Sometimes I’ll be standing somewhere and realise that everyone around me will be dead one day.
I know that sounds morbid, but I really can’t help thinking it. Whenever I’m looking in on a crowd they begin morphing into blurs of colours until they don’t even resemble human beings anymore. They become these nameless creatures, and the idea of them having any emotions or personalities seems absurd because they aren’t people. They’re just unrecognisable masses, filling up space until they die, and all I can think about is how they'll be rotting underground some day.
Holy shit, I need to lighten up.
“Hello? Effie?” The sound of Aiden’s voice snaps me out of my thoughts. “This is a lovely door and everything--heck, I wouldn’t mind having a door myself one day. And that window... dang, that is some nice shit... but I do fancy--and this may stun you now, so be prepared--actually entering the house as well as staring at it.”
I glare at his sarcasm, but he’s too busy bouncing with excitement to notice. This is the biggest results party there’s ever been, and as we both received our GCSE results last week, I can’t say I blame him. The only downside is that it’s Robbie Morrissey’s party: a boy whose life revolves around basking peasants such as myself in his superficial beauty to remind us all of how irrelevant we are, and how magnificent he is. Aiden would walk the earth to merely be graced by his presence. I, on the other hand, think he’s an egotistical arsewipe. I’m just here so Aiden didn’t have to go alone.
I step onto the porch with Aiden standing so close that I fear he might start morphing into me, and as I open the door and enter the house, the sound of an intense dubstep song almost deafens me. Aiden pulls me inside while he pushes his way through the crowd of people I was gazing at moments ago. He leads me to the kitchen, although it takes him a good ten minutes to actually find the kitchen due to the fact this place is enormous.
As we enter the room a few recognisable faces catch my eye, but none of them are friendly. All of my friends besides Aiden think parties such as this one are merely ‘an excuse for the Neanderthals of society to wreak havoc’. While I generally agree with that statement, I've never been all too close to any of them, and so here I am. I figure that's why I've chosen to study my A-Levels at a sixth form college with Aiden rather than stay with them in school.
It’s only now I realise Aiden has left my side, but it doesn’t take a second to notice him practically standing inside Robbie Morrissey’s fridge. He’s rummaging through it as if he’s lived here all his life. I scurry towards the fridge and yank him out, shooting him a scowl. His mouth is seeping with some kind of pinkish coloured foam, and I’m just about to question my own sanity when I notice a packet of marshmallows in his hand.
“Want one?” Aiden asks me absentmindedly as he shoves another pile of them into his mouth. He’s gazing around the room with intrigued eyes.
“Aiden, you can’t just come into a strangers house and eat all of his marshmallows!” I snap. “Who keeps marshmallows in the fridge anyway?”
“Hmmm...” Aiden’s still scanning the room.
I follow his gaze, but see nothing except a bunch of indistinguishable teenagers flirting with each other so vulgarly that I sort of want to throw up. All the girls are dressed in clothes at least two sizes too small for them while the boys stare at them with desperate, hungry eyes.
I sigh. “You’re already looking for him, seriously?”
“Calm your mackerel, I’m just curious is all,” he mutters. I only just manage to hear him over the music in the air and the marshmallows in his mouth. “I’d swear you’d never seen Zack Maddox in your life. I mean, dang, I’d tap that. I wouldn’t mind a bit of Robbie too.”
“Aiden, you’d probably have sex with a toaster if there wasn’t a risk of you being frazzled.” I shake my head as he continues searching the room. “Besides, Zack Maddox and Robbie Morrisey are complete pricks. They use people like disposable toys.”
“They can use me any way they want,” Aiden mutters with a smirk.
Zack Maddox is Robbie Morrissey’s best friend, and… well, let’s just say that while I’ve never met this kid, if I ever did, it sounds like I’d want to ram his head down a toilet bowl and repeatedly slam the lid down onto it.
“I’m going to use the bathroom a sec,” I say to Aiden, who’s still hopelessly scanning the kitchen for Zack Maddox as he drowns his lack of success in marshmallows. “You might want to move on to the next room.”
Aiden only just hears me because by the time he responds, I’m already heading towards the kitchen door. The electronic music is still pumping loudly around the house, and so Aiden shouts his reply.
“Don’t forget to wipe!”
I disassociate myself from him, naturally.
It’s only when I leave the kitchen that I realise I have no idea where I’m going. I peer around the hallway in hope of spotting any indicator of a bathroom, but have no such luck. There are crowds of people surrounding me and it’s impossible to hear myself think, let alone figure out where to go. My bladder feeling like it’s about to burst isn’t helping my concentration either.
“You could always just ask someone where the toilet is, babe.”
I spin around to see a figure leaning against the wall behind me, and I immediately recognise exactly who it is from the countless photos and videos I’ve seen on social networking sites. There’s a subtle smirk on Zack Maddox’s face as I gaze at him, and his amber eyes are noticeably bloodshot from what I figure is alcohol and lord knows what else. His light hair is messily shaped into a quiff and the only glimmer of tidiness to it is the way it’s trimmed on the sides. He’s dressed in a pair of ripped jeans accompanied by a baggy white shirt at least five sizes too big for him, and covering that is an equally oversized plaid shirt. Or to simplify things, he resembles a tramp.
“Last door on the left,” Zack says as he smirks again. “Or you could just go to the empty bedroom I’ve got upstairs.”
I would rather saw off my own limbs. ”I think I’ll pass, thanks.”
I don’t give him a chance to respond. Instead, I rush down the hallway because, quite frankly, what Zack just said to me makes me feel slightly sick. I’ve no idea how Aiden can be the mildest bit interested in someone so pretentious.
Before I enter the bathroom, I briefly look inside. It’s small with just a toilet and a mirror above a sink, but it’ll do. There's no lock on the door, but I'm desperate so I'll have to risk it. Once I’m done using the toilet, I turn to the mirror and cringe. My hair makes me look as if I’ve been standing in the middle of a wind tunnel for an hour, and geez, Aiden could’ve told me about the gigantic gap in my fringe. He was probably too busy looking for his fantasy boyf--
“I ain’t interested!”
The bathroom door bursts open as someone barges into the bathroom. The door slams shut and I hear ecstatic laughter. Just when I thought I’d gotten rid of him, I see Zack Maddox with his back against the doorway. Before I can say anything, he shouts something else at whoever’s outside.
“What do you think you’re doing?” My mouth drops open in disbelief.
“Sorry babe, someone's trying to hit on me, real ugly, we're talking a low three at best.” Zack’s still pushing himself against the door. “Don’t worry, I’ve seen plenty of those before,” he says, nodding at my crotch.
How charming. All of a sudden, Zack erupts into another round of ecstatic laughter. He’s still shoving all of his weight against the door, and I don’t think he realises that there’s no one pushing against it. He hasn’t stopped laughing by the time I ask for him to move so that I can leave.
“Yeah, yeah, sure, sorry. Sure. Yeah, sorry,” is his reply.
Zack steps forward to make room for me, but before I get the chance to move, his face is inches away from mine. It’s only now I realise how strong the smell of alcohol is on him. I try to step to the side, but he puts his arm out against the wall, blocking my path. My palms are beginning to sweat.
“How about a quick ten minutes?” he whispers, inching even closer.
I go to push him away but he grabs my arms. My heart’s racing as Zack’s cold lips press against mine, and I squirm. I shove him off me. What the hell does he think he’s doing? My stomach is twisting and I’m beginning to feel sick as I stare at him. His eyes are deeply bloodshot, his dry lips parted slightly. Both of us are silent, Zack’s face vacant of emotion, and the dark shadows under his eyes are enhanced by the dim lighting in the bathroom. He glances at me and his skin is so pale it looks transparent.
He looks ill. Really ill.
Zack’s face suddenly distorts with any trace of vacancy vanishing from it, and an enormous smirk replaces it. His dark eyes scan every inch of me, and not in the way a boy looks hungrily at a girl, but in a way that’s dripping with ridicule. He laughs. He laughs even more loudly than he did earlier, so much so that it makes my ears ring. My jaw clenches as I focus on his lopsided grin, and his lips begins to move.
“God, what is wrong with me? You’re hideous, I must be more wasted than I thought!” He’s still laughing.
“How about you piss off?” I snap at him.
My voice cracks slightly as I feel a hard lump forming in my throat. What’s wrong with me? If I even dare get upset over this, I’m being stupid. Ridiculously stupid. This boy is a complete jerk, and I know that every word he speaks has as much substance as thin air. My jaw is still clenched.
Zack hold up his hands defensively. “Hey, don’t get pissy with me for being honest! You shouldn't be such a frigid bitch.”
He laughs again but this one sounds more hollow, and for a moment, I almost think I see the emptiness return to his face. My palms are sweating as they shake with frustration while my heart’s swallowed up by my gut. The lump in my throat is growing. Zack throws another insult at me, mutters something inaudible under his breath, and then without warning, he turns away. He turns away and disappears, leaving the door open behind him.
All I can think about when I step out of that bathroom is finding Aiden and getting the hell out of this place. My hands are still shaking with anger. I try ringing him, but there's no answer. I try again, and again. Nothing. Screw this. I shove past a crowd of people standing in the middle of the hallway and run into the kitchen. He’s not in there. I run into the next room and find nothing. The same goes for the next room, and the next one, and the next one. Once I’ve checked every room on the bottom floor, at least half an hour has passed and I’m no closer to finding Aiden. I have no choice; I’m going to have to get out of here on my own.
As I make my way through the crowds and head towards the front door, all I can think about is Zack Maddox. Why didn’t I punch his lights out? I bloody wanted to. How dare he speak to me like that? Who does he think he is? I’m sweating and the heavy dubstep music is giving me a headache. There’s a chocking sound, and it isn’t until my eyesight becomes blurred that I realise it’s me. What on earth are you doing? Don’t cry! Why am I letting Zack’s word stab themselves into me so bluntly? Since when was I so damn weak? I bite my lip and try to swallow the lump in my throat. No, I’m not upset. I’m not. I’m just angry. I don’t get upset, I just don’t. As I finally reach the front door and go to grab its handle, something barges against me, almost knocking my heart out of my throat.
“Effie! There you are.” I’ve never been so thankful to hear Aiden’s voice in my life. He pauses as he scans my face. “Are you all right?”
“Aiden, he--he… I don’t know, I’m just angry, I’m--Can we just get out of here?” I choke.
Aiden doesn’t ask any more questions. He nods, grabs my hand and leads me outside.
I need to stop this. I’m embarrassing myself. Zack is just a mindless pig who was stropping because for once in his life, he got turned down. I just need to forget about him, about the whole situation. It’s as easy as that. So why is the world whirling so violently I feel I could fly off any second? I can’t let myself cry, I can’t even let my eyes water. I need to distract myself, and so I gaze down at my feet as they stumble down the road.
We’ve only been walking a minute when the sound of a deep voice causes Aiden and me to stop in our tracks. I hadn’t noticed until now, but Aiden has his phone in his hands, and the voice causes him to look up from it.
“Excuse me, hey!”
Aiden glances at me before narrowing his eyes and searching the darkness around us. That’s when a sudden thought hits me. What if it’s Zack? What if he’s going to start all over again, and embarrass me in front of Aiden? I’m about to say something when a figure emerges from behind some bushes a few hundred yards away, and starts jogging towards us. What on earth…?
As the figure approaches, as well as realising that he’s running bloody damn fast, I realise that he has a striking resemblance to Zack Maddox. I swallow. It’s him, it has to be. You know what? I’m glad it’s him. I want to tell him where to shove it. I’m being stupid if I let him upset me, and the anger bubbling up inside of me needs to be released. The figure’s yards away now, and I realise I was wrong because it’s not Zack. It’s Robbie Morrissey.
“I need to use your phone!” he’s yelling before he even reaches us.
Robbie doesn’t even stop, let alone wait for an answer. He grabs Aiden’s phone right from his hand, and sprints back towards the shrubbery he came from. What the hell? Aiden’s stammering and before I know it, I’m sprinting and shouting after Robbie. As I make my way behind the bushes to find him, I spot another recognisable figure. There he is then. Zack Maddox: half-lying, half-sitting against a bin. I stop and Aiden arrives behind me, gasping for air.
As my eyes grow accustomed to the light, I notice how Zack’s appearance is even worse than it was in the bathroom. His eyes are shut so I can’t see if they’re more bloodshot, but his face is far paler, his eyes are drowning in the dark shadows underneath them, and his lips look scaly. He’s eerily silent, and as what previously happened in the bathroom replays in my mind, I realise that the lump in my throat has gone. Now I’m just angry. Really bloody angry.
“What’s your phone’s password?” Robbie demands, turning to Aiden. He swears as he enters an incorrect pin. “I think he’s taken too much of something. He’s not--”
“Like hell are you getting his phone password!” I scoff before Aiden can even think to say something.
“Just tell me what it is, you twat! I need to call for help, he--”
I cut him off again. “No, we don’t even know you! It’s his fault if he’s gotten himself completely hammered, and he deserves the crap he gets into because of it. He’s vile enough to deserve it. It’s his problem, not mine, so no, I won’t let you steal my friend’s phone to help some conceited idi--”
“He’s not breathing!”
And with that, Robbie finally gets Aiden's password.
* * * * *
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