Warning and Note: This post contains content that may not be appropriate for younger readers. The chapter contains sexual content and adult conversations. A reminder the legal drinking age is 18 in the SimNation.
The party was in full swing when I arrived at the beach. I found the last available parking spot in the lot. Before getting out of my car, I did a spot check of my makeup and my teeth. I wanted to look perfect for Gage. Why are you here? a brief thought flitted through my head. You love Davis, not… I wouldn’t allow myself to finish the words. I couldn’t. This was easier. This was better.
I walked around on the beach searching for Gage. I saw lots of other new graduates from our high school and several college co-eds from Sun U on the beach. There appeared to be kegs set up everywhere. No wonder Gage had called me drunk. There was an abundance of alcohol everywhere.
“Kassie,” a shrill voice called from behind me.
I gritted my teeth and braced myself for the annoying Zelda Mae. I turned around with a smile plastered on my face.
“Hiiiii Zellie,” I said, using a nickname she despised, but I despised Kassie so we were even.
“Yo,” she hiccuped. “You here with that Davis guy from the Jolt?”
“No actually I’m going solo tonight,” I replied calmly. “But I am looking for Gage.”
“Yeah,” she let out a laugh that sounded fake. “You might want to find the loser and get him to slow down. He’s super juiced.”
“I’m touched you’re so concerned,” I snipped sarcastically.
“Later, girlfriend,” Zelda turned on her heel and walked over to greet one of the Frio brothers.
Yeah let her socialize with the 20-somethings Internet-startup-billionaires and leave Gage well alone.
“Hey,” I turned around and offered a genuine smile this time, but it quickly melted to a frown when I saw Zelda sneering at me.
Whatever. Her opinion doesn’t matter.
“Thank you,” I shrugged, almost shyly.
“Seriously, Kass, you look amazing,” Gage repeated his compliment, followed by a belch. “Whoa! Excuse me.”
I laughed awkwardly. He leaned forward and put his arms around me, pulling me close in a tight embrace. His hands wandered down my back and settled around my waist, but I could feel his fingers trying to slide further downward. For some reason, I didn’t mind. Zelda was still watching me like a hawk. I glared at her as I leaned further into Gage’s hug. We are friends, I justified internally. We can hug.
“You want some refreshment?” Gage offered.
“Uh… I don’t know,” I replied. “I thought you wanted me to drive you home.”
“I can’t go home,” Gage sighed. “Not now…” he let out a loud whoop. “Not while this party is hopping! And is it hopping or what?” he was hopping around on one foot and running around with a glass of some sort of alcohol in his hand screeching in the party guests faces. “Can I get a woot, woot?”
I tried not to laugh. No one seemed as enthusiastic as Gage, and those who were seemed to be focused on their beers, letting out a half-hearted ‘yeahs.’ I had never tasted beer, especially at a kegger. Part of me was curious. Part of me wasn’t all that interested.
“Come on Kass, please, have a drink. Don’t leave me hanging. It’s part of the ritual of adulthood. You gotta drink. The juice is delicious. It does things…Kass…” he waved his hands around. “To your insides that are magical. You gotta try it, baby.”
At the baby part, I frowned. Why’d he call me that? No mind. There was no point in doing what he said… leaving him hanging. I half expected him to go get me a cup or a glass but he ran off to yell and beat on his chest in a drunken, but manly fashion.
I giggled and found a nearby keg with juice still left in it. I tentatively reached for the nozzle. The amber liquid spilled out into my party cup. I sniffed it. The smell was less than pleasant. But if Gage says it’s good, it must be.
I took a sip and made a face. I nearly spit out the beverage. Ugh! What did they see in this? I looked around at the rest of the party and everyone was in their own little world with their own plastic party cups or glass bottles. I had to try it, right? I had to at least finish one to say I had.
Gage walked back over to me and tried to take my arm, but missed and pushed his hand between my arm and my body. He laughed as he stumbled toward me, the smell of alcohol heavy on his breath.
“Wh…whoohohoha!” he tried to catch his balance. “You sure… sure… know… how to get a… guy’s attention… Kassssssss….sssiiiii….oooo. I mean… you got… my heart… you know.”
“Well, okay, Gage,” I helped him straighten and stand.
“No, seriously, sweetheart, how can any guy not love you?” he sniffed and wiped his nose on the back of his sleeve. “I don’t know what happened…”
“What do you mean?” I frowned, taking delicate lady-like sips of my alcohol.
“Well… with us… you know… what happened with us… I mean… I miss us… don’t you?” he said sadly.
“Yeah,” I answered, mostly truthfully. I did miss you, my friend.
“Have another beer!” Gage yelled, completely changing his tone. “It sure isn’t nutritious, but it’s delicious.”
I laughed again, beginning to relax. Maybe it wasn’t so bad. It definitely made me feel warm and the tension seemed to be melting away.
By the time I was ready for my third beverage, Gage had led me up to the balcony of the Grand Admiral Hotel. The bartender offered us hard ciders and Gage gave him a crisp twenty. I giggled as I stumbled forward.
“Whoh-ho-ho, Kasssss-iiii-oooh,” Gage said, stuttering again.
“I’m fine,” I shook my head, feeling a little dizzy. “This is a great song.”
“You wanna dance?” he asked.
He didn’t have to ask twice.
“Oh Gage,” I laughed hysterically. “Oh dear… you’ll have to change those… those… those…” Why can’t I think of the word? I wondered as I felt forward for the seat, my vision blurring some. Is…. is… this… what… this… feels like?
“Hey!” he jumped up suddenly and then rubbed his forehead and groaned. “Man, I can’t see where-y well…”
“You mean, very?” I teased and laughed as I stumbled around the inside of the bar.
“Very… very… very…” Gage repeated as if fascinated by the word.
“You’re so funny… you know that… funny… funny… honey… hey, I rhymed,” I said, obviously amused with myself.
I tried to reach forward and grab his arm to steady myself, but I missed and nicked the side of his face with my bottle.
“Owww!” he cried.
“Ohhhh… sorrrrry…” I was slurring. Why… can’t… I… talk… normal?
“Hey pretttty lady,” Gage purred as he put his arm around my waist and jerked me close to his side.
“Yeah?” I forced my eyes to widen as the bricks beneath my feet seemed to be moving in odd patterns and then blinked rapidly a few times.
“Let’s go down…. to the beach… and join the others…” he suggested, smashing his face into my ear, his breath hot, but oddly ticklish.
Most of the crowd had thinned out, but the kegs were still there.
“Wanna do a keg stand?” I snickered and leaned into Gage as if telling him a secret. “I’ve always wanted to do a keg stand.”
“Uh sure,” he agreed, trying to pick me up.
A few seconds later, my face was full of grass and sand.
“Oh my llamas!” Gage hollered.
“Shhh!” I winced, trying to push myself back up with my arms, but they felt like gelatin.
“Oh llamas! Kassio… I’m so sorry!” he shrieked.
I finally got to my feet on the third attempt.
“Quiet!” I howled. “You’re soooooo loudddddd…” I lifted my hands to rub the sides of my head.
Somehow another bottle of cider had made it into my hand and the glass clinked against my temple.
“Ouch!” I grumbled.
“I’m sorry, baby,” Gage apologized.
There he goes with that baby stuff again! I frowned.
He waved his arms like a madman.
“Thank the heavens you’re all right.”
“It’s just grass and sand.”
“Yeah, but… but… but…”
“What about but?”
“Haha! You’re funny too,” Gage leaned close to me and laughed.
“Why thank you, sir,” I giggled.
“Why didn’t we work?” he asked soberly, switching subjects.
“Whaddaya mean?” I grimaced.
“Ya know… we… you… me… us… you chose that… what’s his name? Davis guy, I think… over me… and well, I guess I picked Natalya,” he said sadly.
“Whaddaya mean you picked Natalya?” I asked.
“I slept with her.”
“Whoa! You did what?” I put my hands up.
“I slept with her,” Gage repeated and took a step back, waving his arms around. “Hey, I’m not proud of what I did.”
“After the funeral.”
“Cuz she was there… and available… and… I… I don’t know, Kass,” he hung his head. “I was so stupid. And now… well, I don’t know what now… I haven’t talked to her.”
“You haven’t talked to her?”
“No…. I don’t… I don’t… I didn’t… I don’t want to think about it… I want to pretend it didn’t happen… I want you, Kass.”
“What?” I exclaimed, surprised.
“I want you, Kass… and oh llamas! I really screwed up…” he looked about ready to cry. “I screwed up… I screwed around… I ruined things… I wanted my first time to be with you, Kass… and your first time was probably with Davis.”
“No,” I replied quietly and sharply. “I didn’t… we haven’t… I haven’t been with him.”
And I wouldn’t be.
“Kass… can you… can you… can you… for…for… forgive me?” he asked, hopefully. “I know things can’t ever… ever… ever be the same… if you don’t want… want… want me… oh… I can’t even… dream… what am I saying? I can’t want you… I slept with Natalya!”
“Uh… Gage… I don’t know what to say,” I looked at the ground, feeling a whole host of overwhelming and conflicting emotions. “Uh…” I rubbed my head. “I can’t think… think clearly.”
Gage laughed. “That’s the juice for ya.”
“Oh llamas! She’s like twice your age… worse than that… she… uh… oh llamas, Gage! What the hell?” I winced and tried not to think about it.
“I’m… so… sorry, Kassio… I’m sorry… I’m sorry for hurting you. I’m sorry for not fighting for you. I’m sorry for fighting at you… I mean… with you… I mean, I’m just sorry. So sorry. I can’t… I can’t… I can’t change what I did… and you’re with… him…that other guy… gah! That other blasted guy who’s blasted name I can’t remember…”
“…and I don’t want to remember… I want you to forget him… Kass… he can’t love you… not like I did… do… still do… want you… I… uh… wait, what? You’re not? You mean, you’re not… you’re not… with him… like him… him that… gah! that guy?”
“No,” I shook my head and threw my arms around Gage’s neck. “I’m not,” I barely whispered and closed my eyes. Why did I forget you, my friend? Why didn’t I at least try… before I tried with Davis? Why was I so stupid and believed Davis and loved Davis and wanted Davis? Oh llamas! Do I want Gage? But he was with… with… with… her! How can I? How can we? What?
Suddenly, Gage jerked away from me and took off running toward the water. He ran down the beach.
“Gage!” I called after him. “What are you doing? Where are you going?”
I stumbled into a run, following him. He stopped right at the water’s edge about a half mile away from where we had started.
“Gage?” I asked tentatively as I approached.
He turned around and dropped his head into my shoulder, hitting my jaw in the process. I was so startled at first I didn’t know what to do Then I felt his tears falling silently down his cheeks, moistening my arm.
“I’m sorry too, Gage,” I whispered.
He finally stepped back after what felt like forever, staring into my eyes. I could see his desire, his longing, and his love for me. It frightened me.
“Hey!” I interjected aloud. “I have a great idea!”
“Let’s go swimming.”
“Yeah, why not?” I tilted my head to the side as I pulled off my sandals.
“But I don’t have a swim suit,” Gage protested.
“So?” I looked at him almost seductively. I was so not myself, but I didn’t really care. I pulled my dress up and over my head and yanked my hair out of my ponytail.
I swam a little ways from shore. Lifting my head in the moonlight, I let out a whoop of my own. This had to be what it felt like to be young and free. No worries about the consequences. No planning out every single step or word to say. Just embracing the moment.
As I turned around in the water, I looked at Gage, and it seemed like the stars were melting in his eyes. Nothing else mattered. Just that we were together here… on this night… in this moment… being young and free.
Chapter 31 Coming Soon!
- What will happen between Kass and Gage? Will they choose to be together or just stay friends?
- What about Kass and Davis? Will they reconcile?