Bitter Bite(Elemental Assassin #14)(29) by Jennifer Estep
We weren’t blood.
The truth was that Fletcher could kick me out anytime he wanted to, and I couldn’t help but think that he would if I ever pissed him off enough. Like by letting a bunch of kids eat his food, guzzle his booze, and trash his house.
“Come on, Gin,” Finn said, his voice taking on a wheedling note. “If you think we’re going to get into trouble anyway, then we might as well go ahead and have the fun now. Make all that punishment really worth it in the end.”
He winked and slowly widened his grin, trying to charm me the way I’d seen him charm countless other girls. Finn was cute, but I wasn’t stupid enough to get suckered in by a pretty face. Still, it was easier to go along with him than it was to protest. Besides, he was right. He’d already done all the work and called everyone, so it wasn’t like he could cancel the party. Not without looking like a complete loser in front of his friends, something Finn would do anything to avoid. Being cool and popular was more important to him than anything else.
“All right,” I muttered. “But you can tell Fletcher that it was all your idea.”
Finn grinned again, knowing that he’d won. “Sure. I’ll tell him that very thing. Now, grab the tape and help me with the lights.”
I sighed, thinking that no party was going to be worth the weeks of no TV, extra chores, and other punishments we’d get from Fletcher, but I helped Finn finish stringing up the lights.
We’d just taped the last strand to the mantel when a knock sounded on the front door.
Finn gave me a sharp look. “Just be cool tonight, okay? Or as cool as you can be. As long as you don’t act like a whiny Goody Two-shoes, everything will be fine. You’ll see.”
He gave me one more warning glare, then hurried down the hallway and opened the front door. “Hey, Steve! Tony! Glad you guys could make it. Come on in . . .”
Over the next hour, more and more kids arrived, streaming into Fletcher’s house like it was the site of the greatest party ever. Maybe it was. More than a hundred kids packed into the house, smoking, drinking, laughing, talking. The stereo was cranked up so loud that you could barely hear what anyone else was saying. Then again, everybody was too busy drinking, smoking, and making out to care about having a real conversation.
All the kids were older than my fourteen years, and many of them were older than Finn’s sixteen. In fact, several guys with facial stubble and girls with big hair and even bigger breasts looked like they should have been in college, rather than hanging out at a high-school party. And beer and cigarettes weren’t the only things they’d brought with them. One of the downstairs living rooms reeked of pot, with thick, hazy, suffocating smoke filling the air. And it wasn’t just that folks were drinking and smoking things they shouldn’t. They were bumping into furniture, breaking dishes, and making a mess of everything.
One guy staggered out into the hallway right in front of me. He grinned, his eyes bright and glassy, then bent over and puked all over the floor. I jumped back so I wouldn’t get any of it on my sneakers, but I couldn’t escape the hot, sour stench, and my nose wrinkled in disgust.
Once he was finished, puke boy lurched over, grabbed a random can off one of the tables lining the hallway, and chugged back all the beer inside. Several cheers sounded, and people gathered around and clapped him on the back, as if puking your guts out and then immediately guzzling down more beer was totally awesome. Whatever.
Enough was enough. I wasn’t going to get kicked out of Fletcher’s house because Finn had decided that he just had to throw a stupid party for all his stupid friends.
I shoved through the kids crowding the hallway, searching for Finn. It took me forever to move from one part of the house to the next, and more than a few guys were drunk enough to throw their arms around my shoulders and hit on me, even though I was as flat-chested as a girl could be. But I supposed all that beer had already soaked into their puny brains, making me look prettier than I actually was.
I sidestepped another guy with grabby hands and pushed my way into the den. Finn was standing in front of the fireplace, a red plastic cup in his hand, talking to a gorgeous blond girl who looked a year or two older than him. Finn had his elbow propped up on the mantel and the collar of his black polo shirt popped up, like he was supercool. I rolled my eyes. Super-idiot was more like it.
I went over and tugged on Finn’s arm. The music was so loud in here that I could barely hear myself think.
Finn glanced over his shoulder. When he realized it was me, he narrowed his eyes and jerked his head, a clear leave-me-alone-right-now signal. But I tugged on his arm again.
“People are throwing up everywhere!” I yelled over the music. “And they’re breaking things and going through Fletcher’s stuff. You need to tell them to leave. Now. We’ll have a hard enough time as it is cleaning up this mess before he gets home.”
Finn looked out over the den as if he were just now noticing how many kids were packed inside and what a colossal mess they were making. The drinking, smoking, and puking were bad enough, but one particular drunk idiot was standing on top of the coffee table, scuffing his boots all over the wood as he tried to do some sort of lame-ass cowboy line dance.
Finn winced. For a second, I thought he was going to tell people to start clearing out. But the girl he’d been talking to peered around his shoulder at me.
The girl’s nose wrinkled in disgust, the same way mine had a few minutes ago. “Who is this? And why is she at your party? I didn’t think you had invited any losers, Lane.”
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