The noise from the party followed me into the closet, refusing to be muffled by the thick oak door and the cave of coats I’d created for myself. Voices ebbed and swelled over the steady pulse of music. Sometimes people passed too closely, and the substance of their conversations leaked through the cracks. Several times I heard shouts, but I couldn’t tell what they were about. I didn’t care much, either. Everyone out there could beat each other bloody and I wouldn’t give a damn. Nothing could touch me, here in my closet cave. Nothing except sound, and I was working on blocking that out, too.
My classmates had taken over the house after their parents left my father’s fundraiser. My father had given Lars the night off; he knew the occasional party was important to keep up appearances. I dressed up and stood through the whole thing like a smiling, hopeful idiot, doing my best to ignore the mocking looks my peers gave me. It was all for nothing, though.