Sinking Into Myself Chapter 1: "Matter of Fact"

In 1991, a young schoolgirl was the victim of a horrendous verbal assault. It did not start “innocently” and escalate, it was always on the level of cruelty.
“Hey, cow.”
“Moo!”

The young girl was big for her age, yes, that was true. Although never self-conscious...it didn’t make her feel any better as she walked down the hallway on her second day of school.
“Are you fat and hard of hearing too?”

She turned back to them: two young teenage boys--unknowingly schooled in psychology so ruthless, so painful, it would be considered a crime against humanity if--and only if--it occurred any place else but a junior high school hallway.
“Leave me alone,” she cried as she turned her head to look at them in disgust as she continued walking.

“Hey! I heard what you said about me,” the one named “Kris” said as he ran in front of her and blocked her path. The raven-haired girl stopped short of walking into him.
“And what would that be?”
“That you're a fat, ugly bitch,” the one behind her piped up, the one named “Tom”.

The young girl’s voice quivered as she tried to speak her mind: “Why are you bothering me?”
“Because it's fun,” Kris answered as kept pace with the girl.
“I don't think so,” she replied as she stormed away.
“To think, Kris, that anyone would want to be seen with her.”
“You are so damned ugly, bitch...What, did your mom forget to wipe...that's got to be the only way--”
The young girl stopped...as if she felt the urge to swiftly turn and throw her backpack and the books in her hand at her assailants. She stopped walking, allowing her tears to run and the grip on her books to slack. The books then fell to the floor with heavy “thuds” as they kicked one of texts down the hall.
“--You’d ever be born.”

The tormentors gleefully skipped down the hall, their work done. They had humiliated the young girl...they had made fun of her body, her mind...but in no way would they ever break her spirit.

cor gaudens exhilarat faciem in maerore animi deicitur spiritu

Matter of Fact

“I think it looks too revealing.”
“No, it lets everything show”
“That’s the problem. Why did I get this?”
“Because I told you to.”

I could not recall where I had purchased the swimsuit that I was wearing. If you asked me, I would have to admit I didn’t recall where I bought a lot of my clothes. I only knew that I liked them...but, as I saw my reflection staring back at me, leaving very little to the imagination, I wished to recall where I plunked down the cash so I could return it and never, ever go there again.
“This looks horrid.” I tried to look at myself at every possible angle, even taking a "squinty-eyed" look--not that it helped.
“You got a figure and you don’t even know how to flaunt it. I should have bought that one.”

I opened a dresser drawer and took out a pair of shorts. I’d wear the bikini...but I wasn't about to give a free show at the pool.
“Fine, I just don't want to look like I'm wearing a sign that says, "look at me, I'm hot."
“Okay, now you're being a confused bitch who doesn't know what she wants: to be left alone or desired.”
“What if I desire to be left alone?”
“Wearing that? Good luck. Well, the shorts help distract a little.”

It was the last weekend before the start of our junior year in high school. A part of me , the naive one, was excited for the new times in life, the joy of learning new things and having a good time...while the other part, which would be the true me, had some major doubts about it all. I would be lying if I said I was completely morose about my life. No, there were positives...like, I had parents who wanted the best for me and, not to be a braggart, but, yes, I had a great figure.
“You stand and complain about your body, why? You're a cheerleader who also works at a modeling agency. Ladies and gentlemen, the envy of girls and the hard-on inducer of guys.
I winced at those words as we walked downstairs and out the front door.
“I mean, I've waited years for these to come...I've gone to the water slides and lost the top of my swimsuit so many times and no one even noticed! Someone even said, ‘hey, little boy, you dropped this!’”
“Kim…”

My best friend, Kim Vestron, was known at school for telling it like it was. Never the one to sugarcoat the situation or give you a politically correct response. Likewise, if you told her something she disagreed with you’d have to fight your way to make her see your point...unless she was your friend, then it was a little easier to get past her defenses.
“But now, I have the body I didn't have as a freshman or a sophomore...I have hit my stride! I have had my period for so long and now I have THESE to prove my womanhood.
“You should thank God I live in the country, because if you said that in town, I swear to him I'd have to kill you”

On the last few days before the start of the school year we had decided to not do much of anything. I had spent my summer at cheer camp and then practices, meetings, and work. Kim spent most of her time at her job or with me. On that day, since it was supposed to be, I guess the “last hurrah” of summer, we went to the pool located at Fairchild Air Force Base. I could care less about the summer or the beginning of school. My thoughts were of the future but at that time, my past was still a bit murky.

“I hope Tom will be there today.”
“Petty?” I asked as I shifted my car into reverse and pulled out of the driveway.
“Mmm-hmm.”
“Why?”
“Oh come on, Jazz. He’s really good- looking, popular, funny… He knows a lot of things and there's this way his butt moves when… Well, I think he’s hot.”
“Yeah, whatever.”

One thing Kim liked, loved...um, sought after, was the perfect guy. Of course, we talked about how one’s idea of “perfect” was subjective. Her idea could be rippling six-pack muscles...well, mine could be that too...What I mean is that wherever we went, if Kim saw a guy that interested her, she’d let me know of it. She wouldn’t go up and talk to him but she’d let me know that she was thinking about it.

“It’s not a ‘whatever’ situation, Jazz.”
“Enlighten me, please.”
“Well, he did say ‘hi’ to me on the last day of school.”
“So did Mr. Acuff.”
“That’s not the same.”
“We should hope so.”
“Should I wear my top lower?”
“Uhhh, not unless you want to get us kicked out.”
“Just a thought.”

We arrived at the pool and I parked in the only available spot available, one next to an ancient car with rust caked all over it.
“Well, Tom’s here, at least his car is.”

I nodded to Kim’s observation--unfortunately, the car was there...but there could be hope: Tom’s car had an old “Reardan High School” bumper sticker on it...there was a chance that--
“He needs to replace that bumper sticker. It’s peeling off.”
And so much for that.

Kim ran ahead into the pool area as I looked back to Tom’s car. Yeah, Tom was probably there...and who would be with him?
“Do you see him?”
“I’m not looking for him.”
We stood on the side of the pool, still dressed in shorts and shirts. I planned to stay that way.
“Help me out a bit, I—Oh-my-god, there he is.” Kim pointed out to the diving board in an almost little girl squeal.
“Yes, Kim, point him out and let everyone know you want him.”

Thomas Wesley Petty: one day he’s the guy everyone looks up to because he slammed fifteen opposing football players into the ground and the other times, he’s the guy who, in a violent rage once smashed the door knob off to the room the basketball referees were in because of a bad call. I mean, he was tall, muscular, had the right hair and I suppose I should be one of the girls who would swoon for that kind of thing...but as it has been said...ugly goes all the way to the bone.
“Not too far from the truth.”
I shook my head and left Kim to ogle at Tom.

Since I wasn’t planning on swimming, I took a recliner next to an umbrella and took out one of several novels I was attempting to finish before summer was over. I had not even opened the cover of the book when another shadow-other than the umbrella, which wasn’t really helping to keep the sun away- fell over me.
“You look exceptionally beautiful today, Jazeta.”
“Hello, Kris.”

I knew then who came with Tom to the pool: Kristopher Allen Gersmehl. Kris was a skater in his early years...he was also an expert lock-pick [I suppose that should be read: ‘thief’]. If Tom was considered “the brawn” then Kris was the brains. You’d think that maybe they could make lots of money with that combination and they did at times...but no one ever knew how they did it.
"So, how was cheer camp? Think you could teach me a few moves?"
"Interested in cheerleading, Kris...or just in cheerleaders?"
"I'd be lying if I didn't say both."
"I'd love to see how you'd be at a pike."
"Is that the funky Russian dancing man thing?"
"No."
I returned to my book, without justifying his question, but Kris was never the one to get the hint, as he continued:
"So, Jazeta--busy this afternoon?"
"Why?"
"We're having a kind of end of summer party at Joe's place...near the Rez...Want to come?"
"Are you going to be there?"
"Yes."
"Then no."
"You know, I'm trying to get on your good side here."
"I didn't realize I had to reciprocate your attempts to repair a bridge that caught on fire, exploded and fell two-thousand feet into a chasm."
"A what?"
“Excuse me,” I picked my bag up and walked into the locker room.
“Nice talking to you, Jazeta.”
“And you too Kris, you too.”

Kris and Tom were not Siamese twins but where one was, the other would not be far behind. As I said, both had their good sides but it was hard to see it...it was a solar eclipse: hardly occurs and if you tried to look at it, you’d be blinded. I decided to continue reading near the lockers inside the locker room. It was cooler, the sun was not beating down on me--I had forgotten my sunscreen--and Kris wasn’t stupid or daring enough to simply walk into the women’s locker room. Sanctuary.
However, I knew that I had to come out eventually. Tom would get skin cancer in Kim’s sunlight and nothing, absolutely nothing good would come out of that. Did I want her to be happy? Yes, but not with Tom.
When I emerged from the shaded building I walked up to where Kim stood--which was about where I left her earlier, still watching Tom from afar..
“Have you asked him to marry you yet?”
“Isn’t he something?”
I raised my hands to cover the glare of the sun as Tom took a running leap off of the diving board and made a straight dive into the pool.
“I am so in-love with him.”
“Does he know that yet?”
“Nope.”
“The pool closes at eight and it's only four. So, unless I die of sun poisoning in the meantime, you have about four hours to profess your hormones.”
“Love.”
“Yeah...right.”
"I’m going to ask him out, today”
“Whatever.”
“There you go with the ‘whatever’ again. On the day you get married and you’re asked ‘Do you, Jazeta Amber Daniels, take blah-blah, to be your husband, to have and to hold from this day forward; and promise to be faithful to you until death do you part?’ are you going to answer with ‘whatever’?”
“That depends: what’s he look like and does he have a sense of humor?”
“You’re not helping, I-” We were interrupted by Tom’s booming voice as he swam over to our location.
“Hey!”
“Hi,” Kim looked down and then to me. She then darted her gaze back to Tom.
“Hey, Jazz.”
“Thomas,” I replied, just because I could.
“You two getting in? How long you been here?”
“Not too long. Kim, aren’t you going to get in?” I asked as I took her bag from her arm. “Don’t make me push you in.” I whispered.
Kim jumped off the side, into the pool and into the smiling jaws of Tom’s wonderful water world.
“I’ll lock your things up.”
“Thank you.”

I walked back to the locker room, thinking that I just sent a lamb in for slaughter. What did she see in him? She knew everything about him that I knew...well, not everything, but she knew enough. Perhaps I was blinded from seeing any good in him. And…perhaps I had lot of hatred for him in my heart. And maybe it was that I simply found him obnoxious. Let’s go for all of the above, okay?
“Jazz!”
I turned back to see Kim walking towards me.
“Towel?”
“No, no I’m going back in the water. But I need to ask you a question.”
“Okay." Most of the time you don't want to know what the question will be when people say 'can I ask you a question'.
“How do you feel about going to a party, tonight?”
“Where?”
“At Joe’s. Tom’s invited us”
“Of course he has,” I replied as I looked to see Tom and Kris talking.
“You don’t want to go, do you? I mean, we don’t have to, but-”
“No, if we don’t, I won’t hear the end of it. Of course if we do go...I still won't hear the end of it, I--”
“So, we’re going?”
“Let me call in and find out if I can...and what about Jamie?”
“She says as long as I’m with you, everything’s cool, you know that.”

This was a case where I thought that she would make an exception to that clause. Jamie was Kim’s guardian...I never really could determine if she was an aunt or foster mother...I admit, I never asked, but she liked me as a friend to Kim--a type of an endorsement, I guess.
I retrieved my cell phone from a locker and called my mom’s work number.
“Mom?”
“Jazeta? Where are you?”
“Base pool. Hey we’ve, Kim and I, have been invited to a party. It's an end of the summer kind of thing.”
“Whose house?”
My parents had long established a "bad cop/bad cop" type line of questioning whenever I asked to go somewhere.
“Andrea, out on the Springdale highway.” I winced as I said those words...as I was telling a bold-faced lie but if I said that it was at Joe’s house, then the next question would be if Tom and Kris were going to be there.
“Are Kris and Tom going to be there?”
I was not surprised that she still asked that question, by the way.
“No, it’s more of a girls-night-in kind of thing with the cheerleaders and a few other girls.”
“When is it over?”
“Well, it’s an overnighter. I think Jennifer is planning on trying to get us to make some insane kind of pancake recipe.” I was putting on such a live performance, you’d think a representative of the American Theatre Wing would walk into the pool area and thrust a “Tony” into my arms.
“You don’t eat grain.”
“Yeah, I may have to leave before breakfast due to work anyway.”
“As long as you’re going to be at her house." There was a pause.. that meant the question I dreaded was about to be unleashed. "Do I need to call her mother?”
“I would like if it if you didn’t--”
“Jazeta-”
“Mom, we’ve been over this...and I’d also prefer not talking about it. Aloud. And in front of people.”
“When does it start?”
“Eight.”
“Call me when you get there.”
“Will do. Bye.”

My ears were burning as I pressed the “end” key. I also thought my nose should have been as long as my shadow. I hated lying to my parents. It was safe to say that something would go wrong before the day was through.

An hour later, a convoy of late and ancient models cars drove down US highway two on the way to Reardan, Washington, when we would then turn and drive an additional 30 miles toward the Rez.
“An actual party, we are going to the end of the summer party...and Tom is going to be there!”
“It’s probably not going to be a real big deal, Kim.”
“You think its destiny we were asked to come?”
“I don’t think the well goes that deep.”
“Do you think they’ll be any beer?”
I nodded as I accelerated--Kris’ driving style was an “anything goes” kind of thing. If it were not for traffic -and physics- laws, he’d be all over the road, and he was not making it easy to keep up with him.
“Remind yourself who’s throwing it and ask that question again.”
“I’ve had a beer before. I hid it in the corner of the refrigerator when Jamie wasn’t home.”
“You’re such a rebel.”
“Tasted like...it was bitter all I can remember and I didn’t really like it.”
“Did you hide the bottle in your room?” I asked as I adjusted my speed. "I swear Kris is driving like this to annoy me."
“I just poured it out in the sink, rinsed the smell out and threw the bottle away. You?"
"Can't say I have. Kris asked me to try some kind of drink one time, didn't care to."
"You don't want to come to this because of him?"
I shook my head in reply.
"How about we stay a few minutes then leave? There can't be that much to do there, right?"
"We'll, that depends on how drunk everyone gets."

We continued to follow Kris down the winding highway until we reached Little Falls Road, where the road straightened out long enough for Kris to floor it. I was able to keep up with him, knowing that Tom's car was so old it couldn't go too fast for too long. I so wanted to pass him to just show him up and bruise the massive ego he had built up...but I really didn't want to get lost in the back roads of Lincoln County.
The trip ended at a large house over-looking Long Lake. I parked behind Tom's car, which was parked behind dozens of other cars.
"I'm willing to bet his parents are not at home," Kim said as she opened her door.
"And you're probably right."

I got out of my car with feelings of dread hanging over me. The first being that I lied to my parents. The second was that I was even there in the first place and the third was the fear of the unknown...and I was definitely in the unknown. It's written somewhere that one should not associate with their former boyfriends and as much as I did not want to be there that other part of me wanted to go play in the mud.
“This is...different,” I said as we walked past several others, some from our school, some not and everyone seemed to be getting into party mode, even though it was only a little after six o'clock. Party mode being doing whatever they wanted.
“Did you see where Tom went?”
“No.”

We walked up the steps to the front door, which was wide open and cautiously entered. The house was huge and decorated with books and knickknacks all over--I went over in my mind about how much of this stuff would be stolen or damaged if things got too far out of hand. Having been to at one of these things in the past, I had learned that the fights never broke out and houses were never damaged because of alcohol or rage. No, just out of people being incredibly stupid. And judging by the keg of beer sitting in the hallway near the kitchen, things -not to mention certain people- would probably get very stupid.

We entered another hallway right as music blasted out of a set of speakers at the other end. Kim looked back behind me, obviously assuming that Tom would just show up and give her the grand tour.
"Do you see him?"
"No!"
"Where do you think he's at?"
I shook my head. I had no idea...still didn't really care either, but as we rushed to leave the "hall of sound" who did we run into, but Tom and Kris.
"Where did you go?" Tom asked, clearly not addressing me.
"I was looking for you," Kim replied with a slight oh my gosh I love you tone to her voice.
"Glad I found you. Come on." He motioned for her to follow him.
Kim looked back to me and I brushed my hands towards her--my way of saying: "Go. This is the reason we came here, right?"
Tom and Kim walked away, leaving me with Kris.
"I'm glad you came too.," Kris said.
"I didn't come here to talk to you."
"But you can."
"Don't really want to," I replied as I wanted to deck him, but couldn't think up a n excuses to tell my parents or Mrs. Humphrey--our cheer coach--how I broke my fingers and why I had blood under my fingernails.
"Yeah, I can tell. It's just that, we used to talk a lot."
"Yes, yes we did."

This was the second time today, after a trending three years, that I had spoken more than a few words to Kris and I really didn't want to break that record.
"Hey, why don't we leave and--"
"No, I'd prefer not to."
"You didn't let me finish."
"If you were going to say: 'talk', then you don't need to. There's nothing to talk about."
"Seeing anyone?"
"Yes, I'm seeing someone."
Another lie there. I was telling more fables than Aesop.
"Who?"
"He doesn't go to Reardan."
"Where's he from?"
"Why, so you can 'talk to him'?"

Kris was never one to really get angry, well, not at me at least. He had a temper and a vocabulary that could have made an Army Drill Sargent cower in a corner and cry, but he never lashed out at anybody he really cared about. Yes, I poking the bear.
"No, maybe so I can see who my competition is."
"Competition? You really just said that?"
"Said something wrong again?"
"Yes." And with that, I walked out of the hall.
"Great talking with you, Jazz. Let's do it again."

As much as I really wanted to look around the house and perhaps see who all was there I had to get out and away from Kris. I kept looking over my shoulder to see if he followed me, but he didn't.
There were people out and about near the lake shore. A few were setting off firecrackers while others were waving their hands around as they told some asinine tale along the lines of: "Dude, check out the scar I got!"
Another guy lugged a watermelon over to the ones with the firecrackers. As much as I wanted to pay attention to the spectacle that was about to occur before me, I was diverted by the voice of someone else that I had hoped I would not see that night.
“Jazeta Daniels, strange to see you here.”
I knew the voice, I just really did not want to respond to it. The problem with ignoring the voice was that she would take my attitude as being a snotty, stuck-up, bitchy, uncaring, thinks-she's-better-than-thou, cheerleader.
“Why do you say that?”
Of course, it didn't really matter; Michelle Bremerton would still think of me as being a snotty, stuck-up, bitchy, uncaring, thinks-she's-better-than-thou person, with or without the pompoms.
“I don’t see you as the type.”
“I’m here with a friend.”
“Kris?”
“No.”
“Oh yeah, you guys broke up.”
“If you want to call it like that, yes.”
“Hmm...You two didn’t seem like the right couple. I don’t know what he saw in you.”

My past experiences with Michelle Bremerton were limited. I knew enough about her to know she was manipulative with the guys and was able to play both sides of an argument between other people. Knowing this, and the fact that I didn’t want to continue the conversation, I walked back towards the house.

I sat in the living room by myself, looking at nothing in particular. I didn't want to get involved...and a part of me wished Andrea really was having an overnighter as anything would have been better than the situation I was in. Technically, being at the party was a violation of the athletic code...well, okay, perhaps that's not exactly true, as the code states one should not be in uniform while at a party...but, as it's known I could sit in the living room reading Sylvia Plath and the rumor would be that I was bombed out of my mind doing the splits on the front lawn wearing only my cheerleading shell. And I would be pronounced guilty with a scarlet letter around my neck.

The only thing that kept me safe was that 95% of the people at most parties either:
Didn't care.
Were too drunk to care.
Were too drunk to care to know who was even there.

Choices "B" and "C" were the most likely candidates as the night went on. Allow me to thank God for those statistics. I walked into the kitchen area as a crowd of teenagers gathered around a table.
Joe Jahn had finally made an appearance at his own party. A Jay Gatsby he wasn't, but everyone clapped for him as he stood at the center of the table in front of several shot glasses, three bottles of tequila and a six pack of coke.

"Thank you, thank you everyone for coming to my home and making it your home. And if you're thinking of stealing any of my family's shit, please think twice on it, as it's my ass that will be grounded in the morning, okay?"
Kris, who sat at the table next to Joe, unstacked the glasses.
“Okay, okay, it’s time to play.”
“Play what?” Someone asked.
“Shots,” Joe replied as he picked up a bottle.
“'What’s that?' you ask," Kris professed in a "carnival barker" tone.
“We fill a glass and you drink it without throwing up.”
"And how do you win this game?” Another someone inquired…and he sounded a bit smashed already.
“Doesn't matter. Winning isn’t everything in this game.”
Joe picked a glass up and Kris poured a large amount of tequila into it.
The crowd chanted "Joe...Joe...Joe..."

Not that he needed the pep talk, Joe downed the drink in less than five seconds. He looked up to the ceiling and closed his eyes as his face turned red. I wanted to ask him if he was okay, but I had a feeling that this was all a part of "the game".
Michelle walked in from the side of the kitchen and quietly poured half a shot glass of...well, I couldn’t really read the label at the time. She looked to Kris and Joe and then downed the glass with no effort. Not even a wince or a change in her facial expression.
Meanwhile, Joe’s face had turned three shades of red before he coughed out: “Great.”
Kris reached across the table and picked up a large glass filled with a brownish liquid.
“You are rookie, Jahn. You may kick ass on the field but you’re a bench-warming pussy here.”
He picked it up, looked to my direction and nodded.
“Auld Lang Syne, Jazz?”
“Ask me again on the thirty-first of December.”

He shrugged at my refusal to play with him and downed the entire contents of the glass in eight seconds, perhaps he was pacing himself, or by seeing how Joe nearly passed out he was playing it safe.
“Kris, isn't it’s a bit too early to be doing this, man.”
I turned to the side to see Tom, with Kim standing at his side, holding his hand. She was as happy as Joe was drunk.
“Well, we got bored, and it was no time like the present to get sh’faced.”
Tom sat down at the table with Kim in his lap. Kris passed a glass to him and in a quick motion, he downed it like a fish.
“Ok, ok, ok, new game. Well, it's more like a test, for all you beginners out there, you know who you are. Here's your chance to 'drink responsibly'.”

At this point, if the police were notified, well--not that they would come out as we were so far out in the county...let's just say that I hoped others had designated drivers because I didn't feel like being a taxi for the evening.
“So, all of you who have never taken a straight shot, now is your chance.”
“What about the champions?” Michelle asked.
“Hell, it doesn’t matter.”
“Count me in. I’m going to give it a try,” Kim piped.
I looked at her in shock, but not for long enough for anyone to notice. What had I done by bringing her here?
"You ever had this before, baby?" Tom asked.
He picked up a glass, Kris haphazardly filled it and handed it to Kim…and yes, hearing him call her ‘baby’ got on my nerves the very first time.
“Nope, but I'm open to brand new experiences, so...I just take it like this?”
“Does she want a chaser?”
“No, Kim is warrior, ready to challenge for Reardan Indians. She’ll take it straight.”
“Damn straight I will.”
The room stood in mock-silence as Kim slammed the drink.
“Aguhh, that’s terrible.”
“Another?”
“Yep.”

At that point, my cellphone rang. I walked out of the kitchen and then outside before I took the call."
"Hello?"
"Jazeta Amber Daniels." My mom had used my full name. The call was not going to go well.
"I know, mom, I didn't call. Sorry."
"Why didn't you?"
"We started a little early and I forgot."
"Is Andrea's mother there?"
"Well, no, actually she went out to the store in Airway Heights. I volunteered to go, but-"
An explosion then occurred near the lake shore and watermelon fragments flew everywhere. The question I had earlier was finally answered.
"What was that?"
"Bonfire...someone threw a firecracker into it."
"Are you telling me there are no adults there?"
"Just cheerleaders."
"That wasn't the answer I was looking for, Jazz."
"Mom, everything's fine. We're just outside in front of the fire and later on we're probably going to watch a terrible movie about savage killers stalking cheerleaders and talk about things that we still don't understand and then maybe fall asleep...eventually."
"We need to talk about a few things in the morning."
"Understood."
"Goodnight."

I hung up the phone with my face again feeling flushed. I might as well have been drunk as I felt pretty wasted after getting off the phone. My options were now limited: Stay or go home. Of course, now I would have to take Kim to my house and sneak her inside without my parents knowing she was illegally drunk. Maybe things would be okay, perhaps she only had one drink and stopped after I had left the kitchen for the phone call.

I walked back into the house. It was quieter now...and the kitchen was empty except for Kris.
"Jazeta, where did you go?"
"Where's Kim?"
"Not sure."
“How did 'the game' end?”
"I forfeited and they took it downstairs. You don't want to go down to the basement. It can be rough."
"Is Tom downstairs?"
"No, he went...Oh yeah, he went upstairs with, with…what’s her name, your friend."
"And by upstairs, you mean?"
"Probably...See, I can still read you."

And with that, Kris lowered his head onto the table, hopefully just in a drunken sleep/stupor.

I walked down the hallway, into the living room, stood at the foot of the stairs and looked up to second floor landing. I did not want to think about what or who I would find in any of the rooms. Could Kim be up there? Yes. The only thing to do was to look for her.
No sooner had my left foot landed on the first ascending step did I see Kim at the top of the staircase, partially nude and with a dazed look in her eyes. I ran up the stairs as she teetered back and forth as I did not want to explain to Jamie--or my parents--why my friend was found dead, semi-dressed, and crumpled at the foot of a staircase of a strange guy's house.

“Kyrie Eleison.”

I took my shirt off, revealing the swimsuit top I still had on from earlier, and haphazardly got it onto Kim. I then quickly -as one can while hauling someone in a zombie-like and drunken trance- walked us both outside and to my car.

Kim was zoned out and pretty much asleep as I shifted into reverse and floored the accelerator in an attempt to leave the area as fast as I could without slamming into any of the other cars. After some difficult maneuvers, I was then free to drive out of there.
“Where am I?”
“In a car. Wait, let me clarify that: my car!”
“How did I get in here?”
“You came down those stairs like a ghost with your, your well, your boobs flopping in the air.”
"They don't flop. They're not big enough…I feel dizzy.”
“Please, do not throw up in my car.”
“Yeah...hey, where did you go?"
“Outside. Where did you go?”
"I think I just had sex.”
“You think?”
“Okay, I know we did, I-my underwear’s missing.”
“That’s not the only thing that’s missing. You’ve known him, personally, for how long?”
“I’ve known him for forever...we did and and...And I have no idea how to describe it.”
“Don’t try, please.”
“It was beautiful Jazeera, oh how so beautiful. He touched every part of my body and he massaged every muscle...he was so...uhh…”
“What?”
“Ummm...Jazz, stop the car...now.”
I slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road. Kim opened the door and threw herself to the ground.
“Exactly how many ‘games’ did you play, anyway?”
She then lost it, it being whatever she had ate or drank that evening. I turned the ignition off, got out and went over to her.
“I...I don’t know, I lost count.



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