Escape in You(3)

By: Rachel Schurig

“Whores,” he mutters.

“Nice,” Ellie says, shaking her head. “Did he honestly think we would find that enticing?”

“What, you’re not turned on by potential date rapists?”

She snorts. “Definitely pass.”

I’m relieved when we finally reach the kitchen. Like the hallway, the room is filled with people, but its spaciousness and soaring ceilings help keep that claustrophobic feeling at bay.

Ellie zeros in on the keg, and I follow, grabbing a red plastic cup from the counter.

The line for the keg is long, so I take the opportunity to check out the crowd. I have yet to see a single familiar face, which surprises me. Given the sheer number of people in the house I’d expect to know someone. A few feet away, a group of three girls leans against the counter, laughing at something a guy in a football jersey is saying.

“Oh, God,” Ellie says softly. “That guy has to be at least twenty-five. Is he seriously wearing his high school team jersey?”

I snort with laughter and, too late, slap a hand over my mouth to cover the noise. The girls turn as one to stare at us. They’re exactly the type of people I would expect to find at a party like this—dressed in tiny miniskirts, tight tanks tops, and towering heels, they are what Ellie refers to as Big Hair Girls: the over-made, underdressed type that we avoid like the plague. But there’s no avoiding them now.

“What are you looking at, bitch?” the lead Big Hair Girl calls out, her eyes narrowed. One of her sidekicks says something too softly for us to hear, and they all giggle again.

“I’m not looking at much,” Ellie says, a deceptive sweetness in her voice.

Lead Big Hair Girl pulls herself up to her full height, her eyes narrowing even further. I shake my head. Clearly, this girl has no idea what she’s in for. If she knew what was good for her, she’d be scared shitless by that fake sweet tone in Ellie’s voice. You simply do not mess with Ellie Canter if you value your beautiful clear skin and wish to keep it that way.

“Excuse me?” The girl takes a step closer to us. Her friends put their hands on their hips and form a wall behind her.

“You’re excused.” Ellie’s voice is harder now.

Drop it, I silently urge Big Hair Girl. I still haven’t gotten my beer yet, and I’m not really in the mood to see Ellie go all apeshit on this chick.

“Who the fuck do you think you are?” the girl demands, walking straight for us. She stops a step away, her gaze flicking up and down Ellie’s figure before darting over to me. She smirks. “I don’t know why I’m wasting my time even acknowledging this trash.”

Ellie smiles, and I know the girl is in for it. Should have dropped it. Sorry, Big Hair Girl.

Ellie slaps the girl across the face so hard her head snaps to the side. One of the girls screams. Ellie’s hand flashes out again and grabs a huge hunk of teased, bleached hair. “What’d you call me?” she asks, her voice low. The entire kitchen has gone silent now.

“Let go of me, you freak,” the girl yells.

“You’re all the same,” Ellie says, shaking her head and curling her lip. “You talk a big game but can’t back it up. Go back to your little friends and leave the big girls alone now.” Ellie releases her grip on the girl’s hair, pushing her away as she does so. Big Hair Girl stumbles, her hip bumping into the counter.

Big Hair Girl’s eyes are wide and wet, her hand pressed to her cheek. I can't blame her for the watering eyes. I’ve been on the receiving end of one of Ellie’s slaps only once, but the sting was unforgettable. I watch Big Hair Girl with interest. This is a pivotal moment for her. She could drop it and go back to her friends, bitching about Ellie to anyone who will listen. Or she could be really stupid and try to fight back. That wouldn’t end well for her. Next time, Ellie’s hand will be firmly formed into a fist.

The arrival of a guy in a white button-down shirt and faded jeans breaks the utter silence in the room. I hope he isn’t the girl’s boyfriend. Not that Ellie is above fighting boys, but it might get messy. I really don't feel like getting involved.