“Lily, stop that. It’s distracting the whole class,” Mr. Hardian says, cutting into my thoughts. I squint at him, confused for a moment. Then I realize I’m tapping my pencil against my desk, and abruptly stop to avoid further chastisement.
He returns to his lecture, pacing around the classroom as teachers often do to make sure no cell phones are being used discreetly under desks.
I heave a long sigh, desperate to escape the dreary classroom. I’d rather be at soccer practice, and that says a lot since we lost to our rival team yesterday and Coach definitely has some killer workout in store for us today. I gaze out towards the muddy soccer fields. Today has been a crappy day, as the sky has been spitting down at us for the past few hours. October has finally started to turn somewhat cold, and the rain, which would have been a refreshing pleasure a month ago, will feel bone-chilling and nasty today.
I focus back on Mr. Hardian and his lecture for a moment, but delve back into my thoughts, ignoring the analysis of the civil war and other information I’m not interested in.
Automatically, my mind returns to that summer night, one of the last before school started. He had taken my hand, and we had stumbled into the woods and into the shed that belonged to Sabrina, one of my closest friends and the host of the party. It was a fun party, one last celebration of summer before it was washed away with the stress of school.
I was surprised when Cole had grabbed my hand, but was soon entranced by his electric blue eyes as I followed him out of Sabrina’s basement and into the night. I barely processed the song of crickets and the way the wet grass tickled my feet as I attempted to keep my balance, slipping in my flip-flops. I had already taken five shots, and I had seen Cole take at least four, probably more. His tall, six foot figure was easy enough to follow in the dark, but I grasped his smooth hand tightly, fearing the dark and what lay beyond in the woods.
He closed the shed door softly behind us, muffling the sound of the loud music booming from the house. His hand slipped out of mine but quickly found my face. He gently cupped my left cheek, and I leaned back against the hard wooden wall of the shed.
I don’t remember how we started kissing, much to my disappointment. What I do remember is Cole whispering into my ear, “God Lily I have wanted to do this for so long, you have no idea,” before taking off the casual purple halter top I had been wearing. His hand found his way into my tight jean shorts and I drunkenly fumbled into his athletic shorts. We didn’t have sex from what I can remember, but I trust myself enough to not have lost my virginity in Sabrina’s shed.
I barely recall what his kisses felt like, but I do know they were soft and wet, somewhat sloppy and when he stopped I remember the way I yearned for more.
However, I haven’t talked to Cole since that night. It’s been about two months now.
“Remember that the essay on the emancipation proclamation is due tomorrow. There are two minutes left of class, you may start to pack up now,” Mr. Hardian announces, awakening me from the lusty flashback.
As I zip up my backpack, I return to the thought of Cole. Cole. His tall lanky body, his coarse, black hair that curls up in an attractive flip near his forehead. His startling blue eyes, his taciturn demeanor, his abs that make my heart pound with indulgement. I admire him, especially on the soccer field. He is fast, he is coordinated, and he is skilled. He made varsity this year, which is pretty great for a sophomore.
To say the least, it hurt a lot when he didn’t talk to me in chem class the first day of school. I knew it was going to be awkward, but whenever he comes into close contact with me he keeps his head down, his eyes averted and tries to avoid anything that includes me.
If he had wanted to do that for so long why was he suddenly ignoring me? I had felt the same way...
I swing my backpack over my shoulders and walk quickly through the maze of desks to the door as the bell rings. I tredge to my locker to retrieve my soccer bag, dreading the pain that lies ahead. My locker creaks open, and I fumble to pull out my bulky bag from inside the locker.
Someone grabs my shoulders from behind me, and I gasp sharply. I hear the unmistakable high pitched laughter that could only belong to Sabrina from behind me.
“Jeez Lily! Chill! It’s just me!” She exclaims.
Sabrina is beautiful. She has shoulder length, silky light brown hair with a bronze complexion. She has all the right curves in all the right places, as outlined by the spandex and tight-fitting shirt she has changed into for her volleyball practice. Her face glows with happiness, and her smile is brilliantly confident with a hint of mischief. I pale in comparison to her, with my athletic body (which unfortunately comes with a chest that just barely fills a 34A cup) and long curly blonde hair that seems unusually dull next to her shimmery straight locks. Clearly, she attracts more boys than I do, but I’m okay with that, since the few that I do attract usually stick around for a while.
“So Eric is having a Halloween party tomorrow night and of course you’re invited too. We’re pregaming at my house with Steph and Harper at 5:30. You down?” She asks.
I smile. Sabrina always finds her way into a party. “Yeah I’m down. Have fun at practice and try not to flash any boys too much of your ass while you’re at it,” I joke.
She rolls her eyes at me. “Fuck you,” she replies as she jokingly flips me off when she thinks I have turned around. She walks off towards the gym with Harper, who also plays volleyball.
I get changed quickly and walk out into the cold drizzle, finding Steph quickly. We brace ourselves for the hellish next hour and a half.
It was the first home football game, the day it all started. To be honest it hadn’t been all that fun, due to the fact that Sabrina had taken eight shots and was truly out of control. Of course, I was her caretaker.
“Lil, I am so drunk,” she slurred next to me.
“No shit,” I had replied. I had only taken two shots since I wasn’t really in the mood to drink. I had had a bad migraine all day and I did not want to be hungover the next day.
It was a cool night, and the energy was high. All of the kids around me were hyped up, most of them drunk or high in some way, shape, or form.
Steph was next to me, smiling and cheering on, engaged in the game. Her boyfriend is on the football team, and Steph rarely drinks so she was fully alert that night.
The game finished, and the crowd went ecstatic since we had won. I tried to feel happy for the team, but my spirit was running low. I just wanted to go home, exhausted from a week of intense soccer workouts.
All the football boys ran up into the stands, sweaty, but welcomed by the cheering crowd. Preston, Steph’s boyfriend, ran straight to her. She high-fived him and kissed him on the cheek, congratulating him. Steph and Preston have always been so happy with each other. They’re so cute together.
“Lily! Come here! I need to show you something,” a low voice called to me from a few steps below me. I turned my head, staring down at Tony King, one of my close friends who happens to be pretty damn attractive. I smiled back at him, feeling my heart leap inside my chest. He is shorter than Cole, but far more muscular. His tan skin rippled under his football uniform that night. His chestnut brown hair is styled perfectly, and his dark brown eyes are heart-melting.
“Steph! Preston!” I tried to catch the attention of the smiling couple. They both looked at me. “Look after Sabrina, I just need to go do something,” I disappeared into the crowd before they could argue with me.
Tony led me away from the bleachers, but took a sharp turn to duck under them instead.
“Come here, I have something to tell you,” he murmured in his deep voice.
I leaned in towards him, and all of a sudden he pulled me into his lips, and I could smell the sweat that lingered on him, and the Old Spice deodorant that he wore.
His kisses were strong and sweet, and I immediately kissed back. His hands trailed down to my butt, and he pulled me closer, feeling me gently.
Everything in me buzzed warmly, pleasantly, and I smiled despite myself.
My phone started to ring. Perfect timing. I glanced down quickly to pull it out of my pocket, and it was Steph.
“I’m sorry. I have to answer this,” I said, much to my dismay.
He nodded in understanding, which I appreciate.
“Lily, you need to come back here right now. Sabrina just threw up.”
And that was the end of my hook up with Tony King.
Friday drags by. In chem, I get a test back. I get an 89.
I turn to Amanda, the girl who sits next to me and who is one of my friends.
“What’d you get?” I ask.
She laughs hesitantly. “A 73...my parents will be so pissed,” she says.
“Ok that is not that bad! I’ve gotten way worse, trust me,” I reply. But, I know that if I got a 73 I wouldn’t be too happy either.
“What did you get?” She asks me.
“I got an 89. But this is, like, the only unit I’ve actually understood this year,” I say. That’s a lie. Chem is relatively easy to follow.
“Wow I’d kill for that score,” she says, and turns around to talk with the other person adjacent to her.
“Nice job Lily,” I hear from behind me. I’m so surprised to hear his voice I almost don’t reply.
I turn around and manage a weak smile. “Thanks,” I strain to contain the shock in my voice.
Did Cole finally talk to me after months of silence? I smile to myself, relieved that he has finally spoken some words to me. I’m also angry. Angry at him for leaving me in the dark for so long, with no clue to how he has felt. I’m still in the dark. I still have no idea how he feels about me or our situation.
The day finally ends, but we still have soccer practice. Luckily, it’s a much sunnier day today, and the worst of the workout is behind us. I feel pretty happy, and I’m definitely looking forward to the party tonight.
“Wait up Steph,” I call out to Steph, who is a few steps ahead of me. We walk side by side into the warm sunshine, appreciating the golden rays.
“You pumped for the party tonight?” I ask.
“Yeah I guess so. Don’t go too crazy tonight Lil. You guys worry me sometimes,” Steph cautiously mutters.
Steph is like the Mom of our friend group. She’s responsible and sensible, yet she has softer side when she’s with Preston. I can almost feel her wild instincts when she sneaks away into his car with him, and to be honest, sometimes she worries me. At least she doesn’t drink too often, like Sabrina, Harper, and I. Sabrina and Harper are far worse than I am, but I have gotten wasted a few times and Steph has been there to take care of me.
I watch as her auburn braid swings in front of me. She has a tall lanky body, a freckled faces, and piercing green eyes. She starts to jog through the field, and I follow.
All I have to do is get through this practice, and then I can lose control.
We’re in Sabrina’s room, sitting on her queen bed. All of us are cats, with the cat eared headbands, the black crop tops, and the snug black leggings that smoothly display our butts or lack thereof. (Sorry Steph!)
“So Lil, both Cole and Tony will be there tonight. Which one will it be?” Sabrina asks with a smirk.
“Both,” I laugh, a little too loudly. We’re not even taking shots. We’re all drinking straight from the bottle, a handle of grape vodka that Harper got from her older sister.
“How about you, Sabrina? What lucky guy will it be this night?” Harper questions, her blue eyes sparkling.
“Hmmm...Eric maybe. I was also thinking about Tommy too,” Sabrina responds.
“Slay Sabrina,” Steph chimes in, clearly bored as she is the only sober one in the room.
We hear Preston honk his horn from outside. He has a car and can drive, since he is a year older than all of us. Steph definitely scored with him.
We clatter down the stairs, and slide on the slippery wooden floors to make it to the front door. We slide into Preston’s car, all of us snug in the backseat, squished together.
As soon as we get there, Harper, Sabrina and I bolt out of the car, eager to get away from Steph and Preston. None of us wants to witness them hooking up.
Inside, the living room is dark, with only a disco light playing colors all over the ceiling and walls. Everything spins, and I fall into a wall, but I feel no pain. Laughing it off, I immediately bounce back to Sabrina and Harper and we make our way onto the dancefloor.
I have no idea how long we spend dancing, but we’re having a great time, spinning and twirling away into the vibrant colors of the disco light. We laugh at nothing and everything, sipping on warm beers and holding hands, sweaty palm to sweaty palm.
The colors blur together, and my heart pounds to the bone-buzzing beat of the song. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch sight of a familiar figure standing by the doorway.
My breath gets caught in my chest, which seems to tighten suddenly.
He’s looking directly at me with those blue eyes. Everything in me is suddenly clear and 100% alert. He’s looking at me. He’s looking at me.
I find myself swaying through the crowd of people, his eyes reeling me in. I’m at the doorway now, standing so close to him.
“Why haven’t you talked to me for all this time?” I feel my lips moving, almost against my will.
“You haven’t talked to me, Lily. I was waiting for you to talk to me,” he says, his blue eyes searching my face.
I had never thought about it this way.
“Oh,” I manage to whisper.
He leads me away from the music, the noise, the colors. Upstairs. Our footsteps echo painfully in my head, and my sub-conscious is warning me about where this could all lead. He pushes open a door on the landing, and we walk quietly into the bedroom.
He pushes me up against the door and starts to kiss me, softly and slowly at first, but soon I feel the kisses deepening and his hands pulling my shirt off. He pulls me onto the bed with him, and he too, removes his shirt. He continues to kiss me, and I feel his fingers playfully tug at the waistband of my leggings. He starts to shimmy my pants over my butt, and that’s when I come to my senses.
“Cole! Stop! I’m not doing this,” I cry, suddenly aware of his intentions. I start to pull my pants back up and roll off the bed.
“Lily wait! I didn’t mean it in that way. I actually like you,” he says in a rushed voice.
“I’m sorry. I can’t…” My voice trails off as I find my shirt and escape out onto to the landing.
My face feels hot, too hot, and my hands are shaking. I pull my shirt back on and take a deep breath. I return to the kitchen downstairs, and wash down my easiness with another shot.
I find Sabrina, who is dancing her ass off back in the living room.
“Hey girl!” She shouts at me from across the room.
I dance my way over to her and we dance together, and I know everything is alright once again. My mind leaves the thoughts of Cole and what went on in that bedroom.
I’m at ease once more, or at least until I feel a slap on my ass.
I whip around, ready to confront the person who is bold enough to touch me like that.
It’s Tony, standing in front of me with a stupid grin pasted on his face.
“What the fuck?” I blurt out in my sudden flash of anger.
“Lily we need to hook up again. Please,” he slurs.
“No fucking way. Why did you just slap my ass in front of everyone?” I ask angrily, the heat rising in my face. Sabrina stops dancing, watching the conversation unfold, standing by me.
“Stop being so mad baby,” he says. I’m disgusted.
“Go home, Tony. Just go home,” I respond, too angry to say anything else.
I walk away, and Sabrina follows, knowing not to ask any questions when I’m in this state.
“Sabrina, I need to go home. I’m going to see if Steph and Preston are around to give me a ride,” I say, too bitter to stay. My night has been ruined.
“Ok, you do you girl. I’ll miss you on the dancefloor,” she makes a pouty face and dances into the crowd.
I spot Steph and Preston and they agree to give me a ride. Both of them are sober, and agree on not returning to the party.
“Thank you so much,” I mutter as I hop out of Preston’s car and onto my front lawn.
The lights in my house are off, thank god. I’m beginning to sober up, but I still reek of alcohol. I slip in through the backdoor, and strip in the bathroom, immediately throwing my clothes in the washing machine.
I let the hot water run over me, cleansing me of my concerns, temporarily.
I happily slide into bed, exhausted. I check my clock, and see it’s 12:30 am. The party won’t slow down for at least another 45 minutes. I finally let my anger swell inside of me, the heat of it burning inside of me. I’m sobbing into my pillow, from the intense anger that’s building inside of me.
God, I swear if either Cole or Tony ever pulls that shit again.
I’m slowly drawn up through the depth of sleep by the warm rays of sunshine dancing on my face. There’s a moment when full consciousness hasn’t hit yet, when the realization of what happened last night hasn’t slammed into my brain.
A fleeting moment. And then comes the next moment, when the pounding headache from the vodka bludgeons my head, and the white hot anger from last night sparks once again.
I moan, and reach for my phone. My heart beats rapidly as texts both from Cole and Tony flash upon the screen.
I read Cole’s first: lily - i am so sorry about last night. I was in no way trying to force you into anything that u didn’t want to do. I feel really badly and i like you more than you know. I dont want to ruin what we have. Ive liked you for months now, and i need to be with you. Please be my girlfriend maybe? I respect u and i understand if u dont want to answer. <3
My anger fades slightly, reading the heartwarming text from Cole. I start to read Tony’s: Lily I have no idea what happened last night but I do remember you being mad at me so whatever I did I take full responsibility for it and please know I am really really sorry. It was probably unacceptable and you don’t deserve any disrespect at all. This may be a bad time but I really like you and I would love it if we started dating. Lmk what you think. Again I’m so sorry.
What? I rarely get asked out, and all of a sudden I get asked out by two guys on the same day. I guess when it rains it really pours. I’m so taken aback that I forget my anger for a moment.
Who do I pick? I like both of them, and I know that I have it in me to forgive them. We were all drunk, after all.
God. How can choosing be so hard? Cole, the way he makes me feel electrified when he touches me. Tony. The way he warms me deep in my chest when I catch his eye.
Two boys, impossible to decide who to date and who to let go. I flop on my bed, exasperated, and achey from dancing so much last night.
Years from now, this decision will hardly matter. Highschool will be over soon enough, and this choice will seem distant in a matter of months. But, this is now. This decision is now. And I have to decide between both of these boys. I am completely and utterly torn.
Finally, I text back.
Yes. I’ll date you as long as you never do what u did last night again.
I hit send.