“Oh my GOD, Kristie! Like the whole Dragon football team is going to be at this party. I’m sooooo freaking hyper I can’t stand it!” My friend, Piper James, was almost jumping out of her boots. She was in my sorority and had become my closest friend.
But she wasn’t Cheyenne. Even though she was a pre-law major like me and came from a prominent family, she was such a bubble head that it got a bit monotonous. She liked to copy off me whenever we studied and I practically wrote her senior level philosophy research paper.
But because of her, I passed my LSAT and had my pick of law schools to go to.
I walked into the dorm where the party was going on. I sighed. I really missed Cheyenne.
I was so happy I decided to SpaceTime her the other day.
I was so nervous before I hit her number. I mean, would she forgive me? What I did was honestly so shallow and mean.
But if I didn’t apologize and beg her to forgive me, I’d never see her again. I couldn’t let that happen. Sure I’d been mad she basically stole Zachary away from me. And although I’d told her that wasn’t the reason for me wanting a break from our friendship, my jealousy got the best of me. It’d happened like that almost my whole life with Cheyenne. Back at the acting camp when we’d first met Jack Rackham, I had a super crush on him, too!
Even though both of us didn’t know he was the real deal, I kind of had an inkling and a crush on “Jake”.
But he always sought Cheyenne out no matter where we were. And it was like she was the only person in the room.
It wasn’t lost on me so I gravitated toward his best friend, Hudson.
I knew Cheyenne was jealous of me spending so much time with him. But I couldn’t help myself. She always got the most popular guy and I got the sidekick.
In the end, everyone knew Jack Rackham was in love with her. Even though she couldn’t see it.
When Hudson filled me in that Jake really was THE Jack Rackham, it just stoked my jealousy even more. But I decided to not think about it.
Except it kept happening over and over.
Cheyenne would get all the lead parts in high school so I gave up my dream of acting and dancing. Cheyenne would turn the head of a guy I was too shy to even talk to. I hadn’t even told her I liked him so it was okay back then.
But with Zachary, I’d gushed about him all semester and I’d finally gotten to meet him at that party. He was flirting with me and I thought I was in heaven!
I knew I’d lost him to her once we started singing and then after I’d gone to the bathroom, I found them kissing in the cafeteria.
That was it! I was spitting nails. So tired of it. How could my best friend STEAL my crush? She knew I’d liked him.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed a break. Had to get away. When I couldn’t concentrate on my studies anymore I knew I had to split with her even though I sounded like a bitch.
And…I’d seen them on campus last semester. They looked so in love and by now, it was just stupid to stay away. I was over him and actually hoped the best for them.
I just wanted my best friend back.
Bracing myself for her to hit the end button, I was shocked when I saw her face. “Hello, Cheyenne. It’s me. Kristie.”
Instead of me seeing an angry face, Cheyenne actually smiled and waved. “Kristie! I’m so glad to see you. What’s going on? I hope everything is okay.”
“Everything’s fine…it’s just…I missed you. I wanted to…say I’m sorry. For everything.” I swallowed a lump that started to form in my throat.
My arms got tired and I flipped on my side. When she didn’t say anything, I added, “I hope you’ll forgive me.”
“Oh, Kristie…” She looked around, biting her lip. “I’m…not mad at you anymore. I just hoped I’d hear from you again. I mean, I’m hurt but…I knew you had your reasons. I honestly would have stayed away from Zachary if we still would have been friends. I feel so awful for what happened.”
Typical Cheyenne. She was sometimes too nice. I wanted her to shout at me. “But it wasn’t okay and I promise I’ll never do that again. If you steal my next crush, I won’t care. Chicks before dicks. Okay?”
She laughed then changed the subject. “Listen, Kristie! Some amazing things have been happening around here. My band just got a label and we’re going on a real tour. Can you believe that?”
Then she caught me up on her whirlwind life. I knew she’d left college to join BLITZED–Phoebe had told me but this was big news. I was so shocked, amazed and really happy for her!
“So, you and Pheebs need to come out before I go on tour, okay? God, I miss you both so much it hurts. It’s been hard being cooped up with a bunch of guys all the time. I gotta have some girl time.”
I giggled. It was just like we hadn’t had a falling out. And I missed her so much, I hadn’t realized it until we talked for hours, I hardly got any sleep that night.
But it was worth it.
I decided I’d stay for an hour at this party. I was so over college and couldn’t wait for law school. Then my life could really start.
I was crazy amazed at Cheyenne and what she was doing with hers. It seemed things always went her way. And that was okay. I’d grown a lot since last semester and looked at things differently. I was forging my own life, separate from hers. And just because it seemed like she was a firework that could drown out the lights of the stars in the sky, that didn’t mean I couldn’t be a sun in my own solar system apart from hers. That thought became so clear after we’d talked. I didn’t need to be jealous of her anymore. And that felt freeing.
I couldn’t wait until next weekend when Phoebe and I would visit her in Del Sol Valley.
“Come on, dude,” I said to one of my friends, Ryder Kirkland. “I really don’t want to be here. Why did you make me come?”
Ryder answered, “Because. This is a cool party and we’re seniors. Not ever going to get hot babes served up to you like this.”
“I don’t need ‘hot babes’. I already got one,” I countered.
He nudged me. “You’re not married yet. And besides, you need to let loose once in a while.”
“I see one girl who’s turning my head already,” one of my football friends, Malik Foley, added. He whistled. “See you, bros!”
I reluctantly followed Vance, Malik, and Ryder on the dance floor. Already, my friend, Dax was girating like he was on Dancing With the Sims. I shook my head. When I glanced up, I saw a girl winking at me. Oh God. People were already shitfaced.
Then I heard some black rock song erupt out of the speakers. It reminded me of Cheyenne’s band. BLITZED had driven a wedge between us so much that I wasn’t sure if we could survive it.
I walked up to the dj and she yelled over the loud noise, “I’m taking requests. Just put it on a piece of paper for me. Okay?”
I knew her–Samara Jenkins from my business administration class last year. “Hey, Samara, how’re you doing? Can you stop this toxic noise coming out of these speakers?”
She waved her arms. “Sorry, Zachary. I only play what’s requested. What would you like me to put on? I’ll play yours next. Okay?”
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Malik Foley was here. We’d kind of had a thing going several months ago, but neither of us wanted anything serious. And so we kind of drifted apart. But I’d love to talk to him again and catch up.
He looked a little lonely sitting next to a couple who were fighting.
He was one of the most handsome guys I’d ever seen. And funny.
I pumped the keg for more beer. I’d downed two cups and was already feeling a nice buzz. Wouldn’t hurt to have more. I hadn’t thought about Cheyenne for the past half hour. That felt good.
A girl who’d been fighting with her boyfriend came up to me and started flirting. Although flattered, I didn’t need any temptations. Sure, me and Cheyenne were long distance and things weren’t rosy but we were still together, hanging on.
I gave her a quick answer and left.
Samara played a cool song and I was vibing, swaying to the music.
I noticed Samara for the first time. Maybe it was the booze getting to me but…she was so freaking beautiful. I’d never saw her that way before.
She kind of reminded me of Cheyenne in a way. Okay, so she wasn’t a goddess like Cheyenne. No one could hold a candle to her.
I shook my head. I was such a dumbass going over the same shit in my head. This wasn’t going to be a night where I was mooning over Cheyenne. She was my girlfriend who I’d see in a few months. Tonight, I was going to let loose and have fun.
I danced to one of my favorite songs that Samara played for me.
Malik and I were playfully talking when one of his girlfriends came up to him all in a huff. He’d just asked me out and I was so over being just another number on his calendar. I didn’t want him as a serious boyfriend, but playing games like this wasn’t my style. Not anymore.
“Malik,” I said. “So…you’re taken. Is that it?”
He breathed out angrily. “Rosaly is NOT my girlfriend.”
She put her hands on her hips. “Then why’d you dance with me, huh?”
She stormed away.
Malik moved over and I sat next to him.
He said, “I’m serious. She’s just a girl I danced with when I got here. I didn’t even know her beforehand. I promise. S-She’s kind of crazy if you ask me.”
He looked so cute stammering like that.
“What do you mean we’re leaving? We just got here,” I cried. My buzz was at all time amazing and I didn’t want to go just yet.
Ryder knitted his eyebrows. “We’ve got another party to go to, dude. You know that.”
“Well, I don’t want to go. You dragged me to this one and it’s not even dark yet. Let’s stay a few more hours.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Who’re you hitting on? Anyone I know?”
“Why do I have to be hitting on someone just because I want to chill at this party? There’s some rocking tunes and good beer. That’s all.”
He shook his head and left. I was glad I’d convinced him.
Next, I noticed Cheyenne’s former friend, Kristie Barnes tickling Malik. God, I’d have to warn him about her. She was like this psycho girlfriend who’d attach and never let go. I only looked at her at that party so many months ago and she thought she could lay claim to me. What a nut job.
But he looked like he was swilling her koolaid. Nothing I could do about that, I guess. It was his own funeral.
Damn. I was all out of beer. And I wanted something a bit stronger. If Kristie was here, I’d never get rid of the Cheyenne thoughts. Liquor might drive them away.
As I made my way to the bar, I saw Vance’s judgemental face. I knew he wanted to jet out of this party. He needed to chill. I told him that with my face. He rolled his eyes.
And then I saw Samara, toiling away in that dj booth.
She looked so cool just bobbing to the beat of the music. She was in the zone. I could tell she really got into music.
Vance waved at me. “Come on, Zachary. It’s time to go. Party’s getting lame.” That was code that no girls wanted anything to do with him. Poor guy. He just came on too strong.
I laughed at him. “Alright, dude, keep your pants on. Just two more songs and we’ll go.”
Dax pulled out a bottle from under the cabinet and came over to me. “How about we drink a little from this baby before we go. We’ll take a suber to the next party.”
Sounded like a plan to me. I grabbed the bottle and took a huge swallow. The satisfying liquid burned all the way down.