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One Shot Too Many
From the first day I met her I knew she was going to be trouble. I’ll never forget walking into our dorm, and there she was, music already blaring, pictures pinned up all over the walls. It took her a few seconds to notice me.
“Oh my gosh!” She snapped around, letting the poster of some male model she was in the middle of hanging fall to the ground. “You must be Rae! I’m so happy to finally meet you! I was afraid they were going to stick me with some loser, but you’re…you’re perfect!” She acted like I was something she had ordered over the phone, sight unseen, but I liked it. I had never met anyone so excited to get to know me.
“Yep, that’s me,” I chuckled nervously, tucking my bangs behind my ears.
“Let me help you bring in your stuff,” she said as she started dragging my boxes in from the hallway. I didn’t need her help, but once she got started on something you couldn’t get her to stop. “The sooner we get all of your stuff moved in the sooner we can go to the party.”
“What party?” I questioned. We had only been at the school for a few hours, how did she already know someone that was having a party?
“Oh just some of the guys from the football team, I met one of them earlier today in the cafeteria. I told him that if my roommate didn’t turn out to be a total loser we would stop by. You definitely look like the party type.”
But I wasn’t. Why did she think she knew me so well just by looking at me? I stood in the doorway wearing my dark-wash skinny jeans and fitted vintage tee. My long brown hair was a mess and my makeup was simple. What about my looks make me seem like such a party animal? Sure I went out to parties with my friends, but I didn’t get black out drunk every weekend. Oh well, I figured I might as well go with her and see what the party was like. I didn’t have to drink. “Sure, I’ll tag along with you. No sense lying around wasting the night.”
“Great! I’ll drive.”
My first night of college life was one that I’ll never forget. It was the night that started it all. Adrienne and I pulled up to the house, just a little ways off campus. You could tell right away that it was inhabited by a group of college boys by the old living room furniture that was sitting on the porch. The music was blaring and kids were spilling in and out of the house.
“Are you sure this is the right place?” I asked.
“Positive. The guy I met today told me to just look for the living room furniture.”
“And does this guy have a name…?”
“Umm, Mark? No, wait, I think it was Chad. Maybe. I’m not really sure.”
“You don’t even remember his name? How are we supposed to know if it’s even okay for us to be here?” I hated showing up at places when I didn’t know anyone. I could already tell this was going to be a bad night.
Before Adrienne had a chance to calm me down two tall football players came to the door. “Adrienne!” one of them called, “What took you so long?”
“See,” Adrienne nudged me. “I told you it would all work out.” Before I knew it, she grabbed my arm and we were inside.
My plan of going out but not drinking didn’t exactly work out how I had expected it to. Once we were inside Adrienne disappeared with Mark or Chad (I still wasn’t sure what his name was) and I was left stranded with one of his football playing friends. Well I guess I shouldn’t exactly say “stranded”. He was gorgeous. Six foot three, brown shaggy hair, and a big, charming grin with the dimples to match. I could tell by how snug his shirt was on him he had to be built.
“Hey, I’m Troy,” He plopped down next to me on the couch and extended his hand, “you’re Adrienne’s roommate, right?”
“Yeah,” I smiled nervously, “I’m Rae.” I took his hand. I couldn’t tell if it was sweating because it was late August and we were all crammed into a frat house or if he was actually nervous to talk to me.
“So,” he shifted in his seat, “how do you like Central?’
“Well, I’ve only been here for a few hours, but I think I’m going to like it.”
“You’ll love it here. If you and your roommate stick with me and Chad you’ll never have a dull moment. Can I get you something to drink?” He barely waited for my answer before he was up and headed toward the kitchen.
The light bulb in my head clicked, Chad, that was his name. I was so distracted by figuring out Adrienne’s new boy’s name that I had said yes to Troy’s drink offer without even realizing it. Suddenly I had an ice cold beer in my hand and Troy’s arm around me. Even though I had told myself a million times in the car ride to the party that I wasn’t going to drink, I felt like I was obligated to.
“Just let me know when you’re finished, there’s plenty more where that came from,” he pulled me closer to him and I was lost.
The rest of the night was a big blur. I finished my beer and Troy didn’t hesitate to get me another one, and another one after that. I woke up in the morning to Adrienne standing over me laughing with the keys jingling in her hands. “Come on roomie we’ve gotta go, we’ve got class in an hour.”
“Class? Already? I just went to bed.”
“Welcome to college,” Adrienne chuckled, “You can sleep when you’re dead.”
The first semester came and went without much notice. It was filled with endless nights with Adrienne, parties, football games, rarely making it to class, and of course, Troy. I was a completely different person when I was around him. He made me do things I never would have imagined myself doing. I spent most of my nights at his house with his roommates and what seemed like more than half of the student body. With second semester just around the corner it meant one thing, his birthday, guaranteed to be the biggest alcohol-fueled bash on campus.
“Take it while it’s hot!” I heard someone shout from across the room.
“Come on don’t wimp out now, you’re almost there!” another one echoed.
I was already nine shots deep but that wasn’t going to be enough to satisfy the hundreds of students that had packed themselves into the house. “You know the rule,” Chad chimed in. “As long as we have it, you’ve gotta drink it!” he yelled in his sing-song voice. I had heard them mention “the rule” countless times and I had followed it one too many. Tonight I was going to break it, I was stopping at nine. Just as I was about to set down my shot glass and walk away I felt a warm hand on my shoulder. Troy.
“Hey babe,” he slid his arm around me, leaning in to kiss my cheek; his breath reeked of alcohol and strawberry-kiwi chewing gum, what a combination. “Don’t tell me you’re giving up already. The fifth’s almost gone; we have to finish it off.”
“But,” I stammered, “I’m really tired and…” Troy cut me off before I had a second to plead my case.
“Aww come on babe, do it for me, it’s my birthday,” he whined.
How could I say no to those big, brown, puppy dog eyes? “Allllright,” I sighed, “But only one more and I mean it!”
“Guys! Guys! Come back over here! She’s gonna do another shot with us! Come on hurry up before she changes her mind!”
My ‘one more shot’ turned into two, which doubled into four, and then I added another one for good measure. Now I was up to fourteen and losing control fast. Troy was right by my side, helping my stumbling feet, but it was like the blind leading the blind.
“Where’s Adrienne?” I slurred, “I need her to take me home.”
“Why do you have to go home hun? You can stay here,” Troy mumbled as he put me in a headlock which I’m pretty sure he saw as a hug.
“No, I need to go home, I need Adrienne.” Tears started to well up in my eyes, the room was spinning, and all I could hear was Troy’s voice begging me to stay. I steadied myself against the wall and found my way to the couch.
“No don’t sleep on the couch babe, come upstairs with meee,” he whined, grabbing for my arm to pull me up off the couch, but I was long gone.
I woke up to commotion all around me. Adrienne was sitting almost on top of me, rubbing my face with a wet wash cloth while Chad was running around the house yelling for a phone. My vision blurred again and the commotion disappeared.
“She’s going to be alright,” Someone behind me quietly whispered. I slowly started to awaken and noticed the familiar faces of my family and roommate surrounding me.
“You sure scared all of us,” Adrienne said calmly. She was still wearing the same black strappy top from Troy’s party.
“What were you thinking?” My dad questioned.
“What are you talking about? What happened? Where am I?” The questions couldn’t come out fast enough.
“You’re in the hospital sweetie. You got alcohol poisoning last night,” My mom said, choking back tears.
“Right now I’m not worried about how, I’m just so relived that you’re alright,” my mom answered, rubbing my hand.
“Where’s Troy?” I asked, my voice scratchy and rough from a combination of alcohol, yelling, and getting sick.
“Who’s Troy?” My dad demanded. “Did he have something to do with this?”
“No, he didn’t, I swear, I just…I just really need to see him.”
Adrienne pulled my parents aside and whispered something to them that I couldn’t quite make out, then they left the room and Adrienne burst out in tears. “You scared me so bad last night,” she sobbed. It was hard to understand her through all the tears. “I thought you were going to die. Do you understand that? I thought I was going to lose my roommate.”
“Adrienne just calm down. Why are you freaking out like this? I didn’t even drink that much. Where is Troy? I need to see him.”
“No,” she said sternly.
“You can’t see him. It’s for your own good.”
“Adrienne, seriously, stop messing around. Let me see him.” At this point I was beyond annoyed. I was in an uncomfortable hospital bed with an IV in my hand and all I wanted to do was see my boyfriend because he was the only person who could make this better.
“Rae, just hear me out.” She had stopped sobbing but her voice was still shaky. “Over the past year you have become so much more than a roommate to me, you’ve become like a sister. We spend every waking hour together and I honestly don’t think I could survive this place without you. Last night when I saw you passed out on the couch and then being taken away by the ambulance I flashed back to all memories we have together. And yeah, I may not have been the best influence on you, but Rae I look out for you and that’s something Troy can’t do. Do you know what he did after he fed you all those shots?”
I didn’t say anything. All I could do was look away and try to hold back the tears that I knew weren’t far behind.
“Do you?” she pressed, raising her voice.
“No,” I said, biting my lip, doing all I could to not let the tears fall.
“He let you pass out and then stumbled upstairs and went to bed, and when Chad woke him up to tell him we were taking you to the hospital all he did was throw a pillow at him and go back to sleep. Rae you deserve so much better than that and I am not going to let you go back to him after last night.”
Biting my lip and clenching my fists was no match for the tears I had brewing in my eyes. I couldn’t take it anymore. “I’m so sorry Adrienne,” I mumbled incomprehensibly. “I should have never let Troy make me do all of those things, look where it made me end up.”
“Its okay hun,” she said comfortingly as she scooted me over to make room for herself on my bed. “Sometimes it takes something like this to get you to open your eyes to what’s really going on.”
“I know I just wish it didn’t have to be something so major. Hey Adrienne, can you promise me something?”
“Next year if we get a house together, don’t make up any stupid rules about drinking until the house is dry.”
“Promise,” she smiled as she wiped a tear from going down her check, “I’ve got your back.”