Everyone is always obsessed with the annual tradition of a New Year's kiss. Ringing in the brand new year with that special someone to feel like the next year isn't going to hurt as much as the last. That is a beautiful sentiment, really. But I've never been one of those people. But I've always found myself annually standing at every party with no one to kiss. This year was the same as always.
"Oh my god! It can't be! Is that you, Sam! I feel like it's been, like, what, ages," I heard her voice before I even had to turn around to see her face. But when I turned around, Heather's blonde curls and beautiful makeup greeted me effortlessly. Taking in a deep sigh, I prepared myself for the antics. But the only thought that went through my head was that tonight would be a long night.
"What do you want," I said flatly, getting right to the point and avoiding all her rainbows and unicorns. I could see her do a physical double take, but her façade never broke. So that was one in the loss column. Damn.
"I just feel like it's been so long since the last time we talked and I saw you over here. By yourself…" Ouch "So I just thought, you know, I could help pull that wallflower we all know and love into the party. What do you think?"
She went to reach for my hand, but when she did, someone grabbed hers. "Or, we could just leave them alone to enjoy their New Year as they see fit. How about that?"
Both of us turned to look up at Brandon. The moment Heather realized that he was holding her hand, I watched as she melted. Her face flushed red, and I started silently seething in rage. Brandon was always someone I longed for, but with him, it was always like he was five steps ahead with flocks of women at his feet. I was the guy who just had to stand on the sidelines with their straight crush wishing for the best. Tonight was a solid reminder of that.
I put on a brighter smile and grabbed my cup from the table. "You two have a great time, but I think I'm gonna go and mingle. Or get a breath of fresh air. Whichever one I get to first, I guess," chuckling softly. I left Heather and Brandon behind me and tried my hardest to focus on the party and the loud music in front of me. Their chuckling and chattering that followed me sure didn't help.
I found myself sitting on the stairs taking sips from multiple drinks. Taking in the euphoric feeling, each one blessed me. Following Brandon and Heather as they effortlessly glided around the party, laughing with each other. Seeing how happy they were together was like a dagger to the heart. But, each one was taken away when Brandon and I met eyes, and he gave me his gorgeous smile.
Finally, I couldn't take any more of watching Heather hang on him like he was her only source of life support. So I eventually moved, pushing through the love-drunk and physically drunk couples until I reached the patio. Taking in a breath of fresh air helped clear my head of the buzz clouding my thoughts. Then, leaning my arms against the supports, I just started people-watching. I got the overwhelming feeling that I was at some popular kid's party in my teenage years.
"Thought I'd find you here," his husky voice was like a hot breath on the back of my neck. The sensation caused me to shiver, and I subconsciously gripped the support a little tighter.
"What can I say," upon a smile, "Heather was right. I've always been a wallflower, and parties have never really been my thing. Don't know why I still put myself through them." I knew very well that the only reason I went to these parties was I wanted to see Brandon. Loosening my grip on the banister, I finally turned to look him in the eyes and could feel my heart racing.
"Well, I'm always glad to see you at these parties whether they're your thing or not. I like to see you and how you light up, even if it's just you sitting on the sidelines basking in everyone else enjoying their night," his face started growing red as he started playing with some leftover snow with his sneakers. His words caused the butterflies inside my chest to awaken, and I had to do my best to keep eye contact. But, despite that, he was now focusing on the pieces of snow.
"Well, I mean, I only really come to these parties because I'm really just enjoying the fact that you're having a good night," the moment the words slipped out of my mouth, my world froze. I watched as he also stopped playing with his icy companions. His face is now brighter than before. I immediately started apologizing, but before he could get a single word out, Heather returned.
"The ball's about to drop, and everyone's getting ready to count down together. Can't wait to see you inside, guys," She said as she winked at Brandon. I turned once again to an empty backyard. Saved by the bell. What caught me off guard was when I heard an exasperated sigh from behind me. Why did he sound off-put by all of this? Parties were always his thing.
"You can head inside, and I'll meet you inside. Don't want to keep Heather waiting, or we both might feel her wrath," I chuckled, but even that felt forced and weak. I took a deep breath, but the butterflies kicked full speed as he placed his hand on mine. Turning to look at him, Brandon looked stoically out into the same backyard I was in. He didn't seem upset. Instead, he seemed like the same happy-go-lucky Brandon.
Finally, he turned to look back at me, "I don't think I will because the life of the party is out here. I only come here for the same reason you do. Heather can rage all she wants cause I'm tired of how she hangs on me. I know how she feels about me, as she makes it obvious, but I don't feel the same. I have more things for guys, first of all. But there's a specific one who's a self-proclaimed wallflower to which I find myself growing quite attached." As he said the last part, he hesitantly wrapped his arm around me.
"What are you trying to say," my heart was racing, and I could feel my world no longer freezing over. It was thawing. Heather was knocking on the door, soon to become banging as she was looking back at the countdown to us. Panic plastered on her features. The people inside chanted in unison as they counted down without a care.
"I think something like this might be better without a word if that's okay with you," he whispered as he got closer and closer with each number. The moment the crowd inside reached one, we were whiskers away, and I finally broke the distance. Midnight stuck, and I was the one who got their New Years' kiss. He pulled me in tight and he left soft marks on my lips. Fireworks were going off as the entire world around us started celebrating, but it was nothing compared to what was going on in my chest.
This was going to be a good year after all.