Falling From Disgrace

By: L. Maretta

Prologue



Rachel Simms and I walk hand-in-hand up the stairs leading to our friend Kyle’s apartment. We’re giggling like the silly girls we are, excited about the party we are about to attend celebrating the soon-to-be graduates of Northwestern University. Just before we enter I turn towards my best friend and ask her to do a teeth check. We had eaten pizza just a bit ago and I wanted to make sure there wasn’t any stray cheese or pieces of oregano stuck in my smile.



“You’re good,” she tells me then smiles widely at me so I can return the favor. Spying a little red dot between her two front teeth, I scrape it away with my fingernail and wipe it on her sleeve.



“Thanks, pumpkin,” Rae grins and we enter the apartment.



There’s a good turnout at Kyle’s party. It isn’t too crowded, but his apartment is alive with loud voices and heavy bass pumping from the stereo. Rae and I make our way through the friendly faces heading straight for the kitchen to hit the keg. Kyle greets us and pours us each a beer and then raises his red Solo Cup in salute.



“To the future’s greatest politician this country will ever see,” he says, referring to himself, “the future CEO of whatever,” he says, gesturing towards our friend Stu at his side, “the future’s greatest surgeon,” is directed at Rachel, and then lastly me, “and the future’s greatest pediatrician.” He raises his cup high above his head and continues, “And to all the graduating class of 2009, Congratu-fucking-lations!”



We all cheer and my friends chug their drinks while I take just a sip of mine. The remainder of my drink will go untouched, for I am the designated driver tonight.



Rachel and I mingle among the guests, most of them known to us from rowing crew at the university. We were rowers from high school and when we were accepted into Northwestern, we both continued with the sport. Rachel partakes in a game of Beer Pong while I chat with our teammate Katie about plans for the summer.



An hour later and I am sitting on Kyle’s couch, bummed that Ethan, my current crush has not shown up. He had told me he was going to be here and I went the extra mile to look good tonight, blowing out my long dark locks, carefully applying mascara and lip gloss, and squeezing into my designer skinny jeans hoping to get his attention. He had been flirting with me for ages but never asked me out. I was determined to change that this evening.



Rachel flops down on the couch beside me and flips her long hair while typing quickly on her phone. In looks, Rachel and I are complete opposites. My hair is dark; hers is light. I am pale and she sports golden skin all year round. My eyes are large and dark brown while hers are a sparkling emerald. Our differences only go as far as our looks though. We have been best friends since second grade and our interests, everything from our favorite color to wanting careers in the medical field, are the same.



Rachel looks up from her phone and says, “Jason wants to know if he should pick me up. I’m kinda ready to leave, Ade.”



“No!” I beg her. “I can’t leave yet, Ethan still might show up and you can’t leave me here.” I put my head on her shoulder and whine, “please, please, please just wait a little longer.”



She sighs, “Fine,” and then goes back to texting Jason Landon, her boyfriend of two years.



Another hour later and Ethan still has not shown up, much to my dismay. Most of the other guests are drunk and acting like fools and my sober self is becoming bored. Giving up, I sadly let Rachel pull me from the house and we drive away in my old, white Honda.



Rachel is slightly tipsy and I laugh at her as she tries to sing along with the songs on the radio. When we stop at a red light, she turns to me and says, “I think Jason is going to propose soon.”



My wide eyes turn towards her and I gasp, “Really? How do you know?”



She shrugs and tells me, “I just have a feeling. He’s been acting a little weird lately.”



“What do you think you’ll say?”



“I don’t know, Ade.”



“What do you mean? You love Jason!”

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