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"Figures," You whispered, half to yourself, as you held up a picture you had pulled out of a hat at a party you had never meant to go to. Lights flashed around you and the smell of spilled alcohol penetrated your nostrils every time you inhaled.
Tonight didn't feel good. Everything was off. The music pumping throughout the party was merely obnoxious noise, abrasively slamming your eardrums. Couples grinding on the dance floor, each clutching a red plastic cup, seemed stupid and childlike, an unfortunately prominent reminder that you still had a few more years of high school to go.
It wasn't that you were scared. Partying every weekend had become a habit when you first joined your school's pom line. And it had continued to be your regular friday night pastime long after you were kicked pom for being a sloppy drunk at one of the school dances. Not that any of that mattered now. And you held up the picture with faked enthusiasm.
"Who'd I get??"
You recognized the boy who stood up. It was one of the cheerleader's boyfriends. It had become a well known fact that no cheerleader at your school could hold onto a boy. You half smiled. The little know fact was it was because they kept on getting stolen by the pommies.
You two walked to the closet through the throng of people swaying back and forth to the music like some sort of animal. The animal tried to pull you in, you felt light tugs on your clothing and hands, and several guys came up to you. You just brushed them off, you simply weren't in the mood.
"I'm Shane, by the way," The guy who's picture you were still holding in your hands said, holding open the closet door and grinning.
"Yeah," You said, half smiling. "I know."
The minute he had closed the door he was on you, his lips pressed against yours. You kissed him back, but there was no passion, no spark. It had become routine.
It hadn't always been this way.
You used to have a steady boyfriend, Mark. He was the best of times, and the worst of times. Whenever you were with Mark you didn’t have to even kiss him to feel your connection. It was magnetic, undeniable, and the scariest thing you had ever encountered.
You two used to lie in the grass of his backyard and watch the sky grow dark and the air get cool. And you would talk, and hold hands, and gaze up at the stars. You used to swear that you and Mark could have talked forever and never run out of words to say.
That is, until the day you ran out of words.
It was funny, really, that three words could shatter you and Mark’s perfect harmony. But, looking back on it, it wasn’t the three words at all. Maybe it was getting into pom. Maybe it was the way people started to recognize you around school. Maybe it was the way a certain boy recognized you that made you forget about Mark for long enough to be alone with him at a party, and leave Mark in some forgotten corner in the back of your mind.
But what started it was now a hazy memory dull, in comparison, to the searing memory of how it all ended.
You were waiting for Mark outside his house. He had told you to come over, he said he had something to say. You ran there, afraid that he had found out about you and the boy, whose name you had all but forgotten.
He opened the door. You remember exactly how his blue eyes seemed to sparkle when he saw you. He walked over to you and kissed you.
“I love you,” he said.
And the simple fact that you could not think of anything to say to those three words that you had been dying to hear for so long was all the confession he needed.
Shane pushed you against the wall and continued kissing you, you flashed back to those early days with Mark, sitting on the grass, laughing for no reason at all.
Shane said, “I’ve been wanting to do this for so long,” And you remembered when Mark had said the same thing after he kissed you for the first time.
Then Shane started lifting up the bottom of your shirt, his fingers like sandpaper against your skin, and you shoved his hands away. There were no memories of mark for this one.
You pulled away from Shane and walked away from the wall, brushing your hair back into place. “I need another beer,” You said, pulling open the door. Shane stood there, speechless, as you stepped out into the room.
The animal that was the party roared in approval as you made your way over to the alcohol. You popped a can open with your acrylic nails, not hearing the noise over the pounding of the beast. Then you took a sip, and prepared to let the animal consume you.