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Coming of Age Friendship Contemporary

This story contains sensitive content

Warning: This piece contains mention of sexual assault (attempted). Please proceed with caution if you are sensitive to it.

“Alison, c’mere!” Ripley calls over the crowd of people at the party. Alison looks over to her friend who jumps up and down looking as enthusiastic as ever. Ripley looked as though she had discovered buried treasure in the back of the house and had now wanted to cash in on it.

Alison elbows her way through a wall of people. She hated parties and thought most people there were obnoxious and annoying. Her friend had coaxed her to go out, and Alison reluctantly agreed to go as a babysitter. Ripley was accustomed to finding trouble without much help, and Alison worried for her safety. “Why? You look like the cat that swallowed the canary.”

“I have to tell you something!” She calls loudly, despite Alison being close in proximity to her. She pushes through and grabs her friend's arm abrasively and pulls her ear close. 

“Erik is here!” Ripley might as well have shot Alison’s eardrum. The level-headed woman feels like she is on the verge of losing her hearing. Ripley is brimming with glee at the thought of her current conquest being present. 

“Ripley, he has a girlfriend,” Alison says as a small rebuke sounding like an elder sister correcting the younger. While Ripley was intelligent, that rarely crossed over to her social matters. The excited friend was more high-strung and flirtatious, having an exceeding intellect while being somewhat naive.

“He broke up with her,” Ripley says excitedly, grasping her friend's arm again. Alison is looking the other girl in the face with a sullen look. The music roared in the background and drowned out any calm words for either of them. Ripley could hear Alison’s voice at a certain level, but Alison knew that whatever Ripley could discern of her words would be discarded. This burdened the stern friend.

Alison had few options in terms of euphemisms. “Okay, let me phrase it differently. He’s a manwhore and you should avoid him at all costs,” Ripley’s face contorted with the utterance of these words. She looked disgusted with the correction of Erik's character and wanted to ignore it.

Ripley rolls her eyes, “Alison, you’re overreacting.” Ripley turned to walk away and Alison grabbed her shoulder, prolonging the conversation and keeping her slightly tipsy friend from engaging in a world of trouble. 

“Am I really though Ripley or are you just boy-crazy?” As Alison says this, a waiter bumps into Ripley, spilling a long island ice tea on the girl who was once focused on Erik but was now looking up at Alison. Ripley makes up for her lack of stature in spirit and ferocity.

“I’m just minding my own business and you're being a prude!” Ripley starts and begins to let her voice raise. The alcohol, embarrassment, and loneliness had gotten to her and pushed her to the point of anger. Part of her didn’t care if she never saw Alison again and part of her wanted the taller girl to just be happy for her. ”Listen, you have to be little miss virtuous and tell everyone how to go about their life!”

“Ripley, I care-”

“Shut up and let me finish! You keep telling me what to do and I don’t need your help,” Ripley scolded, now silencing the room around her.

“Ripley, I don’t want you to get hurt!”

“Let me make that decision!” As Ripley yelled this, she walked off into the crowd. Alison was left to stand in the middle of the crowded restaurant and figure out what to do next. She felt like a bad friend. Her drunk friend was off looking for a guy who could take advantage of her. The loud thumps of the base and chatter of the crowd left her frozen and spiraling like a bad dream.

[...]

Ripley sat dazed in a group of people. Her attention was hindered by the substance and the cackle of Erik. He was pretty yet somewhat obnoxious, a man who believed the amount he drank correlated with his masculinity. She was less enthused with him than she had originally thought.

Even if he wasn’t the danger Alison had made him out to be, he was still vulgar and annoying. Something about him could only further repulsed her. Ripley had been sitting there with him for an hour and a half trying to get him to tell her something about himself but he seemed to keep it at small talk and an attempt at physical intimacy.

“Hey are listening?!” She jerks her head back as he tried to maintain the kiss longer than she had pleased. It was starting to become invasive. Even if Alison was wrong in some ways, she was right about the kind of guy he was.

“Yeah, sure I am.” He lazed back, grinning at her and smiling. Something about it twisted Ripley’s stomach into a spiraled mess, as she wished the shame and embarrassment of this situation would disappear at the end of the night.

“Well, what was I just saying?”

“Chill out, you were complaining about your friend,” She indeed was, but that was forty-five minutes ago. The smell of the alcohol on both of their breaths only furthered nausea. Whether it was her senses being overwhelmed or the unbearable annoyance the swine across from her was being, she couldn’t decide. Suddenly, he leans further, pushing her back on the couch. She is simultaneously scared and on her last nerve.

“Hey! Get off of me!” She shoves him back as his head thuds against the wall behind them. She picks up her phone and keys and starts to walk out of the room. It’s late, time to go home, time to call it a night, maybe finish the book she had sitting on her bedside that she so desperately craved.

“Don’t get mad at me, I thought you were one of the fun girls,” the term ‘fun girl’ was always so ridiculous to her. You were fun if you let them use you as a sex toy but the minute you drew the line and decided that being seen that way is invasive then you were prudish and callous to them. As if someone’s physical needs being pushed on someone were equal to the autonomy of personal boundaries.

“Screw you, leave me alone!” She turned around in the open doorway, giving him a very specific hand sign as the drunk man muttered curses at her on the couch that she had sat on. 

[...]

Ripley slams the door open to her apartment. Despite being slightly buzzed, she refused to have Alison or Lia come and get her. She couldn’t face them, especially Alison after the public spat they had. In spite of this, when Ripley walked through the living room of the apartment Alison was asleep on the couch with her phone next to her. Ripley could feel her heart plummet into her gut. 

It was either the realization that Alison had waited up for her or had most likely stayed up in case something happened. She could feel a tug between disgust for her friend and love for her. Ripley, unsure of how to express her appreciation, smacks Alison in the arm. The brunette awoke to a pair of dead tired eyes looking down at her as she squints, trying to get her bearings together.

“What’s up with you?” 

As Alison says this Ripley hugs her and gets up from the couch. Unable to look at her friend. 

“You didn’t have to wait up for me,” Ripley pauses, still feeling the effects of alcohol. “Just go to bed, okay?”

May 14, 2022 01:35

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