So maybe I should have expected the weird looks that I got from the other guys and girls at the party. I mean, I'm just some stranger that walked into their private party out of a cornfield and waded my way through the fog to randomly say hi out of nowhere. I get it. But despite my shaky legs and sudden drop in body temperature...I didn't want to let them see me being nervous.
Confidence. That's the biggest part, right? So...yeah. I'm going to be confident.
The music was still playing in the background, but everyone that caught sight of me fell silent. Then, one boy kind of snarley'd up his upper lip and asked, "Ummm...do we know you, kid?"
"Oh." I said, trying to keep my voice from trembling. "I don't think so."
Some other boy grinned, "Who invited the fetus?"
The main boy asked, "Yeah, what are you doing here, fetus?"
Ok...so this isn't going too well so far. But I just smiled and said, "I came out here to party! Am I right? Heh..." I looked around at the faces around me, but they didn't seem to want to give me any support on the idea.
"Party? Hahaha, is this tiny twerp kidding us, or what?" The older boy said. "What are you, like TEN?"
I attempted to keep up a brave front, but I could feel my heart being broken in half while standing there in front of the others. There's no stopping that emotional bee sting in the center of your heart when you get totally brushed off and dismissed for being a few years younger than the other people surrounding you. I'd imagine it's the same treatment they'd give people for being a few years older than the people at the party. All I wanted to do was come out here and have some fun like everybody else. There's no reason to insult me and make me feel bad for being born in the wrong year.
I saw a few smiles from the other guys and I started paying more attention to deafening silence that my unwanted presence had brought to the party. Every insecurity that I had feared and tried to push aside, using 'my brain playing games with me' as an excuse, was coming to life. I'm not a BABY. I'm not a 'fetus'. I just wanted to come out here and maybe have a good time just like everybody else. What's wrong with being thirteen? These few boys didn't even know me! They took one look at my face and my age and decided to insult me. Why? That's so not fair.
I think one of the girls to the right of me must have seen the hurt in my expression, because she spoke up and said, "Lay off the kid, Jason. What's wrong with you?"
Another girl agreed with her, and I was SO glad! Because...well...I hate to admit it, but I was already getting a lump in the back my throat. You don't know what it's like to have someone look at you and just instantly 'dismiss' you as though they're so much better...just because I'm 13. It's not like I'm a toddler.
But...I felt bad, because I could almost feel actual tears welling up in my eyes from the rejection. I would have been SO humiliated if I was forced to run away crying like some kind of a boy brat.
That's when one of the other boys at the party spoke up and said, "Oh heyyyy...wait a minute...I know you. I know this kid!" I think I was just as surprised as everybody else to hear that. "Yeah! The little fucker says hello to me in the hallway all the time! Preston, right?"
I hope my gasp wasn't heard by the others. I straightened up, lifted my head, shoulders back...this is it. Don't screw this up! "Yeah! Preston Miles!" I said, feeling my heartbeat speeding up to a pace that made it a bit hard to breathe. Can they see my body trembling? Geez! I need to chill.
"Oh yeah! He talks to me too!" Said another boy from the background somewhere. "This is the home schooled kid! Remember? He got dropped off into classes not long ago. Six weeks maybe, give or take. Am I right?"
He remembers me! Oh wow! Yay! My book knowledge worked! "YEAH!!!" Oops...too enthusiastic! Pull it back a bit, Prez. "Yeah. Almost two months ago. Thought I'd try it out. No big deal."
"You were home schooled?" Asked one of the prettiest girls at the whole party. Whoah...I had to put my hand over my heart and hold back an emergency swoon as I tried to answer her.
"Uh huh..." I said, breathlessly.
"Well, what are you doing here, home schooled kid?" Jason seemed determined to discredit and get rid of me. Probably from some recently triggered alpha male need to be the center of attention at all times. But as I looked around at the rest of the students at the party, more and more people seemed to be totally cool with me showing up. They were totally on my side, and that gave me an adrenaline rush like you wouldn't believe!
I wasn't sure what to say to him, so I just said, "I wanna hang with you guys tonight." I was scared, sure, but I smiled anyway. "That's the whole point, right? To have some fun?"
Some other guy asked me, "How the fuck did you even get out here, little man?"
I simply said, "I ran."
His eyes opened wide. "You WHAT? You fuckin' ran here? Like...all the way from Valley Oaks?" I couldn't tell if he was going to think that was pretty cool or really stupid. But after a brief pause and another sip from his red disposable cup, he turned to everyone else and said, "That's pretty lit, you guys! Hehehe! He ran here all the way from school! Shit, I say we let him party!"
Ugh...there goes that damn emotional lump of boy tear mushiness welling up in my insides again. They want me to stay? They like me enough to want me to stay! The more I looked around, the more I heard signs of approval from the party around me. I nearly fainted from the feelings rushing through my body at that moment.
Maybe it's no big deal to anybody else. Maybe they see this kind of acceptance as being normal and average. But to me? This was a whole new level of life to me! This was like...being granted access to the VIP section of the most exclusive club in town. I've never been more proud of myself. Omigod...I can't believe this is really happening!
One of the girls smiled at me and said, "Did you really 'run' all the way here? That's a long way."
With a deep blush, I told her, "Well...most of the way. I had to stop once or twice to catch my breath, so..."
"Once or twice? Wow...that's still a lot of running."
Trying to be cool, I said, "Well, maybe some parties are worth it."
Another girl said, "Oh wow! Come on, you guys. He is utterly ADORABLE! I say Preston stays!" And other people agreed. They actually cheered for me, raising their cups and calling my name. Oh my sweetness, it WORKED! It really worked! Gah! What now??? Does this mean that I have new friends now? Was it really this easy?
Jason finally rolled his eyes and groaned, "Whatever. Just make sure he doesn't rat us out next week when we go back to classes. And if his mommy and daddy show up to drag him back home...we don't even know this pipsqueak!" I don't think Jason was very 'Team Preston', but after getting some positive comments from some really cute girls...I was willing to take that as a small sip of hater-ade that I can easily deal with. I mean, can't be friends with everybody, right? Just the SEXY people! Hehehe!
So that was it. I started partying with the other people there, and believe it or not, they actually talked to me. The more they talked, the more confident I got. And the more confident I got, the more they wanted to talk to me. I even made the girls LAUGH! A LOT! I wasn't even trying to do it. It's like they thought everything I said was cute and hilarious, and I could do no wrong in their eyes. Pretty soon, there were so many girls paying ME attention, that I think the other guys at the party started to get jealous. I'm sure of it.
"So what is being home schooled like? It must be a pretty sweet deal, right? Get to stay home all day, no bullshit teachers, no bullshit from other kids..." One girl asked me. Wow, she was super beautiful too. I'm not really used to talking to pretty girls like this, but I'll be damned if I let THEM know that!
"Ummm...yeah." I said, but refusing to stop there. "Well, I mean...sometimes! Like, I never get to come out like this and have fun like I am tonight."
"Awwww, omigod. Never?"
"It's not a bad thing. Swearsies." I grinned. "It's like...I get to learn things at my own pace. I don't have to hurry up and catch up to the rest of the class, and I don't have to slow down and wait for the rest of the class to catch up to me. I can just be me instead of being treated like a lone member of a herd of cattle, you know?" Then, not to really brag, I said, "I'm actually a graduated Sophomore already if I had to go by my own test scores."
She smiled. "Well, look at you, Poindexter! Way to be better than average!" She likes me. I can feel it in my heart. I could hardly sit still. She's got to be at least 16 years old. Can I make out with her? Oh man, she's so pretty! I spit out my gum. I didn't want my breath to get stale.
"Well...all boys can't be lumped into one category. I think it would be cool if we were all allowed the chance to be special. You know...when we're ready to be. Instead of having to wait for the rest of the class all the time."
Just then, as my blush was reaching its full blossom, I heard some more rustling in the cornfield behind us. It was far enough away where I didn't feel any need to worry about it or anything. I turned to look over my shoulder, and I think I saw some of the stalks swaying and shaking in a couple of different places at once. It almost looked like half the cornfield was coming alive. Were there COWS out there or something? Do cows walk through cornfields? I don't know...I'm not a farmer. I guess cows can walk wherever they dang well please.
I stared closer at what was going on out there, and then I saw an older boy and what I assumed was his girlfriend step out from the field and the fog. He had two cases of beer, one in each hand, and everybody cheered once they saw his face. He had two handfuls of alcohol and a backpack that probably had more in it. He shouted, "This must be the place for all the COOL people! I know, because I feel right at home! Ooh yeah!" Everybody was so happy to see him...um...whoever he was. But that was a totally cool entrance! I should have thought of that! Like, I don't know what it was tht made it so special...it was just cool. It worked. I'm going to have to remember that one.
Everybody was giving him high fives and hugs and stuff, and he pulled out all of these bottles and put them on the table next to us. The other kids flocked over to the table immediately, and this boy came over to bring the pretty girl that was talking to me a little bottle of ice cold fruity alcohol stuff that I had never seen before. Then again, I've never seen much of any alchy sodas before, so it's not like I should expect to recognize 'em when I see 'em.
The girl said, "What took you so long, Brian? I was starting to think you weren't gonna show up."
"It's the COPS, man! They're all over the place. Like an annoying swarm of bees! Plus a lot of places are closing up early tonight. It's hard enough trying to grab some devil liquid without all this 'extra' going on. Fake ID or not." He said.
She's like, "Omigod, we saw sirens and lights too when we were trying to get here. What is that about?"
"Fuck if I know. There are emergency broadcasts on almost every channel. It's crazy! It's like some horror movie shit is going on. Everybody's all riled up over nothing."
"They put the broadcasts on TV?" The girl asked. "I thought that was just a joke or something."
"It probably is. It's bullshit. I think we'd know if a zombie apocalypse just broke out all of a sudden!"
I said, "A zombie apocalypse? That's what they said it was?"
"Not in those exact words, but they're making all these claims that there's a virus going around and warning people to stay inside...blah blah blah...it's freaky, man." It was at that moment that the boy stepped closer and took a really good look at me, like, "Whoah. Dude...you are like, really really tiny. Are you sure you're even supposed to be out here."
Defiant, I said, "I came out here to jam just like you did."
He smiled and put his hands up. "Ok, ok, little guy! You won't get any friction from me. You just caught me off guard." Then he grabbed me by the shoulder and said, "Let's get you something sinful to drink, bro."
Forcing my way past an uncomfortable pause, I asked, "Really? You mean, like...alcohol?"
He grinned and said, "It's not a party until you get your lips wet!" Then he narrowed his eyes and said, "You're not a COP, are ya?" I seriously shook my head with my eyes wide. "Hahaha! I'm just yanking your chain, bro! Come on! Let's get you thoroughly initiated, 'Pint Size'!"
I wasn't quite sure whether or not I was ready to drown myself in that stuff tonight, but...I mean, if I'm going to get the whole party experience, I might as well go all the way. Right? This is the life experience that I've been looking for all along, right? So when Brian held out his hand, I took it and let him abruptly yank me up to my feet. He started pulling me towards the drink table, but...remembering my manners...I told the beauty that I was talking to, "Ummm...I think I'm going to drink alcohol now. Do you...um....want me to bring you something back, or...?"
"Awwwwwwww, you're so SWEET! I could just eat you up!" She said, making me squirm even more than I was initially. "You go get yourself taken care of, Preston Miles, and then come back over here so you can sit right next to me, ok? I don't need anything. I don't know if I'd trust myself around a cutie like you if I drank too much." Was she was kidding? Ummmm, I think she was kiddin' around, but it gave me a mega rush anyways. I don't think my body can tell the difference.
I was barely able to give her a super awkward wink before I was pulled away from her. I need to get back to that spot soon! That was like...my way into something sexy! I'm sure of it!
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