Maggie hit the alarm clock and rolled over in bed while cursing its existence. She didnâ€™t want to get out of bed today and she didnâ€™t want to go to class. She looked over at the clock. 9:32. Most people wouldnâ€™t consider that early, but Maggie gave it the finger anyway as she all but fell out of bed. In just her black lace bikini panties and a black spaghetti strap tank top she walked to the bathroom to shower and get ready.
Ten minutes later she was out of the shower and, wearing a towel around her body, started on her hair and makeup. She noticed that her blond roots were showing again under the do-it-yourself Clairol black-colored hair dye. She wondered what color to do next: neonÂ yellow, purple, electric blue?
She spiked her short hair quickly and went about painting her lips a deep burgundy and darkening her eyes with more eyeliner than most people wore in a year. She checked to make sure her face color blended into her neck without an obvious line.
She walked back into her room and pulled out a crimson thong and matching bra from her dresser and threw them on quickly. She fought with her fishnet nylons until they were on right and covered them with a black leather mini skirt. She looked around her room until she found her mesh shirt on a worn green Lazy Boy in the corner under a Godsmack poster. She grabbed the shirt and tugged it on before adding her Celtic cross necklace and her giant pentacleâ€”not that she was pagan, she just liked the stares she got and the stupid questions like â€˜so does that mean youâ€™re Jewish?â€™ and â€˜do you worship the devil?â€™ She grabbed her fingerless gloves and stepped into her knee-high, patent leather bitch boots before grabbing her book bag and some Pop Tarts and heading out for her car.
At noon Maggie met Trish at Burger King for lunch, like they always did on Tuesdays and Thursdays between classes. Trish too was dressed in black with strongly outlined eyes. Her blond hair was a clever mess of braids, twists and straight, yet unbrushed hair.
â€œI hope you donâ€™t mind, but Amber and Alex are here too,â€ Trish said as they waited in line to order. â€œThey decided to skip psych today.â€
â€œCool,â€ Maggie replied. She liked Amber, she was new to the group and really quiet, but a good kid, but she basically hung around with them because she was dating Trish. But Maggie really wanted Alex and knew she had to get him alone soon while he was between girlfriends or sheâ€™d have to wait out his next relationship. She ordered a Veggie BK Broilerâ€”not that she was a vegetarian, but because she knew that was the only burger they didnâ€™t make ahead of time what with it not being a big seller and allâ€”a medium fry and a water.
She and Trish stood at the end of the counter waiting for their orders to come up.
â€œSo, you gunna talk to Alex?â€ Trish asked.
â€œYeah, but not here,â€ she replied.
â€œThereâ€™s a party Friday night at Danâ€™s place. Iâ€™ll make sure heâ€™s there if I have to drag him myself,â€ Trish said. â€œOr you could come over once in a while and we could study our chemistry together,â€ she added with a smile. She and Alex were roommates. Alex always said it was because he liked a girl that brought home other girls to spend the night, but she knew it was because they had been best friends since grade school and he felt a bit brotherly towards her.
Maggie smiled. â€œIâ€™m only trying to help you out here,â€ Trish said. â€œIâ€™m just saying Iâ€™m the only one in my apartment making a girl moan at night these days.â€
â€œYouâ€™re sick,â€ Maggie teased, an amused look on her face as the cashier put their trays in front of them, a dumbfounded look on her face.
â€œYup, Iâ€™m a lesbian, a big flaming dyke,â€ Trish said to the girl. â€œI like girls. So, you seeing anyone?â€
The girlâ€™s face turned pink and she slowly backed away from the counter. In a panicked voice she choked, â€œHave a nice day. Enjoy your lunch,â€ before running back to the safety of the cash register and waiting customers. Maggie and Trish laughed as they walked away.
â€œI think I know her,â€ Maggie said as they headed toward the soda machine. â€œI think sheâ€™s in my Medieval lit. class. She always carries one of those pink sorority bitch bags and talks on her cell phone in that annoying walkie talkie mode.â€
â€œGod, I hate that,â€ Trish said
â€œI know, and all she does is talk about clothes and guys,â€ Maggie added. â€œSheâ€™s so superficial.â€
They filled the over-sized paper cups and went to the back of the sitting area where Alex and Amber were already sitting, half done with their lunch.
â€œHey, sexy,â€ Trish greeted Amber.
Amberâ€™s face reddened slightly in embarrassment, but without missing a beat, Alex said, â€œHey yourself.â€
â€œOh shut up, loser,â€ Trish insulted him with a friendly smile.
â€œDyke,â€ he retorted as Trish slid into the booth next to Amber.
Maggie put her tray down and sat next to Alex. From across the table Trish gave her a wink.
â€œSo howâ€™s everybodyâ€™s day so far?â€ Maggie asked as she nonchalantly grabbed a fry.
â€œBoring,â€ Alex said. â€œPsych was so boring that I had to wake up Amber to ditch the rest of class.â€
â€œI wasnâ€™t sleeping,â€ Amber all but whispered back. â€œI was meditating.â€
â€œWhatever,â€ Alex said. A devilish grin appeared on his face and he added, â€œYou were still snoring.â€
â€œI donâ€™t snore.â€
â€œSo what about you, Maggie,â€ Alex began, â€œhow was your morning?â€
â€œIt was ok,â€ she said. â€œIf it wasnâ€™t for that test I had in bio this morning, I wouldnâ€™t have gotten up, though. And then all through the exam there was this girl that kept on staring at me like I was a freak or something. It was so annoying.â€
â€œUgh, I hate those people,â€ Trish added. â€œTheyâ€™re so uncomfortable with people that donâ€™t look quote unquote normal.â€ She used her fingers as quotations for added emphasis of the word normal.
â€œThatâ€™s their problem,â€ Alex dismissed it. â€œHey, Dan told me that heâ€™s having a party this Friday. You guys going?â€ he asked suddenly, changing the subject before Trish had the opportunity to give her oppression-of-the-alternative-lifestyle-people speech that she used so much the others had it memorized.
â€œProbably,â€ Trish said as she glanced over at Amber, who nodded her head in agreement.
â€œI donâ€™t know,â€ Maggie said.
â€œYou should definitely go,â€ Alex said. â€œDan always throws great parties and he never runs out of beer.â€
â€œI guess I could make an appearance,â€ she replied noncommittally, although she was doing her mental happy dance.
â€œCome on,â€ Alex said. â€œYou gotta come, itâ€™ll be fun. Do it for me so I donâ€™t get stuck hanging out with two girls whoâ€™re more interested in each other than in me.â€ He glanced across the table and smiled. â€œDo it for the beer, the poor beer that will go to waste if you donâ€™t drink it. Think of the starving children in third world nations that have never even seen a keg. You canâ€™t let that beer go to waste knowing that starving children in Somalia are going without beer.â€
â€œAlright,â€ Maggie replied as she tried not to laugh. â€œIâ€™ll go for the children.â€
â€œGood,â€ he replied, a bit winded from his tirade.
Thursday night, Maggie took Trish up on that study idea, but Alex wasnâ€™t home yet from his night class so they really were studying.
While pouring over her book, Maggie said, â€œRemember that girl I told you about that was staring at me Tuesday?â€
â€œShe was doing it again,â€ Maggie told her. â€œAnd the really disturbing part is that she followed me to Medieval lit. and sat right behind meâ€”I mean she was never in that class before. I got up half-way through class and just went home. It was really creepy.â€
â€œIt sounds like it,â€ Trish said as she closed her book. â€œDo you think sheâ€™ll do something?â€
â€œI donâ€™t knowâ€¦I donâ€™t think so, but itâ€™s just so weird. I mean, I donâ€™t even know her or anything.â€
â€œIf it happens again, you might want to call the police or something,â€ Trish suggested. Teasingly, to relieve the tension, she added, â€œYou have a stalker. Is she cute?â€
â€œShut up, freak,â€ Maggie said with humor and affection in her voice.
â€œNow, since weâ€™re on the subject of people expressing weird behavior of late,â€ Trish expertly changed the conversation, â€œyouâ€™ll never guess who Alex has been asking a lot of questions about in the last few days?â€
â€œWho?â€ Maggie asked hopefully.
Trish smiled. â€œDo you want some popcorn?â€ she asked, sadistically enjoying watching her friend squirm.
â€œNo,â€ Maggie replied. â€œWhoâ€™s he talking about?â€
â€œDo I have to spell it out for you?â€ she asked. â€œHe likes you.â€
â€œReally?â€ Maggie needed to hear it again, needed the confirmation.
â€œOh, my God,â€ Maggie said. â€œâ€¦Werenâ€™t you going to make popcorn?â€
â€œRight on it,â€ Trish said, trying to keep laughter out of her voice.
Trish went into the kitchen and the front door opened up. â€œLucy, Iâ€™m home,â€ Alex bellowed in his best attempt at a Cuban accent.
â€œOh, Ricky,â€ Maggie replied as if bored.
â€œOhâ€¦Iâ€¦Hi, Maggie,â€ Alex stammered. â€œI wasnâ€™t expecting you.â€
â€œHot lesbian orgy,â€ Trish said as she came back from the kitchen, the smell of popping corn following her out. â€œWe needed a fifth.â€
â€œOh, well, donâ€™t let me interrupt,â€ he replied as he glanced over at Maggie.
â€œChem homework,â€ she said, lifting the cover of the book to prove it.
â€œOh,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s nice that someone around here will give a straight answer once in a while,â€ he commented teasingly.
â€œBreeder,â€ Trish whispered loud enough for the two to hear it as she headed back into the kitchen to check on the popcorn.
â€œHey, all those paternity tests came back negative,â€ he yelled back jokingly. Maggie started laughing.
â€œYou two remind me of a brother and sister,â€ she said between chuckles, â€œa really demented brother and sister.â€
He sat down at the table next to her where Trish had been sitting before. â€œWere you still planning on going to Danâ€™s party?â€ he asked.
â€œI donâ€™t have much else to do,â€ she replied. She didnâ€™t quite understand why she couldnâ€™t tell him that his mere proximity was making her hot and that she wanted him. She couldnâ€™t figure out why she played so uninterested when all she wanted to do was take him on the table right then and there.
â€œCool,â€ he replied. â€œI thought you werenâ€™t going to go after all the persuasion I had to do at lunch Tuesday.â€
Trish came in and put a bowl of popcorn on the table. â€œWhatcha talking about?â€ she asked.
â€œI was just seeing if she was going to the party tomorrow,â€ he said.
â€œOh,â€ Trish stated. â€œOf course sheâ€™s going. And youâ€™re going, and Iâ€™m going and weâ€™re all going to get piss drunk and forget what a good time weâ€™re going to have.â€
By eight oâ€™clock the next evening Maggie still didnâ€™t know what she was going to wear. She had her closet opened and she was rummaging through the black jungle looking for the prize kill.
Something shiny stuck out of the darkness and she reached back into the abyss to pull it out. She realized that she was holding her old prom dress in all its frilly, lacy, puffy-sleeved, billowing skirt, tight-bodiced, Barbie pink glory. â€œWouldnâ€™t this be funny,â€ she commented to herself with a grimace as she put it up to herself and spun around while looking at her reflection in the mirror before throwing it back where it came from, this time putting other clothes over it so it wouldnâ€™t attempt escape again.
She grabbed her pleated mini skirt and a professionally ripped turtleneck, cut in all the right places, but still leaving a girl her modesty. She added five or six necklaces, and a wrist full of thin banded bracelets of every color of the rainbow. She grabbed her favorite bitch boots and was ready to go.
Maggie knocked on Danâ€™s door sure that nobody would hear it since she could hear the music back when she parked her car.
A very drunk, very under-aged girl answered the door. â€œWe donâ€™t want any Girl Scout cookies,â€ she laughed. Maggie gave an unamused smile and walked in around the girl who was already explaining the joke to a friend who either didnâ€™t get it, didnâ€™t care or was about to pass outâ€”Maggie guessed the latter.
She almost ran into Dan as she entered the kitchen to get her first beer. â€œNice party,â€ she said. â€œYou might want to pay attention. You have a drunk high-schooler answering your door.â€
â€œNot a good idea?â€ he asked as he poured a beer from a can into a plastic cup for her. He leaned forward conspiratorially and added in as close to a whisper as he could manage and still have her hear, â€œDonâ€™t tell anyone, but the good beerâ€™s in the fridge. I got a keg for the masses in the living room. Just bring an empty bowl in here and refill it with chips when you need to refresh your drink. It wonâ€™t be so obvious.â€
â€œOh, you think of everything,â€ Maggie said. â€œAre you aware that most people out there are so drunk you could pour the beer on them and they wouldnâ€™t know?â€
â€œSo soon?â€ he asked. â€œWell, you go have fun. Mingle. Dance. Get it on with some guy on my sofa,â€ he added as he headed out.
Maggie took a sip of beer and grabbed the bowl of Cooler Ranch Doritos Dan had forgotten and headed out to the living room.
She saw Dan talking to the girl by the door and then the girl walked into the crowd and was lost. Maggie put the bowl on an end table and it quickly disappeared into a group of giggling girls of questionable legal status.
Maggie walked around looking for Alex or Trisha, but couldnâ€™t find them anywhere.
About five minutes passed before she felt arms go around her waist and she heard Alex say, â€œHey,â€ in her ear. â€œIâ€™ve been looking everywhere for you,â€ he said. â€œI was starting to think you werenâ€™t going to show up.â€
â€œIâ€™ve been looking for you for like ten minutes,â€ she replied as she turned to face him. She didnâ€™t mind that his hands stayed right where they were around her waist a bit longer than they normally would have. â€œI was getting ready to leave.â€
â€œYou canâ€™t leave,â€ he said. â€œYou havenâ€™t danced yet.â€ He looked down at her near full glass. â€œFinish your beer and weâ€™ll go dance to a song or two.â€
â€œOkay,â€ she said. In one long chug she downed the glass and put it on a table.
â€œVery classy,â€ Alex commented as he led her to the makeshift dance floor.
They danced in quick suggestive motions to the techno beat, their bodies touching and caressing each other. Maggie didnâ€™t want it to end, and for a long time it didnâ€™t, but as one song faded into another Alex said he was thirsty and needed another beer. Maggie realized that she too was really thirsty and wondered how long they had been dancing. As they walked toward the keg Maggie noticed Trish dancing with Amber. Trish gave her a wink and then brought her attention back to her date.
Maggie tapped Alexâ€™s arm to get his attention and motioned him over to an empty spot near the hall. â€œDan has some good beer in the fridge,â€ she told him. â€œHe told me I could help myself to it.â€
â€œSounds like a plan,â€ he replied with a smile. â€œI didnâ€™t really want to drink any more of that shit anyway.â€
The two headed toward the kitchen, Maggie grabbing an empty bowl on their way. Once inside she grabbed two clean cups and a bag of plain Ruffles.
â€œCan you fill the glasses?â€ she asked.
â€œYeah.â€ He took the glasses and went over to the fridge to get the beer
She emptied the bag as the door opened and looked up to see who it was. She tried not to show her surprise as the girl, her stalker, smiled politely. Maggie wondered if this girl was some kind of freak, but tried to ignore her while watching her out of the corner of her eye.
The girl came up to the counter and said, â€œMaggie?â€
Maggie looked at her, but said nothing. Alex slowly walked over from the fridge, watching curiously.
â€œMaggie Armstrong, right?â€
â€œListen, I donâ€™t know how you know my name, butâ€”â€
â€œYou donâ€™t recognize me,â€ the girl cut in. â€œAnd to think, I could recognize you under all that gunkâ€”I mean I didnâ€™t recognize you at first, and then I was just shocked to see you. Itâ€™s me, Christina.â€ When Maggie didnâ€™t respond, she added, â€œChristina Kreski. Remember back in high school we double dated at our senior promâ€”â€
â€œLeave me alone,â€ Maggie said. She dropped the bowl of chips and left the kitchen and went straight to the door. Alex forgot about the beer and followed her out.
She was out the door and heading toward the buildingâ€™s exit before he finally caught up.
â€œWait up,â€ he said as he slowed to a jog for the last few paces to catch up to her. â€œWhy are you leaving so soon? What happened in there? Who was that girl?â€
â€œI donâ€™t want to talk about it,â€ she said. â€œI just donâ€™t want to be here anymore.â€
â€œWho was she?â€ he asked again, resting a comforting arm on her shoulder.
â€œThat girl is the one thatâ€™s been following me all week on campus,â€ she told him. â€œShe was there andâ€¦andâ€¦I just want to go home.â€
â€œOkay,â€ he said, not really understanding. â€œIâ€™ll give you a ride. You donâ€™t look like you should be driving.â€
â€œThanks,â€ she said, trying to manage a smile.