Poppy Fields
rating: +7+x

Josefina didn't smoke that often. She claimed it gave her migraines, but that never stopped her from taking a few puffs whenever her friends drunkenly passed one around. That's how Terry found her, at the pier, surrounded by her friends that Terry hated with a passion, giggling at a joke that really wasn't that funny, smoke puffing out of her mouth and nose. Her curls hung loose, draped over her shoulders and flowing down her back, slightly frizzed from the wind.

“Fina?” Terry called, trying not to let the anger simmering inside her leak into her voice.
Josefina flinched. Terry was the only person who called her that. The laughter quickly died down as her friends came to stare at Terry, slightly scornful, Josefina exhaled out of her nose, annoyed before walking up to Terry and ushering her away from the group.
“The fuck do you want?” She said quietly, her arms crossed and lips downturned in a scowl. Terry sighed, tapping her boot against the wooden floor.

“You still on that shit?”

Josefina let out a harsh bark of laughter. “What do you think?”
Terry ran her hand through her buzzcut, sighing loudly. It was silent for a moment.
“Fina, come to a meeting. Please.” Terry said quietly. She put her hands behind her back, nails digging into her palms.

“A meeting? Are you serious?” Josefina scoffed, throwing up her hands. “What, you want me to come to some room with a bunch of other junkies and declare before God- '' Her tone became mocking, “that I'm one too? " You want me to find Jesus in my heart, huh?”

Terry felt her teeth begin to grind against each other the more Josephina talked, barely containing her anger. “You know it's not like that. Is it so wrong that I don’t want to see you kill yourself? Is it wrong that I want to see you have a life?”
Josefina snorted and shook her head. “What life do you want me to have? The best I’m gonna get is working at some fucking run down bodega and bartering in food stamps until I die of heart failure or some shit.”

Terry let out a wet chuckle before she could stop herself, tears collecting in her eyes as she took a step back and shook her head. “You know what? Fine. If you want to end up fucking dead in a a dumpster by 26, go ahead.” She shakes her head, sniffling and wiping her eyes before the tears can fall. “I’m a goddamn idiot for believing you had any potential.”

Josefina faltered, pursing her lips and staring down at the pavement, refusing to meet Terry's eye. Terry lets her wilt in the uncomfortable silence as she sniffles, trying to keep a hold on her emotions.

“Josefina,” She flinches at this, not having heard Terry use her full name in years, “I’m done. Lose my goddamn number.” She says coldly, kicking gravel as she stalks off, hands shoved in the pockets of her hoodie. Josefina exhales as she leaves, pinching the bridge of her nose.

“Goddamnit, Terry! I know you don't mean that!” She yelled after her, taking a half aborted step towards her. “I… I'll call you in the morning! You'd better pick up!” She yelled, a mixture of desperation and resignation in her tone. Terry doesn't react, her pace brisk and steady. Josefina curses under her breath.
“Yo, Jo, you good?” Her friend calls from behind her, a guy with a mullet and the biggest septum ring she'd ever seen. She can't seem to remember his name. She sighs, scratching her scalp.

“Yeah, yeah, fine man. We ready?”

He nods, and they all pile into his used 2001 Honda Civic and try to ignore the fact that the speaker only works on the right side. Josephina sits in front of the working speaker, letting the bass roll over her and overwhelm her senses.

“You gonna hit this, man?” Asks the guy with the giant clock tattoo on his neck. Josefina never liked him all that much, but her fingers wrapped around the glass tube all the same. The high came quickly, like it always did. If someone took the pipe from her, she didn't notice, laying her head on the back of her seat and letting the bass roll through her, absentmindedly humming along with whatever song was playing. She vaguely remembered arriving and greeting a couple of people before sinking into the soft plush of the worn leather couch.

“…And that's how I got this one! Sick, right?” Says the man sitting next to Josefina, flashing his yellowing teeth in her direction and pointing to a tattoo of a snake on his forearm. She nods and swallows, her tongue feeling like a dry sponge in her mouth.

“Mhm, yeah.” She croaks out, her throat slightly sore. “Uhm… do you know..” She tries desperately to remember the names of anyone she knows at this party. “Damn.. uh, do you know Carmen?” Carmen, that's right, the girl with the waist length hair and shitty green contacts. The mans face contorted into an expression that made the hair on Josefinas arms stand up straight, before contorting his face into a greasy smile

“Carmen! Of course, she's just in the other room.” He says, grabbing her wrist and pulling insistently until she rises to her feet, knees wobbling. The world spins slightly as she tries to get her bearings, her feet stumbling beneath her unsteadily. It's all she can do to focus on putting one foot in front of the other as she stumbles after him.

“Oh, hey man… what-what's your name again?” She stutters out, trying to focus on both talking and not falling over at once.
“Peter.” He replies nonchalantly, pulling Josefina into a dimly lit bathroom. He kicks the door shut, turning to face her. She blinks slowly, her face contorting into mild disgust as she takes in the grimy, empty bathroom and closed door. Her knuckles go white gripping the grout encrusted bathroom counter. Her eyes narrow as he leans in, placing his hand on the mirror beside her head. He pushes his lips out in a poor attempt at a smolder while Josefina pushes down the urge to vomit.

“Has anyone ever told you you have a beautiful smile?” He says, adding an artificial rasp to his voice.
Josefina actually gags at that, placing a hand on his chest and pushing him back gently, her arm trembling with anxiety. Despite this, her voice is even and calm.

“Man, fuck off, I am not high enough for all that.” She mutters, trying to squeeze through Peter and the counter to get to the door. He places a hand on her bicep in an attempt to slow her down, which she quickly rips from his grasp. She wrestles her way to the door, resisting his attempts to slow her down by pressing his body against her, pushing her against the countertop painfully. She slams the door open, breathing heavily. She turns back to look at Peter, who has the decency to look slightly ashamed.

“Fucking asshole.” She says under her breath, slamming the door shut behind her. Her legs are shakier than they were before, if that was even possible. She brought a trembling hand up and through her hair, trying to relax. Maybe if she actually managed to find Carmen she could score a ride home. The thought barely had time to register in her mind before a familiar hand grabbed her wrist.

“Hey, I d-”

She acted on instinct, jerking her arm and body sharply away from his grasp before rearing back and bringing her fist to collide with his cheek. Peter promptly released her wrist before crumpling to the ground, clutching his injured cheek. He spat out pink tinged saliva, groaning in pain as he curled into himself, tears welling in his eyes. Josefina stared at him in shock, partly due to his reaction, and partly due to the fact that she actually hit him. She sucked her teeth, crouching down to inspect the severity of his injuries. She barely registered the people staring, whispering and giggling to each other.

“Hey man, you're fine, c’mon.” She said in a tone she hoped was slightly comforting, trying to urge him to get up. He rolled over and smacked her hands away, sniffling.

“Get off me! Fucking psycho bitch!” He exclaims, stumbling over his words as he tries to scoot away from her. Josefina's hands drop to her sides, unsure of how to proceed. She stands and takes a step back, cringing internally. Now that she got a good look at him, the kid couldn't be older than 17, his wispy mustache still struggling to occupy space on his upper lip. She runs a hand down her face, swearing under her breath. Clock tattoo guy walks up behind her, whistling slowly.

“Goddamn Jo, that was you?” He asks, fake serious tone doing nothing to hide the humor in his voice. Josephina doesn't respond, watching Peter writhe in pain a bit longer before turning and walking away. She doesn't know where exactly she wants to go at first, weaving through groups of people in an attempt to find the front door so she could get some fresh air at least. She struggles to push the heavy door open, closing it behind her with a soft grunt. There's no one else outside, aside from a couple busy sucking each other's faces. She fights the urge to roll her eyes before pulling out her phone, which surprisingly boasted 63% battery, rather than its usual 4%. Josefina sighs, sitting on the porch and scrolling through her contacts. She wondered if anyone would feel bad enough to give her a ride home. No way she could afford an Uber. She clicks on Terry's number, waiting for the characteristic ring.

“Your call has been forwarded to voicemail, the person you're trying to reach is una-”

Josefina hangs up, the tone of the automated message almost mocking her. Terry always answered her, no matter the hour. She called again. She called 11 times, all with the same result. She couldn't help the tear that dripped onto the pavement as the automated message played for the 12th time.


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