It was Saturday night. And I had plans.
I still had a hard time believing it. My lack of a social life had changed so dramatically in such a short amount of time. I didn't want to allow myself to think that Maylin wouldn't get bored of me too but she seemed really truthful when she spoke. Maybe she would turn out to be my first real friend since my change. How crazy would that be.
I was really nervous about going to this concert. Maylin had texted me practically all day and told me to be ready by ten on the dot. She'd told me to dress up a little if I wanted since she would be wearing a dress and heels as would a lot of the girls there. And coming with them would be one of her best friends, her brother, and his friend. I would have to meet two new people and possibly more at the venue. And I really didn't want to embarrass myself or make them think Maylin was stupid for inviting me. I wanted so badly to be accepted, as dumb as that sounded.
I decided to leave my black hair wavy and use a curling iron to define the waves. This was going to be the first time I hadn't straightened it in a while. I put on my usual black eyeliner, but did the common cat eye look, and mascara along with some light blush and dark red lip gloss.
My outfit was the most difficult part but I soon came up with something I would be comfortable in. I chose a tight black dress with a v-neck and long sleeves. The dress hugged my thin arms and waist and stretched a little past my butt. Under it I wore black tights and my flat black knee high boots. I put on my dad's paintbrush necklace to give myself a confidence boost and a few black and silver bangles on my wrists to cover any scars that might accidentally be revealed if my sleeves were to slide up.
This was the most I'd dressed up in a long time. And I knew I'd still be underdressed compared to the other girls. But I felt really confident. A little hot even.
My phone rang suddenly from it's spot on my bathroom counter and I snatched it up, spotting Maylin's name on the screen. "Hello?"
"Hey girl! I'm here! Come out!"
"Okay, I'm coming."
I hung up my phone and took one last look in the mirror at myself.
I was going to have fun tonight. I was going to be openminded. And I was going to be friendly. I also wasn't going to drink a lick of alcohol. I hadn't drank since the night I was raped and I didn't plan on changing that now.
I was ready.
I quickly grabbed my black shoulder handbag, rushing out of my room. I said a fast goodbye to my mom who was watching TV on the couch and rushed out the door before she could say anything.
A nice green sedan sat at the curb and inside it I could see four shadows, two in the front and two in the back. Maylin stepped out of the driver's side and waved at me, smiling brightly. "Hey lady! You look cute!"
I smiled as I joined her at the driver's side door and didn't even hesitate to hug her.
"I love your dress. It's so cute!" Maylin was dressed way cuter than I was in a tight purple short sleeved dress. She had on black wedges and about a thousand silver bangles on her wrist to compliment her silver hoops. But she really was giving me a compliment on my boring outfit.
"Thank you." I smiled.
"You're welcome! You can hop in the back with Tony and Gwen. Tony scoot over!" she said into the car.
I swallowed the lump in my throat before moving to open the back door and sliding in beside the two occupants of the back seat.
Endo turned to look back from his spot in the passenger seat and smiled lightly at me. "Hey Faye, how are you?"
I smiled shyly at him. "Good, thanks."
Maylin seated herself back in the driver's seat and turned to look back at us. "Faye, this is Tony and Gwen. Gwen and Tony, this is Faye."
The girl sitting next to me in the center was African American in race and really pretty. Her long black hair hung down in big ringlets and her eyes sparkled from the silver eye shadow she wore. She smiled, revealing a smile almost as bright as the Tanaka's and held out her hand to me. "Hey, nice to meet you. I'm Gwen."
I shook her hand lightly and nodded, smiling. "Hi."
The guy next to her spoke next and leaned forward as he held out his hand. He looked to be full Italian and had the same body build as Endo. His short black hair was gelled up in all directions and he wore an all black outfit with a silver cross necklace. "Hey, I'm Tony. Nice to meet you."
I shook his hand which felt very firm and moved my polite smile to him. "You too."
Maylin turned on the radio and started the car. "Okay, now that everyone's acquainted: Let's get this show on the road!"
The car ride to the venue was long considering it was a few cities away but it was fun and not awkward for the most part. Gwen loved to talk and she had no problem asking question after question about me. After that everyone joined in and began to tell me about the band that apparently was "amazing". The lead guitarist was Gwen's current boyfriend and the entire band they all knew from school. Tony turned out to be quite the jokester and kept the jokes going the whole way there, annoying Gwen as much as possible and causing Maylin to swerve a few times from her laughter.
When we finally reached the venue, it turned out to be a bar. Apparently Maylin knew a promoter who knew the head bouncer and got them in every time there was a show. I was a little hesitant to follow them to the line but I had no other choice.
I stood next to Maylin ahead of Gwen, Tony, and Endo, per her request and kept quiet until we reached the front. The bouncer, a huge latin man with a buzz cut, looked mean and I was almost positive we weren't going to get in.
"Hey there, May. You look nice tonight." The bouncer had spoken, smiling at Maylin.
Maylin smiled and reached out to hug him happily as if they were best friends. "Thank you Eddy! This is Faye."
The bouncer, Eddy, turned to look at me and gave me the once over, smirking since he obviously knew I was underage. "Hey, nice to meet you."
I nodded nervously at him. "Hey."
"Well, you guys have fun. Don't harass the bartenders too much."
Maylin smiled and put her arm through mine, pulling me past Eddy. "We wont! Thanks Eddy!"
I was half in shock as I let Maylin pull me into the bar. There was no way he didn't know we all were underage but he had been so chill about it. "That was cool," I said to her.
Maylin smiled at me. "Oh girl, that was nothing. Now c'mon, let's go get a drink!"
I was so amazed to be in a bar that I didn't even realize what she'd said. I was actually in a bar! Four years under the age limit.
The bar itself wasn't exactly very fancy so I assumed it was like a dive bar. The stage was to the far right where the dance floor in front of it was filled with people dancing to the hip hop music blasting out of the speakers. To the left was the bar where a male and female bartender rushed to serve the slightly tipsy customers shouting out their drink orders.
Maylin held onto my arm and led me over to the bar, squeezing us in between two guys. Endo, Tony, and Gwen followed behind us and Gwen pushed in beside me, waving for the male bartender while Maylin waved for the female.
The brunette female was the first to respond and came over to us, leaning on the counter. "Hey ladies, what can I get you?"
Maylin spoke first. "A vodka tonic. Gwen, you want one too?"
"Yeah, I'll take one!" was Gwen's response.
"You want one too, Faye? I'm buying!"
I really didn't want to drink but I didn't want to turn down her offer. I felt it would be rude and I really badly wanted to be her friend. Maybe just one drink wouldn't kill me? "Sure, thank you."
She smiled and turned back to the bartender. "Make that three! Put it on my card and leave the tab open!"
Where the heck did she work? Most high schoolers didn't have jobs and it didn't seem like Maylin's family had a ton of money to blow. They definitely weren't poor but I didn't see Kairi as the type of mom to give her children credit cards to spend however they wanted. Either way, I was happy I didn't have to worry about paying. I had only brought twenty bucks just in case there was a cover, which there wasn't for us, and I was hoping I wouldn't have to spend money on anything else.
The bartender made our drinks in front of us and set three glasses on the counter, taking Maylin's card.
I took my glass and sipped before almost choking. It tasted like rubbing alcohol with a hint of soda. How disgusting. I had forgotten how gross alcohol tasted. But this would definitely loosen me up so I sipped a few more times before turning around with Gwen and Maylin.
Endo and Tony were standing a few feet away with beers in their hands, conversing as they waited for us.
"Hey, I'm going to go find Mike," Gwen said to us, referring to her boyfriend. "I'll be right back."
"Okay, we'll be here!" Maylin said.
We stepped up to where the boys were and continued to sip on our drinks. The song changed and suddenly Tony's smile widened.
"Oh hell yeah. This is my jam. Maylin?" He held out his hand to her, grinning. "Want to dance?"
Maylin smiled and took his hand. "I'd love to! Lead the way. Be right back, Faye!"
Tony turned and lead Maylin into the crowd, disappearing quickly and leaving me alone with Endo.
I would have been happy with an alone moment with him had I not turned into such an awkward human being.
I took a nervous gulp of my drink as Endo turned to smile at me.
"That usually happens," he said. "Don't worry, I wont ditch you. I'm used to being the lone soldier so it's nice to have someone to hang out with. But if you want to go guy hunting, I completely understand."
I smiled at him, my free hand playing with the bracelets on my wrist. "I'm fine. I don't do that."
"Go guy hunting?" he asked.
"Well good for you. You have a boyfriend?"
I bit my lip to keep my smile from widening. "No, I don't."
"No boyfriend? Interesting. You might be the only girl I know who isn't guy crazy. Unless you're into girls which is completely acceptable."
I laughed lightly, feeling my cheeks burn. "I don't like girls. I'm just...I don't know. Not really focused on guys right now."
"Fascinating. I like you better already."
Oh jeez. He had just said he liked me. Obviously in a platonic way but still.
"So what kind of music do you listen to?"
"Um, mostly rock."
"Me too. What's your favorite band?"
"I really like Breaking Benjamin. I guess they'd be my favorite."
"You've got good taste. I love Breaking Benjamin. I saw them in concert a long time ago. The band we're about to see is a little similar to their style. That's why I don't mind seeing them all the time. You'll probably like them."
"Cool." I sipped on my drink, beginning to feel the effects of the alcohol. I felt warm inside and I'd probably be tipsy from this one drink considering I hadn't drank in forever and I weighed a lot less than I had before.
Endo took a swig of his beer. "You should come hang out at the house tomorrow. Maybe I could do a portrait of you and we can play Music Safari. And I know Maylin would love to have you over so you guys could do girly things like paint each other's nails and gossip about celebrities."
I smiled. "Sure, I'd like that. What's Music Safari?"
"Basically we just each go back and forth and choose a song that we like that the other person probably hasn't heard. It's a good way to discover new music and that way I can find out if you really do have good taste."
I pursed my lips at his joke. "Oh, I have good taste. But do you?"
"My taste is amazing, if I do say so myself. But you'll just have to find out."
Tony and Maylin appeared out of the crowd and smiled as they walked toward us, Maylin's drink gone and Tony's cheeks a bit rosy. "Hey! You're still babysitting that girl? Chug it! I'm ready for my next drink."
I smiled at her. God this girl could drink like a fish. "Okay, sorry."
"I think I want something fruity now. Ooo! Let's do shots!" Maylin grabbed my hand and led me to the bar.
I really had no choice. She was so nice and persuasive and happy. And I wanted to keep up with her mood. I was tired of being so glum all the time. Tonight was the night to be a little different.
Maylin ordered us two fruity shots that didn't taste half bad. She ordered herself another drink and tried to get me one but I convinced her that I didn't need one. I was going to babysit my drink as long as I could.
We re-joined the boys where Gwen was with her blond boyfriend, Mike, who she introduced me to. He was cute and I found it adorable how he kept his arm around Gwen's waist the entire time.
We all stood in our circle and talked for the next twenty minutes, sipping our drinks. Gwen's boyfriend then excused himself so he could go join his bandmates since they were going on soon. About ten minutes later a guy went onstage and began to announce the bands that were going to be performing. The band we were waiting for was called Burnt Reality and they were second so our group headed toward the stage.
Maylin, Tony, and Gwen were standing to my left and Endo was standing to my right. It was obvious Maylin and Tony had a thing. Or that they both had a thing for each other and hadn't acted on it yet. It was cute because they seemed good together.
The first band that went on wasn't half bad. Their style was a little messy but came together for the most part and the singer's voice saved what the lack of harmony messed up. They played four songs before thanking the crowd and leaving the stage.
The host stepped up to the stage and grabbed the mic, looking down at a small piece of paper. "Alright guys, next up we have...Burnt Reality!"
Half of the crowd went wild and it was clear Burnt Reality was well known locally. Five guys quickly went up on the stage and one of them was Mike who went straight for the front.
"Hey, everybody," he said into the mic, smiling. "Thank you for coming out. We're Burnt Reality."
The crowd started screaming and hollering again and in moments the band had begun their first song.
And they were good. Surprisingly good. For guys still in high school they had a lot going for them.
I let the vibrations of the music run through my body as the alcohol loosened the tension in my shoulders. My drink was gone but I was still sipping on the melted ice as the band played.
The first song was a bit slow but soothing and sensual. I felt myself swaying to the music and actually humming along.
The next two songs were fast pasted and the last song was the rock out hard one that had everyone jumping and screaming and waving their hands like they were at a concert. When they were finished everyone was still screaming as they left the stage, Gwen especially.
The host stepped back up to the mic as soon as the band was off. "Alright guys, we're going to take a break before the next band so go get your drink on!"
The crowd began to disperse and I looked around at everyone but saw that Tony was engaged in a conversation with Maylin and Gwen had run off to go see her boyfriend.
"Want another drink?"
I almost jumped as I turned to face the direction of the voice. It was Endo, thank God, and not some creeper. "Oh, um, sure."
"Okay, I've got you. C'mon, let's go to the bar."
I followed behind him as hip hop music began to filter through the speakers once again. I was feeling a little buzzed but not so much that I couldn't have another drink. Although I knew this would have to be the last one or I would regret it.
I waited behind Endo as he ordered our drinks, playing with the ice in my glass. Suddenly, I felt a vibration from inside my purse which sat against my hip and reached in to pull out my phone. Flipping it open, I blinked at the screen and groaned quietly to myself when I saw that it was Justin.
What did he want now?
Hey. How's your weekend going?
Was he completely clueless? I was angry. Why the heck was he texting me? And why did he even bother?
I closed my phone and shoved it back into my small satchel, rolling my eyes. I had little time to be annoyed though because Endo turned around and handed me a new vodka tonic, taking my empty glass and placing it on the bar behind himself. "Thank you," I said.
"It's no problem. Do you want to go dance?"
I looked up at him, the butterflies in my stomach fluttering around happily. "Yeah, sure." If I had been sober, I would have found an excuse to say no. I didn't dance anymore and I definitely didn't dance with guys anymore. But he was so cute. And I was so tipsy. So I really didn't mind.
"Cool." He smiled. "Follow me."
I did just that and kept both hands on my glass, being sure not to spill it as we made our way through the sea of people and to the dance floor. A reggae song was playing so there was a lot more grinding going on. The lights were low and colorful spotlights played around the dancers. I gnawed nervously on the inside of my cheek, sobering up a bit at the thought of having to grind with Endo. I wanted to but I didn't want to make a fool of myself by being terrible or spilling my drink. A year ago I would have been able to dance on a guy with no problem. Now not so much.
Endo held out his free hand that wasn't holding a beer and took one of mine, smiling at me.
I moved slowly to the music, looking down at my feet so I wouldn't have to look him in the eye. I took a huge gulp of my drink as I started to move my hips a bit, letting the liquid courage wash over me. He was a good dancer and it was intimidating. I continued to sip on my drink as we moved, Endo holding onto my hand to keep me within at least a foot of him which kept me from running away.
Everyone around us was in their own little world so I tried to do the same and immerse myself in the music. I gulped down the rest of my drink which I was surprised I could even do, and closed my eyes as I danced to the beat. When I opened them, Endo was closer to me and smiling as he watched me. "What?"
He grinned. "I think you're drunk."
I smiled back. "Maybe."
"As long as you're having fun," he said, taking a gulp of his beer.
"Good." He stepped closer, continuing to grin as he watched me dance.
And then I did something bold, something the old Faye would have done. I slowly turned around, still holding his hand, and wrapped his arm around me as I backed up against him.
His body was warm and felt good against mine. And hopefully I felt good to him. I couldn't tell but I was feeling really good about this move. I continued to dance and felt him move with me from behind, tightening his grip on my hand as his strong arm rested against my stomach just underneath my own arm.
We continued to dance like this for the rest of the song and I was shocked he didn't pull away. He couldn't possibly like me but maybe he was also feeling a buzz and that was why he hadn't awkwardly moved away. Whatever the reason, I was happy I hadn't been rejected.
"You're a good dancer," he said in my ear, his hot breath dancing down my neck. "I wouldn't have thought."
I turned my head back to speak in his ear, still moving my hips with his. "Thank you. I haven't danced in a while. I almost forgot how."
"Well you obviously haven't forgotten."
I smiled to myself and continued to move with him, a little happy that I had decided to drink.
But of course, all good things must come to an end and our moment did too soon. As soon as the song ended the music was cut off and the host returned to the stage.
"Alright everybody, gather around! It's time for the next band!"
I didn't really care about the bands anymore especially with the way Endo's hand lingered in mine for a moment before pulling away and sliding around my waist as I turned to face him before dropping it.
"Want to go up front?" he asked.
I nodded, wishing his arm was still around me. I wished that he was still touching me at all. I knew it was mostly the alcohol but he was the first guy to have touched me like that since what had happened.
And I'd liked it.
I really needed to hydrate.
The next band was really good and half distracted me from Endo who stood beside me the entire time. Maylin and Tony showed up halfway through their performance as did Gwen and Mike. I was disappointed that I no longer was alone with Endo but happy to have Maylin's bubbly personality at my side, forcing me to cheer along with her.
The last band definitely killed the night, making it impossible for me not to cheer for them. Their stage presence was amazing and their music was one of a kind. I had sobered up a little and grabbed a water quickly during their second song. I was still pretty tipsy but I wasn't feeling as bold as before which I was glad about. The last thing I needed to do was make a drunken move on Maylin's brother and ruin any possible friendship with the two of them.
When the band finished, the crowd screamed until the band was off the stage. The hip hop music was turned on and the drunk bar occupants immediately began dancing and drinking, knowing the bar would be closing in an hour.
"You guys ready to go? I told mom we would be back by one." Maylin was obviously having a hard time standing up straight but wouldn't accept the help of anyone. Still Tony stood by her side and kept a hand at her back just in case.
"Yeah, let's go," Endo said. "But I'm driving."
Gwen decided to stay with her boyfriend who would give her a ride later and the four of us headed out of the bar, Endo and I leading the way.
As soon as we reached the car, I moved to open the back door but Maylin stopped me, her words slurring a little bit.
"You can sit in the front! I'll sit in the back with Tony. I wont be a very good navigator or radio dj or anything so you go ahead."
I held the door open anyway so Maylin could slide in the back seat and then Tony who thanked me, before opening the front passenger side door and sliding in.
"Everybody put on their seatbelts," Endo said, starting the car.
I already had mine on and folded my hands in my lap, watching Maylin fumble to put on her seatbelt before letting her head rest on Tony's shoulder. They really were cute together. And hopefully Endo would be okay to drive. I had only seen him drink two beers and nothing for the last half hour of the night so I assumed he would be fine.
The ride back wasn't too awkward. I felt weird sitting in the front where Maylin should have been but Endo was nice and elected me radio dj. We conversed a little bit about the bands and sat in silence for the rest of the ride while the alternative rock music on the radio filled the car. I didn't bother looking back at Maylin and Tony, afraid I might catch them making out or worse. I didn't hear anything though so I assumed she was sleeping.
When we pulled up to my house, I realized how tired I was. I slowly unbuckled my seatbelt as Endo put the car in park and smiled over at him. "Thanks for driving."
His brown eyes glinted in the moonlight as he looked at me and I almost sighed at the sight. "No problem. Thanks for coming. It was fun."
I smiled. "Thanks for inviting me."
"It was nice to meet you, Faye!" Tony said from the backseat.
I smiled and turned around, seeing for the first time that Maylin was indeed asleep on his shoulder. I waved at him. "It was nice to meet you too."
"I'll have May text you tomorrow," Endo said. "She'll probably invite you over before I even get a chance to tell her though."
"Okay, sounds good. Drive safe."
"Thanks, I will. Here, I'll walk you to your door."
"Oh, okay." I was going to say you don't have to but he was already moving to get out of the car. I quickly stepped out and closed the door, waiting for him to join me on the sidewalk before heading up the path to my front door.
"Did you have fun tonight?"
I nodded. "Yeah, I did."
"Good. I'd say we had a successful Saturday night."
"I'd agree." We reached the door and I turned to him, smiling. "Thanks for walking me up."
"No problem. Have a good night." He held out his right arm and gave me a side hug although I had been hoping for a real one.
"You too." I turned to unlock my door as he made his way down to the car. As soon as I was inside, I sighed and stood still for a moment.
Great. Now I had a huge crush on my new friend's brother. And I was pretty sure he was just being nice and didn't like me back. But it was okay. At least I would have him as a friend. And who knew what could happen in the future?
A/N: Okay, we're getting to the good stuff finally. Justin will return soon! He's just in hiding for a bit. Until then, please review! They are always appreciated.