Joy thumbs her phone, bringing up Google Maps. The blue screen spotlights her face. She is so pretty. She’s wearing a tiny, black dress, her breasts popping out of the low cut of the fabric. Those breasts attract so much attention that sometimes they feel like a separate entity. Sometimes I think it’s what it must feel like to hang out with a celebrity.
I glance down at my purple shirt with my new skirt and feel butterflies in my stomach. I should have worn the black shirt. The black shirt makes me look like I have a bit of boobs rather than the mosquito bites that I’m currently rocking.
“It’s just up ahead,” Joy says, tossing her phone back to her purse but hitting my foot instead. Well, the pill has kicked in.
The butterflies in my stomach are now in overdrive as I look at the small rundown houses, sandwiched together on tiny lots. There are people everywhere, sitting on stoops and talking on lawns. You won’t see that on my street. Every gated mansion is separated by a golf course-sized lawn. The owners only see their front lawns when they’re driving past them into their underground garages.
“Right there,” Joy says, pointing at the gray house with half the neighborhood on the front lawn. I gulp as she pulls up to the curb across the street.
Maybe I’ll wait in the car.
I’d much rather be at home in my pajamas, balls deep in a good book but I’m constantly feeling pressure to go out and enjoy my partying years. Every commercial, ad, movie, and show has hot eighteen-year-olds partying and having fun but whenever I’m in that situation I just get anxious and feel more of an outsider than I usually do.
Joy steps out of the car and smooths out her dress while I try to gain the courage to open the door.
“Let’s go, Mackenzie,” she says as she leans down into the car. My eyes zero in on her massive cleavage as she bends over.
“Screw it,” I mouth as I open the door.
But I nearly crawl back into the passenger’s seat when I see everybody on the front lawn staring at the hot blond in the nice car with her frumpy friend.
Joy senses my hesitation and runs over, her heels clickity clacking on the pavement, and grabs my wrist.
“I’ll stay with you the whole time,” she promises.
I’ve heard that before.
The crowd parts for Joy as she walks up to the front door with her chin in the air like she owns the place. She’s dragging me behind her. I nod and smile awkwardly at all of the people looking at me while we all wonder what the fuck I’m doing here.
The music inside is loud. And horrible. It feels like the music playing in Clockwork Orange when the guy is getting tortured, only with a lot more swear words. The furniture is cheap and broken and the lights on the ceiling are missing fixtures—the bare bulbs are blindingly bright. It looks like the interior designer was a crackhead.
There are more people inside than outside. They’re drinking cheap beer and whiskey straight from the bottle.
Needless to say, I don’t like it here.
“Brad!” Joy screams as she wraps her arms around a muscular guy with a nice smile. He is one of Joy’s hotter conquests and now I understand why she dragged me all the way down here.
“This is my friend, Mackenzie,” she says over the loud music.
Brad nods quickly at me and then begins kissing Joy’s neck.
“Nice to meet you too,” I say as I fidget with my hands.
I try to blend into the peeling wallpaper as I pull out my phone and stare at the screen, wishing that I could crawl inside it.
Getting crazy at a sick party with Joy! I post on my Facebook wall. Because that’s what people my age do: stand around awkwardly at parties and post how awesome it is on social media.
I hold my breath and look up and there is a sketchy-looking guy with long greasy black hair on the other side of the room staring at me. He is tall and muscular, not in the hard, airbrushed way that Brad is, but more of an ‘I work in construction all day, but drink beer all night’ kind of muscular. His nose is crooked, like it was broken and never fixed. He smiles at me and he has the missing tooth to match.
I smile awkwardly and look back down at my phone as my cheeks get hot. One like on my Facebook post. Thanks, Grandma.
“Can you get us some beers?” Joy asks, gasping for air as she pulls away from Brad’s mouth. His hands are squeezing her ass.
I almost answer that she shouldn’t be mixing alcohol with that pill that she took in the car, but she’s back to tasting Brad’s throat.