Mixed Messages

Adam pulled up his jeans as he waddled to the bathroom to brush his teeth. He squeezed the tube onto his toothbrush, looked at himself in the mirror, and started brushing away as he thought about the party tonight. His wet brown hair flopping around as he wished his toothbrush around in his mouth. Adam never really got invited to parties much, actually, he’s never been invited to a party at all. He was never really considered one of the “cool” kids. He got good grades, he kept to himself most of the time, and he always had his nose stuck in a book. He probably wouldn’t have even gotten invited to this party if he hadn’t just stumbled into it.

After his pitching practice with his baseball coach, Adam walked into the locker room rotating his left arm around while he held his shoulder. A few of the guys on his team were sitting around the lockers throwing their gear back in their bags.

“So Kevin, how many people are going to be there tonight?” One of the guys asked.

“Not sure, nothing huge but I invited at least like twenty girls. That should make things a bit more fun than last time. Plus, the pool is open.”

“See now that, should make things a bit more interesting.”

“Yeah, should help with making it less like a sausage fest.”

Adam squeezed by the guys talking about the party, with his glove held in his armpit. “Hey Adam, what are you up to tonight?” Kevin called to him as he passed.

“Uhh.. not really sure. Why?”

One of the other guys grumbled “C’mon Kev, I thought we were trying to not make this a sausage fest.”

“Oh chill out, I’m sure one guy isn’t going to make or break that,” Kevin replied. “I’m having a party tonight, no parents, and we just opened the pool. Stop by if you can okay?”

“Well, I might have something-”

“Aw c’mon man, there’s gonna be girls there.” Kevin chimed.

“Uhh.. okay. Alright, sure. What time?”

“Ten, see ya there then?” Adam nodded at Kevin and walked off to his locker, smiling a bit as he turned the combination lock.

Adam spit into the sink and rinsed out his mouth. He combed his hair quickly and ran down the stairs. His mother was sitting on the couch watching TV. “By Mom, I’m heading to Matt’s. I’ll see you tomorrow morning okay?”

“Okay, love you.”

“Love you too, bye.”

Adam closed the door behind him and started heading in the direction towards Kevin’s house. He never realized how long it would take for him to get there by walking. Kevin’s place was on the complete opposite side of town and it took him almost an hour to get there. As he approached the house he could hear music coming from behind the house, and the chatter of some people. Adam pulled his phone from his pocket checking the time, 10:17. “Okay not too early, and not too late,” Adam mumbled to himself. He walked around the side of the house to see mostly guys on his baseball team, and roughly ten girls that he recognized from school. Kevin was playing pong with another guy on the team, and across from them were two girls. As Adam opened up the gate in the fence, Kevin turned around.

“Heeeyyyy, what’s up Adam? Come in!”

“Hey, looks like there’s quite a few people here,” Adam replied.

“Oh more people are gonna show up, this is nothing so far. But yeah, make yourself at home bro. There’s beer in the fridge in the garage, there’s the pool, the hot tub, the pong table. Go grab yourself a drink, and would you mind getting me a new one?” Kevin asked, shaking his empty can of beer at him.

“Yeah sure.” Adam walked into the garage and pulled open the fridge. The shelves were full of beer and liquor. He wondered how he was able to get all this stuff only being 17 years old. He grabbed two cans of beer out of the fridge and headed back outside. Kevin sunk a shot on the pong table and gave his partner a high five.

“Here Kev,” Adam tapped him on the shoulder with the beer.

“Thanks man.”

“Hey. How are you able to buy all this stuff?” Adam motioned toward the can in his hand.

“Oh. My older brother, he moved out about a year ago. He’ll buy anything for me.”

“That’s pretty cool.” Adam cracked open the beer and sipped. Adam was never partial to the taste of beer. He just forced himself to drink it the few times he tried it with his friends to “acquire” the taste. Adam looked around at the party. People were hanging around in the pool, watching the beer pong game, and some were playing some card game at another table on the patio near the hot tub. Everyone seemed already so involved in their groups, Adam didn’t know who to approach or where to start first. He sipped his beer and noticed a girl sitting on the edge of the hot tub, with her feet in the water. It was Megan from his English class, and he decided to approach her.


Megan turned around, the look on her face was a bit sullen and her blonde hair got in the way of her blue eyes. She combed her hair out of her face and replied, “Oh, hey Adam.”

“So, just soaking your feet, huh?”

“Yeah, I didn’t bring a bathing suit.”

“Me neither, mind if a join you?” Adam asked. Megan waved her hand, gesturing for him to sit next to her. “Not drinking huh?”

“Uhh.. nah. I don’t really like the taste.”

“Well. People doing really drink alcohol for the taste do they?” Adam joked.

“Well, no I guess not?” Megan replied.

“I’ll get you one.”

“No, no. That’s okay.”

“Okay, whatever floats your boat.” Adam hopped up onto the side of the hot tub, kicked off his shoes and socks, and placed his feet into the steaming water. “You seem a bit sad. You okay?”

“Yeah. My head just hurts a bit. Kinda got a lot on my plate right now.”

“You wanna talk about it?”

Megan shook her head, “No not really. Kinda hard to describe, I honestly don’t even know why I am here right now.”

“Oh well, I’m glad you are. I always liked talking to you in school.”

“Really? I thought you didn’t like me.”

“What? Why would you think that?”

“Well, we honestly never talked much.”

“I guess I’m just naturally kinda a quiet person. It wasn’t that I never wanted to talk to you. Besides we would talk before English class a bit.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s true. You’re right. I don’t know why I ever thought that.” Megan said, letting out a long breath.

“So who did you come here with?”

“Nobody actually, Emily invited me though.” Megan pointed to the blonde girl floating on a noodle talking to one of her friends.

“Kevin’s girlfriend?”

“Yeah, but I walked here on my own.”

Police sirens started blaring in the distance and sounded like they were coming towards Kevin’s house. Kevin turned the music down and told everyone to hush up for a while to see if the cops were coming to his place. The party went dead silent for a minute, and then police lights flew right by his house and eventually out of earshot. “Alright! I guess that wasn’t for us, party on!”

More people slowly showed up to the party and it got a bit crowded at one point. It was surprising that nobody reported the party to the police. Everyone was starting to get a bit too drunk and the party slowly emptied out as people passed out inside the house. Adam and Megan talked for a while on the side of the hot tub. For the entire night actually. They talked about baseball, Megan’s soccer team even though she didn’t think that she was that good, her sculptures and paintings that were put into the local art museums, and eventually they got to talk about how Adam thought she was nice, and pretty cute too.

Megan pulled her feet out from the hot tub, “Well it’s getting pretty late. I better get going.”

“Oh well before you go, I really liked talking to you. Mind if we swap numbers?” Adam asked smiling.

“Uhh.. Yeah sure, I’ll text you so you have it. What’s your number?” Megan typed the number into her phone as Adam told her. “There, sent.” Megan flashed her phone to him. Adam pulled his phone out of his pocket and looked at the message on the lock screen. Hey, it’s Megan. Received at 1:31 AM.

“Got it,” Adam held up his phone smiling. “Are you walking home?”


“I’ll walk with you, I gotta walk home anyway.”

“Oh no that’s okay. I’ll be fine.”

“No no, really, I want to. Lemme just go pee real quick and I’ll meet you out front okay?”

“Okay, sure.”

Adam walked into the back door, stepping over passed out teens on the floor he walked into the bathroom. He looked at himself in the mirror and smiled. He couldn’t believe he got Megan’s number. He rinsed his face with water, went to the bathroom, and stepped over drunken bodies to meet Megan out front. As he walked out to the front yard, nobody was there.

“Megan?” Adam called out. Adam walked around to the back again, and still couldn’t find her. He called out to her a few times and nobody answered. He looked inside quickly and she was nowhere to be found. “I guess she really didn’t want me to walk her home,” Adam sighed.

Adam started walking down the street alone, wondering if it was something he said that made her ditch him. The entire night everything seemed fine. They were laughing, joking, and he even got her to have a drink with him. He checked his phone to see if she texted him. Nothing, just the text from 1:31 AM. As he approached his house he quietly stuck his key into the front door. He snuck into his house, crept up the stairs, and shut his bedroom door behind him quietly. Adam looked at his phone one more time, still with no new messages. Adam shrugged and climbed into his bed, plugging in his phone to his charger and browsing the internet before he lulled off to sleep.

Adam woke to the sound of his parents bustling about downstairs. He crawled out of bed and stumbled down the stairs rubbing his eyes.

“Good morning Adam,” His mother called to him, sipping her cup of coffee. “You want to go to church with us this morning?”

“Uhh.. not today Mom. I kinda have a headache.”

Adam slunk into his chair at the kitchen table after pouring himself a bowl of cereal. His phone buzzed on the table, and he checked the message. It was from Matt.

“Hey did you hear about what happened to Megan?” the message read.

Adam texted him back, “No, what happened?”

His phone buzzed in his hand, “Turn on your TV. Check the news.”

Adam walked into the living room with his bowl of cereal. He turned on the TV and went to the news. The news presenter was telling a story about Megan and how she was killed last night by a hit and run. Adam set his bowl down on the stand next to the couch. The woman on TV went on about the accident, “The police found her body on the side of the road at around 11 PM last night. The police believe she was killed instantly on impact, and so far no suspects have been revealed. If you have any information about this incident please report any information to your local police station.”

Adam pulled his hand over his mouth. His mother came up behind him and put her hand on his shoulder. “Did you know her?” she asked. Adam pulled out his phone and checked the message. It was still there in his inbox, Hey, it’s Megan received at 1:31 AM.

“Killed at 11 PM?” Adam whispered.

“Hmm?” Adam’s mother hummed.

“Yeah, I knew her.”

A few days later Adam was lying in bed struggling to get to sleep. Adam picked up his phone and sent a text to Megan’s number. “Is it true? Are you really dead?”

A few seconds later he got a text back, it read, “Yes.”



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