Katie was a hand-full whenever she was drunk. She’d laugh too loudly, talk to literally anybody and run away at any chance she got. Andie thought it was downright hilarious.
“There’s no way I’m taking you home to your mother’s,” Andie said, hooking an arm around her friend to steady her, though she was not much more stable herself. “We’ll say you’re having a sleepover at my house, she’ll have a nervous break-down if she sees you like this.”
“Thanks Andie, you’re the best.”
Andie’s her heart flood with guilt at this, because she was far from the best. Because best friends don’t kiss each other’s crushes, and even though she hadn’t agreed to be Daniel’s girlfriend, it took every ounce of her body not to say yes. She wanted to be the best, she always tried to be, but today in the woods proved otherwise.
And who’s were those brown eyes in the trees? Andie had almost forgotten about this strange encounter. She shook her head and decided that her drunken state had simply exaggerated the strangeness of it. It was probably a boy from a year that she couldn't recognise because her mind had been spinning so fast at the time.
“Let’s just head home and you can sleep it off."
Back at the house Andie's mother, Claire, was waiting for the girls to come home at the doorstep. They lived in a semi-detached, two bedroom home in the same neighbourhood that Andie had lived in her entire life. Claire wouldn’t mind that Andie had brought Katie back with her. She adored all of Andie’s friends, and although she was a worrier, she trusted her daughter with all of her heart.
Andie didn’t have to even attempt to sneak into her bedroom. The two of them worked together to help Katie up the stairs, howling with laughter at every drunken remark that she would come out with. If anything, she was certainly a happy drunk. They managed to get Katie into bed (with a sick bucket at her side), and Andie stayed up with her hours after that, squealing and giggling about Auden’s behaviour at the party with the girls.
When Andie’s father arrived home, she heard the front door shut. She told Katie that she was going downstairs to get her a glass of water.
“Maybe it help you sober up,” she laughed.
“Maybe it might stop the room from spinning.”
Believing that the girls were still upstairs, her father had headed straight into the living room with her mother. Andie walked quietly into the kitchen, eager to hear parts of the conversation.
“Long day?” Her mother asked as Andie filled a water glass.
“Hectic. Awful. Some kid got hit on the main road, you know the one outside Honey’s Café?” She heard her father say.
“Oh Rich, that’s awful!” Her mother said. “Is she alright?”
Her father often had to deal with situations such as this. He very rarely came home, and when he did, it was even rarer that he was accompanied with any good news that was work related. Andie moved closer to the wall of the kitchen that was next to the living room.
“He,” Richard corrected quietly. “He’s in critical condition. Only fourteen.”
“That’s only four years younger than our Andie!”
Andie jumped at her name, almost dropping her glass.
“Yeah,” Her father said thoughtfully. “How is our Andie?”
“She’s fine. She’s upstairs with Katie.”
Andie noticed that she had missed out the part where they were both very drunk, Katie hardly able to stand. Andie smiled at her mother’s loyalty to their friendship and tiptoed upstairs to give her friend a well-needed glass of water. But by the time she got to her bedroom, the blonde haired girl was fast asleep in her bed.
Checking her phone, she noticed Daniel had text her more than once:
Hey, did you both get home safe? Thought anymore about what we talked about? x
Andie put the glass down next to Katie, then responded to only the first part of Daniel’s message.
home safe! thanks daniel x
The room moved fast as if she had thrown her head back on the edge of a fast-moving roundabout. She shut her eyes and tried to forget about everything, but the feel of Daniel’s lips and the strange pair of brown eyes followed her to sleep and slipped into her dreams.
“I’ve never felt so sick” Auden muttered, his head in his hands. It was the next morning, and Andie had decided to invite Auden to the coffee shop near her house- more so to check that he was still alive.
His hair was even wilder that usual. He hadn’t bothered to shower since the night before, leaving his hair greasy and smelling of the dreaded bathtub-squash. Andie herself had not long been awake. She left Katie sleeping in her bed, realising that it would have taken a miracle to get her up and ready before twelve o’clock. Dressed in leggings and her ‘hung-over’ hoodie, Andie had only just managed to make it to the coffee shop for mid-day, though she needn’t have rushed, as Auden only arrived an hour after that.
The coffee shop was beginning to empty as most people only came in for their morning coffee. It was a lovely place to sit in. The owner, Mary, always made sure that there was a pot of yellow pansies on every wooden table, and that the pink cushions on the chairs were always clean and plumped- though their colour had faded with age. Mary herself was a frail old lady. She always wore a sunflower apron with her silver hair pulled into youthful pony-tail. She was happy and pleasant, everyone liked Mary.
Seeing Auden alive and well was one less thing she had to worry about. She took a sip of what was now her second cup of coffee. Alongside her coffee, Andie had bought herself a lemon tart and a brownie for Auden.
“Rumour has it that you made out with Sally Parkinson,” she said, hoping to cheer him up
“Yeah, just before I threw up on her.”
Andie laughed, stirring her coffee. Sally Parkinson was voted prom Queen, alongside her boyfriend, Joseph Harrison. She was beautiful, but it was her thick, curly hair that made her stand out. She was also very popular, which meant the kiss she shared with Auden was now shared amongst the entire year group.
“Speaking of romance,” Auden said. “What’s the deal with you and Dan?”
Andie almost chocked on her drink.
“W-what?” she managed between coughs. “What are you talking about?”
“Dan told me that…” Auden trailed off for a moment before continuing. “Oh wait, I just remembered, I’m not supposed to say anything.”
“Daniel told you?!” Andie almost yelled, but managed to compose herself given the fact that they were in public.
“Yeah... Well now I’m in trouble, what is the deal with you guys?” He asked, taking a bite out of the chocolate brownie.
“Nothing happened,” Andie insisted. “What did Daniel say?”
“He said don’t tell Andie," he teased.
“Okay!” Auden said. “He just said you guys and kissed and that he asked you out and that was that. No biggie.”
“That’s not true,” Andie said, furious. She knew that she had very purposely not kissed back, so for Daniel to twist the story… “I didn’t kiss him. I said it wasn’t possible.”
“Because of Katie?”
“No!” Andie said, though it was obvious that is was because of Katie. But before Auden could slip in any rude remark about her friend, she quickly changed the subject. “When did he tell you all this?”
Auden yawned and rubbed his eyes.
“Soon after you and Katie left. Hey, guys talk, ladies talk.”
“Well… you better not say a word,” Andie said. “I mean it.”
She finished her coffee and put her finished cup on the tray with the intention of leaving.
“Hey, don’t be mad at Dan,” Auden said, touching her hand across the table. “If anything, be mad at me.”
Just as Andie was about to open her mouth, she was startled by the arrival of Eddie. Eddie was Auden’s older brother. He was also a high school drop-out. He got an apprenticeship in his father’s painting business, but if it wasn’t for that, he would still be unemployed. Eddie had the same wild hair as his brother, the same body type, and a worryingly similar relationship with alcohol.
“Eddie my man,” Auden greeted, slapping his brother’s back.
“S’up,” he murmured, nodding to Andie. “Hey, is it true that you and Sally Parkinson made out last night?"
As a high school drop-out, Eddie seemed to live through his younger brother. He knew all the gossip, knew almost everyone in Auden’s year and was friends was all his friends, including Andie.
“It’s very true,” Andie said, happy to change the subject from her and Daniel. “Auden hit the jack-pot.”
“That makes me a proud man,” Eddie said with a grin, talking a seat and helping himself to Andie’s lemon tart.
“Did you come to hear about the gossip or my A levels?” Auden asked, sitting back in his chair.
“Actually, I was on my way home and the whole road was blocked, crazy right?”
“Hm," Auden said. "Where about?"
“Uh, you know the road by the shops?”
“By Honey’s Café?” Andie couldn't help but ask. She wondered if there was any connection to what her father had spoken about the night before.
“Yeah, that one," Eddie said, completely unfazed.
“Why, did your dad mention it?” Auden asked. Everyone knew that Andie’s father was the chief of police, so if anything were to have happened, it was likely that Andie would know about it. Though her father was sworn to secrecy, he often told his family things just before they came out on the news, and this seemed to be one of those cases.
But for some reason, Andie decided that this was not something that she should be talking about. For some reason, it just felt wrong.
She quickly backtracked.
“No. No, I just know what road you mean,” She said, and much to her relief, the brothers soon dropped it and returned to the topic of Sally.
“Sally Parkinson. She’s a stunner,” Eddie said.
“Yeah,” Auden grinned. “Huge arse. Massive tits."
“Hey!” Andie interrupted.
"How did you get her?” Eddie continued, totally ignoring Andie.
“Guess I got lucky.”
Eddie grinned and shook his head. He loved hearing stories about his brother's adventures because all of his high school friends were all grown-up. They were either in their final year of university or venturing out into the world of work with no time for chasing girls or parties or anything that Eddie loved.
“Well anyway, I could do with grabbing a burger, that lemon tart’s too tangy," Eddie eventually said. Andie rolled her eyes.
“Well I could do with seeing how Katie’s doing, so I’ll see you guys later,” Andie said as she got up from her seat. She pushed the lemon tart towards Auden. "Assuming you have more mature taste buds than your brother does."
“See you, Andie,” Auden said, managing to hold her back long enough to give her a hug. He stood up in his chair to whisper in her ear. "And for the record, you and Dan would make a pretty cool couple.”