My father didn’t protest about me going to this party. He knew very well there would be drinking and dancing but he trusted me. This house was in a gated community so I assumed cops would crash this for sure. I had made plans to crash at Sarah’s later tonight.
When we pulled up a bunch of girls walked up to Sarah and Derek like they were celebrities. This place was flamboyant, huge, and shiny inside. Everything seemed to be updated in the house like they had to have the new big thing. The back yard had a view of the ocean and they had an outside pool as well as an inside one.
There were kids with drinks that varied but I stuck with an unopened water bottle to avoid the alcohol that was snuck into the drinks. Looking around at these kids it made me wonder if my mother was a drinker or a partier… It wasn’t worth the pondering anyway. Sarah seemed to love the drinks and Derek didn’t have a cup in his hand at all. All he had was the attention of most of the girls in this room.
People began dancing or their idea of what dancing should be. I felt something in my back pocket then I felt it again. I turned and some dude with a smirk was grabbing at me.
I grumbled, “Leave me alone.” He did it once more until he got knocked onto the ground.
On the ground Derek was punching at the guy but whoever he was he got a punch in at Derek. Sarah attempted to pull the guy off but none of them would budge. Finally I got fed up with it and pulled Derek’s shirt while Sarah kicked the other guy down. I dragged Derek up stairs to search for a bathroom so he could clean himself up.
After a couple of tries I found the bathroom halfway down the hall. We both walked into the bathroom without a word in edgewise. He splashed water on his face and I handed him a towel. Above his lip he was bleeding still but it would be cured within a couple of hours. The perks of having a doctor for a dad and being extremely clumsy was you knew when things were going to heal nicely or not.
His jaw had been clenched as I took his fist and cleaned it off with alcohol I found in the cupboard. I sighed, “The more you move the more it will hurt Derek.” He sat on the counter as I cleaned him up some more. Finally all bleeding had stopped but he would need bandages later if he really wanted. I made do with what I had in here.
Once I finished he kissed my cheek and sighed, “Thanks.” I think I died a little on the inside. I tried to brush it off.
I shrugged, “No problem. You didn’t have to do that you know.”
He got off the counter and shook his head, “That guy is a pervert.”
“What’s his name?” I murmured.
He glared at the floor, “Steve, he is on the team so he won’t be nice at practice.”
“You shouldn’t have done that though. I mean I didn’t need you to-”
He cut me off, “You can’t just thank me? I got him off of you didn’t I?”
I sighed, “You wouldn’t have gotten hurt and now at school tomorrow people will talk. I just don’t want to be the center of the rumors.”
He smirked, “I wouldn’t worry the raffle will be at the top of the hot topics list.”
“Right the raffle… Izzy was talking about that.”
“Did you enter it?” He seemed eager.
I rolled my eyes, “The chances of even getting chosen are slim. Besides I wasn’t planning on going but your sister insisted.”
His eyebrows furrowed, “Alone?”
My voice grew shaky; “No I’m uh going with Matt, as friends. We weren’t going to go, but we figured since we didn’t have dates why not.”
“Oh. Well who knows who my date will be it kind of worries me.” He sighed rubbing the back of his neck, “I wish I didn’t have to do this or else I would have asked you.”
I shrugged, “Well don’t worry about it anyway I am horrible with dancing.”
He flashed me that oh so genuine smile of his, “Then I suppose you should save me a dance then.”
“If you treasure your feet I wouldn’t…” I murmured as I walked out the door.
In the car ride home you could almost feel the intensity. Sarah defiantly had something on her mind, which didn’t appear to be good. As Derek pulled into the driveway I followed them into the house to get some rest before we would have to leave again for school.
When I grabbed my pajamas in Sarah’s room I was told we would be sharing a bed. Walking over to the bathroom I saw Derek’s door cracked open slightly. Curiosity took over me and I felt the need to take a peak. He was pulling the blankets off his bed so he could get into it, but when I walked in it snapped him out of his trance.
“What are you doing in here?” He asked with a smirk.
I shrugged, “I was curious…”
“Well did you find what you were looking for?”
“I guess so…your room was a lot cleaner in my mind.” I walked toward him slowly.
He chuckled, “Sorry to disappoint…”
Once I my face was inches apart I leaned in only to be rejected. He sighed, “I-uh can’t do this right now…I mean my sister is right next door and my parents down the hall.”
I nodded feeling hurt, “Yeah totally…I understand.” Quickly I made my way out of his room feeling completely mortified. That is the last time I put myself out there.
When I got back to Sarah’s room she looked really tired I probably looked twice as bad. “Can I ask you something Em?”
I gave her a nod as I let out a yawn, “Sure.”
She fiddled with her fingers, “You don’t like my brother right? I mean I know how cool he is at school, but I mean I’m used to girls using me to get to him…”
I gulped, “I don’t like him like that at all,” maybe even more than that…“he would never like me that way anyway Sarah don’t worry about it.”
She sighed to herself, “He does though…like you I mean. That’s what worries me…”
The alarm clock woke both Sarah and I up for school with annoyance. She hit the clock with her fist and crawled out of the bed. I followed her into the bathroom to groom myself. I finished before Sarah considering she did more than I did in the morning. Quickly I got dressed so I wouldn’t be the one making them late.
Once I was ready I walked downstairs to find Judie in the kitchen. She smiled, “Well, good morning. Can I have Ellie make you something?”
I shook my head, “No thank you…do you have coffee?”
She nodded, “Of course, I have some brewing right now.”
Taking a seat in the den I fiddled with my zipper on my backpack while I waited. Derek strutted into the den flawlessly, “Good morning, beautiful.”
I sighed so now he wants to flirt with me… “Morning.”
He sat down next to me with a curious face, “Are you okay?”
I shrugged to myself. “To be honest I don’t know.” He chuckled to himself.
I glared. “What is so funny?”
He flashed that cocky smile of his. “You’re just adorable when you’re angry…”
Whatever ounce hatred I felt for him last night vanished from the second he smiled.
I groaned. “That’s not what I was going for you know.”
Brushing a strand of hair out of my face he smiled. “I know.”
The car ride to school wasn’t normal but it wasn’t as awkward as I anticipated. All Sarah could talk about was the dance tonight and the raffle. Derek just stared at the road with a plain face.
Pulling into the parking lot we all got out and I stayed behind with Derek while Sarah walked up to Brittany sitting at a table. His fingers intertwined with mine as he walked with me to my locker. My hand felt numb like there wasn’t any blood flowing to that exact spot.
At my locker I pulled out my textbook and spiral notebook. On the loud speaker a voice announced, “Attention my gladiators! We have the winners of the raffle please come up to the office to find out who your dates will be: Rosie Lee Ann, Sarah Mason, Elizabeth Anderson, Margret Sanders, Lonnie Sandoval, Andy Hernandez, Gretchen Holmes, Selena Foster, Erin Regan and Brittany Allan…” I had stopped listening for the last ten names.
Derek let out a sigh, “Well I’m supposed to be headed that way…”
I smiled, “Well don’t look so bummed you never know you could fall for your date.”
I noticed Sarah glancing down the hallway this made me back away from Derek slightly, “Well you should get going you don’t want to keep your girl waiting.”
Before he said anything I closed my locker and took off into another direction. I had to walk to class alone because Izzy and Sarah had won the raffle. Looking around my class the girls seemed to be talking to most of the guys in our class. I assumed it was because they were the unfortunate ones to lose the raffle so they had to work their way by getting asked by their last resort dates.
I felt bad for these guys but then again they probably knew they had it coming. Izzy and Sarah walked in beaming with delight. Sarah sat down on my left and Izzy at my right.
Sarah immediately started talking, “You will never guess who my date is!
“Who is it?” I asked.
She was beaming, “Tyler Hughes! He’s one of my brother’s friends. I hope he is just as excited as I am!” Sarah got up to sharpen her pencil.
Izzy sighed, “I didn’t get Derek. I didn’t get Tyler. I got Mark Davis! He’s a total tool.”
I giggled, “Why don’t you look at it on the bright side? He’s probably excited!”
Class went on without any other outbursts from Izzy or Sarah. I tried to pay attention but all I could really think about was Derek dancing with some other girl. Could I really endure that kind of pain? Would it be painful? No, because I had Matt to keep me some company.
At lunch there was the usual buzz of people talking in the air. The common words were raffle, Mason, and dance. Those things were kind of bothering me because I wasn’t really sure if it was worth being bothered over.
Matthew was walking toward me with a sweet grin on his face. His eyes looked so innocent and pure. “Hey,” he gave me a nod.
“How goes it?” I asked.
“It’s lunch so I’m going to say pretty well. What are you wearing to the dance?” He seemed excited.
“I have this red dress that might just work.” I replied.
He began to chuckle a bit. “Sounds hot.”
I giggled. “Whatever Mattie boy you don’t have to look.”
“Oh, I intend on looking Miller.” He smirked.
Izzy came and sat down at the table wondering what we were talking about. Matt started talking about a new arcade game that The Hut was supposed to be getting in.
I saw Derek walk in to the cafeteria from the hall. He scanned the room and walked towards the back tables. The guys from the baseball and football team were there.
I wanted to talk to him, I didn’t know what it was we’d talk about, but I knew I wanted to hear his voice. The conversations Matt and Izzy were having started to get old. I wanted excitement and I knew where I’d find it.