I spent all night in the living room with my supportive but still agonized mother, hugging and crying and hugging some more. Nothing would ever be the same. Not after that night.
I could hardly believe what had happened. Chet wasted and trigger-happy, Lilac irritated and afraid, Rikki and I screaming at Chet to stop it.
Thank heavens he did leave us alone after Lilac hastily agreed to make out with him. She must've been so brave. Especially to face that drunkard's terrible wine-scented breath. The thought of it makes me shiver.
Yeah, I know the world is a bad place. And I know bad things happen because of cruel, bad people. But no matter how many horror stories I read, or no matter how many tragic events appear on the news, I still never really keep in mind something horrible and sorrowing would happen to an innocent girl like me.
I found myself alone in the hall. It is extremely awkward, always has been, especially when you have been chosen as a hall monitor (a.k.a unappreciated hallway nerd) for the week.
Suddenly I heard a bone-chilling whisper.
My heart stopped and throat tightened when I heard his voice. I was afraid of ever hearing it again.
I slowly turned around, attempting to swallow the large lump in my throat. "What..." I mumbled, blushing at how cute Chet looked. Dang you, Chet, I thought. This is supposed to be serious.
"Can you keep a secret? And promise not to tell Rikki?"
"No," I growled, still unable to keep a straight face. "I'm not promising you anything." I thought for a moment, and added, "Don't you need to be getting to class?"
He smiled lightly, making me blush. "Heh, I know you've still got eyes for me."
The jerk! "No!" I cried wistfully, turning away to hide my embarrassment.
"Yeah, sure," responded Chet sarcastically. "But I'm over you. I just need you to keep a secret."
He leaned closer to me and touched my goosebumped arm. I hesitated. Man, he was hot, with his dazzle blue eyes reflecting mine.
"I'm listening," I finally decided, entranced by his rugged appearance.
Chet bent over and whispered in my ear: "I wasn't drunk last night."
I pulled away. "Yes you were! You must've been so drunk, you couldn't tell!"
Chet put a finger to his lips. "Shhhh. Someone's gonna hear us. Let me explain."
Though wary to listen, I did so anyway. And I was sure glad I did.
"So," Chet began, keeping his voice down to a near-hushed tone. "That loopy stuff? It was an act. I swear."
"Why?!! Just... why, Chet. Seriously."
He seemed uneasy all of the sudden. "It was..." He sighed. "to get rid of you."
"That's okay. I understand."
"I knew Lilac would tell you what happened and you'd finally back off. And you did."
"Of course, you frightened off Rikki and Lilac, too. So who are you really in love with?"
I stared at him in awe, gaping. "What?!!"
He sucked in lots of air, then let it out in one slow, heavy breath. "Yup. I didn't mean to get rid of Rikki. I didn't know you two would be walking around the street that night.
"So, in short, my plan backfired." Chet sighed. "Don't... don't tell Rikki. Only you and Lilac know about this; let's keep it that way."
He stood to leave, but I grabbed his shirt collar and yanked him back down. "Hey. I'm not finished with you yet."
"What now? Like you said, I've ditched enough of third period already. I gotta..."
He was slightly choked when I twisted the collar as far as it would go. "Tell me why Lilac still sat with Drake, even though she knew he kissed Rikki." I released him, and he sprawled to the ground.
Dusting himself off, he replied, "I don't know. I had nothing to do with Drake-- got it?"
As the school principal was heard walking towards us (luckily she didn't see Chet), he hurried away. I breathed a sigh of relief.
At lunch, I met up with Rikki. "Hey there!" I greeted optimistically, playfully slugging her elbow.
She could tell I was trying to rid her scarred mind of the darkly events yesterday.
I wanted to tell my depressed companion ever so badly Chet wasn't drunk after all and he really wanted her, but even being the talkative girl I am, I managed to keep my mouth glued shut.
Just then, Drake sauntered up to us and sat down. Rikki blushed and turned away.
"Rikki... I've been meaning to tell you something..."
"Well, don't," snapped Rikki. "I'm not in the mood."
Drake took a deep breath. "I framed you."
"I knew it," muttered my friend emotionally, burying her head in her folded arms.
"But, I'm not finished yet."
"Great. What other bad news do you have for me? Love to hear it."
Drake frowned at Rikki's sarcasm, but continued anyways.
"Just yesterday I confessed to Lilac that I kissed you instead of..."
Then he realized I was watching. "Oh... yup. Personal stuff." I rose, pushed my chair in (all the way; those grouchy lunch ladies get snooty when you don't follow instructions perfectly) and head towards Lilac's table.
"Mind if I sit here?"
"Not at all," Lilac welcomed kindly, though I could tell she was trapped in a veil of anxiety and troubles.
Gulping, I bravely asked: "Did Chet's breath really smell like booze when you kissed him?"
"No," she admitted. "He later told me..."
"Me, too. And we can't tell Rikki."
I watched her gaze dreamily off into space while snacking on a few cucumbers. Did she have feelings for Chet?!!
If so, that was reasonable. But still... was that guy really to be trusted again?
After lunch, I headed to English class, but saw Rikki and Drake hand-in-hand on the way there...
Everything seemed perfect for everyone... but me.
As I entered the classroom I saw a cute French guy in the seat next to mine. Mr. Bollitz introduced him as Rafael Lufrere, and we shook hands. He winked and smiled at me. Oh... his beautiful, gleaming smile... and his luscious, shimmering eyes...
Right then and there I'd give anything to know what was going on behind those brown eyes.
And that's exactly the way things should be.