Friday, January 24, 2014

New Work In Progress - Meet Bailey & Drew

I'll admit it...I've been cheating on Enlightening Bloom with a new book I've been writing with my sister-in-law, Caitlyn Turner. I know, I know. You all want more Bloom, Bonnie, and their wolves. I promise you'll get them because I'm still working on putting their story down but this post isn't about them. It's about introducing you to mine and Caitlyn's newest characters. Bailey and Drew....their story is currently untitled. And we've decided we want your help in naming it! There's a poll at the bottom of this post so please vote and help us out!

But first here's the synopsis:

A damaged boy the world ignored.

A sweet girl shattered by loss.

Can they admit their feelings and be together or will their pasts always keep them apart?

Andrew "Drew" Owens was beaten down over and over. A step-father who always reminded him of how worthless he was. A mother who didn't care enough to protect him. Then Bailey Porter came into his life. He found the one person who had undying faith in him. Can he get past his demons to be enough for the only girl he's ever loved? Or will he forever push her away?

Bailey Porter experienced loss very young. But when her world was turned upside down she found the one person who was able to set it right again. Since the night she met Andrew Owens he's been the strength she needed to get through. But when her world is once again shaken will Andrew be able to get past his own issues to save the girl he loves?

Now here are the first two chapters. Keep in mind they are unedited and subject to change. And don't forget to vote on the books name at the bottom of this post!

Chapter One – Drew (20 years old – Sophomore Year)

I have no clue how I ended up here. Not college, that was a given after Bailey broke down about me not going. But how I ended up here at this frat party on a Saturday night. I love a good party but these obnoxious, trust fund, assholes aren’t my normal idea of a good time. I should’ve been at work. Tonight’s the biggest tipping night at Distraction, the club where I bartend several nights a week. But I’m here instead and for the life of me I can’t remember why.

A group of girls walk by tottering on heels too high for them to wear when they’re sober let alone when they’re smashed, short skirts, barely there shirts, and not much else. A tall red head who’s positioned in the center of the group stops her friends so she can give me a good look over. Her lips tip up into a sloppy smile and her half lidded eyes find mine. I now remember why I’m here. I need my regular dose of distraction. The kind that comes in an easy to unwrap package, like these girls. It’s not just the high I get from no strings attached gratification that keeps me looking for my next conquest, it’s that in those moments when my skin is pressed against theirs that I forget everything that haunts me. My fucked up step-dad, my selfish mom, and the brown haired girl I long ago learned I’d never deserve, all fade away as I get lost in the pleasure.

Tonight I really need this distraction. It’s either slip into the red head and away from my reality for a short while or find Oliver, Bailey’s other male “friend”, so I can knock him around. The red head is less likely to piss Bailey off. Well, not much but less than me taking my fists to the weasel who’s wormed his way into her good graces.

If I thought I hated perfect fucking Peter Reynolds then I absolutely despise overachieving Oliver Jeffreys. He’s had his beady little lawyer wannabe eyes set on Bailey since the first day of freshman year. Bailey, being Bailey, friend zoned him though. He acts like that’s fine to her face but I can see that’s he’s plotting a way to slide out of that zone and into a more erogenous one. My suspicions were confirmed today when I overheard the douche telling one of his frat brothers his plans to push Bailey for a more intimate relationship, starting by asking her on a real date tonight at their weekly study session.

I’d like to think Bailey’s going to turn him down flat but she’s too sweet for that. She’ll give him a chance and he’ll use that sliver of an opening to latch his claws into her tender flesh and never let go. For all of Oliver’s bad traits, he is a smart guy and he knows what he’d be getting with Bailey. Sweetness that can drown out the bitterest days. Loyalty that’ll follow you into the afterlife. Any guy would give his left nut for qualities like those. The only problem is that most guys our age aren’t interested in treasuring a girl, let alone someone so special.

And I can tell Oliver is like most guys. He’s excited about the trophy he’ll have on his arm when he walks into one of his frat parties with Bailey. But he won’t stay pleased long. He’ll look for his next shinny toy and he’ll move on, or he’ll try to play with both girls at once. Just like perfect fucking Peter Reynolds. Bailey was able to get past that heart break once. I’m not sure she’ll be able to recover from another person she trusts her heart to doing the same thing. And just like the sun setting and rising, Oliver Jeffreys breaking her heart is inevitable.

The red head breaks off from her friends. They watch her progress to me with envious glares. She pushes a drink into my hand. It’s something pink and fruity. I shake my head and hand it back. Her mouth puckers into a pout. I grab a bottle of Patron from nearby and hold it up to her as an offering. Her face lights up and I take that as a yes. I grab her wrist with one hand and with the tequila in the other I guide us through the packed house.

We find a bedroom upstairs as it’s just being freed up by its previous guests. It’s a total pig sty but I’m not going for romance so it doesn’t bother me. The doors barely closed before she starts pulling off her top. I eye her bare chest and with a wicked grin I hold up the bottle. “I forgot shot glasses. Looks like we’ll have to get creative.”


The red head, I never did catch her name, passed out as soon as we finished doing the deed. I left her in the room so I could go back into the party to find some more alcohol. I’d finished the Patron by myself for the most part. Though like usual after I allow myself to indulge in my distractions I have to turn to a bottle to drown the guilt. I know I’m not cheating. I’m single. As far as I know, the girls I do are as well. But in the back of my mind, haunting me and saving me in equal parts, is Bailey. The disappointment I know she’ll have if she finds out what I’m doing and the fact that I know if I asked she’d forgive me. Her love comes unhindered even when she’s not proud of the things I’ve done. She’s both my angel guiding me to do well, and my devil unknowingly pushing me into the bad.

Downstairs I stumble into a room where some frat guys and sorority girls are playing quarters. I instantly hone in on the blonde with an empty seat beside her. I can’t see her face from my position but at this point I’m too drunk to do anything more than scrape together a conversation and maybe loose a couple rounds so I’ll be good and smashed. I slide in the seat and instantly regret it when the blonde who turns to me is the second last person I want to see tonight.

“Jesus, they’ll let anyone into these parties.” She says, looking at my rumpled hair and clothes with disdain.

“It’s a pleasure to see you too, Priss.” I smart back knowing my nickname for her will only make her angry. Marissa “Rissa” Logan, known to me by Priss, has been Bailey’s roommate and friend since freshman year. The girls couldn’t be more different but somehow for their friendship it works. Where Bailey is fair, Rissa is tanned. She has dyed blonde hair to Bailey’s natural brown. And where Bailey’s style is girl next door, Rissa’s is upscale whore. Okay, that wasn’t nice she’s not a whore. She just likes to dress like a high priced call girl. You know the kind that you see on the news for screwing Senators for money. Anyways, I tried to play nice with Rissa in the beginning. We got along okay for a few weeks even, but after she threw herself at me during a party and I turned her down (there was no way I could mess with Bailey’s roommate and first college friend) she started going into full on bitch mode every time I came around. Not one to back down from a challenge I give her dickhead Drew right back.

I grab a quarter and bounce it off the table and it misses the glass. I down the shot myself, not knowing or caring if that’s the rules they’re playing by. At this point of the night all I care about is feeling the burn slide down my throat.

Out of the corner of my eye I see Marissa shaking her head. “How much have you drank?”

“Not enough to forget.”

“Forget what?” She asks as her brow scrunches in confusion. Or is that concern? How much have I really drank tonight?

Some skinny sorority girl takes her turn. It goes into the glass so giggling she directs me to take the shot. I down the shot, quickly. Then slamming the glass back on the table. “Not enough to forget I’ll never fuck you.”

“Fuck you!” Marissa shouts, as her face turns red.

I turn to the skinny girl and ask. “Didn’t we just go over this?” She nods with another giggle as if this scene is the funniest thing she’s seen all year. I turn back to Marissa. “That’s not happening, Priss. You really need to stop fantasizing about me.”

“I fucking hate you. The only reason that happened was because I was drunk otherwise I wouldn't have come near you.” Marissa takes her turn, misses the glass. Just before the glass hits her lips I hear her say. “I thank god that didn’t happen. Lord knows where your dick has been.”

“Half hour ago it was buried inside some red head.” Marissa spits her drink out. It hits the frat guy who was unfortunate enough to sit across from her. I ignore that and slide my arm around skinny. “Half hour from now, though, it might be buried somewhere new.”

Skinny presses her body into me, planting her lips on my neck. I look at Marissa and give her a wink. She shakes her head. “You’re shit faced.”

“What if I am?”

“I swear if I didn’t love Bailey like a sister I wouldn’t care at all.” She mumbles to herself, then thrusts out her hand and demands. “Give me your truck keys.”

“You aren’t driving my truck.” I respond, my words slightly slurred.

She leans toward me, shoving her hand down my pants pocket. A combination of shock from her brazen move and my drunken state causes me not to push her away. She pulls her hand back out, holding my set of keys. She shoves them into her own pocket. “I don’t want to drive your clunker. I have to make sure you don’t kill yourself by driving drunk. No clue why, but Bailey would never get over it if you did. Not that you care.”

I push away from Skinny, leaning right in Marissa’s face. “You don’t understand what I feel for her. So stay the fuck out of it!”

Marissa stands. “She’s my best friend and if you cared for her half as much as you claim you wouldn’t keep doing this shit to her over and over again.”

I scrunch up my face, confused by her words. “What am I doing to her?”

Marissa rolls her eyes. “If you’re too dumb to see it for yourself then that’s your own damn fault.” She stomps off before I can get anything else out of her. Skinny, apparently not caring about the scene, probably because she’s just as drunk as I am, pulls me back down beside her and into the game of quarters. I suck at quarters by the way. If I remember correctly, I didn’t get it into the glass once.

It wasn’t long before my mind started to go blank. I think I took Skinny up on an offer to go back upstairs. I may have fucked her. Hell, for all I remember I may have starred in a homemade porno starring me, Skinny, and the red head. Though I doubt that happened. I wasn’t really up to my usual talents with all the boozy floating through my system. But I do remember when I finally passed out I dreamed of Bailey. She was taking on the role of my angel, saving me like she’s always done.

Chapter Two – Bailey (19 years old – Sophomore Year)

I have no idea how long Oliver and I have been studying but my bed definitely wasn’t a good choice for me to pick to study on. Even though I’m sitting Indian style on my pillow and not in a more comfortable position I can feel eyes starting to drift closed with each flashcard Oliver holds up. I’ve told him I don’t think I’ll last much long but do you think he offered to stop? Heck no. He’s too worried I’m going to fail so he said he’s staying here until I get through every flashcard in his deck. Which judging by the size of it will keep me here until tomorrow evening.
I blink drowsily at him and prop my elbow against my knee, dropping my chin to my palm then look at the clock beside of my bed and see that it’s well past one o’clock. I look back to Oliver. “Can we stop yet?”
He drops the flashcards to his lap where his legs are sprawled out toward me. He cocks one perfectly sculpted blond brow at me and nudges my knee with his foot. I stare at him, puzzled until I realize what it is he’s wanting. 
Stifling a yawn, I let my eyes drift closed as words tumble from my lips, “Je suis désolé. Pouvons-nous arrêter, s'il vous plaît?” Which I hope translates to “I’m sorry. Can we stop, please?”
I hear Oliver groan then start moving around but I can’t muster up enough energy to even think about opening my eyes to see what he’s doing. How did I even get this tired? I haven’t done anything today except go to work and come back to the dorm to meet Oliver so we could study. I even stopped into the café to grab a cinnamon honey hazelnut iced coffee (what a mouthful) on my way back to said study date. But I’m still two seconds away from being comatose. I thought coffee was supposed to wake you up not make you sleepy.
“Okay.” I hear Oliver finally say so I peak one eye open to look at him. “If you can read what this last card says, we’ll stop.”
He brought up another flash card with a wicked grin on his face. Straining my eyes, I blink a few times before finally getting them to adjust so I could read it, “Vous allez à l'échec.”
I have to read it over a few times to make sure I'm seeing things correctly before quickly picking up one of my black and white chevron plush pillows and tossing it at him. “I am not going to fail!”
He threw his arms up just in time to keep the pillow from connecting with his face chuckling, “Yeah, you are. Your test in on Monday and you haven’t even made it through half the stack of cards yet.”
Still laughing he tosses the pillow back at me but misses and it lands next to my leg. “We could have started yesterday and I wouldn’t have made it through half the deck by now.” I pick up the pillow, turn to my side and collapse onto the bed, hugging it tightly to my chest, “Now, we can study tomorrow. I’m sleepy and going to bed.”
Oliver makes a noise that sounds something like a growl. I wiggle around until I can see him at the end of the bed, a pretty little scowl marring the edges of his lips and his arms crossed at his chest. I want to laugh looking at him like that but keep it in because I know he’ll get even angrier if I do. But how could I not want to laugh? He looks adorable with his lips puckered up and his blonde hair all fallen out of place where he’s been running his hands through it all evening.
“You look like an angry kitten.” I admit. 
His scowl deepens but this time instead of bottling it up, I let my laugh escape my lips. He keeps his lips puckered for a few seconds before finally breaking into a smile. He shakes his head then starts looking around on the bed. Once finding whatever he was looking for he tosses it at me, “God, you’re frustrating. I should’ve just let you wander around campus your first day instead of helping you.”
I giggle and grab the item that I now know is a pencil and toss it back. “Yeah, but then who would help you with French?”
“You? Helping me? With French?” He asks, humor lighting his eyes. “Let’s not forget if it wasn’t for me…”
His sentence is cut off when a loud buzzing sounds from the other side of the room. Oliver looks to the desk where the buzzing is coming from then back at me and sighs. I shrug and close my eyes again as he gets off the bed thinking it was his phone ringing and not mine. Who could be calling me at one in the morning anyway? Unless…Andrew. Crap.
I sit up and watch as Oliver reaches the desk and picks up my phone. He turns to me with another scowl on his face. “It’s Marissa. She’s probably drunk dialing you. I think you should ignore it.”
I held my hand out to him. “No, give it to me.”
“Fine.” He rolls his eyes and tosses the phone to me. After catching it I eye him while I answer, “Hey, Rissa.”
The only sound that meets my ear is the sound of the bass thumping in the background. Oliver moves away from the desk and sits next to me on the bed. I scrunch my brows and try again, but still can’t hear anything other than the music. 
“What’s wrong?” Oliver asks with concern on his face.

I shrug and take the phone away from my ear. “I think she butt-dialed me.” I move my thumb to the little red button but stop when I think I’ve heard something. I put the phone back to my ear, “Hello? Marissa?”
Through the thumping I hear Marissa’s voice but it’s faint, “Bailey, hello? Damn it Stephen get the hell out of my way so I can get outside. I can’t hear.” The thumping begins to get softer and softer until the only thing I can hear is Marissa’s breathing.
“Uh, Marissa?” 
“Hello? Can you hear me now?”
"Yes, I can hear you."  
She sighs into the phone, "Good."  
I had to laugh, "We sound like we're in one of those bad AT&T commercials." I put on a fake masculine voice "Can you hear me now? Good."  
Oliver shook his head with a chuckle but Marissa didn't seem too amused, "Har. Har. Very cute."  
"Sorry." I giggle "What did you need?"  
"It's about Drew."  
I knit my brows together and look at Oliver, “What happened?”
Oliver’s face fills with worry before Marissa answers, “Oh, the usual. He’s completely wasted and making an even bigger ass out of himself than normal. The bastard’s lucky I’m here or he might have killed his stupid ass trying to drive back to the apartment.” She sighs. “And since I don’t have Ryder’s number to call him to pick Drew up that leaves you… or Oliver.”
I jump from the bed practically knocking Oliver over as I went. I mouth “sorry” then to Marissa say, “I’m on my way. Where are you?”
Marissa rattles off an address as I run to the closet and grab a jacket. I slip it on then move to my desk beside of Marissa’s to search for my room keys. Turns out, I inherited that gene from Mamaw May. I always seem to misplace those darn things. Especially when I really need them.
“Crap. Where did I leave them?” I absently ask the room then jump when I hear an answer, “In the drawer.”
I spun around and look at Oliver apologetically, “I am so sorry Oliver. I completely forgot you were here.”
He looks to the side and mumbles, “Yeah, you always do when Drew’s involved.”
I heard him perfectly but had to ask anyway just to make sure, “Excuse me?”
“Uh, nothing.” He stands from the bed and walks toward me until he reaches the desk. Looking at me he opens the drawer next to my leg and pulls out my set of room keys, “I take it you’ll need me to drive considering you can’t, am I right?”
I nod silently as does he, “Right then let’s go.”
I nod again and practically run from the room, forgetting completely that I didn’t even bother to change into regular clothes. Oh well. My cupcake covered pajamas would have to do. It’s not like I’m going to stay at the party anyway. This is just a get in, get out mission. 
Oliver met me outside the door and presses a hand into my back to get me moving but we only make it to the stairs before I stop and groan, “Shoot. I forgot my keycard to get back in the front.”
Oliver sighs, digs a hand into his jeans pocket and pulls out the thin piece of plastic then pushes on my back again. “I grabbed it on the way out. Go.”
I let out a breathy “okay” and let him lead me out to his truck. After opening the passenger door for me – like he always does, he got into the driver’s side and started it up. As he pulls away from the parking spot he asks where we we’re heading and I read him off the same address Marissa had given me then sat quietly when the cab fell silent. It wasn’t an awkward silence but something felt a little off. But instead of focusing on that, I decide that maybe I should try to focus on keep my breathing normal. 
It may have been a few years since I’ve had a panic attack when riding in a vehicle but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from getting them so much it’s that you can never be too careful. After realizing I wasn’t going to have one I began twisting my hands in my lap and turn to Oliver, “Thank you. You didn’t have to do this for him.”
Oliver peers at me from the corner of his eyes just like Andrew would and tightens his grip on the steering wheel until his knuckles turn white, “I’m not doing this for Drew. I could give two shits about Drew. I’m doing this for you.”
I look toward my twisted hands, “Either way. Thank you.”
He doesn’t say anything else so I decide to try and focus my attention on anything other than him. Oliver’s never actually said it but I know he doesn’t like Andrew. I guess I could see why though. Nobody truly understands Andrew when they meet him. You have to actually take the time to get to know him to understand him but nobody ever seems to have the time to do that. Oliver being one of those people. I don’t hold it against him or anything. It isn’t my job to make him like Andrew because I don’t want to have to force him. But it would be nice if the two of them actually got alone. It would make my friendship with both of them a lot easier. But I doubt that will ever happen. 
Andrew’s hated Oliver since the first time he met him. I had missed my Orientation group so Oliver offered to take me himself. I was a little weary at first but let him because I feared I would be completely lost my first day if I didn’t and it turned out that we actually had a lot in common. After the tour we stopped by the café to get to know each other better where we ran into Andrew.  I could tell immediately that it was going to be a tense meeting but my theory got confirmed when Andrew tried to play me off as his girlfriend. It took forever to clear that one up. After finally convincing Oliver I wasn’t dating Andrew and we were just friends he left and I figured he’d never talk to me again because Andrew had scared him off but come Monday it turned out we had French together. Since then, our friendship has kept growing. Now if I could just get Andrew and Oliver’s friendship started, it’d be great.
“We’re here.” Oliver says dryly, pulling me out of my head. Hmm, I didn’t even notice the truck had stopped.
I unbuckle my seatbelt and go straight for the door but Oliver stops me by placing his hand on my shoulder. I turn to look at him as he starts talking, “Bailey, listen…”
“No.” I cut him off and open my door anyway. Getting out I call back, “I know what you’re going to say but just don’t. Not now.”
Without waiting for him I start toward the house where I could already hear the music thumping. Behind me I hear, "Of course" but decide to ignore his comment and keep walking. The front of the house has some kind of writing across the front but I don’t recognize it. I think it's the sign from one of the frat houses but I'm honestly not sure. I never really paid much attention to any of those.
Stepping up to the door I place my hand on the knob but hesitate and turn back to Oliver. He gives me a bleak look before removing my hand from the knob and placing his own on it. With his other hand he touches the small of my back and opens the door. The minute he does the smell of alcohol hits my nose making me scrunch my face in disgust. Yuck! I have no idea why people enjoy coming to these things. They always smell awful and people are always shoving you around. Who would willingly put themselves through that?
Oliver gives me a slight push making me realize that I have yet to even take a step into the room. I took a quick step in and began darting my eyes around the room. Alright, just in then back out and everything will be okay. I can do this.
Oliver leans in close to my ear so I can hear him, “Stay here. I’ll go find Drew.”
I nod dumbly. Okay, I thought I like this plan better. This way I don’t actually have to go in to the actual party but just get to witness it by the door where I can make a quick getaway if need be.  
Oliver nods as well then moves away from me. I watch him until his head disappears in the sea of students then I look around the room to see if maybe Andrew or Marissa were close by. They aren’t but a few girls wearing nothing but bikinis seem to be the highlight of everyone's attention in the center of the living room. The music switches to a really upbeat rap song and one of the girls puts a hand behind her. I've never been to a college party before so I don’t know what’s going to happen next but before I could even blink she was flinging her bikini top in a completely different direction than her body. 
"Oh my gosh." I whisper quickly and cover my mouth with my hand. Why would she do that? 
I dart my gaze away from the scene in front of me and decide that my feet are a lot more suitable for me to look at. I'm not judging her for doing what she did, to each his own but I don't see the point in it really. Shouldn't she respect her body more than that? 
I jerk my head up when I hear my name and try to see where it came from but can't see anyone I recognize. I look around again, trying my hardest to avoid looking at where the girl had just abandoned her bikini but couldn't and notice that not only did she lose her bikini but the other two with her had as well. Pinching my eyes shut I turn my face back to my feet but then feel someone's arm slide across my shoulders so I look back up. 
A guy, I think his actual name was Stephen but that isn't what the kids around campus call him. They call him something I really don't want to say so I'm just going to stick with Stephen. 
"Bailey, hey!" He slurs out "What're you doin' here? Nice PJs." 
I feel my cheeks blush but ignore it and remove his arm from around my shoulders with a sigh, “I’m just here to pick up Andrew, have you seen him?”
He hiccups and leans in closer to me. I move my head as far away from him as I can because the smell of the alcohol on his breath is enough to make my eyes water. “Disappeared bout an hour ago with a blonde.”
My heart starts to speed up. He couldn’t be talking about….no of course not. She wouldn’t do that to me. They wouldn’t do that to me, regardless of how drunk they were, right? Still, I have to ask, “Marissa?”
"Mmno." He slurs "Dunno her name. Skinny." 
"Skinny." He repeats like I should know what that means. I decide to ignore it and try to turn my attention away from him so maybe he'll leave. Unfortunately, I guess he doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon because he starts talking again. "Whatdya say we go upstairs and try to find him?"
"Uhm..." I mumble but was thankfully cut off by Marissa's voice "Bailey!" 
Stephen takes a step away as she approaches us. Marissa gives him a once over then hooks her thumb over her shoulder. "Keep walking Skeevie, she’s not interested."
Stephen rolls his eyes, “Why ya gotta take all the fun away, princess? We were just talking.” 
Marissa’s eyes narrow, “Beat it or I tell Drew that you’re coming onto Bailey. Your choice but I suggest choosing the one that makes you less dead.”
Stephen glares at her for a moment before throwing his hands up in defeat and backing away, “I’m just gonna go.”
“Jackass.” Marissa mutters under her breath then finally turns her attention to me. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.”
She sighs, "Alright listen. He was pretty wasted and I lost sight of him after he stumbled upstairs because I was not going to walk into that. I love you but there's just no way. None. I think you should probably send Oliver in." 
I shake my head, "No. I need to be the one to get him. He won't go with Oliver." 
"He won't have a choice if Oliver makes him." She protest but again I shake my head. It doesn't matter how drunk Andrew is, he won't be leaving this party unless I'm the one who gets him. "I have to go." 
Marissa shut her eyes tightly and looked to the ceiling with a deep breath before looking back at me, "Alright fine but what you're about to see you can't un-see, do you understand?" 
I nod my head and just as Marissa goes to open her mouth again Oliver pops up beside of us panting, "I couldn't find him. Hey, Marissa." 
"Hey." She answers weakly "I know where he is but I'm trying to talk Bailey out of going. She doesn't need to walk into that if you catch my drift." 
Oliver’s eyebrows drew together in confusion before his eyes got wide and he looks toward me. "Yeah, Bailey I think you should stay here while we get him." 
"No. I'm going with you. He won't leave unless I'm there." 
"Bailey..." They both say in unison but I stop them both by ignoring their protests and deciding that I'll just go get him myself. If they don’t want me to go with them then I'll just go alone if that's how they want it.
With a huff I push myself past the two of them and through the bodies dancing around the living room. A few people stumble into me and try to coax me into dancing with them but after declining them politely they quickly turn their attention to another person that was passing by. Finally reaching the stairs I take one step up then turn back to see Oliver and Marissa also pushing themselves through the sea of students to get to me.
I wait for them to reach me before trudging my way up the steps. Halfway up, I have to step over a girl who looks to be sleeping. How in the heck is she doing that? That can’t be comfortable. I look away from her and continue walking until I make it to the top. I turn back to look at Marissa and ask which room.
“Second door on the right.” I nod and take a step forward but Marissa stops me by catching my hand in hers, “But Bailey I don’t think you understand what you’re walking in to.”
“Marissa, it’s fine.” I insist. “I’ve done this a million times. I can take it.”
She sighs but doesn’t further the protest. Instead she lets go of my hand and motions for me to keep going. When I reach the door I don’t even bother to hesitate before swinging it open but then I stumble back into, I think Oliver, when I get a good look inside.
The first thing I notice is how messy the room is. It looks like a tornado has gone through it and thrown clothes and books everywhere. Holy crap, does this person ever clean? The second thing I notice are the people strung across the bed. I think one of them is a blonde and the other a red head but their hair color doesn’t matter because both of them are extremely gorgeous, extremely unclothed, and lying next to my unconscious best friend.
Oliver grabs hold of my arms and peers around me as I fall back into him and blurt, “Holy crap.”
Marissa moves to the opposite side to look around me before Oliver lets go of my arms and moves around me muttering, “God damn it.” 
Marissa takes my arm, “Bailey maybe you should wait outside.”
I take a deep breath then let it out slowly. He’s not mine. There’s no reason for me to be upset. “No, it’s okay. Help me find his clothes.”
“I’m fine. Help me find his clothes.”
Marissa huffs then stomps herself into the room. She stops at the foot of the bed and plants her hands on her hips. “Fine. Then let’s get this shit over with.”
She bends down and begins flinging different articles of clothing around the room while grumbling to herself. I blow out a breath, my bangs flying up then decide to do the same as Marissa and bend down to start looking around the area I’m in. The first few things I pick up are two sizes too big for Andrew so I toss them to the side. I spy a blue halter top with something black peeking from beneath it so I stretch out and snatch the black item up. I barely get it in my hand before jumping up with a squeal.
Oliver and Marissa both stop what they were doing to look at me but Marissa’s the one to speak, “What? What’s wrong?”
I close my eyes and shake my head, “Nothing. Just a bra. Ignore me.”
“Why in the hell are you yelling?” A girl’s voice interrupts the moment I'm having so we all turn our attention off the fact that I can’t even look at a bra without getting freaked out to the bed where the blonde was now sitting up, rubbing her head.  
I fling the bra in her direction and turn away quickly, “Quick. Put that on.” 
She groans. “But I’m tired.”
Marissa growls and picks up a few things from the floor then walks them to the girl, “Put this on and get the hell out, “Skinny”.”
“Oh.” I mumble without thinking. Both girls look at me confused so I wave them off and tell them to continue. So that’s who Stephen was talking about. Makes sense I guess, she is pretty skinny.
It only takes “Skinny” a few seconds to slip her clothes on. I think it may have taken her longer but with Marissa’s glare shooting daggers at her I’m sure she sped it up. She does a once over of me before leaving and mumbles something under her breath that sounds like “So much for forgetting” but I don’t know what she could be talking about so I ignore her and turn my attention back to where the red head was still lying. 
 “Alright, one down. One to go.” Marissa sneers before slapping the red head on her back “Get the hell up and get out.”
The red head jostles awake and turns toward Marissa. She blinks a few times before shooting up from the bed and begins gathering her clothes from the floor. What exactly is it about Marissa that has people so scared of her? She’s actually a really sweet person once you get to know her.
The red head, who happens to be a student in my sociology class bends down near me and picks up the shirt I’d just moved. She huffs and it takes a moment for me to realize what she’s looking for.  
I clear my throat and look down at her. “I think I gave your bra to the other girl. Sorry.” 
She looks up at me with a fixed expression before shaking her head and standing up. She slips her shirt over her head, shrugs then turns away from me and walks out the door without so much as another word.
I turn back to Marissa in time to watch her roll her eyes and look at me. “You are so fucking lucky I love you.”
I open my mouth to tell her sorry but hear Andrew groan so instead I give her my best apologetic look and move to where he's lying. I look to Oliver, “Can you help Marissa find his clothes?”
He nods and backs away from me to join Marissa in her search. I turn my attention back to Andrew. He reeks of booze but I do my best to ignore it as I begin trying to wake him up. I nudge his shoulder,  “Andrew, you need to wake up so we can get you home, okay?” 
He blinks his eyes open then blinks a few more times before reaching a hand out and trying to touch my cheek. He misses and his hand falls back to the bed as he slurs out, “My angel. You came for me.” 
Angel? What? Before I can ask what he means Marissa shrieks loudly and I have to turn my attention from him to her. I look to see her standing back straight with a scowl on her face while Oliver’s next to her hunched over with laughter.  
“That is fucking disgusting.” She curses and looks toward me “So fucking lucky.” 
I look at her confused, “What’s wrong?” 
Oliver chuckles and picks up what looks like a pair of boxer briefs from the floor then stands back up. “Nothing, Bailey.” 
“No, seriously, what did she find?” 
Marissa pinches the bridge of her nose and takes a deep breath before answering, “Let’s just say at least the dumbass was smart enough to use protection.” 
My eyes widen. “Oh.” 
Marissa scowl deepens. “Yeah. Oh. God help us if he ever accidentally reproduces. Now wake him up so we can leave.” 
I nod once then go back to attempting to wake Andrew up. I try everything I can think of. Patting his back, shaking him, talking to him, but nothing. Finally, Oliver abandons his search and comes over to us. He puts his arm under Andrew’s stomach and somehow manages to flip him over. He then does the same thing by putting his arm under Andrew’s back and sits him up. Andrew again blinks a few times but doesn’t speak as Oliver throws the sheets back and moves him so he’s sitting on the edge of the bed.  
I gasp and fall back to my behind when he does because due to the fact that Andrew isn’t wearing any clothing I can see everything. And by everything I mean everything. Oliver steps away from Andrew to attend to me but I wave him off, “I think maybe you should do this.” 
Oliver takes a step back and shakes his head. “Hell no. I’m not dressing him.” 
Marissa groans and steps in between the two of us, taking the boxer brief’s from Oliver’s hands growling, “Oh for fuck’s sake you big ass baby, I’ll do it myself.”
Oliver shakes his head at her but doesn’t say anything. Instead he puts a hand out and helps me to my feet as Marissa tries to put Andrew’s boxer briefs on him. She curses and groans as she tries to get them on him but he’s not offering her up much help so it takes her a good while. Finally, she takes a step back from him and sighs. Now that he was at least semi-dressed I can finally look at him. He honestly looks like crap. And he doesn’t smell much better for that matter, either.  
“Do you think he can walk?” I ask but just as soon as I do Andrew groans and falls backward onto the bed. “Okay, guess not.” 
Marissa again growls in answer and moves so she‘s hovering over his body. Somehow she pulls him back to sitting position and before I can stop her she slaps his face. 
“Marissa!” I scold but she ignores me and slaps him again.
Oliver looks away from the scene wincing, “Damn, Riss. That’s cold even for you.”
Marissa turns back to look at us, “Do the two of you want to leave or not?”

Oliver and I look at each other then turn back to Marissa and nod. 
“Then shut the hell up and let me do this.” She turns back to Drew “Alright, wake your drunk ass up so we can leave!” She yells but he doesn’t move. She huffs, “Damn it Andrew, my feet are fucking killing me and I’ve seen more naked girls tonight than I should have to see in a lifetime so wake the hell up! I want to go home!”
Still, nothing. She growls for the millionth time. “Fuck! Fine.” She steps away from him and turns to me, “You try. He’ll listen to you.”
I move closer to Marissa and put a hand on Andrew’s shoulder. I turn to Marissa who impatiently give me a look that I take as hurry up so I turn back to Andrew, “Andrew” I tap his cheek lightly, “Andrew, wake up. We need to get you home but you need to wake up or we can’t move you.” 
He blinks his eyes open. “Bailey?”
“Yeah, it’s Bailey. Did you hear what I said?”
He nods.
“Then can you help us out and stay awake for us. At least until we get you to the car.”
He nods again.  
Oliver sighs from behind me, I turn my head back to look at him. “There’s too much shit in here. I can’t pick what’s his and what isn’t.” 
Marissa rolls her eyes. “Whatever. At least he’s wearing something and we don’t have to drag him out of here naked. He can just come get his clothes later.” 
Marissa sits down on the bed next to Andrew and puts one of his arms over her shoulders then glares at Oliver. “So are you going to help or just stand there like an idiot?” 
Oliver groans but then mimics Marissa except on the other side of Andrew’s body. They count to three then move him to his feet. Marissa’s knees buckle as she stands and she almost goes down so I throw my hands out to stop them but she waves me off. I back away from them as they start walking him away from the bed and toward the door. 
Andrew didn't give them very much help as they went for the stairs. They basically had to drag him down them and then out the door. Other than hearing him groan a few times I'm not even sure he knew what was happening and by the time we make it to Oliver's truck Marissa's cursing Andrew with every ounce of anger in her tiny body. I tell them to get him in the truck then Marissa can sit up front with Oliver. If she's in the back with Andrew I fear she may beat him to death before we even make it to the dorms. She happily accepts my offer after helping Oliver slide Andrew into the back.
Andrew falls over as soon as they let go of him so I go to the opposite side and get in then move his head so it's on my lap and begin running my hands through what little hair he has. I’m not sure why but every time Mamaw May did this to me it always soothed me so I hope that maybe it will work for him as well. He groans a few times before his breathing starts to even out and I know that he's fallen asleep. 
For some reason we make it to the dorms in less time than usual. Possibly because Oliver was so scared that Andrew was going to puke in his truck he broke ever speed limit he could. He pulls into the closest parking spot he can find, shuts the truck off, then both him and Marissa share a groan when they look back to see Andrew sleeping. I apologize but that doesn't stop the grumbles they let out while getting out. I push Andrew up with every ounce of strength I have so Oliver can grab him and pull him closer to himself. Oliver successfully gets Andrew from the back as I slide out and shut my door then the one Oliver just pulled Andrew out of. Marissa moves next to Andrew and lets him lean some of his weight into her. Oliver and Marissa exchange a look before starting to move.

I stop them and move in front of them so I can keep a look out for our dorm advisor. She'd kill us if she found out we were trying to sneak Andrew into our dorm room. I partly think it's because she's had a crush on him since she met him but she won't admit it to anyone. I make it to the steps before them and give the all clear so they can start up them. It takes them at least ten minutes to get him up the steps and then to the door of our dorm.
I unlock the door as quickly as I can then step away. Oliver groans as he shoves open the door. “Where do you want him?” 
I look around the room and sigh.  I guess I could put him on the couch but that’s probably not very comfortable so instead I say, “Just put him on my bed.” 
Oliver turns to look at me, “Where will you sleep?” 
Marissa curses, “If you don’t put him in that bed in the next two minutes Oliver I swear to god I will let him fall right here and not even give a shit.” 
Oliver rolls his eyes but listens to Marissa and drags Andrew threw our tiny dorm living room then into mine and Marissa’s room and to my bed. He looks at me and then to Andrew a few times before sighing, “Well he’s safe. Can I go now?” 
I nod as does Marissa. “Thank you…for helping him.” 
Oliver walks toward me and kisses my cheek before I can lean away. “Again, I didn’t do it for him. I did it for you. I’ll see you tomorrow.” 
I whisper, “Okay” then watch as he walks out and shuts the door before turning to Marissa. She's already begun stripping off her clothes and I couldn’t help but tell her that she shouldn’t with Andrew in the room. She eyes me but keeps removing clothing, “He’s passed out. Do you really think he can see anything?” 
I sigh, remove my jacket, and drape it on the chair to my desk. “I guess not.” 
“Exactly.” She fumbles through her drawers for a few seconds before pulling out a shirt and slipping it over her head. “You’re more than welcome to try and sleep with me if you don’t want to sleep with that considering where it’s been tonight.” 
I shake my head and move toward my bed sighing. “No, it’s okay.” 
Somehow I manage to maneuver myself in behind Andrew and watch as Marissa walks over and turns off the light then climbs into her own bed. She sighs as our eyes catch, “You must really love that boy.” 
“Of course, he's my best friend." I answer automatically 
“Yeah.” She mumbles then lays down with a roll of her eyes. “Okay.”
“Uh…” I start but Marissa cuts me off “Goodnight, Bailey.”

 “Goodnight, Rissa.” I lay down and will sleep to hit me.
Well, tonight was definitely a night I’ll never forget.

What should we name Bailey & Drew's book?
Take Care of Me
When It Comes to You
Please Specify:
Poll Maker

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