We all sat side by side in the living room, staring at the people walking around, dancing, eating, drinking, and talking. Music blared in the background, a DJ was bopping in the corner, and blinding, neon lights flashed across our eyes. Yeah, we all knew most of the people here, but we were tired. Darren and Meg were talking on the couch across from me, and the rest of "our party" was in a heated conversation about a class field trip we had all taken in high school. I curled my knees up to my chest, only half hearing. This is what usually happened when I was invited to parties. I would talk a little bit, get some food, and sit on the couch, staring at everybody else. I was always tired Friday nights. It was as if I really didn't want to go, and my body would shut down right before we pulled up to the house. Sometimes I would stand out on the balcony, watching the cars or the stars or just thinking. It was quieter outside. The cool air always felt good on my red face. I was contemplating getting up to go outside when, "That's not the way I remember it!" Jim was shouting at Casey and Jordan.
I whirled around- so did Darren and Meg- to tell them to shut up. But they just kept on shouting. Others around us, whom I didn't know even went on the field trip, joined in on the argument, all putting in their own opinions. I sat back down, this time in the circle, and listened to what the whole deal was about. "You definitely weren't even there!" Jim was yelling at some kid I didn't recognize. Ryan sat next to me and whispered in my ear, "Maybe you could stop this? You scare Jim." I grinned, remembering throwing him into a mud puddle headfirst when we were kids. I nodded and stalked over to Jim. When he saw me, he immediately snapped his lips shut. "Jim, what are you talking about? You wanna shut up so everyone can say what they want? You don't have to be a dictator." He rolled his eyes, but looked down and was silent. I sat back down and Casey started talking about the bus ride. "Thanks," Ryan whispered.
"We were driving down this dirt, back road and the driver hit a pothole and popped the tire. The teacher made us all walk in the rain to the camp. It was so annoying 'cause the mosquitoes were biting us like crazy."
"No, that's not what happened." Meg cut in. "It wasn't raining. It was scorching hot outside. Yeah, the mosquitoes were bad, but not as bad as the heat. It was like four miles to camp and we were all so hot. Remember the river we passed? And Mrs. O'Bryan said we were'nt allowed to swim."
"That's not true," I said, much to Jim's annoyance. Now I was the one arguing. "Jim over there was being a bully and pushed Claire into the water so it would look like she jumped in. She got yelled at so bad, and we all know how Claire doesn't stand up for herself."
"That's not what I remember!" Jim was angry now. "Don't blame me for somethin' I didn't do! Claire slipped on the edge and I tried to catch her but she fell in."
Everyone looked at Jim. He was known for lying. "What?" he muttered. "It's true!"
"What. Ever, Jim," Tammy rolled her eyes. "But he wasn't the only one. Once Mrs. O'Bryan was off yelling at Claire, Darren pushed in Jim and then grabbed Meg and pulled her in behind him. Me and Hannah," she gestured to me, "were walking ahead and heard Meg scream so we ran back to see what was wrong! We saw them all flailing in the river. The Jim, being an idiot, jumped out of a bush to scare the two of us into the water. He got me, but Hannah whipped him around and threw him in the mud!" Jim turned red and glared at me. "She pushed him in the river after. Then," Tammy continued (she never would stop talking), "Ryan ran up and grabbed her and jumped into the water!"
Ryan was grinning like a foolish child. "You were so mad at me!" he said, looking at me. "I thought you were gonna break my nose when you went to punch me. It's a good thing Mrs. O'Bryan didn't see you do that! She would've sent you all the way back to school, six hours away, just to sit in detention!"
My jaw dropped. "I didn't try to punch you! I would never do that around Mrs. O'Bryan! And if I remember correctly, you tried to pull me in, and I pushed you. Then, I slipped on mud and fell in after you!"
Ryan smirked. "You never admit to people getting the best of you. I pulled you in, but you got me back when we were at camp. You put those worms in my ice cream... Ugh. That was nasty."
I laughed. "Oh, yeah, I forgot about that! That was great!"
"Yeah, Hannah, the whole time we were in the river, you kept trying to jump on Ryan and drag him underwater. A couple times you got him, and he was coughing like crazy!" Darren put in.
"Not to mention, he looked like a dog!" Jordan laughed.
"Remember Mrs. O'Bryan's face when she found us all swimming? Oh she was so mad! If she hadn't been around us, she would've started cursing so bad. And Claire didn't know what to do. She was just standing there, dripping, and looking between us and Mrs. O'Bryan. I think she was about to jump in again but Mrs. O'Bryan grabbed her and marched her down the trail."
"Then we had to walk back in the heat and the water in our sneakers got all hot. Our clothes were dry in like ten minutes! That was the crappiest day ever." Casey moaned, just thinking about it.
"Are you kidding me?" Ryan asked, astonished. "That was the best day ever! I didn't care about the walking. I would do it all over again just to see the look on Mrs. O'Bryan's face!"
Jim laughed, nodding. "Yeah, that was so fun."
"It was so boring!" Meg exclaimed. "We just sat in the bus for six hours and then walked in the heat for like another three. And then we weren't even allowed to do anything that night in camp. O'Bryan told us to eat and go to bed. It was like eight o'clock. And if we talked while we ate, she would take our food and send us to bed hungry."
"Well, that's what we got for not listening to her, I guess." Darren said, cringing at the memory.
"Yeah, Hannah was sent to bed early 'cause she couldn't shut up." Ryan added. I punched him in the shoulder, grinning when winced. It was quiet for a moment. I realized the music and lights had stopped and all the people were staring at us.
"Oh my gosh, guys." Sabrina said, waltzing over. It was her party. "You guys are so loud. You were like shouting and the DJ quit 'cause he couldn't hear his music."
"Sorry," I said. "I was just about to go, anyway, when all these idiots started yelling. I'm going now. Thanks for the party." I got up and walked out. I heard my friends shuffling behind me, and, one by one, they filed out after me. We laughed all the way to our cars, adding comments here and there. I climbed in my car, thinking about coming next week.
Ryan leaned down and rested his elbows in my open window. "So," he said, "you doing anything tomorrow?"
I laughed. "Don't think I'll be going out with you."
"Hey, why not? It'll be fun! I'm not that bad, am I?"
"No, you're just stupid."
"Oooo, ouch. Arguing again, are we?"
I smiled. "It would seem that way."