Chapter 16: Party

A/N: Hey, everyone, I know it’s been months, but I’m back now and I have a bunch of chapters ready for you! And since it’s been so long, I went and re-read the previous chapters so you don’t have to. Here’s a quick summary of past events:

Teenage Etta’s got a job at a café, partly for the experience, partly to help out with finances, because she felt bad her dad worked so much. And it was somewhat justified, since her father had an exhaustion collapse shortly after that. Etta’s brother Amon got dumped out of nowhere and he decided to get over it by hooking up with as many girls as humanly possible. Together with his best friend Dante Lothario, they are known as the biggest womanizers in school. And it complicates things, because, of course, Etta has had a crush on Dante since he started taking music lessons at their house. In the last chapter, Etta had a huge argument with both her brothers and she was also invited to Dante’s party.

I hope that helped refresh your memory a bit! Enjoy!

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

Etta was freaking out. She stared at her reflection in the mirror and she didn’t know how to calm the chaos in her mind. How on earth was she supposed to face Dante, the most gorgeous, radiant, stunning guy in the world, while wearing only a bikini? She had no clue how  to gain enough confidence for that.

And she still suspected her sister forgot to mention the party was a pool party on purpose.

Tori: “Etty, please! Just look at you – I swear you have nothing to worry about. Except maybe totally blowing their minds.”

T: “Come on, put your dress on!”

Etta rolled her eyes and tried to focus, but her stomach was making backflips at the mere thought of the party. With Tori’s help,  she somehow managed the preparations, but she barely remebered it afterwards. It was like she fell into some kind of a trance.

And it didn’t get better when they got there. Quite the opposite.

T: “So, here we are! And everyone’s wearing a swimsuit. Let’s go change!”

Etta noticed the swimsuits  – especially on pretty cheerleaders who constantly followed Dante around and stared at him with dreamy eyes.

‘I don’t blame them,’ she thought to herself  with a light heart but it quickly sank when she realized she never talked to any of the cool kids there. Once again, she felt totally out of her element.  She couldn’t think of anything fun or interesting to say as they mingled, so she stayed stubbornly quiet and followed Tori around like a lost puppy.

Tori: “So, how do you like it so far?”

E: “Fine, I guess. Everyone’s much nicer than in school.”

T: “They are not bad people, Etta. And they are not going to bite your nose off, if you speak to them, I promise.”

E: “I’ve never said they’re bad! I just think we have nothing in common.”

T: “You’ll never find out unless you give them a chance! Why don’t you wait for me in the jacuzzi while I get us something to drink? Stella there is really funny and nice, I’ll introduce you.”

Stella really was nice. And talkative. And Etta was starting to feel less tense as she talked to her about swimming and movie adaptations and summer plans.

Stella: “It was such a cheap, predictable, boring cliche! They should have stayed with the source material!”

Unfortunately, Etta’s fragile bubble of safety quickly burst, when someone else desired Stella’s company and called her name. The girl apologized and left and the silence she left behind was deafening.

Etta slowly sat back, a small smile she offered Stella still lingered on her lips as she looked around. She didn’t know any of the people around her and she suddenly felt awkward and intrusive just sitting there listening to their conversations, even though they seemed to be paying no attention to her.

As she leaned against the hot tub shell, she realized she was sitting next to a quite attractive, athletic guy.

And he was looking right at her! It immediately made her self-concious and even more nervous than before. Afraid she’d embarrass herself, she chose to stay still and queit.

But the boy noticed the quick glance she threw his way. He smiled confidently as he took his eyes off of her and then he spoke to her nonchalantly.

“Hey, nerd! Nice tits!”

Etta’s stomach jumped and all the blood in her body rushed to her cheeks as everyone in the jacuzzi laughed. She froze, unable to find an acceptable response to his remark and after a few mortifying seconds of absolute silence, she decided to leave. Fast.

Determined to find her sister, she roamed the garden, only to spot Tori dancing her butt off on a dance floor, while another girl cheered her on.

She didn’t want to ruin her big moment, so she headed for a bar, instead.

“One soda, please.”

Unfortunately, Carlie Fyres was hanging around there, too.

Carlie: “Soda? Are you kidding me? And I thought you couldn’t get any lamer.”

Etta: “Ehmm, I don’t… I don’t drink.”

Carlie sputtered and scowled angrily.

C: “Well, you do now! This is a party! One Monkey Wrench for my pathetic little cousin here, please.”

Etta didn’t like it, she didn’t like it one bit, but she knew Carlie. Last thing she needed was to fight with her and make a scene. And Carlie was notorious for causing the loudest, most dramatic scenes on any occassion.

She took the drink and sat on a sofa next to Carlie. She knew her cousin wouldn’t let go once she set her mind to something. They kinda had that in common.

‘That’s why we never got along that well, I guess.’

“What are you waiting for? Just drink it already! I swear to Watcher, sometimes it’s embarrassing to be related to you.”

Etta sighed and drank the stupid cocktail while Carlie watched – it wasn’t bad, but Etta didn’t like it. She was dissapointed and upset and hurt and just wanted to leave already.

As soon as she finished the drink, Carlie stood with a triumphant smile on her face.

C: “See? Was that so hard?”

And then, thankfully, she walked away. Etta didn’t understand what was Carlie’s problem – why would someone do such a thing? Her preference for non-alcoholic beverages was not interfering with Carlie’s drinking in any way.

‘Why does she even care what I’m doing?’

Confused and bothered, Etta had enough of the party. She decided to hide inside until Tori was ready to leave.

She walked into the house only to find herself right in the kitchen. And without even thinking about it, she decided to prepare something to eat. It was her favourite thing to do to pass the time and she had barely eaten that day.

Pancakes were half way ready when his voice interrupted her.

Dante: “Etta? What the… What are you doing?”

Dante was standing right there, looking confused but dashing in his tight shirt and curious smile on his lips.

“Oh, Dante! I’m so sorry! I… I didn’t want to… I just. I always cook when I’m upset. I guess I was in such a frenzy, I haven’t realized what I ‘m doing.”

“That’s fine. The thing is…nobody’s allowed to be upset at my party. What happened?”

“I’m not even sure – everything, lately. My dad got sick, my brothers are, like, totally out of their minds and then there’s you and… and this party! And all the people here, they’re … they are just so… I just can’t do anything right and…”

Etta stopped when she felt her breath shorten and tears building up in her eyes as emotions took over her. Maybe it was alcohol, maybe it was just too much for her, but she knew that if she spoke one more word about any of it, she’d totally lose it. And she was definitely not going to cry in front of him.

“Sorry. You don’t need to hear that.”

Dante had to have noticed the fragile tone in her voice because he let it go.

D: “And cooking helps?”

Etta shrugged and lightened up a bit.

E: “I know it’s weird. But it does. Food is simply so… unifying, you know. It’s an experience we all share. Because, well, we all have to eat, no matter who we are and that brings us together.”

“Ever had that feeling of perfect peace after a good meal? It’s like everything falls into place, your worries shrink and world is alright for a second. And making food, being the one who can give this to others… I don’t know. It calms me.”

Dante smiled and she returned the smile shyly, pretty sure she gushed too much and too enthusiastically.

E: “I’m ridiculous, right?

D: “Yeaah, well, now that you mention it….”

D: “I’m kidding. You’re inspiring.”

“I’m afraid you’re the only one who thinks that.”

“I’m afraid other people don’t know you that well, then.”

He took a step forward and reached for her, his eyes intense and gentle before he closed them and pressed his lips against hers.

Etta was sure she was dreaming. It wouldn’t be the first time – but this was so much better than those dreams. She could hardly believe it.

She took a deep breath and to avoid awkward silence, she grabbed the plate from the counter and smiled.

E: “So…pancakes?”

12 thoughts on “Chapter 16: Party

    • carovnamaruska says:

      Poor Etta is not a party animal, that’s for sure, but I wanted her to have some teenage experience while she still can. And I think that kiss was a nice compensation for all the unpleasantness.

      And yes, I’m back. I’m sorry for leaving like that – it’s partly because I really hate screenshotting parties 😀 But I’m here to stay now, hopefully

      Liked by 1 person

    • carovnamaruska says:

      Haha, I’m glad! I figured people wouldn’t remember much after four months. I, myself, had a problem with it. 😀

      And one does never know with guys like Dante. He was very flirty during that party, but then again he’s often flirty, because he’s Romantic. Etta’s whole “crush” is a result of his autonomous flirts with her. I guess we’ll see 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. kaylaholiday says:

    I’m finally all caught up! And now I’m itching for mor! 😛

    I’m so proud of Etta for going out of her comfort zone and going to a party. I was really relating to her in this chapter, having a difficult time approaching those she felt were “too cool” for her, and getting down on herself about it. Little does she know, it gets a lot better and you realize that those tough times don’t last.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carovnamaruska says:

      Yep, this was relatable for me, too – it’s very similar to my teenage experience with the ‘cool kids’ and peer pressure. Now that I think about it, I even have a fairly manipulative cousin who did things like this. Huh.

      And wow, you’re a champ for reading everything so quickly! 🙂 Thank you so much! I can’t even say how happy I am to have you here.

      Liked by 1 person

    • carovnamaruska says:

      I’m even gladder to have you here! 🙂

      And yes, this was definitely an unpleasant experience for Etta. There’s a saying in my country that goes “being like a fish on dry land” and I feel it describes the situation perfectly for her.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ninjapigsims says:

        ❤ ❤ ( . . )

        Ah we have the same expression in English too! 'Like a fish out of water'. I love that we have the same sayings! Poor Etta. I applaud her for being brave and going to the party nevertheless in her bikini. ❤


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