Aaron had the week from hell. He’d submitted all his assignments, survived an incredibly awkward party and life without Ariana. But all that didn’t matter now: it was Sunday. Tonight was the Snow Ball. He was ready to have the best night anyone could have in the SU with the rest of rugby. He was ready to just let everything go.
“Does that include Ariana?” Noah asked, singing the her name with infusions of the popstar. Aaron had thought about her less as the days wore on. He couldn’t remember her face as well and he was starting to feel as if she never existed in the first place. He reasoned that if it wasn’t meant to be it wouldn’t pass him. Ariana was simply there for a good night out before returning to whatever magical place she’d come from- probably not Bristol.
“Yep,” Aaron sighed. “have you got a spare bow tie?”
“No. Shaun will at Pres though.”
Shaun’s pres were not to be missed. Oldfield. Moreland Road. Every room would be packed, the kitchen stacked, queues out the door. It happened once a month: the flatmates would choose a club night and the message would go out that this would be the big night of the month. Of course, it had to be the snowball: it had been last year. The tradition carried on from their Eastwood house last year. They’d developed a system: £5 on the door for everyone. This let them get drinks, decorations and pay some of the damages that eventually happened.
Shaun was a second year but not a part of rugby. He was Noah’s peer tutor and, after several months of trying, he’d secured an invite to pres.
“Ok, here’s the plan.” Noah stopped before the turn into the road. Music could already be heard. “We get in. Drinks. Make appearances. Secure an invite to the next pres. Then we meet the boys. Got it?”
Turning the road, Noah wasn’t lying. There were people on the front garden, someone hanging out the window. As they got closer Aaron made out the music. You Belong with Me. Tune. There were LED strips everywhere: the kitchen had several games of beer pong going that Noah and Aaron had to play after being challenged by a random second year.
“Oh my God there you are!” Shaun’s voice pierced through the crowd. “My fresher! I didn’t think you’d make it in the trek from the hill. How was the bus my child?” He placed his hand on Noah as if blessing him.
“Good thanks. Fancy a game?” asked Noah.
“Not until you tell me who your mate is.” He turned to Aaron. “You look familiar.”
Aaron shifted. He’d never seen Shaun before. “Yes. Ah I know! You snogged my friend at the club!”
Aaron looked at Noah. Noah stared back.
“Shaun who was she?!” Aaron asked.
“Wait, you don’t know her? She’s at this party. Just look around!”
Aaron took off. He looked in every room. The living room was crowded but there were no ponytails in sight. The bathrooms were busy and even after waiting to see who was in them (and a few glares) he still couldn’t find her. Somewhere in the mess he put his coat jacket down to fix his bow tie. He left the bathroom and Noah grabbed him.
“Mate, she’s probably going up now. Everyone’s leaving. Let’s go!”
There are few passages in literature that evoke a real sense of horror, of dread, of fear. The original descriptions of Frankenstein’s monster elicit some of these feelings as do several Stephen King creatures. However, these stand no chance against the rugby boys. They arrived together like a pack of baying wolves on the prowl for a great night out, sniffing out pints like they were a pig in a straw house. There lay a hierarchy: final years at the front, followed by thirds and seconds, with professional freshers behind. This time, Aaron and Noah weren’t attached together.
“Tickets please,” said the bouncer. Noah handed his in and went inside. Aaron went to give his to the man, but it wasn’t there.
“Mate I had it literally a second ago.” He rustled and rummaged through each of his jacket pockets, the his shirt, then his trousers. Nothing.
“No ticket no entry.” The response was firm. Aaron pulled his phone out and tried calling Noah. No response.He texted the group Whatsapp. A few people read it. No response. This was not his week.