The Virgin Promise

By: Penny Wylder


I really thought that parties like this only happened in movies. The music is loud, there are red cups everywhere, and the dim corners are filled with people touching, kissing, going as far as they can in public.

I’m not really sure why I’m here. I mean, I know, but it still feels weird. I’m here because Kara invited me. How she got an invitation to a frat party before school even started, I have no idea, but I’m here to make sure she’s okay. I’ve heard way too many stories, and there’s no way I’m leaving her alone with a bunch of drunk frat guys at her first college party.

That, and there’s the pact. Our virginity pact. We made it almost the minute that our first sex ed class was over. Boys were still icky, our heads were full of romance, and we swore to each other that we would wait for the right one.

I didn’t think it would last as we got older, but it has. Kara takes it seriously, and she wanted backup, so here I am. I’m basically being the embodiment of awkward too. You’d think I’d be better at this—I’ve been to parties before in high school, and I’m not dumb enough to think that I wasn’t a part of the popular crowd.

But this party seems so much bigger, wilder, louder. Just more. I guess I’ll have to get used to that. Pretty much all of college is going to be more than I’m used to. I take a sip of my drink and make a face. Beer has never been my thing and this isn’t good beer.

A guy runs through the house, weaving through people with what looks like a full-blown torch in his hand, the flames flying up towards the ceiling. He’s being followed by other guys cheering him on. I have no idea what’s going on there. The last guy in the line is running too fast, trying to catch up, and he slips, crashing straight into me.

I try to keep my balance, but it’s impossible, and I fall backward, my drink flying out of my hand. I land on the floor just in time to see my drink land on the girl behind me. Whoops.

I push myself to my feet as the girl turns, eyes seething with anger. “I’m really sorry,” I say. “I was a collateral damage from whatever that was.” I gesture in the direction the torch-followers went. It takes me a second, but I realize I know this girl. “Marian, right? From the Cheer prep session?”

This summer, Central Georgia State had a two-week training session for their current cheerleaders and any incoming freshman who wanted to be considered for the team. It was a way to get some early team building in and give everyone trying out a head start on what the team is like.

A sickly sweet smile forms on Marian’s face. “Right. You’re one of the little freshies who was trying so hard to be something she’s not. And now you’re here, ruining my night.” She takes a step closer to me. “Do you have any idea who I am or how miserable I can make your life? Think twice about spilling your drink on me next time.”

As she invades my space, I feel the people around us starting to look, to stare, waiting for the drama to explode. I guess there are some things that will be just like high school.

I’m opening my mouth to protest, to tell her it was an accident again, but another voice speaks first. “Are you okay, babe? I saw you get pushed.”


An arm slips around my waist and I look up—whoa. I was expecting to push off some overly interested frat guy. The man—that’s the only word I can use for him—that’s touching me is the farthest thing from my image of a frat guy that I can think of.

He towers over me in height, looking down at me with a smirk and a sparkle in his eye. He’s blond, and I don’t crush on blond guys but damn. He reminds me of one of those black and white perfume ads where the ridiculously good looking models hang out on boats or at the beach. Only he’s here, alive, in full color, touching me. His eyes are blue, and I’m surprised that I noticed, ‘cause I don’t usually notice things like that. But I can’t seem to stop staring at his eyes.

He makes a small noise in his throat, and I realize I’ve been staring instead of answering the question that he asked. “I’m fine, thanks.”

The corner of his mouth curls up into a deeper smile. Pulling me more firmly against him he says, “I see you’ve met Marian.”

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