I hoped that my brothers would grow up to be better people than the guy who sat next to me on the couch when the four of us plopped down to watch netflix. CJ wasn't even that drunk when he put an arm around my shoulder. He still wasn't that drunk when his other hand entwined with mine.
Joey was sitting on my other side, and his eyes bore into the hand of mine that was holding CJ's. I felt the burn of his stare and I could feel the cogs turning in his mind, trying to decipher the meaning behind the cuddling happening next to him.
I didn't think anything of it. My feelings for CJ had been long since locked away. The only thing that worried me was that CJ probably didn't think it was nothing. He wasn't a heartless human like I was.
The hour grew later and when it was time to leave, CJ left with me.
"See you later," I waved to CJ as I went to head north to my house, knowing CJ would be going south to his.
"Hey, are we cool?" CJ reached out for my arm.
"Yeah, we're cool."
"Can I walk you home?"
"Sure," I shrugged. It was nearing 2am and I couldn't turn down any guy walking me home, "Is this ok?" I asked after a few feet, "It's just the two of us, I thought that wasn't allowed."
"I'm walking you home, aren't I?" CJ responded, "I don't even care anymore, to tell you the truth."
"I was worried that the four of us hanging out wouldn't count as a 'social ballroom setting,'" I couldn't help but snap, referring to the conversation that we couldn't be friends outside of ballroom, where we were forced to be together.
CJ sighed, "Kaitlyn, I've got a week left in Ann Arbor, I want to spend it with my friends. I don't care what she says about it at this point. I don't think it's going to last long once I get home anyways."
"Good," I shrugged, tossing my curtain of curls behind my shoulder.
"How was this weekend?" CJ asked.
"You missed out, it was a blast."
"How was your party?" My party meaning the lingerie party.
"A smashing success, if I do say so myself. But I am sad that I didn't get to kick anyone out," I frowned, "I was on security detail."
"Who put you in charge of security?" CJ laughed.
"Myself, duh. No guy is going to say 'No' to me when I'm not wearing pants."
"Eh, that might be an overstatement," CJ winked at me.
"Puh-lease, I don't even break out the goods for this party and I'm still best dressed two years running," I smirked. Was it a little bit evil of put the vision of myself in lingerie in CJ's head? Absolutely, and that's why I did it.
There's nothing more tacky than cheap lingerie and that was about a third of the outfits at the lingerie party. The other third were girls in decent lingerie but covering it up with robes. The final third were newcomers entirely unprepared for such an event who, at 18, didn't have any reasons to own fancy lingerie, wearing their best everyday bra and panties.
Then there was me. My sequined push up VS bra actually made me look like I had boobs and my semi-sheer matching panties were kept from being too revealing with strategically placed rhinestones. It was classy, very Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, but still kept the most important things to the imagination. With huge curls and my signature nude pumps, I'm positive I would have erased all thoughts of Sarah from CJ's mind.
But he would never know, or see my second best lingerie combo, because he had been at MIT with Sarah all weekend.
"We were all kinda dead from the lingerie party for the bar crawl, but we rallied," I said, referring to Saturday's ballroom bar crawl, "We just went hard all weekend."
"I wish I could have been there, but we killed it at the comp!"
"You know we all wanted you to do awful, right?" I said it matter-of-factly, "Every one of your friends wanted you to do badly because you went with completely the wrong intentions."
CJ sighed, "I don't blame you."
"It was your last weekend here and you ditched us. We should never want you to do badly at a competition," I said honestly.
"But I still killed it-"
"CJ, I don't give a shit about the dancing, I hardly give a shit about how any facet of your weekend was because I can tell you that the dancing was probably the only good part."
"I can't say you're wrong-"
I raised one eyebrow.
"But I feel validated as a dancer, at least one good thing came of this weekend, right?"
I shrugged, "You keep telling yourself that."
"How've you been?" CJ turned his head so he looked me in the eyes, "I haven't gotten to ask you that recently."
"Well, who's fault is that?" I muttered.
"Hey," CJ stopped walking and took my hand, "Just because I haven't gotten to ask you don't mean I haven't wanted to."
"I've been lonely," I admitted, "Whitney has been being awful to me and I miss my mom and I can't talk to you and soon everyone's going to go their separate ways and it's going to suck to leave it all behind."
"Graduation is scary," CJ agreed, "I'm kind of not looking forward to it."
"Why not?" I asked as we rounded on my house.
"No more distractions," CJ said.
"Yeah," it was my turn to look him in the eye. I knew exactly what he was thinking. For CJ, graduation meant having to truly reconcile with who he is.
"I'm sorry about everything. The last thing I want is for you to feel more lonely because of me."
I nodded and CJ and I sat down on my porch.
"So how are things with Whitney?"
And as I launched into my story, CJ listened in the way that only a friend would.