Velvet applied a fresh coat of lipstick. Then proceeded to take a long swig of whiskey from her flask. Behind her a long, lanky boy with equally long blond hair stared at her in concern, trying to salvage the current situation. “Wow, Velvet, I can’t believe it’s been ten whole years since you graduated high school!” the boy chirped, smiling. “You’re so lucky!”
Always the optimist. Velvet wished she could be that carefree. “Well, I doubt you’ll feel the same way when you actually become my age, squirt. Still can’t believe you’re already in college. Boy, does the time fly.”
“Haha, yeah. Pretty soon I’ll be the one at my reunion!”
Frowning, Velvet placed her hands against his cheeks. She didn’t care how old she got, but seeing her older brother grow up before her very eyes was still difficult. He was growing up to become such a nice young man. “Phi. Trust me, you don’t have to grow up so fast. You can be dumb sometimes. Drink beer.”
Phi laughed. “Ewww, beer. It’s not for me. I hope you have fun tonight.”
“Haha, me too.”
Soon she was in her Uber, quietly scrolling through her phone. Ten whole years, huh? She wasn’t terribly thrilled with going back and reliving her high school days, even if they weren’t so bad. She was a smart student, but because she was holding two jobs trying to keep her and Phi afloat because her sister had died and her brother-in-law was a useless piece of hot garbage, she put in less than average effort in her grades. There was the year where she did cheerleading for three weeks and then fought the cheerleader junior coach in the parking lot. Then there was the year she did mock trial; that was sadder, since she actually enjoyed that but couldn’t make half of the meetings because of her busy schedule. And then the last couple of years she got high often with the janitor on the football field. That was pretty fun.
Since then, things didn’t get easier as they did manageable. She found one stable job working as a substitute teacher. It didn't pay a whole lot, but the school district itself was hands and knees enough towards her for continuing to renew her contracts. Every year she thought about going back to becoming a full-time teacher, but she still wasn’t sure. High schoolers were a pain in the ass. Sometimes she worked at her old high school, though, and whenever she did she and her old janitor buddy would roll one up in his junker van. Good times.
She was dropped off at a banquet hall just outside of downtown. It was a small town, and Velvet’s graduating class was only a little more than 100 to begin with, so it didn’t surprise her at all as the festivities got some outside assistance. She couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow at the light blond siblings sitting at the registration table. “Oscar. Teresa.”
The cheerleader junior coach and her very gay band geek brother. Teresa grimaced at her; the feeling was mutual. “Velvet. I didn’t think you were much for these kinds of functions.”
Velvet shrugged. “I’m really not. All you can eat buffets really call out to my budget, though. You still sucking dicks to afford your Prada?”
Teresa fakely smiled at her. “More dick than your butch ass will ever get. Here’s your wristband, Crowe. Enjoy.”
They glared at each other. Velvet gingerly placed the wristband on her wrist and stepped inside the main hall. The theme for this reunion’s graduates was big beach heaven, and the bright neon beach balls and surfboards made her almost instantly regret her decision already. She winced as she felt sand seep through her borrowed pair of dress shoes. Real sand. Why did they use real sand to furnish this event? Somehow she didn’t think the school would be getting that security deposit back…
A tall, broad-shouldered man was by the punch bowl, taking shots of spiked punch from his glass. At least this party had a little taste. Velvet walked over to her janitor friend and playfully punched him on the shoulder. “Hey, Eizen. I see you’re crashing parties as cool as ever.”
Eizen looked as cool as ever, wearing the usual oversized biker jacket and ripped jeans. Chuckling, he leaned against the wall, looking up. “No worries. I’m on staff. I know of some real reunion crashers that liven up the party every year, though.”
Velvet raised an eyebrow, gesturing with her thumb to the door. “Who, the Shining siblings outside?”
“Nah, they’re volunteer.” Eizen lowered his voice, leaning down to Velvet’s ear. “There’s this girl, see? Everyone on my shift have made bets that she’s at least 40 but she always claims to be in the 30 to 35 range every year. She’s one of the top donor’s daughters so she meddles a lot and as you can see…”
“Sand,” Velvet finished, crossing her arms.
“Yep. Few can match her festive attitude. We call her Mugshot Mags because every year she somehow always manages to get the police involved and yet there are never any arrests or tickets.”
“Rich people, man.”
“Sure can be terrifying, huh?”
Eizen handed her a glass. She took one shot and then filled up her glass to take a second. A warm, burning feeling settled in her stomach, replacing her vague anxiety. Now that she was older, she really didn’t enjoy social outings all that much. A lot of the time she felt like she didn’t have much to contribute and she really couldn’t join in much of the festive mood. Most of the time, she felt like she could use her time better by working. In fact, the only reason why she’d even agree to go to this reunion because when she had gotten the letter in the mail about it, Phi had looked so interested in imagining what a high school reunion would be like that she couldn’t let him down.
Luckily, it was kind of underwhelming. She fell into the lull of listening to the soft kpop beats (wait kpop beats?) and conversing with her other friends. Niko wasn’t able to make it, since she was constantly on the night shift, but Rokurou and Eleanor were able to make it, and so between the four of them they were able to make good small talk. Mechanic work, went smooth. Law firm, boring. Substitute teaching, low pay. Janitor work, toilets always smelled bad. Not a lot of new news, considering they hung out fairly frequently.
But it was too perfectly boring. At around nine the lights dimmed as they were replaced by some soft disco lights. A few of the other volunteer staff wheeled in a giant wedding cake that was most commonly used in bachelor and bachelorette parties. Teresa rushed through the doors in an absolute panic. “Hey! We’re seriously not letting her do this crap again, are we?”
Everyone looked at her. Eleanor furrowed her eyebrows. “Crap? Again?”
“She ruined my reunion two years ago and I’m not gonna let it happen two more years in a row!” Teresa snapped, attempting and failing to pull the cake cart backward. “Benwick! Benwick! Pull that hag out of here!”
Velvet was suddenly intrigued. On one hand she really didn’t wanna deal with any chaos, but on the other hand if it made Teresa scream in utter despair like that…she was low-key kind of turned on. She liked her less than liked acquaintances in distress. She stifled a chuckle as poor Benwick took out a note and handed it to Teresa. Whatever it said it was not pleasing to her. “I don’t care what Melchior agrees to write off!” the blond howled. “We always have to clean up after her messes and her decoration is always tacky!”
“WELCOOOOOME, MIDGAND HIGH! DO YOU KNOW WHEN THE BEST TIME TO WEAR A STRIPED SWEATER IS?”
Wedding cake exploded on all of them, and a bushy black and white cat with a purple top hat jumped against Velvet’s blouse, yowling. A bony, older woman who was clearly not 30 to 32 stretched in the middle of the cake, kicking off her lacy stockings. The only other things she was wearing was an obnoxiously bright pink hat on top of her dirty blond hair and some oversized black lingerie.
Velvet wasn’t sure if she was more turned on or if she should leave right this instant.
“I’M NOT DOING THIS ANYMORE TELL MELCHIOR HE CAN FIND SOMEONE EL- GET OFF OF ME, MAGILOU!”
The one called Magilou wrapped her skinny arms around Teresa, smearing wedding cake all over her fancy bolero. Very obviously drunk, she yelled unnecessarily loud into a microphone. “IT’S ALL THE TIME, TERESA! BENWICK, DYLE, SOMEONE THROW ME MY STRIPED SWEATER!”
Benwick threw an itchy-looking striped sweater at her head, which she took three tries to put on. It looked a lot similar to the sweater that one serial killer wore in that one Halloween movie. Magilou did a half-run, almost stumbling into the wall, her eyes zooming back and forth. “Midgand High, you enjoying big beach heaven? Because it’s always summer loving make-out time in my heart! Yo, who has my cat?”
The spotlights zoomed back and forth until they fell on Velvet. Velvet placed a hand over her eyes, the bright lights hurting her vision. Magilou ran to her, looked her up and down, and let out a long whistle. “Hubba hubba, you look like trouble. You enjoying yourself tonight?”
Against every working brain cell, Velvet couldn’t help but smile. She didn’t think it was the alcohol, either. “I am now. You want him back?” she asked, holding up the obese, angry cat.
“Hmmm…yeah, sure, I guess I’ll take Bien back. He doesn’t pay rent, though.”
Magilou gathered the cat in her arms and kissed him on the nose. Bien was less than impressed, batting her on the nose with his claws, and she immediately dropped him, shrugging. “They can’t all be winners. Glad you’re having a fun time, though, babycakes! I, the Magnificent Magilou, am an entertainer first and foremost!” Lowering her voice she winked and tugged at the hideous sweater. “You like my cool threads?”
“Nah, they’re pretty ugly,” Velvet commented, smirking.
“An honest babe! Hot!” Magilou walked around her, and Velvet had to keep it cool to avoid grinning at her ass, which was practically non-existent. “Well, if you wanna get a drink or six after this, hit me up! Drinks are on my dad, eyyyy!”
For the first time, Magilou’s face fell. She made a cutting motion to Benwick, and the volunteer stopped the blaring kpop. The older woman threw the microphone across the room, causing loud crackling sounds of feedback, and placed a cake-crusted arm on Velvet’s shoulder, narrowing her eyes. “You should know…I party hard.”
Velvet smirked. “I’ve been to my fair share of parties. I might as well rake in my high school reunion to its full advantage.”
“Magilou, that microphone is really expensive! You can’t just treat equipment like tha-“
When they both shouted, “SHUT UP, TERESA” at the same time, it was like…something at first sight. Love? Velvet would be an absolute fool to call it that, but she wasn’t opposed to at least a quick hook-up/make-out session tonight. Grinning, she gestured to her caked up clothing. “You wouldn’t happen to have a change of clothing, would you? I’d rather not smell like cake all night.”
“I mean, I got another sweater but it’s filled with cat hair. You’re better off with the cake, toots.”
“See? You’re already named after a cake flavor. Best that you roll with it.”
Magilou ran across the opposite end of the room and, with one probably well-practiced motion, took off her underwear. Eizen crossed his arms, nodding. “Ah, yes. The notorious no ass Mugshot Mags. You sure you want to tap that?”
“Hey, anyone who can get Teresa that shade of red is an instant hook-up in my book.”
Velvet grinned as Magilou started back up her striped sweater song over Teresa’s protests. Maybe she’d have something worthwhile to share with Phi after all.