I snort. “Where do you want to go anyway?”
Her white teeth flash, a sharp contrast against her bronze skin. “A party.”
“Anna! You haven’t even heard me out.”
“You know I hate parties.” With the passion of a televangelist on Sunday morning. I suck at small talk and mingling. Give me a booth in a bar and a few good friends, and I’m a happy girl. But parties suck.
Slouching back, Iris picks at the edge of my notebook. “I’m not going to leave you alone. We’ll hang out.”
“We can do that anywhere.” I eye her with suspicion. “Why this party?”
She starts paying undo attention to the condensation on my cup, tracing patterns over it with the tip of her finger. “Well… Henry—”
“You have the filthiest mouth, Anna.” This isn’t a new complaint. She makes it constantly. Not that she’s wrong. I curse when I’m stressed. Or annoyed. Okay, I curse all the time.
“No shit?” My cussing also tends to increase when Henry Ross is mentioned. Henry and Iris have been going out for two years, so you’d think I’d accept his presence in Iris’s life. But I have to grit my teeth every time I see him. He’s a smarmy ass**le who treats Iris like window dressing. He doesn’t so much talk to her as talk at her.
And though my friend is smart, funny, gorgeous, and independent, Henry is her kryptonite. He weakens her, rending her blind to his many faults. Sure, he’s good looking, dark-haired and dark-eyed with a nice smile. He’s also the captain of the lacrosse team and makes sure everyone knows it. But I’m fairly certain he cheats on her. There are too many times when he doesn’t answer her calls or has “important team meetings,” you know, on Friday nights or holidays such as Valentine’s Day. Yeah, right.
As much as I wish I could tell Iris to ditch him, experience with my mom tells me that I’d only strengthen her resolve and drive a wedge between us.
“I know you don’t like Henry,” Iris says now.
While I’m able to keep my mouth shut, pretending to like him is more than I can take. The sleaze always, always, eyes my boobs and ass. Not in the normal way a guy might make a note of them, but in a way that makes me feel covered with slime.
“But he asked me to bring you,” Iris continues.
Of course he did. He knows I don’t like him. Which he takes as a challenge to piss me off. Henry might be a dick, but he’s a smart dick. He knows I’ll look like a jerk if I resist his attempts at polite interaction.
“Why would he do that?” I ask.
“Because he wants me to be happy.” She says this like it’s obvious. “And he knows I want to have a friend with me at his parties.”
Because he’ll ignore her within five minutes of getting there.
“This isn’t one of his team parties, is it?”
“No.” Her eyes are wide and pleading. “It’s just a party, Anna. Geesh.”
“Fine,” I snap. “I’ll go.”
Instantly, Iris hops up and down in her seat. “Yes! We’ll have fun. And then we’ll go dancing.”
Iris is my opposite in all ways small. She loves reality TV, finds movies too long, and only reads when it’s for an assignment. Her idea of fun involves a credit card and an open mall, and she has harbored a massive crush on Justin Bieber, despite all his WTFuckery, since her junior year of high school. Her continuing love of The Bieb is evident by the fact that her favorite nightshirt is a My World concert tee. And while the image of his face plastered over her boobs is more than creepy, I hate that she hides the shirt whenever Henry comes around. Or rather, I hate that Henry makes her feel like she should to hide it for fear he’ll make fun of her.
Despite myself, I glance at the spot where Baylor had been. He’s gone and is probably making plans of his own. I suddenly feel restless. Wrong. Like I don’t know who I really am anymore. Which makes no sense. Maybe I’m coming down with something.
AS I RARELY go to parties, I have no idea what to wear. Jeans and a t-shirt will just get me sent back to my room by Iris. She is definitely of the “if it ain’t tight you ain’t wearing it right” school, especially if she’s planning to hit up clubs afterwards. However I am just as definitely of the “I refuse to be uncomfortable in the name of fashion” school of thought. So where does that leave me?
After forty minutes of cussing and general clothes throwing, I’m in a black camisole with a built-in bra, which is fairly daring for me, considering the size of my boobs, and a soft, A-line skirt that hugs my h*ps but swishes around my thighs and ends a few inches above my knees.
Not wanting to leave my room, I procrastinate by peering into the mirror. My hair has a fuzz factor of three, which is acceptable, and my skin is clear. I apply a sweep of smoky-lilac shadow to make my eyes appear greener and dab a berry lip stain on my lips. So then, I’ve done all I can.
I tromp out to the living room for inspection time. Iris, as usual, looks fantastic. I don’t even know how she does it; she’s wearing tiny black leather shorts and a silky indigo top that hangs over one toned shoulder and is open in the back. If I wore something like that I’d look horrible, but she’s so lean and small, perfection on platform stiletto ankle boots that remind me of horse hooves for some reason.
Her dark eyes narrow as I stand there.
“What’s with the boots?” she finally asks.
“You’re wearing boots.”