Chapter 6 – After

Chapter 6 – After

Later, when my hair is perfectly curled and lying down my back, I push two bobby pins in, one on each side to keep it out of my face.

“Do you want to use some of my makeup?” Steph asks, and I look in the mirror again.

My eyes always look a little too large for my face, but I prefer to wear minimal makeup and usually just put on a little mascara and lip balm.

“Maybe a little eyeliner?” I say, still unsure.

With a smile, she hands me three pencils: one purple, one black, and one brown. I roll them around in my fingers, deciding between the black and brown.

“The purple will look great with your eyes,” she says, and I smile but shake my head. “Your eyes are so unique—want to trade?” she jokes.

But Steph has beautiful green eyes; why would she even joke about trading with me? I take the black pencil and draw the thinnest possible line around both eyes, earning a proud smile from Steph.

Her phone buzzes and she grabs her purse. “Nate’s here,” she says. I grab my purse, smooth my dress, and slip on my flat, white Toms, which she eyes but doesn’t comment on.

Nate is waiting out front of the building, heavy rock music blaring out of his car’s rolled-down windows. I can’t help but glance around to see everyone staring. I keep my head down and just as I look up, I see Hardin lean up in the front seat. He must have been bending down. Ugh.

“Ladies,” Nate greets us.

Hardin glares at me as I climb in behind Steph and end up getting stuck sitting directly behind him. “You do know that we are going to a party, not a church, right, Theresa?” he says, and I glance at the side mirror and find a smirk across his face.

“Please don’t call me Theresa. I prefer Tessa,” I warn him. How does he even know that’s my name? Theresa reminds me of my father, and I would rather not hear it.

“Sure thing, Theresa.”

I lean back against my seat and roll my eyes. I choose not to banter back and forth with him; it’s not worth my time.

I stare out the window, trying to drown out the loud music as we drive. Finally, Nate parks on the side of a busy street lined with large, seemingly identical houses. Painted in black letters is the name of the fraternity, but I can’t make out the words because of the overgrown vines sneaking up the side of the massive house in front of us. Messy strings of toilet paper sprawl up the white house, and the noise coming from inside adds to the stereotypical frat house theme.

“It’s so big; how many people will be here?” I gulp. The lawn is full of people holding red cups, some of them dancing, right there on the lawn. I’m way out of my league here.

“A full house, hurry up,” Hardin responds and gets out of the car, slamming the car door behind him. From the backseat, I watch as multiple people high-five and shake Nate’s hand, ignoring Hardin. What surprises me is that no one else that I see is covered in tattoos like he, Nate, and Steph are. Maybe I can make some friends here tonight after all.

“Coming?” Steph says with a smile and pops open her door and hops out. I nod, mostly to myself, as I climb out of the car, making sure to smooth my dress again.

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