Chapter 26-Now or Never

Lauren’s heels clicked into the kitchen and she casually grabbed an orange. It was as if she never moved out of Theta. She spotted me sitting at the long picnic-style table in the dining area. She raised an eyebrow as she joined me.

“So,” I said flashing a tight smile. “How did coffee with Dillon go?”

Lauren dug her hot pink nails into the skin of her orange. “It was fine.”

“Do you think he’ll dump me for you?”

“I don’t know,” Lauren shook her head softly. “We’ve always liked each other. Yet, he’s very loyal. Very loyal to you.”

“His one redeeming quality,” I said with a snort.

“Please don’t talk shit about Dillon,” Lauren frowned as she nibbled her orange. “Brie, sometimes I wonder if you have a lick of common sense.”

“I wonder the same thing myself,” I said looking down at my untouched soup. It was getting cold. “Sorry.”

“Anyway, I’m going to the Lambda’s ‘Guys in Ties, Girls in Pearls’ party tonight,” Lauren said. “I’ll work stealing Dillon more…you really owe me one, Brie.”

“I owe you several.”

“Meanwhile, I was looking at apartments in Coralvalley. I wish I could just have my old Theta room back. The national committee would never allow it.”

“You can sleep in my room.”

Lauren narrowed her eyes.

“Nevermind,” I said shaking my head. “So, Leah had an idea, that I should ditch  out on Lambda’s Guys in Ties party and go to Sigma’s foam soap party instead. Dillon would be so mad at me.”

“What? I don’t understand that logic.”

“I can’t dump him,” I said. “Our relationship has improved Theta’s status. Mallory said we had never been invited to so many parties and events. In the past, we could never get into Lambda, now we are regulars there. If I dump him, everyone will hate me. But, if he is the one doing the dumping, things should just coast back to normal. He and everyone else won’t hate me with a passion.”

“I don’t think that’s how it works,” Lauren said, rolling her eyes.

I felt my blood boil. “Well, Mallory thinks so and I agree. Dillon will hate me if I dump him. Hate! I know him. That’s why I haven’t done it. He would get with Krissy just to spite me. Theta would be back in the social mud and I can’t let that happen.”

“There is no guarantee, after he breaks up with you, that he won’t go straight to Krissy.”

“That’s where you come in.”

“But I’m not a student,” Lauren said folding her arms. “I’m not in the game anymore. You underestimate how deeply Dillon loves to play.”

“That may be,” I said with a shrug. “It’s worth a shot.”

“If you say so.”

****

“I’m Albert,” The greeter at Sigma said with a sideways smile. He reached out to shake my hand. It felt like shaking hands with a skeleton you see hanging in Science classes.

“I’m-”

“Oh I know who you are,” Albert said as he squeezed my hands. “Brie Merritt from Theta. So glad you guys accepted our invite. Wow, didn’t expect you, though. Wow.”

I hoped that the darkness of the night hid my flushed cheeks. I pulled on my rose-gold sequin dress, resurrected from New Years Eve. It had brought me luck catching Dillon, now if only it would help me throw him back in the sea.

Leah, Mallory, Daisy, and about ten other sisters were gathered behind me. Trina met us a few minutes earlier, in front of Sigma. She got to gossiping with the girls immediately. At least I didn’t have to worry about taking care of Trina. She can make friends with a rock.

When Albert lead me in, they all trailed behind me like little ducklings. The familiar smell of spilled, stale beer, cologne, and B.O. greeted us as she walked up the stairs.

He lead us to the grand room where they were setting up a long white table for beer pong, and adding soap to the room.

“I never been to a foam party before,” Leah said biting her lip as she eyed the foaming soap.

“Me neither,” I said gazing around. There were hardly any guests yet and the music was lower than it would be in a few hours.

I felt butterflies as I thought of Dillon. He’s going to be furious., I thought. My phone vibrated. Text from Nash.

Nash: Are you single?

Me: Soon. Tonight I’m making this happen.

Nash: I guess I’ll talk to you tomorrow then.

Me: What? Why?

Nash: You know why.

Me: But I miss you…

Nash: I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

I groaned at looked at Trina.

“Was that Nashy-poo?” Trina asked, batting her long, false eyelashes.

“Yes. Now he won’t even talk to me until it’s done.”

“Why don’t I just call Dillon and pretend to be you? I will have that Dillon McCloud running away so fast…”

I cringed. “Ya, he’d never fall for it…”

Trina pinched her nose and did her best Brie-impression. “Hi, Dillon, it’s me, Brianne. I hope you know I just plopped a big ol’ turd in the toilet.”

Leah and the other girls giggled. I waved my arm and grinned.

My phone buzzed, again. I felt my heart pick up the pace .

I gave Leah and Trina a thumbs up as I answered. They leaned forward with big doe eyes.”Hello?”

“Brie,” Dillon yelled. I heard party-goers in the background. “Where the fuck are you?”

“Oh didn’t I tell you? The sisters and I wanted to go to Sigma’s foam party tonight.”

Silence.

“Dillon, sorry, how forgetful of me. Is Lauren there?”

“She just got here, I asked where you were but didn’t believe her. I couldn’t. You ditching me for another frat? Another frat? Are you fucking serious?”

“They chose Sigma. I’m sorry…but my sisters come first.” I gave my friends a wink. He couldn’t hate me for that. Could he?

“Brie.”

“Yes, Dillon?”

“It’s over.”

I swallowed. I knew that it was coming. I prayed that it was coming. But, now that it was here, I felt my limbs paralyze.

“Are you sure?” I whispered. A little sliver, somewhere inside, wanted him to say no.

“Very. You’ve been wanting this for awhile. Happy?”

“What?”

“You have been trying to get me to dump you.”

“No…”

“Take responsibility,” Dillon barked. “For once, just tell the truth.”

The truth burned on my lips. I hesitated.

“I wasn’t trying to get you to dump me,” I fibbed. “Look, I want to return the ring you got me. Thanks for it. Thanks for everything. And I’m sorry it didn’t work out between us, but I still want you to be happy.”

“I wanted you to be happy, too,” Dillon said. “Turns out, that is impossible.”

My heart sunk. I felt so bad. Part of me wanted to just hang up.

“No hard feelings, then?” I asked.

“Well,” Dillon huffed. “I don’t know. I suppose not.”

“Then,” I said shifting my weight. I cringed as I spat out words.”You won’t date Krissy out of revenge?”

Dillon laughed so loud that I had to move the phone away from my ear. “You are worried about that? Hell no. Krissy is certainly not someone I would ever date. No. I got a glimpse of her character. Just, no.”

“So you and I can be friends, right?” I said, glancing at Leah.

“Normally, no,” Dillon said. “But for you, I’m not sure. We’ll see how it goes.”

He hung up. It was done and he didn’t hate me. Before I could even soak in the glory of that moment. Mallory grabbed my wrist. Her cheeks were so pale that they were glowing.

“I just got a text from a friend who lives in Valentine Hall!”

“What?” I said bracing myself.

“Char is up on top of the building, threatening to jump!”

“What!” I yelled. Without a thought, I ran for the staircase.

Mallory scurried behind me. “Where are you going, Brie?”

“Are the police there?”

“Yes, fire trucks, ambulances. I guess she’s threatening if anyone comes near her, she’ll jump. They have a detective or something trying to talk her down.”

“Alfred!” I said as I arrived at the door.

“It’s Albert, but that’s okay-”

“Can one of your pledges drive me to Valentine Hall? It’s an emergency.”

“Well, yes. I’ll do it.”

“Okay, were is your car? We need to leave,” I said. “Now!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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