Escape in You(5)

By: Rachel Schurig

“Burn, man,” the guy says, laughter in his voice. “Sounds like she wasn’t too interested in the Barkley charm.” Before I can get a good look at his face, Ellie pulls me through the kitchen door.

“I’m thinking maybe you were right about this not being our scene,” she mumbles. “I feel like we’re in some kind of John Hughes movie, and we’re playing the kids from the wrong side of the tracks. Who are these people?”

“Rich ones. There’s a reason we don’t go to parties like this, Ells.”

She makes a face. “But Hunter said he’d be here. I thought we’d run into the whole crowd.”

I look around the packed living room. A few couples are dancing in the middle of the room, but, for the most part, everyone is just standing around with drinks in their hands. “Maybe they showed and decided it was lame. You were pretty late picking me up.”

Just then, a pair of familiar arms wraps around my waist and Hunter kisses my neck. “Looking for me, gorgeous?”

I laugh and push him off of me. “We were, actually.”

“Ellie,” Hunter says, releasing me and turning to Ellie with a stern expression. He crosses his arms. “What is this I hear about you beating the shit out of some sorority girl?”

Ellie laughs and hugs him. “I would hardly call it beating the shit out of her. I barely grazed her.”

He snorts. “Yeah, right. I know you better than that.”

“Where the hell is everyone?” She looks over his shoulder. “We were starting to get worried that you guys bailed.”

“Nah,” he says, taking my hand. “We’ve just commandeered the basement. It’s a little bit less of a Gap commercial down there. Come on.”

I follow him, relaxing for the first time since we arrived. I have a beer in my hand, and I’m about to join my friends. Things are looking up.

As the three of us walk through the basement door, I think I catch a glimpse of the guy in black from the kitchen. He’s leaning against the wall in the living room, steps from where we’d found Hunter, watching me. But then I turn onto the staircase and he disappears from my sight.

Chapter Two


“This is more like it,” Ellie says, leaning her head against my knees, her back to the couch where I’m sitting. “I told you it wouldn’t be lame.”

I look down at her lazy smile and laugh. “You’re baked.”

She nods. “Yup. Why aren’t you?”

I hold up the bottle of vodka I had happily received from Hunter. “I’m enjoying my spirits.”

She laughs. “You’re such a dork.”

“Hey, pass that over here,” Hunter says from the floor beside Ellie. He’s lying flat on his back, enjoying the effects of the pot they’d just smoked. “I knew I shouldn’t have given it to you. You always hog the vodka.”

“Shut up, Hunter,” I say and take a swig. The familiar feeling of fire making its way down my throat calms me further. “You can’t drink lying down like that. You’ll spill.”

“Will not,” he mutters as he closes his eyes.

“Sure.” I take another gulp and look around the room. The basement is bigger than my entire house and includes an honest-to-God movie theater, a billiards room, and this rec room, where Hunter led us after finding us upstairs. Shouts and drunken laughter spill out of the billiards room next to us and we can still hear the pounding music and cacophony of voices from upstairs, but this room is much more chill. The lights are dimmed, and most everyone in the room shared that joint with Ellie and Hunter and is now relaxed into fairly quiet conversations. I know many of the people in here, a lot of whom are friends of Ellie’s and Hunter’s that we’ve partied with before.

Ellie slides her head off my knee and lowers herself to the carpet until she, too, is lying flat on her back. “Zoe, you have to try this.”

“Try what? Lying down? I know how to lie down, Ells. It’s not exactly rocket science.”

“No, this carpet, man,” Hunter says, his voice low and relaxed. “You have to try this carpet.”