11 - After Party Blues

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I sat on a stool in Flash Thompson's house, a glass of water in my palms. Music was blaring, students flooded the open living room and hallways but I was frozen in my seat, eyes glazed over a little. Mary Jane had suggested I go home but I had shot down the idea too quickly. I saw the nervous look in her eyes, even now. I couldn't go home, not when the house would be empty. I couldn't sit in my room, huddled up with my pillows and duvet alone. That would be the worst possible idea right now.

"How are you doing?" Gwen stepped up to me, her eyes shifting over to stare at Mary Jane, Harry and Peter who had not left my side since we had arrived at the party. Harry had pushed kids out of the way to set me down somewhere a little more quiet, a little more private. "You really should go home, Flo. A party isn't such a good idea, not right now."

I shook my head quickly, tearing my eyes away from my lap. "I don't want to go home. I told you all that." My voice was low but steady enough. I knew they were hovering, I knew they were worried.

The four of them grew quiet, the steady beat of the music thumping through the kitchen. I set down my water on the bench and turned to the four of them. "I'm fine, okay? I just don't want to go home just yet. Being at home by myself isn't something I want to do."

Gwen gave a nod of her head. "Alright."

"Now, go have fun." I said plastering a fake grin on my lips. "Harry, why not get Mary Jane a drink and go dance? Gwen, I know you're dying to see Flash and he seems to be in high spirits and well, Peter, just...I don't know, go mingle with people. I need to find the bathroom, too many pink lemonades."

I slipped off the stool, feeling all eyes on me still. Mary Jane followed me out of the kitchen, only a few feet away. "Flo, please...are you sure? I don't want to--"

"Leave me alone?" I questioned quietly. "I'm in a house full of drunk students, all hyped up because Midtown won the game. I'm not alone, far from it."

Mary Jane gave me a sad look and I touched her hand, smiling again, this time it didn't feel as forced. "Harry looks a little lonely. He's a decent dancer, all those posh school dance lessons. Have fun, please." She glanced over her shoulder, her gaze settling back on Harry who gave a little wave. Mary Jane twisted back to me, giving me a big pretty smile.

"He is looking rather lonely," She pointed out. "If you need me, you know where to find me."

I nodded, "Always."

I started for the stairs, finding my way through the crowd of students. I passed by Cindy, giving her a quick smile as I turned the corner, finding a free bathroom. I locked the door, moving towards the mirror. I stared at the girl in the mirror, seeing her haunted eyes. My hands gripped the basin, still shaking just slightly.

I closed my eyes, seeing the white lights of the car blinding me. I heard the screeching of the tires, the thud of the metal as it crashed. Suddenly I wasn't seeing the events of tonight but of another night, one that haunted my dreams even now. I felt the collision in my bones, heard how the metal twisted and bent. I felt the hot blood sticky on my forehead and saw Colton slammed forward in the driver's seat, his head lolled forward, blood soaking the side of his face.

I blinked my eyes opened, my heart thudding in my ears. "You're okay," The words were a whisper. I switched the warm water tap on and dabbed the water on my face and neck, letting it calm me down. I took a few steady breaths, letting air fill my lungs. "You are okay."

When I was finally ready, I turned off the taps and unlocked the door. In the hallway I found Peter, leaning up against the wall. His head popped up when he heard the door cry on its hingers. I stared across at him, a millions thoughts running through my head, so many words I wanted to say but I didn't know where to begin. Peter's eyes slipped down, seeing my hands still shake by my sides. "Here, take this." He shrugged off his jacket. "You're shaking."

I cleared my throat, wrapping my arms around myself. "It's not from the cold." My voice was tiny, a little broken. Peter's eyes flicked back up to meet my own for a second, then they were adverted away, his hands being tucked into his pockets.

A rowdy boy that looked somewhat familiar rushed pass us, a beer in hand. He was shouting the football team's very own anthem, loud and off key. When he was gone from sight, I inched closer to Peter and he didn't back away. "Thank you, Peter." I started.

"You don't have to--" He started quietly.

I shook my head, letting my hand reach for his arm but it quickly fell away. "I do have to. I don't know how but if you hadn't jumped in, hadn't gotten me out of the way...I wouldn't be standing here right now, trying to say thank you for maybe saving my life."

Peter gave a little nod, his eyes lowered still. I saw the purple bruise around his eye still and couldn't help but smile. I didn't really like Peter Parker but he was something else sometimes. He had helped that kid out that Flash was giving a hard time and he had stepped in front of a car just to save me, someone who he didn't even like, someone who was just his lab partner. "You're really good, Peter. Just know that."

He looked back up, his lips twisting in a shy smile. "You too, partner."

I rolled my eyes, "I thought we agreed not to call me that."

Peter shook his head naturally. "You agreed to that, I didn't." He paused for a moment, his head tilting to the side as his eyes sparkled in the low lighting from the hanging light above us. "You agree to a lot of things that I don't."

I smiled, a tiny display of something I didn't know was there. I knew what he was referring to, our agreement not to be friends. I blew out a sigh, running my hands down my sides. "That was a mutual agreement."

Peter continued to grin, "Was it, Florence?"

My hands had finally stopped shaking now, Peter taking notice of it too. "The others are out on the back patio, we should get back to them."

I gave a little nod and followed him back downstairs and through the mess of students, most wearing our football team colours. As we stepped outside the sliding doors, the cold wind hit me and I shivered. Peter glanced over quickly. "Do you want my jacket now?"

I wanted to shake my head but every fibre in my body went against my mind. I gave him a smile. He slipped out of his jacket and placed it over my shoulders, slow and perfectly. "Thanks." I muttered as we moved towards the far corner of the patio where a porch swing was set up. I dropped into the spare seat next to Mary Jane, her eyes widened across at me.

Peter was chatting idling with Harry when she leant over, trying to hide a smile. Her fingertips brushed the jacket swinging from my shoulders. I didn't even turn to face her, my voice low. "This doesn't mean anything. It's just a jacket and I'm cold."

Mary Jane continued to beam across at me. "Okay, keep telling yourself that, Flo."

When my eyes dragged up to Harry and Peter, trying to focus on the current topic of conversation, I found Peter watching me, this time there wasn't a worried look in his eyes but something else entirely.


A little shorter than last time I think but a massive development in finding out more about Florence and Colton, also the growing relationship with Peter and Florence. Did you guys like it? I really hope so and a massive thank you everyone for reading. You guys really are great. Please leave your comments below as always.


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