I’m standing in front of the mirror staring at my reflection. For the first time since the incident, I don’t completely hate the girl that’s staring back at me. I straightened my hair down my back and did my makeup darker than I have in a long time. I’m wearing my favorite simple black crop-top, skinny jeans, and flats. I decide to wear my over-sized maroon cardigan instead of my jean jacket tonight. I pick up my phone, read Bash’s message that he’s almost here, and check my reflection one last time.
There’s a knock at my door a moment later. I quickly make my way across the house to answer it. Bash stands on my front porch looking as handsome as always. He’s wearing a simple t-shirt and jeans yet he looks like he could fit in at a formal event.
Bash’s eyes rake over me twice before he meets my gaze, “Ready to go?”
I nod and shut my door behind me. I lock it up tight before I follow Bash to his car. He opens the door for me and I slip inside. It smells like cherries every time I get in his car and it’s always spotless. He turns on the engine and a country station plays over the speakers.
“It’s about a twenty-five-minute drive, that okay?” He asks as he backs out of my driveway.
“Yeah, no problem,” I say, fidgeting with the buttons on my cardigan.
“Are you home alone a lot? I only ask because every time I pick you up, you’re by yourself.” He says over the music.
I shrug, “My uncle works a lot.”
“I’m sorry.” He says.
“It’s alright, I’m used to it.” I’m becoming uncomfortable already talking about my life. I quickly turn the subject back to him. “So, do you live on campus?”
Bash looks at me briefly before turning his eyes back to the road, “Yeah, I live in a dorm.”
“Do you have a roommate?”
He nods, “His name’s Tony.”
“Do you like him?”
“Yeah, he’s a good guy. We kind of run in different circles though.” He explains.
“Really? What circle do you run in?” I ask.
He laughs, “I guess I don’t really have a circle, per se. I just don’t do the kind of things that Tony enjoys doing. He’s a stoner.”
I giggle, “Oh, I see.”
“What about you? Do you have a circle?”
I shake my head, “Definitely not. I have one friend at school.”
“That’s only because you’re new. Once you settle in, I bet people will be flocking towards you.” He smiles reassuringly.
“I don’t think so.” I scoff.
“There’s this girl, Olivia Connors. She’s the most popular girl in school. She hates my guts.”
“You don’t need to worry about high school kids, Greer. You’re better than them. Besides, it won’t matter who you were in high school once you graduate, trust me.” He explains.
“I’m not too worried. I just want it to be over with.” I sigh.
“It’ll go by in the blink of an eye.” He tells me. “Do you know where you want to go to college at?”
Here’s another question that I could’ve easily answered two months ago. I could’ve told him my top three schools that had the best music programs. I could even tell Bash my ten-year plan. That had all went out the window when my parents died. “I have no clue what I want to do with my life after high school.”
“That’s alright. I had no clue either until recently.” He told me.
“Really? And you’re sure about an accountant? You must like numbers.” I teased. My father had lived for numbers. He was the kind of man that had his day planned to the very second. I think he was the only accountant that loved his job.
“I was always really good in math growing up. In fact, I think it was the only subject that I ever got an A in.” He laughed.
“Well, good luck,” I told him.
A few minutes later, I could see the college in the distance. It was massive and beautiful. I think I could see myself going here after I graduated. The sidewalks were packed with students that were dressed to the nines. As we made our way down the streets, it became instantly clear which house the party was at. The lawn was overrunning and music pumped loudly out of the open door. Bash instantly smiled and found somewhere to park.
He opened my door for me and helped me out. I smiled up at him and followed him up the street toward the house. When we entered the house, someone instantly offered us two cups. Bash refused and led me towards the kitchen.
“Never let someone else pour your drink without you watching.” He whispers into my ear. “Especially at a college party.” I nodded and stood close to him as he popped the tab off of two sodas. “You sure you don’t want something stronger? I won’t tell.” He winks at me.
I shake my head and laugh, “Maybe later.”
He nods, “Come on. Let’s find my friends so I can introduce you.”
We weave through the crowd, Bash’s hand an ever-remaining presence on my back. A group of boys instantly noticed Bash and started hollering his name. Bash raised a hand in the air to wave at his friends. We crossed the living room to greet them.
“Hey, man!” A guy with a buzz cut clapped Bash on the back. “And who’s this?”
“John, this is Greer. Greer, meet my buddy, John.” Bash introduced us.
“You go to school here?” John asked.
“No,” I shake my head. “I go to Arden Prep.”
“Oh, you’re still in high school!” John hollers. “You are getting them young now, Bash?”
“Knock it off, Johnny.” A boy with shaggy dark hair snaps. “Don’t mind him, Greer. I’m Seth.”
I give him a small wave.
The last boy in the group gives me a warm smile, “I’m Max. I’m actually still in high school, too.”
“Oh, do you go to Arden?” I ask Max.
He shakes his head with a laugh, “I am not smart enough for a place like that.”
“You must have got some brains to go along with that pretty face then, Greer.” Johnny teases.
I blush. Bash steps in, “Hey, John, how about you go get your own date and leave mine alone.”
John laughs, “No need to get all territorial, man. I was just joking.”
Bash nods at him but says nothing else. He doesn’t look happy. He turns to me, “So, you’ve met my friends. Want to dance?”
I nod quickly, “It was good meeting you.” I say to his friends and then let Bash lead me away from them. I can hear his friends laughing as we do.
Bash takes us out onto the dancefloor and puts his hands on my hips. “Sorry about them. They turn into modern day cavemen around a pretty girl.”
I laugh, “Seems like all your friends do that.”
He smiles, “That’s because we’re all nerds and never get a chance to talk to a girl.”
“You? A nerd? No way.” I say as my hips sway to the music.
“Oh, better believe it.” He tells me.
After finally switching from soda to alcohol, I gain up the courage to play beer pong with Bash. We end up being a great team. It’s definitely evident that Bash has played this game a few times. We win against the first couple that verses us, the second too. After a couple of rounds later, no one automatically steps up to play us.
“Oh, come on, guys!” Bash laughs. “No one wants to play us?”
“We will.” Says a voice and my eyes snap around to see where it came from.
A moment later Kaleb Nixon and one of his friends pushes through the crowd.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I say, instantly angry.
What does a girl get to do to get rid of Kaleb Nixon?