I woke up the next morning when I found I could no longer breathe- Al had her arm flung over my throat. I looked around groggily in the bright sunlight and realized someone had taken me upstairs and left me in Ms. Simone's bed last night after I'd fallen asleep on the couch. I irritably slid out of the bed. Al was sprawled every which way, taking up most of the space. I went to the washroom and splashed my face, then used some makeup remover to take off what was left from last night. I could hear some noise from downstairs, and discovered Caleb watching the Saturday morning cartoons in front of the TV.

"What time is it?" I asked, my voice sounding croak-y and unused.

"Eleven, loser." Caleb said, not looking away from the TV screen. I childishly made a face at his back and then staggered out to the kitchen and got myself a glass of water. After that I wandered back into the living room and switched on the stereo system, putting in a mix CD of Latino, Spanish and samba music to wake the girls up. I turned the volume on full blast as Caleb grumbled, turned off his cartoons and looked at me pointedly. I smiled.

"Sorry." I said insincerely.

"I don't like the Flintstones anyway." He said, going into the kitchen. I ran upstairs to where Parisa was just sitting up groggily in her bed. Her room was still dark and I flung open her curtains, letting the light pour in as she cried out and shielded her eyes. I leapt onto her bed.

"Let's dance!" I yelled over the music, jumping up and down.

"You're sick." She said, laughing as she joined me on the bed in doing some ridiculous dance moves.

"Al?" I asked, nodding toward the door of her mother's bedroom where Al and I had slept last night. We ran into the bedroom where Al was fast asleep. She had chronic insomnia, but once the girl fell asleep, she slept. The song Magalenha came on and we squealed happily as we began dancing again, leaping onto the bed. Al groaned and swore at us.

"What the fuck guys? Fuck off, I'm so tired!" She yelled irritably as we shook ourselves at her and did some ballroom dancing obliviously. Parisa lay down on top of her and made faces at her until she laughed. We pulled her up and she half-heartedly jumped around a bit before she went downstairs, probably to forage for some of her drug of choice- coffee. I wasn't much of a morning person, but Al made me look like Mary Sunshine. We soon followed and watched as she chugged a cup of coffee. Caleb looked at her warily.

"That was… steaming hot, black coffee." He said.

"Yeah, do you have any more?" Al asked as she set her mug on the counter with a bang. Caleb pushed his cup towards her as if feeding steak to a lion, and gingerly took his hand back.

"You can have mine, you look as though you need it." He said, looking at us.

"Did you forget about her little addiction?" I asked. He shrugged, saying,

"I think it's gotten worse since I was last home."

"We're thinking of enrolling her in a twelve-step program." Parisa said, going to the fridge and taking out some butter for the toast she was making. I got cereal for myself and Al (once she had emerged from the coffee mug without the feral gleam in her eye). We ate in comfortable silence, each lost in our own thoughts.

I was sprawled on the couch reading Jane Eyre as Al and Parisa watched an episode of Sex and the City on DVD. The sun was blaring into the living room and making it quite warm. All three of us lived in the same neighbourhood, "Old London". The houses were older and most had hardwood floors, fireplaces, 2-3 bedrooms and a lot of big windows. I loved the sunlight. All of a sudden Parisa switched off the TV.

"Okay, we've recuperated long enough. Let's plan this party." She said, sitting up properly and leaning forward with a determined look.

"No! No. No party." I moaned, putting my book down.

"Yes, yes, yes party!" Al said, shaking a finger at me dramatically.

"Hey, it's my house! Why are you so worried?" Parisa asked.

"If we get busted I'll be in so much trouble. I'd be grounded for centuries!"

"Busted by who, the cops? It's not going to be that big! Just a little thing. Caleb? Yeah right. My mom? She probably expects me to have a party while she's gone anyway. As long as we clean up and don't break stuff, she doesn't care." Parisa finished her speech with a smug smile. I was finished before I'd begun.

"Fine, but why can't we just hang out downtown or go to a movie instead?" I asked. This didn't seem to merit a reply since both girls pointedly ignored me and began discussing who to invite. They quickly decided to have about 30 people over.

"You can invite 10, ok Cami?" Parisa said. "So who?"

"Uhhh… George, Liz, Joel, Adriana, Ashley, Dan, Lena, David, Bronwyn and Mags."

"You're not going to invite Robbie?" Al asked simultaneously with Parisa' shout,

"You're not going to invite DEVON?!" I looked between the two.

"Robbie? Do you think I should? I mean… I don't want to encourage him in anyway-" I was cut off by Parisa.

"Are you crazy, woman? You can't invite both of them anyway; Robbie will have a heart attack if he sees you with another guy. So invite Devon."

"Devon? But I saw him last night! Hello overeager!" I said.

"Oh who cares? Just be natural." Al advised.

"No, no, she has a valid point. I'll invite Devon instead." Parisa said, grinning as I groaned in defeat.

"Speaking of Devon though, how did last night go? He was totally into you at the concert! And I noticed he went to say goodbye to you alone." Al nodded and smiled cheekily. I flushed a little.

"OMG she's blushing!" Parisa said dramatically.

"Scha-WING!" Al exclaimed.

"Yeah the concert was fun. He's cute." I said, hoping to avoid explaining the goodbye. It was an exercise in futility since not only could those two girls basically read my mind they could also torture the most minute detail out of me.

"AND?" Parisa demanded.

"Did you get some?!" Al asked. I hit her on the arm.

"Oh shut up… of course not. He just came to say goodbye, and he said I was cute, and he asked me to eat lunch with him at school on Monday."

"He what?" Al looked slightly baffled.

"Aww! That's so adorable." Parisa said. I nodded happily. "But you're still blushing… spit it out." She demanded. I rolled my eyes.

"And he just slightly pecked me on the lips and then ran off."

"Slightly pecked? He was drooling over you all night! Pfft." Al said in disappointment.

"He's a gentleman." Parisa nodded her approval.

"So anyway, don't we have a party to plan?" I said, eager to talk about something else.

By 10:30 Saturday evening, the party was in full swing. Caleb was out with friends, the stereo was playing Junior Senior, 40 people were crammed into the house, someone had brought beer, and there were lots of nachos and other snacks to go around. Parisa and Al were flitting around socialising and dancing, and I was cowering in the staircase, watching with horror as Robbie and Devon stood only a few feet away from each other, neither having noticed each other as they talked to different friends. George was making a funny squinting face at me from across the room, and I laughed a little and beckoned him over, then watched in horror as he opened his huge mouth and yelled,

"CAMILLE MADISON, GET OVER HERE NOW!" The minute he said my name most people looked toward me, but two heads in particular swivelled in my direction. Great… I must've looked like some kind of gremlin, crouching on the stairs. I self consciously stood up, tugged at the bottom of my dressy bright purple tank top, and weaved through the crowd until I got to George. He smothered me in a big hug. "I almost didn't notice you there, what in the hell were you doing? A freakin' Gollum impression?" He said good-naturedly as I wiggled free from his grasp. "You look fantastic. Love the jeans… and the shoes… and the cleavage…" He complimented as he spun me around in front of him. I smiled happily.

"Where have you been forever?" I asked him. It felt like ages since I had last seen him.

"Oh you know, the usual. A new guy every night, mani-pedi and lunch at Garlic's every day, principal dancer in the Ballet so that takes up time…" George grinned at me. "No, actually, I was at an advanced ballet camp for a week."

"And you didn't tell me, whore? I almost sent out a search party. How was it?"

"Boring, but I improved my technique a lot. My muscles are still killing me… goddamn this competitive field. If only I had gone for modeling. I'd just have to stand around and look good." I rolled my eyes as his massive ego, but I was used to it.

"Any hot guys at the camp?"

"Meh. The usual crowd. I am still very much in lust with that sexy Cuban export, Louis, though."

"Why not go for him then?" I asked. George wasn't really the shy type.

"To be honest, I'm not really sure which way he swings." George grimaced. "My gaydar is picking up mixed signals."

"Maybe he's bi. Or… asexual?" I suggested.

"Asexual? No, just be quiet now, Camille. Whatever. Listen, I have to go! I only came for a few minutes out of my deep longing to see you darling, but actually I'm supposed to be at a different party tonight. Fucking previous engagements." He said irritatedly. I smiled at his familiarly melodramatic ways.

"Ok. Thanks for coming. Have fun, I'll see you at school on Monday." I hugged him.

"You're my favourite fag hag." He said fondly, patting my head.

"And you're my favourite fag." I returned, giving him a little push toward the door. I turned around and began walking, still smiling, and didn't notice the boy standing right in my way. I smacked into him, but his hand had already shot out to steady me. I looked up and saw Devon.

"Didn't think I'd see you here." He said, smiling at me. I raised an eyebrow.

"I don't totally buy that… you should know by now that Al, Parisa and I are pretty much inseparable." I said, delighted when he pinkened a little bit.

"Yeah… ok I guess that was a bit of a line. I was hoping to see you." He said, looking into his plastic cup before looking back up at me. I smiled and moved closer to him.

"Let's dance then." I suggested, but at that moment I was turned around and pulled into a crushing hug.

"Hey Camiiiilllllllllleee!" Robbie yelled into my ear. He smelled like a brewery. Just what I need, a drunken Robbie.

"Hey Robbie. Could you let go? You're kind of crushing me." I said shortly. He laughed and complied.

"Sorry. You're so del'cate." He slurred. His eyes finally focussed in on Devon, standing behind me. "Dev, my man!" He greeted, as the two did some strange and elaborate handshake. I don't know how he could remember it when he was drunk, although come to think of it, it was probably invented when drunk.

"What's up, Robbie? You look a little out of it. We've got a game on Monday, dude!" Devon reminded, smiling.

"Don't worry about me. I can hold my alcohol." He laughed loudly and then grabbed me and began shaking me. "I'ma score some goals Monday for this pretty lady." I tried to get free from his grasp but found I couldn't. He was a supernaturally strong drunk. He was still laughing, unaware of how hard he was shaking me.

"Robbie stop, you're hurting me!" I said, trying to get his attention by pinching his arm. Devon grabbed him by the shoulders and gave him a slight shove. Robbie stopped laughing and glared at his friend.

"Listen man, you're totally pissed. You were really hurting her. You need a ride home?" Devon offered, actually sounding concerned. Robbie let go of me.

"Fuck that. Don't need you to babysit me, Fitzgerald. I'm going to Amy Bradshaw's house. You come with me." He demanded, pointing at me.

"Actually, I think I'll stay here. But you have fun." I forced myself to smile rather than punch him like I wanted to. He scowled and grabbed my arm.

"It will be a laugh. Just like old times." He said, already attempting to drag me away. I could see Devon getting ready to fight but I really didn't think it was needed. I motioned to him to wait.

"Robbie, I'm STAYING here. Leave me alone." I said, giving his arm a really vicious pinch this time. He swore and released me. I stumbled backwards and into Devon. Robbie was ready to leave by himself now but he narrowed his eyes as he noticed me leaning against his friend. A clear, calculating look came into his eyes, which I had never seen in them when he was drunk. He glared at us for another moment before his face suddenly split into a smile.

"Okay! See you on Monday guys. You better come to the game." He winked at me and then turned, walking jauntily towards the door. I rolled my eyes and turned to face Devon.

"Sorry about that. He's a real sweetheart you know, but when he drinks it's like another person." I spoke earnestly, but Devon was still staring after my ex-boyfriend.

"Whatever. He needs to get over that kind of behaviour. There aren't any excuses." I was surprised by the firmness in his voice. I waved a hand in front of his eyes and he looked down at me, blinking for a second before he smiled.

"So, about that dance." I reminded him. A Subways song had started up and we began to dance. It was more crowded in here then it had been at the concert last night. We were beginning to get into it when a loud crash and a scream were heard.

Oh Lordy.