So, I had to write a short story for one of my uni classes and I thought it would be fun to share it here, just for something a little bit different. I have to write another one for the same class, so if you would like me to post that one as well, let me know!
I hope you enjoy reading it as I’m pretty proud of how it turned out, especially since it’s my first time writing a short story. Once I finished, I kind of wanted to make it into a novel so I could go more in-depth with the characters and their back stories, which I found difficult to do with a word limit.
Constructive criticism is more than welcome, so if you have any tips on writing or ways I could improve feel free to say so!
I really hate parties. It doesn’t matter what’s being celebrated or whose party it may be, I can’t stand them. I know it’s strange, trust me I’m told almost every day. What on earth could be so horrible about parties, right? How could I possibly hate parties so much that I refuse to go? All you need to know is a stupid high school party and a stupid boy are at fault here. When I put it like that, it sounds like I’m being over dramatic but I assure you it’s not as simple as it sounds.
So, yes, I really dislike parties. Which leads me to question how the hell my best friend, Georgia, conned me into being here at her twenty-first birthday party. I guess when your best friend of six years tells you that you have to be at her very special night you kind of have to oblige. It also helps when she threatens to kick you out of the apartment the two of you share, though she may have only been joking about that.
“You don’t have to look so miserable, Skye,” Georgia sighs as she stops beside me to refill her drink.
She’s careful pouring the red liquor, keeping her white dress as far from the cup as possible. She turns her attention to me once she’s finished and takes a sip, which leaves a red lipstick stain around the rim of the glass. I admit, I haven’t really been the most joyous guest tonight, but at least I wasn’t sulking in my bedroom, drinking my misery away or trying to ruin her night.
“Hey, I’m here, aren’t I?” I give her a smile, hoping it looks somewhat genuine.
“Yes, and I’m very glad you are,” she says, “but it wouldn’t kill you to at least try and have a good time, would it?”
She doesn’t know the whole story as to why I hate parties so much. Nobody knows the full story except the stupid boy, and me, though that doesn’t stop people from trying to guess what happened.
I let out a sigh, giving in to her request. It shouldn’t be too hard to at least look like I’m enjoying myself. She pulls me into a hug, careful not to pour her drink over either of us before prancing off to mingle with some of her other guests.
The living room is just beginning to fill. The crowd is full of people I have only met once or twice; their names buried too deep in my mind to bother with conversation. The music has been turned up slightly, and although Georgia went and told the old couple next door about the party, I know they’ll still come over later to complain. I turn my attention to the table behind me and contemplate whether to get another glass of wine. I can already feel the slight buzz and warmth from the previous two drinks. I’m not a huge fan of drinking anymore but tonight I needed to relax. I find myself filling up another cup, really just to give me something to do while I figure out who to talk to. I can’t just follow Georgia around all night, but it would help if she invited people I actually know.
Damn, Skye, I think to myself, you’re acting like a real bitch tonight.
I try to shake off my negativity and force my aching feet into the crowd. Damn these new high heels. I manage to find a girl who went to our high school, though from what I can remember she was never great at keeping a conversation and after a few minutes of small talk the conversation drops off. I look around and try to spot Georgia through the growing crowd to give me an escape.
And that’s when I see him.
He seems to notice me at the same time, and I can’t keep the shock from showing on my face. He looks as though he’s been searching for someone. Searching for me?
I can’t believe it. She actually invited him? Him?
She doesn’t know, I remind myself, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. She probably thought I’d be ecstatic to see him again after all these years and wanted to surprise me. After that party, she constantly nagged me for details of that night, but I refused to say a word.
He starts to move through the crowd towards me and I quickly excuse myself from ‘Awkward High-School Girl’ and try to squeeze my way towards the front door.
I fumble through my purse for my phone, intent on texting Georgia to tell her I have to leave. She’s going to be pissed, but I will explain it later. I will tell her everything, but not now.
I reach the door just as I send the message. I’m ready to kick my stiletto heels off and make a run for it, but when I look up he’s standing in front of me, blocking me from the door. I spin on my heel and try to head towards my bedroom instead but he grabs my arm and spins me back towards him.
“Skye.” His voice brings me back to that night at the stupid party. We haven’t spoken, haven’t even seen each other since that night. He practically disappeared. Didn’t show up at school, didn’t answer anyone’s calls. I didn’t try to call him; I didn’t care where he had gone.
I shake my head before the memories start to form in my mind.
I can’t do this.
I can’t do this.
“Skye, please,” he begs.
I hear it in his voice, the need, the sorrow, but mostly the guilt. I feel my heart sink, a small part of my mind wanting to give him a chance to explain himself and believe that he might actually regret that night.
“Please let me explain,” he tries again, his green eyes pleading with mine.
Finally finding my voice, I choke, “I’m sorry, Aiden, I-I can’t do this.”
His grip on my arm loosens, and I use the opportunity to break free from his grasp and slip past him and out the door. The cold air slams into me, sending my body into a brief state of shock. I try to run, though it proves extremely difficult with the cold, not to mention the high heels making my feet ache. He catches up to me in a matter of seconds, but I keep going down the footpath.
“Skye, just give me a chance to explain,” he pleads from behind me, “please”.
I don’t know what makes me turn around, but I do. He seems almost as shocked as I am that my stubborn-arse actually listened. Maybe it’s finally time to hear his excuse. It won’t change what happened that night, nothing will, but maybe it’ll help me finally move on from this.
He stares at me as though he’s waiting for me to push him away again, waiting for me to scream and possibly punch him in the face. I’ve thought about doing all of those things countless times, but right now I don’t know how to feel.
“Well, go on then,” I say as I wrap my arms around myself in an attempt to keep my body warm. Aiden notices my shivering and begins to take his suit jacket off but I stop him with a laugh.
“Don’t try to be a gentleman now.” My voice sounds harsh even to my own ears and causes him to flinch.
I can’t help but feel a slight satisfaction at his reaction, though it’s only short-lived. He takes a step closer, and I can’t help but take him in. He looks mostly the same as the last time I saw him, though his hair is shorter and suits him a lot more than his high school ‘do. He’s a little taller and has filled out quite a bit; the scrawny teenager that I loved now long gone.
That’s when the memory from that night comes rushing back to the surface.
I admit that we both had way too much to drink that night. It was well past midnight and the party had gotten out of control and Aiden and I were ready to leave. We decided to go out the front of the house to get some fresh air and a bit of peace and quiet. I don’t remember getting in the car, or who’s car it was. Neither of us were in any state to drive. I curse my younger self for getting in that car every single time I look in the mirror and see the long, purple scar that runs from my sternum to my hip. It is a constant reminder of a night I have forever since been trying to forget.
The rest of the night I could only remember in flashes. Aiden making me laugh at one of his stupid jokes. His hand reaching over and running up my exposed thigh. The moment I realised I had fallen for my best friend. The blinding white light from the car that Aiden had veered in front of. The excruciating pain in my abdomen. But the last thing I remember was Aiden crawling out of the car and stumbling away before I blacked out and woke up in a hospital bed two days later.
Everybody knew about the crash, and about my time in hospital. I was told that the other car collided into the passenger side where I was sitting and it was so bad that they had to cut the car around me to get my injured body out. I was lucky to be alive, the doctors told me. The driver’s side of the car was surprisingly intact, making it possible for Aiden to escape with no serious injuries. Nobody knew he was driving. I refused to tell, a part of me unable to let him take the blame for it. Of course, that didn’t mean I didn’t blame him for what happened. He is the reason I can’t stand parties and drinking because no matter whose party it is or how many times I try, all I can think of is the crash and Aiden leaving me behind in the ruins.
“I’m so sorry, Skye,” he says now, his hands running through his hair.
“Aiden, no matter what your excuse is from that night,” I build up the courage to finally say the words, but all I manage is a whisper, “you left me for dead.”
He goes to say something but stops himself. Tears are running down my cheeks now, ruining my make-up and blurring my vision.
“I-I never intended to leave you,” he stutters.
I take a deep breath and then another. After four years I still wasn’t prepared to have this conversation, and I definitely didn’t think I’d end up crying when it came down to it.
He continues before I have the chance to reply, “I know no amount of sorry will take back my stupidity or what I’ve done to you. I know that. But I need you to know that I didn’t run away and leave you.”
I almost laugh but the look on his face stops me.
“I went to get help,” he chokes out, his voice barely a whisper.
Tears are streaming down his face. He takes a deep breath in an attempt to steady his breathing. I can’t move. I can’t speak. I stand there before him, waiting for him to continue and hoping that it will fill in the blanks in my memory.
“I headed back to the party as fast as I could to try and get someone to help. My phone was dead and I couldn’t find yours in the mess.” He looks away and whispers, “I tried so hard to wake you up.”
A sob escapes my throat. My hand manages to find the raised skin of the scar on my stomach, even through the fabric of my dress, as it begins to tingle, as though it remembers the pain of that night.
“I could see your chest moving so I knew you were alive, but by the time I made it back to the house and called the ambulance, and well when I got back to the car you were already gone.”
He looks back at me briefly, his eyes shining with tears, before he looks away again.
“There were people everywhere.” He sighs. “I just wanted to find you and make sure you were okay, but I-I panicked.”
He’s fidgeting now, unable to keep himself still or look me in the eye.
“I knew it was all my fault. I was the one that should’ve been injured, not you, and I’ll never forgive myself for that.”
He finally looks up at me, and I see that he’s waiting for me to speak. I can’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling. Shock? Guilt? Heartbreak?
“Why didn’t you visit?” I whisper as the tears multiply. “Why did you disappear?”
I’ve been dying to say those words for years and now they are finally out in the open, waiting for an answer.
“I couldn’t face what I’d done,” he says as he looks at his feet in shame. “Once I knew you were okay, I left. I didn’t want you to forgive me, and I felt it would be easier for you if I left town rather than be a constant reminder of that night.”
He takes a step closer, close enough that I can feel the heat radiating from his body despite the chill in the air.
“I know I messed up and I know I haven’t made the best choices. But when Georgia invited me tonight, I knew I had to come. Despite what I did and said, I needed to see you.”
I take a deep breath and wipe the tears from my cheeks. I look at him, really look at him, and I see the best friend I used to have. The boy I fell so hard for. I place my hands in his, which takes him by surprise. Years of anger and suffering vanish, and I know that what I say next is what I need to say and what he needs to hear.
“I forgive you, Aiden.” I feel the weight lift from my shoulders, a pressure I hadn’t known was weighing me down until now. He smiles through tears and I can’t help but smile, too.
“I forgive you.”
I hope you enjoyed, and if you did let me know!
Until next time,