Although I feel my nervousness kicking in, I take a deep breath and walk through the front doors of the Gala.
Inside, the room looks beautiful. Candles are lit throughout the room along the walls filling the room with a warm glow. For the first time, I begin to relax and think that this night might actually go well.
That is, until I spot Clare enter through the door. Still, I manage to move to a secluded area and she misses me. No use starting anything with her tonight.
It isn’t long before the Gala is in full swing. Guests move from left to right chatting with each other and dancing to the amazing music. The school couldn’t have picked a better location. I spend most of the night with Charls on the dance floor.
Apart from that, things don’t go as well as I had hoped. Rumors about Charls and I, as well as the cheating scandal, must have spread around, for barely anyone looks or speaks to me all night. All I receive are polite nods and smiles. My hopes of introducing the Beta Gamma Kappas and recruiting some members, seems to be disappearing with each passing minute.
I am hoping that maybe Janice will have better luck, but from the stairs, I can see her in an entanglement with Ashley, the leader of the Alpha Beta Phi’s. From the looks of things, their conversation wasn’t going well. I slink a little closer, thinking maybe she is dissing our attempt at starting a new sorority, but realize that they are talking about something completely different.
“You lost your chance,” Ashley was saying. “So just give it up. Greg has moved on Janice, and I think it is time you do the same. Moping around him like this, is only making you look pathetic and desperate. Save yourself some respect and just let him go.” She then turns and walks off, passing me on the way downstairs. “Abby,” she says with a smirk as she passes me, and then continues along.
I am very confused as to what is going on between the two of them and am about to go over ask Janice, when I see her moving over to Greg. I suppose that whatever Ashley said was not going to stop her from talking to him. I decide to take my leave and go.
“Hey babe,” Charls says when I return to him on the dance floor. “You having fun?”
I smile and pull him in for a hug. “Yes, with you. As for everyone else, not so much. I don’t think they really want me here.”
“Abby,” Charls starts, but I shake my head.
“Charls, they don’t. It’s obvious that all that stuff about me has really spread around. Everyone here either thinks I’m a cheater or a snitch. We are never going to get anyone here to pledge. It was a mistake to come here.”
Charls tries to stop me, but I pull away and head off in the direction of the bathrooms. Unlucky for me, before I get there, I run into two of Charls’s frat brothers. And they do not look happy to see me.
“Abby,” one of them wearing sunglasses says, lowering them to look at me. “You look like a million bucks.”
I frown. “Thanks, I think.” I try to move by him, but he blocks my path.
“So, I was wondering if you wanted to hang later after the gala?”
I shake my head. “Thanks, but I’m with Charls. You know, your frat brother?”
He shrugs. “Didn’t stop you before.”
My jaw drops. “Excuse me?”
He laughs. “Come on Abby, we all know about how you and Charls got together. Being with Brad didn’t stop you. So what’s the big deal? When did you suddenly grow a conscious?”
“Yah, you can give the whole “good girl” thing a rest,” the other guy pitches in. “We know your kind, Abby. So don’t act like you wouldn’t drop Charls in a second for someone better.”
The two of them both then walk off, leaving me standing there stunned. Did that really just happen? Did they really just say those things to me?
“They’re right you know,” someone says from behind me. I turn to see Clare walking by. “You know you would drop Charls in a second if someone better came along. That’s what sluts like you do.”
I frown. “I, am not a slut.”
“But you are Abby. You were cheating on Brad with Charls. Probably the whole time you were together.”
“That’s a lie! And what right do you have to talk! You were cheating with Brad the whole time!”
Clare smirks. “And who do you think is going to believe you? No one. No one believes you and no one wants you here.” She scoffs. “Don’t think we all don’t know why you and your little friends are here. You’re hoping some poor pathetic saps will take a chance on you and join your stupid attempt of a sorority. But guess what? No one will. Everyone knows the type of person you are, and no one wants to be a part of it. So save the little bit of dignity you have left, and leave.”
I am so taken aback by everything that has happened, that I can’t even respond to her. Instead, I let her walk off and leave me standing there. Slowly, everyone migrates up stairs to the second floor for dinner and drinks. I suddenly feel myself swelling with emotion. Everything has become too much. The rumors, the stress of starting the sorority, Charls’s frat brothers, Clare and Taylor. It’s all just too much.
Not being able to take it anymore, I rush out of the building. The snow has covered the ground in white, with a chill lingering in the air.
“Hey Abby,” someone says, and I see Kimberly standing off nearby. “I know, I’m a bit late, but-” She stops and looks at me with a frown. “Wait, are you okay?”
I quickly nod my head, doing my best to keep the tears from leaving my eyes. “Yes, I’m fine. I just need some air.”
Before she is able to say anything else, I quickly move past her.
After I find a secluded spot, I finally let it all go. Everything I have been holding in for the past few months just comes bubbling to the surface. I can’t control it and I break down into sobs. I just can’t believe how everything has turned out. It seems that no matter what I say, no one believes me. Worst of all, Brad had been the one to betray me, and now everyone believed that I had betrayed him.
I immediately try to stop my sobs when I hear his voice. I recognize it even though my back is turned.
“Charls, hey,” I say, wiping the tears from my eyes. “How is the gala going?”
“Fine, but I’m not concerned about that. Lizzie said that she saw you run out of the building. I came out to see if you were okay, but it is clear that you aren’t.”
I bite my lip trying to hold back tears. “Well, you’re wrong. I’m fine. I-I just n-needed some space.” A slight sob escapes my lips and I curse myself from allowing it to happen.
“Abby, don’t lie to me. I know you’re upset. Tell me what happened.”
I shake my head. “It’s fine, don’t worry about it.”
Charls takes my hand and turns me to face him. “Abby, don’t do this. I know you aren’t fine. Tell me what happened in-”
“It’s everything Charls! I can’t take all of it! All these rumors about me spreading around and all these lies! Charls, everyone thinks I cheated on Brad with you!”
“Abby, you know that isn’t true! So why do you care what they think?”
“Because I can’t take it! All the judgmental stares and the rude comments! I just can’t! It’s too much! I…I don’t think I can be with you anymore.”
Charls is quiet for a moment. “Are you serious?”
“Yes!” I say, then sigh in frustration. “No, I…I don’t know. I just want all this to stop.” I shake my head again. “Charls, your frat brothers think I’m a slut. One of them tried to hit on me tonight and said that he knew my type.”
I drop my head. “The other guy even said that he knew I would drop you for a chance to be with someone better.”
Charls curses. “I’ll kill them.”
“No, don’t. That will only make it worse.” I sigh again and run a hand through my hair. “Charls, you told me it would just take time for your frat brothers to like me, but you were wrong. They hate me and they always will. They are all loyal to Brad and they won’t see me as anything more, but some home wrecker that ruined two best friends.” I choke on the last few words. “Things would be better if you and I just weren’t together anymore.” I feel my hands beginning to tremble, but I try my best to stand firm.
“No Abby, you’re wrong.” Charls reaches out and grabs a hold of my shoulders. “Things would not be better for me.”
“Charls, please. I know things have been tense between you and the Alpha Annyas since we got together. You can’t deny that things would be a lot better if we weren’t together.”
“Maybe for them, but I don’t care about that Abby. I need you in my life.”
“Charls please,” I shake my head, “I’m sure your life would be a lot less stressful without me in it.”
“No it wouldn’t!” Charls expression suddenly looks strange. His eyes soften and he looks into my eyes deeply. “Abby, I…I love you.”
I stand staring at him speechless. “W-what did you say?”
Charls moves closer to me. “I said, I love you Abby. And I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I want you in my life Abby.”
I feel my heart swelling with warmth in my chest. It was amazing how Charls had put into words the way I had been feeling for him for the past few months. I had just been too afraid to say it.
“Charls, I love you too. I just don’t want to ruin things for you.”
“You aren’t Abby. Just don’t give up on us.”
I am still hesitant and Charls must have sensed it. Before I can say anything more, Charls pulls me into his arms and kisses me hard on the lips. His kiss sends waves of warm tingles down from my head to my toes. My knees feel weak beneath me and I cling to Charls to keep my balance. I feel myself relax and I lose myself in him. My hands are running through his hair and I feel myself heating up from the intensiveness of his kiss.
When he finally pulls away, I feel completely breathless. I find myself eager, wanting more.
“What do you say, Abby?” Charls whispers to me.
I bite my lip, trying to slow my heavy breathing. “I say…come back to my dorm with me.”
“I want you to back come to my dorm with me. Right now.”
We don’t even bother to let anyone back at the Gala know that we are leaving before we go. A part of me is happy that we didn’t have to, for I don’t think I could have faced Clare or Charls frat brothers again. The other part of me, is just too into Charls to even notice anything. I can barely concentrate during the drive back to my dorm, my gaze drifting over to look at Charls blue eyes. We get back in a few minutes time and barely make it all the way up to the door. Our lips are pressed up against each other and I feel this strong desire to be with him that I can’t deny.
“Follow me,” I whisper, and I lead him up to my room.
As soon as I close my door, Charls and I are wrapped in each other’s arms kissing passionately, as if we had just been reunited after years of being apart. In a matter of minutes, we are both half-undressed, our clothes laying abandoned on the floor. My heart is racing in my chest as Charls leads a trail of kisses down my neck, sending tingles down my spine. Charls lifts me up onto his waist and then lays me upon my mattress. I touch his cheek gently, looking deep into his gentle blue eyes. Charls stares down at me intensely, his breath unsteady from our rapid kisses.
I smile, tracing my finger along his cheek. “I love you, Charls,” I whisper.
“I love you too,” he says back softly and he presses his lips against mine again, as we sink back onto my pillows.
The Gala ends up going different than I expected. And that isn’t to say that I didn’t have a good time. I spend most of the night with Michael, dancing on the beautiful dance floor. The only issue, is that most of the guests are a bit…unfriendly. I assume this is because of all the rumors that are flying around about Abby. Still, it is a bit frustrating that I can’t get even one person to show interest in our sorority.
Even Janice does her best to find some recruits, but she doesn’t have much luck. But that is probably because her mind is preoccupied. I know she is still hurting over this thing she is going through with Greg. I even spot her sparing with Greg’s date Ashley, and from the looks of things, it did not go well. I’m about to head over, when I see Taylor approaching her.
“He doesn’t want you, Janice,” she says, glancing in her direction. “Give it up. Do you have no dignity? Seriously!”
Janice just glares at her and heads off, in the direction of Greg.
Greg is getting up from his chair as she approaches him.
“Hey Greg,” she says.
Greg looks up at her and then looks away. “Janice,” he says softly.
“Greg, we really need to talk.”
Greg sighs. “No we don’t Janice. There is nothing between us anymore. We’re over.”
“So you said.” Janice looks pained. “But you never gave me a real reason.”
Greg turns away from her. “I did Janice, you know why.”
“Yah, I know, because we had a few fights.”
“A few? We’ve been fighting like crazy!”
“And whose fault is that? You’ve been so irritable lately and every time I try to talk to you about it, you shut me out. I just want to help you Greg. I love you. And I know you love me too, so why are you doing this?”
Greg looks up at her, and I am surprised to see that his eyes look slightly wet. For a moment, I think they are about to work things out, but then he looks away from her.
“I-I can’t do this right now,” he says finally. “I’m sorry.”
He then hurries down the staircase, almost knocking me over, and then heads out the front doors.
“Aw, how sad.”
I glance over and see Taylor standing not too far from Janice.
“I guess your little plan didn’t work out.” Taylor snickers. “How interesting to see the great Janice who is supposedly tough as nails, begging for a second chance to be with a guy who has clearly moved on. Could you get anymore pathetic?”
Janice opens her mouth to say something, but to my surprise, she doesn’t respond. Instead, she turns away and rushes down the steps and then out the front door. Yup, tonight was clearly not going the way it was supposed to.
I spot Abby and Charls together and revel in the fact that at least they are having some fun together.
“Hey, what’s up?” Michael says, approaching me on the dance floor.
I shake my head. “Things aren’t going so well. Janice has already bailed because of a run in with Greg. Now it just leaves the three of us.”
“Or two,” Michael says, pointing behind me. I turn to see Abby running out of the ballroom.
I sigh. “I guess coming wasn’t the greatest idea, huh?”
Michael smiles. “Hey, it was a good plan for the time being, but all this stuff with Abby probably didn’t help.”
I roll my eyes. “I just wish Clare and Taylor would give it a rest. I know they are the reason why this has all been going on. They are so petty.”
Michael shrugs. “Hey, try not to stress about it. Let’s relax and enjoy the rest of the night.”
I smile. “Agreed.”
We spend the next hour dancing with the other guests until the dirty looks from the Alpha Beta Phis and the Alpha Annyas, drives us away. That and Charls leaving the gala to look for Abby and then never returning, making our whole reason for staying now meaningless. Michael and I then decide to leave, but not before running into Kimberly.
“Hey Lizzie,” she says. “I saw Abby a while ago outside, and she looked pretty upset. Is everything okay?”
“I think it’s about all the rumors flying around.” I sigh. “Clare and Taylor are not making things easy.”
“You can say that again. Tell Abby I’m sorry and that I’ll find another way to find some recruits.”
“I’ll tell her.”
Michael and I then head out.
When I get back to my dorm, I am so tired that I immediately change into my p.js and slip into bed. After that, it is only a matter of minutes before I sink into a deep sleep.
I wake up the next morning to the sound of lip-smacking noises and giggling. I am a bit puzzled as to what is going on, but then I slip out of bed and see Abby from her side of the room. And she is not alone.
“Charls?” I say in surprise. “Is that you?”
Charls looks up a little startled. “H-hey, Lizzie. What are you doing here?”
I frown. “Well, this is my room so…”
“Oh right.” He looks slightly embarrassed.
Abby sits up, her face looking extremely flushed. “Lizzie! Um, I-I’m so sorry. I know this is really, really awkward. It’s just that, last night Charls and I…well…connected, and we just couldn’t wait to, um-”
I clear my throat feeling unsure of exactly what to say. “Well, that’s okay. Y-you don’t have to say anything else. I, um…get it. I just wish you would have…well…warned me.”
Abby swallows nervously. “I’m sorry, we were both just um…preoccupied.”
“Yes, I can see that.”
I am trying hard not to laugh at how weird this situation really is. Not wanting to continue staring at them, I decide I should head out.
“Well, I’m going to get dressed and then head to the library to do some studying. I’ll see you two lovebirds later.”
I then leave my room snickering as I spot Charls and Abby’s embarrassed faces.
I am still thinking about it when I arrive at the library an hour later. It actually makes it a bit hard to concentrate. As much as I respect the fact that Abby and Charls are obviously really into each other and want to share their love in a more “physical” way, I just wish it didn’t have to be in our room. I get why she can’t go to the Alpha Annyas’ frat house, but couldn’t they get a hotel room instead of doing it in our room? For goodness sakes, I was sleeping right on the other side of the room!
Still, I try to put those thoughts aside and focus on finishing my psych paper. After all, it is the last one for the quarter and I want to get a good grade.
I end up finishing my paper three hours later and feel totally relieved. Now that was out of the way, but there was still one more thing I needed to do.
I takes me only ten minutes to get there and I hurry up the steps to the front door. I then rap on it gently and after a minute, the door opens.
“What are you doing here?”Clare snaps.
“We need to talk.”
Clare gives me a look. “What could you and I possibly have to talk about?”
I frown. “How about what you did?”
Clare arches her eyebrow. “Which is?”
I sigh. “Clare, I know you and Taylor are the ones that got the Greek council to stop us from recruiting at Greek events and from getting some of the gala funding. I also know that you two are the ones that are spreading all those rumors around about Abby, and I want you to stop.”
Clare laughs. “Okay, first of all, you have no proof of all that. And second, Abby brought everything on herself.”
“You know what really happened Clare,” I say, glaring at her. “You and Brad cheated behind Abby’s back. You even made a sex tape of it! That’s why Abby broke up with him. So what’s all this about her and Charls?”
Clare scoffs. “Please, Abby slept with Charls at the frat house. And if you didn’t know, Charls and Brad were best friends. Abby basically pitted them against each other, the little slut.”
“Do not, talk about Abby like that. You and Brad were in the wrong, not Abby. Abby has the right to be with whoever she wants. If Brad didn’t want that, he should have been faithful to her. This is on you two.”
Clare narrows her eyes. “So just exactly what are you trying to accomplish here? What do you get out of this?”
“I just want to let you that I know what you did. And I’m not going to let you do this to Abby.”
Clare looks amused. “Oh really? And how are you going to stop me?”
“Oh I’ll find a way. But just know that neither you or the rest of the Alpha Beta Phis are going to stop the Beta Gamma Kappas from becoming a real sorority. And your actions lately, show just how scared you are of it happening.”
“You sure have some nerve,” Clare starts, but I wave my hand.
“Save it Clare. I’ve said what I needed to say. I’ll see you around.” With that I move past her and walk straight through the front doors. I know that what I did was pretty risky, since Clare technically might have more pull than me, but I couldn’t help it. I was so sick of Clare and Taylor making Abby feel inferior. There needed to be a change and strange enough, I was ready for it. The feeling of being a Beta Gamma Kappa was growing on me and I was going to do whatever I could to stand up for them.