Chapter 5- It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To
"You know staring at your cell phone is not going to make it ring," Darlene's voice broke through Alyssa's thoughts.
It was over a week later and the night of Alyssa's twentieth birthday celebration. So far the day had been a lot of fun. Alyssa and her friends who were not already working spent it park hopping making sure to try and visit all of their favorite attractions. They had grabbed dinner and had now returned back to Alyssa's apartment for some birthday cake and to get ready to go out to Pleasure Island for the evening. The day had been almost perfect except for two things missing; her family, and Nick.
She'd called him earlier in the week once their plans had been set in stone. He had told her that he would definitely not be able to make the daytime celebration, something about a meeting he had with management to map out a recording schedule for the album. He had however said that he might make it out clubbing with them. He had promised to call her once he knew for sure.
So far, no call had come. Alyssa knew that she had no right to be upset because he'd made no promises to her, but after how well things had went between them at the party last week she really thought that he'd jump at the chance to see her again. She'd definitely felt a connection between the two of them and she thought he had to, but maybe it had all been in her head? Maybe I shouldn't have invited him tonight? she wondered to herself. Maybe he's really weirded out? Maybe I came on too strong?
Alyssa blushed. "I'm not staring at it," she mumbled.
"You could fool me," Kerri disagreed. "Expecting an important phone call?"
Alyssa didn't have a chance to answer before Torie entered the living room area from the kitchen holding what appeared to be a Mickey Mouse shaped birthday cake in her hands. "Cake's ready!" she announced, placing it down on the coffee table. "We just gotta put the candles in, light it, and we're good to go."
"Did you really make that from scratch?" Alyssa asked her, laughing at her friend's choice in theming for her birthday cake.
"Pretty much. I thought it would be appropriate for you," Torie admitted as she carefully counted out exactly twenty-one candles and neatly arranged them on the cake.
Alyssa eyed the number of candles warily as Torie went ahead and lit them. "Wow... There's no way I'm going to be able to blow all these out at once. You guys may have to help me."
"Oh stop!" Torie put down her lighter and gave everyone else in the room the signal to start singing Happy Birthday to Alyssa. Alyssa felt her cheeks redden a bit as all her friends sang to her. Even though it was a little embarrassing she was glad that her friends had done the best that they could to make her birthday special. It was the first time she had ever been away from her family on her birthday and at first she thought that it would be really rough, so she was glad to have her friends do what they could to make up for it.
"Make a wish!" Torie urged once everyone had stopped singing.
Alyssa bent down and held her hair back with her hands so that it did not fall into the candle flames. She knew exactly what she was going to wish for and it definitely had something to do with a certain blonde friend of Torie's. Concentrating with all her might on picturing Nick picking up his phone and calling her, she closed her eyes and attempted to blow out as much of the candles as she could. It took about three tries, but soon all twenty-one candles were extinguished and Alyssa was left huffing and puffing.
"What did you wish for?" Kerri curiously asked.
Alyssa smugly grinned. "I can't tell you or else it'll never come true."
"I know what she wished for," Darlene snickered. "She wished that this Nick guy will give her a call and join us tonight at Pleasure Island."
Alyssa blushed, embarrassed by her friend announcing her business to everyone in the room. "Darlene!"
"What? It's true!" she innocently replied. "He's all you've been talking about for the past week. Plus, there's the fact that you've been glued to your phone all day. Has he really not even called to wish you a Happy Birthday?"
She sadly shook her head. "I haven't heard a word from him. Do you think that's a bad sign?"
Torie shook her head. "Not necessarily. You never know with Nick. I wouldn't take it too personally or anything."
"Well, I think if he doesn't even have the decency to at least tell you that he can't come tonight or even just to wish you a Happy Birthday he must be an idiot," Darlene supplied. "You look fabulous and if he wants to be a bum and stand you up tonight, he has no idea what he's missing."
"Thanks.." Alyssa wished that she could be as strong willed as her roommate and knew deep down that she was right. Still, she couldn't help but to stubbornly hope that Nick would still call and maybe even show up at Pleasure Island that night to surprise her. It was a far fetched fantasy, but she didn't even want to consider the alternative of him blowing her off completely. She'd even taken extra care to make sure she looked her absolute best, selecting one of her favorite outfits, a baby pink halter top and denim miniskirt with tan colored high heeled sandals.
Luckily the conversation stopped there as Torie began to divide up the cake and distribute slices to all of their guests. Alyssa took one bite out of her cake and realized that her stomach was too tangled up in knots to eat anymore. Not wanting to hurt her friend's feelings she carefully cut her cake into smaller pieces and then slid it all into the corner of her plate to make it look like she had ate more than she actually had.
This did not seem to fool Torie in the slightest. Sensing that her friend was upset, Torie slid next to Alyssa on the couch. "Are you feeling okay?" she asked in a concerned voice.
Alyssa nodded. "I'm great," she lied.
Torie's eyes narrowed, not believing a word that came out of her mouth. "Come with me for a second." She grabbed Alyssa by the elbow and pulled her up from the couch. She led her down the hallway into their bedroom and shut the door behind them for privacy. "This is about Nick right?"
Alyssa sighed realizing that she was defeated. "Okay so it is," she finally admitted. "I know that he didn't say for sure if he was coming or not, but why couldn't he give me a definite answer? Now I'm a basket case because I feel like I'm waiting for him to show up at any moment."
"Maybe you should call him?" Torie suggested.
Alyssa shook her head. "I've already called him a few times last week. In fact..." She bit her lip ass she struggled to recall how many times she'd called him compared to how many times he'd called her. Come to think of it she was pretty sure that she had done most of the calling. "He hasn't really called me that much. I'm probably annoying him is what it is. He probably thinks I'm getting way too clingy and maybe he's changed his mind about me. I-"
Torie just laughed. "Alyssa I think that you are stressing about this WAY too much. Just relax..."
Alyssa leaned her head back and sighed. Torie was probably right, but still she couldn't help but to worry if she had done something wrong. "I'm sorry. You're right. It's just I'm really bad at this dating thing and all these unspoken rules like you have to wait this long for him to call you, and when he does you can't talk about certain topics right away and knowing that makes you want to talk about them more... It's so stupid! How are you supposed to get to know someone if at first you are afraid to be yourself?"
"I agree. I hate the beginning part of relationships too. You don't think I'm not going through the same thing with Jacob?" Since their date a few weeks ago the two of them had been spending a lot of time together and it seemed as if things were definitely headed towards something more serious. "You just have to remember that these things take time. I know you felt like you and Nick had a really strong connection last week, but you don't want to jump into anything right away. Besides Nick is probably going to be a lot more cautious about getting involved in another relationship. Maybe this is just too much too soon for him?"
"Maybe..." she reluctantly agreed her lips turning into a pout. "I just really wanted a guy to spend my birthday with."
"I know..." Torie threw her arms around her in a hug. "But you're still single hun. You can go out tonight and dance with as many guys as you want."
"I guess you're right..." That was not what Alyssa wanted to hear though. There was only one guy that she wanted to spend her birthday with and the way it was looking now, he seemed to care less.
By the time Alyssa and the rest of her friends had arrived at Pleasure Island, Nick had still not called and Alyssa at all but lost hope. They had visited a few of the bars and Alyssa had to admit that her mind was not on having a good time. For the first time she wished that she was at least old enough to order a drink because at least alcohol would probably make her relax enough to stop thinking about Nick. Okay, she could understand him not wanting to come out with her and her friends, but he could at least have left her a message or something wishing her a Happy Birthday, right?
They had decided to end the night at Motion which was one of the larger, more popular clubs on the property. They played the latest Top 40 and dance music and was known for its large video screens that played music videos while the songs played. Alyssa had been there a few times before and normally it was a favorite of hers. It reminded her of the video dances from her middle school years. Tonight though, she really didn't feel much like dancing at all. Instead, she spent most of their time there standing off to the side of the dance floor sipping glasses of soda.
Occasionally her friends would try to pull her out on the dance floor and she'd halfheartedly attempt to dance with them, but she just wasn't much in the mood. She tried to be as discreet as possible, but every so often she'd pull her phone out of her wristlet expecting a call from Nick. It never came.
After checking her phone for about the five hundredth time that night Alyssa felt a pair of hands clamp down over hers.
She looked up to find Torie staring at her sternly. "Would you please stop with the phone and at least TRY to have a good time? You know we all worked really hard to make this special for you and you are kind of acting like you could care less."
"Sorry," Alyssa apologized, instantly feeling guilty. She knew that her friends didn't even have to acknowledge her birthday and here she was acting like she was having a horrible time. She had to admit that if the tables were turned she'd probably be pretty pissed at herself too for acting so ungrateful.
Torie held her hand out. "Give me the phone."
"What?" Alyssa protectively held the object against her chest.
"Give me the phone," Torie repeated. "Alyssa, if he hasn't called now he isn't going to."
Alyssa sighed, knowing that Torie was right even though it killed her to admit it. "Fine... Here." She handed Torie her phone grudgingly and crossed her arms over her chest. "Now what?"
"Now you're going to find a guy who you do not know and you are going to dance with him," her friend instructed.
"I don't want to!" she found herself whining.
Torie just rolled her eyes. "You and Carter really are a match made in heaven. You both whine more than a group of two year olds. Look, that guy over there is totally checking you out."
Alyssa humored her friend and looked up. Sure enough her eyes made contact with a good looking dark haired guy that looked to be a little older than her. He was gripping a bottle of beer in one hand so Alyssa assumed that he was at least twenty-one. Torie hadn't been lying because when her eyes met his he gave her a little smile and a slight nod of the head as if to dare her to come join in. Alyssa had to admit that he was pretty cute. Nowhere near Nick standards of course, but still a nice distraction.
"Go and dance with him!" Before Alyssa had a chance to decide for herself she felt Torie come from behind and push her in his direction.
Caught off guard, Alyssa stumbled a bit and found herself in the arms of the very same guy who had just been looking her way. "Whoa there!" he laughed as he caught her. "I think someone has had a little too much to drink tonight!"
"I wish," she found herself muttering.
The guy seemed to notice for the first time the birthday button that Torie had made her wear pinned to her top. "So birthday girl, huh? For someone who is supposed to be having a birthday you seem pretty upset."
Alyssa just shrugged. "I'm fine."
He bent closer to her so that she could better hear him over the blaring music. "Where's your boyfriend tonight?"
Alyssa fought the urge to roll her eyes at the cliched line. "Don't have one." She honestly didn't have the energy to make up a story at the moment.
The guy grinned. "I'm Kyle."
"Alyssa. Nice to meet you."
Kyle's hands slyly snaked around her waist. "Alyssa? That's a pretty name." Without even asking permission he began to grind his hips into hers. Alyssa could smell the alcohol on his breath and was pretty confident that he had drank more than a few beers earlier that night. She began to feel as bit uneasy. She had always found dancing with guys that she didn't know awkward, especially when they tried to dance too closely. Alyssa was pretty big on personal space and she found hers being invaded at the moment.
She tried to pull away a bit, but Kyle's hands were locked tightly against the small of her back, not giving her much room to maneuver. "Where you going baby?" he asked with a lopsided grin.
All of a sudden Kyle didn't seem so cute anymore. She looked over his shoulder to try and see if she could find Torie, but her friend was not standing near the bar where she had been a few minutes ago. He continued to grind into her a little rougher as his lips tickled her earlobe. There was definitely something about him that was making Alyssa very uncomfortable and she did not like the fact that he was not letting go of her.
It wasn't until she felt his hand his hand begin to travel up her thigh and underneath the hem of her skirt that it clicked in her mind that she was going to have to use a bit of force. Before she could react though he had pressed his lips sloppily over hers, pushing his tongue through her surprised mouth. Alyssa was caught off guard by the move, but after a second or two her surprise turned to anger. Using all the strength she could muster up she stamped down onto his foot with the heel of her shoe.
The move worked and Kyle angrily let go of her. "What the fuck was that all about you stupid bitch?"
Normally Alyssa probably would've decked him, but once she looked up she realized how badly she'd screwed up. Standing only a few feet away was Nick and it seemed as if he had witnessed the whole thing. Torie was by his side trying to explain the situation, but Nick looked pretty pissed and perhaps even a bit hurt. Shit, Alyssa realized. He must have interpreted that whole scene completely differently than what actually happened. Their eyes locked for a second and Nick just shook his head before turning his back on her and disappearing into a crowd of people.
Ignoring Kyle, Alyssa pushed past him, trying to find Nick before he left. This was bizarre. Why would he all of a sudden change his mind and decide to show up unannounced? And why would he choose that exact moment to come up and surprise her?
She finally caught sight of his blonde head nearing the exit. "Nick, wait!" she called, breathing heavily as she struggled to catch up with him. She burst through the double doors of the exit to find a frazzled Torie trying to calm Nick down near a bench a few feet away.
"I'm sorry," she blurted out as she approached him. "I promise you that was nothing at all what it looked like back there."
"Really?" Nick's eyes skeptically narrowed. "Because it looked to me like you were all over some guy with your tongue down his throat."
"His tongue was down my throat!" Alyssa wanted to groan as the words left her mouth once she realized they did nothing to make her appear anymore innocent.
"Oh, well that makes it okay then," he sarcastically replied. "You know I really thought that you were different, not like most other girls who sniff around me."
"What is that supposed to mean?" she asked, all of this happening to fast for her to even process it.
"You seemed like you were really down to earth and shy," he explained. "Not the type to be all over a guy. Innocent, even. Guess you proved me wrong."
His words hit her like a slap in the face. It was almost as bad as if he went as far as to call her a slut directly. "I'm not!" she insisted. "He was all over me! All I did was agree to dance with him and that was only to get my friends off my back."
"I did encourage her to dance with him," Torie piped up. "In fact, I practically forced her. So, if you should blame anyone, blame me."
"I was standing around the whole night hoping you'd show up or call or something. You never even called me to wish me a Happy Birthday. What was I supposed to do?"
Nick clearly did not like both women ganging up on him. "Actually I wasn't even going to come at all until Torie called me telling me how 'upset' you were. You sure looked like were having an awful time."
Now it was Alyssa's turn to turn on Torie. "I can't believe you called him!"
"I was only trying to help," Torie meekly replied. "You just looked so upset. I wanted to make you feel better."
"Well, I'm glad that I found out who you really were before I got too invested." Nick turned to Torie. "Please do me a favor and don't set me up with anymore of your friends."
Before either girl could reply he strode off towards the parking lot obviously clearly fuming. "Let him go," Torie advised. "There's no rationalizing with him when he's like this. He just needs to cool down."
Alyssa sank down onto the bench and sighed, leaning her head down into her hands. "We haven't even been on our first date yet and we already had our first fight. Guess I can add this story to the dating disaster file."
"Don't give up just yet," Torie urged, sitting next to her. "Like I said he needs to cool off and process things."
"I feel like I really screwed up and I didn't even do anything wrong," Alyssa sniffled as tears finally began to sting her eyes. "Why did that asshole have to decide THAT moment to try and cop a feel on me?"
Torie looked away guiltily. "I shouldn't have made you dance with him. I'm sorry. I had no idea he was such a jerk."
"Well, what's done is done and I can't go back and change it now. Maybe this was a sign telling me that it wasn't supposed to work out with us."
Her friend stubbornly shook her head. "No... It's not over. He must really like you if seeing you with another guy upset him that much. Trust me... Nick isn't really the jealous type. I'm going to fix this."
Alyssa looked up, wiping her face with the back of her hand. "What do you mean? How?"
"I don't know, but I was the one who screwed this up for you, so I'm going to come up with some way to fix it," she resolved. "Just you wait and see."
Alyssa didn't have the strength to argue with her friend. She just nodded her head giving her friend the benefit of the doubt, but somehow she found it hard to believe that Torie could fix the situation. Nick had looked pretty upset and had said some pretty nasty things to her. She wondered what exactly in his past may have caused him to be so upset about seeing her with Kyle?