Santa Cruz

Submitted into Contest #179 in response to: End your story with a kiss at midnight.... view prompt



“It’s New Year’s Eve and none of us have dates to kiss.” 

“Hey, speak for yourselves,” Grim said, pulling Clary closer, reminding us all how desperately single we were.

“I sense a tradition in the works,” Miles raised his glass. There were three minutes left until midnight.

“Traditions are supposed to be fun,” I said, rolling my eyes, my glass had become empty in the process of self-pity. I didn’t know what to do with my hands so I kept attempting to take sips. This was not the way to welcome the new year. The new you. The still single me who was pining after someone I couldn’t have. How typical and tragic.

“I still can’t believe I’m not gonna get a new year’s kiss,” Adam said playfully, glancing over at me. He handed me his glass and refilled mine with a cheap bottle of prosecco we grabbed at a 711 along the way. He didn’t seem bothered at all by the fact that he would enter the new year alone. But, he never really was alone. There were always the fan girls, the front row centers, who followed us to every show, chasing after him, but he rarely noticed. He was way too focused on his music. We all were. The only difference was that he was part of it all for me. I was surprised he hadn’t seen it in my lyrics. 

It had been three years since I joined the band Archaic but it felt like just yesterday when I first saw him. We had known each other from the local band scene and our bands would sometimes play at the same shows. It wasn’t until a random encounter at a local British film festival showing Rocky Horror Picture Show that we really hit it off.

“Hey, aren’t you the vocalist for Anthem?” he said, pouring me my double whisky on the rocks.

“Yeah, you’re Adam right?” I watched him continue to fill my glass up. He was being really generous.

“Are you looking to join another band?” His eyes met mine with a glimmer of hope.

“Actually, I am,” I laughed. Things hadn’t been going well for Anthem. We broke up shortly after I was told I didn’t have the voice they were looking for. They were so focused on finding their perfect paramour. Who, ironically, sounded just like Hayley Williams.

“Well, here’s my number, give me a call sometime. I’ll let the guys know,” he said, pushing my money away. “On the house,” he smiled.

Well, fast forward, and we’re making music, drinking wine in our very own renovated band room, playing Mortal Combat and planning for our upcoming tour to the Philippines with the rest of the guys, Grim and Miles. We have our very own first EP, and for the first time in my life, I feel happy. I feel absolutely content and no one can take this feeling away from me. We have a sold out show in Laguna and Adam and I sit next to each other on the plane.

“Do you mind if I lean on you,” he asks. His eyes are starting to droop and before I can react, he’s resting his head on my shoulder. He smells like timber and vanilla. 

“Awww,” Miles jokes. I glare at him and loop some BeachHouse for the next four hours. 

Arriving at Laguna, our friend Kaz, aka the Asian Post Malone, took us out to dinner in the middle of nowhere. He ordered pork and fried rice for us and they laid it out on a huge banana leaf and we dug in. An older woman brought us a round of Red Horse, the local beer and we raised our glasses in high spirits.

“Let’s make a bet,” I said, the corners of my mouth started to turn up. “Whoever finishes last, has to buy Wafflehouse tomorrow. Deal?” Wafflehouse was a tradition for us.

I looked around the table and saw all of the guys grimacing, especially Adam.

“You’re so confident you’re gonna win Ari,” his eyes were hyper focused on me. His pupils grew wider.

“I already have,” I smiled. “Tagay!”  I yelled, which meant cheers in Tagalog.

We all chugged back the Red Horse and beer was spilling out the sides of all of our mouths, but sure enough I was the first to slam my glass down.

“Let’s go!” I yelled, standing up to make it even more obvious I had won. There was beer all over my shirt.

Adam was the last to finish. “Guess I’m buying breakfast.” He wasn’t even mad.

We continued to slam beer and soon we were all tipsy and on top of the world. I looked over at Adam and his cheeks were flushed from the alcohol.

“What?” he laughed.

“Nothing,” I said, trying to stop myself from laughing. 

He grabbed my hand under the table and continued to hold it for the rest of the night. I had never felt so happy. We were the last two to leave. Asian Post Malone and the others took a taxi back cause Miles had started throwing up. He was such a lightweight. In the taxi, we continued holding hands in the back seat and talked the entire two hours back. We talked about how much I hated roses, the meaning of life and everything in between. It passed by so fast. 

In the morning, I was expecting things to be the same. I woke up super early in anticipation of seeing Adam and holding his hand again. I didn’t care what our bandmates had to say. We would deal with it together. But things weren’t the same. He came out of the bedroom and I sat up on the couch, waiting for him to say something about last night. To sit next to me and put his arm around me like I was his now. But he didn’t. Everything had gone back to the way it had been before. It was like last night had never happened. I felt defeated. 

Two minutes left until midnight now.

Kiss me,” I said, growing bold. My confidence suddenly decided to make an appearance.

Adam reacted in a way I hadn’t expected. He laughed it off, but there was a nervousness about him, his temples started sweating and he averted his eyes. He was reacting like someone who cared. 

“It’s just a kiss, come on. Don’t be so serious,” I said playfully, approaching him. Miles gasped and Grim coughed awkwardly. I had forgotten that they were literally feet apart from us. But I didn’t care. 

“Uhhh..” Adam looked around to see the expressions on their faces but I didn’t. I was afraid if I looked now, I’d chicken out.

“It’s just a kiss, it doesn’t mean anything,” I said, getting closer. Everyone was counting down now, TEN, NINE, EIGHT, SEVEN.

For a brief second, I could see Grim and Clary getting ready for the big moment out of the corner of my eye. My attention shifted completely to Adam. Was he going to go through with it or was I going to end up embarrassing myself in more ways than one?

SIX, FIVE, FOUR, THREE, and as it got to TWO, Adam took a deep breath and met my gaze with an intensity I had never seen from him before and then my lips. He grabbed the back of my head with one hand and wrapped his other around my waist, pulling me in. His fingers wrapped around my hair and I let the fear fall away. ONE. Everyone was shouting and cheering while the fireworks lit up the sky. He tasted like apples; the ones that were both sweet and sour. We pulled back at the same time and he looked at me the same way he had all that time ago in Laguna.

“See, that wasn’t so hard,” I said, punching his shoulder like I was one of the guys, like it was nothing. Like it was just a kiss. But we both knew it meant so much more.

January 06, 2023 03:43

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Timmy W
01:07 Jan 12, 2023

Ong this is really good. Could be the beginning or end of a novel. One thing I would like to say tho is that the part where they were all at the restaurant with the Asian post malone felt kinda slow. Feel like you could have left out a bit of that part and gotten the same effect. I will not be surprised if this wins and am quite shocked it doesn't have more likes as it is one of the best stories I have read on reedsy. Looking forward to see what you do next!


Allison King
06:11 Jan 12, 2023

Thanks so much for your feedback, it’s so helpful. I appreciate it so much!


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Dylan Jaeger
20:12 Jan 09, 2023

That. Was. Amazing.


Allison King
20:22 Jan 10, 2023

thanks so much! I really appreciate that =]


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