Birthday Party

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The day after the date
is Wednesday.
The first thing I hear as
my siblings and I enter
the school building this morning
is the buzzing of conversations
among nearly every student
in the entire school.
I only catch bits and pieces
in the first hour or two;
intermittently, I hear
things like 'party' and 'weekend,'
and can only guess at what
everyone is going on about.

It's not until I run
into Seth before lunch
that I find out what all
the commotion is for.
"Did you hear
about the party Nat's having?"
he asks me
quite out of the blue.
My first reaction
is to frown in confusion -
but then I remember
the later contents of
our phone conversation last night,
and it all makes sense.

"Her birthday party?"
I ask with dawning realization -
and he nods his agreement.
"Did she decide when
she was going to have it?"

"Saturday,"
he answers.
"She doesn't really care
about the exams next Monday,
apparently.
It starts at seven,
at her house."

"Her house?"
I've only been to
Natalia's house once before,
and that was when she had
tried to get me
to do her homework for her,
as well as hatched the first
inklings of her scheme
to get me a boyfriend.
I guess it's big enough
for her to comfortably hold
a party in it.
"How many people
has she invited?"
I ask after a moment of thought -
and I guess that
wasn't the right question, because
Seth just laughs
as if it was an obvious thing.

"Matty,"
he says patiently,
almost patronizingly,
as if he's speaking to
a small child,
"do you know how many
people Nat is friends with?
Or knows, at least.
Practically the whole school
has been invited -
and if they haven't, they
definitely have heard about it,
and will show up regardless."

It clicks, now:
that must be what
everyone has been talking about,
what all the whispers in the halls
have been referring to.
And suddenly, I grow
a little nervous -
because a party that big,
that full of people that I don't know
is something that I would never
want to find myself at.
But it's for Natalia's birthday,
and I'm her friend,
so I should be there, right?
That's how it works.
I have to be there to celebrate
the important occasion
that is the celebration of her birth,
no matter how I feel about it.

"So,"
Seth soon interrupts
my train of thought again.
"Are you going?
I heard that she
has a pool -
how cool is that?"

I know he's probably
just trying to get me to go
so he doesn't have to deal
with Natalia and her boyfriend alone,
but it's not enough
to blind me to the idiocy
of his statement.
I raise a brow
in his direction
after a second and ask,
"A pool?
Seriously?
In the middle of winter?"

"It's a thing,"
he protests.
"People jump in
on dares and stuff
and then go back inside
to warm back up.
It's fun."

"Please tell me that
these 'people'
are fully clothed,"
I say slowly.
I've heard enough about
skinny dipping at parties
to be a little wary.

He hesitates for just
a moment too long -
and that answers my question
more than his feeble,
"Uh, yeah..." does.
We've reached the cafeteria by now,
and he dodges in front of me
as I sigh and veer left
to join Euni and her friends
at their lunch table.
"But you're going to go,
aren't you?"
he asks again,
pleadingly.
"You're not going to make me
deal with her on my own,
are you?"

"It isn't like you have to
be her shadow for the night,"
I protest.
"Just go and talk
to someone else."

"You wouldn't leave
your best friend hanging
the night of her birthday party,
would you?"
he continues
as if he hadn't heard me.
"I know for a fact
that she wants you to come -
and she'd come to your party
if you had one, right?"

"She does?"
I'm momentarily distracted
by that fact -
I mean, if she really
wants me to come to her party,
I can't disappoint her,
can I?
Obviously, I'm not very good
at winning arguments.
"Fine,"
I grumble at last,
after some more time
spent thinking it over.
"I'll go, I guess,
if you insist.
You're so pushy."

Seth just grins
as he steps out of my way,
clearing the path to the lunch table
where my sister is waiting
with a curious expression.
"You won't regret it,"
he tells me,
"I promise.
It's gonna be
a blast."

I'm not so sure about that,
but I guess I'm already
locked into attending the party,
so I just nod as I
sidle past him
and head on my way.

×

I've been so unmotivated lately and that really sucks because I need to get stuff written for this... I've been hoping that I'll finish this story before I go to college next month, but considering it probably will be longer than Misalignment was, I don't know if I will. So near the end, updates may lag? We'll see. Depends on how busy I am then.

If you guys liked this chapter, I'd love if you would vote and leave me some feedback!! It would be very much appreciated c:

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