After plowing through my to-do list yesterday, I spent a luxurious amount of time getting ready for Maddy’s party. I’m talking a bubble bath by candlelight. I gave myself a mani-pedi. I straightened my hair into a perfect glossy sheet. I spent half an hour just doing my eye make up. No one to bother me. No one to make me eat dinner. I ate an apple. Generally there’s food at a party, right?
As I’d suspected, Cara was super-squealing-excited to go. “Maddy Berquist? No way! This is going to be SO AWESOME!” Cara had just won the wannabe jackpot.
When I called her last night to see when I should show up to drive her to the party (in my new ride!), I said, “Look. I got the feeling something was off. Can you just keep an ear out? I don’t feel like being Carrie at the prom, if you know what I mean.”
“If they invited me just to pull some kind of prank on the new girl, I don’t feel like being the butt of their joke,” I clarified.
“But they said Shane was interested in you,” Cara said. “I’m sure they’re just helping him out… Oh.”
By that “Oh” I knew, I just knew, that I had been right. I was going to get a figurative bucket of pig’s blood dumped on my head.
Cara then told me how Maddy and Shane had dated freshman year, which I wouldn’t know because I’m fresh meat. Shane had told his friends he and Maddy had done the deed when they hadn’t, and they broke up. Somehow Maddy had risen above the rumors and she and Shane had gotten back together for “like, a year” before Maddy dumped him, publicly, at a football game. She then started a rumor that Shane had erectile dysfunction. Since then, Shane has gone out of his way to prove he was quite capable in bed, with as many girls as possible. I’m not sure what magic hold Maddy has over Shane, but apparently he thinks Maddy is his cool ex-girlfriend, that one ex-girlfriend who is still a friend.
“Yeah, if Maddy’s trying to hook you and Shane up, she’s got something planned,” Cara said glumly. Her sparkling, idealized vision of popularity was now shattered. It was like I’d just told her there was no Santa Claus.
I told her to pay attention and if anything seemed off, we could just leave. I didn’t tell her that I had no interest in Shane whatsoever, and I guess I figured that would magically make Maddy’s evil plans die hard. How could she humiliate me if I wasn’t barking up his tree?
At 8, I picked Cara up (“Sweet ride! Why don’t you drive to school?” … “My parents won’t let me. Something about the environment”) and she told me how to get to Maddy’s house / mansion. Holy crap. One of those giant places in a new development, 3-car garage, in-ground pool, and about 45 bedrooms. There was a freaking DJ (apparently, this was Haley’s older brother) and kegs in the kitchen.
I don’t know what happened. The crowd almost immediately swallowed us up, and I forgot that I might be under attack. I had a few beers with Cara. She was so thrilled to be there, even though it clearly was not a very exclusive party. It seemed more like the super popular kids from the past five years of graduating classes. Lots of college kids – it is Columbus Day weekend, I guess most of them came home for the long weekend. A couple of guys started hitting on Cara. I didn’t recognize them but Cara did, I guess they were football hotshots a couple years ago. I didn’t like the way the one with no neck was staring down the front of Cara’s shirt, so I started looking around the room for someone – anyone – familiar. I would have settled for some random guy who was cute and nice, and there was Maddy suddenly, right in my face.
“Shane’s upstairs,” she said, giggling the fakest giggle I’ve ever heard in my life. “Waiting for you.”
“Sure he is,” I monotoned. “Let me just strip down and cover myself in whipped cream and run up there, so your friends can jump out and take a picture that will end up on the Internet.”
I blame the beer for my lack of being able to play along with Maddy’s game.
Something flashed in her eyes – recognition of some deep dark part of me – maybe something we shared. She dropped the fake friend act. “No need to be like that.” She grabbed the beer out of my hand and took a long swallow.
“Whoa,” said one of the assholes hitting on Cara. “Cat fight!”
Both Maddy and I turned to glare at said asshole.
“Sorry,” I said, managing to smile and appear sheepish. “I’ve been the new girl a lot.”
Maddy and I started talking like real people, and she told me all about Shane, and basically admitted that she put any girl Shane was interested in through what she called a “hazing.”
“Shane’s, like, a male slut,” she said. “So he does whatever with whichever dumb bitch he’s picked that week, and meanwhile I’ve got a camera set up in the room, you know, one of those teddy-bear nanny-cams? My mom used it when I was a kid.” She rolled her eyes. “And usually I’ve sweet-talked one of those techie kids into wiring the video to the tv downstairs, so everyone gets to see. Walk of Shame from Hell.” She grins, and I laugh along like she’s some genius, har har, doesn’t Shane look like a slut now!
Maddy doesn’t seem to realize that there’s a lot of collateral damage when she does this. She doesn’t seem to take into account that she was planning on me being collateral damage. Who gives a shit about the new girl?
By the end of the party, Maddy and I are practically BFFs, and Cara’s basking in the afterglow, and some other sad sack ended up in that room with Shane. He was drunk enough not to care that it wasn’t me. When he groggily called out, “Molly?” on the TV, I announced, “Right here!” and everyone cracked up. The video quality wasn’t that great, so I told Cara to go upstairs and redirect the girl inside whenever she came out, while I distracted the crowd by pretending to be in ecstasy as Shane drunkenly groped his victim. It was a freaking laugh riot. So, the attention stayed on Shane, in the exact way Maddy would have wanted, and Cara managed to get the girl out without anyone seeing her. She texted me once they were both in my car. “She’s puking,” Cara whined.
“See on Monday,” I said to Maddy, “my parents have a super-strict curfew.”
“Bummer,” Maddy said. “See ya.”
When I got to my car I asked Cara if she knew anything about the passed out girl in the backseat. She thought the girl was a sophomore. Great. I picked through her purse and found her school ID: Alyson White. No address. A quick search on my phone brought up two addresses for White. The first address had a car with a handicapped plate in the driveway and a billion garden gnomes. The second had a minivan and another car and a basketball hoop mounted over the garage. Cara and I carried Alison to the front steps and laid her down. “I hope that’s her house,” I said as we left.
After I dropped Cara off, I couldn’t stop thinking about what Maddy had been planning to do to me. Imagine if I’d been an idiot and fallen into her trap. A video of me having sex with Shane? Seriously? I would have to leave town, and clearly I can’t, not now.
Maddy may have been super sweet to me by the end of the party, but something made her choose me as her next victim. And Haley and her other friends were a part of that, too.
And they’re gonna pay.