Cool, rich, and aloof, Justin Tanner, never expected buttoned-up, class valedictorian, Emily St. Vincent to attend his Valentine's Day bash, much less end up in his shower.
This story was contributed by Paulapdx
I tip the beer bottle slowly up to my mouth as I watch the scene play out before me.
Emily St. Vincent—school valedictorian, senior class president, and all-around "good girl"—is taking a swing at Ryan Decker, our school's star wide receiver and my best friend.
Luckily, he easily ducks, and she misses, but the sheer force of her punch has her spiraling into the arms of Clive Seymour, our star defensive end. He heaves her upright and back onto her feet again. But this inadvertent tackle, combined with the five beers he's had, all within the last half hour, must have pushed him over the edge.
Because, before you know it, he bends over and barfs up his 4-for-a-$1 taco special all over the front of Emily's sweater.
Time to intervene.
I slice my way through the crowd and grab Emily by the hand, then immediately escort her upstairs to my parents' bedroom, where she can clean up in private. It's all the way at the end of the hall, in their wing of the house—a well-known, off-limits zone for any party I'm hosting.
I flip on the lights and shut the door behind us, then I point to my parents' master bathroom.
"You can clean up in there," I say without looking at her, because for some reason, the sight of a drunken, disheveled, barf-ridden Emily St. Vincent is really hard for me to bear. She's always so prim, so put together. But tonight, she's a hot mess.
"Thank you, Justin," she whispers, and I look up to see her heading for the bathroom. Suddenly she stops in the doorway, her hand propped against the door frame to keep her steady and standing. Then, she turns around and looks at me.
"I'm sorry I made such a spectacle of myself," she says quietly. She's not wearing a lot of makeup, but her mascara is smudged, and she's got those raccoon eyes. And the lost, forlorn look she's giving me is so devastating. It's weird, but I've admired those coffee-colored eyes for years, and not once, have I ever seen such sadness within them.
I shove my hands in my pockets because I'm not sure what else to do.
"Don't worry about it." I shrug and then look away for a second to figure out how to say this. I look back at her. "So, I heard what happened. You caught your boyfriend with Katy Klein in the downstairs closet?"
She bows her head and nods.
"Damn. Sorry about that," I say. Then, I shift on my feet. "But, uh, can I ask...how did Ryan get mixed up in all of this?"
She lets out a long sigh, then says, "He was there when I caught them." She scrunches up her face in disgust, probably at the memory, then her features relax a bit. "I think he was just trying to comfort me when he saw me crying, but he was too touchy-feely about it, you know? I guess taking a swing at him was my way of telling him to back off." She chuckles, then softly claps a hand to her forehead and lets out a low groan. "I'm not really thinking very clearly right now."
"Yeah, well, the shower's all yours. I'll go find you something to change into." I'm about to head to my mother's closet when Emily stops me.
I turn around. "Yeah?"
"Will you stay with me in there...make sure I don't fall asleep or anything?" She shakes her head slowly. "I've read such horrible stories about people getting drunk and then, you know, drowning in the bathtub...or the shower." She chuckles lightly again, as if the thought of this actually happening is both ludicrous and inevitable at the same time.
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Lucky In Love? A Valentine AnthologyGeneral Fiction
Love comes in all forms, and the short story collection from some of our Paid Stories writers covers the full range of what love means. There are new starts, love gone wrong, love lost and everything in between. We'll have new stories added daily...