Helen Rigby's telephone on her nightstand rang, interrupting her reading time. After the third ring, she put down her copy of A Catcher in the Rye on the bed, leaving it open, before picking up the phone.
"Hello?" she said.
"Hey, Hilary," responded the nasal female voice coming from the phone’s end.
"Oh, sorry. It's Beth calling."
"From history class."
"Yeah, I know."
"Yeah, thank you for letting me borrow a pencil last class."
"No problem. How did you get this number?"
"Frank gave it to me."
"Friggin' Frank," Helen muttered.
"Nothing," Helen spoke up, tugging at the beanie covering half of her unbrushed hair.
Beth tittered. "Okay. So do you want to come to my party today? Like right now?"
"Um, I don't know. Maybe."
"Well, if you do decide to come, it's at my house, three doors down Berry Avenue. We're in the basement but my parents aren't home."
"Okay, Beth. I guess I'll see you later."
Helen put the phone back and picked up her Be Yourself, Stay Yourself bookmark from the nightstand. She stuck it between the pages of her book before closing it. She then leapt off the bed, put on her sneakers and headed out the open door.
Helen walked towards a closed door. She could hear nonstop giggling, from a woman and a man. Helen knocked on the door, ceasing the giggling. It did not take long for Helen's mom, wearing a periwinkle rayon robe, which she tried to tie closed, to open the door. Behind her on the king-sized bed was a shirtless, twentysomething man with his tan, muscular arms behind his head.
"Hi, honey," Helen's mom said in her sweet voice, brown ringlets falling before her left eye. "What's going on?"
"One of my classmates called and invited me to a party," Helen answered. "Can I go? It's, like, right now."
"Sure, sweetie. Now I can actually have some alone time with my friend."
"Have you met Ron?" Helen's mother gestured to the muscular fellow on her bed.
He smiled and waved at Helen. "Hi, I'm Ron," he said.
"Hello, Ron," Helen responded, feigning a smile.
"Have fun," her mom wished. "Stay there as long as you want."
She went back into the room and closed the door with the giggles resuming. Helen rolled her eyes before walking away from the door. She then entered the living room and grabbed the silver bicycle from the wall. Opening the door, she pulled the bike out and lined it up with the sidewalk. Helen closed the door before hopping on the peeling seat and pedaling into the empty street.
The sun was just about to hit the horizon when Helen rode past Berry Avenue. She counted the two-story houses until she found the third one. Helen noticed that the door was wide open and two other bicycles were leaning against the house. So she got off her bike and pushed it towards the others. She then entered the house, stepping into the living room.
"Hello?" she yelled.
The living room was drab, with peeling white walls and pale brown furniture. The soft carpet was covered in black and brown stains. Also, the smell was like pine cones and sour milk.
Helen could hear faint, 808-heavy music. She stepped into the dining room, then the kitchen. The smell of sour milk began to take over the pine cone smell. Then she noticed an open door, which led to stairs going downwards.
Helen sauntered down the wooden steps, blue light illuminating her clothes. The sparkly electronic music increased in volume; Helen couldn't even hear the stairs creak. When she met the bottom, Helen looked up to see the oodles of teenagers crowding the cerulean basement. Some were standing up, some were sitting down. After scanning the room for a few seconds, Beth Lisbon popped up in the corner of Helen's eye.
"Hi, friend!" the blonde girl greeted, her golden skin gleaming in the lights.
Helen flinched for a second. "Hey, Beth," she said.
"I'm glad you came. Welcome to Raven's Rave. Raven is my middle name. Oh, and I need to give you your pencil back."
She reached for the back pocket of her white short-shorts but Helen stopped her.
"That's okay," she said. "Keep it. So I've heard that word a lot but what exactly is a rave?"
"What you see right now." Beth gestured to the people. "But I like to think of it as the three D's: dancing, drinking and drugging. I've been thinking of a slogan for this. It goes, 'Promise not to tell.'"
Helen nodded. "Clever."
Beth squealed, leaping up and down. Her breasts were bouncing in her blue crop top with a sweetheart neckline. "I know. I love it. Now go have some fun."
"I don't think I know anyone here."
"Then mingle. I invited a lot of cool kids so be cool."
Beth patted Helen on the arm before walking away. Helen turned around and sighed heavily. She slowly walked deep into the basement, observing what she got herself into. Most of everyone had to be her age. If not, then a couple years older. All the kids dressed in leather jackets, clunky boots, tights, jean shorts, and many more. Some wore their hair out or in a mohawk. They were decorated with chains, studs, rings and black eyeliner. And some of them had visible piercings whether it was just a ring on one ear or multiple rings all over their faces. Some of them even had tattoos, little or more, big or small, on their necks or arms.
Some of the people standing up were dancing deep into the music, bouncing around and banging their heads. They had red cups in their hands, which were obviously filled with alcohol, judging by the pungent smell. The teenagers either drank from their cups or spilled them, accidentally or deliberately. And certain areas in the basement reeked of marijuana since some teens were holding smoking blunts between their fingers. Others were passing around little containers and popping the tablets inside like mints.
Half of the guests were paired off. If they weren't actual couples, they were just two strangers unconsciously hooking up, tangled up in heavy petting. The couples just chilling together were giving Helen dirty looks for looking at them. She couldn't help herself.
Later, Helen found herself on a couch between four unfamiliar faces. Two of them were guys, two of them were girls. On one end of the couch, a girl and a guy were making out. The same thing was happening on the other end. Their constant moving made it hard for Helen to move herself. Eventually, she brought her attention towards a lanky boy with a green mohawk and black, leathern clothing, holding a tiny tin box.
"Who wants some easy E?" he asked, offering to the people on the couch.
"I do!" one of the girls said after pulling away from her boyfriend, raising her hand.
The other couple broke away when they heard the girl. The boy with the mohawk opened the box and handed the tablets inside to the couple on the left side of the couch. The boy offered Helen a tablet, but she shook her head, flashing a polite smile. He then gave it to the girl next to Helen and another one to her boyfriend. Helen watched the teenagers take the drugs with no hesitation.
The couple on the left continued kissing, putting their hands in each other's pants. Helen looked away, only to see the boy next to her leaning towards her. She leaned back, rejecting him.
"Come on," he said with the several rings hooked into his bottom lip quivering. "Don't be shy."
"I'm not shy," Helen responded. "I just don't know you."
"Do you have to know me?"
The boy scoffed before going back to kiss the other girl by his side. Helen looked across the room, ignoring the couples at her sides. But as the guy with lip rings made out with his girl, he placed his hand on Helen's thigh, rubbing it in short strokes. Helen stared at his hand and immediately jumped up, breaking free from the hot and bothered teens. She tried to run away but she didn't want to bump into the big-breasted redhead in a yellow bikini, who was backing up.
"Body shots!" she yelled, throwing her smooth arms into the air.
She laid down on the coffee table in front of the couch. Helen watched a brunette with a bottle of vodka come over to the table and pour the vodka all over the redhead's flat belly. Then the brunette bent over and began licking it off the girl's body. Helen sprinted away, getting farther into the nearly packed basement.
She stopped when she stepped into an area with not as much people. She recognized the lanky guy with the green mohawk, who happened to still be passing out ecstasy. He offered one to a pale boy with long blond hair, who was sitting next to a girl with the same hair type.
"No, thanks," he rejected, blocking the view of the drug in the lanky guy's hand.
He then offered it to the blonde.
"No," she said softly, shaking her head.
"Your loss, squares," said the lanky guy before ingesting the drug himself.
He disappeared into the crowd as Helen approached the boy and girl.
"It's okay," she said to them. "You're not the only squares here." She put her hands in the pockets of her hoodie.
The blonde smiled weakly. The boy next to her just stared.
"Mind if I sit?" Helen asked.
"As long as you're sober," the blond guy replied.
Helen smiled before sitting in the space next to the girl on the sofa.
"I'm Helen," she introduced herself.
"I'm Jerry," the boy said. He was wearing a green sweatshirt, which matched his eyes. "This is Jocelyn."
Jocelyn had the same eyes and nose as Jerry. She also had on a white hoodie and blue Converse. "We're siblings," Jocelyn added.
"Fraternal twins," Jerry clarified.
"Nice," Helen said. "Is this your first time attending one of these?"
"Yeah," answered Jerry.
"Beth invited us," said Jocelyn, "so we came, wanting to see what a party like this was like."
"It's not as far as we thought it would be," Jerry admitted.
"Everything they're doing is practically illegal," Jocelyn spoke up. "If our mom caught us doing any of this, she would kill us."
"Besides, I rather stay at home and listen to my Gin Blossoms CDs."
Helen widened her eyes. "You like Gin Blossoms?" she asked. "I have some of their CDs, too."
"Cool. You're the first person I met that actually listens to real music... besides Jocelyn."
"Well, I'm into a lot of bands who are on the alternative side. Blind Melon, Stone Temple Pilots, Jane's Addiction..."
"Red Hot Chili Peppers?" Jocelyn added.
"Got all of their albums."
Jocelyn squealed. "I got every one except for Mother's Milk."
"Maybe someday, you can stop by and borrow mine."
"I would like that."
"Would you like to check out the music we have at our house, Helen?" asked Jerry.
"Sure," Helen answered. "Anything to get out of this wasteland."
"Awesome, let's get out of here."
Helen and the twins got up and walked together, forcing themselves through the flock of adolescents. They were eager to get out of the basement. However, they met a little obstacle when Helen bumped into a drunk Beth.
"Ellen!" Beth squealed, grinning.
"It's Helen," she corrected.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm going over a friend's house."
Beth crossed her baby blue eyes. "Why? Why are you leaving my rave?"
"It's just not for me, okay?"
"Come on. Don't you want to dance?" Beth stepped closer to Helen, spilling a little bit of her drink on her shoulder, staining her hoodie.
Helen stepped back a bit. "No, thanks," she said. "Thank you for inviting me but I'm definitely not coming back."
She walked around Beth and caught up with the twins.
After a week of friendship, Helen invited Jerry and Jocelyn over to her house. They chilled on the bed, listening to the Porno for Pyros CD playing from her stereo.
We'll make great pets
We'll make great pets
"Man, I love that song," confessed Jerry. "It's one of my favorite songs by them."
"Really?" asked Helen. "I really love that song, too."
"That's a deep one."
"Maybe I'm deep."
"Cute and deep."
Helen scrunched her forehead. "Cute?" she repeated.
Jerry raised his eyebrows. "Uh, cool. Cool, I meant. I meant to say, 'cool'. That's it."
Jocelyn smiled, whispering into Helen's ear, "Somebody likes you."
Helen looked at Jerry, who looked away. She looked back at Jocelyn, and they both snickered.
Soon, Helen's mom stopped by Helen's bedroom and knocked on the open door.
"Hello, honey," she said. "Hello, honey's friends."
The twins waved at Helen's tempting, robe-clad mother.
"What's going on?" Helen asked.
"How long are you and your friends planning to stay here?" her mother questioned. "Not that I'm kicking them out. I just wanted to know."
"We were actually going to go out to that diner across the street later."
"Oh, that's good because that will give me some alone time later with Jack."
"What happened to Ron?"
Helen shook her head. "Nevermind."
Her mother grinned. "Have fun, you guys."
In a little strut, Helen's mother vanished into the hallway.
"Wow," uttered Jerry. "Your mom is so--"
"Promiscuous," Helen finished for him. "I know that's not what you wanted to say but yeah. She's been like that ever since Dad went away. I'm sure it is part of the 'healing process'. And I don't expect any of her 'friends' to become my dad anytime soon."
"Does it bother you?" Jocelyn asked.
"It did at first. Now I'm just used to it. She can't heal forever, you know."
"Thank you, Joss. So shall we go now?"
"Yeah," responded Jerry. "The sooner, the best."
The trio bounced themselves off the bed and sprinted into the living room. They left out the house and grabbed their bicycles, hopping onto the seats.
"You ready?" Jerry asked Helen.
"I'm always ready," she replied with a smile, balancing her bike.
She rode into the street with her friends following. They bicycled in the most perfect manner through the shining afternoon with nothing but unity guarding them.