The car pulled over in front of an extravagant front gate.
Politely thanking my family's driver, I pulled the door handle and stepped out. It was getting dark and the gate loomed over me, reminding me I was walking straight to my own personal nightmare. Taking a deep breath, I headed for the doorbell, though not without peeking at what would be waiting for me inside. I couldn't see much past the gate, just a dimly lit, long road and pristine rows of trees lining each side. Somewhere in the distance where the tree lines nearly joined, I could see a glimpse of a brightly lit white mansion.
It was the last place where I wanted to be.
Much rather, I would've been curled up on my couch with a good book in my hands. Or even practicing the never-ending art of playing the piano. Being the stereotype of an Asian nerd girl – and proud of it – these types of events weren't my jam in the slightest.
I rang the doorbell before giving myself a chance to talk my way out of it. The gate opened instantly, which was a bit odd. I wondered if it was programmed that way for just tonight. Shrugging, I stepped inside and started to make my way towards the mansion through the well-kept gravel road. Sigh, even the road screamed rich, spoiled and brat.
How I landed an invitation to a slumber party hosted by the prettiest girl in my new high school and the top cheerleader – Amber Moore – was beyond me. She and her gang of minions had - very randomly - approached me in the hallway Thursday afternoon, asking if I'd be interested to come to their start of a school year slumber party. Not being very interested in making friends with them, I had thought of declining at first... but I also didn't want to make a social suicide so I gave it another thought. Counting on that my parents would've declined; I had promised to try. What a brainfart on my part – I should've known my parents would be thrilled to have me out of the house for a change.
My heart had skipped a beat as the blond queen bee had written her address on my math book's cover. She even winked at me while telling I should wear a pajama. That night had been the first night I had dreamt about her. The whole thing made me wonder why I always crushed on the girls I could never ever have.
The road leading to the mansion was a lot shorter I had thought, I was already half-way through. The faint echo of the bassline reached my ears, probably from whatever pop song they were playing inside at the top volume.
Once again I cursed myself for ever actually asking the permission to come. Then I cursed my parents for not being the stereotypical Asian parents, as they had gladly given permission. They had even urged me to stay over. Mom had been thrilled. She had forced me to go shopping for pajamas with her. She would've even wanted me to wear something sexier, so I'd finally bring a boy home.
That's where I put my foot down and opted for the white satin top with spaghetti straps and matching loose pants I was now wearing. Instead of the red, skimpy, baby doll-like thingy, that my mom was insisting on and which made me shudder... meanwhile cursing myself for not having the courage to come out of the closet to mom, as it would've made explaining the lack of potential boyfriends just that much easier.
The closer I got to the huge mansion, the more I wanted to run away. Soon enough, the enormous building was standing tall just in front of me. The music was booming, bombarding my eardrums, getting louder every step I took towards the house. Picking the right staircase, I hopped them up skipping every other step so I wouldn't stop to think and hesitate. The double mahogany door was left cracked open, so I figured I wasn't supposed to knock or ring the doorbell. Not that anyone would've even noticed anyway as the noise inside seemed to be quite the lot to handle.
Yanking the door open, still not stopping to wonder what I had gotten myself into, I stepped inside. My heart thumped annoyingly hard inside my ribcage. Before I could even digest the sight I met, the door banged shut ominously behind me.
I didn't know what I had expected, but it certainly wasn't the scene what now was in front of me. At least half of my high school's student body had cramped up inside. There was an actual DJ in the far left corner. The two grand dark marble staircases leading upstairs bordered the enormous dancefloor – or what was probably supposed to be some type of entrance area on a normal day. It was dark apart from the disco lights circling the packed to the brim dancefloor. There even were soap bubbles floating in the air.
It was like a scene straight from some super lame teen rom-com movie. The people on the dancefloor all had a red solo cups on their hands while they were grinding each other, the girls in skanky nightgowns like my mom had almost made me wear. The majority of guys – mostly jocks – were topless, sporting only some pajama pants. I just stood there, my jaw hanging open, feeling overdressed and like I was going to be sick.
Just as I was turning around to run as far away from there as humanly possible, someone grabbed my wrist and spun me right back around.
"Mei! You made it," the grinning blonde shouted. Took me a while to figure out it was the queen bee herself – Amber.
Great. Now my heart no longer thumped in rhythm with the music. Instead, it started racing double the speed, making my head spin. "Yeah..." I finally muttered.
"Come on, I'll give you a tour," she yelled over the music with a huge grin lighting up her face. She started yanking me through the dance floor to the door on the far right corner. For some reason, I let her. Probably because I was too overwhelmed to think straight.
While we pushed through the crowd, I glanced at Amber's outfit and felt a relief wash over me. She was wearing a top similar to mine but in black and pajama pants. Oddly enough, we sort of matched.
The air smelled like cologne and... candy scented lotion? Shaking my head, I noted that that Amber still held my hand. Hers felt... warm. The grip was strong. I swear I could almost feel an electric current run through her hand straight to mine.
Careful now, don't let the lesbian show through, I reminded myself and tried to get a grip on my wild thoughts. Thoughts that involved Amber and me getting intimate more than I cared to admit. After all, nerdy Asians and queen bees don't match. Besides, Amber was the epitome of a straight girl.
Soon enough, we reached the door. Amber yanked it open and we stepped in. The soundproofing inside the house was amazing – as soon as the door closed behind us, the volume of the music declined to a much more reasonable level. I glanced around and noticed we had entered some kind of a dining room. Though now, the long table held all kinds of booze. I gulped. I had never gotten myself drunk in my life and didn't plan to do so tonight either.
I felt my heart clench when Amber let go of my hand and filled a red plastic cup with a pink punch and then handed it to me before filling up a cup for herself. I stared at the cup on my hand, not knowing what to do with it.
"What's wrong?" Amber asked, eyeing me with a light frown in between her perfectly shaped eyebrows.
Sighing, I decided to be honest. "I just don't really drink."
She let out a chiming laugh. "Like, at all or just alcohol?"
I couldn't help but chuckle, she was surprisingly being the slightest bit funny. For a cheerleader. "Just alcohol."
"Don't worry, me neither," she stated and touched my plastic cup with hers. "The pink one is a non-alcohol one. The turquoise one is spiked."
Frowning, I glanced at the pink liquid inside my cup. Highly doubting her statement, I lifted it to my face and tried to smell the alcohol. It was hard to tell, as it smelled like summer, lemons, and strawberries. Amber laughed at me again.
"Don't believe me? Just taste it," she said and gulped hers down in one go.
I took a small sip. It didn't taste like alcohol at all. Just lemon soda and maybe some strawberry essence.
"See?" she asked and started dragging me to another door.
We entered a room that had a huge flat screen tv on the back wall and a fireplace on the other wall. But all the couches were pushed aside. There were pillows and sheets all over the floor. Somewhat resembling an ocean. A few girls were having a huge pillow fight in the middle of the room while some guys were building a pillow fortress on the side. It was getting huge, like a mountain. I had the weird teen rom-com flashbacks all over again. It was so surreal.
There were glass double doors on the wall to our right leading to what I supposed was their back yard and based on the blue light that poured in, a huge pool too. Getting curious, I glanced through one glass door and yes... the back yard looked like a luxurious water park. Our family was loaded too as both of my parents were successful surgeons, so we too had a pool in our back yard. But it was nothing compared to what the Moore household had.
"Come on," Amber said and let me to another door. "Now this is kind of off-limits, but I suppose we can go through this and the kitchen to get back to the lobby," she said and opened the door.
The room we entered was magnificent and larger than life. There was another fireplace, a huge dining table that looked like it belonged to a castle – and most importantly, a polished black grand piano. My feet just started to drag me towards it, feeling like I had gotten myself in a trance or something. On my way, I put the red cup on the table, my eyes still transfixed on the gorgeous instrument. Never in my life, I had seen such a beautiful piano. An overpowering longing to touch it grew inside me. I started wondering that maybe if I'd just be able to touch a couple of keys to hear how it would sound like...
I got ripped back to reality when I heard Amber's voice behind me.
"You play?" she asked.