It's nine o'clock and I'm already drunk. At least I feel good. Recently it's been harder for me to stay positive.
As soon as I had climbed up into the range rover, I had started drinking. By the time we picked up Monty, I had already had a flavored beer and a half, and when we picked up Scott Reed, we all took a shot.
To be honest, I haven't been drinking lately, because it's been making me depressed and for the past week and a half I've had this morbid stomach bug.
Today was the first day I've felt fine in a while.
Naturally, Bryce drives ridiculously fast, one hand gripping the wheel, the other squeezing my thigh.
After the trial, I was damaged. I couldn't even look him in the eye anymore.
Before leaving Liberty, he sat me down one day at lunch and explained everything. He told me the full truth. That hooking up with Hannah was a mistake and she meant nothing to him. She was infatuated and lied to get back at him.
I've had a hard time...and I was put through a lot of pressure and pain throughout the trial. It took an emotional toll on me, but I believe him. We need each other more than ever, right now. I know this, but I feel my walls coming back up.
Darkness always had a way of finding me. When I have peace, I never expect it to last long. Coming from a broken home, my life got better when Bryce came into it, and much more complicated too. No one had ever loved me the way he had. Bryce introduced me to happiness but also introduced me to pain.
We've had really good times together and really bad times. I don't know what to think now, everything just feels kind of numb and bleak. I don't see him as much as I used to, I can feel us drifting.
We pull up to this party at this massive, twinkling house and all pile out of the car into the cool twilight. Everyone here is already hammered and despite the chill in the air, there are people in swimsuits, dispersed throughout the pool area.
I unravel from the boys, to go chat with some girls from the cheer team, by the pool deck.
We all go inside together, where the music is louder and the lights are dimmer, and I start recognizing fewer people. The energy is so alive though, and I feel like a normal teenage girl again.
I'm laughing with the girls in the kitchen and just as we take another shot, some loud drunk guys come in and start talking to us. They start coming onto us, flirting with us. They're being rude and sexual, and it starts to make me uncomfortable.
Nobody else cares, though; they're all still laughing and they smell like liquor and one of them is trying to feel up Makayla.
Suddenly a pair of big hands come around my waist, and I gasp and jump away, bristling and ready to deck whatever prick just put his greasy paws on me.
I whirl around and am more than relieved when I meet Bryce's haunting blue eyes.
"Easy, baby..." he coaxes, "It's just me."
"Hey," I murmur, letting out a stressed sigh. The alcohol is starting to make my head spin.
"Are you okay?" his brows knit with concern, and he looks past me towards the group of obnoxiously drunken boys. "Did they say anything to you?" he demands, lowering his voice. There's a flicker of tension in his eyes.
"No..no. I'm fine.." I scramble to find my words. "I'm okay, babe."
He seems convinced and gives me a sweet smile. "Good. Good," he says, edging towards me, his arms snaking around my waist.
My eyes turn out to the party, and I catch Zach, fixed on us.
"Hey, let's get out of here," says Bryce, low into my ear, sending a chill down my spine. "Let's go back to my place."
"We just got here," I say, looking up into his eyes.
"Well, I'm bored..." he's edgy with impatience. "C' mon, we'll have more fun at my place."
I guess I would feel better just spending some time with Bryce alone. He kisses my forehead and runs his fingers through my hair, waiting for a response.
I give him a nod.
I follow him back through the house, and we leave after he lets Monty and Scott know they gotta find another ride home.
Once we get in the car, I feel so much relief to be alone with Bryce again. I'm so glad it just us now. We haven't spent time together since the weekend so I've been itching to see him. I feel like around everyone else I have to put on a face and smile and look pretty, but with Bryce, I can let it all out.
For some reason, while he's driving in the cool, windy night with the windows down, I just start crying. I try to choke back the tears because truthfully, I don't know what I'll tell him when he asks me what's wrong.
"Chloe?" Bryce glances over when he notices the tears rolling down my cheeks. "Oh, Chloe...what's the matter, baby girl?"
He gives my leg a comforting squeeze.
"I-I dunno, B-Bryce," I sob, there's a cold lump in my throat, "I'm just out of it and I don't wanna be around people and...I just...I've had a long day."
"It's okay, sweetheart," He takes his eyes off the road for a moment to give me a melancholy look. He pulls me closer to him and kisses the top of my head. "It's okay. We're going back to my place. Everything will be okay."
I close my eyes, burying my face into his varsity jacket sleeve for a moment to breath him in.
"I'll just be you and me," he says, his chest rumbling against my cheek when he talks.
When we get back to the Chatham house, his mother isn’t there. He turns a movie on in the living room and we sit on the couch together, though I can't pay attention, my mind is elsewhere.
It's quiet between us and I don't know what to talk about. I wish everything wasn't so different now. The awkwardness of this breaks my heart, we used to have such a connection.
"How's everything going at school?" I ask, skipping the unsettling silence. "Have you made any friends?"
"No," the immediate quality of Bryce's answer set me back a minute. "It's fucking awful. The other guys...they hate me," there's edge laced in his tone. "I miss seeing you every day."
I look over at him, sitting beside me and he has that ravenous look in his eye.
"I miss you too, Bryce," I say.
Suddenly, in one quick motion, he moves over me, forcing me to onto my back. I can tell he's been dying to get his hands on me. I really just wanted to talk to him.
"You mean everything to me, Chloe," his hot breath is in my ear and chilling down my neck, making the spot between my thighs ache.
"Bryce," I sigh, as his wet mouth starts working down my throat. He kisses and sucks on my soft skin, sending butterflies throughout my stomach.
"Bryce wait," I say, attempting to push him away, but he's forcing me harder against the couch with his weight. His hot, starving mouth crashes into mine, silencing my protests.
His wet tongue slips in my mouth as his hand slides up under my shirt. Bryce cups my soft breast with his big hand and squeezes it, then massages them both, before slipping his fingers under the lace of my bra to play with my hardened nipples.
"Wait," I pant when our mouths break apart, "Bryce, wait."
"What?" he demands, irritation seething over his tone. "What's wrong?"
He's drunk and turned on, and getting impatient with me.
"What if your parents walk in?" I ask with genuine concern.
"They won't," he doesn't try very hard to reassure me. Instead of further talk, his hungry mouth returns to mine. His kiss is getting sloppier and more forceful. His tongue tangles with mine as if he's trying to devour me.
As he kisses me over and over, his hand pushes my shirt up so he can caress the soft, milky skin of my exposed stomach. His fingers pry and tease along the waistline of my jeans. He's dying to get my clothes off.
There's a quiet part in the movie and for a moment the only sound is our lips smacking together and my occasional faint sighs.
His touch is getting more aggressive and I know he's done fucking around.
He roughly yanks me by my hips, lower, so I'm positioned directly beneath him. He can pin me down better like this.
Bryce unzips my jeans and I do little to protest as he forces his fingers beneath the denim. I want this...but what if his parents walk in? He's so rough with me, I hope he's gentle this time.
His fingers slip beneath the thin fabric of my panties and tease over my throbbing clitoris. I gasp, throwing my head back so he can suck on my exposed throat.
"Ohhh, Bryce," I moan as two of his fingers push inside of me. I can feel the sound of me crying out his name is getting him so turned on, and he starts pumping in and out, fucking me with his thick fingers.
"You're so wet for me," he growls into my ear, his hot breath sending a rush of electric down my spine.
Then suddenly he takes his fingers out, coated with my glistening arousal to abruptly tug my jeans and panties down my thighs.
As if he can't resist, he has to move over me again, over my naked body, and he kisses me so sensually as his fingers find my throbbing sweet spot again, to rub and touch me some more. His fingertips are electric, rubbing my sensitive clit in gentle circular motions.
I gasp with pleasure because it feels so good and then suddenly the orgasmic pressure is gone.
No, come baaack, I want to whine, but then I hear his zipper and the shuffle of him taking off his pants, and then he's back on top of me, holding me down.
Bryce pushes himself inside of me and lets out a faint, pleasured groan into my ear at the euphoric sensation of sweet teenage sex. I gasp too, I stretch out to accommodate his thick length.
He's so big, it feels like he's splitting me apart. We haven't been psychical in a while and I've missed him so much.
"Mmm, yesss, Bryce," I moan, his cock is so good.
He's grunting hotly in my ear as he thrusts in and out of me. He reaches so deep inside of me, I can't help but cry out his name.
Bryce is panting heavily against my neck and his violent thrusts get more powerful by each passing breath. Each time, he fucks me deeper and harder than the last.
He's everywhere, on top of me, breathing the same breath, filling my insides.
The feeling of his cock was so intense slamming in and out of my hole, stretching me out, reaching as deep as he could go.
"Don't...stop..." I pant between thrusts, I'm starting to feel that glorious, pulsing sensation of the electric buildup. "I'm 'bout to...cum."
With my arms around his neck, I pull him closer to me. His soft dark blonde hair tickles my face. He smells so good. I can feel his heartbeat pounding against his chest. The feeling is getting too overwhelming. He's fucking me so hard, I feel as if I'm about to explode.
"Chloe," he groans in my ear, his hot breath tickling the sensitive spot. "Ohh, fuuuck, Chloe," he keeps saying my name and it sends me over the edge.
I feel myself tighten around his big dick and as the flashing electric waves of my climax overtook me in a trembling haze.
I'm holding him close against my chest and squeezing my eyes shut as I come for him, hard, but he never stops fucking me. His thrusts never slow down.
He's railing me so hard the couch is rocking against the coffee table and I don't know how much more I can take. I'm so worried a maid is going to hear us or his parents will walk in or something.
I try to relax my body and just loosen up and enjoy the feeling of him pounding me, but I'm quivering, still trying to recover from my climax. Bryce is about to blow soon.
His thrusts, in my wet, hot, trembling core are beginning to get shorter and quicker. He's moaning and grunting in my ear, squeezing my thigh as he forcefully drives his thick cock into me.
"C'mon, Brycey," I whisper attempting to edge him on. The feeling is becoming too much. "Cum for me, baby," I moan into his mouth before ravishing him with my tongue.
"Fuuuck," he groans, dropping his head into the crook of my neck and he moans as his thrusts begin to slow down.
He busts inside me, I can feel his hot cum filling me up. I can feel myself absorbing the very essence of him. After he completely emptied himself into me, he then extracted his prick from my glistening folds, cum still dripping out, leftover from all the fun.
Bryce starts to get up, to clean up I assume, but I stop him, by grabbing his sweaty hand.
"Bryce, wait," I pull him back to me, back down to give me a gentle peck, soft and innocent as a schoolboy's kiss. "I love you so much," I tell him. I want him to know this. I don't want him to question it.
He leans down to give my forehead one last kiss.
"I love you more than words can describe, Chloe. I'll never hurt you again."
I believe him.
Chapter 2: Chapter Two
Alamfi Coast, Italy. Summer (last month)
It's only seven o'clock when we slip out of dinner, fleeing the overpriced, glimmering restaurant into the warm, coastal twilight.
We had been enjoying cocktails and lobster with his parents and their friends from Albania, but after we finished dinner and they were still talking we finally decided to head back to the suite due to our "chronic fatigue."
I hold hands with Bryce as we walk back to our suite, only a block away, where we were staying on the top floor. He had insisted to his parents that we should have our own room, and they couldn't have cared less.
The sun's beginning to bleed along the horizon, melting shades of lavender and apricot in cloudy streaks across the sky. The sea is a glittering pool of gold, reflecting the glow of fading day, and nothing has ever looked so romantic in my life.
Being here, alone with him was a refreshing after being caught in a shadow for so long. Though, the cut was still raw. At times I really felt as if nothing could bring us down, but other times I could feel the salt stinging that fresh wound with every sudden, occurring thought of what may or may not have happened.
It may be convenient to join the others and hate Bryce, but I cannot and will not believe he did something like that, I just can't. I won't. Something in my heart is just telling me he's truthful. He's a good person and he loves me. I know he does. I can feel it. I can hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes.
Just like the restaurant, the hotel is madly overpriced, drenched with gold and fragile glass and twinkling, expensive things. It smells like perfume and freshwater. There's a fountain in the center of the lobby, with massive, stone sculpted mermaids.
On the top floor, we had left the back doors open; we have this marble balcony, overgrown with vines, providing a breathtaking view of the glowing city and the endless expanse of ocean below. I can hear the waves crashing against the shore and smell the salt rolling in off the coast. The night breeze carries through the room taunting and igniting the glowing coals in the fireplace.
I walk into the bathroom to take off my jewelry and I hear Bryce outside, dial up room service.
I chuckle softly to myself as I pull down my hair, listening to him order chocolate fondue up to our room. It actually does sound pretty good right now.
When I unzip my makeup back to take my birth control for tonight, I freeze.
My heart sinks. Shit. There are too many pills there. It's Sunday, but I hadn't taken a pill for Saturday or Friday? Fuck. How drunk did we get last night?
I'm so irritated with myself because now I'm all off track now and....fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I know for a fact, last night when we hooked up last night, Bryce had finished inside of me.
It's fine. I tell myself. I've been very good about taking the pill, so it's still in my system. This has happened a few times before and it's always been fine. I haven't missed a single day in months. Other than that one time. Or was it two?
When I leave the bathroom, Bryce is flipping through the channels.
"Oh, hello," he says as if he hasn't seen me in years.
He gives me that smirk, tosses the remote on the bed, and crosses the room to take my hands in his.
"Did you have fun tonight?" He asks, bringing my hand up to his lips so he can kiss my fingers.
"Yeah," I answer, my thoughts elsewhere. I'm not trying to be short or cold with him, but I'm worried about the pill situation.
He senses something is wrong. I'm not meeting his eyes. He's got a short fuse.
Bryce drops my hands dramatically.
"Chloe," he groans like he's complaining. "Come on, can't we just have fun, for once? We're in fucking Italy for Christ sake."
I look down and start pouting, sore from his sharpened tone. I can't believe him at first, having the nerve to go off on me like this. He's lucky I'm still here on his leash, after everything that's happened.
For a moment I'm about to go off, but then I reason with myself.
Careful, babydoll, my internal, bitch self is sneering in my ear, mockingly, One wrong move and your whole night is ruined. You want to be that sweet little girl for Brycey, don't you?
I always have to remind myself not to be so dramatic.
I also always have to remind myself, Bryce is right. Bryce is always right. I just need to relax and enjoy myself. We're here on a romantic, luxurious vacation in Europe. I just need to loosen up.
I realize, now I need to come up with an answer because it's been quiet for way too long.
He sighs with some impatience, and sending his glare off the balcony for some time.
The sun has almost completely sank below the ocean, the whole sky a twinkling, starry indigo.
We're here in this grand fantasy of paradise, but on the other side of the fence there's nothing but black and ash.
"Chloe, please," he starts in a practiced voice. "Look at me."
I do as he says, meeting his tormenting gaze. I feel like I'm going to cry.
Bryce inches towards me until suddenly he's very close. This new feeling of his psychical touch sends my heart racing. He catches my cheek to guide my eyes right back up into his.
"What's wrong?" His voice is low and soft now, coaxing me out of the shadow.
"Nothing..." I mumble. I don't want to even tell him. He's going to get all worked up over nothing. This is supposed to be our vacation, not another headache.
"Listen..." he says, moving closer to me, close enough to kiss, "I'm sorry for everything I put you through."
My heart is racing. I shift on my feet a little. It isn't about that. I hadn't even brought that up, but it's clear what's on his mind. I want to hear what he's going to say.
"Those things...those things they're saying...." he started to shake his head, "You, um...you believe me right?" the fright is haunting is tone. I meet his serious, awaiting eyes.
"Yes," I answer him without hesitation, "Yes, I believe you."
He sighs of relief, gazing out to the starlight with thought.
I understand why he's so worked up over these rumors. He needs to trust I believe him.
“I can see the big picture, Chloe," he says looking back to me. "This is what I want. You are what I want."
I'm looking up into his sapphire eyes when I feel my own starting to water. I always get so fucking emotional with him, I can't control it.
Bryce is weak and broken for a moment, it's difficult to see him like this. The Bryce I had known all that time ago, now seems was in a different lifetime.
"I can't tell you enough, how grateful I am to have you," still holding my face, his thumb gently caresses over my cheek, leaving a trail of electric. He gently strokes through my hair as I blink the tears back.
I wanted to say something to him but I couldn't bring my mouth move or send any words out.
I wish none of this ever happened. The whole thing is this huge scandalous conspiracy. I feel so bad for him and what he's going though. Everything seems to just be blowing up in his face. He's the hot talk of the school. I wish it could just be Bryce and I in Italy forever.
For some reason I feel as if I'm going to cry.
When he notices the tears swelling in my eyes, moves forward to pull me against his chest.
When his big, heavy, football arms, drape around my petite frame, it feels as if the empty, dark sensation, weighing down on my chest, begins to crumble away.
I try not to start a scene. I'm not going to cry.
For a moment, when I close my eyes and just feel Bryce against me, hugging me, suddenly it's just him and I, again, in the world and nobody else. For just a breath it as if no time has passed since the first day I had told him I loved him. Where had it all gone wrong?
"Thank you for sticking by my side through everything..." he says huskily.
Still against his chest, I look up to meet his gaze. His eyes are always so hard to read, but they're so beautiful. They look like the indigo sky outside.
When meet them, I get weak.
I wrap my arms around his neck, pulling him lower so our lips could touch.
It amazes me how after so much, I still get that lightning bolt of tingling excitement when he touches or kisses me.
Suddenly, once again I feel like this sweet, virgin school girl, so untouched and pure. A little girl who's never met the lips of a boy. The soft, warm, tender lips of a school boy; this feeling isn't just a fantasy, it's real and hot and right in front of me, against me, touching me.
When we break apart for heartbeat, I feel his hot breath panting over my jaw.
He's usually not so gentle with me, but tonight, oddly his hands are more careful and slow than our first time.
They're moving so tenderly around my waist, gliding over the black silk fabric of my tight party dress.
It's classy but just revealing enough to let the imagination wander.
I love feeling sexy for Bryce. Throughout the trial, I began to feel really insecure. I've always tried my best to to think positive and believe Bryce, even when times were tough.
His mouth has returned to mine, this time, starving for taste, he slips his tongue in my mouth.
The glowing embers of desire, low in my stomach and core had transcended into hot lustful flame.
Bryce had a way of power over me using sex and he knows it. My body responds to his touch in way unlike anyone else. I've never felt so in tune with someone before.
Bryce can read me like a play. I'm all his. He's fluent in sex. He knows exactly what gets me going, where to touch me, what to say, how to look at me.
For obvious reasons, he uses this charm he's got to his advantage, taking every opportunity to steal my breath away or send a chill down my spine. It's that look in his eye. It's that flashy, million dollar smile that I can feel between my thighs. It's his hot breath in my ear, whispering dirty, intimate things.
In the right light, Bryce is an incredible lover.
The wine is making me delightful and I'm dying to undress him.
"Come here," I say, grabbing the front of his waist band, tugging him closer, so I can feel his hard on against me.
"Yes, ma'am," he laughs softly, his voice always low and husky when he's flirting. Then we start kissing again.
I unzip his fly to reach into his slacks. A muffled groan escapes his throat as I grab a hold of him.
My stomach does a flip.
He's already so hard for me. His cock is so smooth and thick in my dainty fist.
I break the kiss to say something.
"Oh, Bryce?" I tease him, smiling, "I'm not even naked yet."
I laugh this sweet, exciting laugh.
His smile is all dimples. "Well, you're sexy," he explains himself, again his voice is low and raspy.
My stomach flutters at the thought in the next few moments he would be take care of this screaming desire.
He's got me so turned on now. And he looks delicious; I want to devour this boy.
I'm forcing my tongue back in his throat, my hand down his pants, gripping and stroking his smooth hard on.
"Fuck me, Bryce," I breath between kisses.
I was expecting the next thing to come out of his mouth was some sarcastic or dirty remark, but he doesn't take his time to move and suddenly he picks me up. I wrap my legs around his waist as he carries me to the bed.
"Only because you asked nicely," he says huskily, pinning me against the mattress. There's that wit I was waiting for.
As he kisses me sensually, I hold around his neck, knitting my fingers through his soft bronze hair.
I'm hypnotized by lust; he's grinding against me, pushing his stiffening arousal between my thighs. I'm so intoxicating by this hot feeling of him.
Just as it starts getting good, suddenly there's a knock on the door that scares the fucking daylights out of me. I jump away from him reflexively, my first thought that it's his parents.
Bryce groans with irritation, getting up to answer it.
I get off the bed so it at least appears that we're behaving.
It turns out to just be the fucking chocolate fondue.
Chapter 3: Chapter Three
Jessica Davis. The hot talk of the school. There was no doubt I had heard those rumors about what had happened last year.
A few other girls from the cheer team had warned me to watch out for Jessica. Apparently, the hot scandal was, she and Bryce had hooked up last year before he and I started dating, one girl told me. It was just a hookup, but she was dating Justin Foley at the time, so in order to cover up the fact she cheated on him, she had lied about her and Bryce's intimacy, saying he had raped her. This was common knowledge at Liberty.
So can someone please explain to me why this bitch has the nerve to give me dirty looks in the hallways and attitude at cheer practice as if I were the one who had previously hooked up with her goddamn boyfriend. I am not going to tolerate her passive aggression any longer though.
I'm walking down the hallway with a group of my girlfriends and this time when we pass this Davis slut, the moment she gives me that evil eye, the closest girl to Jess, Maven, sends her leg out to trip her.
The girls laugh around me as we watch Jessica slip in the middle of the busy hallway with a yelp, dropping her books and things.
I didn't want Maven to do that to Jess. I'm not trying to get psychical with this bullshit rivalry.
"What the hell?" Jessica yells, the heavy traffic through the hallway made it hard for her to pinpoint us.
I feel moderately satisfied as we continue down the way and head up the stairs. There is no sign of Jess coming after us. She's probably still picking up her things.
We all split up to go head to our classes. The hallways are nearly empty and I know I'm going to be late if I don't hurry.
"Hey," I hear a familiar voice call behind me. Monty.
I freeze and turn around on my heel to face him. He's about ten paces down the empty hall, advancing towards me with this stupid smile on his face. For some reason, it makes me smile too.
"What's up?" I say first.
"Where are you headed?" He asks, suddenly so interested in my life. Like always, he's wearing his varsity jacket, and reeks of old spice and peppermint gum.
"To class?" I say oddly because it's a dumb question. "I'm going to be late."
"I'm always late," says Monty, scoffing. "Listen, I wanted to ask you..."
I meet his deep gold eyes for the first time this entire interaction. He's strangely serious, which is a rare shade for Monty. It seems as if the thoughts are racing and cloudy in his head and he struggled on the words.
"I...um...do you and Bryce want to come to this party tonight?" He asks, spitting the words out finally...but it doesn't sit right. It just feels as if there was more to say. I have a feeling he was really trying to figure out how to bring up the other thing. The thing that had happened over the summer.
The night is young, full of such thrilling potential. They have the music so loud I can hardly hear what they're saying to each other. The base is quaking through my body, over the foggy vapor and smoke filling up the rover. Everyone's faded. Bryce always drives drunk. They're passing around a blunt in the back.
"Hey roll the windows down if you're going to smoke," Bryce yells to the guys in the backseat.
"Yeah, that was the best night of my life," I hear Monty continue to say to Zach, as he rolls down his window. "Alexis gave me head for like three hours straight. Bitch has a crazy deep throat."
It takes everything in me not to go off on him. Alexis was a sweetheart he did not need to be running his mouth off about her or disrespecting her like that.
Instead of causing a storm, I just roll my eyes and gaze out the window to watch the trees bend and wave at me as we pass.
These boys are sharks.
Was I trapped in the jaws of one of them?
I look over at Bryce, who's skeeted off coke because "it will sober me up to drive."
So annoying. When they're not in school, they're getting fucked up.
I'm not going to lie I'm a little drunk myself. I should be saying we, not they.
Justin passes me the blunt and after taking a good hit, like always, I start coughing and my throat burns.
I'll smoke, but not as much as them.
We get to this party, it's a middle class, two-story just swarming with intoxicated teens and even college kids. I notice college jerseys on some of the boys; some fraternity flags on trucks and cars out front.
There are kids scattered around the yard, there's a group shotgunning beer on the front porch and even some on the roof, dancing, and smoking.
Once inside the energy is loud and exciting. It's just as smoky in the house as it was in the Range Rover. The music is so loud a can feel the bass vibrating through my body. This endless tangle of young, unfamiliar faces usually would intimidate me, but I feel good.
Out of all the esotericism, I spot Sheri Holland, one of my cheer friends.
"Hey I'm going to go talk to, Sheri," the music is so loud I have to lean into Bryce's ear to say.
"Okay," he gives me a nod, "don't wander off too far."
"Okay," I say.
I'm really starting to feel good.
I walk over to Sheri, who's more than happy to see me.
"Beautiful," she addresses me, offering a shot as soon as we're close enough to talk.
"Thank you, babe," I smile and take it from her, and we throw back a shot together.
She makes a sour face, I'm sure I do too.
"Ugh, like nail polish remover," she says.
"Let's take another," I reply, pouring two more shots of Bombay.
We throw them back again.
"Gin's always the worst for me," she says.
"Not me," I laugh. I feel really good now, my head is kind of swimming in this pleasant, warm haze.
"You know Natalie Barile is here," she says but it's hard to hear over the blasting music.
We go out to the garage where they're all playing beer pong on an old dining table.
We meet up with Nat and a few other girls who are off on the sidelines watching and we take a couple more shots.
I'm having a great time, drunk and delightful and laughing with my friends. Though my head starts to spin a bit and it's hot and stuffy in here and it smells like gasoline.
I break away from my group to go back inside. I need a drink of water and need to sit down. It's getting more difficult to walk steadily in a straight line, but I hold the wall for support, ambling my way into the dim and cloudy, crowded living room.
I don't see a single person in here that I know, but I really don't care at the moment, I just need to sit down.
I find this bean bag couch type thing in the corner beside the sofa that no one had claimed yet.
When I fall back into the cushion the room is spinning and still it's kind of hot.
Where is Bryce? I want Bryce. I look around, only to not see him anywhere, but then again I'm not looking very hard. I haven't moved from this spot. I feel as if I'm melting into this soft cushion.
Then something great happens. Coming in from the kitchen area, with a beer in his hand, I see Monty.
He's the only face here I know, so I start waving at him, trying to summon him over here.
When he sees me he smiles and walks this way.
"Hey, Chloe," he grins at me, it's apparent he's more wasted than I am.
"Monty," I say, so relieved to be talking to someone I know.
"What are you doing over here, alone?" he slurs, getting on his knees so we're eye level.
"I can't find Bryce," I say, my eyes scanning the loud, energetic room again in hopes to spot him. "And I don't feel well."
"Don't feel well?" He echoes still smiling. "Well...I'm here."
I eye him strangely.
"Uh, I-I mean...I can get you uh–water or something," he suggests quickly.
I'm too drunk to even process what he's saying. As my head began to swim, my ability to make sense of anything slips right through my fingers.
"Okay, thank you," I say.
He goes off into the kitchen for a minute, then comes back with a solo cup of ice water.
It feels good to drink but everything's still kind of hazy and I'm dizzy. I just want to go to sleep.
After I pass him the cup, I drop back on the couch and close my eyes. The dark seems to make everything spin even more, my whole body feels hot and weak and I cannot bring myself to stretch out of this haze.
I hear Monty lean away from the couch to set down the cup, then suddenly his weight is shuffling abruptly over the bean bag.
I open my eyes to see him settling beside me, trying to cram in next to me on this chair. We're uncomfortably pressed together and it's really kind of odd, but I'm too drunk to protest. If I laid here for more five minutes I'd probably be out. I wish Bryce would walk by or something and take me home.
I've never had Monty so close before. His body heat pressed against my hot, exposed skin wasn't helping this too-drunk feeling I was going through.
There's this off feeling in my stomach I don't usually get, like when I fall off the drop on a rollercoaster. Not the nice, fuzzy kind of feeling I get with Bryce.
"Chloe, listen to me," he murmurs, his voice close enough to I'm ghost over my face. He smells like whiskey. "On a real note, baby.."
This should be good. And why is he calling me baby? I'm so drunk and nothing is making any sense. I'm way too far out to deal with this headache. This is all happening too fast.
My head is spinning and with starry eyes, I look around for my lover again, in this blurry dream of a living room, twinkling with violet ambiance and strange electric.
"I've always thought there's something...special about you," he says low and drunk, then proceeds to play with my hair.
"Special?" I echo, pulling away from him.
What the fuck is going on? Monty has never acted this way towards me. He's always respected Bryce. But right now, he doesn't give a single fuck. He's actually hammered.
Has he always been into me? Or is it just right now because he's entirely too drunk?
I'm actually hammered. I have this strange heavy feeling in my heart; this all just feels wrong. And where the hell is Bryce?
"Chloe, you're so beautiful..." he kind of slurs this time, moving close towards me again, "...and you deserve so much better."
Why the fuck would he say that? He's talking about Bryce. I can't even imagine the hurricane of shit that would go down if he could see this right now.
Suddenly he slings his arm over my shoulders, pulling me so close I can feel his hot whiskey breath fanning over me.
Suddenly it's too much.
"I-I need to go find Bryce," I stutter attempting to get up.
"No, Chloe, wait," he snags ahold of my arm, I try to pull away but there's no use in trying to tug out of his strong grip as he yanks me back down to my spot. "Forget Bryce for a sec, just talk to me," his hungry voice sends a chill down my spine.
"Let go of me," I growl, my tone threatening and low. I'm trying not to draw too much attention to us.
"Monty," said the serious, firm, third voice of Zach, who was standing over our short couch, glaring down at Monty. "What the fuck are you doing?"
"The fucks it looks like?" Monty sneers, then throws an arm around me again, "talking to little Chloe here."
I push him off of me and get to my feet. I know this time he won't try to stop me with Zach here.
"That looked like a little bit more than talking. What the fuck is wrong with you?" Zach demands sharply. He then looks to me, "Are you okay, Chloe?"
"I'm perfectly fine."
"Look, I don't even know what you're talking about, man," Monty sighs, getting up as well, seeming overall annoyed at the situation.
"You're as good as dead when Bryce finds out," says Zach, this time actually getting a reaction out of him.
Monty is froze, his expression as blank as he can manage but it's eating him, you can tell.
At that moment, I finally spot my beloved Bryce come down the stairs with two other guys who I know are like coke dealers or something.
The color in Monty's face drains when Bryce sees us all and wanders this way.
He smiles at us, that famous Bryce Walker smile, and at that moment I could see how he loved his brothers. Furthermore, he was so mellow right now I didn't want to burn any bridges. Suddenly, I am fastened on this idea of him not knowing.
His voice is such a gorgeous relief.
"There you are, Chloe," Bryce says to me and I go running to meet him.
I hug him so tightly causing him to laugh against me at the abnormality of it all.
I look back to Zach, who appears to be hot and ready to spill everything, but then I give him a big smile which only produces some confusion from him.
Monty's is watching too, still just kind of awkwardly quiet.
"Nothings wrong, baby," I answer Bryce, turning back to meet his beautiful, familiar eyes. "I've just haven't been feeling well and I couldn't find you."
"Well, I thought you were with your friends," he says defensively. "I had to go upstairs. My guy is tryna be low key about it."
I don't say anything back this time. I just stand there, blinking up at him, until he finally hugs me against his chest and even kisses the top of my head, "You don't feel well, babe?"
"I drank too much," I mumble against his Liberty sweatshirt.
He smells so nice. I'm so glad he's here now, holding me. I hate it here, Monty ruined everything. I really would much rather be laying in bed, watching Netflix with Bryce.
"Can we go home soon? Back to your house, I mean."
"I guess if you want," he says, his voice low and soft, sliding his hands down to squeeze my ass. I let out a faint gasp and ironically, he sends Monty a little wink.
"Alright boys, we're getting out of here," Bryce nods to them, pulling me off the scene.
I look back for the last time and unintentionally meet eyes with Monty, who's wistfully gazing back at me with dread.
"A party? I don't know, I think he and I were just going to chill at home tonight..." I say, mirroring his composure, awkwardly averting my eyes.
"Alright then, next time, I guess," says Monty shrugging his shoulders. His amber eyes meet mine for another chilling breath. "I've been meaning to tell you something."
My stomach dropped. Oh no. What is he going to say this time?
Riiiing! The bell is loud and scares the daylights out of me. Great, now I'm going to be late. I don't move though, I want to hear what he's about to say.
"I never apologized to you for umm, what happened between us. For what I did," he unexpectedly says.
What a pleasant surprise. I'm so glad finally addressed it.
"Thank you for that, Monty," I nod, returning his smile, then start off down the hall.