Some Girls Are - Page 21


I go home and no one’s there .


I suffocate on no one being there. I can still feel Donnie’s hands on me. I get vodka from my dad’s liquor cabinet, because the lock doesn’t mean anything if you really want it, and I want it, I want to drink until I can breathe, but it doesn’t really work, so I go to Michael’s house because it’s after school and he should be there and I don’t want to be alone.


I leave with the bottle half empty, and it’s empty when I get to his place, and no one’s there either, and I’m so wasted, I don’t think I can actually walk back home. The last time I got this drunk, I was at one of Josh’s parties. All of Josh’s parties. The night would always end with Anna holding my hair while I puked, and I liked it because after what happened with Liz, it was the only time Anna felt like she was my best friend.


I sneak down the narrow path to the backyard. I curl up on the chaise lounge by the pool and stare up at the sky, and the sky looks so stupid from here.


“-been out here?”


This moment started without me. I can’t feel my fingers. I’m static. I blink. I’m still outside, sitting upright on the chaise lounge. I don’t remember sitting up. Michael’s in front of me, hands on my shoulders. “Regina, how long have you been out here?”


I don’t know. Thinking it isn’t the same as saying it, though, and I don’t have the energy to speak. I close my eyes and push him away. He presses his palm to my cheek, and his hand is so warm, I shiver.


“Cold,” he says.


And then another voice. “Is she all right?”


Not that voice. I open my eyes. I force myself to my feet and manage three unsteady steps away from both of them before I fall off the face of the planet. Michael’s there, his arm around my waist. I stare up at him. “You told her?”


“She told me she found you,” he says, like that’s a reason. It’s not. I push away from him, but he holds fast until I push at him again. He eases me back down on the chaise. I bury my face in my hands because I don’t want Liz to see me like this, even though it’s already too late. I can feel her looking at me.


“I bet you love this,” I mutter.


“I’m not Anna,” she says.


Ouch. I can’t believe how bad hearing that feels. And then I have this thought: We probably could’ve been friends, all three of us— like, real friends. I hate that thought.


“I’m sorry,” I say stupidly, and then sorry is on a loop. I can’t keep it from coming out of my mouth. “I’m sorry, Liz, I’m sorry—Michael— I’m so sorry—”


“It’s okay,” Michael says quickly. “Regina, it’s okay—”


I laugh. It’s the least funny thing in the world, but I laugh. “It’s not okay. It doesn’t mean anything. It’ll never…”


My stomach twists, awful, and I cover my mouth with my hand and lean forward, and there’s this horrible moment where I’m sure I’m going to puke, but it doesn’t happen. But I’m really tired. I try to curl back into the chair, to sleep, but Michael pulls me forward. “Hey, no, Regina, don’t do that—”


“You’ve got to get her inside,” Liz says.


“Yeah.”


He hooks my arm around his shoulder and gets me to my feet. I’m still mad at him about her, though, so I try

to push him away again, but it doesn’t work again. He guides me toward the house, and my feet struggle with straight lines. It’s not a fun kind of drunk. He swears under his breath while Liz waits for us at the door.


“Why would you—?” He stops, and redirects me for the umpteenth time. I lean into him more than I want to. “Never mind. Forget I asked.”


“I was alone,” I say, like that’s a reason.


He gives me this look I can’t decode, like sad but something else. He tightens his grip on me and gets me through the door, telling me when to step up, be careful. We bypass his kitchen—I want to look, but only glimpse it—and head for the living room. He pours me onto the couch while Liz hovers behind.


She could’ve left by now. Should have.


Some small part of her has to love this.


“Get her some water,” she tells Michael. “Get the phone, too. She’s probably not going anywhere tonight….Get her to leave a message on her answering machine for her parents while she can still sort of fake sober.”


That’s an Anna trick. We taught her that.


“Good thinking,” Michael says. He leaves. He leaves the room. He leaves me in the room alone with Liz. We stare at each other. I wish I could pass out so I could wake up so this nightmare would be over. Except it’s never really over.


“Your shirt’s torn. A little,” Liz says after a minute. “I didn’t want to say anything in front of Michael. He already freaked when I told him how I found you.” She pauses and she looks concerned, like she wants to know—make sure I’m okay. But then she says, “I’m not going to ask you about it.”


I swallow. “You had perfect timing, Liz….”


Silence.


“Good,” she finally replies, and she sounds like she means it, and it makes me feel so bad. A tear manages to escape me. I wipe it away quickly.


“When will you forgive me?” I blurt out. “I got what I deserved. I know I deserve it, everything, but I need to know if you forgive—”


“Like if you suffer enough I should forgive you?” she asks, totally unimpressed. I exhale shakily and stare at her feet. “That’s not how it works.”


“But I really, really—”


“Look, Regina, you’re really drunk right now,” she says, which is like Shut up. So I shut up and we wait for Michael to come back. I take in the room. It’s tidy but empty. The walls are bare and white, waiting for color. The furniture is sparse—a couch, a chair in the corner, a television. It’s like they never finished moving in. Like they started unpacking and stopped halfway and threw all the half-full boxes out.


Michael comes back with the water and the phone. Liz gives him my number. I can’t believe she still remembers it. He dials and holds the receiver up to my ear. I wait for the answering machine to pick up, and then I mumble something about being”…at Anna’s for the night see you tomorrow love you bye.”


I feel like such a loser.


“I’ll go,” Liz says because there’s nothing else here for her to see. She touches Michael’s shoulder. “I’ll see you.”


“Thanks,” he says.


Liz turns to me, and for a second I think she’s going to say something, but she doesn’t. She leaves. After a minute, the sound of the front door closing echoes through the house. I want to die.

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Michael holds up the glass of water. He kneels down and presses it into my hands, and it’s not that I can’t hold it; it’s that I don’t want to. He anticipates this, cradling the glass in his palm. He sets it on the floor and looks at me.


“Do you forgive me?” I ask. Because Liz is right: I’m really drunk right now, so this is the only time I’ll get away with just asking him.


“What?” But he heard me.


“You don’t,” I say. “Liz doesn’t forgive me and you don’t—”


Before he can say anything—before I can even finish what I’m saying—I bring my hands to his face and clumsily lean forward. My lips graze his cheek, and he brings his hands to my side, to steady me or to keep me from touching him, I don’t know. I bring my mouth to his lips and kiss him because…because his lips are nice.


And I’m starved for nice things.


He kisses me back.


“No—” He pulls away and his hand hits the water. It tips, spilling onto the carpet, and some kind of dull embarrassment plants itself in the middle of my brain so I’ll feel stupid about this when I sober up. I reach for him, fumble with the buttons of his shirt, and I almost get one undone when he says that dumb word again: “No.”


I bring my hands to his face again. I can touch him into this. But he grabs my hands and says, “Regina,” and that stops me for the last time.


And then he lets go of my hands.


“I don’t feel well,” I tell him.


He clears his throat. “Go to sleep. You’ll feel better when you wake up.” Right.


The house is quiet.


The scene in the closet with Donnie drifts in and out of my head. I let it in and then I force it back out. Repeat.


Rays of sunlight filter in through the minute gaps in the curtain drawn over the glass door leading to the pool. I push them aside and stare at the water. It’s still. It’s late morning and Michael’s not home or he’s still sleeping. I’m not sure and I don’t want to find out. I think the easiest way to pretend Monday never happened is to get as far away from it as possible.


I unlock the door and step outside. It’s cold. I can’t believe we were choking on heat not that long ago and now it’s cold out. I make my way around the house, down that stupid little path, and end up on the front lawn and—


Michael’s there, getting out of his car. He stops when he sees me, stays by the driver’s side, like he’s not sure how to proceed. My face gets hot. This moment where we cross paths the day after I sloppy-drunk-kiss him isn’t supposed to happen.


“Hey,” he says. “Hungover?”


“No.”


He’s impressed. “Lucky.”


“Sometimes I get a break.”


He stays where he is and I stay where I am. It’s a weird sort of face-off. I’m not hungover, but I feel fragmented; lost. Nobody wants me.


“I was alone, right?” I finally ask, pointing back to the house. “Where’s your dad? Did he…?”


Michael hesitates. “He works. But he was here. He comes home through the front door, refuels in the kitchen, goes to bed, wakes up, refuels in kitchen, and leaves through the front door. He didn’t even know you were here.”