Teen Fiction: Live Above the Influence
Hannah Pullen-Blasnik, 14
"Come on, Julia. You're not scared, are you?" her friend asked. Radine stood on her porch, leaning back against the newly-painted white support beam. Julia didn't respond. She was scared, but she couldn't say that. Her whole life, she'd been working for this opportunity. This chance to be accepted. She wanted this.
"Let's go. What d'ya think will happen?" she said. Julia nodded and closed the door. She didn't bother to lock it; nothing would happen. The October air cut through her sweatshirt and chilled her arms, but she didn't go back for a coat. They wouldn't be out long anyway.
When they got to the house, Julia hesitated. Music blared out of the open windows, colorful lights flooded out onto the street, people spilled out onto the lawn from the house. It was very loud. Julia hated loud. Radine caught her hesitation.
"Come on Julia. We're already here, why not go in? What d'ya think will happen?" Radine prompted, nudging Julia towards the door. The house looked too packed. It looked too loud. It didn't look like fun. But this was her chance, what she wanted. Julia started up the stone steps to the lawn. Then into the house. It was much louder in here, making her ears pop. It was stuffy too, with not enough air for all the people in the room. Julia could practically taste how the air she was breathing had already been inhaled dozens of times. The flashing lights hurt her eyes and made her head throb. But everyone seemed to be happy and having fun, so she must be having fun too. This was what she wanted, after all.
"Here," Radine handed her a red, plastic party cup. The lights made it too hard to see what was in the cup exactly, but it looked like a thick dark liquid. "Drink it," Radine ordered, and took a sip out of her own glass. Julia didn't want to drink it. She wanted to ask what it was, dump it, and go home. She shook her head. No. This was fun. Everyone loved parties. This was what she wanted.
"Come on, Julia. Stop being such a scaredy cat. Drink it. What d'ya think will happen?" Radine shouted in her ear above the noise. Julia brought the cup up to her lips. It smelled bad. She took a sip. It tasted worse. She wanted to spit it back into the cup and go wash out her mouth, but instead she swallowed it. Radine smiled. Julia tried to force a smile on her own face, but couldn't make it feel convincing. It felt more like a grimace. She took another sip.
"Hey, you two need a ride?" Two boys came up to them. They were both tall and brown-haired. The swayed back and forth as they stood, like almost everyone else at the party. These were either the cutest boys Julia had ever seen, or she'd filled up her party cup too many times. How many had it been now? Two? Five? Ten? She couldn't tell. All she knew was these boys were very cute, even while blurring and spinning slightly, and she needed to get home. But a voice in the back of her head kept reminding her of all the stories she'd heard, all the warnings she'd been told. What were those warnings again? They weren't clear.
"Tha'd b' great," Radine slurred slightly, running her arm along one boy's chest. He smiled and started leading her away. Julia hesitated, unsure of whether to go. She couldn't remember why she couldn't go, but somehow she knew she couldn't.
"Julia le'sgo!" Radine called to her. Julia didn't respond. "Wha'd'ya think'll happen?" Julia started after them. She should be happy. She had to be happy and having fun. After all, wasn't this what she wanted?
The car was old, with chipping paint and stained seats. One of the guys (the one Radine had her eye on) said it used to be his family's, but they gave it to him a few months ago. Radine took the front seat, insisting Julia sit in the back with the other guy. She said it would be fun. And the seats in the front were close together anyway, so it didn't really matter to her. Julia agreed, because this after all was what she wanted. Yet the knot in her stomach tightened. She wished she still had her party cup. Then the knot would go away. As they started driving, Radine and the driver started making out. It surprised Julia at first, but she shrugged it off. It was probably what everyone did. She shouldn't act surprised. No one else was. The car swerved on the street as Radine kept kissing the cute guy driving. Soon, Julia found her lips on those of the guy next to her. His breath was hot and thick, filling her lungs. He was on top of her, horizontal. He felt amazing, and Julia liked the feel of his alcohol-filled breath mixing with hers, but still the knot tightened in her stomach. She pushed it away, kissing him harder. Nothing bad had happened. This was what she wanted.
A noise entered Julia's mind. An ear-splitting car horn. Radine screamed. The car swerved more than it had before. Julia sat up to see a giant red truck skidding towards them and the cute guy driving turning the wheel wildly, trying to move out of the way. But the road was blocked off by the truck. There was no escape. It came crashing down, folding around them, closing in on them as they rammed into the side. They were thrown by the crash. There were no seatbelts on. This wasn't what Julia wanted
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