Embarrassment seeped into me as I watched the girl who had just handed me the beach ball talk to her sister animatedly over by the bar. I think they were twins. I stood there, wondering why she could have looked so taken aback upon seeing me. Maybe she was embarrassed too! I bit my lip and shook my head, nah; someone like her wouldn’t ever get embarrassed, especially in that bikini. I could never dream of stepping outside into public like that.
I stared down at what I was wearing, a modest black two-piece swimsuit. I wasn’t wearing anything that would distinguish me from the crowd. No, I don’t like to have many eyes me; it always rendered me paranoid somehow. I liked going with the flow, blending into the crowd, it made me feel comfortable and at ease.
“Hey, there you are,” I heard Rufus say behind me. I spun around and looked up at him; he had a winded expression on his face. “Allie, do you have the drinks? I’m so thirsty.”
“Uh,” I looked down and tried to balance the ball that was in my arms. I spilled some of the iced tea onto the ground. I sighed then glanced up at Rufus, “Do you mind helping please?”
He smacked his forehead, “Oh! Sorry!” He took one glass and started to sip it.
I shook my head at him. Rufus was just...Rufus, it’s hard to understand him.
“Ah, that’s so much better, thanks Allie,” Rufus told me with a grin. He rubbed his face and said, “It feels warm outside, doesn’t it?”
I shook my head at him, “No it doesn’t...If it was very warm outside, my hair would be ruined by now.” I dropped the ball to touch my hair, I sighed and felt at my short black hair—it wasn’t frizzing up. Joy. I sipped on my own iced tea and glanced around the place. It seemed like there were more people than ever at Caroline’s get-together. It was quite nerving, I thought that this party was for her friends and people at Compton Prep.
“Ooh, your hair,” Rufus said, shuddering. “You don’t want it to freak out and have a mind of its own now, huh?” He started to laugh.
I scowled at him and said, “Yeah, sure.” I kept looking around at all of the extremely cool or normal people around here. It was ridiculous; Rufus and I didn’t belong here. Honestly, we didn’t usually take a liking to these shallow parties. Ugh, I hate teenage social gatherings. I was only forced to be here because of Rufus and his lame attempts at trying to fit in. He never got over the fact that we are in the population of the Compton Prep Outcasts.
I was okay with that, I actually didn’t care.
“Millefeuille! What the hell are you doing here?”
Rufus and I turned around and saw Anthony Camillo and two of his tools sitting on the pool side. I stood my ground and prepared to fare against these idiots.
“Hi, nice to see you guys...” Rufus said. He grinned and started to pull at his messy blond hair, fixing his glasses all the while. I could tell that he was scared. These guys were horrible. They always bullied Rufus. He was too proud to say that they bullied him; instead, he called it ‘bugging around’ or something else to dumb it down.
The three of them stood up and sauntered over to us. Anthony shoved Rufus a bit before saying, “Nice to see you too Dufus.”
I scowled at him. He must have thought his wordplay on Rufus was very impressive. I rolled my eyes and grabbed Rufus’ arm, “Come let’s go, I told you this party would be stupid...” My ears stung when some amateur DJ took the microphone and shouted something into it. I cupped my ears and winced.
That was Rufus’ chance to get away from my grip. That was also Anthony’s chance to say something, “So...” He said with a smirk, “It looks like your little hipster friend doesn’t want you to talk to me, isn’t that right, Allie?” Anthony sneered at me.
“Ha, hipster Allie,” Colin Bradshaw grunted in response. He tapped Anthony’s arm, “Funny.”
Anthony grinned then looked back at me and Rufus; he glared at Rufus before saying, “Why’d you even show up? Do you have an invitation?”
“Do you have an invitation?” I asked him. I put my empty glass on some nearby table.
Anthony looked taken aback from my comment. He placed his hands on his waist and averted his eyes away from me. I rolled my own eyes and waited for him to come with something clever.
“Wow, Allie, you stumped Anthony,” Rufus said in a stage whisper.
“Mm, yeah,” I answered. I always had to stick up for Rufus, ever since grade school. It was quite tiring, but Rufus was the only friend I had. He was better than a best girlfriend anyways. None of that hot air would happen if I’d like a guy, because Rufus wouldn’t compete with me anyways. He’s too busy trying to catch Caroline’s attention. He has to realize though, Caroline—some stiff girl with a pole up her (you get it...)—isn’t his type at all.
Anthony scoffed and said, “Stumped my ass you guys, honestly, you think I can’t come up with anything to say?” He rolled his eyes at us and then said, “The fact is... I don’t care much.”
“Hmm,” I murmured in response. Apparently that was the only thing we shared—our indifference to current events. How lovely. I threw the amateur DJ a spiteful look as the screeched into the microphone.
“Helloooo ladies and gents! What’s up insufferables?”
“Oh egad, he’s using his word of the day!” Rufus whispered in my ear.
I laughed and replied, “Watch, out, don’t let him hear you use that word.”
Rufus laughed, “Egad...” He straightened up and veered his attention to the front.
I noticed that Anthony, Colin, and their friend Skyler Brady were giving their full attention to the novice DJ or master of ceremonies...Call him what you may. It was quite disturbing to watch how they vied for his attention. I at least thought that Anthony was a tad bit smarter than that.
“Who’s up for a little dance showdown?!” The DJ, some hipster, was prancing around on the stage animatedly. He waved his hands around and said, “Let’s go, come on now!” He was now searching the audience.
“Ugh, yuck...” I noted to Rufus. He snorted at my disgust. I crossed my arms and kept a still face anyhow. What I hated most was dancing. It bothered me. It was due to the fact that everyone had to watch me do it. That was why I quit my mother’s jazz class last year, when she finally gave me the right to ‘choose paths’, as she described it.
Suddenly, as the DJ came by our side, with his hands outstretched, I was thrust forward. I ended up bumping right into him, knocking the microphone into his mouth. I managed to turn and hear Anthony shout, “That girl wants to dance!”
The DJ pushed me back, “Whoa now girl, don’t be so eager. Now, come on with me.” He took hold of my wrist.
I gritted my teeth and stood in place. “No, listen...I didn’t want to...”
“Hey, no sweat—thirty seconds, I promise.”
“Yeah, thirty seconds Allie,” Anthony sneered. He and his friends laughed.
I heard the first few bars of death chime through my ears as I was guided up the small makeshift platform known as the stage. I gulped as I stared at everyone below me. I spotted Rufus. He had his hands over his face, already preparing for my funeral. He must have been happy. I told him once that I would give him all of my Capcom vs. Marvel series games to him. Yeah, he was happy.
“It was a mistake,” I told the DJ, while he turned the music up. I tightened my black sarong and felt fear ferment beneath the pit of my stomach. “It was a mistake,” I repeated, to no one, since the DJ had gotten off the stage. Before leaving, he handed me his microphone.
People started to cheer now. I flushed and shimmied a bit. Only a bit. Thank God I had ten years of dance experience with me.
“Yeah! Shake it girlfriend!” Anthony shouted in mockery.
I growled then threw the microphone at him. He managed to dodge it. Instead, it hit this red head guy behind him. He fell over. I gasped and cupped my mouth.