“What’s that, Arizona?” Nicole set down the flat iron.

“Nothing. We should probably leave soon, though. There isn’t much parking at their place.”

“Oh…” She looked over her shoulder. “You’re ready to go and you’re wearing that?”

I looked down at my pink tank top and khaki colored shorts. “Yeah. Why?”

“It’s a party, Ari.”

“A house party. There’s no need to dress up like it’s a real club.”

“I couldn’t disagree with you more,” she said, walking over to my closet. “You’ve got way too many good options in here to show up looking like a hillbilly.”

“Are you aware that your pink thong is showing through your dress right now? What little of a dress you have on, anyway?”

“Duh! That’s the point!” She laughed and pulled a short red dress from my closet. “This is perfect.”

“The last time I wore that, I was a freshman. I highly doubt that I could fit that tonight.”

“Let’s hope you can’t!” She tossed it to me. “The tighter the better.”

Holding back my words, I shut myself in the bathroom and took off my original outfit. I pulled the four year old dress over my head and smiled when it actually fit. (Well, if I sucked in my stomach a little.)

“How’s this?” I stepped out for her approval. “Better?”

“A hundred times better…And it’ll be two hundred times better when you let me do your hair and make-up. God, Ari! No makeup before going to a party? House party or not, you can’t be serious…”

I bit my tongue once more and sat on the edge of the bed, letting her turn me into her personal Barbie. She dusted my eyelids with a shimmering shade of pink, plucked a few errant eyebrow hairs, and coated my lips in a deep, sultry red that complemented my dress.

She even somehow managed to use enough frizz control on my hair that she pulled it into a gorgeous high bun that sat perfectly centered on the top of my head.

“Wow…” I said, almost not recognizing myself in the mirror. “You’re so good—no you’re absolutely phenomenal with makeup, Nicole. Why haven’t you ever pursued cosmetology?”

“Because if I pursue cosmetology, I won’t meet any future athletes or CEOs in those classes.” She laughed and hit the lights. “Let’s go.”

It took us over forty minutes to locate a decent parking spot when we arrived. It seemed as if Josh had invited every person he’d come into contact with because cars were hugging nearly every available space for five blocks down.

Ever the rebel, Nicole parked her car in the driveway of the house next to Carter’s.

“What?” she asked, shrugging. “I left them plenty of space to park right next to me, and they’re probably in bed anyway.”

“Right…” I got out of the car. “You’re not going to ditch me for some random guy tonight, are you?”

“Why would I? And why do you always ask me that?”

“Because you always ditch me for some random guy.”

“It’s never intentional.” She smiled. “I plan on making sure we both have a good time tonight, so no, I will definitely not be ditching you.”

I won’t hold my breath…

“Five dollars ladies,” the guy said as we approached the front door. “It’s free if you’re entering the wet T-shirt contest.”

The guy standing next to him, a guy I’d seen here with Josh plenty of times before, laughed. “Arizona and her friend don’t have to pay to get in. They’re good…”

With that, the guy opened the door and let us into the party.

My jaw dropped the second I stepped inside. The house was now completely unrecognizable.

Dancing bodies packed the sparsely furnished living room and hallways; the kitchen had been converted into a wet bar where people were taking shots back to back, and tons of shimmering green and blue streamers were hanging from the ceiling.

As Nicole and I pushed our way through the crowd, I could hear people in the backyard chanting—counting down from ten.

Taking my hand, Nicole pulled me in that direction, out into the warm summer air.

“Whoa…” she said, looking impressed. “This is one hell of a party...”

I couldn’t agree more. The backyard was even more impressive than the inside. Those massive tiki torches were burning bright, standing in a huge semi-circle that spanned the entire yard. To the left, a guy dressed as a referee was calling on volunteers to battle inside a retractable pool of red Jell-O.

To the right, there was a makeshift dance floor with a separate D.J., and behind him there was a collection of bright yellow Slip N Slides that a group of bikini clad partiers were using to their full advantage.

We made our way down the deck’s steps and walked past the Jell-O pool, over to a table of flashing neon lights that read, “BAR.”

“What can I make for you ladies tonight?” The bartender asked. “The special tonight is three dollar Jell-O shots, but I’ll give a two dollar discount if you lift up your shirts right now and flash me.”

“You wish.” Nicole laughed. “We’ll take four shots of vodka. Each.”

“Sounds good.” He tapped the table with his fingers “That’ll be thirty two dollars.”

“Wait!” Josh rushed over, moving behind the bar. “Wait. You can’t charge Arizona.”