We pulled up to a small brick building near the school. The whole weight of Pete’s beat up Monte Carlo jerked back and forth in reaction to him slamming on the breaks. I was a sitting in he back of the car for the first time since Pete got his license. I had automatic shotgun, no questions. None of his other buddy pushed the issue, not even C.J, who pushed everything. I was a girl and Pete’s best friend. My spot shotgun in his clunker was mine…until, that is apparently he gets a girlfriend. I suck in a frustrated breath.
The parking lot is crawling with people.
“Everyone from our school I think, El is here an. What a Scene.“ Pete said to me.
I think I even see some from mine,” Molly adds as she grabs Pete’s hand.
My stomach twists.
I wanted to be cool with it. I really, really did. After all, I’m the one that introduced them to Molly, awesome, and loud, and fearless and tall. She could b a model if she remotely interested I was the toll optic of her. Pete, good old Pete. He was going to meet someone eventually.
We piled of the car. The sound of inexperienced musicians playing a bad cover of something awful cut through the crowded parking lot. Different groups clustered around talking to one another.
“If it’s this crowded out here I can’t imagine what it’s like in there.” I said and kind of excited and welcomed the change. The day had dragged on. Saturdays usually did. My dad was somewhere that wasn’t home, and my stepmother was way too in my business. I hated how determined she was to make an influence on me. Fixing me was her obsession. She so focused on the outcome there was very little thought about tact. Everything Danielle did made things worse. I almost felt sorry for her.
I trailed behind Pete and Molly as we walked to the inside of the small venue. A favorite hangout by the whole left side of Route Seventeen.
“Why so mopey?” Pete asked, half smiling, half frowning. He tossed her arm around my shoulder and brought me close to them, close to him.
My stomach twisted.
“Long day,” I said. “Being Danielle’s hobby is exhausting.”
“Well, in a few months she’ll have the baby and leave you alone,” Pete said matter of factly.
I don’t if that was supposed to make me feel better or worse.
“Well cheer up Elliot. The whole night is ahead of us, and anything is possibly.” Molly’s hazel eyes were wide with excitement. She sloppily shoved her hand into a large floppy bag that she made from a quilt she bought at a thrift store. One of the many amazing things Molly could do. She made most of her own clothes and they were all multi-patterned and bright, totally and completely Molly. Her hand comes of the bag holding an iced tea bottle. “Here, this should help.” Molly shoves the bottle in my hand. “Half vodka,” she whispered.
I unscrew the cap and take a swig. A group of girls with tiny tops and low rise jeans were all clustered around a bright blue sports car of some kind. I couldn’t see it enough to know what kind it was. A guy stood next to the car not really paying attention as the girls talked to him. I had never seen him before. Not once. His hair was thick dark-brown curls—his eyes just almost as dark. Stumble covered the lower half of his face. A bigger guy tall and wide that I didn’t know personally, I knew he was Joe DeLucca. He was some wrestling champ that graduated last year before. I had heard he had gotten Janice Fitzpatrick pregnant. Joe walked up to the mystery guy with the nice car comfortably. They started talking. They seemed to be buddies.
I turned my attention to Pete and Molly, who weren’t at all paying attention to what I was, but, in fact, talking to one another with very close mouths. My brain sighed. Frustration with something itself can be frustrating. I had apparently found myself in a vicious cycle.
“I got you both. Pizza buyers were kind to me last night,” Pete said pulling out his superhero themed wallet.
“You rock, babe,” Molly cooed.
Molly grabbed my hand. “Your hair looks so cute,” Molly said for the fifth time that night. My reaction to Pete and Molly hooking up last week was to dye my hair black. I realize that may not have been the best or the healthiest response, but, it was the one I had.
Pete’s hands a twenty dollar bill to this tall, skinny girl with beautiful olive skin and butterflies tattooed on most that of it that was visible.
“Any good bands go on yet?” Pete asked her.
“Come on, you know better man. It’s not ten yet. No band worth anything comes on before ten,” she says this completely monotone, tears the tickets in half. She gives one half to Pete and casually drops the other hopelessly into a rescued coffee can with a slit down the center of the lid. “Raffle is good tonight. Lots of t-shirts.”
Pete turns back to me, “Hear that El, raffle is t-shirts.”
“Sweet,” I said and slid my hand into my hoodie pockets. “I’ve been needing a new haul.” I collected band t-shirts. I had since I was a kid. My mom was so heavily into music, and she made it her mission that so was I. My mom lit up when she was excited about something, so it was close to impossible to not get excited about whatever it was too. I collected my tees alongside her. My mom left me her collection of band tees when she passed away. Igo through stages of wearing them constantly and not being able to even look at them.
“We’ll stay to the end,” Molly said. Her curly blonde hair clung to her face in a way that seemed flawless and beautiful. “You might be in for one of those legendary nights,” she sang.
I took a swig of her crazy concussion. My throat tingles as it goes down. I close the bottle, feeling light-headed.
“Maybe,” I say.
We walk into a large auditorium-style room. A stage was in the middle. A small crowd swarmed around the stage. Refreshments and merch tables were in the back.
The poorly tuned electric guitar squealed in the amp. My ears rung.
Molly’s arms slid around Pete’s neck. She whispered something in his ear. A smile played with his freckled face. His blue eyes were so bright. My stomach flipped.
I hated how all the sudden Pete was all I could think about and it wasn’t about how he was my best friend. I was a toddler with a sharing problem.
Molly leans in front of him and gently pulls on my sleeve, “We’ll be right back.” She said this as she winked.
I nod. Of course, it’s not okay.
Pete mouths “Sorry” then they are gone.
I head to the back to check out the merch and my shoulder bump into someone. That was jarring.
I look up to see the same guy hanging out by the blue car. His eye were piercing up close.
“Sorry,” I say.
“It’s packed in here,” he says, his voice raspy.
“Yeah,” is the only thing I say.
He nods and continued his way, leaving me standing there in a trance.