I woke up with a moan. "Jesus Christ what did we-" I
wasn't where I thought I was. The room was unfamiliar. It was
purple and black and-then Julia appeared.
"Are you okay?" she rushed over to my side.
"Oh my God Julia I am so sorry I really thought I
could do better than that."
"It's okay. I understand. I'm just glad Derek and Ben
were there to help. I'm so sorry I wasn't there."
"Derek and Ben?" The last thing I remembered was
crying on the floor with Abigail. Neither Ben nor Derek had been
"Yeah. You'd passed out so they took you to Derek's
room. You don't remember?"
"Have you ever had vodka before?"
"Oh." She looked at the floor.
"I guess I have some thanking to do…I'm so sorry.
"Can I just ask you one thing?"
Xavier? How did she know about Xavier? I was a
million miles away all the sudden. I was dizzy and sick and happy
and still and perfect and messed up and I was happy and depressed
and high and low.
"Have you ever had alcohol before?" He asked me.
"No." I answered. I was a little embarrassed. I don't
know why, really. He knew me. He knew my habits.
"Have some. Just a little." He gave me a cup and I
took a sip. It burned my throat. I kept coughing.
"It comes with practice, Naomi. Don't worry." He let
me have another sip, to which I coughed again, but it was better.
Within the hour I was incredibly drunk. I kept
giggling over everything and asking stupid questions. I didn't
think they were stupid, but Xavier would just look at me and
"Naomi, you are the funniest girl I know." And then
he'd kiss me. And I'd kiss him back. And I'd think about how his
scratchy lips felt and how he tasted like smoke and alcohol and a
little mint sometime. And how weird it looked that little blonde
me was sitting on this kid's bed. I was blonde, and decked out in
pink, and he had black hair, and wore all black clothes, and he
was sexy and frightening and I was cute and naïve.
I'd never skipped school before and here I was, with
a strange boy, drinking alcohol. It was a pretty dark basement, a
few small windows, it was a mess, and his hand was on my knee. It
was so exciting and I was so intoxicated that when he said that I
was his I thought he meant that he loved me, that I was his
girlfriend, not that he owned me. But at that moment, and every
moment after that, the distinction didn't matter. I was his.
"Ariella?" Julia was shaking my shoulder. "Are you
"What was that…?"
"I was…it was Xavier. He was my last boyfriend." The
words hurt coming out of my mouth. He was never my boyfriend. He
was my life. He was me, and I was him.
"Are you sure? You were talking about him all night.
And Derek said you told him to 'shut the eff up' and called him
by that name."
"It's a long story…" I turned away and was sure my
face turned insanely red and I didn't know what to do and I was
so embarrassed I'd acted so stupidly. Then, I started crying. It
wasn't even just crying, either. It was like I-lost-my-soul
crying. I couldn't stop or slow it down and I was heaving and I
couldn't breathe and Julia just took me in her arms and let me
cry all over her and it was the first time since him that I'd
cried in anyone else's arms. The worst part was it didn't even
hurt or make me sad. It was like I reached my capacity for
"Thank you, Julia. You're beautiful." I managed to
choke out. She just smoothed my hair and told me to be quiet and
keep crying. It was the best advice anyone could've given me.