The party was at his house. Preston's family also owned a house in Gastonburry, but he chose to live in the dorm because he didn't get along with his dad. It was a better choice for his love life too, it would've been disastrous to bring his dates home and meet his parents in the morning.
Kelsey was right, Preston was a slut, he sleeps around with everybody. He had the looks, he got the reputation, and he was a singer in his band which was gradually making a name for itself. Even though he took the Business Major, his musical talent was pulling him to another direction.
His girlfriend for the past couple of years was an on and off relationship because he couldn't keep his pants on. It left Julie feeling like an idiot for letting him in her room that night and fell for the same trick that he probably used with every girl he slept with. Or maybe he didn't need a trick at all, because most girls would open their door to him just because he was Preston Hicks.
She thought their friendship was real, that she knew him more than just what's on the surface. When he came to her that night, with desperation on his face, saying sweet words to her, telling her how special she was, how different it was with her, she fell for it.
It was her first. She thought he was the perfect realization of the fantasy she always had about her first. The rockstar lover she always dreamed of. She always hear people told her how smart she was, but the morning after that night, she never felt so stupid before in her life. Preston was exactly who he was in the surface, just a foolish boy who thinks he can sleep with anyone he wanted, and with her consent, he did exactly that.
His parents were cool enough to let him used the house for the party, they left just before the first guest arrived. When Julie got there, it was already looking like a frat house filled with drunken college students. Booze were lying around, music blaring, half naked people swarmed in the pool.
Julie fell behind Kelsey and Nathan who immediately blend in the crowds. She was comfortable snacking on the food that was served on a long table in the backyard. She took a beer from the ice box at the end of that table and drank it. She scanned the whole area and felt a tiny bit of regret for agreeing to come. Nathan and Kelsey seemed to have settled right from the beginning, and she wasn't really in a mood for a party, let alone Preston Hicks party.
Preston's voice can be heard from the front yard, he was already up and singing on the small stage they set up by the swimming pool. He was in his usual party attire, something funky, something colorful, something no one would wear and he wore it like he was born wearing them. His long messy waves were partly tied on top, and by the sound of his voice, he's had more than a few drinks himself. He sounds better after a few drinks.
Girls were sitting around in the pool right under the stage and he was entertaining them with his swag and sexy charms. Julie took a deep breath, it was exactly why she didn't want to come in the first place. Even though he wasn't a famous singer yet, he already had groupies flocking around him whenever he performs. They loved him, and he craved for their attention.
"Wow ... he sounds really good," Nathan commented. They stood in a row by the door to the back yard as they watch the performance. Kelsey bumped her elbow to Julie and gave her a wink. Julie shrugged and shied away, she was looking for an excuse to leave the premises. She didn't want Preston to see her nor the other way around.
"Okay ... hold up ... hold up ..." Preston addressed his audience who were screaming and reaching for his pants. "I have one more song before I go off the stage," he said. The girls were sighing in disappointment. "The birthday boy need some drinks, girls ... and maybe I'll join you in for a little swim later," he told them followed by giggles and flirty comments from the girls.
Julie rolled her eyes, she was about to walk away to the long table for some more beer. "I was waiting for you to come," Preston said in the microphone. The place fell silent, everyone was looking for the person he was talking to. "I have a song that I've practiced especially for today ... it's a special song because I know a special someone who loves this song very much," he continued.
Kelsey held Julie's hand to stop her from walking away, they both knew Preston was talking about her. "It's not an easy song to sing, but I'll try ... because I want to say I'm sorry, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart," he held his hand in a fist and tapped it on his chest.
When Julie turned to look, their eyes met for a brief second and Julie looked away. She didn't want people to know he was talking about her. The girls were shouting of what a romantic gesture it was, their shrills made Julie winced. "You know who you are and I hope you accept my sincerest apology, and I hope I do Mr. Steven Tyler justice by trying out this song," Preston cued his band to start.
Julie was back to where she stood and looked at the stage. Preston never took his eyes off her. Kelsey had her arm around Nathan's waist and smiled, it was a sweet moment for her bestie, she was happy for her.
Nathan was observing, he can see why those girls were drooling over a guy like Preston. He had a charm that could swoon a girl with just a wink of his eye, and his sex appeal was undeniable. But Julie was a different kind of girl, Nathan thought, and to see the twinkle in her eyes as she watched his performance, and how she hid a smile every time Preston looked at her, Nathan couldn't help but feel a little uneasy.
I love to look into your big brown eyes ... they talk to me and seem to hypnotize ... you say the things nobody dares to say ... and I'm not about to let you fly away ...
The song started and Julie's heart was softened in an instant. It was her favorite Aerosmith song that Preston obviously remembered. Preston knew all the words to all her favorite songs. She thought she had her feelings under control, she was about to move on with life and forget about Preston. But she wasn't very sure about it after that.
After the performance, Julie curved a smile on her face just to let Preston know she appreciated the gesture. She told Kelsey she was going to get another beer when she really wanted to avoid meeting the birthday boy. Nathan watched her as she walked away and saw Preston ran after her.
He took her hand and pulled her along. "Preston ... I was going to get a beer."
"We'll get it later," he was smiling wildly, sweats were dripping on his face, his eyes pierced through her.
She couldn't refuse that wicked charm and followed his lead. He held her hand tight and lead her into the house, through a narrow corridor towards a flight of stairs, they went up to the second floor where it was quiet and they were alone.
Preston was breathing heavily from climbing the stairs, he leaned against a door with Julie's hand still clutched in his. His face beamed, "What do you think of the performance?"
Julie lifted her shoulders, "It was okay," she was unimpressed.
"What? Really? Just 'okay'? That's pretty stingy," he didn't want to believe her.
"Sorry ... but I still think no one can do a 'Steven Tyler' like Steven Tyler," she was an ultimate fan, she took her hand away from his grip.
He studied her face for a brief moment, "Fair enough, I'll do a better one next time." He was glad she was even there and talking to him instead of running away like she'd done for the past few months.
Julie tucked her hands inside her pockets and looked around, she didn't feel comfortable being alone with him, not yet. "Jules," he called her. She turned. "I'm sorry," the real apology came. She looked down at her feet not knowing what to reply. "I just want things to be like it was before." She was still quiet. "Do you think you can ever forgive me?" He was still lazily leaning on the door, just the way he stared at her could melt her.
"I just want to go back to the party, Preston, can I just go now?" she didn't want to answer his questions.
"You want me to let you go?" He has a way of saying things that made her question her own clarity. As hard as it was, she nodded.
"Okay ... but one second," he stuck out his index finger. He went into the door he had been leaning on, it was his bedroom. He took off his clothes and pants as she was standing in front of the door. He was butt naked in less than a minute and rummaged through piles of clothes that was scattered around his room.
"Preston?!" she protested.
He took a piece here and there and put them on. "Oh come on Jules, it's not like you never seen me naked before," he teased her. She was covering her eyes, couldn't belief what Preston had just done. "All done!" he said, and he was already looking perfect again in his funky style which he put together from his laundry pile.
"That's not funny," she complained. It was too soon to joke about it.
"Sorry, I just wanted to have a quick change ... come on, let's get you that beer," he was going for her hand again but she budged.
The hardest thing about being friends with Preston was how frisky he was with her. He loves the phisical contact even though it wasn't sexual, he likes to lean his arm over her shoulders, or looped it around her waist, he held her hand when they walk side by side and he was like that only with her. Julie was the only girl he had a platonic relationship with that he seemed to can't stay away from. And she wasn't ready for him to throw himself on her again like nothing happened, not when she wasn't even sure how she felt about him.
He grabbed two beers and handed her one. "What have you been doing lately anyway?" he wanted to catch up. She told him about the internship program she was working on, he nodded along.
His grades were plummeting fast, Julie used to help him out with his studies but lately he was busy with his singing career prospect that he almost left school entirely. "Who is that guy with Kelsey? Is it a new boyfriend?" he asked.
"Yeah, that's Nathan, my future employer ... I'll be working with him in Bhorma starting December," she told him.
"Really?" he raised his eyebrows and curved his lips like it was hard to belief.
"Oh, nothing, I just caught him looking at me a few times, it was weird," he commented.
"Happy birthday, by the way," Julie almost forgot to say it.
A naughty smirk formed on his face, "Thanks, do I get a birthday kiss?" his lips was chasing hers.
She pushed him away, "Jeez ... no! You're such a tease." They laughed about it.
"Does this mean you forgive me?" he blinked his long lashes rapidly.
Julie inhaled deeply, while he was on the topic, she thought to tell him straight. "Promise me it won't ever happened again ... 'cause I've promised myself that, and I need you to promise me that," she looked him straight in the eyes.
His lips were moving but no words came out, his eyes gave away his reluctance, she challenged him with a look.
He offered a pinky, "Pinky promise?"
She slapped his hand, "I'm serious, Preston!"
"Ouch! Alright, I promise ... if that's what it takes, I swear with my pinky it will never happen again!" he offered his pinky again.
It was better than nothing, it was impossible to get him to be serious so she took his pinky and let out a breath of relief.
"Thanks, Jules, I love you, you know that, right?" he told her. She nodded loosely like it didn't mean what it really mean. "By the way ... I broke up with Naomi," he stared at her to see her reaction.
Before she could say anything, there were a couple of guys that came and swooped him away and threw him in the pool, and then he was running around with wet girls chasing after him, fooling around by the water. He will probably sleep with one of them by the end of the day, if not two of them. And that was how it was with Preston, her boy friend.