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Tessa’s phone chirped. She opened the message, “Are you coming to the party tonight?”
She frowned at the screen. Brandi had been talking about it for weeks. A few guys they knew decided to throw an M party. Of course, guys always wanted to throw M parties, whether or not any girls would show up was the question. Tessa replied, “What party?”
Three little dots appeared below her message immediately:
“Don’t puss out on me.”
“I’m going. Don’t want to be the only girl. Don’t care how good it is.”
“If you go, Stacy and Alissa are in too.”
“Jacob will be there.”
The four messages appeared in rapid succession. Brandi knew her friend too well. Given the slightest opportunity, Tessa would avoid any social interaction, let alone a party like the one under discussion. Tossing her phone to the bed, she moved over to her mirror. She liked her body. She was a little shorter than she preferred and had a little more weight than she liked, but nevertheless considered herself pretty. Lifting up her shirt, she looked at her breasts. If she could change one thing about herself, it would be her boobs. Plastic surgery never appealed to her, but that wasn’t the only option these days. Though she’d never had a guy complain, she thought her breasts were too small and a little too pointed. Her phone chirped from the bed.
“Well?…” Brandi asked.
A pang of butterflies in her stomach, Tessa replied. “Ok. I’ll be there.”
As the hour approached, Tessa nervously got ready. Entirely unsure of what to wear, she opted for a loose fitted, slightly orange sun dress. She agreed to meet Brandi at eight, but it was only seven. The walk to her friends apartment would only take a few minutes. Anxiety made her run her hands up and down her thighs as she sat at her dresser. Her phone rang, and a picture of Jacob flashed on the screen.
“Hello?” she said as she hit the answer button.
“Hey!” Jacob replied from the other end of the line, as if surprised to hear her answer. “It’s Jacob. What’s up?”
Tessa enjoyed the sound of his voice. On any other day, she would have killed to have him call her out of the blue, but this was clearly not that. “Sitting around waiting for this party you guys are having.”
“Oh, sweet, yeah, we’re over here pregaming. I was checking to see if you were really coming. Brandi said you were, but I…well, I didn’t believe her.”
“She’s rather insistent,” Tessa said. “Not the kind of party a girl wants to go to by herself.”
Jacob didn’t say anything for a minute. “Yeah, about that…you know you don’t have to come right? I wasn’t planning on going until I heard you were.”
Tessa didn’t expect this. From what she knew about men, at least college ones, none of them would turn down an M party if their life depended on it. What if I said I don’t want to go? I don’t want him to think I’m chickening out. “Oh, well, I uh…hoped that I would see you there. Tell the truth, I wouldn’t have considered going without you there.”
“It’s weird right?” Jacob said with an uneasy laugh.
“Yeah, weird,” Tessa agreed. “Guess that’s how this stuff happens now.”
In the background, Tessa heard shouting. “Hey, Tess, I have to go. Find me when you get here. We can…hang out, if that’s cool.”
He hung up.
She and Jacob met a few months earlier at another party Brandi dragged her along to. They’d gotten drunk together and hit it off. Eventually, Brandi decided to go home with some guy and since they’d shared a ride, Tessa had to leave with her. She gave Jacob her number, but he never called. A month after that, she ran into him on campus. They had their first sober conversation during which he gave her a long rambling story about losing her number. He was more charming as a coherent, sober individual, and she found herself daydreaming about him more and more.
Tessa glanced at the clock and decided she could leave to meet Brandi if she walked slowly enough. As she left her apartment building, stepping from the air conditioned lobby into the thick humidity, she immediately regretted ever leaving her house. The final vestiges of the sun waned on the horizon as she walked quickly, despite her plan, towards the chosen meet up spot. She meandered through the streets, taking expertly practiced alleys and side paths, thinking ahead to the night’s activities. She’d never been to an M party before, but she’d heard about them and even knew a few girls who’d attended. She’d never heard of a bad experience. Most claimed it was no different than alcohol and certainly less dangerous than other drugs.
This was a very different line of argument than what was portrayed in the media. What had started as a low profile niche drug turned into an epidemic. M was relatively cheap, easy to manufacture, and had almost zero negative side effects. Addiction was a risk, but anything can be addictive. Tessa knew. Ever since she’d been invited to the party, she’d obsessed about karabük escort learning as much about M as possible.
She and Brandi had decided to meet at a coffee shop about two blocks from the party. Since it was still a little early, Tessa expected to be the first one to arrive. To her surprise, Brandi waited by herself sipping from a Styrofoam cup. The other girl had a fuller of body, but still looked spread a little too thin. As long as they’d known each other, Tessa had been the introverted foil to Brandi’s compulsive need for external stimulus and vice versa. This characteristic was evident in Brandi’s face. She brightened up with a smile as Tessa approached, but her friend could see the lines of fatigue discretely hidden by makeup and the hollowing gaze in her friends otherwise bright eyes. Neither of them had been lucky in love, but Brandi had taken several bad relationships in stride that would have rendered Tessa a broken mess for months.
“You’re early!” Brandi said in excited surprise. “So am I, I guess. Sit down. You want something to drink. They have stuff other than coffee here. This is hot cocoa.”
Tessa frowned, “It’s eighty-seven outside.” She slid into the booth opposite Brandi.
Brandi shrugged. “I wanted hot cocoa. They did have to like, find it. Apparently it’s not a big summer favorite, which I totally don’t get. I mean people drink coffee all year long. It’s hot. Why not hot chocolate? I mean, it has caffeine in it too.”
“If there’s anything you need, it’s clearly more caffeine.”
“Sorry, yeah, I’m a little nervous. Are you nervous? I mean who wouldn’t be nervous. I like your dress. Loose, smart. I didn’t think of that. Look at me. This top is going to be useless. I mean, for after. Or I guess during. Not sure how it happens exactly.”
Tessa knew. The idea of taking M had fascinated her for a while, and her research had not been limited to the Pro Family Counsel’s opposition research. The drug’s legal status prohibited it from being used in porn films, but that did not mean the pornography didn’t exist. While it was illegal to film it, it was not yet illegal to distribute. As a result, a ton of illicit production companies appeared and disappeared on a daily basis for the purpose of filming scenes with M. The internet had not failed to provide adequate samples for Tessa’s curiosity.
“You are still ok with this right?” Tessa asked, cautiously.
Brandi’s eyes widened. “Of course, I mean, it was my idea in the first place.”
Tessa rolled her head from side to side. “Come on. It wouldn’t be uncharacteristic of you to get in over your head and not want to back down. I don’t want you to go into something you’re not comfortable with to prove to me you’re still wild and crazy Brandi. Or to prove it to any guy. Trevor is going too right?”
Brandi softened and slowed her speech. “Yeah. He’s going. A big part of it is he’s going to be there, but it’s not a peer pressure thing. Life is short, and you need to have big experiences whenever you can. This is our chance to experience this, and with people we like or want to like.”
Another question nagged at Tessa, “And if things get a little too crazy? Are we comfortable with…each other in that way?”
Brandi wrinkled her nose as if considering the possibility for the first time. “I’ve seen you naked before. You’ve seen me. It won’t be weird. Not for me anyway.” She looked down at her drink, her cheeks flushed. “Oh, I forgot to tell you, they have all these rules. Apparently it’s all very organized. Part of the deal to get the stuff. We’re going to be locked in, but if anyone, I dunno, freaks out, they’ll be someone there to deal with that.”
The spindly feeling in Tessa’s stomach fluttered again. Somehow she’d managed to reconcile what the drug might make her do so long as she was surrounded by people going through the same thing, but the idea of a sober person watching them all was disconcerting at best. As she mulled over the thought, Staci and Alissa entered the coffee shop and came over to the table.
The two girls were only loose friends with each other and barely knew Tessa, yet the three of them spent an inordinate amount of time in proximity to each other. Brandi linked the group and while all of them somehow found time to get to know her, they rarely had the chance or inclination to learn more about each other. Staci was tall with a pixie cut that accentuated her already thin body. While nice enough to the others, she maintained an air of superiority over her surroundings at all times. Occasionally, Tessa wondered if this was unintentional and a burden to the girl. Alissa, on the other hand, was amiable and commanded almost as much attention in a group as Brandi. The latter maintained a level of vivacity Alissa couldn’t match, but her friendly nature made her more attractive to the less frenetic personalities. Tessa liked her, and they at least made conversation from time to time, though they shared few interests.
Brandi karaman escort looked up at them and smiled, then said to Tessa. “Ok. We doing this?”
A thousand thoughts rushed through Tessa’s mind. She knew all the anti-M propaganda was lies and misconceptions, but it had been effective enough to stick in her brain. They told stories about men and women taking one dose and throwing away their lives entirely. Horror stories of special hospitals being set up to take care of the women whose minds had become mush and driven only by their desire for sex. Tessa laughed to herself. She equally knew the fantasy porn derived from those same stories.
“Yeah, let’s go.”
The party was being held at Matt Corelli’s house. At least, it was the house Matt lived in, but it very distinctly belonged to his extended family. The Corellis were all big in the alumni community. Four generations had attended the university. From what Tessa knew, Matt’s dad and his four brothers owned the house, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. The Corelli family name adorned buildings and benches all across campus. Each year they were honored by any group that could think to honor them. They were a peculiar family, and Tessa found it odd that such a prolific group of people only had one college aged member.
The house was large and had once served as a boarding house in the early days of the university. It actually had a historic site marker out in front while inside was the normal day to day life of a college guy. Parties at the Corelli house weren’t uncommon, and Tessa could see why as she approached. Dozens of windows peered out into the world, currently illuminated by bright light, but often empty and ominous. Matt’s popularity was nothing short of celebrity on campus, but Tessa knew him from classes. In another odd turn, he was one of the most grounded people she had met in college. The extravagance of his family’s wealth had done nothing to affect their salt of the earth character.
Matt had been goaded into throwing the M party by his friends, but once the idea had rooted in his mind, he had taken full charge of the situation. As the girls approached, a gruff looking bouncer glared at them from the door. They started up to the entrance, but stopped for Brandi to wait on Trevor. She had been texting him since they left the coffee shop, and likely before. The lanky young man looked incredibly anxious as he walked up to the group of four women.
Brandi greeted him with her bubbly personality, “Hey!” Staci gave an uninterested wave while peering down at her own phone. Tessa and Alissa smiled politely. Brandi had a quick, awkward conversation with Trevor, and they headed towards the door.
Music thrummed from inside the house, but Tessa couldn’t actually see anyone from the windows. She’d been in the Corelli house enough to know people often lingered near the back in a section Matt used as an actual living space while the front rooms remained blocked off and preserved like a museum. The bouncer held up his hand. The man was massive, and his face a permanent scowl. He didn’t look at the girls, but eyed Trevor with a dangerous intensity. “Names?”
Brandi rattled off her name and the girls recited theirs in turn. The bouncer glanced at each of them as they spoke, but didn’t bother to check the clipboard in his hand. Finally, Trevor spoke up, and the bouncer checked his name off a list. “Go in, straight down the hall, first door on the right. Someone will greet you.”
The bouncer stepped aside, all the while glaring at Trevor who kept his head down. Tessa felt bad for him and wondered how much the bouncer knew about the nature of the party. Following his direction, they headed down the hall, growing closer to the sound of music. Passing through the door, they entered yet another hallway where a woman waited.
The first thing Tessa noticed about her were the huge breasts jutting out from her chest. The woman looked like a fertility goddess who happened to be lost in a hallway at the moment. She smiled warmly at the group as they approached. “Hello, I’m Marion,” she said, a soothing tone somehow rising over the noise coming from the adjacent room. “Need to go over some ground rules with you.”
Tessa was struck by the woman’s beauty. She judged her to be in her mid forties based on her mannerisms and something about her eyes, but Marion’s figure did little to indicate she was a day over thirty. As she spoke, she exuded a sort of glow, and every sentence ended with a smile. The other girls seemed awestruck by her as well, and Trevor could barely take his eyes off of Marion’s fulsome rack. He managed a hard gulp, but could express little else, though his hands moved in front of him to discretely cover his crotch.
“Once you go in, you’ll be sectioned off in the den and the adjacent bedrooms for the rest of the night. If you have an issue, come knock on this door, and I will take you outside. Once you leave, you unfortunately cannot come kars escort back.” She paused for a moment to draw a small heart shaped capsule from her pocket. As it moved, its contents rattled. “This is M.” She opened the small container and showed it to the group, making sure each of the saw it. The pill was unimpressive and could have easily been mistaken for an aspirin other than its purple color. “These cases will be handed out to everyone at 8:55. Everyone will gather together for a moment while everyone takes their dose. After that, no one is allowed to leave the premises. Again, if you are distressed or wish to depart the party, come to me. We’ll put you in a room to ride out the dose. We have some therapies to work through it.”
Marion’s speech was well rehearsed and strangely soothing. If it had been anyone else explaining the proceedings, Tessa would have likely backed out. Marion continued after pocketing the M. “Everyone still on board?” No one said anything. Brandi nodded, though not as eager as usual. Marion went to a nearby shelf and retrieved a metal box. Withdrawing a key from her other pocket, she opened it on a table beside her and the group saw an array of phones and other devices. “Can’t have people calling out or taking unwanted pictures. Privacy is of the utmost concern. Put your device in here, and you’ll be able to retrieve it upon your departure in the morning.”
The group did as they were told, and Marion continued explaining some other more mundane things like the location of the bathroom, where to find drinks, and what parts of the house were off limits. Finally, she opened the door behind her and ushered the five of them in with a sweep of her dress. Tessa looked over her shoulder at Marion and said, “Thank you.” Marion returned a motherly smile as the door closed behind them.
They were in a small antechamber filled with purses and shoes. The girls quickly dropped their things, each trying to find some sort of private spot to secure their belongings. Trevor, for lack of a better thing to do, kicked off his shoes. The girls left theirs as well, Staci being quite disappointed as she had spent quite some time picking out the perfect pair to go with her outfit. They moved into the area Matt called his den. Their host appeared immediately to greet them.
Matt appeared as if from thin air. He was smiling and clearly already a bit drunk, “Guys! You made it. Trevor, you fucker, I knew you’d come. Tonight’s going to be amazing. Oi, Tessa! See, I knew you had a little bit of a freak in you.” He stopped immediately and put his finger to his lips. “Hang on. I’m being an ass. I will go elsewhere and be an ass there. Drinks are…uh, that direction. Big event in about thirty minutes. Nobody get weird.”
Without addressing her directly, he grabbed Staci’s hand and led her off into the party. Tessa realized who Staci had been texting. Brandi and Trevor said they were going to get drinks and offered to bring back some for the other girls. Alissa declined, seeing someone she knew and making a quick departure. Tessa shrugged and said yes, but didn’t expect to see the pair again for a while.
She drifted into the party keeping her eyes peeled for Jacob. About twenty people altogether, she guessed, though she didn’t know what other rooms people lurked in. The main den was a cavernous circular room with several couches and inset seating areas. Unsurprisingly, she saw almost every person paired up. A few guys looked uncomfortably alone and eyed her hopefully as she moved through the room. “Tessa!” came Jacob’s voice over the din of music and conversation.
He sat on a couch opposite another couple who looked awkwardly stuck together in a tangle of limbs. Jacob jumped up and jogged over to her. “Glad you made it. Gotta say, I was getting a little worried.”
Tessa blushed, thankful of the room’s dim lighting. “Yeah, I came with Brandi. Took a little longer than we expected to get here, I guess.” She noted that Jacob dressed like all the other guys in the room, a loose t-shirt and some shorts. She’d never seen him so casual and her stomach fluttered with thoughts of why the men had chosen such relaxed attire. “I was about to get a drink, do you want one?”
Jacob looked back at the table he’d been sitting beside for a moment, but then led the way over to a small, makeshift bar. “Vodka ok?” Tessa replied with a noncommittal nod. Jacob quickly mixed together two drinks and handed one to her. She took a sip and winced at the pungent taste, but then took another longer gulp. Jacob did the same.
They went over to a free spot on a couch and sat down. “Listen, before anything else gets started, I needed to tell you something.” Jacob took another long swig from his drink as Tessa watched him expectantly. “We’ve been talking for a while now. And we’ve sort of gone on…well, not dates, but group oriented activities. I don’t want…well, I don’t want tonight to change things for the worse. Like, I don’t want you to think less of me for wanting to do this.”
His candidness shocked her more than anything else. The vodka went straight to her head, and the room swirled slightly as she listened. “Oh,” she said, softly. “Me too? I mean, god, this could totally make you think of me in the wrong way.”
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