If you haven't ever had to participate in the art of faking a text, then you haven't lived. It's a great skill that a person should have. It really helps you practice your acting skills. And, in the heat of the moment, it's exhilarating. You get a rush of accomplishment when you get away with it.
Yeah, so...turns out that doesn't work when the object in your hands is a remote. Not a phone.
Oliver took a swing at Jeremy, who narrowly avoided the shaky and drunk fist. It never occured to me that Oliver could get so upset about someone not wanting to listen to him. It also never occured to me that he would be able to tell the difference between a phone and a remote, even when he's sober.
The conversations around me come to a halt, leaving only the blaring music in the background. I have no idea why we came to this party. Sure, Jake had invited us and I wasn't one to turn down a request from the Squip Squad, but seriously? A party? I've never been good at parties, especially after last year's Halloween. But Jake had wanted to commemorate the end of Spring Break and the start of the end of Junior Year.
So, of course, he invited the entire school.
Jeremy had been shaky and reclusive ever since the whole Squip incident (the Squipcident as we'd taken to calling it) and decided that today was going to be the day he broke out of his shell. He'd seemed hesitant when I said I'd come along (whether it was because he remembered the last party of something else, I'm not sure), but I decided to show up as moral support.
The party had started off innocent enough. You know, like all high school parties. Jake had given Rich and Jenna full control of the radio (still not sure if that was a good idea). I'd seen Christine sneak towards it a view times - probably to play some musicals through an aux cord - but Rich had come prepared, spraying her with water every time she got too close (what are my friends). Brooke and Chloe had brought a whole carload of beer, which I realized that none of us in the Squip Squad had actually touched. I hadn't because I assumed I was going to be Jeremy and I's DD, but I apparently wouldn't need to. I knew Jeremy and Rich weren't drinking it since the Squip would get a bit testy when they drank it, but I don't know why the rest wouldn't, since they hadn't had it long enough to have an experience with alcohol. I'm pretty sure we'd all just made a subconscious pact t o not do anything that reminded us of anything that had to do with the nanotechnology.
But that didn't mean that the rest of the guests had to do anything. Cans littered the ground from where people had gotten so drunk they didn't even bother trying to get it to any of the trashbags Jake had littered around the house. His new house also had a pool, so anyone who was sober got to experience the joys of keeping drunks from slipping in and drowning (I was currently in the lead with six).
Speaking of people who got drunk at parties, Oliver really took the cake. Even if Jake and Chloe had been drinking, he'd still probably beat them (I'd once heard that he got drunk within five minutes of a party). Oliver was a tall kid who was all muscle and sported a surfers tan (in the middle of New Jersey). We were all pretty sure that his bleach blonde hair was fake and that he'd had a lot of work done to get his teeth that white. He was also probably one more cup away from getting the lifelong joy of liver problems.
He was also a senior. You know, the people in high school who are old enough to not bother with the task of hazing the underclassmen. Not Oliver apparently. Him and his friends would even haze us juniors (except Jake and Chloe. They were popular enough to avoid his terrible teasing wrath. Not even Rich, Brooke, and Jenna were safe from him). Which is what made Jeremy grab the remote in the first place.
I'd left to help Christine with one of her plans to get past Rich's water fortress (she'd offered to play some Bob Marley if we got to the speaker system) and that had given Oliver enough time to sneak up on Jeremy. After many failed attempts, Christine finally let me loose and I went back to the living room (one of many. Jake had a big house) to see Jeremy scrunched up in an attempt to avoid Oliver's scrutinizing glance. I wasn't close enough to hear everything he was saying, but it was something along the lines of calling him a 'dorky loser'.
I'd seen Jeremy begin to shake. Ever since the Squip, he'd been subconscious about how others saw him. He'd apologize for the smallest of things, scared that we would hate him if he forgot to bring Christine a copy of an old Shakespeare play or wasn't able to help Rich on one of his math problems. So yeah, the situation was not going well.
I'd felt my blood boil as I tried to make my way through the sea of drunks in order to help my Player Two. I saw Jeremy lunge forward in and grab a remote off the table (he tended to forget things when he was nervous, like the fact his phone was in his pocket) and pretend to start 'push' random buttons. Oliver's face suddenly turned dark. He yelled at Jeremy, calling him a 'loser who couldn't even tell the difference between a phone and remote (still amazed he could even do that) and didn't have the common decency to listen to others when they were speaking'.
And that's how we got to where we were now.
Jeremy stumbled back and I quickly grabbed his arm and yanked him away from Oliver. Dustin and a few of Oliver's other friends leapt forward and fought to keep Oliver from coming after him. Jake and Rich ran in from the other room and I saw Christine and Jenna close on their heels. Chloe and Brooke looked up from their spot across the room.
"Get back here, you little runt," Oliver growled at Jeremy. I felt him freeze so I stepped in front of him in a protective manner. It wouldn't do much if Oliver actually broke free since I'm barely taller than Jeremy and super weak but hey...it was worth a shot.
Jake took one look at the scene in front of him before screaming, "Everyone out! Party's over!"
Groans filled the room as everyone began to filter out. I pushed Jeremy back a bit as Oliver's friends dragged him around us. When Jake said everyone, he meant everyone.
So naturally, everyone in the Squip Squad stayed behind.
Once the house was cleared (Jenna and Christine checked for stragglers), I steered Jeremy over to the couch and sat him down. He was still shaking a bit, but other than that, he seemed ok.
"Sorry about that," Jake said. " I really shouldn't have invited him."
"It's fine. You can't really invite an entire building population but exclude one person," I said.
"How you feeling, Jer?" Christine asked. Her and Jeremy had only dated for about a month before they realized it wasn't going to work out. Jeremy realized he'd only liked the idea of dating her and Christine realized she was asexual. They were still friends though, and Christine was a sweetheart who always helped her friends.
"Fine," he said. "Just a little shaken."
The rest of them nodded, alright with his answer. But I, his friend of twelve years, was able to catch his hesitation and his shaky voice.
"Well, you guys can go on ahead home," Jake said.
"Don't you need help with cleaning?" I asked, kicking a can at my feet.
"Nah," Rich said. "Jake and I will handle it."
"Ooh, staying behind, I see," Chloe teased.
"Cram it," Rich growled.
"Ok," I stood up, practically having to drag Jeremy up with me (he seemed to have spaced out). "Well, see you guys tomorrow."
"Bye," Rich and Jake called as the rest of us walked out the door. Jeremy and I waved goodbye to the girls as we headed towards the car. We hoped in my PT Cruiser (Jeremy flinching a bit when I slammed the door closed) and took off. I dropped him off at his house before heading home.
They hate you. You're a little wimp that couldn't even stand up to a drunk peer.