"I am so sick of riding this bike." I complain as if anyone can hear me. It is 10:30 at night. Not many people are out on this old dirt road. I have peddled three miles to get to my friend Cameron's house. She is throwing one of her famous New Year's parties. Basically, we call it a "party", but there will only be six people there. Really, we should just call it a "meeting".
I can see her home up ahead. A small, brick cottage. When I lost everything this year, this was where I stayed. I slept on her couch. Her house has only one bedroom, two bathrooms, a small kitchen, laundry room, and a living room so small it is more the size of a walk-in closet. No matter the size though, Cameron loves it.
As I stand my bike up on the side of the house, I can't help but think back to that horrible time when she was all I had. I had lost my job, my house, and my car. I now have a decent apartment. I still haven't saved enough to get a car though. I really need one, if you can't tell. I snap out of my trance and walk up her front steps.
I open the front door and hear Josh, Cameron's boyfriend, attempting to rap along to the song that is blaring through the speakers. He is not doing a good job.
"Hey, Rylie!" I hear Cameron's excited voice shriek. I smile in response. After riding a bike all the way here, I have no energy to chit chat. I need a rest. We are all in our mid-twenties. Somehow, Cameron still looks and acts like a teenager.
I walk by her and wave to Nick, one of my best friends since high school, and his girlfriend, Sierra. The only other single person in our group, Michael, yells something along the lines of "What's up, Ry?" I can't exactly tell what it was that he said because the music is pounding on my eardrum. I nod to him anyway.
I glance at the clock. 10:45 p.m. In a little over an hour, I will make my move. I have had feelings for Michael since Cameron first introduced me to him. He came over to her house while I was living there to help her with her car. He had walked in while I was asleep on her couch to get some water. I woke up and looked at him like he was crazy. He grinned at me with the most beautiful crooked smile I have ever seen. I thought he had been flirting with me, but then I realized that he was probably laughing at the rat's nest on my head and the drool on the side of my face. I remember feeling the embarrassment on my face and running to the bathroom. Cameron later told me that he found me cute. I had brushed it off. I know that this coming year would be so much better that this one if I could only have Michael and a new car. I have a house and I have a stable job. All I need is my love interest and transportation.
I wonder around for a while. I step outside a few times trying to force my oncoming headache down. The music makes my head want to explode. During one of my outside breaks, I can feel someone behind me. I check my phone. 11:49 p.m. I turn around to see Michael. He grins at me.
"Happy New Year." He says that as he grabs my face and touches his lips to mine. Confused, I pull away. I look into his eyes and mentally say "screw it" and kiss him again. I don't quite understand why he didn't wait for the actual countdown but alright.
I slowly feel him reach up to my hand that is on his face. He pulls my hand off but keeps kissing me. I feel him place something in my hand. I break our kiss and look down. I hear Cameron's giggles from behind me. My friends are all out here, but I am too focused on what's in my hand to pay attention to them counting down or screaming, "Happy New Year!!!"
Car keys. There are car keys in my hand. I feel tears coming to my eyes as I look around at my friends. Michael grabs my hand and leads me around back to show me my new white convertible. They got me a convertible!
"Michael fixed it up nice for you." I hear Sierra say as I look around the black leather interior. Michael. I turn around to see his cheeks a rosy pink color. He is blushing, and he has a big grin on his face. I move towards him. I grab his face and kiss him. We all begin to move back toward the house. I hold Michael's hand all the way.
I start to think about how I started this night. I rode a bike for miles to get here. I was stressing about trying things with Michael. I'm going to leave in my convertible with a boyfriend. This year is going to be so much better than I could've ever imagined, and I have no one to thank but my amazing friends.
"Thank you guys so much!" I say. I still have tears in my eyes. I can feel Michael's hand tighten around him and his thumb rub over the side of my hand. I still can't wrap my head around all of this. Last year, I had nothing. I lost everything I had and I struggled. I was lost. I thought it was all over. Now, I have everything I could ever want or need, and I can't think anyone besides these amazing people around me. I couldn't be more happy and thankful for how this year is going already. I can't wait to repay them this year.