“Hmmm… Okay.” Remi glanced around the room for a moment, thinking. “Let’s say we stash the coffee table at Sebastian’s place. I’m sure he won’t mind, right? That’d free up a few extra feet… How many do you think we could fit then?”
Rich’s deep laughter filled the air before any of the others had a chance to reply. “Dude, you’re stressing way too much about space. Trust me, if people want in, they’ll find a way to fit.”
“You could prop the bedroom doors open?” Axel suggested with a shrug. “Let people hang out in there too? Unless people end up needing a little, erm… privacy.” He glanced significantly at River as he spoke.
The young woman laughed. “Hey, don’t look at me! Those two lovebirds are the ones you should worry about.” River nodded toward Rich and Mindy, smiling. “I’m surprised they’re not going at it right here on the coffee table as we speak.”
“Are you kidding? If you want that kind of show, you gotta pay.” Rich winked, earning a giggle and hard smack on the arm from his girlfriend.
Mindy rolled her eyes, still smiling. “I think we’ll be able to control ourselves for one night.” She assured the others. “You, on the other hand…” The blonde girl smirked at River.
She simply shrugged. “I just like having a little fun. Nothing wrong with that, right?”
Remi sighed at his sister’s words. River had definitely been embracing her ‘wild side’ since they’d moved out of their parents’ home. And while Remi had no moral objection to his sister’s escapades, he was already growing weary of having to turn up his music to drown out the noise… Or waking up in the morning to find strangers in their underwear hanging out in his living room.
“Okay, okay.” He said at last. “We’ll open the bedroom doors, and if people can’t help themselves, well… I guess there’s always the bathroom?” Remi couldn’t help but laugh. A year ago, he never could have imagined himself joking so casually about drunken hookups taking place in his bathroom. Damn. Being at uni definitely changes your perspective, huh?
“Great!” Lana chimed-in. “That solves the number problem… Now the question is, who gets an invite?”
River shrugged. “Easy. Everyone!”
Remi raised an eyebrow at his sister. “Everyone?”
“Sure! Why not?”
“Okay, define ‘everyone’.”
Remi watched as his sister and friends exchanged uncertain glances.
Axel was the first to make a suggestion. “Well we’ve gotta have Petra, right? It’s always a good time when she’s there. Fallon too. And… Zeva?” He turned uncertainly toward River as he spoke.
River nodded in approval at each suggestion. “We’ve gotta invite a few guys too though, right?” She smiled. “What about Gavin? He’s cute. And that new kid, Sammy? Ooh! Mateo too. We went to that crazy party at his place last weekend… Might as well return the favor!”
“Hmm… What do you guys think about Eun, and his crowd?” Rich cut in. “I’ve heard they can be pretty cool, once you get to know ‘em better.”
Axel let out a small laugh that sounded anything but amused. “That’s not what I’ve heard…”
“Eun? That little guy who lives next door to Zayne?” River asked. Her friend nodded in confirmation. “Aw come on, he doesn’t seem so bad… Add him to the list, Remi.”
With a nod, her brother began writing.
“Wait, are you seriously writing all this down in a literal list?” Lana laughed as she watched Remi furiously scribbling in the open notebook in front of him. “Because in that case… You can’t forget about Scotty, that weird Treet guy…” She rattled off the next batch of names rather quickly. “Celestia’s kind of a bitch, but you’ll get shit if she’s not invited. Probably Bianca and Natalie, to be nice… I bet Coleen will come, as long as her band doesn’t have a gig that night.”
Coleen… Remi stopped writing, bristling at the sound of the girl’s name. The others noticed almost immediately.
“Oh, come on. It was one shitty date, Remi.” River rolled her eyes as she spoke. “Aren’t you over it yet?”
“Yeah, there’s other fish in the sea, dude.” Rich assured him.
Beside him, Mindy smiled. “And maybe you’ll catch a new one at this party of yours.” She winked.
He just shrugged, a slight warmth coming to his cheeks. Remi wished he’d been better at hiding his reaction. “Know what? Screw the list. You said we’ll invite everyone… So we’ll invite everyone. I can type up a few fliers and we can put them up in the student center… Maybe around some of the buildings on the block too. That should cover it.”
“Ha! That’s the spirit!” Rich laughed, briefly raising a fist in triumph. “This is gonna be so fucking awesome.”
Axel shook his head. “You’re a braver man than me… But Rich is right – this is gonna be epic.” He smiled.
“Hey, what about Zayne?” Lana asked. “Does he count as ‘everybody’? ‘Cause he definitely seems like the type who’d be down for a party.”
Mindy’s eyes widened slightly in surprise. “Zayne? I dunno… He’s a fun kid and all, but…” She glanced at Remi and River uncertainly. “I mean… He’s a kid.”
“Ha! Don’t let him hear you say that.” River laughed brightly. “Word on the street is he’s been telling people he goes to school with us.”
Rich chuckled heartily. “Oh, that’s cute! Sorry, I know I sound like a dick. Zayne’s fun. I like him. But who does he think he’s kidding?”
Remi could not help but laugh as well. “I know, that’s what I told him too.” He shook his head. “He’s just so damn obsessed with fitting in around here.”
“Hey, can you really blame him?” On the couch beside him, Axel shrugged. “No one’s gonna take him seriously if they know how old he really is.”
“Hmm…” River appeared thoughtful for a moment. “You know what? Let’s invite him.”
“Well it couldn’t hurt, right? That’ll help him get to know everyone a little better… And it’ll be a nice chance for him to have a little fun! That’s what he wanted with this whole ‘moving out’ thing, right?”
Remi shrugged. “I guess…”
“And if anyone asks, he’s the same age as us.” His sister smiled at her brother and friends. “All he’s gotta do is get rid of that stupid baseball cap and I’d buy it! Now let’s get the word out about this party! Remi, you work on those fliers and I’ll make an event on Facebook, okay?”
She got out her phone before he even had a chance to reply.
As the others began discussing what kind of food and alcohol to buy for the party, Remi bit his lip, a feeling of worry slowly creeping up inside of him. They’d promised their aunt they’d keep an eye on Zayne and keep him out of trouble… And something told him this wasn’t quite what she’d had in mind.
Oh, come on. He told himself firmly. Stop being stupid. It’s like Riv says – It’s just a chance for him to have a little fun. It couldn’t hurt…