Debora St. Fleurose is a Haitian—American college student born in Chicago, Illinois. She grew up with eight siblings, and enjoys reading, writing, gardening, running, and blogging. She was born pigeon-toed, but that didn’t stop her from joining her high school’s track team, and was Varsity all four years. Being pigeon-toed and being watched every time she went anywhere has taught her to never judge anyone, and to be optimistic. She hopes to someday work for the New York Times or Chicago Tribune, and to be a best-selling author who has a lot of loyal readers she can connect with and talk to. She also hopes to inspire other teens like her to keep doing what they love.
CHAPTER 1: The Party
Sasha Watson snuck out of her room in her blonde Marilyn Monroe wig, party favors concoction in hand. The party was, so far, not up to expectation. Everyone was mingling and laughing and “chilling.” She refused to let this be another boring high school party.
No, this one had to be memorable. She was nothing if not memorable. But if anyone saw her spike the punch, she was done for. She was not going to be held accounted for someone else's overdose.
The small baggie of crushed molly and ecstasy was in one fist, a full bottle of the strongest vodka in another. Aside from the wig, she even wore another Prep school's uniform to avoid recognition.
She casually walked over to the bowl, glanced around to make sure the stoners nearby all had their eyes closed and heads back, and swiftly dumped it all in.
Then she snuck off to the corner bathroom to change.
Slipping off the tie, she wondered where in the hell her friends were.
Carrie, who was supposed to be her Co-Party Planner, was distracted all night, and disappeared the minute people began showing up. Singer was God knows where—the wild child was always the first to abandon her friends during a party and end up in someone's house or a bar or a club across town knocked out in a corner. She was like Dave from “The Hangover.” Angel was still in the house somewhere, mingling and waiting on her boyfriend Keegan to show up, and Ava--
The door flew open. “There you are!” Ava sighed.
Sasha sighed back, kicking the uniform behind the toilet. “Sorry, I was--”
“Whatever, the house is packed, and the DJ just showed up--” Her voice was drowned out and the girls jumped as a loud beat shook the house. Cheers erupted and the party had begun.
Carrie Watson snuck out through the back door of the house and into the limo. “Hey.” She shot a small smile at Roger.
He placed a hand on her knee. “Hey.”
“You shouldn't be here,” she frowned suddenly. This had to be the worst place and time.
“I had to see you. To make sure you weren't hooking up with anyone else.” His brown eyes burned with envy.
She rolled her eyes. “I'm only here to make sure no one throws up on the sheepskins or breaks millions of dollars’ worth of furnit--”
She was interrupted by his lips on her's. She immediately kissed him fiercely back, and he tasted of mint gum and smelled like cozy cologne.
A part of her knew this was wrong, but she didn't care. His wife didn't deserve him. And the law could kiss her ass, it wasn't as if her record was perfect anyway.
His hand ran down her inner thigh, lifting her skirt, and she moaned.
“Music to my ears,” he murmured, as their clothes fell to the limo's floor at a dangerous speed.
An hour later, she stumbled out of the limo, wiping her mouth and straightening her clothes. She took not two steps before it peeled away, windows fogged. Carrie smirked, wondering how he'd explain to his precious wife what took so long.
She gave up looking decent the minute she walked into the party.
Someone had obviously brought drugs, because everything was in full blown chaos. One girl who swore all she'd drink was punch was dancing completely topless on the glass table. An actual threesome was happening on the corner couch. The stoner group had grown, and went from smoking weed to sniffing cocaine lines. Couples were making out left and right of every gender, and a few creeps were the life of the party at the center of the dance floor, where twerking, grinding, poppin, and lockin were in full motion.
The house vibrated with the great music, the strobe lights dancing across the walls and ceilings of every room in all shapes and sizes and colors.
Carrie grinned. The party was a success.
Ava turned to find Keegan, Peyton's best friend, holding onto her hand. Her other held a red cup. “Have you seen Angel?” He shouted.
She shook her head. She hadn't seen anyone but Sasha from the very beginning, and even that girl was gone.
“What're you drinking?!” Keegan looked amused. “If Peyton could see you now...”
Someone shoved into Ava, causing her to fly straight for Keegan. In the next second, his sky-blue t-shirt was covered in whatever the stranger had handed her.
“Oh my gosh!” She gasped, unsteady but attempting to pat him down with a random hoodie. “There's a bathroom upstairs!”
“Come on.” They made their way up.
Rebecca walked into the party and was immediately thrown up on.
The half-alive girl who had done it was carried out by her cackling friends, one who muttered, “Who invited a fucking Nobody?”
“Yup, seen enough,” she mumbled to herself before turning to leave. She froze.
Peyton O'Sullivan stood there with the biggest smirk on his face, his blue eyes twinkling with amusement and his fingers in the pockets of his jeans. “I'm guessing you don't like parties either?”
She turned red, then walked towards him, past him, to the forest behind the house.
“Where are you going?” he called, hot on her tail.
“Isn't there some kind of pool back here? I need to wash my shirt.” Boldly, she removed her halter top, showing off a white sports bra.
“I can take you home,” Peyton said, lowering his head, but shyly peeking up from his lashes.
“Um, no thanks, your car’s going to smell awful. Hey!” She was triumphant as a small pond-like pool appeared, surrounded by a circle of tiles.
She cocked her head. Actually, it looked more like an in-ground hot tub. She shoved her shirt in there.
“So, why did you come tonight?” He watched sadly as vomit filled the pool.
“Piper Devlin invited me.”
“She was invited?”
“No, she just loves crashing,” Rebecca grinned. “I wanted to be bold, more like her.”
“How's that going?” Peyton laughed.
“Don't make me splash throw-up water on you!” She giggled. Then paused. “You should go in. You were actually invited. Your sister is running this whole thing, right?”
Peyton frowned. “I'm not actually like her.”
“Is this how you're going to get in my pants?” She teased, blushing promptly after.
His face turned stony. “No, really. I hate this kind of stuff. She's never careful, either. Cars are lined up, and I actually heard the music from down the block. And in this town, 'down the block' is about half a mile. People own so much property.”
“Including you.” Rebecca stared into his icy blue eyes.
He sighed. “I'm not into all of it. I dunno. Ava calls me 'the Black Sheep.'” He stared back into her wide green eyes. “You wanna see something?”
He shrugged off his leather jacket. “Not anymore.”
They walked hand-in-hand through the trimmed forest for a few minutes before appearing in a clearing.
Fireflies danced along the swaying willow trees, and the clear, sapphire sky above was alight with stars. The moon shined down on them, thankfully illuminating their faces. He could see the wonder and awe fly across her features. “It's beautiful!”
He watched her take a few steps into the tall grasses, and he couldn't take it much longer. He stepped up, wrapped his arm around Rebecca’s waist, and kissed her.
Their bodies molded together, as if every skin cell was meant to fit the other, and tingles flew up and down her spine. She caressed his neck as he dug his fingers in her hair, deepening the kiss.
They would’ve been making out all night if a light hadn't caught her eye, and it wasn't the tiny green of the fireflies.
No, it was bigger. And orange.
“NO,” She gasped, breaking away from him. “Look!”
From the clearing, the mansion stood tall, and alight with flames. Their hearing came back, as if they'd been in a mute little world of their own, and distant screams were apparent. Flashing red and blue lights danced on the walls of the burning home.
“Ohmygod!” she started toward the house, but Peyton stopped her.
“No, we can't!”
“But your car!”
“Rebecca! Fuck it! My car is surrounded.” Panic filled his eyes. “There's a road the other way!”
Suddenly, the bouncing beam of flashlights appeared in the forest, as well as shouts.
That was all they needed to see. They bolted across the clearing and into the opposite side of the forest, pushing aside the branches and trees as quickly as they could.
They ran for about five minutes before breaking out onto a road.
Peyton quickly texted someone, and a few minutes later a truck screeched up.
One of his jock buddies threw open the door, and they jumped in.
“Dude, where were you?!”
“The cops showed up outta NO WHERE!” The Jersey-sporting boy was laughing. “It was crazy! Those girls sure know how to turn up!”
“What about the fire?” Rebecca asked, refusing to say her name in the safety of the dark truck.
“Aw, man, who the fuck knows?” The guy shook his head. “That shit started outta no where, someone prolly forgot to put out a joint or something. The Watsons are gonna freak the fuck OUT!”
“You can take us to my house,” Peyton said quietly.
His friend glanced at him. “Bruh, your sister's prolly fine.”
“She started the whole thing,” Peyton said, annoyed. “If someone's hurt or someone sues, our parents are gonna blame me for not 'watching her.'” He rolled his eyes.
When they got to his house, Peyton handed his teammate some gas money before taking Rebecca's hand as they crouched low and ran to the side of the house.
He pulled a latter out from a bush and climbed up, pushing open a window and crawling in. He poked his head out. “Come on.”
She crawled up, and he pulled her in.
The smell of cologne and jock straps surrounded her soul.
“Here,” he reappeared with a jersey and giant sweats. “You don't mind sleeping over, right?”
“I'll be on the floor,” he stuttered, realizing. He blushed again.
She relaxed, then moved further into his black-and-white themed bathroom to change out of her shorts and his jacket.