I stood in the doorway of Roosters and scanned the hallway, but I couldn't see Rob or Rachel anywhere. A small ball of anxiety started to form in my stomach. My drunk brain came up with all kinds of scenarios where he changed his mind about me and decided that, actually, Rachel was really the brilliant, superb one.
I put a hand to my head and squinted as I saw someone walking down the hall towards me. Something about the walk was familiar, but I was pretty sure it wasn't Rob. As he got closer, I realized it was Tim.
"Lizzie!" he called out, seeing me standing in the doorway. "Happy Birthday!" He sauntered up to me and enveloped me in a hug.
I hugged him back, trying to ignore the uneasy feeling in my pit of my stomach. "Thanks for coming," I said, hoping my voice wasn't already starting to slur. "Did you see anyone in the hall on your way here?"
"Some guy and girl looked like they were having a pretty intense conversation down there. She was a crying mess. Is that who you mean?" he asked, jerking his thumb over his shoulder. "Do you know her? She seemed pretty upset."
"Not her. The guy she's with is my boyfriend," I said, trying to look over his shoulder.
"Boyfriend? Since when?" he asked, frowning.
"Since that night we kissed," I said, too drunk to consider how it might sound.
He barked out a laugh. "Amazing. He got all territorial, did he? Man, I've been there. Never again. Casual is so much better."
"Hey, have you heard anything from the guys on the team?" I asked, still trying to look around him to see if Rob was finally coming back.
"You seem pretty drunk, is that really the conversation you want to be having right now?" He took me by the shoulders and turned me around so I couldn't see down the hall anymore. "The party is this way. Whatever is going on down there – you interfering isn't going to make things better. When he comes back in, I'll give you a big, tight hug and you can pretend you've been having the time of your life since he's been gone. He'll be sorry he stepped out of your birthday party to listen to some other girl's sob story." He swung his arm around my shoulders and led me back into the party.
"I was having such a good day and then it all just fell apart," I moaned as we wandered back into Roosters.
He leaned down and gave me a kiss on the cheek. "The night is young, buttercup. What are you drinking?" he asked.
I gestured to the table full of drinks. "Everything on that table, I think."
He looked over at the table and shook his head, "I hope tonight turns back around cause tomorrow is going to be a write-off. I was going to buy you a drink, but I don't think you need more alcohol."
I pulled his arm so he was standing in front of the table with me. "Pick one."
"No, people bought these for you, for your birthday. I can't take one."
I looked at him like he was nuts. "If I drink all this, I'll have alcohol poisoning and I'll spend my nineteenth birthday in the hospital. Come on – pick your poison. There are lots here." I looked up and saw Lark over talking to Paul and Faith and my insides twisted a bit. I recognized Faith's fake polite smile as Lark told another joke and Paul laughed. She had an endless number of inappropriate jokes and sayings that guys loved; this seemed like trouble.
I grabbed a drink and headed in their direction when another tall, rugged looking guy clapped Paul on the shoulder, and he turned to him with a smile. It must be Paul's friend. I saw Lark introduce herself and point to where I was standing with the table full of drinks. She seemed to be offering him one of my drinks. When did I become the open bar? I was going to lose it on her.
"You okay?" Tim asked, taking a drink of the beer he picked up off the table.
I shook my head and took a gulp of the drink I'd taken off the table. God, too sweet. I put it down and picked up a beer instead. "Roommate issues," I said to him once I'd swallowed another sip.
"Your girl friends must love you," Tim said, taking another sip of his drink.
"Why?" I asked, tipping back the beer and hoping it might be possible to erase some of this night.
"You're like a drama magnet. Boyfriend in the corridor with another girl; roommate treating your birthday like an open bar; swim team in peril. Everyone else's life must feel amazingly boring by comparison."
"To be fair, my actual roommate is great," I said, nodding my head towards Tricia.
"And hot. Jesus. That's your roommate?" Tim asked, whistling.
For some reason, his comment makes me feel a little proud. "That is my hot roommate. Keep your syphilis lips off her though, okay?"
He spit out his beer on a laugh. "What?"
"You heard me. As you pointed out, my life seems super complicated right now. I don't need one of you moaning to me about how the other screwed you over. She's not into attachments at the moment either – seems like a bad combo," I said, rolling my eyes, thinking that would deter him.
"No strings, huh?" he asked, raising his eyebrows and grinning at me.
"No – no. Don't go near her. It's like – incestuous – she's my roommate. Your lips have touched mine – they can't go near hers."
He laughed. "Oh, Lizzie – if you only knew the parts of my body that girls who were friends have shared."
I made a gagging gesture and took another drink of my beer. Tricia looked in my direction and raised her drink and then nodded at Tim while he was turned towards the door. I shook my head; whatever she was implying about Tim, I didn't want her anywhere near him.
"He's coming back in. Pretend I'm funny," Tim said, close to my ear.
I laughed instinctually but then felt like a bit of an asshole. I glanced over my shoulder, Tim's mouth still far too close to my ear. Rob stood just past the entrance, looking at me, his expression grim. That's all it took – I patted Tim's arm and turned on my heel, heading towards Rob.
What do you think was going on out in the hall with Rachel?
YOU ARE READING
Second LanarkTeen Fiction
Drama. It was the one thing Elizabeth wanted nothing to do with during her first year of university. She'd had enough of that in high school. At first, it seemed like it was going to be a smooth year: she liked her roommates; the varsity swim team...