Days as a Freshman: 180
“Look, if we go out there, are you ready to deal with him?”
Justin still held the doorknob, his mouth tightening as Sasha’s knocking and yelling got louder.
“Deal with him?” I checked my watch and saw that it was close to 1 A.M. I didn’t know much about parties and drinking, but from what little I did know, I knew that past midnight, things got strange. Got out of control.
“He’s drunk. He’s gonna say things. Sasha says things.”
“What the HELL?! Open UP!”
It sounded like Sasha was throwing his entire weight against the door. I moved closer to Justin and grabbed onto his shirt without thinking. “Let just get out of here. It’s fine. We’ll deal with whatever.”
Justin looked down quickly at my fingers intertwined with the cloth of his shirt. Without saying anything, he put his free hand over mine. “Okay. Just. Ignore everything that comes out of his mouth.”
Turning the knob, Justin opened the bathroom door seconds before Sasha threw his fists against it again. A small crowd had gathered around him, watching in amused disgust as Sasha took his drunk anger out on a door that seemed only a few shards away from breaking in half. Most of the onlookers probably would have cheered if he had broken it down.
“Well. What the fuck.” A sloppy grin ran itself around Sasha’s face. “I should have known you two were in there.”
“We were just talking.” The truth or not, it was a lame thing to say, and Justin seemed to understand that as soon as it was out of his mouth. The rest of the crowd responded predictably; oohs and ahhs and laughter. The fact that Justin was holding my hand close to him probably wasn’t helping matters.
“Right. Just talking. That’s what everyone does when they lock themselves in the bathroom.” The crowd laughed again, and Sasha’s smile grew. “You guys want to go back in there, or what?”
“You’re being an asshole.” Pushing past Sasha, Justin started to make his way for the stairs, my hand still attached to his shirt. Before we could make it very far, Sasha reached out and grabbed Justin’s shoulder.
“What’d you just say?”
“I’m not doing this now.” Justin wouldn’t look at Sasha. “You’ve been wanting to start a fight all night.”
“You’re the one trying to start a fight, dude.” Sasha backed off a few steps and the crowd widened, giving us space in the middle like we were some kind of street show.
I wanted to separate. I wanted to run. Being the center of attention was never something I craved, and being the center of attention like this was even worse. Everyone thought they knew what was going on, but no one did. They didn’t have any idea.
“First you tell me to stay away from Grace—”
“What?!” I couldn’t help myself. Justin had told Sasha to stay away from me? When? And why?
“And then you go and fucking lock yourself in a room with her. I see how it is.” Sasha pointed his finger at Justin. “I see how it is.”
“You’re turning this into exactly what you want it to be.” Instead of letting go of my hand, Justin gripped it harder and continued to pull me towards the stairs. I caught questioning and knowing glances from a few girls, and immediately wished Rebecca was in the crowd. She would understand what was going on.
Where was she?
“Can’t get any lower than trying to steal a chick under a friend’s nose, dude.” Sasha wouldn’t stop talking, his voice getting louder as we reached the steps. “You think I’m just drunk and yelling, but I’m not gonna forget this.”
“You will!” Justin stepped up on the first step. “You always forget how big of an asshole you are the next morning.”
Before I knew what was happening, I was being pushed up the stairs so hard that I stumbled. Justin was no longer behind me. Instead, he was on the ground, Sasha on top of him, the crowd yelling and cheering and closing in.