chapter 8

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Emma frantically ran into the crowd, searching desperately for Oliver. She looked at heads and hair, trying to look for his half bleached 'fro. She felt so small in this room full of teenagers. Nobody knew her. She didn't know anyone. The only thing she could recognize was the strange looks she was receiving.

She walked into a hallway, praying that Michael decided not to follow her. Her head was spinning and her limbs felt heavy. Her phone buzzed in her pocket. She felt like crying.

"Bad trip?" Emma glanced over. Ashton looked down at her, his large circle glasses falling just below the bridge of her nose. Her heart was thumping wildly.

"O-Oliver." was all she could muster, and he looked around the room. He pushed up his glasses and took his phone out of the pocket of his jeans.

Emma's phone buzzed again.

"I think i saw Oliver over by the stairs awhile ago," Ashton glanced over to the dimly-lit stairwell before returning his attention to his screen. "Do you want me to call him?" She nodded, and he lightly pulled her aside.

Before Ashton could dial his number, Olivers head popped up in the crowd. Emma pushed her way to him and grabbed him. She already forgot about Ashton.

"Hey! I was wondering where you slinked off to," Oliver glanced to her, squinting. "You seem on edge. Wanna bounce?" She nodded vigorously.

He lead her through the house and to the front door. They walked to the car in silence before Oliver started asking questions.

"So, tell me all about your first party experience. Did you meet anyone new? Make any foes?"

Emma stared out the window into the vast night. She just wanted to collect her thoughts, but her brain felt like a cluttered office desk. The strong drink she had definitely was not helping her sort her brain.

She could not begin to fathom Michael at the moment. She was confused and partially angry at him, but she was mainly angry at herself. Not for talking to Michael or even kissing him. Emma was mad because he made her forget about her mom.

That was the first time since the crash she did not think about her mother, lying there helpless in the bed, tubes of various kinds hooked up to multiple parts of her body. The battle between life and death was at peace in that small amount of time she spent with Michael. The looming thought that she was going to be the sole reason her mother either lived or died did not cross her mind once

I should have never gone, she thought.

"Emma," Oliver snapped her out of her own brain. "Did something happen? You're acting weird." She took a second and composed herself.

"Nothing happened. I'm fine," Emma replied, leaning against the window. "Just tired and a little tipsy."

     Emma's phone buzzed again.

Oliver chuckled, pulling into the driveway. "Yeah, I feel you."

     Emma's eyes slowly felt heavier and heavier as she laid in bed. The last thing she wanted to do was check her phone, but she knew the texts she received earlier were not going to go anywhere. She grabbed her phone, unlocking it and reading the texts. They were from Michael.

     How did he get my number?

     M: emma, please forgive me. i may be a little drunk right now but that isn't an excuse for moving faster than what you wanted and taking your first kiss away from you

     M: assuming that was your first kiss. i guess i don't know fully if that was your first time partially making-out but from what i have gathered from oliver i'd say it wasn't too bold of an assumption

     M: maybe i shouldn't have said the oliver part. anyways, i would still like to go out with you sometime if you would allow it. or we could stay in too. watch a movie, go eat somewhere, do homework, drive around i don't care. i just want to spend time with you. please just tell me you'll think about it

     Emma smiled to herself as she read through the texts.

     E: I will think about it.

     She replied as another one popped up.

     M: the lady on this beer bottle looks like you

     Enclosed in the text was a slightly blurry picture of his beer bottle. There was a picture of a woman with wavy brown hair and a rotund chest. Emma giggled.

     E: Michael, go to bed before you drown in alcohol.

     M: ok

     M: goodnight emmy wemmy

     E: Goodnight Michael

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