Could it actually be THAT simple? Jen thought as she picked up the portable phone off of its receiver in her bedroom. She stared at the gray keys for a few moments, grappling with dialing the numbers. What she wanted to say shouldn't be this hard, actually it wasn't hard at all. Then why was her heart beating a mile a minute, why was her dialing finger shaking slightly? Inhaling deeply, she lowered her finger onto the number four, holding her breath through dialing the last number of nine, and the three rings of the telephone until a deepening voice picked up.
"Hello?" Drue sat up on his kitchen counter, cradling the phone in the crook of his neck while his hands tossed a green apple back and forth between them.
"Hey." Jen finally breathed out.
"Jenny..." He replied, holding the "e" sound of the y for a few seconds. "how may I service you?"
Jen swallowed nervously. "I...just wanted to say..." she groped, "wanted to tell you..."
Drue lifted an eyebrow on the other side. "Spit it out, Lindley." He placed the apple at his side.
Taking in a deep breath of air, she hesitated. She let out the breath quickly as she came up with something else to say "I wanted to ask you if you wanted to walk to the party together." Jen shut her eyes tightly and hit the heel of her palm on her forehead. That wasn't what she wanted to say, but she just couldn't give him the pleasure of hearing it, because it would only serve to enlarge his already large ego, or so she thought.
Drue sighed. "And I actually thought you were going to say something serious." He was silent for a moment. "But, sure I figured that went without saying, considering we do live only two floors away from each other. "
She let out a fake chuckle that covered the sound of disappointment in her voice, "Yeah...I guess I'm a little out of it today."
"Oh?" Drue questioned, "Why's that?"
Jen shrugged. "I'm not sure." She lied.
"Oh." His tone was flat. "Well if you do figure it out you can always talk to me about it."
"I know." Jen replied. "Believe me, I know."
He nodded. "Okay then..." There was a brief silence between the two. "I guess I'll see you in the lobby at nine then."
"Yeah. The lobby at nine."
"Bye Jen." Drue said softly in an almost out of character way.
Jen smiled. "You called me Jen."
Drue furrowed his brow. "I did?"
"Uh huh." She laughed a little.
"Wow...I've called you Jen like three times in my entire life."
"Yeah I know. Okay well, see you later then."
Simultaneously, they both hung up.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Darkness enveloped the vast apartment, the shadowy gray color of the night blanketing the furnishings like a soft, fresh snow. There was no reason for her to be sneaking about in the dark; she had nothing to be sneaking from. Her parents had gone out, as usual, and probably would not be back until the wee hours of the night. So in all reality she had nothing to fear. She had never been caught returning from a party, club, or some guy's apartment or dorm room, and probably never would be, because she could always come up with the excuse that she had fallen to sleep watching a movie at Drue's. It was that simple. Her parents were that easy to fool. Jen wondered if their friends and colleagues fooled them so easily. She sighed, resigning her troubling thoughts of her troubled parents for the time being. It was exhausting to dwell on the inner workings of those two, and it was scary that she even thought about the inner workings of her parents, but that was also a subject to be repressed. She stepped off the last stair of the grand flight of steps and paused to look around at the black drenched house, debating switching on a lamp a few feet away. But she decided against it, because the blackness was comforting, just as it blanketed the apartment it covered her in the same way, concealing true form and creating illusion and mystery. Everything was blurry under the sheet of the night. It was not possible to see a single genuine structure in the murkiness, from the furniture all the way to Jen. In the dark, she was more confident, more at ease, because what she thought was to her avail, you couldn't see her clearly.
The door shut softly behind Jen, and after locking it, she stepped a forward a few feet and pressed the down button on the elevator. Her apartment was the only one on the floor, just like the other three in the building. The apartment was actually two vast floors of large rooms with high ceilings and long hallways all in itself. A small, rectangular foyer separated the elevator from the door in to her house. The floor was a golden wood and a glass table pressed against the wall on the left side of the door. Hanging above the table was a long, rectangular mirror, and on top of the table sat a rounded vase with dry flowers positioned delicately within. There was no light on in the small space either, and even though the light was dim in the elevator, her eyes still felt slightly blinded as she stepped into the square chamber. A deep breath of air escaped her mouth as she watched the numbers decline. 3...2...1...L.
The elevator doors slid open smoothly, revealing the grand and luxurious lobby. Drue leaned against a wall, chatting with the doorman. His black shirt clung loosely to his maturing body, creasing and folding diagonally across his stomach. The color of his shirt matched his hair, and he wore equally dark, blue denim jeans. All of the black made his crystal blue eyes stand out like a flower in a desert. Jen stood in her place just outside the elevator, momentarily mesmerized by the vivid blue. Her stare was interrupted though as Drue caught her out of the corner of his eyes. An instant smile grew on his face, and he turned from the doorman, waving and nodding his head in an upward motion towards her.
She smiled weakly and began to walk towards him, and he decided to meet her halfway across the room. Drue's eyes wandered up and down her body briefly and quickly, the dark purple fabric fit tightly around her small physique, her hips swiveling involuntarily as she placed each sandled foot on the marble. The brown leather jacket she wore hid the spaghetti straps of her dress, and as Drue's eyes fell back onto her face, he realized she wasn't only hot...she was beautiful; absolutely beautiful. From her delicate skin to her full, pouty lips, golden blonde hair and deep, emotional eyes of hazel, she was the epitome of beauty to Drue. It wasn't only her outsides that were beautiful, he knew, because somewhere in there behind the mask of drugs, alcohol, sex and parties, was a passionate girl with hopes, dreams, and so much more to offer to the world. Suddenly he wished he could see in himself what he saw in her.
Their walk was pretty much a silent one. Drue's mind was far away from the Manhattan streets, settled in a part of him he never let himself think about. It was the part of him that like Jen, wanted something better for himself but hated who he really was too much and loved the person everyone thought he was too much to want to make things better. Most of the time though, he couldn't tell where one ended and the other began. It was a fuzzy and complex line that separated the two, twisting and turning, changing and diverging from its initial origin. For example, one day it would seem like the hidden Drue would peak out of his shell, involuntarily braving the sunlight, and on other days the wise ass, witty, joke cracking, charming jerk would overshadow the compassionate, empathetic, kind and sensitive qualities he had lurking with in. He knew they were there, they came out whenever Jen would start crying or show the faintest sign of weakness, but he didn't think much of them. His parents never showed him any sort of those qualities, and as a result of it he tended to ignore, and even forget that things like that actually existed within him. Believing in himself and thinking he had traits that anyone could actually love, or even like, were foreign concepts to Drue. That was probably because of the lack of affection he received from his parents. They too were egotistical pleasure-seekers who would rather attend a fancy dinner party then sit down at their kitchen table with their fourteen-year-old son. He couldn't remember the last time they asked him how school was, or what he was doing or where he was going. It was always "Shut up, Drue," "I'm too busy to talk to you right now," "Later, please," and "We're disappointed, you can do better." He was neglected, so he sought recourse in the 'finer' things in life: sex, drugs, alcohol, and partying. Drue was one in a crowd of equally rich, over-privileged children with the misfortune of being born to parents who seemed to think that leaving a couple of hundred dollars on the kitchen counter everyday was good parenting. It was a sick and crazy circle he was in, a circle where no one was what they appeared to be, but were deeper, more complex, emotionally damaged and too-experienced-too-young people who were terrified of real life. So they all chose to create lives full of reckless and probably self-damaging experiences, claiming that "this is living," when it was really just a way to hide.
"Drue?" Jen's voice drove him out of his thoughts.
"Huh?" He said, standing next to her as she stopped walking.
She turned to him, "Where were you? You seemed like you were off in another world for a minute there."
"Oh...yeah..." Drue scratched his forehead, "Yeah I was just thinking." He looked across the street away from Jen. "Isn't that the building right there?" He pointed across the street at a tall apartment building. The top three flights of windows were dark, except for some colored hazes drifting through the panes.
Jen glanced down at her feet then across the street. "I think so." She looked both ways before stepping off the sidewalk.
"Hopefully we'll have some fun." He grinned, trying to lighten his mood.
"Don't we always?" She grinned back.
"Together, no. Individually, always!" He joked.
Mouth dropping, Jen let out a small chuckle and shoved Drue playfully. "Hey!"
"What!?" He laughed, stumbling to catch his balance in the quiet street. "You know it's the semi-truth."
Jen stepped onto the other sidewalk. "The semi-truth?" She laughed, "That's a new one. I'll make sure to commit it to memory." Her eyes rolled in her sockets.
Drue chuckled and nodded, pulling open the door to the building. "Ah shut up Lindley." He walked in after her.
"Ah no." She mimicked him.
"What? You dare to disobey ME?" He raised one eyebrow, a wry smile springing up on his face.
"Yeah!" She nodded.
"Oh that's it..." He moved towards her quickly, sweeping her up off her feet. He held her tightly around her waist and twisted her so she was hanging upside down.
"Drue!!" She shrieked, squirming in his grasp. "I'm wearing a dress you idiot."
"I know. The view is nice. What is that, Victoria's Secret or Calvin Klein?" He smirked.
"Put me down!" She laughed, hitting her fists against his upper thigh.
"Fine, fine..." He rolled his eyes and started lowering her head towards the floor slowly.
"DRUE!" She shrieked again. "OH MY GOD, STOP IT!"
Drue let out a large, amused laugh and set her down on her feet softly. Jen smoothed out her hair and yanked down her dress. She looked to him and smiled. "Ok we're done." She stated and walked towards the elevator.
"Right," Drue nodded. "No more flirting with Jen Lindley tonight. I got it, cap'n." He saluted playfully.
Jen stopped short, tilting her head towards him, a sideways smile gracing her lips. "You called me Jen again."
Drue's eyebrows rose on his forehead. "That's two for today. Man what's gotten into me. Lazy I guess."
"No, no..." she said softly. "I like it."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The only light in the open loft came from colored bulbs and a white strobe light flashing from the table where a local kid played music. Sweaty bodies joined together, hands groping, attempting to move to the techno/electronica music blasting from the speakers in the open space towards the back of the loft. People congregated in the kitchen, downing shots or popping pills. Sex hungry men led women up the winding, iron stairs to dark rooms. Jen stood at the door, looking around. Drue put a hand on her waist from behind her, pushing her forward slightly.
"Keep it going, Jenny. You're holding up traffic."
"Yeah, yeah" she rolled her eyes and walked in a few feet. She didn't even have to say anything to anyone before she heard someone scream her name.
A tall high school senior stood up on a nearby coffee table, "Attention everyone! The wonderful, beautiful, sexy and oh so very fabulous Jenny has arrived! The party may begin! Now will SOMEONE get this lady a drink?"
Jen laughed and smiled at the guy up on the coffee table. "You're crazy."
He nodded. "That I don't deny." He jumped down, giving her a hug.
"Mmm...how was your day Typo?" She hugged him back. Drue glanced between them.
"It was okay. Nothing too great went on. How about you?"
"Well...I bought this dress." She grinned.
Typo looked her up and down. "Then I'd say it's a good day."
She laughed. "I guess it is then."
Suddenly three boys appeared around her, drinks in hands. "For the lovely Jenny..." Greg held a plastic cup out to her.
Jen took the drink. "Well thanks." She sipped it.
"Hey, Drue, Typo." He nodded to them. "Uh Drue...Laura was looking for you."
Drue raised his eyebrows curiously. "I like the sound of that..." he rubbed his palms together, smirking.
"Yeah, she sounded pretty adamant on finding you."
"Ha..." Jen let out and placed the now empty cup on a nearby table. Someone else handed her a drink. She looked to the boy and smiled. Jen was used to this normal, every party procedure.
"What?" Drue looked to her.
"Nothing...she just wants to get with you. She's so predictable."
Drue grinned. "I'm going to go find her."
"Okay, have fun." She rolled her eyes as Drue disappeared into the crowd.
"Miss Lindley I must say you are looking HOT tonight," Greg circled her, sliding his arm around her stomach.
"Oh yes," Typo nodded, "the man is right. That dress is...mmm...scorching."
"It would look better on my floor though..." Greg smirked.
Jen laughed and placed her second empty cup down. "Probably." She went along with the joke. She didn't even have to look to her side and another drink was coming her way. Her lips clasped around the brim, the alcoholic liquid sliding into her mouth and down her throat. Greg's eyes fixed on her lips and he licked his own. Then his eyes traveled up and down her body again, this time slowly, savoring the sultry curves.
"Jenny!" Someone called out from behind her and Jen turned around to identify the voice.
Her eyes squinted curiously. She didn't recognize the person coming towards her. His skin was tan and eyes a dark blue with short, spiked blonde hair. He had a trim, nicely built physique, very noticeable through the thin white t-shirt he was wearing and slightly baggy jeans hanging low on his body. "Hi." He smiled at her.
"Hi." Jen smiled back, thinking he was super hot.
"I'm Preston. This is my place and my party...so I thought I'd introduce myself. I've heard lots of great things about you."
"Oh?" Jen smiled, amused.
Preston nodded. "Yeah, like you're so much fun to be around. So, I thought I'd be around you."
She laughed. "Your place is great." Her eyes scanned the space.
"Thanks." He looked around as well. "Do you maybe...want to dance?"
"Sure. That would be awesome." She downed the rest of the liquid in the cup and gave the empty one to Greg. "I'll see you later." She told him.
Greg rolled his eyes as Jen and Preston walked away, looking to Typo. "Another night I guess."
"Hey don't lose faith man. She's only dancing with him."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Drue brushed through the crowds of teens congregating in circles, talking, downing drinks, and smoking all sorts of things. He sipped a can of beer and craned his neck, searching through the masses for Laura, who supposedly was looking for him too. An anticipating smirk grew on his face as he took pleasure in knowing that a sexually attractive and willing girl wanted to speak with him. And maybe he was just making himself think that her desire to find him was sexual, but how could he help it? He was a teenage boy with raging hormones who went to an all boys' high school on 16th Street. It was only on weekends, vacations, and at late night parties that he got to experience the opposite sex, and in turn he took advantage of every opportunity that presented itself.
Finally, his eyes caught with the ones of the tall brunette. She sat perched on the arm of a soft couch, fingering the edge of the plastic cup in her hand. Tight black pants clung to her legs, and a blue, off the shoulder shirt revealed her flat, salon tanned stomach. A small smile curled on her lips as Drue approached her, and she stood to greet him with a hug and a tender kiss on the cheek.
"You were looking for me?" He asked, finishing his last swig of beer and setting the can down on a nearby table.
Laura nodded, her large brown eyes seductive and sexy.
"Do you want to maybe...tell me why?" His brow furrowed slightly at her silence.
"No." She spoke low and soft, inching slowly closer to Drue, "I want to show you." She stared at him, the sudden eagerness in his eyes reassuring to her pursuit. A small grin appeared on Laura's face as she leaned in towards Drue, and he leaned in towards her as well, until finally, they locked in a deep and fiery kiss.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The alcohol was just starting to kick in; she was just starting to feel like herself. She thought this was her true self. The drunk Jen, the partying Jen, and not even Jen at all. "Jenny" that's who she was to these people. A strange part about that was that she often thought of herself as "Jen" and not "Jenny" at all. Her parents called her "Jennifer" and no one at school ever called her Jen, so she kind of wondered why she thought of herself that way. She decided not to dwell on it though as her body moved in sync with Preston's, her backside pushing against his front to the beat of the music, his right hand on her stomach and left hand holding a plastic cup. Jen could feel the alcohol running through her body, it's power invigorating and weakening at the same exact time. Invigorating because of the person that it made her be, and weakening for that reason as well. But she felt like she had no choice. The only thing to do was to drink and party, because otherwise she'd be stuck with her own self-loathing thoughts that would periodically scare her. Sometimes the thoughts that crept into her head late at night while she lay awake in bed or sat in her father's chair in front of the fire were so negative and so extreme that she had to mentally yell at herself and tell herself to think straight. The alcohol made that all go away, temporarily at least. A temporary distraction was better than no distraction at all, she thought as she continued to dance with Preston. She was strangely alert, despite the numerous drinks she had consumed. And that annoyed her, she didn't want to be thinking about that, she wanted to feel free and happy, at least for a little while.
"Hey can you get me another drink?" Jen yelled to Preston over the music.
He let go of her. "Yeah, sure. Want to come with me?"
"Okay." Jen pulled down the hem of her dress, which had ridden up in the dancing process and smoothed out her hair as Preston led her to the kitchen. She stopped suddenly though as she caught two familiar figures out of the corner of her eye.
Drue and Laura sat on the couch. Well, actually Drue sat on the couch and Laura on his lap. They were making out furiously, his hands running up and down her body repeatedly, hers doing the same to him. For some reason Jen watched them for a moment. It was quite a sickening site, but she stood there in shock. She wasn't sure if it was jealousy or just her current annoyance with Laura, but she suddenly wanted them to stop; she wanted to go over there and yank her away from him. But did Jen want to be the one with him? Did she wish that it were her sitting there on his lap? Before she could answer herself, Preston interrupted her thoughts.
"Jenny? Hello?" He waved a hand in front of her face.
Jen jumped slightly. "Oh man, yeah sorry." She smiled at him.
"What you looking at?"
"Oh okay." He took her hand. "Now let's go get you that drink."
She grinned, "Sounds like a plan..." She said and proceeded into the kitchen with Preston.
"Pres! Heeeey." A guy nodded to him.
Preston looked towards the voice and nodded back. "What's up, Jamal?" He reached for two plastic cups.
"Nada." He walked over to him. Jen leaned back against the counter next to Preston, and her eyes quickly surveyed the smooth, sweating, black, skin of Jamal's bare upper half. Tight, toned abs, defined chest, Jen couldn't help smiling.
"Hot?" She asked, commenting on his shirtlessness.
He laughed slightly, glancing down at himself. "Nah...I can't find my shirt actually." Jamal grinned.
Jen laughed, taking the drink that Preston had just made off of the counter, "Oh really? That's got to be an interesting story." She took a large sip, keeping her eyes up on the good-looking teenager.
Jamal shrugged. "Not really. I took it off while I was dancing...threw it somewhere...so now it's missing."
She nodded. "Oh okay..." The rest of the liquid slid down her throat quickly.
"Woah..." Jamal's eyes widened as he watched Jen drink. "You might want to slow it down there babe."
"Thanks for the advice, Dad." She rolled her eyes, placing the empty cup down behind her on the counter.
Preston slid an arm around Jen's waist, resting his hand on her rear end. Her face showed no signs of emotion resulting from his action; she didn't care enough to indicate her feelings. Now the alcohol was finally working. She could feel herself turning into the girl everyone knew, and she figured it was time to take advantage of it.