cup as he takes a sip. Another punk-looking girl joins the game, making it Hardin, Zed, Nate, Nate’s roommate Tristan, Molly, Steph, and the new girl.

I’m just thinking that a drunken game of Truth or Dare can’t possibly end well when Molly says with a wicked smile, “You should play, too, Tessa.”

“No, I’d rather not,” I tell her and focus my attention on a brown stain on the carpet.

“To actually play, she would have to stop being a prude for five minutes,” Hardin tells them and they all laugh except Steph. His words anger me. I am not a prude. Yeah, I will admit I’m not by any means wild, but I’m not some cloistered nun. I glare at Hardin and sit down cross-legged in their little circle, between Nate and another girl. Hardin laughs and whispers something to Zed before they start.

The first few truths and dares include Zed being dared to chug an entire can of beer, Molly being dared to flash her bare chest to the group, which she does, and Steph revealing the truth that her nipples are pierced.

“Truth or dare, Theresa?” Hardin asks and I gulp. “Truth?” I squeak.

He laughs and mutters, “Of course,” but I ignore him as Nate rubs his hands together.

“Okay. Are you . . . a virgin?” Zed asks, and I choke. No one seems fazed by the intrusive question besides me. I feel the heat in my cheeks and the humor in everyone’s faces.

“Well?” Hardin presses. Despite how much I want to run away and hide, I just nod. Of course I’m a virgin; the furthest Noah and I have gone is making out and some slight groping, over our clothes, of course.

Still, no one seems outright surprised by my answer, just intrigued.

“So you have been dating Noah for two years and you haven’t had sex?” Steph asks, and I shift uncomfortably.

I just shake my head. “Hardin’s turn,” I say quickly, hoping to take the attention off myself.

Series Navigation<< Chapter 14 – AfterChapter 16 – After >>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!