I watched Nate take off through the crowd, a small pout tugging at my lips. I didn't like to see him appear so miserable and whilst he put on a good face I knew him well enough to know that he was down. Of course it was the whole Bali thing. I couldn't imagine how he must be feeling right now. I felt a sudden impulse to go after him, but someone clutched at my wrist. I looked up to see Tyler.
'Nate's taking off already?'
I tugged my arm free gently. 'Yeah, he's got a lot on his mind.'
'I see you've been introduced to Rhea then,' Tyler slung an arm around the girl who'd been chatting to Nate and I just now. She looked uncomfortable being so close to him. I gave her a look that said Don't mind Tyler - he's over-friendly with everyone.
'Yeah.' I smiled at her briefly.
'Well I'll leave you two to get to know each other better.' Tyler took off, joining some other friends of his.
'I'm gonna sit down,' Rhea said after a few moments of silence. 'I'm tired - it's been a long journey.'
I followed her to the sofa. 'Oh yeah, bet that was fun.'
'You have no idea.'
I had nothing to say then so I took the opportunity to sip my drink. For a few agonizingly long seconds it was incredibly awkward. Neither of us knew each other well enough to hold up a decent conversation and there was something about Rhea that made me a little uneasy. She seemed a nice enough girl, pretty and quiet, but it was like there was something wrong with her just beneath the surface.
The sofa squashed down beside me as Jan slumped into the space, exhausted. She started to rub her feet.
'How can you wear those?' Rhea questioned, eyeing up her heels. I cast a glance down at her own sparkling black flats.
'I have no idea,' Jan giggled, sitting up. 'My feet are killing me.'
'I'm Rhea,' she introduced herself.
They both shook hands. For some incredulous reason, I felt a bit of jealousy brewing within me. I didn't want Rhea to worm her way into my friendship group, befriend all my friends and get friendly with Nate. But then I felt awful. The poor girl was new, goodness knows what she'd been through at home that had made her leave, and here I was being as hostile as possible.
I sighed, putting my cup to my lips before realizing it was empty. Wow. Already? Time for a refill.
I stood up and was greeted with instant head rush. I faltered slightly, my vision darkening round the edges and waited until everything was clear to go again.
'Hannah, how much have you had to drink?' Jan raised an eyebrow.
'Jan!' I stared at her, aghast. 'I'm not that much of a lightweight, I've only had one drink. And it's only six o'clock.'
'You've got all night remember?'
'Speaking of which, you're crashing here right? Cos I'm sure as hell not gonna let you drink and drive.'
'Well I'm sure as hell not stupid enough to drink and drive... Tyler already said it's fine.' He also made a reference to me spending the night in his bed, but I didn't mention this.
* * * *
Several hours later and pretty much everyone was in the party spirit. I didn't know how much I had had to drink but I felt stupidly clumsy, tripping up and bumping into people. Any other time I would have been embarrassed, but tonight I just didn't care. Rhea had disappeared off somewhere, Jan had spent half the night in the bathroom with her head stuck down the toilet and the last time I'd seen Tyler he was drinking from a beer bong.
'This is a crazy party,' Jan told me when she'd come back. Her mascara had run and she looked a little spaced out.
'What did I tell you?' I had meant to swing my cup up in a gesture of celebration, but there was more alcohol in there than I had intended and it ended up spilling all over Jan's dress.
'Oh my Gosh!' Jan looked at me straight, then burst into fits of laughter. 'You just ruined my dress Han!'
'I would say I'm sorry but it's just too funny. Hey, hey. Hey. Where's Nate?'
'He went home remember?'
'Oh yeah,' I stuck my bottom lip out. 'You know Jan I think I have a thing for him.'
'You're drunk Hannah you don't know what you're saying.'
'Please Jan, at least I can handle my drink. But no I'm being serious. I'm fully aware I'm drunk, but in all seriousness. I'm being serious here okay?'
'Who's being serious?' Tyler's loud voice came from behind and he slung both his arms around me and Jan.
'Where did your t shirt go?' I looked down at his well toned/tanned skin and felt my face explode in warmth.
'Dunno, some girl took it I think. You like what you see?' He waggled his eyebrows at me.
'I think I'm gonna be sick,' Jan muttered again, dashing off.
'Don't take it personally, she's been vomiting all night. Hey aren't your parents in?'
'Nah they took off before it got wild. They know what's gonna go on and didn't wanna stick around to see it. They'll be back tomorrow. Makes a change doesn't it Han?'
'What makes a change?'
'Them being around. Anyone being around.'
Before I could say anything Tyler grabbed my hand and started to lead me through the kitchen. He grabbed a cup off the counter, downed it and slung it behind him before taking me out into his back garden. The sky was an inky black, stars twinkled like little gems but all I could notice was how cold it was.
'Um why are we out here?'
'Needed some fresh air.' He collapsed on the grass. 'Han I'm way too drunk.'
I giggled and sagged down beside him. 'You can never be too drunk.'
'I like the way you think. You look really beautiful tonight, by the way.'
'Oh no,' I whined. 'This is the alcohol talking. We're both incredibly drunk right now and this is the alcohol. Why does alcohol do this? Why does it make us do stuff we're gonna regret in the morning?
'All I said was that you were beautiful. I've always thought that, you know that.'
'I know that. You've let it slip into the conversation once or twice.'
'You know I think this fresh air is making me sober up.'
'I thought fresh air was supposed to make you worse?' I pointed out.
Tyler looked confused for a second and his face was such a picture that I just burst out laughing again. Soon we were both laughing on the grass like a couple of drunk tramps.
'I'm going inside. You coming?' Tyler held out his hand and pulled me up. He pulled me a little too hard though that I fell right into him. I literally face planted his chest. His smooth, tanned chest. I glanced up, he was looking down. Then it all happened before I could stop it. My chin tilted up and my eyes closed. I felt Tyler's lips against mine. I knew exactly what was happening and yet I couldn't stop it. Then I kissed him back. His hands moved from the small of my back, up to my shoulders and into my hair.
My hands were still pressed against his chest, I could feel his muscles flexing, his warm breath hot against my skin.
Then he pulled away.
We stood there for several moments, just looking at each other.
Realizing what a huge, drunken mistake we had both made.