Kriya stared at her textbook, reading the tiny lines of writing but understanding nothing. She yawned and blinked a few times. Sitting up straight, she shifted around in the uncomfortable chair, tapping her foot on the carpeted floor.
Lifting the book off the table, she brought it closer to her, letting out a loud exhale. She attempted to read the same sentence again, for about the tenth time.
The sudden, loud vibration from her phone and the quiet ping that followed made her look up quickly.
Oh thank God, she thought, dropping the book with a thud and reaching for her phone. It pinged three more times. A boy on the opposite side of the table looked up, glaring.
“Sorry,” she mouthed. He rolled his eyes, letting out an audible “ugh”. Shaking his head, he bent it back over his textbook. Kriya shrugged, pressing down the side button to switch into silent mode.
She tapped on the messages impatiently. It was the group text.
Priya: Heyyyy. What time are we meeting tonight? 🙋♀️
Owen: What’s up 😜
Owen: For the party?? 🥳
Jared: We said 8 at my place?? 🤔
Jared: I mean it’s closer for everyone so…
Kriya typed: I’m cool with that 👍 but isn’t 8 a bit late??? I mean the party’s at like 6 🤔
Owen: Am good with going to J’s 👍
Priya: Me too 👍 👍
Priya: We can’t go there at 6 Kri omg 🤭
Owen: Yeah Kri we gotta pre-game 🍻
Kriya blinked. Straight-faced she replied:
Jared: We can pre-game on the way there….my parents are gonna be home dummies!!!
Owen: They know we’re going to a party J… 🤷♂️
Priya: Kri, can you lend me your navy blue skirt? With the zippers?
Jared: I didn’t tell them we were going to a party idiot 🤦♂️
Owen: Ahh well they’re gonna find out when we get there turned up!
Kriya: What skirt?
P: the navy one, with the zips all over?? You wore it last week to the movies? 👆
J: O, I’m serious! No turning up…my parents will freak the fuck out!
Kriya: Ohh right, sorry it’s in the wash 🙏 I could lend you another one?
Owen: Surrreeee 😉
Jared: O ffs, I’m not kidding!! I swear to God…
Owen: Chill bro!!! We have to look after the girls anyway am I right?
Kriya let out a quiet exhale.
Kriya: Look after who now??? It’s always us looking after you idiots 🤬
Priya: Ah, okay maybe your yellow belt? The one you wore on Monday?
Kriya tapped her foot impatiently on the carpet:
Kriya: Yellow belt? 🤔
Owen: lmao girl we’re not the ones getting cornered by guys…
Jared: Wouldn’t mind if that happened to me once in a while 😏
Kriya paused. A private message from Owen popped up. She tapped it open and leaned forward.
Owen: Do you mind riding with me tonight? I wanna take my car…
Kriya frowned. She left him on read for a second, switching back to the group chat.
Jared: Speaking of….I heard Henry Lang is coming…alone…
Priya: oohhhhh 😏
Jared: Yeah apparently he and Vic broke up
Kriya: What omg 😮
Jared: yep 😀
Jared: You know what that means…
J: 🍆 💦
Kriya let out an involuntary laugh, covering her mouth quickly. She felt library boy look up at her again, but she ignored him.
Owen: Helloooo? Kriya?
Kriya switched over to Owen’s message.
Kriya: Sorry, yeah sure we can go together, why though?
Owen: Cool thanks!!! 👍
Owen: Ahh I’ll tell ya later lol
Kriya frowned, typing slowly.
Kriya: Okay 👍
Sliding back to the group chat, she exhaled impatiently at Priya’s message as it popped up:
Priya: Kriya, your belt? You gonna lend it to me or not?
Jared: O, you can park your car at my place, my parents said it’s okay 👍
Owen: Was thinking of driving it to Marcus’s though
Kriya: I don’t know where it is, sorry P 🙏
Jared: Why? We’re taking my car? 🤔
Priya: Ah okay thanks anyway ✌️
Owen: Idk was just thinking if we need to leave early or something
A new private message popped up at the top of the screen, this time from Jared:
Jared: Hey love
Jared: What is O even talking about??
Texts continued in the group chat:
Owen: I mean I’m fine with one car but let’s see how it goes yeah 🤷♂️
Priya: Kri, can I come to your place to get ready?
Kriya inhaled and exhaled quickly, her fingers flying over the letters, tapping the screen hard as she replied:
Kriya: I thought we were going to J’s house to get ready? I’m bringing a suitcase 😉
Jared: Girl, excuse me? 🤨
Owen: Ayy I wouldn’t mind getting ready at your place, I told my parents we’re sleeping over there anyways
Jared: You little…🐶
Priya: So we’re getting ready at J’s then?? Kri can I still meet you at your place and we’ll go together yeah?
Owen: Ahhhh come on man…
Kriya’s eyes flicked up, as another message from Jared appeared.
Jared: Girl, are you seeing this?? Like what is with him?
She paused, thoughtfully.
Kriya: What do you mean??
Jared: Dude, he’s being a dick to me right now and I don’t get why??
Kriya shifted uncomfortably. Going back to the group chat, she glared at Priya’s message.
Kriya: I’m at the library, going to J’s straight from here.
Owen: You’re still at school?? 😯
Priya: Ohhhh kayyy then
Jared: Kri are you studying for a test we don’t know about…again??
Kriya: 😆 maybe…
Priya: Did you bring a change of clothes to school then?
Kriya switched back to Jared’s texts impatiently, replying:
She hesistated, biting her lip.
Jared: Like I don’t understand what I did to him.
Jared: Actually…. It’s been like this ever since I came out…
Kriya’s eyes widened slightly. She switched back to the group chat.
Kriya: Nah I didn’t…
Owen: I’m leaving work in like 30 mins, I can pick you up Kri? Gotta pass school again anyways
Priya: Can you fetch me too, pleasseee? 🙏
Kriya let out a breath between clenched teeth.
Jared: Y’all better be on time tonight 😤
Owen: Relax old man 👴
Owen: Promise we’ll be there at 9….
Jared: 8!!!!! 😤
Kriya: Nah I’m good O, my bro’s picking me up
Jared: Guys my mom wants to know if you’d like snacks 🙄
Owen: Yes pleassee…what’s for dinner?
Jared: SNACKS not dinner 🙅♂️
Priya: Kri, can I meet you at school?
Priya: And we can go to your place, then go to J’s??
Kriya put her tongue between her teeth, pressing down firmly. She looked up from her phone, exhaling. A vibration made her glance back down.
Jared: Okay and P is like obsessed with you today??
Kriya: Dude omfg I know right 🙄
Jared: What’s that about??
Kriya paused. She tapped idly without typing. She glanced at the time in the corner of the screen. Locking her phone, she set it down on the table.
She started packing, throwing things haphazardly into her pencil case. Dragging her open backpack towards her, she tossed it in. Her phone vibrated noisily again. She sighed and reached for it, scrolling to catch up:
Owen: Guys some of the soccer dudes are saying that some LHS peeps are coming tonight 🤔
Owen: Marcus probably knows them from lacrosse 🤷♂️
Priya: Ohhh…you think he invited their team??
Owen: Probably 🤷♂️
Jared: Lacrosse boysss 😍
A message from Owen popped up.
Owen: I don’t even think I wanna meet at J’s place now…
Kriya: Why not??
Kriya switched back to the group chat.
Kriya: I know some LHS guys too….wonder if anyone I know will be there? 🤓
Priya: Omg really? How do you know them?
Owen: Your bro??
Jared: Debate or…?
Kriya: Yep yep 😄 ✔️✔️ Met some of them at debate
Kriya: Doubt my bro’s friends will be there lol, they’re older than Marcus
Jared: Everyone knows Marcus though…cause he fine 🤤
Owen: They know him cause of sports though…
Priya: Maybe some older guys will come though… 😊
Owen: You know that anything you do with them is illegal right???
P: What is that supposed to mean?? 😳 I’m totally innocent sir…. 😇
Kriya rolled her eyes. She tapped on a new message from Owen.
Owen: What do you think?
Kriya: We should probably go to J’s….
A new message from Jared popped up.
Jared: Okay so, like maybe I’m overreacting cause looks like he’s being a dick to P too 🤷♂️
Kriya: Yeah lol looks like it 🤷♀️
Jared: You’re the only one he’s being nice to…as usual 😭
Kriya stared at that text, lowering her phone a bit. She slumped back, biting her lip. Staring ahead, her heart did that uncomfortable beat that it had recently started doing whenever she heard things like:
“He’s always nice to you”
“He never says 'no' to you”
“Hey, wanna hang out, like…just us?”
She blinked a few times and set her phone down on the table. She shut her biology textbook a little too roughly, slamming the hardcover down with a loud thud that echoed in the small space.
Library Boy raised his head slowly, eyes shut. He opened them dramatically, glaring and questioning.
Kriya raised her hands up and pressed her palms together apologetically, bowing her head. Library Boy scoffed and stood up impatiently, sliding his chair over the floor. He grabbed his water bottle huffily, gave her one last hit of uncomfortable eye contact, then spun around and walked away.
Kriya rolled her eyes so hard, she winced. Glancing at the time on her screen, she packed her books into her bag and stood up hastily. As she headed out of the library, she opened up a new text message to her brother:
Kriya: Hari I’m done. Where are you?
She blinked as she saw a message from the group text, hastily tapping to open it.
Jared: P omg….WHAT did you just post on Insta??
Priya: 🤔 Why?? Omg is it one of my nudes?? 🙆
Jared: OMG 😂 😂 😂
Owen: LMAO 😂 😂 😂
Owen: Is it though??
Kriya's heart pounded, she blinked rapidly. Scrolling over to Instagram, she tapped to open the app hastily. Flicking until she came to Priya’s post, she paused. It wasn’t a nude, but it may as well have been.
Priya’s face was in a perfect pout, her long hair done up in sleek pigtails. She was wearing a leopard print bralette, clearly visible under her sheer white vest. She’d taken the selfie from the top, so you could see her thighs spread out under her. They were bare.
The more she stared, the more hot Kriya felt, but she couldn’t look away. She pushed open the library door with her shoulders, her face still stuck to her phone. Walking blindly, she bumped into someone painfully.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry,” Kriya said automatically, rubbing her shoulders and looking up. “Marcus?”
“You okay? I think your face hit my shoulder,” he said stepping in closer. Kriya stepped back awkwardly.
“Yeah I’m all good, thanks!” she replied quickly, her voice rising an octave. She flushed.
“Okay then,” he said stepping back, grinning slightly. “Hey, you coming to my party tonight?”
Kriya nodded. “Yep…me, Owen, Jared and...Priya.”
“Good stuff, good stuff, hey,” he said, his brown eyes lighting up suddenly. “I don’t know if you heard, but some peeps from LHS are coming too.”
“Oh yeah, I did hear-”
“Yeah, some of the lacrosse squad, even the debate team. I think some of the seniors may drop in,” he said nodding excitedly. It was infectious. Kriya started nodding back too, eyes widening crazily.
“Sounds awesome!” she replied, smiling unnaturally.
“Yeah it’s gonna be dope! See you there Kri-Kri,” he raised his hand for a high-five.
He was so tall that Kriya had to stand on her tip-toes to graze her sweaty palm against his. Before anything more awkward could happen, some jocks from lacrosse slid up excitedly next to them, pushing her to the side.
“Marcus, Marcus, holy shit bro, that new girl just posted a hot ass selfie on Insta!” they clamoured around him, forcing Kriya to step backwards.
“Oh for real?– oh my God! Damn!” Marcus was inhaling the screen, his hands grabbing the phone, eyes unblinking as he stared.
Kriya turned, walking away hurriedly. She unlocked her phone and closed Instagram, sliding it away forcefully. She opened her texts, scrolling down to Owen.
She tapped and started typing, quickly and furiously:
Kriya: Hey you know what? Maybe we can just go straight to the party yeah?
She walked down the stairs fast, breathing in and out heavily. Switching to her brother’s text, she opened his message:
Hari: Just finished practice, be there in 15.
The group text was blowing up in the background, but Kriya resisted the urge to look, stiffening her fingers. Owen responded:
Owen: Omg thank youuuu 😭
Owen: Who’s gonna tell J?
Kriya stopped walking. She looked out at the parking lot and then flicked her eyes back to her phone.
Kriya: I’ll tell him, don’t worry. But just act like we’re all still meeting at his place. I’ll just make an excuse or something idk...
Owen: Genius!!! 😂
Owen: Cool, so…can I pick you up at your place?
Kriya gritted her teeth, typing each letter slowly.
Owen: Awesome sauce 👍
She sighed wearily and switched to Jared.
Jared: OMG please tell me you checked Insta??
Jared: Kri this girl is crazy, can you believe her??
Kriya gripped her phone tightly.
Kriya: yeah I saw lol 😂
Kriya: Listen I might be a little late after all, something came up….
A loud series of knocks dragged Kriya out of a deep sleep.
She opened her eyes slowly. Darkness. What time is it?
“Kri I’m coming in,” her brother called warningly. She heard the door slide open, as he entered. She heard him close it quietly.
“What time is it?” Kriya mumbled. The words were barely spoken, her tongue was a cotton wad sitting uncomfortably in her dry mouth.
“Almost 6:30,” her brother replied, setting something down on the side table. He reached over and turned the lamp on. The sudden brightness flashed onto Kriya’s eyes painfully, she winced and blinked.
“In the morning? What the fu-”
“Uh it’s 6:30 PM, Kri, as in Saturday night.”
Kriya sat up slowly. Her arms and neck felt stiff, her hair felt dirty and tangled. As she processed her brother’s words, he sat on the bed opening a bottle of aspirin.
“Take this, you’ll feel better,” he handed her a pill and she reached for it, still dazed and confused. He picked up a tall glass of water from the side table and put it in her hands, like he used to when she was a child.
She popped the pill, taking a sip. And then she drank, almost swallowing the glass.
“Sheesh,” her brother muttered in awe, taking the empty glass from her. He got up slowly, walking to the bathroom. Her mind was working slowly, piecing together her surroundings, the information she was receiving at that moment – and then – the events of the night before.
“Hari,” she called holding her head, aching painfully as the recollections downloaded all at once. “Hari what the fuck happened last night?”
Her brother strode out of the bathroom, a full glass of water in his hands. He offered it to her from the edge of her bed, she moved quickly to accept it despite a full body ache.
“You got super wasted, that’s what happened,” he replied.
Kriya tipped the glass into her mouth, spilling some water down the sides. She kept drinking and then handed it back to him, wiping her face with her palms.
“Okay…I…I think I remember?” For the first time since he entered her room, she looked at her big brother’s face.
He was staring at her expectantly. New feelings washed over her now: shame and guilt. She turned her face away from him and blinked rapidly.
“There was a….a fight I think,” she paused. “I…I called you to come pick me up?” she glanced at him sideways.
“Yeah, that’s the basically it. Listen,” he pulled something out of his back pocket and handed it to her.
“You gave this to me as soon as you saw me. I charged it, but you got a whole bunch of texts and calls. You should probably read them…might help you figure out what happened last night.”
Kriya grabbed her phone from his hands. She unlocked the screen, the blue light piercing across her retinas in the semi-darkness of the room.
Her brother moved, turning to walk out slowly.
“I know,” he replied quickly. “It’s okay. Just read the texts Kri. And call your friends. You guys should probably talk.”
Kriya nodded, emotion slowly building up behind her eyes. Her brother gave her a small smile, then dissolved out of view.
Kriya stared back at her phone.
13 new voicemails ☎️
38 missed calls 📞
And the worst one of all:
275 new text messages ✉️