It had been two weeks since the run in at the mall with Becca, and since then, I hadn't had a problem with her. She didn't speak to me in the hallway at school anymore. In fact, she barely looked at me when we did pass. Cambree said she was just taking my warning seriously and not getting in my face anymore. She must have known I wasn't kidding when I said I would report her to the principal if she kept harassing me.
But by the end of the first week of April, Becca was old news. So was my flyers. It was Friday, and Spring Break started today, so the only thing everyone could talk about was Taryn's big party tonight. Especially Cambree.
"Sophia, you have to go."
I sighed as I sat across from her in the booth at Paulette's. We had an early release today and school had just let out, so we'd hopped into Cambree's Jeep and headed over to meet Andrew and Ethan for lunch. Naturally, the place was packed today. We were sitting in a back booth waiting for Ethan and Andrew, and she hadn't stopped talking about Taryn's party since we'd gotten there.
I glanced at Cambree and took a sip of my Diet Coke.
"It's the first day of Spring Break," she continued. "It's gonna be a big deal. I mean, everyone is going."
"Everyone is not going, Cambree," I said.
"Everyone who is someone is."
In other words, if I didn't show up at the party, I was no one. At this point, I was willing to take that risk.
"Besides," she continued. "It'll take your mind off the bullshit that's been going the last few weeks."
"My mind is off of it," I lied. "And besides. I told you I was having movie night with my mom and sister tonight." This was only the third time I'd reminded her of this since she'd started about this party.
She rolled her eyes and sat back with her arms folded. "Sophia. Really? Movie night with your mom and twelve-year-old sister over a senior party? A Spring-Break-kick-off party? No question. You're going to the party."
"Sophia, do movie night tomorrow night. Please go to this party with me."
I sighed when she made her puppy-dog face again. I opened my mouth to answer, but got distracted by the couple that walked by our booth and sat nearby.
Looking over, I saw that it was Derek and Becca. I only looked for a moment, long enough to see Becca lower her eyebrows at me at the same time Derek gave me a quick uncomfortable glance.
"Guess they're a real hot number now, huh?" Cambree asked, pulling her cell phone out.
I nodded. "Guess they are."
Just because I got the pleasure of her avoiding me at school didn't mean I got to avoid her completely. The last two weeks had still been nothing but passing them in the hallway, getting to watch them making out, and even better, now I got to watch Becca huddled in a corner with Jenna and Mandy, my old best friends.
"They deserve each other," Cambree snickered. "Derek is such a backstabber. Sophia, you're so much better off without him."
I just nodded. "Yeah."
"What's the matter?" she asked.
I looked up and found her studying me. "What do you mean?"
"You got quiet," she said. "Why?"
I shook my head. "I didn't realize I did."
"Well, you did. When I started talking about Derek. You're not not telling me something, are you?"
I raised my eyebrows. "What would I not be telling you?"
She shrugged. "Anything about you and Derek. Like why Becca stays on your ass all the time about him."
I felt my jaw drop. I couldn't believe what Cambree was accusing me of.
"Cambree, there's nothing going on with me and Derek," I said.
"I know that," she sighed. "But I mean, I know you guys were hanging out before the Becca mess, and Andrew didn't like it. I kind of understand why."
I made a face. "Why?"
I was interested in Cambree's opinion on this, because by the way she was talking, it seemed like she'd had an opinion on it for a while.
She shifted uncomfortably. "I mean, you and Derek were best friends. Well, best guy and girl friends. I get that and that's fine. But I think you two were a little too close after you and Andrew got together, and then he and Becca got together-"
"Wait a minute," I interrupted. "Are you saying Becca is right?"
"What? No! Never. She's a fucking psycho. All I'm saying is that maybe she had a reason to be suspicious of you guys hanging out, just like Andrew did. Even though nothing was going on. I mean, I didn't think for a minute anything was going on. And of course, Becca went about it all the wrong way. She went crazy."
Appalled wasn't the word to describe the conversation we were having. "First off, Cambree, Becca is crazy. That's why she went psycho on me. Andrew shouldn't have a problem with me hanging out with Derek. If he does then I guess he doesn't trust me. I haven't said a word about Laurel texting him all the fucking time."
"Well, they're just friends, and-"
"Exactly," I said, sitting back. "But it's nothing for anyone to worry about because Derek doesn't want to be my friend anymore. And that's because of Becca."
Cambree got quiet after that. After a few minutes, she finally sighed. "I'm sorry, Sophia. I shouldn't have said anything. I didn't realize I-"
"Just forget it," I sighed. "I don't want to talk about it, anymore."
Ethan and Andrew finally joined us, sliding into the booth, and immediately, Andrew noticed Derek. Being the 'man' he was, he stared Derek down until Derek finally rolled his eyes and looked away.
Andrew was convinced, like me, that Becca was behind the flyers. But he also thought that since Derek was her alibi, he was either covering for her, meaning he knew about them, or he helped her do it. Andrew was pissed about both possibilities.
"Andrew, don't," I sighed. "Please."
"I haven't done a thing," he said, taking a sip from my drink. "Ew. Diet? What the fuck, Soph?"
"It's my drink," I reminded him, sliding it back in front of me.
"So, what's going on?" Ethan asked.
"Just waiting for you guys to get here," I said, hoping that they wouldn't notice the tension between Cambree and me. Then they would ask and Andrew didn't need to know about it.
"Trying to get Sophia to go to Taryn's party tonight," Cambree said, looking at me.
Thank God, I thought.
"Oh yeah, come on," Andrew said. "I need a date. Don't make me look like a loser, Sophia."
I sighed. "I don't know."
"What's not to know?" Ethan chuckled. "It's a fucking party. Her parents are out of town, it's Spring Break, and we're going to get wasted as fuck. End of story."
"Hell yeah," Andrew agreed, chuckling. "This week has been a bitch and I am more than ready to blow off some steam."
I sat quietly, thinking about him partying tonight without me. I couldn't believe how I'd become that girl, but I had. I was the girl who got annoyed at her boyfriend for wanting to go out and party. Maybe it was only because I knew how Andrew partied.
"I'll think about it," I told them.
"You should do more than think," Cambree said. "You should just go. It'll be fun. These last two weeks have been more than a bitch for you. You need to get a few drinks and have a little fun."
"I agree," Andrew said.
"I'll ask," I said. "So. What are we going to do after this?"
"I know what we're gonna do," Andrew said to me, leaning over and kissing my cheek. "My parents aren't home."
"Ooh," Cambree laughed.
"Shut up," I said to Cambree. I kissed Andrew, but I didn't say anything. He'd been getting better about not bragging about our sex life, so I wouldn't be angry at him for saying this.
Cambree laughed, and poked Ethan's arm. "We got plans, too."
I looked at my best friend with her boyfriend, then I looked at my own boyfriend, thinking back to the night of Taryn's very first party at the end of winter break. It was like Cambree and I were two entirely different people then. I wouldn't have even pictured myself talking to Andrew Harper then, much less being his girlfriend and having been through everything we'd been through by now. There's no way I could have pictured myself here, having been through everything I'd been though. But here we were now, three months later, and so much had changed.
We finished eating, then we split up. I followed Andrew to his house, and Cambree left with Ethan, telling me to call her if I decided to go to the party.
At Andrew's, we went straight to his bedroom.
Ever since our big blowout and the new Andrew had surfaced, sex was different. For me, it wasn't forced. Lately, it had been nice, and it had been the way I thought sex was supposed to be. Afterwards, we even cuddled, and we laid around laughing and joking with each other.
It was finally nice.
Today was no different.
The weather was starting to get a little warmer, so Andrew had lifted one of his bedroom windows. Afterwards, we just laid there, letting the breeze sweep over, listening to the sound of a neighbor's lawn mower in the distance.
"God, I can't wait for the summer," I told him, rolling onto my side and tossing my arm over his stomach.
"Neither can I," he said. "It's just gonna be party after party."
I frowned, but I didn't say anything. "Are you going away to college?"
The question out of my own mouth struck me by surprise. I couldn't believe we hadn't discussed this before. But now that we were talking about the summer, the next thing was the fall, and that meant college for seniors like Andrew.
"I never applied anywhere," I told me.
"Really?" I asked him. I couldn't believe that. "Not even community college?"
"Nope. When I graduate next month, I'm telling school "fuck you," and going straight to work."
He shrugged. "I don't know. I'll figure it out."
A hint of excitement swept over me at the thought of Andrew not going away for college. But at the same time it worried me. I knew he should have applied. At some point, I would have to bring this relationship to my parents if I wanted it to keep going, and try to convince them that Andrew wasn't a bad guy at all, and when that happened, he would need to do more than just be a gentleman to prove to them he was right for me.
When I finally got home, I found my mother in the living room, already changed out of her work clothes and watching her soaps on DVR. She smiled at me as I closed the front door.
"Hi, honey!" she said cheerfully. "Glad you're home. Ready for movie night?"
I felt incredibly guilty at the excited look on my mother's face, mainly because we were doing this movie night thing to take my mind off everything that had been going on, just like Cambree thought she was doing by trying to get me to go to the party. The difference was that I was sure my mother's intentions were much better. "Uhm, well, actually, mom, I was wondering if maybe we could do movie night tomorrow night."
She frowned. "Why tomorrow night?"
"Well, I was going to a party tonight."
She raised her eyebrows. "Without asking?"
I cleared my throat. "Uhm, this is me asking."
She sighed. "Who's party?"
"Taryn's. It's a Spring Break kick off sort of thing."
"What time are you going to be home?"
"Tomorrow. I'm sleeping over."
She sighed, looking at me thoughtfully. I prayed she would say yes. There was no way I would tell her why I had to go tonight. Not allowing Andrew to party alone wasn't a good argument. Not by a long shot.
"Ask your father," she sighed. "He's in his office."
I nodded. "Thanks."
I walked out of the living room, not letting her disappointment get passed me. I felt bad, very bad, about cancelling on movie night with my mom and Olivia, but we could make it up tomorrow night.
Like my mother had said, I found my father in his office. The door was open, and he had the radio on low volume playing an old 70s rock song.
I knocked lightly on the door, then stepped in the office. "Daddy?"
He spun around in the chair, and smiled when he saw me. "Hey, little girl. You finally got home?"
I nodded. "Yes. I came to ask if it would be OK if I went to Taryn's party tonight."
"I thought you were doing a movie night with your mom and sister."
There was that guilt again. "Well, I was, but this is a pretty big party. It's a Spring Break kick-off party, and we can do our movie night tomorrow night."
My father took his reading glasses off and shrugged. "I mean, I guess it's fine with me. You know the rules, though, right? No drinking, no getting in cars with anyone who's been drinking. No drugs, of course."
"Of course," I said.
"And be home by midnight."
"Well, I was going to sleep over at Taryn's."
My father studied me for a moment and I was afraid he would say no. But he surprised me and nodded. "That's fine. Just keep your phone on you and call us if you need us."
I nodded. "Yes, daddy. I will."
So he smiled, and leaned forward, kissing my forehead.
And that was that. Looked like I was going to Taryn's party, tonight.
A/N: Thanks for reading! Hope you liked it, guys! Just a few more chapters left, now, so the big climax is almost here! Can't wait to write it and get it posted! :D Don't forget to comment and tell me what you think! :D.....Also, I've just posted my short story for KM2's fantasy contest called "The Quest" Please check it out if you get a chance! :D