Tara dropped me off at my house and I so did not want to deal with anyone. I had forgotten that my mom and aunt were holding a yard sale. Of course, Hadley and Sophie were helping out. I had gone to Tara’s house for a spur-of-the-moment sleepover. Her parents were cool like that. We invited Amelia and Holly and were going to “camp out” in the field across the street. Well, that’s what we said. It just made it easier for their boyfriends to visit after dark.
Tara and I had know each other since elementary school when we were in Girl Scouts together. She had started going out with JB when we got to high school a couple of years ago and he introduced us to his friends, twin brothers Alcide and Tray. By association, we became friends with their girlfriends and we were just a big happy group. Except for me. I was always the third wheel, fifth wheel, whatever. I was never excluded, but there are some things a single friend doesn’t want to hang around for.
We built a little campfire and after the lights went out at Tara’s house, Tray’s Jeep pulled up with the headlights off. All three guys jumped out and hugged their girls. JB and Tray also hugged me, being friends. Alcide hugged Holly and winked at me. That was fucked up.
Tray pulled out his personal stash and we all got completely wasted. I still wasn’t sure whether I liked or loathed the spacey feeling pot gave me, but I was more than willing to keep trying it until I figured it out. I leaned back on the big blanket Tara had brought out and grabbed the can of Pringles she had packed for this specific reason. Alcide came to sit behind me and nodded towards the campfire where Amelia and Holly were doing a little swirly dance with each other. Tara had retreated to the tent with JB, so I was left on the blanket by myself. Large warm hands started rubbing my shoulders and I reflexively leaned my head forward and rounded my back.
“You know, Holly and I aren’t exclusive, Sook,” Alcide whispered into my ear and I got goosebumps from his hot breath.
I shrugged his hands off my shoulders and turned to face him. “Why should I care about that? She’s my friend. I would never do that.”
His eyes traveled up and down my body. “Just keep it in mind,” he said before going to join his brother in the Jeep.
I sighed and leaned back on my elbows. I wasn’t used to getting any kind of attention from boys. I started developing early and it became habit to wear my older brother’s much baggier clothes to hide it, even after I grew a few inches and slimmed up. I’d been wearing glasses since I was seven and they never really seemed to sit on my face right. I also preferred sleep to primping, so rather then spend time doing anything with my hair, I just pulled it into a ponytail. I worked for the school paper and would jot down story ideas when they hit me, so I usually just stuck a pencil through the elastic in my hair. At least I would know where it was.
But things changed. When I would be at my friends’ houses relaxing, I wore my usual clothes. I was at home in cutoffs and tank tops. It was my summer “uniform” that I lived in once the temperatures went over seventy. I had also finally convinced my parents to let me get contacts, so goodbye glasses. I cut off about eight inches of hair. Instead of coming down to my waist, it was much more manageable at chest-length and I would leave it down more often. And since those physical changes, I had been getting much more attention.
Alcide was the most forward about it. God knew he was hot. The tanned complexion, black hair, and green eyes that he and his brother shared made all the girls in my class drool. I had always fallen for tall, dark, and handsome. And if I hadn’t been friends with Holly, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But I’m not that kind of girl and never would be. There were too many available guys and a taken one wasn’t worth ruining a friendship and getting a reputation.
We all ended up passing out eventually and Tray shared a bit more of his stash before we had to head back to Tara’s house. After leaving a little bit as a parting gift, the guys drove off and we girls went inside all giggly. Amelia and Holly drove off and Tara offered to drive me home after lunch. I wouldn’t turn sixteen until later that summer and it sucked that I couldn’t drive yet. We burned one on the way to my house and I fell back into my spacey mind.
I waved hi to everyone in my yard and went to hole up in my room. I pulled out Jason’s old Pearl Jam CD and tried to mellow out. My mind tended to work on overdrive when I was high, but sort of in slow motion also. Someone could say something and it would roll around in my head until it made some sort of bizarre connection. I would blurt out something random, but by then, the conversation had usually moved to another topic and all I got were strange looks and chuckles.
Hadley barged into my room without knocking, as usual. She and I were less than a month apart in age, and had been extremely close when we were younger. In middle school, she had gotten involved in all sorts of clubs and athletics and we just weren’t as close anymore. Her sister Sophie was a little more than a year older than us and she was a different personality all together. She was quiet and shy. She kept to a small group of friends and spent most of her time training and riding her horses. We had never really been all that close. We were too different.
Without opening my eyes, I just knew who it was. “Damnit, Had, can you please try knocking once in a while?” I moaned.
She giggled and hopped on my bed, forcing me to pull my legs out of the way so she wouldn’t bounce on them. “Soph and I are going down to the river tonight. Chester’s dad gave him the okay to use the field tonight. You should come with us.”
“Had, we don’t share friends. Besides, I went out last night and Mom probably wants me to stay home.”
That was probably a lie and I knew it. My mom had been a social butterfly while she was in school and had nothing but good memories of parties, dances, and dates that occupied all her spare time. To say she was disappointed in my social life was an understatement. When she had had me, she’d had dreams of having a living Barbie that she got to dress in cute little outfits and gossiping like friends. I wasn’t really giving her much to work with.
Hadley giggled again. “I’ve already cleared it with Aunt Michelle. She’s all for you going out with us tonight! So be ready to go by five! But she told us not to let you wander off into the woods with anyone. It would look bad.”
Well fuck my life. I didn’t want to go to this damn party. Hanging out in a field full of mosquitoes and rednecks was not my idea of a good time. And I was still stoned. I just wanted to listen to music and chill in my room.
I certainly wasn’t going to put forth an effort to go to a fucking field party. I brushed my teeth to try to get rid of the cotton mouth, but it didn’t work. I pulled on my cutoffs and grabbed a pale pink tank top that looked great against my tan. On weekends, I lived on my back deck in my little string bikini and worshiped the sun. My Gran would tell me that I browned like a biscuit during the summer. I coated myself in Off and decided that was the best perfume for where I was going.
At five, Sophie pulled into the drive in Andre’s big blue pickup. He was four years older then Soph, a year older than Jason. He would loan out his truck to his sisters if he didn’t need it. And you needed a truck to make it down the road to the field. I had been there several times growing up to go camping, but this was one of the first parties I’d gone to there.
My cousins both noticed that I was less than enthused to be going to this party and tried to cheer me up. I was going to do what I wanted at this damn thing and if meant being antisocial, so be it. When they parked the truck, I hopped out and immediately went to the back on the river’s edge. I wasn’t going to listen to that country shit. Daddy and Jason made me listen whenever they were around and I was sick of it. I flipped through the bag of CDs and, finding nothing I liked, flipped it over to the radio and tuned it to the rock station after adjusting the antenna. Fuck anyone who didn’t like it.
I grabbed a towel from the pile at the edge of the back and laid back. I heard the crack of a lighter and turned my head. Eric fucking Northman. I knew who he was. Everyone did. He was a junior while I was a sophomore. He played all sorts of sports and had a reputation. I could admit he looked good, but he wasn’t my type. All I wanted was one of the cigarettes that he had.
He offered to bum me smokes as long as I paid him back. I could tell he was trying to flirt with me, but really? Did that juvenile smirk really get girls? It just made him seem like a cocky dick. I rolled my eyes to myself when he laid out next to me. Was I giving off an “I want to chat” vibe? Cuz I would need to stop doing that pronto.
He tried to offer me a beer, but the cheap shit they had at these parties always tasted nasty. All beer tasted nasty to me. I just wanted a water because the Marlboros were not helping my dry mouth. I couldn’t help but smirk at the way his eyes widened as I emptied the bottle he tossed me.
Somehow or another we ended up pawing at each other on the bank and he wanted more privacy. He helped me up and grabbed the big towel I had been laying on. We climbed the bank to the field and headed off into the woods. Hadley tried to get me to talk to her, but I just flipped her off and told her to mind her own business. She knew me well enough not to take it personally.
Eric unfolded the towel and started kissing me again. He may not have physically been my type, but that boy could kiss like a house on fire. I was in no shape to make decisions, but I didn’t care. The things he was doing to my body were making me fuzzy in a way I hadn’t experienced before. When he put his mouth on my breasts, I thought I was going to explode until I felt his tongue on my pussy. I think I forgot how to breathe. The most I had ever done before was kissing and maybe some medium petting. Not even making it to “heavy”. I was in a whole new ballpark.
When he pulled his jeans down, I saw the ammo he was packing. That was supposed to fit in me? Seriously? Well, I was willing to give it a try. Not for one second did I think about how I had never gone this far before or how I was about to punch my v-card. When he pushed his cock into me, I could feel my body stretching to accommodate him. It was a sensation I wasn’t used to, but not unpleasant. Until he got deeper. I felt a sharp pain and hissed. He pulled out in a hurry and got all huffy about me not telling him I was a virgin. Well, he hadn’t asked and I wasn’t in the habit of blurting out the state of my hymen to someone who was basically a stranger. Although, since I had started to have sex with said stranger, it maybe should have come up.
And then he just fucking left. Walked away from me in the woods, saying “see you later” while I pulled on my clothes. He was gone by the time I got out of the woods. Chester gave me the pack of cigarettes that he had left for me. How fucking thoughtful. Hadley started harping about how bad smoking was for you, but I just ignored her. I thanked God that I lived close enough to walk home and took off down the dirt road. My parents were asleep by the time I got home and holed myself back up in my room.
I could not fucking believe what I had almost done. Really, Sook? With Northman, of all people? Are you that damn desperate? I was over feeling insecure. Come Monday, I was starting over.
I got Mom to take me shopping for some new clothes the next day, to her delight. She’d been waiting for me to ask her that for years. She spent a fortune on a spring-summer wardrobe for me. We got all kinds of sundresses and outfits that looked so much better than Jason’s hand-me-downs. My new clothes felt like armor and I was ready for anything that the high school halls could throw at me.