Later that evening, Maddy, Liv and Felix were all gathered in Maddy's generously sized bedroom, getting ready for their night out. Maddy's father was a respected architect and his income had secured them a sizable home on the outskirts of the town. As such, Maddy's room was furnished to perfection with all the gizmos and gadgets that a twenty-first century teen could ask for. As well as a the typical bed, desk and wardrobe, which spanned an entire wall, Maddy's room had its own sofa, an entertainment centre, a miniature fridge stocked full of snacks and drinks and a bathroom and dressing room adjacent. It was the trio's typical hangout for a simple reason it had everything they needed, with no parental interference.
Liv was sitting delicately on the sofa, whilst Felix was fiddling with a rack of CDs by the stereo. Maddy, who was raiding her wardrobes for something to wear, glanced up from the dress she was examining.
Be careful not to have it too loud, she warned, as the sound of Muse' laced the air. You know what my mum's like about rock music.
I do indeed, Felix grinned. He skipped to his favourite track and flopped down heavily on the sofa next to Liv. A small, low coffee table in from of then bore two bottles of white wine and several glasses.
Mads, seriously, he sighed, gesticulating with exasperation at the table's fare. White wine? This why people think I'm gay, you know. Does your dad not have any beers or whisky or something?
Maddy almost laughed.
Have you met my father? she asked with a scathing raise of her eyebrows. No, he doesn't have any beer and he's no more likely to let you drink his whisky than he is to let me drive his Mercedes. There's a bottle of vodka in the pantry, though, if that's any better; go ask Shelley to get it for you.
Shelley was the Richards' housekeeper and nanny to Maddy's younger brother Caden. Maddy's mother, a full-time barrister, worked a lot, and had little time and no patience for trivial household matters. As much as Maddy liked Shelley, especially when she helped her with her coursework or kept quiet if she came home past her curfew, she was embarrassed at being the only family she knew, bar the Reads, who had hired help.
Felix headed off to the kitchen in search of something to drink and Maddy returned to the task of picking out an outfit for Heaventeen. Liv abandoned her spot on the sofa to come and join her, a glass of wine in one hand.
I like the red one, she smiled, pointing to a dress next to the skirt Maddy was considering.
This one? Maddy asked, plucking the garment off the rail. Liv nodded, her eyes sparkling.
Yes, she said softly. I've always thought that, being blonde, you suit red. It makes you look like Michelle Pfeiffer in that film with Harrison Ford. You know - when she seduces him?
Maddy smiled, hanging the dress backing the wardrobe.
Olivia Hartford, are you flirting with me? she asked in mock surprise.
Sure am, was Liv's murmured response. Her eyes flickered briefly over Maddy's rumpled school uniform and she smirked in a most unusual manner. Maddy was not complaining. She snatched the glass of wine away from Liv and set it down on her bedside table, before drawing her girlfriend into the first proper kiss they had shared in weeks. Liv moaned with surprise and then delight as Maddy pulled them both backwards onto her bed, where they began to roll around playfully amongst the pillows and cushions. Liv was slender and delicate but all the same Maddy relished the weight of her body atop of her own, and the gentle but pleasurable friction as they moved against each other. However, their revelry was short-lived; the door opened with an unceremonious bang and both girls jumped apart. Maddy, terrified to imagine the look on her mother's face, was relieved to see that it was only Felix, returning with his bottle of vodka.
You two had better cut that out, Felix scolded, though he was smirking none-the-less. What if I had been your mum?
My mother has the good grace to knock, Maddy muttered, as she and Liv both got to their feet. Though I did worry for a moment there
Felix simply shrugged as he set about retrieving a can of Red Bull from the fridge.
She's going to have to find out some time, he stated reasonably.
Preferably when I'm no longer living here, Maddy countered, helping herself to a remedial sip of Liv's wine to calm her nerves. It's bad enough that I don't wear pink and I prefer Metallica over Westlife - I think she might actually have a fit if I tell her I like girls too.
And my mum's no better, sighed Liv. Do you remember how she was when I got my ears pierced? Imagine if I confessed to being bisexual. She'd drown me in holy water!
Felix laughed so hard that he choked on his drink and had to retire to the sofa, where he sat chortling madly between fits of coughing.
Fair enough, he gasped, eventually. Let's just say they're not ready yet. Speaking of which, will you two hurry up and pick something to wear? We're supposed to be leaving in half an hour.
The pair took Felix's advice and proceeded to get changed and made up. Half an hour later, they were in a taxi, all a little tipsy and ready to see what the night would offer them. Maddy had listened to Liv's counsel and donned the red dress she had found so appealing. Her taller, dark-haired girlfriend had borrowed a glittering silver top and black shorts, showing off her newly tanned legs, whilst Felix was looking sharp in a black shirt and smart, dark jeans. They arrived at the entrance to the town's main nightclub, the venue for the event, to find it busy.
It's a good job I got us on the VIP list, Felix muttered, as they inspected the long line of people clamouring around the doors.
Really? What does that mean, exactly? asked Maddy. They proceeded to the head of the queue, ignoring the dirty looks and jibes from those who were waiting.
It means we don't have to queue, shrugged Felix. That's about it.
He gave his name to doorman and the trio were permitted inside.
Hosted in a nightclub, Heaventeen was a forerunner to real clubbing. It offered a glimpse at what a night in a busy venue would bring - namely loud, mainstream music, drunkenness and promiscuity. Despite the fact that nobody there was old enough to drink, the patrons of Heaventeen were no exception: they would simply drink as much as they could at home, where they could wheedle or steal alcohol from their parents. As such, their nights would usually pan out in reverse to what a legal drinker might expect. They would arrive drunk and, in a place that only sold soft drinks, they would gradually get more sober as the night drew on. For this reason, youth venues like Heaventeen had significant problems with drugs. Maddy knew better than to venture into dark corners alone.
As she followed Liv and Felix through the already teeming crowds, she spotted several faces that she recognised and plenty that she didn't. Only a small percentage of the people there were Sanford students; the rest were from other schools across the town. Heaventeen was one of the few places where pupils from the various schools mixed and old rivalries, fuelled by alcohol, often sparked affrays.
Right, I'm going to the bar, Felix shouted over the noise. I'll get you two a drink if you get us a table.
Maddy nodded and, as Felix fought his way through the throng of people surrounding the bar, she and Liv went to find an empty table. They passed many groups of students and Maddy noted how busy the place was, despite the fact it had only been open for twenty minutes. Eventually the pair located a little booth by the dance floor, right across from the DJ's platform, and they sat down next to each other, holding hands under the table.
It's a pity you're wearing shorts, Maddy whispered teasingly into Liv's ear. It's dark in here I could get away with allsorts.
Even in the dim light, Liv visibly blushed and Maddy laughed. She enjoyed besting Liv's trademark innocence. She would never have it destroyed, for it was a well-loved characteristic, but it was fun to peel it back from time to time, to see that Liv could be as naughty as she was nice. Sure enough, a moment later, a very mischievous glimmer appeared in the girl's eyes. I might be wearing shorts, she murmured in response. But you're not.
Maddy smirked at the thought. Though she knew Liv was too shy to actually try anything in such an open space, it was nice to see that she did not object to concept. She was just wondering what her girlfriend might do if she actually removed her underwear, when Felix returned to the table, three glass bottles of Pepsi held awkwardly in his hands.
Listen, you'll be alright here for a moment right? he said, as he set the bottles down. There's this girl, over by the bar I said I'd buy her a drink.
He grinned at them both before hurrying off again. Maddy's gaze followed him and she saw him come to a halt by a redhead in a backless dress. She was very pretty but there was something about her figure that didn't look right in such mature attire.
He's not serious? asked Liv, incredulously. Maddy, that girl is never seventeen! Look at her!
You don't think so? Maddy said, but she knew the moment she glanced again that Liv was right. Her body was still slender, lacking in the fuller curves that girls of their age tended to have. Oh my God, muttered Maddy, unable to repress the urge to laugh. Should we tell him?
I don't think I have the heart, Liv giggled. It's the first time he's chatted up a girl in ages. Let him have his fun, then we'll tell him.
When he returned ten minutes later, he had a piece of paper in his hand and a silly smirk on his face. Maddy felt guilty to have to be the bearer of bad news, but she couldn't watch her friend make a pass at an underage girl.
She wants to meet me on Sunday, Felix grinned, slipping into a seat. I've only been here a bit and I've already got a phone number and a date! We should come here more often.
Maddy glanced at Liv, who was looking sympathetic.
I don't think you should call her, Maddy began, carefully.
Why not? asked Felix, his smiling giving way to a thoughtful frown.
Felix, that girl is not seventeen, Liv chipped in. I'd be surprised if she's any older than fourteen.
Felix scowled. He swivelled around in his chair, looking for another glimpse of his lady friend. She was on the on the dance floor now and under the brighter light, her youth was ever more apparent. Felix sighed and turned back to them.
I have the worst luck with women, he grumbled.
Despite Felix's glumness, the night began to unfold pleasantly. Maddy and Liv dragged him up to dance with them and he even regained enough confidence to dance with some girls from another school. However, everything took a turn for the worse when Maddy's heel snapped and she toppled backwards on the dance floor, knocking whoever was beside her down with her. She landed in a dishevelled heap on the floor, the drink that had been in her hand now all over her dress
Watch what you're doing, you clumsy cow! an oddly familiar voice screamed from beside her, as Liv helped her to her feet. She turned around, ready to apologise to whoever she fallen on, and came face to face with Felicity Read. Judging by the bedraggled state of Felicity's brown hair, the drink she had spilt over herself she had also spilt over her rival. Maddy's apology faded on her tongue and she merely smirked.
I don't know what you're smiling about! Felicity hissed. This top is pure silk and you've ruined it!
Oops, Maddy shrugged. That's a pity. Oh well, Daddy can buy you another one, right?
By this point, the people around them had stopped dancing and were forming a curious circle around the two girls. Liv caught Maddy's eye and she shook her head warningly, but Maddy paid no notice. She wasn't scared of Felicity Read.
I've had enough of your shit, Richards, Felicity retorted, tucking her sodden, ruffled hard behind her ears. You think you're so special, don't you? You think you're so much better than me. Have you taken a look in the mirror, lately?
I have, sneered Maddy, taking a step closer to the girl. I might not be perfect but at least I'm not a spoilt little rich bitch who makes my way in life off my parent's backs.
Don't talk to me about parents, Felicity spat. At least my mother's not a whore!
What?! Maddy hissed, incredulously. She felt heat rising in her cheeks, not from embarrassment but from anger, and her hands balled themselves into fists at her sides. She ordered herself to stay calm but the flicker of triumph on Felicity's face told her she'd revealed her weakness.
Oh, you haven't heard? the girl went on, grinning delightedly at Maddy's obvious fury. Maybe you should ask Mummy dearest where's she really been when she's supposed to be working late. Or, better yet. You could just talk to Judge Wilson, seeing as he's the one who's had his cock up her arse!
As several onlookers gasped and Liv's face visibly paled, Maddy felt her self-restraint snap. Before either of her friends could stop her, she raised her hand and slapped Felicity Read across the face with every ounce of strength she could muster.