The first week passes easily, without incident. Professor Skye doesn’t talk to me again. By the time the weekend rolls around I’m loaded down with so much homework I can’t even think straight. College is certainly nothing like high school and I’m still deciding if that’s a good or bad thing.
Sadie doesn’t talk to me much. She seems to have fallen into a small bout of depression; probably things to Jake’s constant calls and text. I’m proud of her for standing her ground, but I’m really starting to worry.
I spend Friday evening writing two essays and filling out four worksheets. I finished a little before five in the morning. Now I’ll have two days to do nothing. I can already feel a routine in the making.
I visit my family Saturday, only out of obligation. They live in the next town over. Even growing up they never withheld their distaste for me and I with them. I tell them all about my school, which they ignore. I’m relieved when it comes time to leave. We say our goodbyes and I make a mental note not to return until the holidays.
It’s dark by the time I get home and Sadie is sitting on the couch, watching a rerun of The Notebook on ABC Family and eating out of the giant tub of ice cream sitting on her lap.
“Hey,” I say as I kick off my shoes in the doorway. She looks awful.
“Hi,” she replies miserably. I note she’s using a wooden spoon to eat the ice cream- time to do the dishes.
Her phone tings and she ignores it.
I glanced at the TV and see the movie is at the part where Noah and Alie are forced breakup.
I jerk the remote away and change the channel to MTV. “Why are you watching that hideousness?”
Sadie sniffles. “Alie loved Noah so much…”
“Enough!” Geez. I sound bossy, even to my own ears. Sadie glances up at me with big, tear stained eyes and I continue. “We’re going out to eat. Get dressed. No wait- first…” A smile breaks out across my face and I’m sure I resemble the chesire cat.
Sadie giggles into her palm. “Dude, where did you even find this?” She giggles again, then hiccups.
“We live in a college apartment complex,” I reply, squinting at her. My eyes can’t decide what to focus on; her face across from me or the blue smoke floating lazily around. It’s like trying to look through a microscope someone keeps focusing and refocusing.
“This was such a great idea,” Sadie says. ” I wish I had thought of it. I don’t think we’ve done this since sophomore year.”
She’s right. God, I hope I can still drive like this.
“You know what I don’t get,” Sadie says. She readjusts herself on the couch, pulling her legs up under her butt. “Why do men think it’s okay to go screw a random whore when they have a nice, respectable pussy waiting for them at home? And do the random whores even feel bad about it? Do they know what it’s like to be waiting at home while..?” Her dopey, marijuana induced smile fades.
Crap. Too deep! Too deep!
“I’m thinking Denny’s for dinner.” I reply, pretending not to hear her. The truth is, I don’t know the answers to questions and I really don’t want to see her cry again.
Avoiding uncomfortable situations is my specialty, thanks to the life that I grew up in.
“I could definitely go for a diner burger.” My subject change works.
I forgot how amazing Denny’s is; or, I should say, how amazing it is after you’ve smoked three bowls.
“Do you think – I mean, why do we need air to survive? I mean really think about it. Why are we made the way we are?” There are endless possibilities.
God, I’m so stoned. And I really have to pee.
Sadie is too busy munching her burger to pay attention to me.
By the time I return, Sadie has finished her plate and is scrolling absently through her phone. She looks up when I sit down and suddenly a big smile spreads across her cheeks. “Hey,” she says.
I regard her carefully. I’ve seen that smile before. “Hi,” I reply.
“You wanna do something fun?”
This is, by far, one of the stupidest things we have ever done.
” I thought you said the strippers were dudes.” I gap as a half naked lady, carrying a tray of drinks, struts by us.
“The place is called Gents! I thought it meant ‘Gents’ as in dudes. Like male strippers!”
“Gents as in Gentleman’s Club! Sadie! Omigod, we have to get out of here!”
The low lighting and fog machine make it that much more difficult to locate the exit. Plus, I’m still high as balls. The smell of sex and sweat hangings the air, making it hard to even think straight. Everyone seems to be touching everyone… It’s too crowded. I feel the claustrophobia creeping up on me, raising the hair on the back of my neck.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” I groan, but when I look over Sadie seems to have disappeared among the crowd of perverted, sweaty men.
I’m all alone… I feel like I can’t breathe. A loud buzzing rings in my ears, drowning out the Tove Lo blaring over the speakers, and I get the feeling that this is what fainting feels like.
Wait- is that? NO.
“Lena!” He sounds more urgent when I don’t reply the first time.
I force myself to look up.
Professor Skye isn’t wearing his usual teaching a tire. Instead he has on casual jeans and a grey t-shirt. And right now, he looks concerned and almost angry. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” I grumble, trying weakly to push away the hand that’s studying me. God, this is humiliating.
“Don’t tell me you came here alone,” he growls.
I shake my head and wince when the room spins. “I came with a friend.” Why does he care?
“Well, where is he? Surely your friend wouldn’t be stupid enough to leave you alone in a place like this?”
“She,” I correct him, ” probably ran off to find the bathroom or something.” Where the hell is Sadie?
Hold on…. What is my professor doing here?
“Lena, are you high on drugs?”
Shit. Fuck. “No.” My lie is obvious.
“How did you get here?” He demands.
“Under the influence?”
Wow. He sounds mad. Oh, God. Am I going to get kicked out of school? My stomach twists at the idea of losing my scholarship. That, plus the mega claustrophobia attack, and I spill my dinner up all over the floor of the club.
“Jesus Christ!” Professor Skye barely jumps out of the way in time to avoid being splashed. He quickly reaches forward and pulls my hair back from my face. “Well, go get help!” He shouts at someone from over his shoulder.
The ringing is back louder than ever. “Sorry,” I groan.
“I’m taking you home.” It isn’t a question.
“But my friend-“
As if on cue the crowd parts, probably to get away from the girl who just vomited everywhere, and I see Sadie. She sitting on Jake lap, her lips pressed against his.
“It seems she has other arrangements.”
I glanced at him and he staring down at me, his lips pressed into a tight line. I can’t help the crashing wave of betrayal. She brought me here under false pretenses and then ditched me to make out with her ex.
“Just take me home,” I whisper.