My Freshman Year: Day 152

23324351.jpgDays as a Freshman: 152

Mood: trying to remember

“Grace, you came.”

Justin managed to push himself into our little encased corner, his eyes falling to the plastic cups in our hands.

“I was invited, wasn’t I?” I smiled up at him, trying to loosen the stern expression that had taken over his features. “Want a sip?”

“What’s in that?” Justin’s eyes flickered from my glass to Rebecca’s. “Did you make that yourself?”

“Sasha made it for us.” Rachel took another sip of the dark liquid, her glass already halfway drained. Obviously, she had some practice in the fine art of drinking liquor with ease. “Jack and coke. Want a sip?”

The bass on the stereo began to thump louder, the packed bodies in the room moving and swaying to the new beat. I took a small sip from my glass, doing my best to keep my mouth from curling in beginner’s disgust. The liquor was strong, cutting through the soda with a smoky, hard taste.

“Sasha made those?!” Justin had to yell. “Where is he now?”

“Don’t know!” Rebecca took another sip that was more a gulp.

“Grace, are you sure you want to drink that?” Leaning down so he could speak directly into my ear, Justin’s lips tickled my earrings, making them dance against my neck. His closeness was suddenly very obvious and noticeable. I took another drink.

“You think I’ve never had alcohol before?” I laughed at him and hoped my bravado sounded real. “Why so worried?”

Instead of answering, Justin put his hand over the one of mine holding the cup. I felt a slight tug, like he was trying to take the cup away from me. His easy, boyish face had been completely replaced with that of an older, worried man. Why was he acting so stiff about everything? He hadn’t smiled since we’d gotten back from break.

“Justin.” My fingers tightened around the plastic. “Are you trying to take this away from me?” I pulled my arm so his hand had to release mine. “You’re not my dad.”

“I’m not trying to be your dad, Grace.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I watched Rebecca tip her head back and finish the last of her drink, her gaze already resting on the drink table. Justin was trying to block my view from everyone, trying to stand in front of me.

“I’m just trying to…to…”

“To do what? Why have you been acting so weird and somber?” I side-stepped his large frame, opening up my view. Rebecca was pushing her way cautiously toward the tall bottles and melting ice buckets.

“I just—”

“And what’s up with you and Sasha?” I took another drink defiantly, staring at him as the dark liquid burned my throat. “You guy suddenly hate each other. Or…something.”

Someone’s hand grabbed Justin’s shoulder, and before he could answer me, he was twisting around and facing Sasha. Something heavy on the other side of the room crashed to the floor, someone shouted, the crowd swelled, but Sasha and Justin didn’t move.

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