Chapter 2 - The party

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'Be careful, you don't want to hurl,' I warned as Penny necked Passion Pop straight from the bottle.

'Oh man, that stuff is vile,' she croaked. She pushed her glasses up her nose and handed the bottle over to me.

'Okay, here goes nothing.' I steeled my gag reflex and took a big swig. It tasted like fruit that had been left in the sun for a week, but Penny and I had a goal to achieve – get drunk. Penny's older brother Pete had bought the alcoholic fizz for us for the grand total of $4. In return for the favour, Penny had promised to do all his chores for two weeks. I'd given him my Oasis CD. It was no big deal – I'd only bought the CD to listen to one song on it anyway.

We wanted to get drunk for a house party. It wasn't just any house party. It was the first real one we'd been invited to and half of year 9 would be there.

Penny and I weren't the type that got invited to house parties. We were known as 'little and large' on account of the fact that I was short and overweight and Penny looked like a beanpole with glasses. We weren't exactly sure who was little and who was large – it depended on your perception, I guess.

Robin Lewis, the hostess herself, had personally asked us to be there. I'd mumbled thanks and then told Penny there was no way we were going. Penny, however, wanted to go. I knew it was because Martin would be there. She'd denied it, of course, her cheeks bright red.

She'd certainly pulled out all the stops with her outfit. Yeah right she didn't care if Martin was going. She wore an A-line denim skirt – pastel pink – teamed with a white crop top and sheer white knee-high socks. I'd gone for a black crushed-velvet dress with a scooped neckline. It didn't suit the warm weather, but black was the most flattering colour for my figure, as mum repeatedly told me.

She'd been so excited when I'd told her we were going to a house party – she'd even curled my hair. I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd offered to buy us drinks for the night. She would have bought us something a lot more drinkable than Passion Pop.

Not that I wasn't thankful for the alcohol. I needed to be drunk to get through the night. Penny would probably get with Martin and I'd have to find people to talk to. I hated talking to people. I'd begged our friends Mei-Ling and Bec to be there and they'd said they might show up. They were also baffled that they'd been invited.

Penny and I hadn't asked them to join us for pre-drinks in the laneway a few houses down from the party – they'd disapprove. They firmly believed everything they'd been told in a recent class about the dangers of alcohol, but Penny and I had had our curiosities piqued.

This wasn't the first time we'd been drunk. The weekend after our alcohol awareness class, in exchange for a months' worth of chores and my Silverchair CD, Pete had bought us cask wine. Or 'goon,' as Pete called it. Penny would have done a whole years' worth of chores if Pete had asked. She was desperate to be friends with the popular girls and thought that if we got drunk on a Saturday night like they did, we'd somehow be like them.

We'd giggled a lot and then thrown up a lot, so I was naturally worried about tonight. The last thing we needed was to yak up in front of Blair Bradley's crew. We'd never live it down.

'Okay, finished.' Penny wiped her mouth.

'Where should we put the bottle?' I looked around for a bin.

'You're such a dork, just leave it on the ground,' scoffed Penny.

As we reached the front door and heard the intimidating thumping of party music, she turned to look at me, her face pale.

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