Even though I was barely wearing anything at all, I was sweating bullets when Maria drove us both to Frank's house.
My morning at Barnes and Noble could've gone better than what I got. Let's just say Emily was surprised.
"Oh my gosh, Vee! What happened? Was there an accident with your shampoo and lawn mower?"
"No," I said with a small laugh. "Maria did it."
"Well what was she thinking?"
"You don't like it?"
I couldn't agree with Emily entirely. I had started to like my new haircut that morning. I couldn't stop looking at it or touching it, and I had a nice movement when I would turn my head. What did Emily know?
That afternoon I made another trip to Maria's house to get ready for Frank's birthday party. She made me put on the outfit we had agreed on and then she sat me down to do her magic on my make-up.
"So are you ready for tonight?" She asked applying foundation to my face.
"I guess," I sighed, not really sure I could express all my emotions right now.
"Well you have had...you know before? Haven't you?" Maria asked sensing my tone.
"Um...," Okay I was getting uncomfortable. "Not exactly."
Maria looked at me and sat down the eyeliner. "Don't worry about it Vee," she said reassuringly. "Just be confident. Guys like that, but also let him have some control because dominance could turn him off, but also try not to be passive..."
Okay I didn't even plan to do anything and I was already sweating with nervousness.
Maria saw my expression and stopped talking. She smiled and picked up the mascara. "You'll be fine."
I'm really not okay!
The product that had come out of Maria's efforts was amazing! I couldn't believe how I looked. I couldn't believe it was me! Maria had darkened my eyes with eyeliner and at the same time made them shine with the shades of red eye shadow. It matched perfectly with my top. Also she insisted I apply a shiner to my legs and arms which made them look even toned and sparkle.
Even though I was barely wearing anything at all, I was sweating bullets when Maria drove us both to Frank's house.
"Relax," she commanded noticing my bouncing limbs. I grabbed my legs to stop the shaking and gave a small smile at Maria. "You have to appear calm and confident when he first sees you," Maria went on. "That means no fidgeting!" I laid my hands back on my legs.
I had been to Frank's house numerous times now but it didn't quite look the same with people over-flowing out of it.
Maria got out of the car with grace and poise and put on a smile as we walked towards the house. I almost fell...twice. I heard the speakers emitting Bouncing Souls (Frank's favorite band) as we went through the front door. Three-fourths of the people occupying the house I didn't know and the other one-fourth were people I had met once or twice.
"C'mon," Maria yelled in my ear. She grabbed my hand and pulled me downstairs. It was a lot quieter in the basement and only a few people were there, two of them being Bob and Gerard who occupied the corner bar.
"Maria! My sex kitten, get over here," Gerard called right away.
Maria smiled and walked over to the boys. I followed making sure to scan the room for Frank. I wanted to see his face when he first saw me. He wasn't there.
Maria jumped into Gerard's arms and kissed him quickly on the lips. Bob stood to the side eyeing the odd friends. I positioned myself behind Maria trying to figure out what to do with my hands. They wouldn't stop twitching at my side. Maria and Gerard had moved onto a public make out session and Bob's attention turned to me.
"Gosh, Vee?" He exclaimed setting down his beverage and coming out from behind the bar. "Is that you?"
I couldn't help but smile.
Bob's outburst had grabbed the attention of Gerard too and he sat Maria down.
"Vee...you're looking hot!" Gerard remarked looking me up and down.
I smiled again and felt the burn of my cheeks from his comment.
"Why thank you," Maria shot in, smiling at me like I was a successful masterpiece.
"Um...I said Vee," Gerard said checking a sideways glace towards Maria.
Maria put on a hurt look and slapped Gerard across the chest.
"Maria did it all," I clarified.
"Well Frank is gonna love it," Gerard smiled.
I smiled too and felt a tingle shoot through my body.
"Speaking of Frank," Maria said looking around. "Where is he?"
"Oh he went outside 'bout 15 minutes ago," Bob answered taking up his drink again. "to have a smoke, I think."
"We should go find him," Maria said nodding towards me.
"Wait...have a drink first," Gerard said stopping us. Before we could object he had poured both of us shots and was pushing them in our direction. Maria agreed and took the drink. I followed knowing it would calm my nerves.
One drink turned into eight and before I knew it I was stumbling around trying to locate the bathroom. I found myself upstairs rocking back and forth down the hall when I ran into Mikey.
"Mikey," I exclaimed for some reason feeling glad I had bumped into someone I knew.
"Vee?!?....Wow!" He said as I tried to focus his face. "What happened to you?"
"What happened to me? What happened to you?" I didn’t know what I was saying. "I was just downstairs and now I'm here. That's what happened."
Mikey laughed and caught my hand as I fell towards the wall. "Vee are you drunk?"
"Are you drunk?"
"Well there you go." Mikey laughed again and helped me stable myself. Suddenly I remembered my bladder issue. "Wow Mikey, I'd love to stay and chat but I need to pee really badly," I said patting him on the shoulder. "I'll see you later."
"Later Vee," he said still smiling.
I continued on my mission and 5 minutes later I felt relieved coming out of the bathroom. I stabled myself and walked back out into the living room. I needed to find Frank. This was his party and I hadn’t even seen him yet.
"Frank's always smoking," I concurred with myself. "I'll try out back."
I walked out into the cold October night to find a mob of guys stationed in a circle smoking. I scanned for Frank but didn't see him. I walked closer and hugged myself to stay warm.
"Excuse me good sirs," I announced barging into their circle. "Have any of you seen Frank Iero?"
All the guys towered over me like skyscrapers but I didn't care. I just wanted to find Frank.
One boy with bleach blonde hair and blue eyes spoke. "Not since an hour ago sweetheart."
"Well do you know where he is?"
"Nope," he said taking a drag from his cigarette.
I sighed and swayed a little. "Thanks," I said before preparing to walk back inside. I was stopped though by an outstretched hand.
"You look cold," remarked the boy. "Take a puff of this."
I stared at the cigarette he was offering and shook my head. "I don't smoke," I said.
"Yeah neither do I," the boy laughed. "Don't worry sweetheart, you won't get addicted to this stuff."
Why did he keep calling me sweetheart? And why was everyone staring at me? I breathed in the fumes and took the cigarette from the boy. "It's Vee, not sweetheart," I said before bringing the stick to my lips. The boy smiled as I took my first inhale. It stung a bit going down my throat and I coughed. Feeling my eyes water I looked up at the boy who was laughing.
"Too much for you Vee?" He asked putting emphasize on my name.
"No!" I said still coughing. "I'm just choking on the fresh air." All the guys around me laughed in an up roar.
"Take another hit Vee," one guy egged on.
I smiled and sucked on the white stick again. This time I didn’t cough but my throat still stung. Before long I was laughing along with all the guys as I tried to make jokes. "Okay here's on," I announced. "Two snakes are slithering in the grass and one says to the other 'hey it's Wednesday'." Everyone roared with laughter. Over what? I had no clue.
My laughter stopped suddenly. I recognized that voice. I poked my head in a gap between two guys and saw Frank standing there looking...well, blurry.
"Frankie!" I exclaimed running towards him and giving him a hug. "I was looking everywhere for you."
"I was looking for you."
I heard the surprise in his voice, but I didn't register it. I had suddenly felt the cold again and began to shiver (or maybe it was because Frank was still holding me).
"C'mon let's go inside," Frank suggested.
"Absolutely," I agreed following him. "Bye guys," I called to my new friends.
It seemed that quite a few people had left the party as Frank and I entered the house. It was a mess though, with abandoned drinks and trash scattered about. A few people were watching videos on the TV but mainly the room was deserted.
"Make some friends Vee?" Frank asked smiling at me. "You sure pick the good crowd."
"I thought they were very nice," I said putting up a fight for my new friends.
Frank laughed and walked into the kitchen. "Just don't get attached to the stuff," he said. "It costs a fortune."
"Cigarettes?" I was confused.
"Cigarettes?" Frank laughed again and stared at me. "Vee, I'm talking about marijuana."
"Marijuana? But..." Oh shit! "That was marijuana?
Frank found this very amusing and started to laugh again.
"Frank now I have THC in me," I exclaimed. "It will kill all my brain cells and I'll be stupid...stupid and a stoner."
"Relax Vee, it was one time," Frank gasped controlling his laughter.
"Don't laugh!" I commanded, but it was no use.
Frank shook his head and walked over to the table. "Well, wow Vee," Frank said taking a seat.
"You like it?" I asked taking a spin and then choosing to sit down opposite Frank.
"It's alright," Frank said looking away and starting to stack up empty beer cans.
I smiled and nudged Frank's knee. "You like it, don't cha?"
"You look fine."
"Frank, I know you want to say I look hot."
Frank scoffed and finally turned to look at me.
"You can say it," I teased.
"Fine, you look hot, okay?"
I smiled in triumph and got up to take a seat on Frank's lap. Frank looked a little taken back but didn't move. "Do I make you nervous Iero?" I whispered looking into his hazel eyes.
Frank looked at me and I could tell he was trying to read me. I didn't give him a chance though because I kissed him. It wasn't like I had planned the whole move; the way I had actually cornered Frank Iero. I wasn't the one to charm, to hex but something about how burnt up he tasted made me fall more. Yeah fall, right out of his lap and onto the floor.
"Vee," Frank gasped jumping up to help me off the floor. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," I said sitting up. "I'm just a little light headed."
"Lay off the drugs Vee."
I slapped him on the head for that one. Frank laughed and pulled me up next to him. I guess I didn't know what to do next. I had just kissed him, kissed Frank Iero? I didn't like him…but I did.
"Frankie," I whispered wrapping my arms around his neck. "Can I give you my present now?"
"What is it?" He asked looking at me with apprehension.
"Come to the bedroom and I'll show you," I whispered leaning in to give him another kiss. His touch was delicate and soft and I barely felt it when he pulled away.
"Vee, maybe I should take you home."
"You're clearly not thinking straight," Frank reasoned unclamping my arms from his neck.
What was happening? 'It's what every guy wants.' Maria's voice shot in my head. Why didn't Frank want it? It was me. I know it was me. He doesn't like you Vee! But why?
"Vee," Frank was saying. He held my hands in his staring at me with concern or was it disgust.
"I'm gonna be sick," I said ripping away. I ran out the front door and into the street where I puked until I was too weak to stand. Then I collapsed. I remember waking up briefly when Frank took me to Maria's car. I remember him stroking my hair as we raced down the street. I remember him bringing me to my room and pulling the covers around me. I remember him putting water by my bedside and whispering goodnight. I remember it all, but in the morning all I will do is deny.