Chapter 28

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Tyson POV

The party rages around me, loud and alive and pulsing. The bodies around me grind against each other, the stench of alcohol our temporary oxygen. And we're all gasping for oxygen, for fire, for the feeling of being free. Filling our lungs with burning alcohol. Sloppy words and roaming hands surround me, and I'm one among the masses of intoxicated teenagers. The humidity paints a coat of sweat on me and everyone here, and we all dance with our sweat-covered limbs. Someones hair brushes against my cheek and someones hands trail across the length of my arm.

My heart beats along with the sound of the music and all I can hear is the loud songs and all I can smell is alcohol and all I can see are grinding bodies and the blinding lights. All I can feel is hands on my chest and all I can taste is alcohol on my lips. I am not an individual here. I am one of the crowd, one of many. Here, no one cares and everyone cares and its too loud for no reason at all but because we need everything else to fade away until all we can feel is the same as everyone else. Until we can forget who we are and become someone else entirely.

Who am I? I don't know. I am one among many.

And yet I don't feel alive. Why don't I feel alive when it's the only reason I'm here?

Gutsy hands settle on my chest and I look at the girl in front of me. Another nameless girl among many. I wouldn't be able to tell her apart from the rest. And yet she stands in front of me.

I know she wouldn't know me from the rest either.

She leans in close to me, this nameless girl, and every part of her presses onto me. Her breasts against my chest and her thigh between my legs. Her hands play with my hair and my breathe fans her neck as I look down. I put my hands on her waist, slowly pulling her closer. My skin is hot all over, excitement and arousal taking over. My heart races.

Am I alive?

She asks me, her hair brushing my chest, her voice soft, "Do you have anything to prove to me?" Her lips brush my sweat-covered neck as she says this and my hand slowly brushes against her hip in slow, deliberate movements, pulling an enticing sound from her.

Do I? Or do I have something to prove to myself?

My skin tingles with anticipation, blood rushing downward while my mind loses itself. Her scent is all I smell and her face is all I see and her body against me, her skin on mine, is all I feel and all I need is more more more.

Am I alive now?

My breathe fans her face in response as her hands roam my body freely, hands caressing the expanse of my skin under my shirt and just over my belt as I wait to feel alive. She grinds against me, exciting me further. My fingers dig into her soft hips and she sighs, her breathe shuddering in anticipation. Sweat-coated skin and alcohol for oxygen, we all, in this room, live to feel fake pleasure. I dance along with her, a dance of roaming hands and coy smiles. A dance of grinding bodies and frantic breathes.

I don't feel alive. I don't feel alive. I don't feel alive.

I'm not alive. I'm not myself. I don't want to be here.

Why aren't I alive?

I lean in close to her, my mouth an inch from her ears, and I say, "I don't have anything to prove to you. But maybe I have something to prove to myself."

My hands let go of her waist and the space between us is charged with nothing. There's no electricity there. Just plain nothing. How could I ever have hoped to feel alive with her?

She pulls me close then, her hands on my waist and her thigh between my legs, and she asks, her voice more breath than sound, "Are you sure?"

I nod, not wanting to speak. I don't know what I'd say. I don't want to suffocate.

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