The Last Chance(2015)
The first place they’d ended up at was a red bricked apartment in downtown Boston. It was the house of the parents of one of the school’s lacrosse players. Cars already filled the entire street. The quartet had been forced to circle the block in order to find parking. Anna could hear the music before the door opened, but nothing seemed louder to her than the beating of her heart. Brian grabbed her hand. She looked over at him and her nerves calmed. This was her first party. Ever. He knew. She gave a mocking evil eye. “You better not ditch me.” Anna was serious.
“Never,” Brian told her. That lopsided grin appeared on his face. Anna got the urge to kiss him, but didn’t dare. Instead, she took the liberty of grabbing hold of his bicep with her other free one, locking herself around his strong arm.
The door opened that they were greeted by shouting, loud music, and flashing blue lights. Anna could barely see where she was going as they moved through the house, but she kept her hands in Brian’s.
The house was packed with bodies and sound. It was hard to avoid hitting anyone, but Anna managed to rub against as few shoulders or arms as possible. The group made their way to the kitchen in the back. A large pool and jacuzzi could be seen through the bank of windows that covered the back wall. People out were in nothing but underwear out there. Did they realize that people could see them? Anna was getting too old for this.
“Do you want a drink?” Brian was shouting over the music.
Anna looked at the variety that had been put on display in two ice filled tin buckets on the kitchen island. A beer keg sat in the middle. Taller liquor bottles flanked the display. It looked like a buffet. “No thanks.”
When Brian didn’t move, Anna looked up at him. He was smiling at her in a lazy way. She knew what he was thinking. His eyes said, ‘Anna, it’s a party. Chill’. Anna sighed. Talk about peer pressure. This is why Anna avoided this things. It wasn’t so much the alcohol. She’d had it before. It was alcohol in public. Liquor had the ability to make her say all the things she was thinking. If there were ever a worst time to drink, it would be now. There was that whole, time travel topic she wanted to avoid bringing up.
They both turned to find that Chuck had laid Whitney on the kitchen counter. A lemon wedge was in her mouth. A crowd formed their backdrop. Chuck held a bottle of vodka in one hand. A devious expression was on his face.
Anna groaned. Please don’t. Please don’t.
But even as she thought it, she could see it written all over Chuck’s face. Standing there in his red shirt, looking like a beefcake, he reminded Anna of the Kool-Aid guy. Oh yeah.
“Body shots!” Chuck yelled right before the group around him ripped into a high and encouraging shout. People quickly lined up with their own partners. Anna avoided looking at Brian. She didn’t even want to go there.
Anna cringed before she saw her. She then looked over and watched as her worst nightmare slithered over. Tiffany Kent. She was like a man’s wet dream come to life. Leggy, thin, and beautiful. Her dress stopped right before her high rear. And Anna thought her dress risque? Tiffany wrapped her arms around Brian’s shoulders, completely ignoring the fact that Anna was standing right there, his hand in hers. The jealous rage that whipped through Anna shocked her. Brian’s expression went blank. The muted mask in place.
Tiffany threw back her head, her long brunette hair fell over her shoulders, she laughed. She was drunk. “I thought we were going to hang out tonight.”
Red flags went flared in Anna’s head. Did Brian originally have planned to spend his night wrapped in Tiffany’s arms? Anna looked at Brian, but his expression still didn’t say anything. Neither did he seem to bother with unwrapping Tiffany from around him. Anna’s hold on Brian’s hand tightened.
“Change of plans,” Brian finally told Tiffany. His face was still unreadable. Anna couldn’t tell if he was pleased with the change or not.
Tiffany pressed herself closer. Brian leaned his head away from her. Anna thought that was progress. Tiffany didn’t seem to mind. “Well, at least take a shot off me.”
Anna had had enough. “Oh my god, Tiffany. I’m like standing right here!” Anna shouted in the woman’s direction.
Brown almond shaped eyes turned in her direction. Tiffany took one arm off of Brian then. Further progress. Tiffany was smiling. “Oh my god, Anna. I didn’t even see you.” She swayed a little. “You never come to these things.” Even drunk, she was confidence. It was almost enough for Anna to want to take her own sip of liquid courage.
But the anger would fuel Anna for now. “Yeah, well, I’m here now.”
Tiffany’s smile widened even more. “Indeed you are.” There was a look in her eyes. Challenge. Anna recognized it. It’s the look everyone in her field of study always gave her. People always assumed that short meant easily intimidated. Well, it didn’t. Now, Anna did admit that social gathers always made her take a step back, but there was no time for back pedalling. She only had a few more hours to secure Brian’s place in her life and she wasn’t about to let Tiffany to sway her from her mission. She wouldn’t accept defeat.
Funny thing was, Tiffany wasn’t the type to accept it either. “So, I’m guessing you’re going to allow Brian to do a body shot off you, right?” One of her brows went up.
Anna shook her head. It was just like Anna thought. College was just like high school. Bigger playground, same kids. Anna had never played ‘Truth or Dare’, but there was a first time for everything. Double Dare.
Anna didn’t even ask if Brian wanted to do a stupid body shot as she led him over to the counter. The sea of people parted. Anna faintly heard Chuck shout ‘first timer’. There were some oohs. Whitney had a overly pleased smile on her face. Anna could basically hear her thoughts. My little Anna is all grown up. I’m so proud.
Anna began to use a stroll to lift herself up, but felt a large pair of hands take hold of her waist and hoist her. It was Brian. Reality clicked into place. Brian was going to take a shot off her body. His mouth would touch her body in front of everyone. What had she been thinking?
“Hey, Brian!” Anna turned just in time to meet Tiffany's shrewd look. “Sugar or Salt?” Another combination of laughter and oohs went through the crowd that seemed to be growing by the minute. If Anna survived the night, she’d ruined everyone’s transcripts.
Anna turned to meet Brian’s eyes. He’s strong jaw was locked. This expression didn’t look happy. “You don’t have to do this, Anna.” Anna didn’t know if he was upset with her or Tiffany, but either way, he was giving her an out. It was a waste.
“Sugar or salt?” Anna’s eyes didn’t leave Brian’s. His muted expression didn’t didn’t change, but something flickered behind his eyes. Something dark and hidden deep within his green depths. A chill ran through Anna. To break the connection, gracefully, Anna leaned back and took the breath she hadn’t known she’d been holding.