So here's a character for y'all to hate!
In all honesty, I hope everyone hates Nettie. I wasn't planning on her being so nasty, it just happened that way. I'm sorry if she offends anyone; her views are opposite mine, so don't blame me! She's just a person made out of all of my pet peeves.
Don't get drunk, because you will most likely do something stupid. I had my first taste being the only sober one at a party this week, so I wanted to address that; plus, I needed something to happen during what was going to be a filler chapter. (Mama Sandra is done now).
Fair warning, there is an exceptional amount of swearing in this chapter. Nothing you haven't heard the Starkids say, but still. And jealousy. There is a fair amount of jealousy here.
I honestly believe the best moment in this is Meredith's 'Music kids' moment. I just love that part.
*I still don't own or know any people whose names you recognize. Obviously. Although I have met nearly all of them. (Happy Dance)
"Hi honey," said Mariana, already halfway to the door when I'd opened it. She took about half the bags I had been holding and set them on the table in front of the door. She kissed me softly, then turned and led the way so we were standing between the couch and the TV.
I glanced down at our hands, clasped after she'd grabbed mine. I smiled. This was right. Our hands fit together comfortably.
I scanned the Starkids in front of me – Jaime, Meredith, Denise, Julia, and Lauren – and found to my surprise that there was one I didn't recognize.
The one whose lap Lauren was sitting on.
My first reaction was: "What the fuck?"
My second reaction was: "Get the fuck off her lap, Lauren!"
My third reaction was: "…This is not my problem. She can do whatever the fuck she wants."
My fourth reaction was to tell all the previous ones to shut up and ignore the fact that Lauren was sitting on another girl's lap. That it wasn't my concern, that I had a girlfriend who loved me, and that I needed to say something hostess-like right now before the other girls – especially Mari – picked up that something was wrong.
"Um… hi," was what decided to come out of my mouth. I forced myself to look at Jaime instead. "How is everyone?"
"Be right back," Mari whispered in my ear, ducking into the kitchen for bowls.
"I'm good… are you okay?" Jaime asked, analyzing my face.
I shot a glance around the room, remembering my panic as I'd mounted the stairs. Nothing was laying around – now that I thought about it, there was nothing really embarrassing anyway.
"Um… yeah." Mariana saved me, coming back from the kitchen with bowls. I busied myself with opening bags of snack foods and separating them out, avoiding Lauren's gaze.
There was a pause. "Well, this has been sufficiently awkward," Meredith burst out. She reached into the bag at her feet, pulling out a set of bongos.
I inwardly rolled my eyes. Music kids.
She began with a random-sounding rhythm, eventually belting out, "He stole my heart and my cat – get me off this crazy ship called 'love'." She did a roll for us, and then yelled as though to a crowd, "Thank you, San Francisco!"
Mari looked at me, laughter in her eyes. "Um… why?" she asked.
Meredith shrugged. "Because I can. You write music?" she asked my girlfriend, who was already reaching for her guitar.
"Sometimes," she answered. "When the mood strikes."
"Where did that even come from, Mere? You have a boyfriend," Denise asked.
"How is old Lucan?" Julia added.
"Well it's not like I haven't ever been single before," Meredith replied. "And he's great. He's really, really great," she added, smiling.
"Well somebody's getting something!" Denise joked.
"What's it like being the only one of us with a steady boyfriend?" Jaime added.
"I have a boyfriend," the girl I didn't know spoke for the first time, and I was forced to look in her direction.
For some reason, Lauren was the only one who looked shocked by this information. I personally thought that that was something you should ask before climbing onto somebody's lap.
"You didn't tell me that." She shifted uncomfortably, making to get up before the girl's hands landed on her hips.
"I don't have to tell you everything," she said, more roughly than necessary. "I'm Nettie, by the way. Nice of y'all to introduce me to the lesbo." She looked around the room, her blonde hair perfectly curled and flowing in waves down her shoulders.
Mari and I shared a look. That was a pretty gutsy thing to say when she had a hot girl on her own lap.
"Sorry," Lauren murmured uncomfortably.
"Meredith started playing," Julia pointed out, cutting off Lauren's apology.
An apology Nettie didn't deserve, I might add.
Or maybe I was just being biased. She probably a decent person that made an untasteful joke, and I was just painting her aura black because that's what I wanted to see.
"Whatever. You're Freya?" she asked pointedly.
"I heard there's a pool in this apartment complex," she continued, leaning forward and staring at me. "How drunk do I have to get you girls before you'll dive in?"
"Um, well it's October, so…" Julia paused. "Is there even water in the pool?" she asked Mari and me.
"Yeah," my girlfriend answered unhelpfully. "It's supposed to be heated, so they keep it filled and filtered."
"Supposed to be?" Jaime cut in.
"Yeah… the heating element broke years ago and they haven't fixed it," I reminded them. I could not handle seeing this many girls in bathing suits, not matter how beautiful Mari looked in one. I didn't want her to know anything had happened.
At least not to find out this way. I'd have to come clean at some point – wouldn't it be better if she found out from me?
"So how drunk?" Nettie asked, producing several bottles of various types of alcohol from her bag.
I met Lauren's eyes and saw them flash with defiance. She grabbed one of the bottles from Nettie's hand, popped the cap, and downed half of it before Julia grabbed the bottle.
"Easy there, tiger," Nettie taunted Lauren, grinning when her face shifted to uncertainty. "You're sexy when you're drinking," I heard her whisper before Julia snapped, "Lauren!"
Her tentativeness gone, the tiny girl moved towards Nettie and said, in a raspy voice that sent chills down my spine, "Just blame it on the alcohol."
For a terrifying moment, I was sure she was going to kiss Nettie. Instead, she turned her head to the side and almost yelled, "C'mon! Is this girl's night or what?"
I saw Meredith, Jaime, Denise, and Mari loosen at her words. Julia and I made eye contact and made a silent bargain to remain sober.
In no time the stereo was blaring and everyone was dancing. I kept my back to the dance floor by staying with Mari, getting protection from the ferocity of her gaze. She hadn't drunk too much, just enough to get her saying things like "We should just put all the stupid assholes in the world on a spaceship and get rid of them. They'd be too dumb to figure out how to survive, but we wouldn't actually have to kill them," and "I'm not musically inclined enough to be flammable," and "Let's go on an improbable creature chase! …" and instantly serious: "… Don't swerve into the sky."
Okay, so maybe she was a little more drunk than I care to admit. It didn't matter – Julia and I would be driving everyone home, if anyone went home tonight. There was too much alcohol involved to imagine it ever ending.
At some point Mari and I got separated and I found myself dancing with Meredith. She managed to blast legit-sounding harmonies into my ear, even drunk. Jaime and Denise cut in, and I chanced a glance around the room.
Lauren and Nettie were wrapped around each other, mouths open but not singing, hips grinding together.
I fought to control the rage that bubbled up to the surface. I had no right to be jealous. I didn't have a relationship with Lauren – not at all. I'd only met her yesterday!
… And I had a girlfriend.
A girlfriend who at this moment re-entered the room from the bathroom, saw Lauren and Nettie, and walked over to them. She slid her hand in between their gyrating bodies. I heard her say, "Let's not do anything we wouldn't do sober."
When that had no impact, she changed tactics and yelled, "Let's go swimming!"
Every girl in the room erupted into cheers.
"I didn't bring a suit," Julia protested.
"Just go in your bra and underwear! It's the same thing!" Lauren shot back, already stripping the belt off her jeans.
I averted my eyes as Julia stopped her with a firm hand on Lauren's wrist. "You brought one," she reminded her.
"Then wear it," Lauren answered simply, and dragged a grinning Nettie after her to the door.
I sighed. "Grab your stuff, we can change down there. I'll make sure they don't wake up any neighbors who have managed to sleep through this," I told the rest of the room.
"I'll bring your suit," Mari called after me.
"And towels! Remember the towels," I answered, smiling back at her as I followed Lauren and Nettie, picking up the shoes they lost on their trip down the long hallway between units. I got worried when I turned the corner and found Lauren's shirt the fourth stair down.
I picked it up and bolted after them. The pool itself was fenced, only accessible with an apartment key, but they could hop the fence. Something about them being alone in the pool together irked me.
Thankfully they'd stopped at the gate in the darkness, Nettie starting to step over the fence and Lauren holding onto her arm, possibly to stop Nettie and possibly to hold herself up.
She's probably too drunk to swim, I thought as I passed the patio area and playground. But the pool wasn't that deep and I wasn't planning on letting either of them out of my sight for a second. Lauren was definitely the drunkest person at the party, and I was going to make sure she stayed safe and as sane as possible.
"Hang on a sec, I've got it," I called, running up to them. I could merely see their silhouettes, as the only lighting came from beneath the water in the pool. I fumbled with the key in the darkness on our side of the fence. It didn't help that the gate always stuck anyway.
Of course Lauren chose that moment to hug me from behind, still topless. Why, God? I asked as I finally managed to unlock it. Nettie ran in, but Lauren pulled herself closer to me, one hand sliding underneath my shirt.
"Your skin is so soft," she whispered in my ear. I could smell the alcohol on her breath as she rested her chin on my shoulder, warming me against the cold October air. Her hand didn't tickle this time, just brushed my belly gently, kindly.
I wished I could give in. I wished I could just stand here and enjoy this feeling, a girl so beautiful she made straight girls question their sexuality holding me, caressing me, whispering into my ear.
But I couldn't do that. Not with my tipsy, loveable girlfriend on the way, not with the tiny girl drunk, not with her shirt in my hand instead of covering her body. "Lauren, you need to let go now," I forced myself to say.
Her skin was so warm that I shivered when she pulled away, a frown on her gorgeous face. She walked around me and stared me in the eyes, looking like she was going to say something important.
"I wish you were drunk," was what came out. "I don't wanna wait like a good girl." She grabbed my hand before walking towards the pool where Nettie was waiting, letting my fingers slide through hers.
It took me a moment to realize she'd taken her shirt, which she dumped on the nearest lawn chair and kept walking.
I saw her hands go down to the front of her body in the ambient light from the pool, undoing the button of her jeans I guess. They slowly slid off her body, showing more and more of her underwear and smooth, muscular legs. My breath caught in my throat as she stepped completely out of them and into the water.
There could have been steam coming off her body in the cool night air and what must be frigid water. I couldn't take my eyes off her as she submerged herself until only her strong shoulders and the shape of her head were visible from the pool, lit only by the underwater lights. She looked like she was some sort of glowing water goddess, effortlessly beautiful and powerful. How did she manage that, even drunk?