The next few weeks go by very slowly and soon it is the middle of November. This is the only thing I can be happy about; winter break will be upon me in a little less than a month. But I have to say, the wait was becoming unbearable. Although the video of me in the pool hadn’t spread through the whole campus, it was hard to know what share of people had seen it or hadn’t. Every time I walked into a room, I felt like everyone’s eyes were on me. I tried to talk to Abby about what happened that night and if she had seen anything, but each time I tried, she was always in a hurry to leave. All she could say was that she was sorry and didn’t know what happened. Thanks for the help Abby.
While Michael was doing all he could to try to make the situation better (but sadly not helping), I hadn’t heard a word from Kendal. Every time I tried to reach him, he wouldn’t answer. Not by text or by phone. It was starting to worry me.
It was after class on Wednesday, (a week before Thanksgiving) that I decided to give him another try.
I dial the number to his apartment and wait as the line rings. It rings four times and there is no answer. Just as I am about to leave a message, the phone finally picks up.
“Kendal? Is that you? It’s me, Lizzie.”
“Lizzie, hey.” Kendal doesn’t sound very happy to hear me.
“Hey. I haven’t heard from you in a while. Are you okay?”
“Yah, I’m fine. I’m sorry, I’ve just been really busy lately.”
“Oh okay. Good. Because I thought you were mad at me or something.” There is a small pause. “Kendal? Are you mad at me?”
“No, I’m not mad at you Lizzie. I’ve just been busy, really.” Somehow, I don’t really believe him. “I actually got to go. I’ll talk to you soon, okay?”
Before I can even answer back, the line goes dead. “Sure,” I think to myself. I can’t help but wonder if he has seen the video too. Maybe he wanted to distance himself from me.
I head off from my class building and into town. I don’t exactly know where I am going, but I keep walking. Up ahead I see an arcade building. It reminds me of the one back home in Aberdale. I decide to check it out.
I step inside and look around. The carpet is purplish blue with tan circles and the walls are lined with funky paintings. I smile and head over to a game table close to the door.
I play at the table for a half an hour before I stand up to stretch. Behind me, I hear the door open as someone enters inside.
It’s not until he passes me that I realize who it is.
“Michael?” I say, turning toward him. “Is that you?”
He turns and smiles. “Lizzie, what are you doing here? I’ve never seen you in here.”
I shrug. “I don’t know. I was just walking around and I saw this place off the street and wanted to check it out. It’s pretty neat.”
“Yah, I come here all the time actually. I didn’t know you liked arcade games.”
“Are you kidding? Abby and I used to hang out at arcades all the time when we were back in high school. It has been a while though.”
“So this is your first time here?” I nod. “Well, then I got to show you this one game upstairs. Come with me.”
Michael then leads me from the arcade lobby upstairs to the second floor. There he shows me to a table with two seats sitting opposite each other.
“It’s almost like Battlestar Galactica, but we battle against each other. You want to play?”
I smile. “Sure. I could use a distraction from everything.” I then sit down and we start to play.
I didn’t expect it, but we both really get into the game. Other people at the arcade even stop and cheer us on for a while before going back to their games. I am having such a good time that I actually forget about the video of me, and everything else about the party. It isn’t until Michael asks me how I am, that it all comes rushing back.
“So, how have you been doing with everything?” Michael asks.
“Okay as I can be. I swear, every time I walk into class, I feel like people are staring at me. I can’t tell if I am being paranoid or not. This whole situation is insane.”
“I’m sorry Lizzie.”
“For what? You weren’t the one stupid enough to drink a spiked drink.” I shake my head. “It’s so weird though. I was barely away from the drink for more than a couple minutes and someone just did that.”
“That’s all it takes.”
“I know.” I stop the game and sit back. “I just should have never gone to that party. I don’t know why I let Abby talk me into it.”
Michael exhales deeply. “Look, um, I didn’t want to say anything before, but…” he drifts off and looks away from me.
“Michael, what is it?” I ask.
“It’s about that night at the party.”
I feel my stomach tighten. Did something else happen that I didn’t know about? “Oh no, what else did I do?”
“No, it’s not that.” Michael sighs again. “Okay, I’m not saying that I know this for sure, but I did see something.”
“I…I saw your friend Abby standing around your drink. I didn’t really think anything of it, but when you went to drink the rest of it, she kind of freaked out.”
I freeze. “Michael, what are you trying to say?”
“I’m not saying anything. I’m just…I don’t know. You did say she has been acting weird lately…”
“And you think it’s because she drugged me?”
“I don’t know! I’m just telling you what I saw.”
I look at him in disbelief. Did he really think that Abby was that kind of person? I can’t believe he would insinuate such a thing.
“I should go,” I say, getting to my feet.
“Lizzie,” Michael starts, but I leave before he can say anymore. I hurry out of the arcade and down the street. As I am running, I can’t shake what Michael said about Abby and my drink. That’s when I remember something. I did see Abby standing by my drink at the bar. She even tried to grab my hand after I finished drinking it and was trying to go back onto the dance floor. Her face had looked extremely panicked. Was it possible that Michael was right? Had Abby spiked my drink? “But she couldn’t have,” I tell myself. “She would never do that.” But then I think back to the fight we had back during the first week of school.
“You have always been the outcast never wanting to step out and do anything. Well maybe I’m tired of being that girl following in your shadow.”
Was it possible that Abby was still mad at me? Had she done all this for revenge?
My mind is still spinning about this new revelation when I get back to my room. I don’t even notice Clarissa in the room.
“Well if it isn’t miss skinny dipper herself.”
I roll my eyes. “Whatever Clarissa.”
Clarissa laughs and heads for the door. “You know, people are still talking about your swimming pool frolic. Looks like you have branded yourself for life.”
That makes me snap. I have been putting up with her puns for almost a month and I am so done.
“You know what? I have had enough of you! You don’t know anything about what happened, and who are you to judge anyway? I happen to know you send nude photos of yourself to guys for a small fee.” I happened upon this information a few weeks ago when I was searching our room for my calculator.
That wipes the smirk right off her face. “W-what?”
“Next time don’t leave your phone lying around.”
As she stands there dumbfounded, I walk around her and leave the room. There are more important things that I have to attend to. Although I can’t lie, seeing that look on her face made my day.
Lucky for me, I see Abby standing across the hallway texting on her cell phone. I can finally get down to the bottom of this.
“Hey Abby,” I say walking over to her.
Abby looks up in surprise. “Lizzie, hey. I, um-”
“No, Abby,” I say cutting her off. “We need to talk. Now.”
Abby nods. “Yah, okay.”
I lead her away from her room door and over to the center of the hall. From her panicky gestures, I am starting to think more and more that Michael may have been right. Even if she didn’t spike my drink, she definitely knew something about it.
“Lizzie,” Abby starts, but I hold up my hand.
“I am going to ask you something, and I want you to be completely honest with me.” Abby swallows. “Did you see someone spike my drink that night at the party?”
Abby shifts nervously back and forth on her heel. “Well, um-”
“Don’t lie to me Abby. Did you see anyone?”
Abby looks at me quietly for a minute and then sighs. “Yes.”
“Okay.” I can feel my heart hammering against my chest. “Now I am going to ask you something else.”
“Did you spike my drink?”
“No. I-I didn’t Lizzie.”
“Do you know who did?” Abby bites her lip and I know that means yes. Suddenly I remember something from the party. A group of girls watching me in the pool from the edge. They looked like…sorority girls…
“Was it one of your new friends? One of the Tri-Fruhms?”
“Lizzie, let me expl-”
“Was it one of them? Tell me the truth Abby.”
Abby looks away from me toward the ground. “Yes, it was, but-”
I feel like someone has just punched me in the chest. So Abby had known all along who it was. She had known all along that my drink had been spiked and she hadn’t said a word.
“Wow, Abby. I can’t believe you.”
“Lizzie, I’m sorry! It’s complicated! I couldn’t say anything because, because-”
“Because I was supposed to be the one who did it!”
“Abby, what do you mean by that?”
Abby sighs. “It was supposed to be a prank. It was all Clare and Charlotte’s idea. You know I am pledging to Tri-Fruhm, right? Well, for my final hazing task, I had to…spike your drink at the party.”
I feel like my eyes are going to pop out of my head. “What?” I practically shout.
“Lizzie, take it easy, please. It was just a harmless prank.”
“Harmless? Abby, you basically drugged me!”
“Well, technically I didn’t, Clare did! I wasn’t actually going to do it, but then she snatched it from my hand and poured it in! And then before I could stop you, you drank it all!”
“Are you saying this is my fault?”
“No! I’m just telling you what happened!”
I stare at her in disbelief. I can’t believe what I am hearing. Abby and her Tri-Fruhm friends though it would be funny to spike my drink for a prank? What kind of lunatic would do that?
“I honestly can’t believe this right now. You have really changed Abby, and for the worst.”
Abby looks up at me and frowns. “Well, maybe if you had just let me be, none of this would have happened!”
My eyebrows shoot up. “What did you just say?”
“The only reason why Charlotte chose you to prank, is because of you fighting with me back in the café. She felt like you were a stick in the mud and needed to loosen up and have fun.”
“You are not seriously blaming me right now are you?”
“So because I am not a crazy party girl like you, you and your friends’ solution was to drug me? Are you kidding me right now?”
Abby rolls her eyes. “Just forget I said anything.”
“Yes! I will! Because that is the biggest load of crap, I have ever heard. I can’t believe that you are justifying drugging me at a party!” I scoff. “You know what? You were right with what you said all those months ago. I really don’t know who you are. The Abby I know would never go along with something like that just to be part of some stupid clique.”
“Clique? Are you serious?”
“Yes! Because that’s what they are! I’m shocked that they haven’t already been suspended! You should have reported them when they asked you to do that, not join them!
“Wait, you aren’t going to do that are you?”
“That’s what you are worried about? Me reporting them?”
“It was just a prank Lizzie. They did the same thing to Bethany last year and she’s fine.”
I just stare at Abby not knowing what to say. It feels like I am talking to a completely different person. I don’t even recognize her. “Wow, Abby. I really don’t know you anymore.”
“Lizzie, I’m sorry. I really am. I didn’t know all this was going to happen from that. Now, could you just tell me whether you are going to report us or not? At least I can give them a heads up.”
I look at Abby hard for a minute and then look away. “No, I won’t say anything Abby. But I have to say, I feel sorry for you. You are willing to throw away fourteen years of friendship just for a chance to be a Tri-Fruhm.” I see tears filling in Abby’s eyes, but I ignore them. “Goodbye Abby,” I say and I turn away from her.
I head down the staircase quickly wanting to get as far away from Abby as I can. I am still in shock and don’t know how to take all of this.
I pause in front of the lobby’s snack machine and slide in a few quarters. My hands shake as I dial the combination for a chocolate nougat bar. Not being about to control myself, I break into a sob. It feels like I am living a nightmare; being drugged at a party and finding out that my friend was the reason why it happened. But most of all, I can’t get over the fact that Abby was willing to throw our friendship away just like that, for a chance to be a Tri-Fruhm. What had happened to her? What had happened to us?