Read Life of the Party Online

Authors: Christine Anderson

Tags: #romance, #god, #addiction, #relationship, #cocaine, #overdose, #bible, #jesus, #salvation, #marijuana, #heroin, #music fiction, #rehab, #teen addiction, #addiction and recovery, #character based, #teen alcohol abuse

Life of the Party (2 page)

BOOK: Life of the Party
7.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“I’ll ring your
bell.” He promised. I giggled at his empty threat, feeling a
heaviness settle into my eyes, a giddiness creep into my belly. I
leaned back against the windshield of his car, inhaling deeply and
staring into the cerulean blue summer sky. School was out for the
weekend, and to celebrate as we always did Riley and I drove to the
outskirts of town, parking in an old abandoned farmyard littered
with crumbling barn-wood buildings, tucked well out of the way down
a lone dirt road.

We lay on the
hood of his car, basking in the warm sun, listening to Dr. Dre
through the car speakers and getting as high as we could.

“So,” I exhaled
the thick smoke, wincing to keep from coughing. “What’s up for
tonight? What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know.”
Riley took the joint from my fingers as I got to work rolling
another. “Ben’s parents are gone for the weekend. We could head
over there.”

I thought about
that a moment and shrugged. “We do that every weekend. Its fun,
don’t get me wrong, but I’m in the mood for something else.”

“What, you
don’t want to get high and watch
Half Baked

“Please, I
could recite that movie by heart.” I giggled. “What else could we

“Not much to
do, here.”

“Yeah.” I
agreed. The town we lived in was the largest in the district, but
still painfully rural. There were no theatres, no malls, and no
pool halls. Until we turned eighteen, the most exciting activity to
be had was the small bowling alley that offered Glow Bowling every
Saturday night. It was fun for a while, but now mostly inhabited by
fifteen and sixteen year olds trying weed for the first time.

“I wish we were
eighteen.” I complained. There were an abundance of clubs, pubs and
bars in our little city, but none of them could be enjoyed by
either of us for months, a time we were eagerly anticipating.

“I know. Only
three more months for me, but you’ve got all summer.” Riley puffed
thoughtfully. “But, you know, a guy I work with is playing at the
Aurora. He’s got an in with the bouncers, I bet if I called him we
could get in.”

“Really? What
do you mean playing? Like the jazz flute or what?”

Riley laughed.
“No. Like his band is playing. Rock music. It’d be something

“Really? I’ve
never been to a club before.” I giggled excitedly. “Can we go? Do
you want to?”

Riley smiled
and whipped open his phone. He slid off the hood and dialled,
pacing through the tall grass along the length of the car, talking
and laughing and saying, “Dude” every other word. I rolled my eyes
and laughed.

“Are we good?”
I asked when finally he hung up.

“Golden. I just
talked to my buddy.” He slid back onto the hood. “Do you want
something, for tonight?”

This was where
Riley’s wrong side of the trackiness came in handy. He had
connections, and he could get any drug at anytime, whatever he
wanted. I bit my lip and thought.

“I don’t know.
What are you getting?”

“Uh … I was
thinking of getting some mush maybe. Get my zoom on. Want?”

“No.” I shook
my head. “No thanks. Maybe … maybe I’ll try some E.”

“E? Are you
sure? You’ve never had it before.”

“Yeah. I don’t
know, it looks like fun. And you take it like … with every meal. It
can’t be that bad.”

“It definitely
doesn’t feel bad.” He admitted. “Alrighty then. Your wish is my
command.” He flipped his phone open again and hopped back off the
car. I didn’t mind his attention deficit too much as this left the
remainder of the joint to me. I took my time smoking it, feeling my
eyes redden and my tongue turn pasty. I watched Riley while he hung
up his phone and dialled again, calling the rest of our friends to
extend the invite. They were all in, it seemed, and I eavesdropped
on the plans to meet them at the Aurora at nine o’clock.

“Get a table,
have some drinks.” Riley explained to me, hanging up his phone one
last time.

“Sounds good to
me … dude.” I laughed, thoroughly, impossibly stoned by then. He
laughed at me, which only caused me to laugh harder, and so on,
until we were both giggling soundlessly and ridiculously. It was
one of those moments where everything is right in the world. The
grasshoppers sung lazily around us, hidden in the unkempt prairie
grass that shimmered blue and green in the gentle breeze. We were
young, high, happy, and laying beneath a perfect blue sky with the
sun hot above. The air nearly hummed with anticipation, the
realization that endless possibilities lay ahead of us, each of
them offering nothing but freedom, excitement and abundant
happiness. I grinned, lit a cigarette, and shut my eyes.

I would take
all they had to offer.







“Come on
Mackenzie.” Riley grasped my hand tightly and led me through the
jostling crowd crammed into the Aurora. I followed him, a little
overwhelmed by the bombarding stimulation. Random neon beer signs
hung on the fabric walls, which were nearly shaking in time with
the explosive bass pumping from the speakers. A thick haze of smoke
hung suspended in the air, circulated only by the movement of the
people that had to push to get around one another. Cigarette butts
littered the floor, which was in parts sticky, in other parts wet
and slimy. High pedestal tables lined the central dance floor and
the walls were bordered with ripped vinyl booths. Everywhere there
were people, some disgustingly drunk, others just to the rowdy
point, still others looking around timidly as they sipped their
water … obvious designated drivers. Riley squeezed us through this
crush until we finally made it to the booth table where our friends
had already congregated.

“Hello boys.” I
smiled as we approached. They shoved over to make room, Ben, Jacob,
Toby and some random girl I’d never met. I nodded at her and sat
down, a little disappointed she was there. I loved being the only
girl in a crowd of guys. They were all my closest friends, nothing
sexual at all, but it made me feel special to be one in their
crowd. I loved guys. Girls were so hormonal, so emotional and
petty. Never had one of my guy friends given me the silent
treatment or spread a rumour behind my back. I could trust them

“Hey, this is
Charlie,” Ben introduced. I swept my eyes over her quickly and
decided I didn’t like her. She was blond and thin and pretty and
had a cool name. I smiled briefly and took off my jacket, feeling
the need to expose some more skin, just too even things up. I’d
never been comfortable in tiny little halter-tops like the one
Charlie was wearing, but my black
t-shirt was a
child’s size, hugging me in just the right places, showing a decent
amount of my flat stomach and a newly acquired bellybutton ring. My
jeans hung low on the hip, silver hoops hung from my ears and I had
applied plenty of dark eyeliner and lip-gloss. My long hair was up
in a high, messy ponytail due to hairspray and plenty of
backcombing. I looked good, at least; I felt like I did.

“What’s up,
what’s up?” Toby grinned, compliments of the mushrooms he and Riley
had taken earlier. His pupils were large and dark in the dim

“Not much. How
are you doing now, my friend?” I asked knowingly.

“Hooo … whoa
….” He shook his head of unruly dark hair. “Good. I’m good.”

“How about you,

“Better now.
You’re looking hot, Mac.” He nodded. I smiled my gratitude. Another
reason I liked guys better.

“You are.” I
winked slyly at him. Then Riley slid onto the seat next to me,
settling himself in before he slipped something into my hand.

“Here. After
you take it, drink only water. Understand?”

“Oh. Okay.” I
nodded, like a child taking instruction from a parent. I felt the
small round pill in my palm and excitement surged in my stomach.
This was going to be the best night ever. It was early for a bar to
be so packed, bespeaking of the band’s fame, and the crowd was loud
and unruly, here to party. The music blared over the speakers—some
fast, synthesised dance song that only added to my stimulation. I
watched the people coming and going, ordered a rye and Coke from
the waitress and just took in the scene, a huge grin upon my face,
happy to be there partying with my friends.

Riley glared at
me as the waitress shoved a jug in my direction, his brown eyes
lost in the immense width of his pupil. He watched me take a

“I told you no
booze.” He demanded.

“But I haven’t
taken it yet.” I had to yell to be heard.

“Take it now.
No more of these.” He grabbed the drink from my hand and replaced
it with a glass of water. I hesitated a moment, as I always did
before taking anything illicit and mind-altering. For some reason I
had to weigh the consequences, but even if they were potentially
severe, inevitably I would take whatever it was. I was seventeen,
and invincible, and ready for a good time, eager and willing to
experience everything life had to offer. I smiled at Riley and
shrugged, popping the ecstasy into my mouth and tasting the
chemically chalk before washing it down with a big gulp of water. I
opened my mouth wide, showing him it was all gone. He grinned at
me, and then leaned in to whisper.

“Don’t go
anywhere without telling me. Okay?”

“Okay.” I
agreed. It touched me when Riley was like this, when he took care
of me. I smiled warmly at him. “You either.”

He nodded and
drank from my rye. To me it seemed that the crowd was reaching a
fevered pitch, but as time went on, it all became a blur. I was
aware of myself, unconsciously chain smoking, grinning from ear to
ear in my comfortable seat at the back of the table. The music was
pumping, into my soul it seemed, the lights beckoned me, the rhythm
washed over me. I felt gloriously, deliriously happy, like there
was a pent-up energy within me that needed to be expelled and could
only do so in the form of radiating euphoria.

“How you
feeling, Mac?” Riley leaned over to me once. I looked at him and
smiled with all the love in my heart.

“I love you
Riley. I love you.” I professed emphatically. He looked surprised
at first, but then after a moment he laughed sheepishly.

“Yeah. E will
do that to you.”

He was right. I
think I even told Charlie I loved her at least once. But I did—at
that moment I loved each and every person near me with all my
heart. Everything was perfect, the lights, the music, the people
surrounding me, the dance floor ….

“Riley, let’s
dance.” I decided suddenly. It was the best idea I’d ever had, or
so it felt.

“Zee, I don’t
really ….”

“No, come on.”
I stood and grasped his hand, forcing him to follow me. The crowd
was no longer overwhelming as I shoved our way through, reaching at
last the cramped little dance space with the coloured block floor.
I stared at the changing colours in awe until Riley shook me out of
my trance. Laughing we started to dance, closely, compelled by the
tight crowd to move even closer together. Papa Roach rocked over
the speakers, and as we danced, I shut my eyes, felt the music,
felt the heat from the people around me. My hips swayed, my arms
rose in the air, my hair hung damp around my face. Eventually I
opened my eyes, and Riley was stock-still, staring at me. I
couldn’t discern the look on his face, and it nearly alarmed me to

“You okay,

“Yeah, I just …
I need … I can’t wait, Mackenzie … I have to talk to you.”

I shut my eyes
again, I couldn’t help it. It felt so good to dance, so

“Can we talk
later, Riley?”

“No. Mac—” He
was interrupted then by the sudden cheering of the crowd. The music
was cut, and the change in pace startled me aware again. The band
had taken their place on the stage and try as he might, Riley could
not be heard over the excited throng pressing their way to the

“Come with me.”
He mouthed, grabbing my hand and pulling me along with him. I
complied happily as we weaved our way through the people, but when
the band started playing it became nearly impossible for us to
move. I could tell Riley was agitated as he ran his hands through
his dark hair. I stopped and lit a smoke, meaning to offer it to
him as a means to calm him down—he was on mushrooms after all, and
it was crowded—but when I looked up then I forgot everyone and
everything around me.

He was so
beautiful. And it wasn’t just the E talking. I actually heard
myself gasp at the sight of him. His jeans were ripped and tightly
hugged his thighs, spread apart below a sleek red guitar. Deft
fingers skimmed across the strings, strumming, picking, changing
chords. His hands were tanned and dark; his arms tattooed and
muscled, his torso covered by a dark black t-shirt, tight enough to
hint at the firm chest beneath. His hair was dark and short and
messy, his cheeks stubbled and tan, his face passionate as he
crooned into the microphone. He was the hottest guy I had ever
seen. Not in a pretty boy way, but in a motorbike riding, bad boy
kind of way. It wasn’t just that he had model looks or anything; it
was the way his face contorted as he screamed into the mike, the
unbridled passion with which he sang.

I had to have
him. My eyes remained upon his form even as Riley continued to drag
me through the crowd. I allowed him to pull me back to our table,
but would go no further, refusing to do anything but watch my dream
man sing.

“Who is that
Riley?” I asked, transfixed.



Riley looked
up, then back at me quickly, his face showing alarm. “Why?”

“Because I want
to know.”

He sighed.
“That’s Grey. That’s the guy I work with.”

BOOK: Life of the Party
7.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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