by Faye McCray
When we arrived at the party, I could barely see straight. I grabbed a bottle of water from the bar and posted up against the wall listening to the music and watching people dance around the packed club. Phil immediately started chatting up a group of girls.
“This is Nate,” Phil said pointing in my direction. I nodded struggling to focus on their faces.
“What’s wrong with him?” One girl asked staring in my face.
What’s wrong with me? My eyes were blurring over and I smiled widely in an attempt to look normal.
“Stop smiling like that, Nate,” Phil said, leaning in and patting me on the back. “Drink some more water.” I drank another gulp and shook my head trying to shake off the effects of a day of drinking and getting high.
“Nate?” a voice said. I turned to see Jayna facing me holding a cocktail. She was wearing a short and tight blue strapless dress and very high black heels. Her curls were loose around her face.
“Hi,” she said pressing her hand against my chest and kissing my cheek. I tried my best to keep looking in her eyes but her body was practically popping out of her dress. She caught me looking at her body and laughed. I looked away quickly. Sober up, I told myself. As far as I was concerned, Jayna was part of the problem. I didn’t want to make it worse.
“Kerry told me what happened,” she said trying to be heard over the music. “Bad boy,” she sang wagging her finger.
I took a sip of my water looking into her eyes. Her playfulness was unexpected. I knew she was a flirt, but I thought she would be at least slightly angry with me for the way I treated Kerry.
I shrugged. “I tried to apologize but she won’t pick up.”
She said something, but I could not hear her over the music. She leaned in closer. “She’s on her way to her parents,” she said again. I nodded, wondering if Kerry was telling her parents what happened. I pictured her father comforting her and telling her how he knew all along that I was not who she thought I was.
We were silent for a moment watching the party. Jayna polished off her cocktail as I finished my water. She swayed to the music, occasionally looking at me and smiling.
“You don’t like me,” she said, sounding more like a statement than a question.
I looked down at her and shrugged.
“Wow,” she said with a little laugh. “Why?”
“I don’t know you, Jayna,” I began, feeling slightly more sober. She pouted.
“Do you want to?” she asked, her voice light and sweet.
“You’re Kerry’s friend. If she still wants to be with me, of course I want to know her friend.” I tried to sound as casual as possible avoiding looking at her and fighting the undeniable attraction I had begun to feel.
“I love this song,” she said resting her glass on a table behind me. She began dancing to the music and looking at me.
“Shit, Nate,” she said stopping. “You look like your puppy just died.”
“She’ll get over it.” She smiled. “I promise,” she added, her eyes widening with innocence.
She began dancing again in front of me taking my hands and moving them to the music. I looked over at Phil who was watching me smiling. I shook my head to stop him from getting the wrong idea. He smiled wider.
Jayna danced in front of me as I bobbed my head to the beat. She moved slowly at first allowing her dress to ride up on her thighs. She caught me looking and put her hands on the hem, toying with it as she danced in a way that made it look as though she was going to pull it up. Jayna was sexy. There was nothing apologetic about the way she moved her body, she knew every angle and curve. I watched as guys around me checked her out and other girls frowned and whispered to each other. So did she and she loved it.
With each beat of the music, Jayna moved closer to me until she was inches in front of me. I could feel the heat from her body. Unable to stop myself, I placed my hand on her waist and pulled her a little closer. Just that touch sent a thrill through my body. She looked up at me surprised but moved with me keeping my hand against her waist and turning so her back pressed against me. I put my other hand on her other side gently pulling her closer into me, allowing her to grind against me as we moved to the beat.
It’s just a dance, I tried to rationalize. Even if this got back to Kerry, it’s just a dance.
Dance or not, I could still feel myself getting excited. I watched her as she moved slowly against me. She knew exactly what she was doing. She leaned closer into me reaching her arm up and back, so her palm rested on my neck. I wrapped my arm around her waist and leaned my head down, my face near hers. She leaned back, her mouth inches from mine. I looked into her eyes, and she leaned closer. I wanted to kiss her. She wanted me to kiss her. I wanted to take her home, and I found myself wondering if she would let me. This was dangerous, and I knew I had to stop.
I laughed and pulled away, running my hand over my hair. She shrugged and smiled, the playfulness still burning in her eyes. She sauntered off through the crowd leaving me by the wall.
“PLEASE tell me you’ve either hooked up with her before, are going to hook up with her in the future, or are okay with me hooking up with her,” Phil said walking up beside me with a bottle of water in his hand.
“None of the above.” My mind was still reeling from what had just happened.
Phil looked at me confused.
“Kerry’s best friend.”
I took the bottle from his hand and took a big swig wondering what I had just started.
* * *
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Faye McCray is the author of Boyfriend, a novel following a young man as he navigates love and fidelity in college. She is also the author of Dani's Belts, a collection of short stories that follow a young college student turned unlikely heroine of the zombie apocalypse. The stories, White Belt, Yellow Belt, Orange Belt and Black Belt are available now! In May 2015, Faye's work will also appear in the horror anthology, Anything But Zombies! You can also find Faye's work on For Harriet, Black and Married with Kids, Madame Noire, Rachel in the OC, Black Girl Nerds, Graveyard Shift Sisters, and on her blog, www.fayemccray.com. Faye is a native New Yorker and current resident of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area where she resides with her husband and two sons.