Jenna was scrolling through her phone while Leila was still getting ready. She was looking at all of the pictures she had of her and Mike. They used to be so happy and seeing all of this was giving her doubts about breaking up with him. He wasn’t always this controlling. But then the fear struck her again, the call earlier today never actually ended. What if he had heard everything her and Leila had said? Jenna couldn’t handle the stress of all of this so she took another shot of vodka. That was her fifth one already and they hadn’t even gotten to the party yet.
Leila pranced into Jenna’s room, “how does this look?” she asked.
She was wearing a white lace bodysuit with black distressed jeans and velvet black thigh high boots. She looked like a model, as usual. “You look great,” Jenna said in a monotone voice.
“What’s wrong?” Leila asked as she contorted her face to show her curiosity even though she had a pretty good idea of what was actually wrong.
“Nothing,” responded Jenna shortly and took yet another shot; that was six. Leila rolled her eyes and turned around to go back to her room to finish getting ready.
After another 20 minutes Leila was finally set so they left their dorm to go to the party. Jenna wasn’t as dressed up as Leila, she was just wearing distressed blue jeans, an army green crop top and converse. She never really went to parties except for when Mike or some of his friends would throw them.
She had a feeling this party would be a little different. They walked a couple blocks in the chilly fall night and arrived to the house. You could hear the bass bumping from the basement. That confirmed Jenna’s earlier suspicion, this was a different kind of party than she was used to.
Leila and Jenna walked around to the back entrance of the house, said hi to a few guys on the back porch and then walked in. The second Jenna stepped through the door she was sweating. It was so hot in there and she was being shoved back and forth by a bunch of dancing people.
Leila could see the panic in Jenna’s eyes so she grabbed her hand and yelled over the music “Let’s go find the keg.”
Jenna shook her head in agreement and off they were into the sea of sweaty strangers.
After downing a few cups of beer Jenna was feeling more comfortable. All she wanted to do was dance with Leila and have a night that they would remember forever. Then all of the sudden she felt a tap on her shoulder. She whipped around to see a really cute, tall, blonde haired boy smiling at her. She smiled back as he reached out his hand and said, “Hey, I’m Collin.”
He had a British accent which made Jenna’s heart melt. She reached her hand out to meet his, gave him a firm handshake and said “Uh hi, I’m Jenna.” She looked at Leila beside her who was giving her an impressed yet jealous look.
Collin smoothly replied back, “It’s very nice to meet you, darling. Would you at all be interested in dancing with me?”
Jenna’s entire face lit up. Excitement bubbled inside her and she quickly responded, “Yes! Of course!” Collin grinned, reached for her hand and guided her closer to the crowd.
Leila knew the drill, NEVER leave your friend alone at a party, especially with someone you don’t know, so she followed them.
A few songs passed and the three of them were having a great time dancing with each other and chatting a bit here and there. They learned that Collin was raised in a small town near London and is in the United States for college. He was a really nice guy actually, and from what they could tell, he was a gentlemen.
In that time with Collin, Jenna completely forgot about Mike, until she spotted him watching her from across the basement. Her entire world froze. They made eye contact and he marched across the basement closer and closer until he appeared right in front of her.
“W-w-what are you doing here, Mike? D-d-don’t you have, uh, work?” Jenna mustered.
“Yeah, I didn’t go. I knew you would be here so I decided to come myself. Ya know cause a hard working guy like me deserves a night out every once in a while right?” She could hear the mockery in his voice.
Leila quickly butted in, “Leave us alone Mike. Tonight is just for Jenna and me.”
“Jenna, you and your friend over here.”
Mike retorted gesturing towards Collin. “I’m sorry man, I didn’t happen to catch your name. What is it?”
“Collin,” he replied confidently. Collin was really confused as to what exactly was going on but he didn’t get a very good feeling about the situation so he stood his ground.
Mike disregarded the rest of an introduction and went right at Jenna with some more attitude. “So having a girl’s night with Leila means that you no longer have a boyfriend then?”
“No?” Jenna replied, confused.
“Well, I saw you dancing over here with this kid, and it seemed like you had forgotten about me? Or was it just because you are planning to break up with me anyway so it just didn’t matter?” Mike grinned as he said that last part. He knew exactly what he had just done to her world. He shattered it.
The fear rushed over Jenna’s body. She almost passed out. The entire world around her stopped. She could no longer hear the music, see anyone around her, it seemed like Mike wasn’t even there anymore. So many thoughts raced through her head that she couldn’t even comprehend a single one of them. She felt defenseless, alone and vulnerable. She felt like her life was over and there was nothing she could do about it.
Leila could see Jenna crumbling in front of her very eyes and she couldn’t take it. She stepped in, Leila got right in Mike’s face because she wasn’t scared of him. She knew he wouldn’t do anything to her, at least not in front of all these people anyway. She looked into his eyes so deeply she could almost see his dark soul and said, “Leave her alone now Mike. Get out. Leave before I make someone do it for you.”
Mike scoffed, “Why would I listen to a word you say. You’re the reason she wants to break up with me anyway.”
Leila’s eyes grew twice in size. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “You think I’m the reason she wants to leave you? I’m not the one who mentally abuses her. I’m not the one who controls her every move even down to who she is allowed to speak to. If it weren’t for you Jenna would be thriving. You bring her down Mike and I can’t just sit back and watch you ruin her spirit any longer.”
In that moment Jenna started sobbing heavily. Collin wrapped her in his arms and cradled her. It didn’t even matter that he had just met this innocent, bright spirited, beautiful girl an hour ago. If anything her friend had just said was true, no one deserves to have to go through any of that and Collin felt for her.
Mike shook his head in disbelief, “You have no idea what you’re talking about.” Mike’s cheeks started to blush giving away the fact that he was guilty of every single accusation Leila had just stated and probably even more.
Collin stood up for them and deeply said, “Leave now or I will make you leave myself and it will not be pretty.” Leila and Jenna were caught by surprise but very grateful.
Mike shook his head, held up his hands and said “Fine, but this conversation isn’t over yet Jenna. And neither is this relationship.”
Jenna unwrapped herself from Collins’ arms, walked up to Mike, looked him directly in the eyes and said confidently, “Yes, it is Mike. Good.”
Mike slapped her across the face. Jenna grabbed her burning cheek with both hands and stared at him in disbelief. Collin walked up to them, grabbed Mikes’ arm and practically dragged him upstairs and outside while Jenna and Leila followed holding each other’s hands.
Collin shoved Mike to the hard ground but did not hit him. He calmly said, “I am not going to hit you because I am not going to stoop to your level. But if I ever see you near either of these girls again I just might.”
Mike grinned and shook his head, “Yeah, we’ll see about that. I’ll talk to you tomorrow Jenna.” He got up and walked down the street seeming unfazed by the events of this night.
Camryn Meckley is a second-year student majoring in English with minors in linguistics and deaf studies.