Pout. Click. No.
Pucker. Click. No.
Smile. Click... Meh.
Open Facetune. Whiten teeth. Tan. Fix nose. Enlarge boobs. Before. After. Too big. Undo. Open Instagram. Upload.
Caption... Caption. Post. Scroll feed.
Amanda’s in the Bahamas?
Why are people commenting “cute couple”? Are they dating again? Jesus, Jack, we hooked up last week.
God, her waist. Is that photoshopped? That has to be photoshopped.
Two likes. Three minutes and two likes. Jess just posted a selfie five minutes ago and she already has sixty likes...
Consider deleting Instagram.
Consider dropping out of school and becoming a stripper.
Glance down at the bulge drooping over the waistband of your jeans.
Consider moving to Japan and becoming a rice farmer instead.
Check the time.
Groan. Ignore the ringing phone. Consider staying home.
Slip on the blister-inducing contraptions that make the curves of your legs look like the ocean back home, flowing tropic tides to LA’s jagged waves.
Answer the phone. “I’m in the elevator.” Hang up.
Stroll to the elevator. Consider turning back.
Press the button.
Watch the doors open. Balk at the dark-haired boy inside, staring at you like he knows what you look like beneath that suede skirt. Remember that he does. Put the trauma back into the box and shove it away. “How’ve you been?” he asks.
“Fine,” you lie.
“You look good,” he says.
Two likes in three minutes. “Thanks.”
The doors open again. Do not say goodbye. Rush to the entrance because the walls here are glass, and Kassie will see you lingering from the car outside.
Consider faking sick.
Throw open the door to the Uber. Settle into the leather seat beside the curvy blonde with the heartbreaking smile. Compare the driver with the weave to the bald man in his picture. “Armando?”
“I already asked,” Kassie says in the husky voice that makes her infinitely more interesting than you. “What took you so long?”
Consider telling the truth. “Nothing.”
“Frank bought a table. Said we could get as many bottles as we wanted.”
Smile. Cheer. Wonder why you don’t feel happy.
Armando drops you off at the club. “Five star?”
Nod. Slam the door. Smile flirtatiously towards the bouncer who looks at you like you deserve more than two likes in three minutes. Feel important for two seconds before the smoky darkness hits you, and you see the Instagram model with the waist that isn’t photoshopped.
Spot Frank. Quell the fluttering of your heart. Remind yourself that gorgeous billionaire’s sons don’t end up with girls like you. Follow his gaze to the Instagram model. Try not to be disappointed that you were right.
“If it isn’t my two favorite idiots,” he says when the Instagram model disappears.
“Franklin, chill it with the declarations, my heart can’t hold all this love,” Kassie says.
“Must be pretty damn small,” he says.
“Small is generous for something that doesn’t exist,” you joke.
Try to breathe normally when Frank laughs. Regret attracting the gaze of those baby blues. See the fog that separates you from your friends. Feel it overcome you because you are not like them. You are the pig beside the lion and the tiger, and everyone in this club knows it.
One of these is not like the others.
Decide to never speak again.
“Where’s my Mexican liquor, Franklin?”
“Just ordered it, Katherine.”
“I want to get drunk, Franklin.”
“That you will, Katherine.”
“I want to get drunk now, Franklin.”
“Stop flirting with me, Katherine.”
Ignore the way they grin at each other like they know what they look like beneath their clothes. Remember that they do. Ignore that too.
Watch as girls in leather lingerie and cat ears stride up to your table with a bucket of bottles. Observe their willowy waists, their ample cleavage, their tiny noses. Imagine yourself in leather lingerie and cat ears and the bulge over your waistband that won’t go away no matter how much you starve yourself.
Decide to stick to college.
Ask them for a drink. Don’t ask for their diet regimen.
Sip the tequila. Scowl. Watch Frank and Kassie flirt. Chug.
Let the liquor take over for your broken brain. Ponder your broken brain. Curse your broken brain, and your mother’s broken brain, and your grandmother’s broken brain.
Curse genetics in general.
Laugh through the rage. Laugh because you feel rage. Laugh because the tequila is working and the feelings are feeling and the thoughts are not thinking.
Laugh with Kassie when she tells you she’s into Frank again.
Laugh with the Instagram model who you meet in the bathroom while waiting for Kassie to get sick of Frank again.
Laugh with Frank who you’re kissing in the corner of the club even though you can’t remember how you got there.
Laugh in the Uber home when he’s touching every part of you.
Laugh through the drunken stumbling back to his apartment and his pants are half off and your bra is gone but you don’t know where you left it.
Laugh when his mouth is on your breasts and he is buried inside you and this one is good, this one you wanted, this one got you here without the roofies.
Laugh. Laugh because tomorrow the tequila will be gone and the sickness will be worse and the little white pills will be the only thing to tide you over until the next time you can laugh again.