When Sunday night arrived, Daisy Ray was expecting to go to the party along with everyone else. She had showered, gotten all dressed up and was walking out the door at the same time Connor was leaving his Apartment.
“Hey Daisy, where are you going?”
“I’m going to Jeremiah’s party, of course,” she answered as she locked her front door.
“You shouldn’t go. Jeremiah and his gang are pretty wild. It might not be the kind of party you’re expecting. Know what I mean?” Connor said it in a real sweet voice, but it still upset Daisy because she knew he was going.
“If you’re going, why can’t I?” she returned sharply.
“It’s not going to be what you think. Don’t go. Go back inside.” He unlocked her door and ushered her back inside and left.
Furious, she paced in her room, thinking about what she would do. She decided to call Willie and see if he was going. He was also a tenth grader. If he was going then she would still go. If he was not going, then she would reconsider. That was her plan.
She called Willie. “Hey Willie, it’s me, Daisy.”
“Well… I was wondering if you were going to that party at Jeremiah’s house tonight.”
“Of course. Isn’t the whole team going?”
“That’s what I thought. I was just checking because I didn’t want to be the only tenth grader there,” she paused a minute, thinking what to say next. “Umm… Connor said it might not be my kind of party.”
“Hahaha…really,” he laughed. “What’s that mean?”
“I’m not sure. I think he was meaning that I was too young. That’s why I wanted to know if you were going.”
“Oh. Well, I’m gonna ride my bike over there after I finish cleaning the yard up. Dad clipped all the bushes around our house today. I’m supposed to bag up the leaves. I can leave as soon as I’m finished. Want to ride with me?” Willie offered thoughtfully.
“Yes, that would be great!” She was so relieved at his idea.
“Come on over. You can sit on the porch while I finish up the yard.”
“Great! See you in five minutes. Bye,” Daisy hung up and ran to find her helmet. She rode her bike down Willie’s street. His house wasn’t hard to find. It had bush clippings all over the yard, and he was walking around with a garbage bag picking up the debris. Daisy parked her bike in his driveway and walked up the front lawn.
“Hey Daisy, just sit up there for a while until I get finished,” he pointed to a cute little porch swing next to the front door.
“Kay.” She appreciated his hospitality.
“What a cute house,” she thought to herself as she walked up the three steps to the porch and sat on the swing.
A tiny little dog rushed out of the doggy door at the bottom of the front door and bounced around her feet begging to be petted.
“That’s Pedro,” Willie hollered from the yard. “He won’t bite. But he’ll pester you to death if you don’t pet him!”
“Oh,” she reached down and petted little Pedro carefully. She had never had pets growing up, with the exception of some turtles once, but they died pretty quick. Grandpa Joe believed that all animals belonged either in the wild or on the dinner table. Therefore there were never any pets in the Greene’s house.
Pedro jumped up in her lap and made himself at home. Daisy laughed at the dog’s sociable nature.
Willie lugged the last bag of leaves down to the road then jogged up to the porch. He jumped the three steps, grabbing the door handle and quickly said, “Let me rinse off and get changed then we’ll be on our way.”
“Okay.” She sat a while longer, swinging on the porch swing, petting little Pedro.
Eventually, Willie came back out, all cleaned up and ready to go, “Shall we go, Madame?” He bowed formally as he spoke.
“Hahaha… sure,” she laughed. She put Pedro on the ground and walked down the steps with Willie.
“Have you ever been to Jeremiah’s house?” Willie asked as they got on their bikes.
“Well, my sister used to hang out with Jeremiah before she got sent off to rehab so I know where he lives. You can just follow me then,” he grinned.
“Kay,” she put on her helmet. They raced along several roads until they came to Jeremiah’s neighborhood.
It was obvious that a party was happening when they hit Jeremiah’s street. There were tons of cars everywhere. Loud music was blaring and huge numbers of people were walking in and out of the many entrances of Jeremiah’s home. You could hear big splashes and yelling from the back yard as the kids chased each other and pushed each other into the pool. It was a completely unsupervised mess of a party to be sure. Connor had been right. Daisy had never been to a party like this.
Inside the house, all the drinkers sat kissing on whoever was their partner for the evening. The music was too loud for any real kind of talking. Some girls were dancing around looking for someone to flirt with. Daisy came closer to Willie and whispered in his ear that she preferred to stay outside because the inside activities made her feel a bit uncomfortable. Willie understood and grabbed her hand to walk her back outside. As he did so, they turned and got a straight on view of the kitchen.
The door to the kitchen was wide open revealing the activities within. There were a bunch of teens around the kitchen table. Rows of shot glasses were lined up in the middle of the table. Connor was popping them down at an amazing speed while the others around the table chanted, “Go Connor! Go Connor!”
Susan was laughing at his side. She had her hands all over him in a way that really ticked off Daisy. When Connor finished the shots lined up for him, the next guy began setting up his row. Connor leaned on Susan and somehow managed to give her a big sloppy kiss.
Everyone laughed but Daisy. She had never seen Connor drunk or kissing on anyone before. Her coping ability vanished the second she saw the kiss. With fire in her eyes she marched over to the table of drunken whiskey challengers and screamed, “What are you doing! This is not your kind of party either! You don’t belong here! You don’t belong with her!” She pointed at Connor and Susan as she screamed her words out over the loud music. She attempted to charge around the table to the other side where Connor was standing, drunk as a skunk, but Willie grabbed her around the waist and pulled her out of the kitchen.
“You don’t want to do this,” Willie whispered his explanation in her ear as he dragged her out of the house. “It’ll only make things worse, believe me.”
They left Connor standing in the kitchen, still trying to figure out where Daisy came from and where she suddenly went to. It was all too fast for his intoxicated eyes to catch. All the wild teens around him set up the shots again, ready to forget what happened and move on to the next guy.
“Daisy,” Connor whispered her name. He pressed his palms into his eyes like he had been seeing things. “She’s not supposed to be here,” he whispered sadly.
“Forget her Connor. She’s gone now,” Susan wrapped her arms around his waist.
“I think I’m going to be sick. Let go of me…” He stumbled to the kitchen sink and threw up. “Oh God, she wasn’t supposed to be here,” he mumbled between heaves.
The other players hollered, “Connor’s out!”
Once outside, Daisy started running. She just ran, and she was fast too!
Willie ran after her. “Our bikes!” he yelled at the top of his lungs.
She reluctantly returned to the spot where Willie was standing and grabbed her bike. Then she was gone again.
Willie didn’t have a chance to say a word so he just followed her at top speed! They sped through the town until they reached the board walk. They slowed down, rolled to a stop and locked their bikes against the railing. Panting from both physical and emotional exhaustion, they walked out onto the beach and sat down in the sand.
Willie had no idea what to say. Daisy was crying now and mumbling something about Connor’s resolve going to the dogs. Her comments didn’t make sense to him so he just sat there.
After a long while of mumbling and crying, she notice Willie sitting there and looked up at him. “I’m really sorry to put you through this. I had no idea that I would see that. I didn’t know that Connor had a… um… well… I guess it was a date with Susan. I really didn’t know it.” She looked down at her feet sadly, “How could I have been so stupid? I just didn’t see that coming at all.” She was so shocked and grieved over it that she started crying again.
Willie put his arm around her shoulder and sat a little closer. “I didn’t see it coming either.”
She just nodded her head and kept on crying but not as hard now, “I’ve been with Connor my whole life.”
“Yea. I sometimes dream about marrying him you know.” She pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them tightly, feeling even
more stupid for admitting her secret. “Oh God, I shouldn’t have said that,” she banged her forehead against her knees regretting her words.
“Don’t worry about it,” Willie smiled. “I have a sister. She dreams about marrying Brad Pitt.”
“It’s not the same thing.”
“Why’s that? They’re both dreams.”
“Because I have always considered my dream possible, that’s why,” Daisy said softly.
She buried her head in her arms again and resumed her miserable crying. She didn’t really expect Willie to understand her broken heart. Why should he? He barely knew her or Connor.
“I love the ocean. It’s so peaceful, especially at night time like this.” He looked at her to see if she were listening.
She was, but she didn’t answer. She just looked up at the water, thinking back on the events of the night. As long as she had known Connor she had never seen him the way she’d seen him this night, and it grieved her to her core. “I think I need to go home now.”
He gave her a little sideways squeeze with his arm. “Sure let’s go.”
They wandered up the sandy beach and found their bikes. It was a beautifully peaceful night just like Willie had said, but Daisy could not to see it. They slowly rode back to her apartment in silence.
When they arrived in the parking lot of her apartment complex she said, “Thanks for going with me. I’m sorry it was such a lousy evening.”
Willie smiled, “Not a problem. See you tomorrow.”
She put her bike away and went to the elevator. She didn’t feel like running up the stairs tonight.
Willie watched her get in the elevator. He watched the number move to the two. When the elevator made a dinging sound, he turned his bike around to go home. “I guess that’s that,” he mumbled to himself.
At that exact moment, Maria and Mark pull up with Connor slumped over in the back seat, sick as a dog. Mark hopped out and opened the back door of the car.
Connor hung his head out of the door and threw up in the drain. “Oh God… my head,” he moaned.
“I’m ready whenever you are, man,” Mark chuckled lightly at his buddy then turned to notice Willie behind him. “I guess you were at the party. Did you see what happened?”
Willie took the whole scene into consideration before answering. “Well… uh…. it would be good if you and I swap facts. I didn’t see you at the party so you might only know certain parts.”
“What do you mean? Certain parts…”
“Daisy and I only went in for a minute then she said she didn’t want to stay so we turned to leave. We saw Connor in the kitchen doing the whiskey challenge and kissing Susan. Man, as soon as Daisy saw that she flipped out. She cried for more than two hours over what she saw. I’ve never seen a girl so upset in all my life. And I have a sister in rehab,” Willie rolled his eyes at the memory of his overly emotional sister. He didn’t really know Connor that well but he was mad that Daisy was so hurt. That made him want an explanation from Connor even though he didn’t really care about him. So he continued, “I didn’t see you at the party. How did you know Connor was so messed up and needed a ride?”
By this time Connor was sitting up in the back seat rubbing his eyes trying to focus on what was being said.
Mark looked at Connor for a moment then back to Willie again, “Connor called me when he started getting sick. I don’t have a car so I asked my sister to come with me to pick him up. Connor said he had been drinking and got sick, but he didn’t say anything about kissing Susan.” Mark turned to Connor in the car and asked, “Were you kissing Susan? I didn’t see her when I got there. Was she at the party? Connor, answer me,” Mark quizzed him gently.
He looked up reluctantly, “Yea… Susan was there with me for a little while but I don’t know what happened to her. She must have left when I started throwing up.” He rubbed his head as if that would bring back the memories more clearly.
“Well, that just sucks. Daisy’s going to be pissed off and Susan is going to think you have some kind of crush on her, which is completely not true. You better hope those girls don’t quit the team because of you.” Mark’s tone was not quite so compassionate now.
“I told Daisy to stay home.” He looked up at Willie with frustration. “Why did you bring her?”
“She called me on the phone and asked if she could go with me. She hadn’t been there before. How was I to know you’d be kissing everybody?” Willie snapped.
“I wasn’t kissing everybody!” Connor growled defensively. “It was just one stupid kiss on one stupid girl! You shouldn’t have brought her!”
“Why not? You don’t care about her! You’re off kissing other girls anyway!” Willie snapped again.
Connor’s cool blue eyes went red. He charged Willie from the car but Mark grabbed him on the run and held him tight. “No fighting! We’re going upstairs!” Mark commanded.
“Who the hell are you, man! I don’t even know you! You’re just Barbie’s little half pint brother! You know nothing about Daisy or me! Get out of here!” Connor growled through clenched teeth.
Willie straightened his bike angrily and left in a huff.
Once Willie was out of sight, Connor moaned miserably, “I care about Daisy.”
Mark put his arm around his buddy to steady him, “I know you do, man. Now do you think you can get your pathetic butt up to your apartment and take a shower without throwing up again?”
“I think so.” They walked slowly to the elevator.
Mark looked over his shoulder to Maria who was still in the car, “I’m gonna stay here with Connor tonight. Can you pick us up for school in the morning?”
Maria nodded, “Okay, that’s probably best. He looks awful. I’ll see you in the morning.” She backed out of the parking lot and headed for home.
When Maria arrived home, her house was quiet but her heart was not. “Daisy must be devastated,” she worried within herself. She sat in her Mom’s spot on the couch and stared out the window at the beautiful night sky. She whispered a prayer to the Lord for her friends. She went to bed but found no sleep. She was very sure, her best friend was not sleeping either.