With Jen's parents out of the picture, the party takes place at her house. There's plenty of booze, but Mitch shows up with ecstasy as well. Jen's friends say there's no harm in the drug, so they take the pills-with tragic results. After a trip to the emergency room, Jen's life is even worse than it was before.
Suicide seems a comforting idea to her. She was once the cheerful girl next door. Now, she wants nothing more than to end it all. Her therapist suggests hospitalization, and Jen wonders how she got here-how one mistake could ruin everything. She has a choice; she can continue down her dark path or turn her life around ... if it isn't too late.
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By Amira M.
iUniverse LLCCopyright © 2014 Amira M.
All rights reserved.
How It All Began
"Excuse me? A party at my house? I don't think so," I attempted to tell Mitch with an evil glare after he suggested it to everyone at the lunch table.
"There hasn't been a good house party in forever!" Vanessa yelled.
"That's such a good idea, Mitch," Alyssa said as she smiled at me with excitement.
"I can get my brother to pick up all the booze," Jeff added.
"Jen, what do you think? I promise we'll all stay and help clean up after," Robyn asked as everyone stared at me for a response.
I froze for a moment, trying to come up with some sort of excuse to not have the party without everyone hating me, but before I could even respond ...
"Guys, relax. Jen is going to have the party; she's the best," Mitch said as he wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me closer to him. He softly kissed my cheek and beamed at me with his perfect, bright-white smile and innocent green eyes, and I knew I was having a party.CHAPTER 2
My mother was in foster care all her life and never had any real family, and my father was an only child. Both his parents passed away the year I was born, so I've never really had any extended family. My parents met while they were in college and got married the year they graduated. My mom used to be a spa manager but quit when she got pregnant with me, and my dad was a dentist. I'm not sure exactly how much money they made, but we always lived a comfortable life. We went on nice family vacations and had a nice house, two cars—everything we needed. On top of that, both my father's parents had been lawyers and left a generous inheritance for him when they passed away, so money had never really been an issue in my family. I always wished for a sibling, but there was a complication after my birth, so my parents weren't able to have any more children.
A year ago, my parents were on their way home from their anniversary dinner and got into a terrible car accident. December 4 will forever be the day my life got turned upside down. They both died, and I was instantly an orphan; the court said that considering that I would be eighteen in less than a year at the time and that everything was left to me in their will and their mortgage was paid off, they would let me live independently as long as I met with a social worker every two weeks, continued high school, and continued therapy until I turned twenty-one.
The first week after the accident, I kept thinking it was some big joke; my dad had been a huge prankster. I was in complete denial. Every hour, I'd dial his cell phone number, just hoping he'd answer. After two weeks had passed, it really hit me, and I stopped eating and showering. I just slept all day every day. Then came the pity flowers and food from my parents' friends and coworkers, which made me even more depressed. Eventually, I was able to pull myself together and started attending school again. It's been a little over a year now, and even though I miss my parents every day, I've finally gotten back on track.
A few months after their deaths, I started dating Mitch, and although he can be a bit of an ass sometimes, he was really good at taking care of me. I hated being in my parents' house all alone, and since Mitch's family situation wasn't great, he moved in with me—well, not officially, but let's just say he slept there every night and all his stuff was there, though he refused to admit we "lived together." Boys.
One by one, my friends started staying over at my house, and it soon turned into a frat house. I didn't mind it so much because it was creepy to stay in that big house all alone, and having friends around all the time made me feel better. However, hosting eight to twelve friends who came over to drink wine coolers and smoke a joint is one thing, but a house party for the entire twelfth grade was something completely different.CHAPTER 3
Am I Invited?
The next two weeks at school were hell. I had every student in the twelfth grade approach me to ask if he or she could come to my party; some even tried bribing me! I had a bad feeling about this party getting way out of control. I was too nice to not invite someone, which resulted in me inviting everyone even though I knew it was a bad idea. I even had teachers pull me aside between classes and tell me that they were concerned about the rumors surrounding my so-called out-of-this-world party.
I saw Alyssa in the distance, and I knew I had to tell her—I had to tell her I wanted to cancel.
"Alyssa! Wait up!" I called out.
"Jen, hey, what's up?" she stuttered as she looked around.
"About this party ... I don't know if I want to go through with it. It's getting way out of hand; even teachers know about it!" I said.
She looked at me blankly. "Jen, you worry too much. Honestly, if you cancel now, everyone is going to hate you, especially Mitch." She smirked.
I knew she was right; everyone would hate me, but I had to stand up for myself.
"Alyssa, the entire school is planning on partying at my house. Do you really think things won't get out of control? We can't control three thousand people! Maybe more!" I yelled in frustration. People in the hallway turned to stare at us.
"Okay, whatever. Chill out; just uninvite some people. I don't know." She threw her hands up as her phone began playing some stupid Britney Spears ringtone. "Sweetie, just chill; everything is going to be fine, okay? This is my dealer; I've got to take this, okay? I'll text you later, bye." She waved as she shuffled around the corner.
I stood alone in the hallway for a moment before picking up my bag and walking out to the parking lot. It seemed I was in this alone. Apparently, all my friends were concerned with partying and popularity and not the fact that if something went wrong or it got out of hand, it would be me who paid the price. I looked up to see Mitch leaning on my car wearing his dark jeans and that blazer I bought him for his birthday and couldn't help but smile.
"Hey, babe, I was starting to think you'd gotten detention or something," he joked as he grabbed my hand and pulled me into his arms. The sensation of his arms around me made me feel instantly relaxed. I paused for a moment and just took in a deep breath of his cologne before finally letting go and responding.
"Sorry, I was talking to Alyssa about the party." I smiled and leaned in for a kiss, hoping to end the conversation at that.
The moment he let go of me, I felt the panic rush through my veins. I couldn't escape reality for more than a minute.
"I have a bit of a headache. Can you drive?" I asked as I shuffled through my bag to find my keys.
"Sure. Everything okay?" he asked as he tucked my hair behind my ear.
"Yes," I lied as I handed him the keys and got in the car.
* * *
I had the biggest headache, and I just knew something awful was going to happen at this party. It sounds so silly, but it was the same feeling in my stomach I had the day my parents died. I didn't want to be dramatic; I just wanted to cancel the party. I stood in the bathroom for a few minutes as my damp hair dripped water all over the floor just thinking about what to do. I quickly threw on my robe and decided to go down to the game room and tell Mitch.
"Mitch, are you down here?" I asked as I flicked on the light to the basement and slowly made my way down the stairs. The basement always creeped me out, so I let Mitch and his friends convert it into a man cave. They had a dinky old TV down there that they played Xbox on, a minifridge full of cheap beer, and some mattresses for them to sleep on. The walls were covered in graffiti, and I can only assume the smell was probably from empty Mr. Ching Chinese takeout containers tossed into a corner somewhere.
"Yeah, doll, we're down here." I heard a faint response.
We? I walked through the door to find Mitch and his three friends all lying around drinking beer and passing a joint. Travis was sitting two inches from the television as he played Call of Duty.
"Oh, hi, guys. I didn't know you were here," I said hinting toward Mitch.
"Sorry, love. The guys just passed by for a quick spliff," he said as he took a puff. Mitch always thought saying "spliff" made him sound cool after watching all the seasons of Skins one weekend. I evil-glared him for a moment before I suddenly became aware that I was wearing a thick housecoat that made me look fifty pounds larger and was bare-faced with dripping-wet, uncombed hair. I went upstairs to change into something more appropriate but then decided that talking to Mitch now with his friends to take his side would be difficult—not to mention he was probably so high he wouldn't even remember the conversation, so I decided to go to bed and talk to him in the morning.
I flicked through an old Cosmo magazine I'd already read a hundred times before dozing off into a deep sleep.CHAPTER 4
The Morning It All Ended
"Jen? Jen!" I opened my eyes to find Alyssa leaning over my bed shaking me to wake up.
"What?" I shouted in a fury, as I am not much of a morning person and all my friends know much better than to wake me up.
"I'm sorry to wake you, but it's an emergency!" she yelled as she plopped onto the bottom of my bed. I sat up, leaned against the headboard, and yawned, staring at her, urging her to continue.
"Well?" I asked after two minutes of silence.
"Jeffery cheated on me!" she finally gasped.
I sat there frozen until I actually comprehended what she had said. I knew Alyssa was always a bit dramatic; her idea of an emergency was someone wearing the same shirt she was, so I was shocked to hear her say something that would qualify as a good reason to wake me up.
"You're joking?" I asked, still a bit shocked.
"No!" she howled. "Katlyn told Marina who told Robyn that she saw Jeffery leaving the club with Diana!" She flung her arms up as she fell back onto my bed out of breath.
"Alyssa, you don't know anything for sure," I told her, trying to sound as calm and convincing as possible even though everyone knew Diana was a huge slut and Jeffery hardly seemed like a faithful boyfriend.
I wanted to yell at her and say, "I told you so," but she was already heartbroken. I didn't want to add to it. To recap, Jeffery was the quarterback for our high school's football team; he was more muscle than brain, but he was known to be a sweet-talker and had dated almost every girl on the cheerleading team before he started going out with Alyssa. He had slept with seventeen girls before her and had cheated on every one of them. Alyssa and I talked about that all the time, but she always said that he was different with her and he told her that he had slept with all those girls because he was secretly insecure and never connected with anyone the way he did with her. It would all have sounded very sweet, if I hadn't heard three other cheerleaders claim he had told them the same thing, but nonetheless, Alyssa was convinced they were soul mates.
"Jen, don't be an idiot. Why else would they be leaving the club together?" She shrugged as she sat up again.
"I don't know. Maybe she was drunk and he was driving her home, or maybe he was getting his cell to lend to her," I managed to whisper, hoping that would make it sound more convincing.
She laughed. "Good one. Or maybe she was just sucking him off because she's a total whore!" she screamed.
I find it fascinating how women always blame other women when there is cheating in a relationship; it's as if the man had nothing to do with it.
"All right, it looks bad. So what are you going to do?" I asked, hoping she had good enough sense to kick him to the curb.
"What do you mean?" she asked as she stood up from the bed.
"Uhh, are you going to break up with him?"
"No! I'm going to wait for him to confess. Just wait; he will!" She stomped her foot on the floor as if to make her point. I wanted to fight her on this, but I didn't have the energy, especially since I was going to be fighting Mitch on canceling the partying. I just shrugged and decided to stay out of it.
"Anyway, have you seen Mitch? I need to talk to him," I asked as I stretched out of bed, reaching for my housecoat, and opened the blinds.
"Yeah, everyone's downstairs," she said. She took a deep breath and left the room to join the others. Alyssa was incredible. I had never seen her cry once or even show any sign of sadness for longer than a few seconds.
I washed up, got dressed, and made my way downstairs to talk to Mitch.
"Good morning, or should I say afternoon?" Carlos joked as I glanced over at the clock to see it was 2:00 p.m. I smiled as I looked at all my friends sitting around my kitchen table eating what I can only assume was a week-old pizza and passing around a jar of peanut butter with a spoon.
"Morning, babe," Mitch said as he tapped the seat beside him for me to sit down.
I sat and watched them all as they ate and laughed about inside jokes and epic memories. This seemed like a fine moment to announce to everyone I would be canceling the party until—
"God, Friday cannot come soon enough. After this news, I need a good party, to get drunk, forget about Jeffery, and meet someone else," Alyssa added as she laid her head on the table. From that moment, they all began talking about the party and how awesome it would be, and I was right back to the beginning.CHAPTER 5
It's Happening ...
For the past two days, I had been avoiding party talk, gossip, and people. I was just keeping to myself in my room, hoping that the party would cancel itself.
"Jen?" Mitch walked into my room in his boxers. He was eating a soggy bowl of Cheerios.
"Yeah, babe?" I said from the walk-in closet where I was getting dressed, a little thrown by him since I hadn't seen much of him this week. Jeffery was in the doghouse, since Alyssa didn't follow through on her "I'm going to let him confess" plan for more than ten seconds, so all the guys had been locked away in the basement probably getting details on Diana. All the guys in school had wanted to sleep with her since eighth grade.
"Do you want to go out for dinner?" he asked as he walked into the closet and kissed my neck.
"What?" I asked, turning around to face him.
"You know, dinner, a date? We've hardly spent any time together," he joked as he leaned in to kiss me. I thought about it for a moment and decided a dinner alone together would be nice; after all, spending time with Mitch alone was rare, seeing as our friends were always over.
"Sure," I finally said as I started flipping through hangers, looking for something to wear. "It's funny; I thought living together, we'd spend more time together, but it's quite the opposite," I joked.
He smiled as he left the closet and headed toward the bathroom.
I finally found my black cocktail dress, which I paired with navy heels I'd been meaning to wear, and headed down to the kitchen.
"Jen, you look so hot! What's the occasion?" Robyn asked as she was making herself a grilled cheese sandwich.
"Dinner, duh!" Alyssa answered for me, which reminded me that I really should close the vent in my bedroom; it was practically an intercom. Alyssa was sitting at the kitchen table with all her textbooks laid out across it.
"You're doing homework?" I asked, shocked.
"No!" she yelled defensively. "I told Robyn there was a typo in one of my textbooks and configurationally is spelled configurasexually, but she doesn't believe me, so we bet five bucks on it; I'm just trying to remember which text it was in." She smirked as she flipped through the pages. That made more sense than Alyssa actually studying. Alyssa was a straight C-plus student and very pleased with herself, considering she'd never done homework in her life.
"Where are you going for dinner?" Robyn asked as she sliced her sandwich and sat up on the counter.
"I'm not sure. Mitch never said."
After twenty minutes of Alyssa talking about wanting to get paid for calling a publication company to report a typo, Mitch finally came into the kitchen.
"Jen, you look beautiful." He smiled sincerely as he stared at me.
"Thanks. Where are we going for dinner?" I asked.
"It's a surprise."
"Okay, go get out of here before the two of you make me throw up with your perfect, happy relationship!" Alyssa shouted and sipped her coffee.
Excerpted from Ecstasy by Amira M.. Copyright © 2014 Amira M.. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
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