The party wore on like a bad dream. All I could think about was how Cheyenne and I could never work out no matter how hard we tried. I missed her so much. Why did that asshole Mateo have to ask her to join their fucking band in the first place? If he hadn’t done that, she’d be here with me now.
“Screw it,” I mumbled and downed the whole bottle. I’d drown her memory out tonight.
Beer empty, I wandered over to the bar and ordered another one. My head was spinning. How long had I been here?
Then I felt a hand on my shoulder. “Come on, Zachary. I think you’ve had enough.”
I was really going to quit smoking but whenever I had a few drinks, the nicotine cravings knawed at me. Unfortunately, I caved when Malik offered his pack.
“So…the Del Sol Valley Llamas actually drafted you? Are they that hard up?” I teased Malik. He was a top wide receiver and a big reason the Lobsters did so well this year. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he had Zachary throwing to him.
He blew out his drag. “Yeah. Moving to Del Sol Valley as soon as the semester’s over. And you? Going to that snooty ivy league law school?”
I smirked. “You know it. Slandford Law School isn’t too far from Del Sol Valley, you know.” Was I being too obvious?
He chuckled and winked at me.
Oh who was I kidding? I didn’t need an overly handsome, overly smug boy to chase after while I was taking the hardest classes of my life. The future stress of the following year needled me, and I inhaled the soothing smoke.
Just then, I heard Zachary’s slurred voice, breaking me out of my thoughts.
“I don’ wanna sleep it off. I’m okay. Honessst…” he mumbled, clutching his face.
Oh, God. Zachary was plowed. And it was only 6:30 in the evening. The night was young.
He took this girl by the hand and said, “Stay with me, baby. I’m tired of being alone all the time.”
And before I could blink, Zachary was sucking this girl’s face right in front of everyone.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I breathed.
Poor Cheyenne. Zachary Hawthorne was a first class loser.
I didn’t realize how much I’d missed my girlfriends until they all came this weekend.
We had such a blast!
We enjoyed dinner and drinks at my favorite wine bar.
Then played a ton of video games.
And to top off the night, we took goofy pictures so I would remember it forever.
I couldn’t believe how my life was working out so well right now. I had the best besties and the best boyfriend plus my career seemed to be in full jet mode. It was such a rush!
“Say cheese,” Akia said as we tried to mimic goofy K-pop poses.
Earlier, we’d gotten into a pillow fight! I hadn’t had this much fun since highschool.
Sometimes it was okay to act like you were young again.
Because when would we be able to meet like this in the future? I didn’t know. We kind of were at a crossroads. Kristie was going off to law school. Akia was already doing her student teaching and moving away. Phoebe had an internship in Evergreen Harbor and my brother got a job with a design studio there as well. He and Pheebs were going to officially move in together. We just…were going our separate ways.
The biggest thrill was having my very best friend with me though.
Kristie and I connected unlike any other friend I’d ever had.
We just “got” each other. I was happy she’d be only a city away from my home base here in Del Sol Valley and I’d hoped the law firm that hired her would be local. But one thing was for sure…we’d always be friends. And that felt comforting after what had happened last fall.
So after I’d said goodbye to Phoebe and Akia, Kristie told me she needed to talk with me. Alone. That put jitters in my stomach.
After we both poured ourselves some much needed coffee, I asked, “So, Kristie…what’s up?”
She sighed then said, “I know I haven’t been a good friend to you this year and I’m so sorry for it. You know that don’t you?”
I nodded, not liking the tone of her voice.
She twirled her hands over the table nervously and sighed, not looking at me. “I…wasn’t going to do this but I’ve been thinking about it all week and well…if I were in your shoes, I’d want you to tell me…so that’s where I am with things.”
My mind was spinning. What kind of horrific thing was she going to tell me? “God, Kristie, what is it? Did I do something wrong again? If I did, honest, I didn’t mean to.”
She shook her head. “No, Cheyenne. Of course YOU didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just that…” She waved her arm. “I saw Zachary kissing a girl at a party last week and then I heard he slept with her. I’m so sorry.”
That news slammed me. I covered my mouth thinking about Zachary with someone else.
Blinking back tears, I countered, “But are you sure, Kristie? I mean…he’s been so normal with me all week. Maybe you confused him with someone else.”
She winced. “He was two feet away from me on a couch making out with a girl. And they went off together up to her dorm. You know the rest, Cheyenne.”
Oh God. Oh God. Yes, I knew the rest because I’d experienced the rest.
How many girls had he slept with since we got together?
I was so stupid.
I knew who he was when I’d slept with him the first time. Why did I trust him?
Kristie added, “Cheyenne, if it makes you feel any better, he was drunk off his ass, so maybe he didn’t realize what he was doing?”
I shook my head. “That only makes it worse, Kristie. Don’t you get it? He probably had been cheating on me the whole time. I’ve been such an idiot.”