Sleep becomes my main source of comfort over the next several weeks. I feel like I barely exist. The days seem to fly by and soon it is the end of April. I spend most of my time at my dorm and in my room. The only time I leave is to go to class and get some food from the dining hall. Someone buys a kegger for the dorm and hides it in the backyard and soon I become addicted. I am beginning to not know the difference between drunk and sober.
Even when I go to class, my mind seems to always drift from the lectures. It’s as if my professors are talking and I can’t hear any of the words they are saying. My head seems to be spinning and I can’t get my mind to focus. I literally sit down for class and it feels like a few minutes later class is over. This of course, doesn’t help with my note taking for class. I have nothing to study, apart from my textbooks and those I can’t even focus on. Without the cheat sheets from the Tri-Fruhms, I end up bombing my next several tests and receive D’s in all of my classes except for the art class I signed up for an elective. I know I need to do something about it, but right now all I can think of is how broken I feel inside.
The only time I feel a little more alive is when I start painting for my elective class. Within a few weeks of the class, my art professor has us painting to our hearts content. My painting is really improving thanks to his lessons.
The Tri-Fruhms don’t even bother to tell me that I’m out, but I take the non-verbal cue. Clare on the other hand, has no problem sending me a message to tell me over e-mail. She also posts a clip from the video of her and Brad that was going around campus. I feel like throwing up. Very classy. At least I knew for sure that it was her. I also receive the same video from Taylor. I’m starting to feel like they have nothing better to do with their lives but to harass me.
As I am wallowing in my room on Friday night, a week before May begins, I get a call from Charls. Brad had finally stopped calling me. He left me a message saying that I wasn’t going to get anyone better than him, so it was my loss. It’s amazing when someone shows you their true colors. Brad really was a complete jerk. I just wish I had known that sooner. What guy picks girls up in a bar? The truth was staring me right in the face.
“Hey Charls,” I say weakly.
“Hey, how are you? I haven’t seen you in almost a month.”
“I’ve been busy.”
“I have!” I sigh with frustration. “Look, it’s been a difficult month okay?”
“I know Abby. I’m sorry.” We are both quiet for a few minutes. “Look, I’m sorry Charls. I guess I just haven’t really been up for doing anything.”
“Well how about tonight? There’s a party at the frat house.”
“Charls are you serious? I don’t want to be anywhere near Brad!”
“Brad’s not going to be here. He’s out of town visiting his family. I wouldn’t be inviting you if he was here. I just think you need to get out.”
I am about to say no, but then I think it over. It had been a long time since I had really done anything. Maybe going to a party was just what I needed.
“I’ll be there,” I say, and then hang up. I only hope that the Tri-Fruhms won’t. The last things I need is to run into them.
It turns out that Charls was right. I have a total blast downing a few drinks and dancing the night away. Thankfully, most of the Tri-Fruhms don’t show up so I don’t have to worry about them. The only problem is that most of the people at the party seem to know about what happened with Clare, Brad and I, so I feel like a zoo exhibit for most of the night. It is only when I spot someone looking at the video over their phone, that I can’t take it anymore and head into one the bedrooms. I thought that it would’ve been old news by now, but I guess people can’t seem to forget.
A few minutes later Charls comes in after me.
“Hey Abby, I was looking for you. What are you doing in here?”
I sigh. “I just needed some space from everyone. I feel like everyone is staring at me because of that stupid video that Clare made. I know it was her. I just wish…” I bite my lip feeling my eyes water. “I’m sorry.” I look toward the ground not wanting Charls to see.
“I’m sorry Abby,” he says gently.
“You knew, didn’t you?” I say finally.
“About Brad and Clare.”
Charls looks at me hard for a minute and then nods.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Brad sighs. “I wanted to Abby, but I couldn’t. You know Brad is the president of Alpha Annya.”
I look at him in disbelief. “I thought I was your friend Brad?”
“Well clearly not. If I meant anything to you, you would have told me. Not let me walk around like an idiot.”
I turn to leave, but Charls stops me.
“Abby you do mean something to me.” He moves closer to me, and I can feel his breath on my face. “More than you know.”
At once, I feel my cheeks begin to flush. “Brad, what are you-”
Before I can finish my sentence, Brad pulls me to him and presses his lips onto mine. I am so shocked that for a minute I just stand still, frozen to the spot. But then something comes over me. I don’t know if it’s the alcohol or what, but I wrap my arms around him and kiss him back. At once, my mind becomes blank. All my thoughts of Brad, Clare and the Tri-Fruhms vanish from my head and all I can think about is Charls, and how good his lips feel on mine. His lips are soft and gentle and his tongue is sweet like honey with a twinge of booze.
My heart is racing in my chest and I feel my head spinning. Charls leads a trail of kisses down my neck and shoulder as a moan escapes from my lips. His hands travel around my back and I feel the zipper of my dress being pulled down. I know if I don’t say something now I won’t be able to stop him, but I can’t bring myself to. My body has turned to mush and its all I can do to remain standing.
“Charls,” I whisper, but my voice is barely heard over our rapid breathing. A few more moments later, we sink to the floor and I forget everything else.
I don’t know what happens later, but at some point I must have fallen asleep. In my dreams, I see Brad and Clare dancing together in the ballroom of the Marmalade Inn. I am sitting at one of the tables staring at them in silence. Just as I am about to leave, someone takes my hand into theirs. Looking up, I see Charls smiling down at me.
“Come with me,” he says, and I follow him out of the ballroom toward the hotel exit.
I open my eyes a second later. Looking around I see I am lying on the bed of someone’s room. “Where am I?” I wonder. I sit up slowly, cringing slightly. My head feels like its pounding. I definitely feel like I had too much to drink last night.
I slowly peel myself off the bed and look around. That’s when I realize where I am. I’m in the Alpha Annya frat house, in one of the bedrooms. Of whose bedroom, I don’t know. I close my eyes trying to piece together what had happened last night. I came to the party, had a few drinks (okay several), danced, came into this room, talked to Charls and then…Oh my gosh. Oh…my…gosh. I slept Charls. I..slept…with…Charls. I can’t believe I did that.
Looking around, I notice that Charls is nowhere in sight. I am completely alone in this bedroom. So just like Brad, Charls had taken what he wanted and left. Why did this keep happening to me? Suddenly I feel sick to my stomach. I run into the nearby bathroom.
My stomach lurches and I kneel over and release the contents of my stomach into the toilet. I feel so ashamed and disgusted, not to mention cheap and used. I’ll bet Charls is probably laughing with Brad right at this moment. As I think this, I feel nauseated and throw up into the toilet again. I needed to get out of here and fast.
After my stomach is finally empty, I rinse my mouth at the sink and then check my face. My mascara is running, but I don’t have time to fix it. I just want to get out of here before anyone sees me.
As I am rushing out of the bathroom, I run right into Charls.
“Abby,” he says looking a little surprised. “I-I didn’t know you were already up.”
“Y-yes, I am.” I feel my stomach lurching again, but this time I don’t feel like throwing up. “I-I must have fallen asleep.”
“You did,” Charls says quietly. “I just didn’t want to wake you.” We stand for a minute in silence before he clears his throat. “Abby, about last night-”
“It never happened.” I say it so fast that I surprise myself.
“What?” Charls looks confused.
“It didn’t happen. It was a mistake.”
I make my way out of the bedroom, but Charls follows after me.
“What do you mean?” he asks.
I sigh. “I mean last night. It shouldn’t have happened. I guess I was really upset and drunk and I don’t know…” I pause looking at his face. I expect Charls to make some rude comment about how I couldn’t hide what we had done, or something like that, but he doesn’t. He actually looks, dare I say it, disappointed.
“I understand,” he says nodding slowly. He then smiles. “It never happened.”
I am surprised. Maybe I was wrong about him. Still, I don’t want to rock the boat. “I should go,” I say moving toward the door.
“You want me to walk you home?” Charls asks.
“No, its okay,” I say shaking my head. I just want to get home and sleep. “I’ll be okay.”
I start for the door, but then turn back and give Charls a kiss on his cheek. “Thank you.”
Charls smiles and nods. “No need to thank me. Just text me when you get back, okay?”
I am so surprised by his reaction. I just told him to keep quiet about us having sex last night, and here he was asking me to text him when I got home. I can’t help but feel a little guilty.
I give his hand a squeeze. “I promise,” I say, then make my way to the door.
As I walk through the door, I nearly bump into Brad coming in through the door.
“Abby?” he says frowning at me. “What are you doing here?” He then smirks. “You finally come to your senses?
I roll my eyes and push past him. “Sorry to disappoint you, but no. I was here to see Charls.”
“Charls?” He raises his eyebrows and looks behind me. “What would you be doing with him?”
His tone sounds tense and irritated. I can’t help but feel slightly satisfied.
“What happens between Charls and I, is none of your business. You lost the privilege to know when you cheated on me.” With that, I continue out the door. Behind me, I can hear Brad grilling Charls, but I honestly don’t care. Let’s see him sweat for once.
When I get back to my dorm, I change into my p.j.s and get into bed. With my head still pounding from all the drinking last night, I think I could still use a few more hours of sleep. After texting Charls to tell him I arrived home okay, I drift off to sleep.