Days as a Freshman: 163
“Hey man, didn’t see you come in”
Sasha’s mouth moved in the direction of a smile, but stopped right before completing it. Justin didn’t move anything. Just stood and stared.
“Yeah. I got back from the library a while ago. Crowded here. Maybe you just didn’t see me.” Next to me, Justin’s fist clenched.
The music, which had been screaming from the speakers only moments before, suddenly cut out, and the party came crashing to a halt. The dancing stopped, the laughing stopped, the energy dipped. Someone dropped a can, and it bounced metallically on the wooden floor before rolling underneath a table.
“What the f*ck?!” A kid from across the room screamed at no one in particular. “What the f*ck, man? What happened to the music?”
Rebecca was suddenly by my side again, the contents of her red plastic cup sloshing over the rim and spilling onto my shoes. “What’s going on?” she whispered, not meaning the sudden silence. “Why are they staring at each other like that?”
“Plug the f*cking speaker back in, man!” The kid from across the room pointed at someone. “You totally kicked it out. Plug it back in!”
“You really think you should be here?” Justin’s voice was low, barely audible under the shifting bodies and growing discontent. “Seriously, Sasha. Don’t you think…?”
“Don’t I think what?” Sasha moved a step closer to Justin, his face glistening with sweat, his chest puffing up just the slightest bit. “Don’t I think what?”
“Plug the stereo back—” The kid from across the room was interrupted by the resurgence of music, this time even louder than before. The crowd cheered, pushing each other and raising their glasses and bottles in the air. Someone pushed Rebecca a little too hard and she stumbled into me, another good portion of her drink sloshing over onto my clothes.
Normally, I would have said something about her doing my laundry, but I was frozen. Stuck in between Sasha and Justin, my stupid cup still clenched in my hand like a good-for-nothing lifesaver.
“No one gives a shit about anything anymore except you,” Sasha spat, swaying a little on his feet, one of his arms reaching out to steady himself with my shoulder. “Even Grace doesn’t care. You don’t care, right Grace?”
“Care about what?” I looked at Justin for help, but his eyes were still on Sasha, specifically, Sasha’s arm, on my shoulder.
“Care about anything that happened before. It’s old news.” Sasha’s grip tightened on my skin. “How come you haven’t finished your first drink yet?”
Grabbing my cup, Sasha’s hand was intercepted by Justin’s. The force of them together pulled the red plastic cup out of my grasp, and I watched it fall to the ground, it’s dark contents splashing against my jeans and splattering onto the floor.
At this point, I was completely soaked in alcohol, my jeans clinging to the now expanding wet spots on my legs, but there was nothing to do. I was too afraid to run. I didn’t know what might happen if I did.
Days as a Freshman: 163