It’s just a party, I try to convince myself. I’ve been to a lot of parties. How is this one different?
“You know, pacing won’t help.” Gram tells me from her seat.
I stop for a moment and look at her. I wish that I was that calm but I’m not. I’m freaking out. “This is ridiculous.”
Right now, Gram and I are in our hotel room. We’re waiting for the time I can enter my party. Personally, I don’t get why my party has to be this formal. I’ve argued this point to Gram every time we sat together in the dining room to plan. All she says is that it has to be like this. I only get to be eighteen once after all.
I try to wipe my sweaty hands on my dress. My dress isn’t absorbent enough. “Gram, I’m really having second thoughts on this.”
“I’m surprised you aren’t hyperventilating yet.” Gram snickers.
I shoot her a glare. After Charlotte and I came home last night, Gram lectured me on not telling her. I know that I hurt her feelings when I did so now, I’m trying to tell her everything. “The room is air- conditioned. How can I be sweating right now?” I rant. Right now, we’re inside a small room and Gram, Charlotte and I are waiting for the time that I can enter my party.
“Here.” Charlotte hands me a paper towel and I vigorously rub my hands on it. The towel is wet in seconds.
“I’m really nervous.” I say, sitting down. Never before have I ever been this nervous. I wasn’t even this sweaty when I had my first kiss with Riley. Why does this party feel so much more important?
“You look like you found out Sirius Black died.”
There standing in the door is Julie, my best friend. She’s wearing a beanie to protect herself from the cold weather outside and she’s smiling so smugly.
“Julie!” I hug her as fierce as I can. It’s such a surprise to see her. Her family moved to the next city a few months back. “How could you! I’m still grieving over Cedric Diggory!”
Julie sits down on a chair and sighs. “I’m exhausted, if you even want to know.” We both look out the window and see snow lightly falling. “First I had to look for the perfect present for you then drive three hours to pick it up. Then, I had to drive four more hours here. Do you have any water?”
“Here,” Charlotte gives her a cup and smiles.
I can see Julie’s confusion on her face as she takes in Charlotte. Instead of asking me, she sips her drink thoughtfully and slowly. “You must be Charlotte Ames.”
My eyes almost pop out of their sockets. “Julie, how do you know about Charlotte?” I don’t even recall calling Julie about her. In fact, Julie and I have never been in recent contact lately.
“I called last night to tell you I’d be here but Gram answered the phone instead. She told me you were out with her.” Julie tsks. “I can’t believe I had to find out that your mother’s best friend is staying over from your grandmother.Maybe I should take back your present.”
I hold my hands up in the air. “Hey! I’m sorry for not calling you. Besides, you should have called my phone. Why did you call the landline?”
“I thought you’d be resting the day before a huge party. Which reminds me,” Julie walks over to Gram. “You really did a good job on the party. It’s really extravagant.”
Gram looks at me. “At least someone appreciates my efforts.”
“I appreciate you!” I retort.
“Not as much as Julie.” Gram replies and goes into a deep conversation with Julie.
I sit at the corner and watch them laugh at my own expense. I sigh. I desperately want them to include me in the conversation but I’m sure they would find a way to embarrass me. I start to imagine what would happen if Riley joined their group. I blush with embarrassment at just the thought.
I glance around until my gaze lands on the clock. “It’s time!” I tell everyone in the room.
“How are you feeling?” Gram asks me.
I scowl at her. “Irritated. You guys should stop embarrassing me.” I mutter.
“At least you’re not nervous.” Julie mutters. “I did a public service. When you’re nervous, you’re a danger to the public.” She hugs me. “You can thank me later.”
We all walk to the room where the party is held. I can already hear the music and chatter from the people inside. I start to become nervous again. “I can’t do this.” I take a step back.
Julie grips my hand and gives me a squeeze. “It’s going to be okay. What could possibly go wrong?”