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The whole way there, I'm ecstatic. I'm only a junior, but I had been invited to a legendary Steve Rathbone party. And who was Steve Rathbone? Only the hottest, most-popular, richest guy to ever walk the halls of Everest High School.
It was a chilly fall evening, misty, so the leaves were limp and damp, unable to hold up their soggy bodies.Amelia's heels made only a soft 'thok-thok-thok' sound with each step. My best friend wore white skinny jeans and her favorite sweater, dark green and white striped, knitted, with those big white buttons on one side and on the neck. I was wearing a black, silky blouse that “almost” showed too much, along with a jean skirt, ripped fishnet tights, and loose, black Converse shoes. We both had too much mascara and eyeshadow on, but we didn't care.
I quickly checked the scrawled address on the torn scrap of notebook paper that had been hurriedly thrust into my hand.
"Twenty-two Orange Grove Lane," I read, looking up. It was a large house, and sounds of serious partying and the deep, reverberating bass line of heavy-metal/rap music was pulsing through the neighborhood. I grinned. "We're here, Ames!" Amelia nodded, and flipped her long, platinum-blonde hair, the raspberry-red streaks glistening in the street lights glare. I ran my fingers through my jet-black, spiky and short ‘do, making it as messy as possible. It was strange, me being almost-emo, Amelia being almost-prep, and us being best friends, but that was just how the world worked.
I notice Amelia holding her stomach, and asked if she’s okay. She had been throwing up earlier, claimed it was from the cafeteria chicken. Probably true, knowing the school food.
“Let’ do this, Emma,” Ames said, applying another coat of “Luscious & Lusty Lips, strawberry and mango flavor,” to her already-glossed lips. This is her fourth coat tonight. Nervous much?
I rang the doorbell, and it swings open almost immediatley. There, in all his glory, is Steve Rathbone. He’s wearing a Budweiser box on his head and shades. He’s shirtless, and his pants are unzipped. ‘Sexy and I Know It,’ is blasting from the speakers behind him. Girls are shoved up against walls, tongues in boy’s mouths. Confetti, barf, and booze litter the floor.
“Sweet...more hot chicks...” Steve says loudly, his words slurred. He staggers forward and plants his suction-cup lips on Amelia’s mouth. She slaps him, but only half-heartedly. He raises an eyebrow.
“Ooh, a tiger...I like ‘em feisty. He grabs a half-empty bottle of vodka from the floor and stuffs it in her mouth, then plugs her nose, forcing Amelia to swallow it. I try to swat Steve’s hand away, but Amelia giggles and pushes me away. She had had a few beers before we walked here...the vodka must have pushed her over the brink.
“Leave us alone, Em...you’re just jealous...” This time, when Steve lunges and places the lip-lock on her, Amelia doesn’t slap him. In fact, she wraps her legs around his waist while he staggers away, still making out.
I shrug. There’s not much I can do, me being a junior at a senior party. I walk in, hopping over puddles of sick. In the middle of the living room, furniture has been shoved over to make room for a dancing floor. I grab a beer from a table, crack it open, and take a long sip. Maybe I would try to have a good time, even though my best friend was off somewhere with a senior, most likely rolling around on the ground.
3 Hours Later
“C’mon, baby, just this one time...it’ll be fun...” Jack is crooning into my ear. Even though my senses are dulled, warning bells are going off in my head.
“No, Jack...not tonight...”
“C’mon, Ellen, *hic* It’ll be great, you’ll see...” he whispers, not getting my name right.
“No, Jack...we just met...”
“That’s when it’s best, baby...*hic* I love you, you know that. Now come on, baby...”
“Really, baby, it’s great...” Jack is getting angry now, and despite my protests, he starts dragging me off into the woods behind Steve’s house. I’m too drunk to get away.
He throws me behind a tree and pins me against the bark. I struggle, and his mouth latches on mine. His tongue is exploring my mouth, and I can feel one hand going up my shirt, the other down my skirt. Before I can do more, I knee him. Hard. Jack goes down with a moan, and I kick him over and over in “sensitive” areas.
“Don’t ever touch me again, you creep!” I’m yelling. I start running, nowhere, just away from Jack. I’m dodging trees, kinda off-balance, thanks to the beer, and I trip over a tree root and go down. When I look up, it’s all I can do not to scream.
Steve and Amelia are getting down and dirty, a picnic blanket spread on the forest floor. I want to look away, but I can’t. I see it all. Everything.
A hand grabs my hair and yanks me up.
“So, running away now, you b****! That’s what you get when you do that to me!”With each emphasized word, he slaps me across the face. Hard. I feel a trickle of blood ooze down my face. Jack drags me away. Again.
4 1/2 Hours Later
I’m dirty. That’s all I know. I think it’s dawn. I’m crying. I’m dirty, I’m dirty, my tears won’t cleanse my dirty body. Birds are chirping. I hear sirens. Are they looking for me? Is it Jack? Please let it not be Jack, anything but Jack Cunningham, don’t let him hurt me again, not Jack...I’m so dirty...I’m less than irt, I’m dirtier than dirt...
“Hey! I think I found her!” a deep voice calls. My head throbs and I whimper with pain. I have a serious hangover, but that doesn’t matter. Strong arms cradle my naked body. I’m bleeding from the places he cut me. I didn’t know he had a knife. I’m so dirty...
“I found the other one!” yells a new voice. “But it’s not pretty...”
1 week Later
They don’t know who did it. Not yet. Jack and Steve are prime suspects. Both were taken in for questioning. I can’t get over it, though. It’s after the funeral, and for the first time, I saw Amelia’s body. Her parents decided to have an open casket, to let us see the damage done. Her hair is almost all ripped out. There are long gouges all down her face, and all over her body. Her thin neck is broken, and you can still see the bruising from whoever choked her to death. They had continued to maul her body even after she was dead, said the police. But the biggest shocker was that she was pregnant. Only three months, and she had only found out the day she died. That’s why she had been throwing up and acting sick.
I sit in the back of the car, too stunned to cry, to move. I’m in shock, they say. Shock of what happened to me, to us, to her. It’s all my fault. If I had just stuck by her instead of letting Steve mash his face into hers, none of this would have happened. If I had not gone to the party, if we had just gone to a movie like we told our parents, none of this would have happened.
And I’m still dirty. So dirty. My friend is ripped from me, leaving a gaping wound, and my other half is ripped from me, leaving me alone and dark in the world. Without a light. I’m so dirty.
I’m so dirty.