Tonight’s post is a little shorter than the last one, but I think it ends in a nice place. For those of you just tuning in, the first part of the novella/short story starts here. I really need to come up with a title for this.
“Hey there Alexis, fancy meeting you here. I didn’t know you went out to parties. No, I mean, I’ve never seen you out at these parties before. Um, so what’s up?”
“Nothing much. We just got here a little while ago.”
“Cool, cool. We’ve been in and out of the house for a while now. I waved to you, but I don’t think you saw me. Heh.” Brad shrugged his shoulders sheepishly.
Alexis had a crush on Brad stemming from the time they spent as lab partners in chemistry class. He’d been polite and charming, but their relationship never progressed past lab partners; Alexis was too nervous to say anything and Brad either wasn’t interested or was also too nervous to make a move. They hadn’t spent any time together since they’d shared chemistry class; they only traded greetings if they passed each other in the halls. Tabitha was hoping to break the ice at this party and she had enlisted the help of Brad’s best friend, Jacob to do so; Tabitha was attracted to Jacob, so it seemed like a win-win situation to her.
“So anyway, I like your skirt. It looks nice.”
“Aww, thanks. That’s sweet.”
Tabitha elbowed Alexis in the ribs; the irony wasn’t lost on her.
“Can I get you a drink?” Jacob offered to Alexis.
“Sure, I’d love one. What do they have?”
“How does a margarita sound?”
Brad made a motion to stand with Jacob, but Jacob waved him off. “Don’t worry man, I’ll get it. You just stay here with Alexis.” He flashed a wry smile.
“I’ll be back in a minute,” Tabitha said, patting Alexis on the back.
“So Alexis, what do you have going on this weekend?”
“Not much. I might have a quiz in English on Julius Caesar and I need to start shopping for my Halloween costume.”
“What are you going as?”
“Maybe a witch. Maybe Little Red Riding Hood.”
“Only if I get to be the Big Bad Wolf.”
Alexis laughed aloud.
“What’s so funny?” Jacob asked, a margarita glass in hand.
“Nothing. Thanks for the margarita. Haven’t had one in forever.”
“Be careful. I mixed a lot of alcohol with it.”
“Phew, no kidding. My head’s swimming already.”
In spite of his warning, Alexis took a few indulgent gulps. Unlike the nondescript beer, the margarita was giving her an instant buzz. Jacob mumbled about forgetting something and left Alexis along with Brad again.
“Wow, your friend knows how to mix a drink. I don’t think I’m going to be able to walk soon.”
“Don’t worry, you’re with me. I’ll help you walk if you need to.”
As the two conversed, Alexis started to become ill. Her stomach roiled and she began to feel lightheaded. It felt like the room had begun to rock beneath her. Her mind started to get muddy.
“Hey, um, um, Brad, I think I need to lay down or something. Where’s Tabitha?”
“It’s okay. You’re okay. We’ll just walk you over to the nearest bedroom. You’ve just had a little too much to drink is all.”
“No, I’m feeling bad. Just, just take me to Tabitha. Where’s Tabby?”
“No, you don’t need her.”
“You don’t need Tabitha, Alex. I’ll take care of you. Look, we’ll just stand up now.”
Before Brad could take her, Tabitha came into the room talking with Jacob.
“She’s fine. Brad has her. He’s a great guy.”
“I just need to check up on her. How’re you…Jesus, Alexis, you look like shit.”
“I feel like shit.”
“We’re taking you home.”
“No, Tabby, I’m fine. I want to talk to Brad some more. My parents’ll kill me if they find out I’ve been drinking.”
“Yeah Tabitha, don’t spoil the party. You’ll get her in trouble. Stick around. She’ll feel better soon,” Jacob opined.
“No, she needs some rest in her bed. Alex, I’m going to sneak you into your room. It’s probably that crappy Chinese food and beer you drank. You’re not allergic to MSG are you?”
“Not ‘llergic,” Alexis slurred.
“Come on. Don’t be a bitch. Let her stay,” one of Brad and Jacob’s friends said.
“Fuck you, man. She’s sick and I’m taking her home. Out of my way.”
Tabitha helped Alexis stand and took her to the front door. Alexis was having trouble standing and her breathing had become shallow, labored. She nearly fell when Tabitha opened the car door to let her in, but she managed to put herself into the seat in spite of her trembling limbs.
“You look really sick, Alex. I don’t know what was in the shrimp sui mai you ate, but it did not mix with that alcohol. You don’t need to worry. I’ll get you home to your parents and we’ll say that it was the bad Chinese food and they won’t even know you were drinking at a party. Alex. Alex, talk to me.”
Alexis managed to mumble a few incomprehensible syllables, but she was having trouble paying attention. She slumped against the car door and looked out the window. Streetlamps with garish yellow lights passed by, one by one. The silver moon shone through the black branches of the trees. The last thing she saw before she closed her eyes and passed out was the figure on the neighborhood watch sign, a man in a black trenchcoat and fedora with white slits for eyes, leering down at her.