One thing I had been told countless times by both my friends and my mother was that whatever I did when I went out, I should do nothing that I would regret the morning after. So when I woke up the morning after Lily’s party, in my own room but still wearing the clothes I had been in the night before, and with an unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach, I began to worry I’d done something I would regret.
My memory was bad at the best of times but for some reason I could only remember sections of Lily’s party. I slowly went through the night in my head, lying on my bed with my eyes firmly shut. I could remember meeting Lloyd and Owen playing at being protective of me, then dancing, lots of dancing and the feeling of Lloyd’s lips on mine.
My head was spinning, unable to fully take in what I had done. I remembered going upstairs to the bedroom and Lloyd kissing me again, his hands stroking my back underneath my t-shirt.
Fear gripped my stomach and I sat bolt upright. I looked down at my body, my clothes crumpled and my skirt riding almost all the way up my thighs. Was there any way I could tell whether or not I’d had sex last night? It scared me that the final thought I could remember was that I was going to be someone new, someone different. I couldn’t think what my intoxicated brain had been planning last night but I could probably guess it wasn’t something sensible.
Seeing that Aislinn wasn’t in her bed, but her clothes draped over her desk chair implied that she’d come home last night, I got out of bed and hurried towards the kitchen, pulling my skirt down and throwing a baggy jumper on over my t-shirt to hide the crumpled clothes. Darren, Aislinn and Natalie were the only ones sitting around the table as I entered, all turning to look at me.
“Morning sleeping beauty,” Darren said, his voice dripping with amusement and humour.
“What happened?” I asked, ignoring Darren’s comment and looking straight at Aislinn, my eyes pleading with her to put me out of my misery and tell me the truth.
“Clearly someone’s been on the alcohol again,” Darren joked. “Good party was it?”
“I don’t know what went on,” Aislinn told me, ignoring Darren’s comments too. “All I know is that you and Lloyd disappeared for quite a while and the next time I saw you was when I got back here and you were asleep in your bed.”
“Did Lloyd say anything to you about me?”
“I only saw him briefly before I left and he told me he’d taken you home.”
“I don’t remember that,” I breathed, the panic that had settled in my stomach refusing to go away. “Did he say anything else that could have told you what happened?”
“No, nothing I can think of,” Aislinn replied, her face becoming concerned as I grew more worried. “Why? What’s wrong? What do you think happened last night?”
“That’s the problem, I don’t know. All I know is that I wasn’t feeling myself last night and I’d got it into my head that I wanted to be in the spotlight for once rather than standing back and letting my friends take all the attention. I just can’t remember what it was that was going to make people notice me.”
Natalie’s face stared up at me, completely innocent of what the rest of us were thinking might have happened at the party. In contrast, Aislinn’s face was full of concern and Darren just looked amused by the whole thing.
“What was the last thing you remember?” Aislinn asked.
“I just remember going upstairs with Lloyd and lying together on a bed somewhere.”
“You did what?” Natalie exclaimed in her small voice, the penny visibly dropping behind her eyes. “Are you suggesting you slept with him?”
“Bless you, Nat,” Darren said smiling fondly across the table.
“Maybe something happened that made you forget,” Aislinn said, trying desperately to be reassuring. “And I don’t think Lloyd is the kind of guy to take advantage of you so soon, I mean, you barely knew each other.”
“You really do have a far too high opinion of men,” Darren pointed out.
“I’ll just have to go find him,” I said. “He’ll know what happened and then it’ll all be cleared up and I can stop worrying.”
“Why are you panicking so much in the first place?” Darren asked.
“Because I’m not the sort of girl who jumps into bed with anyone,” I insisted, “and I don’t want to become one.”
“Everything will work out alright,” Aislinn said, putting on her best smile.
“I suppose I should get changed if I’m going to face Lloyd,” I said, turning to leave.
“Oh, by the way,” Aislinn cut in. “Your phone keeps ringing. I haven’t answered it. It’s someone called Pippa.”
“Oh shit!” I exclaimed my hands tearing at my hair. “She’s going to be here soon. What’s the time?”
“She said she’d arrive half an hour ago!”
“Who’s Pippa?” Darren asked as I ran from the room, frantically looking for some clean clothes in my room and a hairbrush to straighten my hair out.
“She’s an old friend from school,” I shouted over my shoulder, pulling my jumper and t-shirt off in one motion and throwing a clean one on. I replaced my skirt with a pair of jeans and pulled my hair back into a messy ponytail to hide the bed hair I’d got from sleeping in a strange position.
“Your phone’s ringing again,” Aislinn called from the kitchen. “It’s Pippa.” I ran back across the corridor and almost snatched the phone from Aislinn’s hand and pressed the answer button a bit too violently.
“Hello?” I said down the phone, waiting anxiously for Pippa’s response.
“Hey Ness,” she replied. “Where have you been? I’ve been calling you for the last hour to find out where to meet you.”