Cheers erupt in response as the living room swells with more bodies. The game is a popular Kappa tradition, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Someone dares you to do something and you do it—no truth option. Occasionally amusing and often brutal, it’s resulted in more than a few arrests, at least one expulsion, and rumor has it, even a couple babies.
“Now let’s see…” Our house vice president puts one manicured finger to her chin and turns in a slow circle to survey the room, deciding on her first victim. “Who shall it be?”
Of course her evil green eyes land squarely on where Sasha and I are plastered against the wall. Abigail strides up to us with pure sugary malice.
“Oh, sweetie,” she says to me, with the glassy stare of a girl who’s had a few too many. “Loosen up, it’s a party. You look like you just found another stretch mark.”
Abigail’s a mean drunk, and I’m her favorite target. I’m used to it from her, but the laughs she elicits every time she uses my body as a punchline never fail to leave a scar. My curves have been the bane of my existence since I was twelve years old.
“Oh, sweetie,” Sasha mimics, making a show of flashing her the bird. “How about you eff right off?”
“Aww, come on,” Abigail whimpers in a mocking baby voice. “Tay-Tay knows I’m just kidding.” She punctuates her statement by poking my stomach like I’m a goddamn Pillsbury Doughgirl.
“We’re keeping your thinning hairline in our thoughts, Abs.”
I have to chomp down on my bottom lip to stop from laughing at Sasha’s retort. She knows I disintegrate amid conflict and never shies away from a chance to trade barbs in my defense.
Abigail answers with a sarcastic laugh.
“Are we playing or not?” demands Jules Munn, Abigail’s sidekick. The tall brunette saunters over to us, donning a bored look. “What’s the matter? Sasha trying to back out from doing a dare again like she did at the Harvest Bash?”
“Fuck off,” Sasha shoots back. “You dared me to throw a brick through the dean’s window. I wasn’t about to get expelled over some juvenile sorority game.”
Jules arches a brow. “Did she just insult an age-old tradition, Abs? Because I think she did.”
“Oh, she did. But no worries, here’s your chance for redemption, Sasha,” Abigail offers sweetly, then pauses. “Hmm. I dare you to…” She turns toward her spectators while contemplating the dare. She’s nothing if not in it for the attention. Then she snaps back around to face Sasha. “Do the Double Double then sing the chapter symphony.”
My best friend snorts and shrugs, as if to say, Is that all?
“Upside down and backwards,” Abigail adds.
Sasha curls her lips and sort of snarls at her, which gets the guys in the room hooting in amusement. Dudes love catfights.
“Whatever.” Rolling her eyes, Sasha steps forward and shakes out her arms like a boxer warming up for a fight.
The Double Double is another Kappa party tradition, which entails downing two double shots of whatever’s lying around, then a ten-second beer bong followed by a ten-second keg stand. Even the sturdiest drinkers among us rarely make it through the gauntlet. Throwing a handstand on top of it while singing the house song backwards is just Abigail being a spiteful bitch.
But as long as it won’t get her expelled, Sasha is never one to back down from a challenge. She ties her thick black hair in a ponytail and accepts the shot glass that materializes out of nowhere, dutifully tossing back one shot, then the next. She powers through the beer bong while a couple Theta guys hold up the funnel for her, the crowd around her screaming their encouragement. To a cacophony of cheers, she muscles her way past the keg stand with a six-three hockey player keeping her legs in the air. When she’s right-side up again, everyone’s impressed to see her even able to stand, much less looking mean and holding steady. That girl’s a warrior.
“Stand back!” Sasha declares, clearing people from the far wall.
With a gymnast’s flourish, she thrusts her arms in the air and then sort of half-cartwheels so that her backside is flush against the wall in a handstand. Loud and confident, she belts out the words to our house song in reverse while the rest of us stupidly try to keep up in our heads to make sure she’s getting it right.
Then, when she’s done, Sasha completes an elegant dismount back to her feet and gives the crowd a bow to resounding applause.
“You’re a fucking robot,” I say, laughing when she prances over to resume her spot slouching in our losers’ corner. “Beautiful dismount.”
“Never met a landing I couldn’t stick.” Freshman year Sasha was on her way to Olympic qualifiers as one of the best vaulters in the world before she busted her knee slipping on some ice, and that was it for her gymnastics career.
Not to be outshined, Abigail sets her gaze on me. “Your turn, Taylor.”
I take a deep breath. My heart races. Already I feel my cheeks burning red. Abigail smiles at my discomfort like a shark alerting to the vibrations of a wriggling seal in distress. I brace myself for whatever evil endeavor she’s concocting for me.
“I dare you to...” She drags her teeth across her bottom lip. I see my impending humiliation in her eyes before she even opens her mouth. “Get a guy of my choice to take you upstairs.”
Debauched hoots and catcalls burst from the men still watching this display of female aggression play out.
“Come on, Abs. Getting date-raped isn’t a party game.” Sasha steps forward, shielding me with her body.
Abigail rolls her eyes. “Oh, don’t be so dramatic. I’ll pick someone good. Someone anybody would want to get sweaty with. Even Taylor.”
God, please don’t make me have to do this.
To my sheer relief, help comes in the form of Taylor Swift.
“Fixed it!” a sorority sister yells, just as music once again fills the house.
T-Swift’s “Blank Space” elicits a wave of excited cheers, drawing attention away from Abigail’s stupid game. The crowd promptly disperses to refill their drinks and get back to the rhythmic foreplay of dancing.
Thank you, hotter and skinnier Taylor.
To my dismay, Abigail is undeterred. “Hmm, who will the lucky boy be…”
I swallow a groan. I was naïve to think she’d drop it. Once a dare has been issued, any sister who fails to complete the task to the best of her ability is punished mercilessly until some poor sap is unlucky enough to take her place. And if Abigail were to get her way, that’d be three weeks after forever. I already have a hard time fitting in with the rest of the sisters. This would make me a pariah.
She scans the room, standing on her tiptoes to peer over people’s heads and get a thorough look at available options. A wide grin spreads out across her face when she turns to me again.
“I dare you to seduce Conor Edwards.”
Yeah, I know who Conor is. Everyone does. He’s on the hockey team and a regular face at the parties on Greek Row. A regular face in the sorority beds on Greek Row, too. But his real claim to fame is being arguably the hottest new guy in the junior class. Which puts him way out of my league. A perfect choice if the goal of this dare is my utter humiliation at being resoundingly rejected by a guy laughing in my face.