Part Ten

You Will Find Your Way

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Part Ten of You Will Find Your Way
Another look back. Dallas wasn’t a student at Tate College for very long.

Fall, 2005

Dallas always thought college parties were supposed to be well, more, than whatever this is.

“Guess real life isn’t like the movies.”

Dallas—well, it’s what she thinks about saying to her sorority sisters as they walk through campus’ winding paths to the bonfire raging in the courtyard at the other end of Greek Row, where Tate College backs up against the hilly forest that surrounds the entire school.

Instead, the words stick in her throat, and they’re all busy talking to each other anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

Dallas keeps up with the little group, tugs the sleeves of her jean jacket over her hands to ward off the foggy November chill that started creeping into town earlier this week.

When they arrive, it’s to the sight of their fellow Greeks in various stages of sobriety scattered everywhere, and Dallas wonders just how long it’s going to take for campus PD to confiscate all the alcohol and hand out MIP violations.

She’s startled from her pragmatic worries of what an MIP will do to her scholarship standing when an arm links through hers, and someone tugs her off to the side.

Note: what follows includes slight implications of moments of non-consent. Read at your own discretion.

“Come on DM!” Her Big, Michelle, chirps, and it’s on the tip of her tongue to tell her how much she hates the nickname the Delta president bestowed upon her when she graduated from the fall pledge class.

But she bites down on the thought because she really doesn’t want to make a fuss.

They’re here to have fun, she can make her opinions known next week, or something.

“Let’s go get something to drink!” Michelle says, every word out of her mouth an exclamation, and Dallas shrugs and goes along with her.

Some guys from one of the fraternities brought a keg, because of course they did, and Michelle hands Dallas a giant plastic cup of warm beer, “Here’s to fall break!” Michelle chirps as she holds her cup out. “We’re going to get this done the Delta way!”

Dallas pastes a smile on her face and taps her cup against Michelle’s, takes a sip of the warm, flat beer.

She thinks about telling Michelle that she needs to get better at pouring from the keg, but doesn’t. It’s not worth it.

Over the rim of her cup, Dallas holds back a laugh as Michelle drains hers like she’s not drinking some Natty Light knockoff, and then crushes the cup in her tiny pale hand, “I’m going to mingle!” She bounces on her toes. “Catch you later, girl!”

Michelle whirls away, and Dallas isn’t sure what else to do.

Big gatherings aren’t really her strong suit, but she figured joining a sorority would be her best way to have some sort of community since she had to leave hers on the other side of the country.

And it is, but it’s also kind of overwhelming.

She does know she’s not about to drain her beer in jump right into the fray, so she finds a bench near the path and perches on one side, settles in to watch the proceedings for a little while.

“Didn’t think they’d convince you to come,” someone calls from the direction of the keg.

Dallas looks over her shoulder, sees Luke standing with a cup in his hand, another tucked against his elbow and in danger of spilling all over the arm of his leather jacket, “Michelle is persuasive,” she shrugs. “You know that.”

“I did,” he agrees, walks over and stands just off to her side, and Dallas resists the urge to shudder since he’s pretty much in her blind spot and that always makes her uncomfortable. “But the ROTC demanded a little more than I could give her.”

“You do what you can,” she shrugs. “How’s things?”

Luke shrugs, “All good,” he shifts the beers in his grip, waves with one off to the other side of the courtyard where someone’s calling his name. “I’ll see you around?”

Considering Michelle’s newly-single status, she probably won’t, but that’s not really the point.

“Sure.”

And then he’s gone, disappearing through the throng, and Dallas takes another slow sip of her drink, winces again at the taste.

Eventually, someone else sidles up next to her and pushes another bright red cup in front of her face, “I think you’ll like this better.”

Dallas looks over, narrows her eyes at Phil, one of the Zeta brothers, who lived on the other side of her dorm before they relocated to their respective new homes after rush. The new cup half-full of something that doesn’t look like it’s beer, and Dallas tilts her head, “What’s in it?”

“Rum, some other stuff,” he smiles that same disarming smile that led to her inviting him up to her room during the second weekend of classes, and it sends her hackles up when that memory leads to memories of what happened after.

But she forces the feeling away and puts the cup aside, takes the offering, “Thanks,” she says and takes a sip—it’s so much better than the beer. She doesn’t really know what else to say so she just watches out the corner of her eye as Phil takes the open seat next to her.

“Your sisters are quite the wild bunch.”

He points with his cup to the group dancing around the fire, and Dallas’ smile goes genuine, “They loving having a chance to unwind,” she says, because they really do.

After all, Delta Kappa Mau’s academic standings were at the top of Dallas’ list when she was considering which houses to pledge. Eighty-percent of the house makes the Dean’s list for all eight semesters.

It’s not her fault that Greek life also includes all these people. She’ll find a way to balance it all out. She always does.

Eventually, Phil sips at his drink and looks around, “Do you want to take a walk? I thought we could talk.”

“Do you mean, I want to apologize for making out with you at that party and in your dorm because I have a serious girlfriend back home and cheating is shitty?

Dallas—well, it’s what she thinks, but doesn’t say.

She nods, takes another careful sip from her cup and tries not to cough at the strength of the sweet drink, “Sure.”

Dallas takes another sip as she follows Phil toward the forest, and when she stumbles a little on her feet, she takes the arm he offers. She leans against his side as they keep going, the sounds of the party fading as the trees get thicker, drowning out the glow from the fire and the streetlights.

She blinks a couple times, tries to adjust to the lack of light, but instead, everything goes fuzzy.

And that’s when Dallas realizes something’s wrong.

But her tongue is heavy in her mouth, and she can’t get the words out around it.

Phil pats the hand tucked into his elbow and tugs her along, “Come on Dallas, not much further.”

Dallas is going to be sick.

You Will Find Your Way continues with Part Eleven

Start You Will Find Your Way from the beginning.

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Author: TheFakeRedhead

A life-long college sports fan and forever bitter about the country's east coast biases, Kathryn, the Fake Redhead, graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in Creative Writing, emphasis in poetry because she felt the fiction studies emphasis was too pretentious. She is currently helping other writers hone their craft while she pursues her dreams of becoming a published novelist.

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