With a Little Help from My Friends

With a Little Help from My Friends

"So I'll see you later, Vi?"

I get out of the car and turn back towards him.

"Yeah, sure, Tom. I'll call you this weekend...if I have time."

He looks all too excited about this.

I dated Tom...a year ago? And he's still hung up on me. It's actually really pathetic.

He drives off in his totally hot car. No clue what brand it is, but it's awesome. And Tom's pretty loaded, so he's the best kind of clingy ex you can have.

I'm pulling open the door, digging through my purse for my compact mirror, when I get bowled over by about ten fourteen-year-old boys. Ew.

Devon's friends.

Devon is my little brother, and he fits the package perfectly. Insanely annoying, troublemaker, always in my business. Problem is, he's a freshman, so he knows all the rumors about me, so he takes the opportunity to tease me mercilessly about them whenever he can.

Whatever. Right now, I don't have to deal with him – he's got distractions.

What I do have to worry about is my mother, emerging from her bedroom, looking awfully fancy for an average Larson Friday night.

"Hey, Mom...what's up?"

She laughs, then grimaces as she stabs herself in the ear with a pearl earring.

"Hey, let me help you." My mom's a bit style-challenged.

"Your father and I are going out to dinner." My dad comes out behind her in a tux. I whistle.

"Hot date, huh?"

He doesn't laugh.

"We won't be back 'til midnight, hon," my mom says as she smoothes down her hair. My father is already halfway through the door, looking at her expectantly. She turns to me.

"Make sure the boys don't get into trouble." She moves to pass me.

"Wait...hold up." I stop her with my hand and she glares at me. "I'm supposed to baby-sit those monsters?"

She laughs. "Well, of course, honey. Who else would?"

"Mom, it's called a freaking babysitter."

Okay, now she's angry. "Violet Larson, we're not going to waste money when we already have the perfect babysitter right here!"

Oh, my God. "Mom. I've already made plans. People are supposed to come over tonight!"

"Well, then, tell them not to. You're baby-sitting tonight and that's final."

With that, she's out the door. Two milliseconds later, my cell phone is out and calling Hailey.

Hailey is my BFF. My gal pal. Technically, she's my frenemy, but don't tell anyone. We're the golden girls. We're not supposed to secretly hate each other.

"Hey, girl!"

Hailey always knows it's me because she programmed it so when I call, her cell phone plays "My Humps". I really can't tell if that's a compliment or an insult.

"Hey, Hailey."

"So, when're we all coming over to your place?"

"Yeah...um...about that..."

"No way, Violet."

"Yes way."

"You're backing out? What the hell are you doing?"

"Look, I have no choice. My parents are making my baby-sit my dork brother and his disgusting friends." Oops. Devon plus three nameless boys are standing right behind me. Whatever.

"Well, tell them no!"

"They're already gone, Hailey."

"Your brother's, like, fourteen. He can stay home alone!"

"Hailey, my parents would massacre me."

"You're such a wimp, Vi!"

Jesus, I hate this girl. "Well, tell the others not to come."

She groans. "Gosh, Violet, sometimes I don't know about you!"

Then she hangs up.

Um, hello? What was that last thing about?

I sigh and slam my phone shut. Devon and his monkeys are running down the stairs. I grab the back of his shirt.

"Let go of me!"

"Hey, dweeb, when are your gross little friends leaving?"

"It's a freaking sleepover. Let go! You're, like, choking me!"

A sleepover?! Really?! My God.

I pull him closer to me. "You mean I have to stay with you brats all night?"

He rolls his eyes. "I wish you wouldn't."

Suddenly, I am inspired.

Ooh, what's this conveniently in my pocket? 50 bill, anyone?

Cha-ching.

My ticket for a free night out.

"Keep your trap shut, dude." I thrust the bill into his hand and let go of his shirt. He grins stupidly.

"Definitely!"

He's long gone.

My cell phone is out again and I'm thundering up the steps. Before Hailey can say anything, I cut her off.

"So I still can't have anyone over—"

"Then why the hell are you—"

"Just shut up, okay? But if you come pick me up, I can go out..."

She whistles. "What'd you have to do to your brother?"

"Oh, let's say...he'll be too distracted by the pretty fifty in his pocket to rat me out."

Hailey laughs. I hate her laugh. It's so raucous and fresh. Just like her.

"Beautiful, girlfriend! See ya in ten minutes!"

She really has a problem with hanging up on people.

Ah, well.

I have very important things to do.


Ten minutes later, I am looking fantastically fabulous, if I do say so myself.

Curled hair, red lips, belly-baring shirt and all, I run downstairs to answer the door. Hailey, in somewhat similar attire, is waiting for me.

She kisses my cheek, which is kind of her thing.

"Hey, babe!"

I grin. "So, where we heading?"

She licks her lips. "Alexis Roberts'. She's the one—"

"—with the hot brother?" I finish. We laugh as we climb into her car.

The ride to Alexis' is short. It's ridiculously easy to tell which house is hers. Just look for hundreds of drunk, stumbling people and keep an ear out for the blaring music that you can hardly hear it's so loud.

Alexis is standing in the front door, swaying back and forth, a beer (with God knows what mixed in) in her hand, donning a baggy, button-down shirt. Wow, she's fast.

"Girlies!" she screams when she sees us. Ouch, my ears?

"Lexi!" Hailey plants a huge kiss on Alexis' cheek. Alexis air-kisses her and does the same to me. I wiggle my fingers.

"Nice party, Alexis." She grins. Alexis is quite obviously a happy drunk.

We maneuver our way inside, both grabbing beers as we walk by. Connor's dark head stands out above everyone's heads. I beam. Hailey notices.

"What are you—"

"Sorry, Hailey!"

I shove her in the general direction of Jackie DeMarco, who instantly strikes up a conversation with her, despite Hailey's kill-me-now expression.

See, Jackie thinks she's friends with Hailey, since Hailey always picks her to be her partner on projects if they're in the same class. Somehow, even armed with a 3.9 GPA, she is completely blind to Hailey's true intentions.

Hailey shoots me a "what-the-hell" glare over her shoulder. I smile back, then scurry off to find Connor, sipping my beer as I walk. He turns and sees me, a huge grin on his face. Oh, Lord, Connor's drunk.

"Violet!" he booms. Then he hugs me. I wrap my arms around his neck. When we pull away, I swig my beer. I need to be equally drunk if we're getting anywhere.

Four (or five? six? Who knows.) beers later, Connor and I are definitely getting somewhere. Apparently I'm a flirty drunk (what a surprise) and Connor is definitely reciprocating.

After laughing hysterically (I can't remember what was so funny...) for a while, he is finally able to utter words. "Do-do you want a drink?" he manages to slur.

I giggle. Everything is so darn funny! "Sure!"

While he's gone, I meander about, smiling at everyone. I find Jenna Hawthorne! Ooh, fun!

"Jenna!" I hug her and she gives me the death glare. "What's up?!"

She rolls her eyes. "You are far too cheerful of a drunk."

I laugh. "I know, right?"

Jenna glares at me again. "I guess it makes the sex more fun, huh?"

What? I'm confused..."What sex?" I ask, cocking my head.

"Don't pretend like you won't be going home with Connor Tyson tonight."

Um, excuse me? I stick my hands on my hips defiantly. "I am not that kind of girl, Jenna Hawthorne?"

She smirks. "Sure. Okay."

Now I'm pissed. "Why did you come to a party just to be a bitch to everyone?"

"At least I'm not a slut like you!"

She walks away as I feel Connor's arms snake around me and place another beer in my hands, which I put down.

"What was that all about, babe?"

I sigh and put my smile back on. "Nothing! Just Jenna – you know her!"

He shrugs. "Whatever. Come dance with me!"

He yanks on my hand and I follow quite willingly.

"My Humps" comes on. I almost fall over laughing, even though it's not that funny. I bet a million bucks Hailey's doing the same thing.

Connor laughs even though he doesn't get it, because I probably look pretty funny. He pulls me close to him and we dance. If that's what you can call it.

All I know is that his face is mere inches away from mine. And he's leaning in for the kill.

His eyes are drifting closed, and he tightens his hands around my waist. I lean forward.

Just when his soft lips are about to press against mine, I duck sideways and softly kiss his cheek. I slither away from him, off the dance floor.

I spot Hailey's blonde head, permanently attached to the red one of a Mr. Patrick Moore. I snatch the back of her top as I walk by and she gets yanked away from Patrick. She's slurring everything and can barely walk, but I'm not in much better condition.

We walk out to her car and I shove her in the driver's seat. Not worrying about drunk driving in the least, I lean my head against the window and sleep until she makes it to my house. It takes less time then it usually does, but I don't care. I blow Hailey a kiss goodbye, grab my purse, and slam her door shut.

I bounce up the walk, swinging my handbag around. My cell phone falls with a crack. I giggle furiously. I try to pick it up, but I can't bend down in my heels. So I slip out of them and grab my phone, stuffing it in my bag.

I grab my key and twist it in the lock, pushing the door open.

First thing I see is Devon's half-apologetic, half-triumphant face. Then I notice he's surrounded by open-mouthed fourteen-year-old boys.

I look down and see a pair of black stilettos tapping in the doorway. I slowly follow the legs up to a powder-blue dress, blonde hair...

I stare, shell-shocked, into a pair of furious green eyes.

My mother's.