My Strongest Weakness

By: Brighton Walsh

To the dance teacher who thought it’d be a good idea for a bunch of fifteen year olds to do a routine to If by Janet Jackson. Thanks for encouraging my love for a song that eventually sparked the idea for this super dirty novella…





Tia



I can’t believe I’m here. I don’t try hard to keep the sneer off my face as I weave my way through the throngs of frat boys and sorority girls grinding in the living room, fucking Sugar Ray pumping through the speakers in the corner. I just know I’m going to be forced to hear such gems as Hootie and the Blowfish and Backstreet Boys the whole time I’m here. I’ll be lucky if my ears don’t bleed by the time the night’s over.

This is so not my scene. It’s not that I hate parties…just these parties. Snooty sorority girls with their Heathers cliques, whispering and pointing at anyone who looks different from them. Jocks who are obnoxious and irritating, doing keg stands or groping chicks in the corners or on the couches. I’d rather be just about anywhere. But when Stacy, my roommate from freshman year, cornered me in the quad after my foreign film class and begged me to come along, saying all her other friends bailed on her and the guy she was trying to catch the eye of was going to be here, I figured why the hell not?

Plus, I thought it would be a good opportunity to fuck with him.

Him being Mason Brooks. Starting quarterback, a legacy and vice president of Zeta Alpha Tau, and Mister All-American. He’s perfection personified. Perfect hair, perfect body…straight white teeth anchoring the perfect smile. Perfect clothes. Perfect life. His parents, both lawyers, are still married. They attend every football game, or so I’ve heard, and live about an hour upstate in a suburb I can’t even afford to drive through, let alone live in. Perfect.

We’re like water and oil, never mixing well. As different as night and day. I hate him on principle alone.

A game of Quarters is going on in the corner, and he’s there, standing almost a head taller than everyone else he’s with. He looks stupid in his backward baseball cap, No Fear shirt, and jeans, just a lemming talking to his lemmings. Everything about him should turn me off, from his neatly cropped hair, to his cocky stance, to his booming voice, to all those muscles hidden beneath his clothes.

Sadly, it doesn’t, which is what got me into this situation in the first place.

He’s talking with some guys I’ve seen him with around campus. Two girls hang off each of his arms—one of whom I overheard in the dining hall say she was going to hook up with him tonight. Since overhearing that, there’s been a fissure of…something…that started low in my belly and worked its way up, and now it’s nearly overwhelming. Must be anticipation. Excitement at the shit that’s about to hit the fan. Mason hasn’t noticed me yet, and I’m kind of looking forward to when he does. The Fourth of July will have nothing on the fireworks between us when he sees I’ve broken our code and shown up on his home turf.

There aren’t a lot of rules between us. In fact, there are only three: No interacting in public, no unscheduled hookups, and no home turf invasions.

I’m planning to break all three tonight, just for the hell of it.

“Tia!” Stacy grabs my arm and spins me around, pointing toward the far end of the house. “I see Brad over there, so I’m gonna try and catch his eye. You okay?”

“Yeah, yeah,” I say, waving her off. “I’ll find you when I want to leave.”

“Okay, an hour, tops!”

Without another word, she takes off in that direction, her long hair flying behind her, and I’m left without a buffer. There’s no denying Stacy fits in here with the rest of the crowd in the house. She’s everything I’m not. Styled blonde hair and trendy clothes, bubble gum personality to my black licorice. When we were assigned the same dorm freshman year, I thought it’d be a disaster. Turned out we clicked despite our differences and managed to keep in touch even when we moved on to other living arrangements.

Head held high, I ignore the thinly veiled looks of judgment tossed in my direction as I make my way through the crowd. God forbid I not be here in a schoolgirl skirt and a baby tee clinging to my tits, all my goodies on display for everyone to see. The chains of my necklace jangle as I walk through the party, not really sure where I’m going. But moving is better than standing still, waiting for the vultures to strike.