Another prompt, this one of my own invention (as far as I know, anyways)

Write a scene in the first person involving two characters, then rewrite the scene from the other character’s point of view.

Like Yin and Yang, but more capitalist.

Like Yin and Yang, but more capitalist.

I don’t know why I agreed to come. I didn’t know anybody there. I don’t drink. It was bullshit. I looked around at all the bodies packed into the dim living room. There weren’t even that many girls. There was a big group of people crowded around the long table where they were playing beer pong or flip cup or one of those other games that involved drinking a lot of shitty beer in a short span of time. I looked around for Chuck, but he was nowhere to be found. Probably talking to that girl, the only reason why he dragged me here in the first place.

Even over the din of the music and the crowd, I heard something shatter in the kitchen. I know I was far away from the action, but I’m always blamed for that kind of thing, so I squeezed my way across the living room and plopped into an armchair. It took me a second to notice the girl sitting in the loveseat, looking down at her phone.

Because it was dark, I couldn’t get a good look at her. As far as I could tell, she looked all right. Her fingers were flying as she texted. I didn’t know what to say to get her attention. Then, there was a series of groans and shouts from around the table and she looked up, remembering her surroundings. I took the opportunity to catch her eye and smile. She gave me a weird look, like she was confused as to how the armchair became occupied.

“Hello.” I said, loudly enough to be heard over the crowd and music.

“Hi.” She answered, checking her phone for a response.

“My name’s Bill.” I held out my hand. “What’s yours?”

“Sarah.” She said as she shook my hand, her mouth turning up in a smile. She looked down at her phone again.

“What are you, bored?”

“Huh?”

“You keep looking at your phone.” I grinned at her.

“Oh, I guess I’m being rude.” She turned her phone over, but didn’t put it away.

“So, who do you know here?” I motioned to the party happening around us. Talking to her was like pulling teeth, but I was alone and forcing conversation was better than sitting around like an asshole.

“I’m Becky’s roommate.”

“Who’s Becky?”

“Adam’s girlfriend? The guy whose birthday it is.”

“Oh.” I smiled sheepishly. “I didn’t know it was anybody’s birthday. I’m a tagalong. My friend, Chuck, brought me here.”

“I see.” She looked down at her phone again. “I’m gonna go out for a cigarette.” She stood up.

I stood as well. “I’ll have one, too.” It was too hot and crowded in the living room. I felt kind of bad for latching on to this girl, but Chuck was nowhere to be found and I didn’t want to float around this house by myself. At the very least, I could go outside and have a smoke and a proper brood.

Sarah didn’t pay me much mind as I weaved through the apartment behind her. We came to a door leading to a deserted back porch. She didn’t even look at me as she produced a pack of cigarettes and placed one between her lips. I offered her my lighter, but she used her own. I shrugged and lit up, then exhaled a stream of smoke.

She stared down at her phone in silence.

I smoked and looked at the fallen soldiers littering the porch. “It’s so much nicer out here. It’s gotta be at least ten degrees cooler.”

She didn’t say anything. Her eyes darted across the letters of a new message. Finally, she looked up. “Did you just say something?”

“Nothing…” I grumbled, turning to look up at the black of the night sky. After a beat, I spoke. “You know, I’m just trying to be friendly.”

“Right. Friendly.” Sarah snapped back at me. “You boys are always ‘just being friendly.’”

I frowned. I didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t making any sense.

“I’ve got enough friends.” She said, flicking her half-burned cigarette away. “I don’t need any more.”

She stormed off the porch, leaving me to smoke in the dark.

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Stupid fucking Andrew won’t give me a straight answer. I stare down at my phone, as if that would make his reply come sooner. I scroll through our conversation and feel my blood boil. He is so goddamned evasive. All I want is a simple answer to a simple question. It isn’t hard. He’s just being an idiot. And to make matters worse, he ditched Adam’s birthday to go hang out with his stupid frat brothers. I can’t believe him. My phone vibrates in my hand.

i dont no wut u want from me. i like spendin time wit u.

I feel like I could breathe fire. My fingers move with a mind of their own. I need more than someone to spend time with. I need to know Im not wasting my time.

The room fills with the sound of everyone screaming around the beer pong table and I look up only out of instinct. I see some guy sitting in the arm chair next to me. He doesn’t look familiar, but he smiles at me. I can feel the anger building inside of me. I am disgusted by this stranger. His stupid haircut. His polo shirt. All of it. They all remind me of Andrew. I feel like I am going to vomit and I choke down the words and the bile with a grimace.

“Hello.” He says, still smiling his stupid canine smile.

“Hi.” I find my lips moving on their own, conditioned to respond politely.

“My name is Bill. What’s yours?” He holds his hand out to me like a trained hound.

Again, out of instinct, I take his hand and shake it, my mouth stretching into a flimsy mockery of a smile. “Sarah.” I look down at another message from Andrew.

do u feel like ur wasting ur time?

I feel like Im being used as a fleshlight by some stupid fucking fratboy.

“What are you, bored?”

“Huh?” I look up, clenching my jaw.

“You keep looking at your phone.” He keeps smiling his idiot smile.

“Oh, I guess I’m being rude.” The words are out of my mouth before I could even process them. My anger flares. Why did I have to be so fucking nice all the time? I don’t know this kid. I don’t owe him a damn thing. I look down at my phone and see Andrew’s name and flip it over in an effort to quell the anger.

“So who do you know here?”

The guy is trying to make small talk. I want to tell him to fuck off, but the words are trapped in my throat. Instead, I answer his question, my vocal cords stretched taut. “I’m Becky’s roommate.”

“Who’s Becky?”

This idiot doesn’t even know anyone here. Who brought him? Why is he even here? “Adam’s girlfriend? The guy whose birthday it is.”

“I didn’t know it was anybody’s birthday. I’m a tagalong. My friend, Chuck, brought me here.”

“I see.” Chuck. Andrew’s stupid fucking friend. This dick probably knows Andrew. They’re probably buddies, drinking and playing X-Box together. Drawing dicks and talking about pounding pussy. It makes me sick, dizzy with rage just thinking about it. I need to get away from him. “I’m gonna go out for a cigarette.” I stood.

Of course, he follows. “I’ll have one, too.”

Whatever. It’s a free fucking country. I don’t have to talk to him out there. He can smoke and die of lung cancer just like anyone else. He doesn’t need my permission.

I feel better in the cool of the outside. I dig through my purse for my cigarettes and lighter. My phone vibrates. It’s Andrew.

jesus. i didnt no u knew what a fleshlite is lol

A second message follows.

i like spending time with u. cant we just be friends and enjoy r time together?

I stare at my phone for a long time, then light up a cigarette. I can’t take my eyes off of my phone. The rage I feel…I can’t even verbalize it. I want to rain fire and brimstone down on the world. I want to wipe the face of the earth clean in a blast of heat and sulfur. I must have read the message a thousand times.

I see now what I mean to him. I see how he feels. And underneath all that hate and wrath I have for him, there is a diamond-hard loathing for myself. I let myself be treated this way. And in that moment, everything becomes so clear. My resolve hardens. I understand.

The guy says something and I look over at him smoking in the far corner of the porch. “Did you just say something?”

He has the nerve to grumble and shake his head. A brief pause passes over the porch, then he speaks again. “You know, I’m just trying to be friendly.”

It was a match to a powder keg. Friendly. That’s all they want. To be friends. My skin is hot and my throat is dry. I look down at the burning tip of my cigarette. Before I let him have it, I realize that he is not the target of my wrath. He is collateral damage. I pull myself together. “Right. Friendly. You boys are always ‘just being friendly.’ I’ve got enough friends. I don’t need any more.” I toss my cigarette and march off the porch, preparing for the battle to come.

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