I was on my third glass of punch and feeling woozy. I wasn’t sure if it was my anti anxiety meds kicking in or this stuff was spiked. At the moment, I didn’t care. Charlie was supposed to talk to a “few” people and then we were going to leave. But it’d been over an hour. He basically forgot about me.
I looked around, searching for my boyfriend. Nathan and Brooke were making X-rated eyes at each other. Wow. I thought that was reserved for Elara and Lord Bloodmoon. Well, if it was them, they’d already be doing it on the dance floor in front of everyone. So, I was thankful they were in tame-character-mode at the moment.
Case Addison was still chatting up the guy who played Tam.
And looking at that Tam dude’s face, I had to wonder if they were a thing.
I spied a guy I knew growing up. He was Archer Ellis-Crowley. My dad used to baby sit him and his twin sister before I was born. Archer would always pull my hair whenever he’d come over for one of my grandpa’s barbecues when we’d visit (because Grandpa and Grandma were bff’s with his fathers). Such an annoying brat. I’d heard he’d gotten his big break in acting when he tried out for a bit part in the ongoing psychological drama, No Stars Over Uptown. And since then he’d played in all sorts of things, landing the lead role in a new movie, The Good Doctor. I’d read he was dating Saylor Twift, too. The rags were all betting how long it was going to last.
Archer was sitting next to Micky Mirage and arguing with Saylor right now. Well, at least she was talking to her boyfriend even if it was a fight.
Craning my neck, I finally found Charlie. He was soooo busted. I mean, how long was he going to take? I get that Moono Bars was THE hottest singer, but it wasn’t like they were best buddies. I could see him talking a lot with Christian Romano of the Heffners–they were friends. But maybe Charlie was a bit starstruck and instead of running away like I did, he had to chat.
I sighed. Looked like I’d have to camp out here for a while.
Before I could drown my sorrows in fruit punch, I heard a squeaky, “Hey, beautiful.” Was that a chipmunk? Sure sounded like it.
Oh, God. It was an annoying anklebiter. What the hell? Did I have a sign over my head that said, “YO! Any kid under the age of twelve, please come and piss the hell out of me”? I wanted to order some child-be-gone spray or maybe an evil talisman to ward them off.
“What do you want?” I snapped.
“I merely came over to bid you a kind bonjour since you looked lonely,” the rugrat huffed. “And this is the gratitude I receive?”
A likely story. No kid ever wanted to do something nice for me. The few times I met up with one since I’d been dating Charlie, one threw spit wads at me, one chunked mud in my face, and one even kicked me because she said I “hurt James’ feelings”.
I glared. “Thanks. Now leave.”
The irritating urchin narrowed his eyes. “I have some business to discuss with you, Alexis Bianca Day.”
“Business? What the hell kind of business could you possibly have?”
Then he whipped off his sweater and shirt and wiggled like a one of those inflatable tubemen you see at used car lots. “Blargh! I’m a Flamer!”
“Oh. That explains it.” I reached for my drink. “Okay, let me have it. You hate me because I dared to date James, the god of the Heartthrobs. I’ve heard it all before. So, what do you want? My eye? My foot? My first born child? At this point, I don’t even care anymore. Have at it.”
Lurching his head back, he answered, “You mistake me, Miss Day. I believe you are making a grave mistake with your romantic endeavors.”
I lifted the side of my mouth. Couldn’t argue with him there. Where the hell WAS my boyfriend? “Heh. I’m listening.”
“My name is Prince Bana. You may have heard of me.”
I shook my head. “I don’t watch Simsolodeon Jr. Sorry.”
He sighed emphatically. “I’m one of the best bowlers on the hit reality tv show, STRIKE! But what people don’t know is that I’m also a part of The Society of Genius Flamers. As their club president, I’ve been tasked at finding you and giving you a proposition.
“You see, we’ve uncovered scads of footage from survelliance cameras, researched the many articles about your dealings with James, as well as interviewed tons sources close to the people close to the friends close to the relatives of the both of you. Therefore, we’ve uncovered startling evidence, detailing your history as the best friend of none other than James’ sister, Jenny.”
I arched an eyebrow. “And?”
“And…we know that Jenny and James are one and the same person. We also know that you two are in love with each other.”
Now I’d heard everything. Flamers were the weirdest freaky fandom on the planet. “Oh my God, kid. You’ve got to be kidding me. Can you go and massively annoy someone else because honestly, I really don’t feel like hearing any more of this crap. You don’t know shit.”
“Then tell me, Alexis, why James is on the other side of this room, dancing alone?”
He went on, “And when I was frolicking beside him earlier, he wore the same forlorn face as you are right now.
“The Society believes you two are denying what your innermost being knows to be true. Keeping yourselves away from each other will do nothing but damage your essence or what we in the group call, your SS or Sacred Self.”
I cocked my head. “Let me get this straight. You think I should dump Charlie and go out with James. Is that it?”
“Well…I wouldn’t use those crass terms, but in a nutshell…” he wiggled his fingers, “yes.”
If only it was that easy. My heart wanted Charlie. I loved him. But where was he? Would James leave me to rot on this barstool, swilling spiked punch and feeling all depressed?
I didn’t say anything for a while. I felt as if a blanket of sad feelings swept through me. “Thanks, kid, for the advice. I’ll keep it in mind.”
“Alexis?” he added. “If you need anything, just give me a call. I’m a licensed psychologist in couple and family relations. I also dabble in sex therapy.” He handed me his card. Then he nodded. “The Society believes in you to make our wonderboy happy. Good luck. ”
With that, the pint-sized prodigy jumped off the barstool, saluted me, then sauntered away.
I shook my head. “Kids. I’ll never get used to them.”
Slurping down my juice, I wished this night was over already.