Wasted at the Winter Formal

Wasted at the Winter Formal

A Story by George Comerci

When combined, what does two bottles of beer, a broken heart, and the Winter Formal lead to? Nothing good.

Anthony always kind of liked school dances. He had no idea why, because he’s always hated everything about them; the music, the people, the food, and the school. By all accounts, he should hate the dances themselves, too. But he doesn’t. Just getting out of the house for a while, away from his parents and away from his room, at a social event most normal teenagers go to, made him kind of happy. And at school dances, he felt like a normal teenager for once.

Unfortunately, this particular school dance, the Winter Formal, was a giant shitstorm. For starters, the candy he had eaten when he arrived had already started gnawing at his stomach, making him feel queasy. The light blue suit he had had to rent, since the dance was the dance was formal themed, had already been stained somehow. It would come out in the wash, he knew that, and the stain wasn’t very big, but he was worried it would make him look like a slob. And most of his schoolmates had already pissed him off in one way or another, just about 30 minutes into the dance. The looks they gave him, the way their laughter always seemed directed at him, just set him on edge. He was regretting even going to the dance in the first place.

At least I’m not the only one having a s**t night, he thought glumly, as he sat crouched on the floor of a stall in the girl’s bathroom, trying his best to comfort his only friend as she laid over the toilet, sobbing and puking her guts out. He tried to warn her that stealing two bottles of beer from his dad’s fridge before the dance and drinking them both wasn’t the best idea. She had just waved him off and laughed. She’s regretting it now, he thought, as he held back her thick blonde hair to prevent it from from getting any more flecks of puke in it.

He wasn’t about to rub in his previous warning about the alcohol, either. Besides being completely hammered, her date, an upperclassman boy who had given them both a ride to the dance and who had seemed nice enough at first, had completely left her abandoned by the vending machines and left with a freshman girl in arm, whose cleavage was far more revealing than hers. Sadly, he was also Anthony’s ride home. He was going to drop him off at home before going somewhere with Finch. The plans had clearly changed. “Besides,” he had coldly added, before leaving them both stranded at the dance, “it’s totally trashy to show up drunk to a date. Gross b***h.” It was a little funny, considering her date had snuck in pot and got high by the dumpsters before going into the dance, no doubt planning to get drunk later on.

Anthony did his best to comfort her. He rubbed her back as well as he could, even though it wasn’t doing much good. It was probably making it worse. Just when it seems like she’d ran out of vomit, her stomach would lurch and she would hurl up even more, while gripping the edges of her stomach and hysterically sobbing. Specks of vomit were in a few strands of her hair and over the front of her pretty, sparkly pink dress she had been so excited to wear. Her makeup, which she had spent a few hours frantically slaving over, was completely ruined. Her lipstick had faded away, thanks to the vomit, and mascara was dripping down her cheeks.

“It’s okay, Finch,” Anthony said as soothingly as he could, even though the situation was clearly not okay in the slightest. Finch whimpered and buried her face in her left arm, trying her best not to cry anymore. She wasn’t succeeding. All covering her face did was muffle her sobs, making them sound more like sad hiccups than anything. Her hair, which had looked shiny and glossy when the evening first started, was now tangled and matted.

“It’s not FAIR!” she wailed. She decided to move her face to Anthony’s right shoulder, burrowing in his suit, making it even more dirty than it had already gotten. This made Anthony a little uncomfortable, knowing for sure that she was probably getting snot all over it, but he just held her and didn’t complain. He tried not to think about the germs too much.

“It’s not...it’s not...” she bitterly spat, gripping the back of Anthony’s suit. Her words were slurring together and it was getting harder and harder to understand her. “He said all these things, about how pretty I was and how much fun we were gonna have tonight...I don’t get it!” She took her face away from Anthony’s shoulder and looked up at him, her eyes welling up with even more tears. Anthony snuck a glance at where Finch had been crying. Sure enough, two very wet spots from her eyes were left on his suit. There was a little snot left over, too, just like Anthony had been dreading. Mascara was smudged all over it, too, and the combination of it all left a sickening color that made Anthony want to puke himself. He made a mental note to get it cleaned before he returned it. He just wondered how he'd explain it.

“I mean...am I j-just not pretty enough?” She hiccuped and buried her face in Anthony’s other shoulder. Great. “Why does everyone I go on a date with always dump me? Why does...why does...why does everyone at th-HIC!-this school ha-hate me so much? What did I do?!”

He wanted to tell her that wasn’t true. He definitely didn’t hate her. But he couldn’t say the same for their classmates. That insane bipolar chick, he heard a girl in his science class refer to her as once. The one who thinks she can sing? her friend had added with a laugh. Finch was a good singer, and everyone knew it. That doesn’t mean they’d admit it. They all just hated how confident Finch was in her ability to become famous, something she liked to talk about a lot. Attention w***e, egotistical f**k, and talentless b***h were some phases that were thrown around frequently. There was even a Facebook group about it, called, Finch Spade, you will never be famous! In just a mere amount of days after it had been created, it had already gotten over 200 likes. It had upset Finch so much, she’d refused to go to school for an entire week. Then she came back to school, talking about being famous more than ever before, as if nothing had ever happened.

She’d also gained quite a reputation for sleeping around. News of Finch’s sexual business spread around the school faster than wildfire. Most of the time, it was true, unfortunately. Finch did sleep around. "I only do it because it makes me feel pretty," she had told Anthony once on a midnight run to IHOP. "Everyone I f**k always tells me how good at sex I am, how pretty I am and it makes me feel happy. But it’s always just in the heat of the moment. As soon as they can, they’ll go around and tell everyone how much of a w***e I am." She would always laugh it off, like it was all just a joke, but Anthony could tell how hurt she was by all of it, even if she’d never admit it.

Anthony debated on what to say to Finch. He couldn’t say that she wasn’t hated, because they both knew that was bullshit. All of their classmates disliked both her and Anthony, and they were each other’s only friend. Sure enough, to prove this point, Anthony heard two girls outside the stall whispering to each other.

“Is that Finch crying in there?”

“I think so. She sounds pretty drunk. Not surprised.”

“Should we...should we leave?”

“Yeah, it’s already on my story. Let’s go.”

“Wait a sec...who’s in there with her?”

“Probably some poor b*****d desperate enough to want to f**k her.” Both girls giggled.

“Come on, let’s leave.”

The girls left, leaving the bathroom door swinging behind them, letting the loud music from the dance leak in the room, before the door stopped swinging and left both Finch and Anthony in silence again. Anthony had no idea if Finch had heard what the girls had said. Her sobbing was loud enough to cover their talking, but Anthony was still able to hear them. It wasn’t like the girls were trying very hard to stay quiet, either. Almost like they wanted Finch to hear how much they disapproved of her.

“See?” Finch pathetically whimpered in his shoulder. “That proves it. Everyone ha-HIC!-hates me.”

“That’s....” Anthony couldn’t figure out what to say. Instead of saying anything, he just rubbed her shoulder as assuringly as he could. He never thought he was very good at giving advice, anyway. Finch dejectedly looked down at her dress, biting her lower lip until she broke the skin. A tiny trickle of blood fell onto her dress. She licked at the wound.

“Well...if it makes you feel better, everyone hates me, too.” Anthony told her, his tone implying that it was no big deal. Finch sniveled and wiped her nose on her plastic flower bracelet. “I don’t know why they hate you, and I don’t know why they hate me...but all I can say is that everyone always seems to hate the best people. I mean, if anything...they’re just jealous.”

Finch haphazardly brushed a vomit-soaked strand of hair out of her face. “J-jealous...? Of wh-HIC!-what?”

“Your singing.” Anthony said without hesitation. Finch stopped aggressively wiping away at the tears at her cheeks, which was just making her makeup even more smudged, and looked at him, completely shocked.

“M...my singing? You think it’s good?!” she exclaimed, cocking her head a little to the side. Despite the countless other times Anthony had told her this, the alcohol made her forget.

Anthony sighed and smiled. “I’ve told you so many times. I’ve seen all your covers on YouTube, and I’ve heard you sing in person. I think you’re a great singer!”

Finch laughed and gripped her dress, making it even more wrinkled. “Do you really think so?” She hiccuped a couple of times in a row, and then rested her head on Anthony’s shoulder. She gripped the ends of her hair and tugged at them a little.

Anthony put his arm around her and smiled, shoving his ovular glasses back up his nose. “You know I think so. Your dads think so. Everyone who’s heard you sing thinks so, even if they don’t admit it. And you know what else? I really, really think you’ll be famous someday. F**k the haters.”

She nodded and jabbed the air in front of her with her index finger, staring at the stall wall with a determined expression in her eyes. A contented smile spread across her face and she giggled. “F**k the haters!” She laughed in a way most people would call obnoxious, but Anthony didn’t think it was so obnoxious. He was just glad he had finally gotten her to stop crying.

“Alright. So, uhm...” He glanced around the cramped stall, trying to decide what to do next. “Why don’t we get you home? I’ll call your dads, and...”

Finch jerked her head towards him, her expression quickly turned panicked. “No! Don’t do that!They’ll...they’ll be...they’ll be mad at me!” she exclaimed, tears welling up in her eyes again.

Anthony seriously doubted that Finch’s dads would be mad at her over this. Her dads were the most compassionate, caring adults that Anthony had ever met. He hadn’t even seen them ever get angry. They’d always listened to his problems and take him as seriously as they would if he was their own son. Sometimes, more often than not, he wished that he was their son. His real parents were pretty uncaring, and homophobic, too. More than often, they would voice their disapproval about Finch’s two dads and gripe on and on about how unnatural they thought it was. They didn’t know that Anthony was gay, too, and he was terrified to tell them. He told Finch’s dads this and they said if his parents ever kicked him out, he was always welcome to stay with them and Finch. That almost made Anthony tempted to come out to his parents.

“They won’t be mad at you, Finch.” Anthony said, patting her shoulder. Still unsure, Finch bit her lower lip and twirled a strand of hair around her finger. Anthony pulled his cracked phone out of his pocket and started dialing one of Finch’s dads’ number. “Come on. They’ll give us a ride back to your place, and you’ll feel better.”

Finch turned her gaze towards him again, suddenly frantic. “Can you sleep over tonight? Please?” she begged, gripping his collar in desperation.

Anthony nodded. His parents were out of town, anyway, visiting a relative in Sacramento. He hadn’t been invited, because that particular relative cared just as much for him as his parents did. He was planning on just staying home alone, but since Finch was so fucked up, and she wasn’t going to be with her date, he decided that sleeping over at her place was the better idea.

“Yeah. Yeah, I will...just let me call your dad.”

He called and abruptly woke up one of her dads, who was surprised that Finch wouldn’t be sleeping over at her date’s house. As quickly as he could, Anthony explained the situation, how drunk Finch got, how her date abandoned them, how she’d spent the last twenty minutes barfing her guts out in a dirty high school bathroom and sobbing about how everyone hates her, and added at the end how he was sleeping over last-minute. Just like Anthony had predicted, her dad wasn’t upset at all. He just sounded concerned for Finch, and he was happy to have Anthony over. He agreed to pick them up and promised he’d be there as quickly as possible. Anthony put his phone back in his pocket and helped Finch up, who was struggling to even stand in her 5-inch heels.

They staggered out of the girl’s bathroom together, with Finch tripping over air with nearly every step. She had to heavily lean on Anthony to stay somewhat upright. They walked across the dark, music-filled gym towards the exit, trying to stay unnoticed. For the most part, they did. Most of the dance attendees were staring at their Instagram feeds or grinding with a classmate on the dance floor. The few that did notice them didn’t pay much attention, mainly because quite a few of the students were drunk and it was too dark to tell that it was Finch. They burst out of the stuffy gym together and sat on a gum-covered concrete bench and waited for her dad to show up in the old truck he’d had since he was in high school.

“You okay?” Anthony asked, studying Finch’s face. Her makeup was completely washed away, with only ugly mascara smears mixing with her blush remaining, and there were still tear stains on her cheeks. Her hair was a tangled mess, and the vomit in it had mostly dried. Her dress was wrinkled and dirty, and her bracelet had somehow turned sideways.

“I’m fine...” Finch mumbled under her breath, completely focused on dangling her right high heel of the end of her toes, making it swing back and forth. Anthony reached over and squeezed her hand. Finch absentmindedly smiled. “I’m fine...I’m fine...” It seemed, at this point, she was only talking to hear her own voice.

After what seemed like an eternity, her dad finally pulled up. Anthony helped Finch in the back seat and sat himself in the front. Not two seconds into the ride, Finch started sobbing again, wailing about how she was scared that everyone was mad at her, even though both Anthony and her dad were assuring her everything was fine and no one was mad. Anthony stared at her dad. His face was a little hard to read, he looked mostly frustrated. There wasn’t much conversation on the ride home, just Finch’s crying and small words of reassurance they rarely managed to squeeze in between her wails.

They pulled up at their townhouse downtown, and her dad picked Finch up out of the back seat and carried her up the stairs to the front door, just like she was a little kid. Finch wrapped her arms around her dad’s neck, Anthony followed closely behind them, wishing he had a dad that cared this much. Finch buried her face in her dad’s neck and started crying all over again.

“It’s okay, Finch...” her dad whispered, struggling to unlock the door and carry Finch at the same time. “It’s all okay...you’re okay...” Anthony was amazed that he was handling the situation so well.

While her dad took Finch in the bathroom to get her cleaned up, Anthony took his dress shoes off, set them neatly by the front door, and plopped down on their living room couch. He leaned his head back and sighed. He was exhausted, physically and emotionally, and he could still hear Finch crying over the sound of rushing water through the walls, which just made him even more tired.

Finch’s other dad walked into the living room, tugging a shirt over his head. He had clearly just woken up, judging by the tired look in his eyes and his messy, dark bedhead. Anthony looked up and smiled at him. He always felt a special connection with him, mainly because they were both so softspoken. Often when he was over, Anthony was told that they were almost the same person when he was Anthony’s age. He sat down next to Anthony and gently placed his hand on his shoulder.

“Rough night, huh?” he asked, stifling a yawn.

Anthony shook his head and laughed a little. “You have no idea.”

“Believe me, I do. I’ve been living with her for almost 16 years!”

They both laughed, and Anthony leaned into his chest and sighed. Her other dad put his arm around Anthony and gave him a little squeeze. The awkwardness with physical contact between them had long since faded away. They practically considered each other family, even though they had only known each other since August.

“You okay?” he asked, filled with all the parental concern Anthony wished his own parents would give him.

“Just tired, I guess. I feel a little stupid. I don’t even have pajamas or my toothbrush, and I’m sleeping over. And I’m worried about Finch.” Anthony glanced toward the direction of the bathroom. Finch had finally stopped crying, even though her voice could still be heard through the walls, loudly complaining about the world and how scared she was that she’d never be famous. “I don’t think she holds alcohol well.”

Her other dad sighed. “She doesn’t. I was worried that she’d drink. I’m just glad she has you with her. Honestly...I don’t know what she’d do without you.”

“I don’t know what I’d do without her, to be honest.” Anthony sighed. Tears stung his eyes for a reason Anthony couldn’t figure out, but he held them back. “I don’t know what I’d do without any of you guys...you and Finch and Ace.” He was so comfortable around Finch’s dads, he could refer to them by their first names and it didn’t feel weird.

Finch’s other dad, Tyson, smiled and gave Anthony another hug. “We don’t know what we’d do without you either, kiddo. You’re always welcome here. And...don’t worry about the pajamas or the toothbrush. We’ve got plenty of extras here for you.”

They sat in the living room for a while, not really saying much. After a while, Tyson took his arm away from Anthony and turned on the TV. A rerun of some old sitcom Anthony had never seen was on, and he didn’t pay it much attention, even though Tyson seemed to know it. He just looked down at his phone, to see if anything interesting on social media was happening. There was nothing, as usual. He didn’t have many friends to talk to on social media, anyway. Besides, he hardly ever went on social media. The whole concept just never really appealed to him.

Ace walked into the living room and sat down next to Tyson. He kissed him on the cheek and wrapped his arm around him. That was another thing Anthony liked about Tyson and Ace; after years of being together, they never stopped showing their love for each other. They would still flirt when they passed each other around the house, or hold hands while walking down the street, or get suprise gifts for each other. Anthony’s parents hardly ever showed affection toward each other, and Anthony wouldn’t be surprised if they were thinking about getting a divorce.

“I finally got Finch in bed,” Ace said, sounding completely exhausted. He laughed and shook his head. “She puked three times in the bathroom, and I had her hold a tupperware so none of it would get in her bathwater. Some did anyway, so it was all in vain.” He laughed again, and turned his attention toward Anthony, giving him a grateful smile. “Thanks for taking care of her. You need anything, buddy?”

Anthony shook his head. “I’m fine...actually, do you think I could have something to eat? Sorry if I’m being a bother,” Anthony added quickly, seeing how tired both of them looked.

“It’s no problem at all,” Ace assured, and got up to look around the kitchen for food. Tyson yawned and turned off the TV.

“If everything’s okay out here, I’m going to to check on Finch and then go back to bed. I’ll see you guys in the morning.” He gave a sleepy little wave over his shoulder, and then walked down the hallway. Anthony got up from the couch and walked into the little kitchen and sat down at the counter. Ace set a paper bowl of Chex Mix in front of him and sat next to him.

“So, Finch is okay?” Anthony asked, mouth full of Chex Mix.

“For now, at least. She’ll be pretty hung over in the morning.” Ace took a handful of Chex Mix and looked down at the counter, his expression a mix of concerned, thoughtful, and angry. “I just wish she’d listen to me once in a while, that’s all. I told her not to drink, because she can’t handle alcohol. And what does she do?” Ace ran his hands through his hair and sighed. “I don’t know what I’m gonna do with her.”

Anthony shrugged. “She just wanted to have fun tonight, that’s all. She was counting on actually having a good time, and it all just blew up in her face.”

“Yeah...” Ace said thoughtfully. Suddenly he laughed. “Reminds me of the first and only time I ever saw Tyson get drunk. Not a little buzzed, but hammered. We were around the same age you guys are now, maybe a little older, and he was really stressed out about school and family and his emotions and stuff. You know, typical teenage problems. So he tried to drink to forget it all. Big mistake. He-” Ace had to stop to laugh. “He got so drunk, he vomited all over my living room carpet. And I don’t mean just a little vomit, either. I mean a s**t ton of vomit. He was a little guy back then, still is, actually...and I didn’t know he was capable of vomiting that much. Anyway, to make a long story short, he woke up the next morning completely hung over and embarrassed. I would’ve been laughing my a*s off through it all, if I wasn’t so worried!”

They both laughed pretty hard at that story. It was kind of hard for Anthony to imagine Tyson getting so drunk. He had always said he didn’t like alcohol, and now Anthony could kind of see why.

The two of them sat in silence for a while, sharing the bowl of Chex Mix. Both of them had a lot on their minds, mostly about Finch. After about ten minutes, Ace got up and ruffled Anthony’s hair, before walking away towards his bedroom.

“There’s a spare toothbrush and pajamas in Finch’s room, and a sleeping bag. If you need anything, just ask. Night, buddy.”

Anthony gave Ace another wave before he was left alone in the kitchen. He’d had enough Chex Mix, even though the bowl was only half empty. He gave the bowl a little shove and it skidded a few inches away from him. He buried his head in his arms and sighed.

He was worried, mostly. Worried about Finch. Worried about Tyson and Ace. What if Finch never stopped drinking so destructively? What if she ran away, like she always loved to joke about? Or, worse case scenario, what if she killed herself? What would her dads do? What would he do? Finch thought no one cared about her. Sometimes she really could be oblivious.

But she’d be okay. Anthony sure hoped so.

© 2016 George Comerci

Author's Note

George Comerci
So, this is my first time actually publishing any sort of writing online, and I'm totally new to this whole website. This came from a story that's been going on in my head for some time now, and real life events prompted me to write this. It took me a couple days to get down, and I'm not sure if it's that good or not. But tell me what you think!

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Added on March 29, 2016
Last Updated on March 29, 2016
Tags: Alcohol, Dances, High School, Boys, Dating, Singing, Heartbreak, Friends, Family, Vomit, Public Bathrooms


George Comerci
George Comerci

Tucson, AZ

I'm just another kid who thinks he can write. If you read my writing, drop a review! I need strangers on the internet to tell me I'm decent so I can have a temporary boost of confidence. If you'.. more..