I saw a ghost today. I’ve seen them here before. Sometimes they haunt my dreams, but today it was real.
I’m over you. I promise, I despise you…or something of that nature. I don’t want to be yours… I’m not lying. Pretty sure you love someone else so I’m no longer trying to see why you gave up on us. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt your arms, your love, your smile, and I swear I’m truly over it. I’ll waste no more time, crying out my eyes. I think I’ve paid the price of trusting. and yes maybe when you walked by just then and gave me that slight smile, I flashed… I felt your lips on mine, all over again… And I realized the truth, probably a fact of life, no matter who you love, or even I , there will always be a part of us that will love each other till we die.
Colin Fleener stepped confidently out of his canary yellow Corvette. His three hundred dollar Doc Martins protected his feet from bacteria that covered every inch of the stained parking lot. He threw down his cigarette and grabbed his wallet from his car; he opened it and checked to make sure his money was there.
“Colin! I didn’t think you were coming!” Colin flinched and slowly turned around.
“Meredith. I didn’t realize you would be here either.” Colin’s voice gave away his aggravation, yet she just giggled her annoying giggle like he had just called her beautiful. She wasn’t. Her short black hair was stringy and plain, her eyes were pretty but the horrible make up and clothes from the fifties distracted from any beauty she may have had. He pressed the lock button on his car and started walking. She followed, stepping a little in front of him. “Well I came here to see a friend so I better find him. See you later.” He said as he slipped past her and kept moving.
“Alright Colin. Have a nice night! I’ll see you later ok? Bye!” She just kept talking and talking as he walked up to the neon lighted door leading to his favorite bar.
“Yeah. Bye,” he said quickly as he slammed the door behind him. “Damn,” he muttered as he walked up and sat on his favorite bar stool. “Give me a shot of Jameson will you Marky?”
“Sure thing,” the tall dark man answered from the other side of the counter.
“Dude you just missed Meredith!” Colin turned to see his best friend Donovan. They shook hands.
“No I didn’t,” Colin replied.
“Shit man. I was gonna call but I didn’t expect you for another hour.” Donovan sat down in the stool next to Colin.
“She’s so weird man, she shows up out of nowhere two weeks ago and is constantly everywhere I am, but she never stays, she just says hi all creepy like and walks away. It’s fucked up. Crazy stalker.” He glanced at the bartender. “Marky make that two. ” Marky’s reply was a grunt and a nod. His focus was on the basketball game playing in the background. He poured two shots and slid them down the bar. Colin handed one to Donovan. They tapped glasses and drank, slamming their cups down together. Colin motioned for a refill.
“So are we going to that party at Teddy’s tonight?” Donovan asked. Colin tended to make most of the decisions in their friendship, but Colin knew Donovan well enough to know if he asked if they were going, it meant he wanted to go.
“Yeah, let’s head out there in about an hour.” Colin was staring at the brunette sitting at the other end of the bar. She had been staring at him since he walked in. Donovan noticed the tone in his voice and caught the direction his friend was looking.
“Damn dude. She’s eye fucking you,” he said and Colin laughed.
“Maybe a little, but I think we both know that isn’t nearly enough for me.” Was his cheeky reply. Donovan grinned and high fived him. Colin grabbed his glass, now refilled, and drank it. “I’ll be back. Unless of course you see me leave with eye girl, then I’ll meet you at the party in an hour.” Colin walked over to the brunette, smiled and sat down. She immediately smiled back at him and started talking. Fifteen minutes later Donovan was shaking his head and grinning as he watched Colin walking out the door with the brunette.
“Dude! Where the fuck have you been. You’ve missed so much man.” Colin grinned and shook hands with Teddy Graham, the man throwing the party, as he kicked the door shut with his foot. Teddy gave him a look for kicking his door.
“Sorry Graham Cracker,” Colin said, using the name Teddy hated but tolerated because of their friendship. “I promise I’m late for a good reason.”
“Yeah yeah, Donovan told us you were fucking some sexy brunette you met at Julian’s.” Teddy turned around and waved at a drunk girl who yelled his name from across the room.
“Something like that. Where is Donny?” Colin glanced into the kitchen and saw a couple making out by the coffee maker. “Hell of a party.” Teddy slapped some girl’s ass and replied.
“This is nothing. Wait till the basement. Donovan’s down there with Greg.” Colin followed him toward the basement, giving people high fives and saying hi to some girls he knew as they made their way across the house. They finally came to a dark door at the back. Teddy glanced to make sure no one was close enough to see inside before he knocked three times, hard quick taps. The door opened and they went inside, immediately walking down a flight of stairs. It took a second for Colin’s eyes to adjust to the black light. The first thing he saw was a blond girl laying on her back on Teddy’s pool table, her shirt was pulled up, showing off her slim long torso. She was giggling as some guy Colin didn’t recognize lined up coke in perfect thin lines on her stomach. A few people were standing around watching, sipping drinks and talking among themselves.
“Come on.” Teddy said. Colin glanced to see he was already walking further into the basement. He followed quickly. His eyes took in a torn couch along the wall with a few people sitting on it. They were all smoking cigarettes and he saw pill bottles scattered on the coffee table in front of them. Crisp twenty dollar bills and the remnants of crushed Xanax lingered on the table. He saw another topless couple making out in the corner.
Finally they came to another room with no door, a dirty red curtain covered the entrance, they both walked inside. Colin saw his friend Greg with two girls he hadn’t seen before. Greg was obviously flirting with the blond closest to him, so Colin’s eyes moved to look at the other girl. She was attractive, with dark blue eyes and light brown hair. They both looked like they didn’t belong at a party, and definitely not in the basement full of drugs.
“Colin this is Bailey.” Teddy said, Greg and the blond – Bailey– looked up from their conversation on the couch.
“Hi,” she said in a high but sweet voice.
“Colin. Sup,” Greg always used as few words as possible to communicate. A few months before Donovan had pointed out that when Colin replied to Greg he tended to do the same.
“Nothing man. Living life. Been a while.”
“Yeah. Been busy. College?”
“Good. Two more months.”
“Greg where did Donny go?” Teddy interrupted.
“Don’t know. Left a few minutes before you got here.”
“Shit. You wanna go look for him?” Teddy asked Colin. He thought about it for a second. He looked again at the unknown girl out of the corner of his eye.
“Maybe in a little. We can hang here for a while.” Colin sat down on the couch; Teddy sat on the other side of him, pushing him closer to the girl.
“Hi. I’m Zoey,” she said. Colin angled his body so he could look at her better and smiled.
“Hello. I’m Colin.” Teddy glanced up from his phone.
“Oh yeah. Sorry. This is Zoey. She’s Bailey’s roommate. They just transferred to CU this semester.” Teddy said, and then looked back at his phone.
“How do you like it so far?” Colin asked. It was obvious the question was meant for Zoey.
“I love it. It’s only been two weeks but I already know it’s going to be great here.” Her voice was deeper than her roommates. More seductive and husky, mixed in with innocence. Colin made his decision.
“Where did you transfer from?” he asked.
“New Mexico. Bailey and I were roommates there and we decided it was a shame to live so close to California and not go to school here. So we decided to transfer.”
“Well lucky for us.” She blushed. Colin loved shy women. Especially shy sexy women who didn’t realize just how attractive they were. Insecurity was the key.
“You know, as much as I love Teddy’s party, I would love to get to know you better. I mean, I would like to talk to you.” He made his voice stutter a little as if he was nervous. He reminded himself to repeat to make it so it sounded more real. “I mean. If you want. We could go on a walk? Get some fresh air. I’m rambling. I’m sorry, pretty girls make me nervous.” Colin sealed the deal by laughing a shaky laugh.
“Um,” she laughed nervously back. “I’d love to go on a walk.” Colin hid his cocky smile as he stood up and stuck out his hand. She tentatively reached up and grabbed it. He helped her up and pushed the curtain back, motioning for her to leave out the door first, he followed close behind. He couldn’t help but glance at the couple he saw on the way in. They were both naked and having sex in the corner. He knew Zoey didn’t notice, she just kept walking, her eyes did dart to the couch of pill poppers as one skinny kid loudly snorted a line. Colin moved a little closer and placed an arm around her in a protective manner. She smiled at him. They got to the stairs, and Colin shifted so she didn’t see the now topless chick who was still being used as a coke table. They walked up the dark stairs; Colin opened the door and stepped into the hallway. She followed and he made sure to lock the door before he shut it. The back door was a few feet away.
“We can go out the back and walk up the sidewalk to the front. That way we don’t have to step over drunk people,” he said. She laughed.
“Alright,” she agreed. They walked out the door and up the sidewalk in silence. “So how long have you been at CU?”
“Five years. I graduate this May.”
“That’s great! What do you plan to do after?” They reached the front of the house.
“Left or right?” he asked. Zoey glanced back and forth.
“Left.” They started walking.
“My degree is in Business. I’m going to start working for my dad as soon as I graduate. He’s a CEO.” Colin smiled when thinking of his father. His father and Donovan were the two people Colin cared most about in the world. He noticed the silence and looked at Zoey who was watching him with a smile on her face. He reached over and took her hand.
“Well it sounds like you have everything figured out.” Zoey stopped and turned to face him.
“Everything but you,” he said and she blushed. He leaned down and kissed her. At first she just stood there, then slowly, she kissed him back. They kissed for a few more minutes and Colin finally broke it.
“Do you live on campus?” he asked. Teddy’s house was conveniently located close to the university.
“Yes,” she said, out of breath.
“Let’s go.” She hesitated so he kissed her again.
“Ok,” she said.
“Dude you are such a fucking douche I don’t even want to hear it. There is no way bar chick was that good.” Colin laughed in the phone at Donovan’s fake angry tone.
“Your right. She wasn’t. Unfortunately neither was the girl I met at Teddy’s.” Donovan cursed into the phone.
“Seriously dude you’re my fucking hero. Where are you anyway?”
“Walking back to Teddy’s from her place. You still there?” Colin pulled a cigarette from his pocket and lit it as he walked.
“Yeah everyone is either gone or passed out. We are in the room in the basement hooking up with Mary Jane.”
“Alright sounds good. See you in five.” Colin flipped his phone shut and slipped it in his back pocket. He thought about Zoey and for a second he felt guilty. He couldn’t forget the look in her eyes when he got up right afterward and left. She didn’t even say anything. Why didn’t she say anything? She could have yelled. He would have deserved it. He would have taken it. But she just sat there and watched him dress and leave. It seemed worse that she didn’t say anything.
He had yelled. He didn’t remember the next three months after that night, but he remembered that night, and he had yelled, he had screamed, and he had cried. He had sat there, unashamed in his father’s arms, balling like a baby.
“It’s ok son. You can cry. Let it out.” His father voice was quiet and soothing. Colin looked up in his eyes.
“Why did she do it dad? I don’t understand.” Colin’s sixteen year old voice quivered. His father’s eyes clouded over.
“I don’t know Colin.”
“That’s a lie! You do know! Did you know? Did she tell you? I mean, you must have known something was wrong. That she was…that she felt that way.” He pushed out from his father’s arms and turned away. He heard the desperation in his voice, his own need for a reason that his mother would do this to them…that Natalie would do this to him. He closed his eyes and waited for his father, who was searching for the words to help Colin but couldn’t find them. Natalie. Even the thought of her made his fists clench and his eyes burn. He had loved her and she had played him like a fool. He was a fool. He closed his eyes.
“Colin all you need to remember is this isn’t your fault. What your mother and Natalie did…it was wrong. Their feelings aren’t wrong,” Colin heard his father’s own pain as he said those words, “But the way they handled it was definitely wrong and I’m sorry son. I’m so sorry.” His father’s voice caught. Colin opened his eyes, the image of Natalie naked in his mom’s arms fading.
“It’s alright dad. It’s not your fault either.” His heart hurt so badly. He was empty inside. He couldn’t breath. He felt like something heavy was pressing down on his chest. His eyes burned and ached from an unknown amount of tears. His whole body felt like it had been run over, multiple times. He turned around and looked over at his father, tears in his eyes, somehow looking even worse than Colin. His dad needed him. He walked over and this time, he held his dad as he cried. Yes, his dad needed him, and they didn’t need anyone. No one would hurt them again. Tears came to his eyes once more and he wiped them away, refusing to allow another tears to fall, she wasn’t worth it. No one was. He would never cry again.
“I figured you’d be smoking.” Colin glanced up as he approached Teddy’s, pulled back into reality. Donovan was leaned against the open door, a burning cigarette in his hand. He pushed the feelings deep down, where he kept them most of the time. He forced himself to be calm.
“How was girl number two?” Donny asked. Colin gave him a look as he swallowed the lump in his throat, hoping his voice would be normal.
“Don’t be an ass,” he said.
“What? Don’t act like you care.”
“I might.” Colin said. Damn it. He didn’t care. Why was he arguing this? Donovan raised an eyebrow.
“You don’t fucking care,” he repeated.
“How do you fucking know. You don’t fucking know man,” he yelled, throwing his half smoked cigarette on the deck and moving to push past him and walk inside. Donovan stopped him. He didn’t look angry or mad, he looked surprised.
“You ok man?” he asked. Colin exhaled.
“Yes. I’m good. Sorry. Just tired. I’m fine,” he forced a smile and Donovan grinned.
“ You’re about to be a lot better,” he replied.
“Her name is Anna Bell Jefferies. I met her earlier when I was talking to her friend, which by the way I call dibs. Teddy said we can stay as long as we want.” He raised his hand for a high five. Colin hit his hand and laughed.
“I knew you were my best friend for a reason.” Colin said. The two walked inside and shut the door. The house smelled like beer and puke. There were people of various states of dress and intoxication passed out as they walked to the smoking room in the basement. The blond coke table was passed out with three of the assumed coke addicts passed out next to her, their legs intertwined. The couple having sex were gone. Colin found himself walking back into the room he had been in a few hours earlier. This time it smelled like lilacs and marijuana. Two girls were sitting on the couch, almost in the exact same spot Bailey and Zoey were sitting earlier. Colin pushed down the guilt that came back up.
“Colin this is Anna Bell.” Donny introduced. Colin smiled at the hot red head Donovan was pointing at. She was sprawled lazily on the couch, her dark green eyes were already heavy from smoking. A grape flavored blunt hung loosely from her Crushed Cotton Candy flavored lips.
“Hello,” he said, sitting next to her. She moved her head to look at him.
“Hi, what’s up,” she said as she slowly sucked on the blunt. Smoke swirled toward the ceiling in a dance. He noticed her black finger nails as she gently took the blunt and ashed it in the Dr. Pepper can sitting on the table beside the couch. Where had he seen black fingernails tonight? He thought back to earlier in the night and it was a cloud of weed, alcohol, and sex. He noticed Anna Bell looking at him, waiting he smiled and pushed his distractions away.
“Not much. How was your night?” Colin asked. Donovan was sitting next to the other girl; he was whispering in her ear and stroking her arm.
“Not too bad.” She was staring at him. She didn’t try to hide it, or even make it a little less obvious.
“You’re staring,” Colin said.
“I know,” she replied. She handed him the blunt. He took a long hit, slowly letting the smoke sink into his lungs. They sat in silence as he held his breath. “Is that a problem?” she asked. He took his time answering, slowly exhaling.
“No,” he said. “As long as you keep the promise that your eyes are telling me.”
“And what’s that?” she asked. He scooted closer.
“You want my body.” He whispered. She laughed.
“Obviously,” she replied.
“What are you going to about it?” She looked like she was thinking. He handed her the blunt, taking the opportunity to touch her hand when she took it, he stroked her palm. He leaned even closer, and repeated in her ear. “What are you going to do about it?” He heard her small laugh.
“I guess we will have to wait and see,” was her cryptic response. Anna Bell was a lot more confident than Zoey, and even more then the girl he had met at Julian’s.
“I guess so,” he said, smiling. He was getting used to her staring at him. She still had yet to look away. She was one of the most confident women he had ever met. He found himself shifting uncomfortably. “How long am I going to have to keep guessing?”
“Get a room you two.” Donovan’s voice interrupted. Colin laughed.
“Look who’s talking.” He replied, handing the blunt over.
“Well that’s the thing. I have a room. Teddy said I can crash here on the couch tonight. So when I said get a room it was less of an idea and more of me telling you to get the fuck out.” He pointed to the door. Colin laughed.
“Point taken.” He stood up. “Do you need a ride home?” he asked Anna Bell, she slowly stood up, grabbing her purse.
“No I live on campus.” She replied. Colin wasn’t surprised. Most girl’s who came to Teddy’s parties lived on campus, that’s why Teddy picked the house he picked.
“I can walk you back then,” he offered.
“Alright,” she agreed. She leaned down and hugged her friend.
“Night bitch,” Anna Bell said. The girl laughed.
“Bye.” She replied. Colin didn’t say bye to Donovan. He just nodded and Donny returned the gesture. Colin motioned for Anna Bell to go first and he followed her out. He felt a déjà vu as he walked out of the house in silence. The very few lights that remained on in the house were spinning a little as Colin walked. Anna Bell knew her way around Teddy’s house; they were soon walking out the back door and up the familiar sidewalk to the street.
“So how long have you been at CU?” Colin asked.
“A while,” she said. They continued walking. She turned left and he followed.
“What’s your major?” he asked. She stopped walking and sighed. She turned around and kissed him. He was taken back for a moment but he quickly started kissing her back, then suddenly, everything went black.
“Colin? Colin? What the fuck dude? What are you doing?” Donovan’s voice broke into Colin‘s sub consciousness. Colin groaned and reached up to hold his pounding head.
“Damn it Donovan, shut up my head hurts,” he said, not opening his eyes.
“I’m sure it does. I didn’t know you were so fucked up. Passing out in the front lawn, seriously? Real classy Colin, real classy.”
“What?” Colin opened his eyes, and immediately regretted it. “Fuck.” The sun sent needles of pain shooting into his eyes. “Where am I?” he asked the blur standing above him.
“Right in front of Teddy’s house. I just came out and found you passed out on the grass.” Colin groaned again and slowly stood up. The second he was on his feet, he fell.
“Damn dude are you ok?” Donovan asked. The world was spinning and Colin felt like he was going to vomit. He slowly inhaled and exhaled long breaths.
“I’m ok. What happened?” He tried to remember last night. He remembered leaving with Anna Bell, they were kissing and then… “Shit!” he immediately checked his back pocket. “Damn it damn it damn it. Fucking bitch stole my fucking wallet!” he said. He suddenly remembered searing pain right before he blacked out. “She must have hit me on the head with something.”
“Dude I’m so sorry. I had no idea.” He helped Colin stand up. “Let’s get you inside.” Colin nodded then winced in pain. Suddenly he remembered.
“What about your chick? The one who was Anna Bell’s friend? Does she know where she lives? We could find her and get my money back!” Donovan winced. “What? What is it?”
“Well, about twenty minutes after you left she got a call from her sister. There was a family emergency and she had to go.”
“Holy shit they were working together.” Colin said after a few seconds of silence. Donovan frowned.
“What? How do you know?”
“It’s obvious Donny. She keeps you distracted so we aren’t together and Anna Bell can steal, once she’s finished she calls her friend and tells her and she cries off saying it’s a family emergency. I bet Anna Bell isn’t even her real name. Damn it.” Colin got up and started pacing, ignoring his aching head. “How did they know to rob me though? How could they know.”
“How could they know what?” Donovan asked. Colin stopped moving and sighed. He sat down.
“I had forgotten it was Teddy’s party so when I came to the bar I was prepared to get trashed. You know I hate starting tabs so I brought enough cash to cover it, then I left Julian’s and went straight to Teddy’s after that girl so I barely spent anything.” He let his head rest in his hands. Damn it. No one could be trusted.
“Fuck.” Donovan said. “How much did they get?” Colin didn’t want to answer. He looked up, still shaking his head.
“About eight hundred or so.”
“Fuck,” Donovan repeated. They sat in silence for a while. Colin eventually sighed and stood up. He pushed all thoughts about how this was just another example of why women fucking sucked. He smiled a little. Damn bitches.
“It’s whatever dude. I’m gonna head home and take a shower. I’ll see you later.” Colin hit Donovan on the back and walked out the door.
A week later Colin pulled up in front of his favorite bar, needing a drink and a good lay. He parked his canary yellow Corvette and sent a text to Donovan telling him he was here. He got out of his car and stuck his new wallet in his back pocket.
“Derek! I had no idea you were coming tonight!” Colin almost turned around and got back in his car, than he realized that Meredith wasn’t even talking to him. She was talking to a man who just stepped out what looked like a brand new Mustang.
“Meredith. I didn’t know you came here.” The man shut the door to his car and started walking past her. “It was nice seeing you, I’m running late so I’ll see you later.” The man scooted past her and inside the bar.
“Alright Derek. Bye! Have fun! See you later!” She waved and waited a few seconds, staring at the door. She then pulled out her phone and started texting as she walked away. Colin scooted more in the shadows and watched Meredith suddenly walking in a more confident manner.
Colin frowned and wondered what it was about her that was so different and why he was interested. He watched as she walked up to a red Lamborghini and got in the driver’s seat. For about thirty seconds nothing happened then the car started and slowly reversed out of its space. Colin shook his head feeling stupid for standing there for that long and started walking away when Meredith peeled out, the noise made him glance back, one last time.
“Fuck,” was all he said.
“What?” Colin turned and saw Donovan had walked up behind him. “Who was in the Lamborghini?” he asked as he took a drink of the beer in his hand. Colin watched as the car quickly disappeared. He wasn’t angry. He had realized a long time ago every woman was a liar and a fake, this time was no different. He sighed as he finally replied to Donovan.
“Anna Bell Jefferies.”
Every day I’ll be posting. Short stories, poems, quotes, or even random Alice thoughts. If you have any questions, feel free to comment on any of my Go Ask Alice posts, including this one. My goal is to help people who need some advice, make someone feel better, or just write about something you want to hear about. So feel free to ask any questions about anything and if I can help or write about it, just let me know.
Alice is my way of getting out all these crazy thoughts inside my head. These lyrics and rhythms and words, and stories and day dreams and hopes….hope. Try to remember, if nothing else, that it will eventually get better. Even if it sucks now. And YOU are strong enough to get through anything. So stay strong, and if you feel weak, lean on friends, like me.
Have a great evening and remember, life is beautiful…
Just ask Alice