Chapter 5 The party and the confession

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After the dispute with Sandra was settled, I could finally focus on the task at hand, which was to confront Sean once and for all. That evening we all went to Raymond Corbett's party because he threw the best ones, and rumor had it that even Sean would be there. I had the outline of my plan figured out. The rest I could improvise.

Parties are ideal places for things to happen. The combination of deafening music, cheap beer and late night equals poor judgment, and perhaps Sean could make one and surrender himself to me—I was kidding, of course. It would be the best decision of his life.

By the time I arrived, the party was in full swing. Bodies swayed against the music, and music bounced around the walls like wavy fluids, like shaking a glass tank full of colorful water. The air promised excitement. I went to Raymond first and asked if I could book a single room.

"Are you going to mess up my bed?" he said.

"No! I just want some privacy so I can talk to him undisturbed."

He cooperatively handed me the key to his room, like the good friend he was. Step one: complete. "Well, if the situation permits, I don't mind if you use my bed."

See? Such a pal.

Next stop was the kitchen. My eyes skimmed over the counter and located a bottle of raspberry vodka. I downed enough of it until the slightest sense of wooziness kicked in, but not so much it'd mess up my speech. I wanted to be confident, not a slurry drunk with a stupid grin.

As the invigorating elixir coursed through my veins, I started to feel like Popeye after he sucked in a can of spinach through his pipe. Step two, done. I was brave and invincible, ready for Sean.

It wasn't hard to find him. He was sitting on the sofa with his basketball teammates playing some kind of drinking game, and at the moment he was laughing at something.

I squeezed in right next to him. "I want to play too."

He glanced at me, a leftover smile still on his face. "Sure," he said, but I had the feeling it was more out of obligation than delight. The sofa was very small and with five people sitting on it, it was incredibly tight. My leg was touching his and I noticed him inching away subtly.

"How nice of you to join us, Flora," Jake said. I could tell he didn't mind having a pretty girl with them, and in no time I had swallowed two more cups without even knowing how the game worked. They could be setting me up for all I knew. The noise around me spiked and got louder. My eyes widened, and when I moved my head it was in slow motion, like I was playing a movie frame by frame.

What were we even drinking? It was stronger than I expected.

"Hey, are you okay?" Sean asked.

"Yeah. Just a little dizzy."

Whoa. My body was leaden but my head was floating off my shoulders. I leaned against Sean's body and closed my eyes for a second.

"Flora, your turn to drink again," Dylan said.

On hearing my name, my head snapped up like a frightened animal on hearing a gunshot. I reached out for the cup but Sean stopped me by laying a hand on my forearm.

"You've had too much to drink. Take a break."

"Hey, no stopping in the middle of a game," Jake cut in with his signature grin. In my dizziness the grin split his face in two.

"Come on, Flora. Is that all you've got?" Dylan taunted.

"I'm fine, really." I looked at Sean before I reached out for the drink again.

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