About a week later
Erin sat on the edge of her bed, her phone in her hand. It was Josh’s birthday but she hadn’t talked to him in almost 2 weeks. She missed him so much, she knew she was wrong to snap at him that morning but she was stubborn and couldn’t bring herself to call him. She knew he was just giving her space, but she was worried he’d think she didn’t like him anymore. Her and Billy were speaking after their spat but things were different, she felt like she was losing everyone.
She decided to text Josh and took a deep breath.
“Hey. Happy Birthday, I love you.”.
She read the text and changed her mind.
“Happy Birthday, I miss you.”.
She clicked send and sat back and waited. Her phone buzzed almost immediately she grabbed it.
“Hello?”, she said eagerly.
“Chicky Poo!”, Chleo exclaimed down the phone.
Erin rolled her eyes, Chleo had decided that would be everyone’s new name.
“What Chleo?”, Erin asked.
“You’re coming to Josh’s party”, Chleo said as though it was obviously why she called.
“Listen”, Chleo interrupted, “I don’t know what’s going on between everyone right now ok? I don’t really give two shits either, tonight is our friend’s 18th birthday! He can finally legally get into the clubs, no more fake ids! We have to celebrate and you, Chicky Poo, are coming with me!”.
Erin smiled. Chleo said it with such finality Erin knew she couldn’t argue her way out of this.
“I don’t care if you’re on your lady time..”.
“I’ll meet you outside his house”, Erin said,
“I LOVE YOU! See you at 9!”, Chleo said and hung up.
Erin opened her wardrobe and looked at her clothes. She wanted to look nice, she felt tears whell up, she wished she didn’t have all those stupid scars. She shook her head. No crying tonight. She picked out a long sleeved red top and some tight skinny jeans. She put them on and grabbed a pair of high red heels. She looked decent enough and if she was being honest with herself, her boobs looked great.
“At least I have you guys”, she sighed looking at them.
Frank jumped into Billy's car.
"Drive", he said quickly.
Billy didn't ask any questions just began driving towards their town. Frank rested back and opened up a bag. He took out a needle and smiled at Billy. Billy glanced down and almost crashed the car.
"Is that heroin!?", he exclaimed.
"Yeah", Frank said as he injected himself with the drug.
Billy started to sweat, he didn't want to get involved with this type of drug, he just wanted to be cool. It seemed like a stupid excuse but it was true. He wanted to be friends with Frank, he thought Frank was cool, an impressive guy.
"Let's go to Josh's thing", Frank said, although it sounded more like an order.
Billy nodded, he didn't want to see Josh, he was afraid of what might happen.
Erin was standing nervously at the end of Josh's drive, she knew when Chleo said 9 it really meant 9:30, Chleo was useless at time keeping, Josh's house was already packed full of people. Erin thought about going back, what if Josh had moved on? What if he didn't want her to be there? She went to turn around and jumped with fright.
"Chicky Poo", Chleo smiled, hugging her, "hope I didn't keep you long, I got caught up".
They walked up the driveway, Josh's parents were fairly wealthy, they lived in the posh area of Hilltown, so the drive was quite long, designed for having loads of cars. Although they only had 2. Erin was admiring Chleo's clothes as they walked towards the house. She looked amazing in her pencil skirt and blouse that clung in all the right places, her hair was perfect as usual and her make-up looked professionally done. Chleo opened Josh's front door and walked into the house.
"CHLEO IS IN THE HOUSE!", she exclaimed putting her arms in the air.
People started laughing and clapping, she had that effect on people, even some of the girls that would usually look her up and down smiled.
"Listen", she said leaning into Erin as the walked through the house, "I'm not drinking tonight".
"What?!", Erin asked stopping in her tracks.
"I have a job interview tomorrow", Chleo said sighing, "and I need to get the job, my Dad said if I don't get one he's not gonna pay for my Leaving Cert holiday. So I have to be on my best behaviour..Oh look a chocolate fountain!".
Chleo went running over to the huge chocolate fountain in the middle of the kitchen. Erin stood alone for a few seconds, saying hi to a couple of people she knew from school.
"I'm getting pissed", she muttered and went outside to where Josh's Dad had a gazebo set up, underneath were buckets of ice with beer in them. She grabbed a bottle and started drinking.
Billy pulled up outside Josh's house, it was 11 o'clock already, Frank had been completely out of it the whole ride, but was quiet at least. Billy took a bag of his own stuff out of his pocket. He took some E, and the two boys made their way into the house.
When they got in loud music was playing in the front room, which had been turned into a dance floor, Billy immediately ran into the room and began dancing in the middle of everyone, people formed a circle as he did his form of break-dancing. Frank wandered off into the garden and lay down on the cool grass. He could see Chleo smoking with some kids he recognised and decided to stagger over to them
"Heey Chleo", he mumbled.
She shifted away from him.
"What?", she snapped.
He reached out to grab her.
"Come here pretty..."
Suddenly he felt someone punch him in the face, he fell on the ground, Chleo was standing over him.
"If you try to touch me again?", she threatened, "I'll fucking kill you".
The girls she had been talking to laughed and put their cigarettes out, Chleo joined them as they went back into the house. Frank got up off the ground and stared after her before remembering that Josh had a swing set.
Erin felt great, she was dancing with everyone, she had her beer, and she had managed to avoid both Billy and Josh. She got up on the coffee table that had been pushed into the corner and started dancing again, she liked these people, being nice to her, not caring that her Mam was a drunken lunatic, not caring that she had scars, not caring about her. She liked it.
She got down off the table and pushed her way through the crowd. She grabbed another drink and leant against the wall looking around. She spotted Josh sitting alone on the couch. She smiled, they had kissed for the first time on that couch, they were watching 'Hostel' and she pretended to be scared. Erin thought of how she snuggled up to him, using him as a human pillow to block the tv, she remembered how good he smelt and how safe she felt. Safe, she missed that feeling. She sniffed and wiped away a few tears that were forming, when she looked back at Josh he wasn't alone, that girl from the club was there. Erin's mouth went dry. He had moved on. The girl was beautiful, in that stereotypical way, long blonde hair, skinny, but there was nothing special about her. Josh always said Erin was special.
The girl hugged Josh and walked out. Erin noticed she had her jacket with her. She must be leaving. Erin finished the rest of her drink and went over to Josh, ignoring the butterflies in her stomach. She stood in front of him, he was staring at the floor. He looked up and smiled at her.
"Hi", Erin said.