I came here to escape. Leave the debris and avoid the inevitable truths.
Things are better. Worse. Different. I’m finding me, but in the process I fear I’m forgetting those I have left, and the ones who have left me. Maybe I’m losing who I was. Can I forget my past and move forward? Can I forget him?
“I warned you guys to stop.” Jameson’s voice taunts, and I choose to ignore it, hoping that Kendall will tell him to shut up. When she doesn’t, I nestle further against the pillow, preparing to search for more comforting sleep until cold air slices across my skin as our blanket is whipped off with a harsh tug. My entire body seems to feel the burn, causing my eyes to begrudgingly open to ensure that I’m wearing something more than just underwear. I am, but barely—just a tiny pair of shorts and a tank top with a built in bra that presses against my chest in a particularly uncomfortable fashion. “What am I wearing?” “You guys decided to switch clothes. There was a lot of giggling, and I think Mindi has your shirt from last night,” Jameson answers, folding the blanket. “You guys look like you hurt.” My eyes shift to see Wes sitting on the far side of the couch, looking at us in amusement. “What are you guys doing?” Kendall grumbles quietly because I know, like me, her head is aching too badly to yell at them. “I told you guys to take it easy last night, especially since you drank too much the night before.” Jameson looks to Kendall. “We have that dinner tonight for my work. You’ve got to rehydrate” Kendall groans in response, and Jameson sets down two mugs of coffee. The scent alone makes my stomach roll and I shake my head in protest. “I don’t even remember coming home.” “What can you remember?” Jameson asks me, his tone suspicious. I open my eyes to see Kendall staring at me, the look of pain in her eyes recedes, replaced with curiosity and thought as her eyebrows and forehead scrunch. I lift my eyebrows, imploring her to tell me if she can recall us doing anything we’re going to regret. Her shoulders raise and her head gently shakes and then quickly stops as she winces. Jameson laughs, and I’m pretty certain it’s filled with more relief than humor. “What happened?” I ask. Jameson shakes his head, his eyebrows raised. “All kinds of shit.” “Make him fess up,” I whine, looking to Kendall. “Jameson.” Her one word is filled with enough of a threat that he looks a little nervous. “Wait, how would you even know what happened? We went to the bachelorette party last night.” I glance at Kendall’s neck, noticing proof of our night when I see a beaded necklace covered in every unnatural shade of penis. I tug on one of them, and Kendall looks down and laughs painfully before removing it. “Yeah, how would you know?” she fires. “You guys called and invited us out,” Jameson answers. “Who’s us?” I ask. “What happened?” Kendall growls. “Savannah danced on a bar,” Wes adds randomly. “I remember that!” I cry, too loud for my own ears. I recall glimpses of her wearing a small black dress that she was thrilled to be able to fit in again with a killer pair of heels that really had nearly killed her a couple of times in our travels the previous night. My visions of her cloud, and a curly blond-haired guy with eyes so dark they were almost creepy, appears. I was dancing with him. Flashes of Max shoving him and yelling at me, accusing me of being easy, and me in turn yelling at him for dating a whore fade as I cover my face with both hands and groan. “What?” Kendall asks. “I’m staying with Mindi.” “Nah, you were drunk. It’s no big deal,” Wes assures me. I look at Jameson who doesn’t look nearly as convinced. “Oh my, God! Nate!” Kendall gasps. “Nate what?” I ask skeptically. “Nate and Max,” she says, placing her hand on my arm. The gesture brings a new flash of memories of her pulling me back as I tried to stand between the two of them during a heated exchange. “I’m staying with Mindi,” I repeat. “It’s okay, it’s okay,” she says, her eyes still raised to the ceiling in thought. “No, it’s really not. And you guys are going out tonight. I’m going to go stay with Mindi and Kyle. Things need to calm down.” I shiver against the cool air blowing through a vent on the far side of the couch and move to sit up, determined to get some more appropriate clothes on that don’t reveal most of my cleavage. Heavy footfalls enter the living room and Landon and Max appear. Landon looks from Kendall and me to Jameson as Max avoids looking at any of us. “Alright,” Wes begins. “So last night we experienced some unforeseen hurdles. But that’s okay. It’s not a big deal. It’s a new day.” Max walks away.
Mariah Dietz lives in Eastern Washington with her husband and two sons that are the axis of her crazy and wonderful world. Mariah grew up in a tiny town outside of Portland, Oregon where she spent the majority of her time immersed in the pages of books that she both read and created. She has a love for all things that include her sons, good coffee, books, travel, and dark chocolate. She also has a deep passion for the stories she writes, and hopes readers enjoy the journeys she takes them on, as much as she loves creating them.