“Chalice!” Shay shouted over the music blasting through the living room speakers. “Who are all these people?”
“What?” Chalice yelled back.
She had on a sparkling shirt that reflected the colorful lights she’d strung up around the room, and she was dancing with her arms over her head at the center of a crowd. Her boyfriend, a college boy in a dark leather jacket, was dancing behind her with his hands on her waist.
“I said, who are all these people?”
“Just a few friends!”
A girl with fox ears walked by and as she passed, a bushy orange and white tail brushed against Shay’s arm. Shay watched her go, tail swishing along behind her. She disappeared around the corner, and Shay turned back to Chalice, waving her hand after the girl as a demand for explanation.
“What was that?”
“I can see that! But why is she shifted?”
“It’s fine! All the humans are influenced! They won’t remember a thing tomorrow morning!” Chalice told her. “Relax! Have a drink!”
Shay felt a hand on her butt. She spun and grabbed onto the wrist of the boy who’d touched her. She shocked him, and he jumped back.
“D***, baby!” He held up his hands in surrender.
Shay pointed a finger at him in warning before she turned to push her way through everyone to get into the kitchen. A keg had been set out on the table and red plastic cups were scattered all around it.
Lacey tore by in a bright blue bra and jean shorts with a dark shirt flapping from her fingers.
“Lacey, put your shirt back on!”
Phoenix was perched on one of the island stools, long legs crossed and swathed in cut-off jean shorts and cowboy boots. She took a sip from her cup as she smiled at the two boys that were vying for her attention.
“Phoenix, you were supposed to keep Lacey away from the alcohol!” Shay said.
“Someone else got it for her. She’ll be fine.”
“She’s running around without a shirt on.”
“Oh.” Phoenix’s smile fell. “Maybe she got hot?”
Shay shook her head in disbelief. “Where’s Ace?”
“Winning at pool. Hey, did you know that Jesse, here, is a warlock? That’s what male witches are called.”
“Yeah, yeah. Hey, you can’t light that in here!” Shay yelled at a witch in the corner who was holding a stick of incense. The girl gave her a dirty look and then headed for the back door. “Thank you!”
“Shay, are you alright? You’re freaking out more than a turkey on Thanksgiving.”
“I’m sorry. I just . . . this is my first party. Ever. Is that hard to believe?”
“Oh, God, no. You need to calm down. Here, drink this.” She pressed a cup into Shay’s hands.
Shay was hot and her pulse was racing and she felt like she was going to throw up on someone if she didn’t calm down, so she took a huge gulp. It was cold and tasted like punch and it was really, really good. She took another drink.
“This is good. What is this?” She finished the cup and reached for the one Phoenix had before Phoenix could even hand it to her. “Oh, God. This is really good.”
Shay felt light and fuzzy, and almost as if she’d just woken from a nap but wasn’t completely awake yet. She felt like she was floating. She wondered if this was what being on a cloud felt like.
“Okay, that’s enough,” Phoenix said, putting out her hand to stop Shay from reaching for another.
“Phoenix!” Shay’s voice came out a childish whine.
Phoenix started to say something else, but a new song switched on. Shay suddenly spun around to face the living room, and her empty cup slipped from her fingertips.
“I love this song.” She hadn’t even noticed she’d dropped her cup.
“Do you even know what it is?”
“No, but I love it.”
She swung her hips in time with the music, moving in a slow circle. She bumped into someone and stumbled, and then clung to them for support. She looked up into the face of a guy in his twenties. A scruffy blonde beard coated most of his cheeks and chin.
Huh. Shay wondered what she would look like with a beard.
She ran a hand across her cheek—which felt pretty soft—and decided it wouldn’t look very good. She dropped her hand and then realized she was still holding on to him with the other.
A giggle burst from her lips. “Sorry.”
She lurched a few steps back and almost fell onto Phoenix.
Phoenix grabbed her upper arms and helped to straighten her. “Whoa there, girly.”
Shay grinned at her. “Hey, when did you get there?”
“I’ve been here.”
“Really?” Shay frowned in puzzlement.
Her vision blurred and for a moment, all she saw was a huge spot of red where Phoenix’s hair was. She blinked and Phoenix’s face came into focus again. What had they been talking about?
“I have to tell you a secret.”
Phoenix raised her eyebrow, and Shay began gesturing wildly for Phoenix to come closer, practically slapping herself on the chest. Finally, Phoenix sighed and leaned towards Shay.
Shay put her lips close to the other girl’s ear. “Your hair is red.”
Phoenix sat back and nodded. “Thanks. I know.”
Shay shook her head and clasped Phoenix’s hand. Her eyes were wide and sincere. “No, I mean it’s really red. Like . . . Like . . . Red. You know?”
Phoenix laughed. “Yes, Shay. I know.”
“Okay,” Shay replied.
“Okay.” Shay patted her hand.
“Why don’t you go find Vivienne?” Phoenix suggested.
“Oh.” Shay had forgotten all about Vivienne. “Okay. I’ll go find Vivienne.”
She had to poke and push with her elbows to get through all the people and she tripped twice before she made it to the stairs. She clambered up them, feeling completely and utterly free.
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Author’s Note: Considering I’ve never been drunk before, writing this chapter was a bit of a challenge. I hope it wasn’t too ridiculous. There’s a reason she gets drunk, and not just for the comical reasons. Okay. Bye.