I spin again in front of the mirror. My face scrunches in irritation when my reflection shows me just how short this dress is. I can practically see my ass cheeks! I pull at the hem of Kelly's skimpy red dress.
I'm not really into the whole party scene so events like this seriously stress me out. Kelly insisted I wear one of her 'clubbing' outfits. I didn't think it'd be a big deal but now that it's on me…Jesus, I feel naked. I give the final touches to my make-up and step back.
Ok, aside from the fact that I look like a prostitute, I think I'm good to go.
The sounds of various shouts and the slamming of car doors resonate from outside. I can hear the voices getting louder as they enter into the condo and begin to exchange friendly 'hello's' with my roommates. And then the party music is cranked up to full blast and the vibrations of the bass rock beneath my feet.
I get this anxious-excited feeling in the pit of my stomach and decide to put on another layer of deodorant. My eyes travel to Hunter's side of the room. His white crumpled towel is still on the floor from his shower last night. I know it's none of my business but I can't help wondering where he is.
By the time I woke up this morning, Hunter was already up and moving about. When I asked Kelly where he was later in the day she shrugged her shoulders and said, "He told he was picking someone up for the party."
And now it's going on ten o'clock and he still isn't back. I don't know why I care so much. For all I know, he could be driving into the city to pick up his girlfriend. A pang of jealousy shoots through me at the thought of Hunter's phantom girlfriend.
God, Jessie. Get a grip.
Feeling prepared to mingle with the masses, I carefully make my way down the stairs. I'm immediately assaulted by a myriad of feminine squeals and different sets of arms draw me in for hugs. Some faces I haven't seen in years, while others I've seen just last week. I do my best to pay attention to my friends' latest gossip, but my eyes widen when I see just how packed our place is getting. Kelly wasn't kidding about pulling out all the stops for tonight. Our place is poppin'!
"Shut the eff up - Jessie is that you?"
My head swivels to the right and I grin. I stretch out my arms and give a warm hug to Kelly's old co-worker, Taylor.
"Damn girl you look fine as hell!" Taylor says surveying me up and down.
"Thanks, Taylor. You do too!"
"Oh girl, please. I gained twenty pounds in the last three months. I look like a cow!"
I tell her she doesn't even though I can tell she's gotten a bit bigger. Not like it matters though. Taylor is one of those girls that could be one hundred pounds overweight and still be gorgeous.
"So what's the deal? Kelly tells me you and Kevin broke up?"
I nod my head. I knew there'd be questions about Kevin and I throughout the night. I just didn't think they'd start so soon.
"Well, I can't say I'm surprised," Taylor says and I follow her into the kitchen to grab a beer. "If that piece of shit couldn't keep it in his pants for someone as hot as you, then he's never going to settle down. Because you - my dear Jessie, have got it goin' on."
I crack open my first beer and 'clink' cans with Taylor. We both chug our bottles down and when we're finished, she hands me another. And then another.
I'm just opening my fourth beer when I really start to feel the alcohol kick-in. Taylor grabs my hand and leads me into the living room where a group of people are dancing. The music thrums against my ear drums and my hips automatically start swaying to the beat.
My brain slows down and my cheeks feel flushed. Taylor yells at me to finish my beer so that we can really start tearing up the dance floor. So I do. She tosses both of our empty bottles in the trash and then moves in front of me and starts shaking her hips. I hear Kelly's laughter nearing the two of us and before I know it, she's joining in our little dance party as well.
More of our friends join us as one song overlaps into another. Even though I'm way beyond tipsy and in some serious need of water, I shake my little ass off until sweat begins to trickle down my face.
A pair of hands sneaks their way onto my hips and a masculine body begins to dance in rhythm with mine. I crane my neck back to see who it is and am slightly disappointed when I see it's not Hunter. My new dancing partner makes eye contact with me and I smile shyly. My muddled brain tries to process who this person is but I'm fairly certain I've never seen him before. His shaggy blonde hair bounces as he moves and his blue eyes gaze down at me, their color reminding me of white speckled marble.
It's official. This guy is HOTT.
I find myself studying the way his lips move every time he recites a portion of the song under his breath. And the longer I stare at him, the more attractive he becomes. He grins back at me and then leans forward, his lips pressing gently against my ear.
"Want to get a drink?"
I nod my head and grab hold of his outstretched hand. I look back at Kelly and she's giving me a thumbs-up. I glance over to Taylor but see she is far too busy making out with some random guy to care what I'm doing.
A cold beer is placed in my hand. I guzzle down its contents and wipe the foamy remains from my lips using the back of my sweaty hand.
"Whoa, slow down there," the blonde-haired guy says to me. There's a degree of humor in his eyes and a soft chuckle leaves his throat. "I don't want you getting so drunk on me that I can't take you back to the dance floor."
"And why is that?" I slur.
The guy shrugs and pushes his hair away from his face. "Well, there are a few reasons. One - I really love to dance and since I don't get out much, I was really hoping I could get my fill of it tonight."
I nod and reach for another beer. But the blonde-haired guy stops me. "And secondly," he says with a slow smile, "I make it a personal goal to dance with the hottest girl at the party. And tonight, my dear, that would be you."
The corners of my lips turn up into a big smile and a sudden giggle shakes my stomach.
"I'm Elliot," he says and returns my smile.
"Nice to meet you, Jessie. You wanna head back to the dance floor?"
I nod and allow Elliot to take my hand. His large fingers intertwine with mine, his skin warm but kind of rough. We're stopped after only a few feet by a couple furiously making out in kitchen door way. Elliot's eyes narrow and he clears his throat to get their attention.
My hand tightens around Elliot's when the couple turns our way, and I come face to face with the number one person I did not want to run into tonight. Kevin.
I try to swallow down the bile now rising in my throat. My eyes glance all around the room, doing my best to not make eye contact with Kevin or the petite brunette he was just molesting.
"Do'ya mind?" Elliot scolds Kevin. "Nobody wants to see that shit. Get a room."
Kevin stares coldly at Elliot. I notice the various red blotches all around his lips from the intensity of his kisses. My heart sinks.
He never kissed me like that.
And then Kevin glances down at me and his eyes grow even colder. He looks between Elliot and I, noticing our hands are interlocked and scoffs under his breath.
"Piss off, bro. I can do whatever I want with my girlfriend. This is my condo," Kevin says.
I don't know what comes over me. Maybe it's the alcohol. Or maybe it's my jealousy. But something pushes me over the edge when I hear Kevin claiming that my condo is his. I break my hold from Elliot's hand, moving so close to Kevin that I can smell the cheap cologne sprayed across his neck.
"Last time I checked," I sneer, "this wasn't your condo asshole."
Kevin's eyes widen. Some emotion flickers across his face but I'm too drunk to decipher it. Kevin grabs hold of his slutty brunette and yanks her towards the stairs. Her nervous eyes glance between the two of us, and she awkwardly tries to hide the splotchy hickey marks all down her neck using the length of her hand.
I roll my eyes. What a slut.
I let out a breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding and turn to Elliot. His expression is masked but his eyes are brimming with understanding. He offers me his hand once again and I readily take it. We pass the counter with all the beer, but this time he grabs one for each of us. He points to the patio and raises a brow, and I nod my head in agreement.
The ocean breeze nips at my cheeks the second I step outside ,but I welcome the change in temperature. I smooth out my dress and find a soft place on the grass to sit. Elliot plops down next to me and we simultaneously open our beers.
"To you," Elliot says holding his beer up in the air. "That you may find a guy worthy of your beauty and your kindness."
"Ha, I'll cheer to that," I say and clink my beer with his.
I know if I was sober, I would never allow myself to roam around outside with a perfect stranger. But Elliot seems willing enough to be with me, and the last thing I want to do is drag Kelly out here to ruin her good time.
Flashes of Kevin and his stupid new girlfriend keep re-playing in my mind and before I know it, tears of drunken sadness are spilling down my cheeks. Elliot sets down his drink, pulling me into his arms and wiping away my tears.
"Hey, hey," he says softly. "Why the tears?"
"B-because that was m-my ex," I blubber. "A-and he was s-sucking another girl's f-face off."
Elliot tries not to smile as he scoots his body closer to mine. He continues to hold me in a close embrace. I take a deep breath and am oddly comforted by his sultry, manly scent.
"That guy looked like a tool," Elliot says. "Jessie, I don't really know anyone here. But I've heard your name mentioned a few times throughout the party. People kept saying how hot you were, how sweet you are, what a great girl you are."
"Oh stop it," I say and wipe the remaining tears away from my eyes.
Elliot pulls back and tips my chin up with the pads of his fingertips. Against the moon, his light eyes seem to sparkle. His face is so handsome and in that moment, all I want to do is kiss him.
"I'm serious," Elliot whispers. "So I had to find the girl everyone kept talking about. And now that I've met you…well, I'd like to get to know you more."
"What I'm trying to ask is - well, could I take you out on a date, Jessie?"
I can't stop the small smile creeping onto my face. "Yes," I murmur under my breath. "I'd like that."
Elliot brings his other hand to stroke the side of my face. I close my eyes at his warm and seductive touch. And then I feel his lips against mine and a spark of excitement shoots throughout my stomach.
It's the first kiss I've had since Kevin and I revel in the feeling of Elliot's soft and smooth lips. I can feel his tongue wiggling its way into my mouth and I meet him half way, our tongues meshing and colliding with one another.
"Uh - Jessie?"
The familiar sounding voice jerks me out of my steamy kiss and I pull back my head immediately. My eyes attempt to focus against the night's darkness. A masculine body approaches Elliot and I, and my stomach quivers.
Hunter's gorgeous face emerges from the shadows, his blue eyes guarded as he looks between the two of us. I see the way he glares at Elliot and his angry expression makes me squirm. I don't know why, but I feel like I should explain myself - like in some weird way, I betrayed Hunter and I now owe him an explanation. But instead I stay silent. None of us say anything and in the distance I can hear a cricket chirping.
Oh God. This is awkward.
Hunter relaxes his face and he moves a step closer to us. He takes a deep breath and gives me a strained smile.
"Well Jessie," his seductive voice rings out against the ocean breeze, "I see you two have already been introduced. This is my cousin, Elliot."
A/N: Ok what do you think guys!? I tried to add a crazy spin to this chapter to turn up the heat! Hehe! I hope you all like it! Please keep leaving me comments and feedback. I cannot begin to tell you how much it means to me! Oh, and I'm going to post character pics for Taylor and Elliot in the near future so if any of you have ideas for either of them, please let me know! XO