I’m in Jake’s car, which is parked in front of Lisa’s house. Jake was so reluctant to come to her party because he and Lisa broke up about a month ago. He hasn’t quite gotten over it, though but I needed a ride to Lisa’s and he’s the only friend I have that can drive…
“I’ll wait for you here.” he tells me for like the hundredth time this evening. He’s going through that awkward post-breakup phase where he doesn’t want to be anywhere where Lisa Waterman is seen.
“No. You have to stay with me through this. You owe me one.” I recite back to him for the one hundred and oneth time. Jake groans in what I think is frustration then looks at me with his piercing blue eyes and says, “Don’t leave me.”
“I won’t.” I tell him back.
We enter Lisa’s hand-in-hand. I must admit, the decorations are impressive. There are so many red, pink and white ribbons and balloons everywhere. It’s almost like we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day. I whisper this to Jake and he chuckles. It was at that moment that sweet, romantic music starts to play. I spot a cotton candy machine at a corner in the living room and I drag Jake to the stand to get one. If there’s anything he and I are suckers for, it’s sugar.
Almost everyone is dancing to the sweet tunes of music but Jake and I are sitting together on red chairs, eating cotton candy and talking. It’s while we’re joking that I spot Kendall, a guy I like and heard feels the same way, coming down the stairs.
“I want to talk to him.” I cut Jake off while he’s in the middle of cracking a joke. He seems lost at first then when he spots Kendall, he’s outrageous. “Please.” I beg him, my eyes still following the athletic body of Kendall. “It’ll only take a second.”
I don’t wait for his reply as I rush towards Kendall but I leave the rest of my cotton candy for him so he wouldn’t feel too miserable.
“You look bored.” I mention to Kendall when I notice he’s slouching by the wall, checking the time. When he sees me, he flashes me a mesmerizing smile.
“And you look gorgeous. Where have you been?”
“Around. Care for a dance?” I ask and he agrees. After dancing to two more songs, he goes to get me some punch. I’m about to meet up with Jake when I see Alison, a friend of ours, staring at me.
“Hey. Anything wrong?” I ask her.
“No, not really. It’s just that I admire the courage you have when talking to your crush.” she says quietly. I remember her telling me she liked Freddy, a guy in the basketball team, two months ago. He never seemed to notice her, however, and she never had the guts to draw attention to herself. I only have enough time to give her a little advice Jake gave me five months ago before I start to look for Kendall. Where is he?
I move to the drinks stand and as fate would have it, I meet Freddy. “Have you seen Kendall?” I ask him.
“Yeah. He’s by the pool. Have you seen Lisa?”
I see he’s holding two drinks. One is probably for Lisa but I know she wouldn’t like any, so I tell him, “No. But I know someone who would appreciate that drink.”
“Who?” he queries and I steer his gaze to the direction of Alison, who sees us and smiles. I give him a little push then he starts moving towards her with the drinks. Call me a matchmaker.
I meet Kendall by the pool and he seems relieved to see me. “I’m glad you came. I was starting to think you were tired of my company.” he laughs nervously.
“Well, if I didn’t meet Freddy, I wouldn’t have known where you were.” I mutter audibly for him to hear.
“I’m pretty sure I told Jake to tell you to come here.” When I say nothing, he holds my hand. “I’m sorry you went through that trouble. I just needed a quiet place to give you this.” And before I can ask him what it is, he slips a beautiful, sapphire bracelet on my wrist. I’m awed by the way the sapphires glow in the moonlight and I’m rendered speechless because they’re almost the exact shade of my eyes.
“Do you like it?” Kendall asks. He sounds uncertain so I give him a tight hug in reply.
“It’s beautiful.” I whisper, looking into his warm, brown eyes when my voice comes back.
“You’re beautiful.” he tells me. I’m still in his arms when the fireworks start.
I park my car in front of my ex-girlfriend’s house. As soon as I see it, all the memories of our time together comes flooding back and I feel sick. I know I told Kate I’d come with her but there was no need for me to actually enter…
“I’ll wait for you here.” I say in my last attempt to escape Lisa. I’d been avoiding her lately because I wasn’t sure I could look her in her green eyes and not beg her to take me back as her boyfriend. I still do not know till now why she broke up with me.
“No. You have to stay with me through this. You owe me this one.” Kate replies and I remember my debt. I pleaded with her once to come with me to a Valentine’s party the school was organizing five months ago. It was the month her mother died and she didn’t want to see anyone… she didn’t even tell anyone but me. But I needed her to support me as I asked Lisa out that day and being a good friend, she sacrificed to come along. When Lisa and I started dating, I promised her I’d go with her to any party she needed me in. If I had known this was the party she would’ve used my promise for, maybe I wouldn’t have been so hasty to make it.
I groan at the thought and look at her pleadingly. “Don’t leave me.”
“I won’t.” she reassures me.
I hold her hand as we enter the house. She tells me how the decorations look like we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day and I chuckle, remembering when Lisa and I were talking about the decorations the school used that day. They were red and white but she felt they should be pink and white. I thought the red and white was perfect and they complimented her red hair and dress, which made her blush, but she still insisted a touch of pink to the decorations wouldn’t hurt anybody.
Romantic music starts while I’m still recalling that day and thinking of the devil, I see Lisa dancing with Freddy, a basketball player. Does she like athletes now? Maybe she broke up with me because I’m terrible at sports.
I would’ve rushed back to my car and driven off had Kate not dragged me to the cotton candy stand. We both sit at a corner, eating cotton candy and joking so much, I forget about Lisa and Freddy. If there’s one thing I love Kate for, it’s her ability to brighten moods. I’m telling her the story of how my dad was chased by a dog when she says she wants to talk to him. At first, I think it’s my dad but then I notice she’s not looking in my direction and staring at Kendall, a football jock. She told me she really likes him and almost everyone knows he likes her too, but I’m not in the mood to let her enjoy her romantic life. She promised she wouldn’t leave me. I tell her I need her more than Kendall does but she says it’ll only take a second, leaves her cotton candy for me and rushes to meet up with the handsome football player. Do all girls like athletes?
I’m done with my cotton candy and let my eyes wonder around the house, which happen to land on Lisa. She’s wearing a flaming red dress and still dancing with Freddy. She’s laughing at everything he says and I remember when it was my jokes she used to laugh at. What changed?
It’s been ten minutes since Kate went to talk to Kendall. So much for it taking a second. I can’t bear to watch Lisa being happy without me so I step outside to enjoy the evening breeze. Kendall tells me something about telling Kate to meet him by the pool but I don’t want to see Lisa, so I sit in the garden at the back of the house to clear my mind.
I was staying here for fifteen minutes when I hear someone approach me. Thinking it’s Kate, I say, “I’ve been waiting for you for a long time.” When the person sits beside me and I see red hair at the corner of my eye, my heartbeat picks up. There’s only one person in our entire school that has red hair…
“Lisa?” I ask, turning in surprise.
“Hey.” she says and smiles shyly. “I’ve also been waiting for you.”
I’m about to tell her I thought she was Kate but instead, I say, “Why did you break up with me?”
When she blushes and looks away, I think she’s not going to answer my question but she replies. “I thought you liked Kate. You were always spending time with her and spent a lot less time with me.”
“What?” I ask, shocked. “Kate and I… We’re just good friends.”
“I know. It was really stupid of me. I didn’t… I didn’t know about her mum. I just found out from Alison a few minutes ago.” I don’t say anything. Kate told me to swear not to tell anyone about her mother’s death five months ago because she didn’t want a ‘pity party.’ Being her best friend, I agreed and didn’t even tell my girlfriend.
“To think all these days I thought you broke up with me because I suck at sports.” I say lightly and she laughs.
“No… I just thought you didn’t like me anymore. I should’ve known better.” she replies.
“Well, now you know I like you and no one else, Lisa Waterman.”
“And I like you too, Jake Sully.” she says, wraps her arms around me and kisses me. At that moment, fireworks start and I can’t help but think how magical this is.
I’ve been doing small talk with Freddy but I can’t help but notice how his eyes always flicker towards Lisa, who isn’t paying him any attention. I feel the urge to tell him she doesn’t like him and still has feelings for her ex-boyfriend and he should focus on girls he can actually get (like me) when Lisa suddenly turns around and asks if he wants to dance. He smiles like he just became a billionaire and agrees. As soon as they start dancing, romantic music plays and I notice Jake and Kate entering the house. Was Lisa trying to make him jealous by dancing with Freddy?
I sigh and stand by the stairs, watching people. Jake and Kate talking, Peter and Carla sharing a smoothie, Tom and Marissa snuggling together… Why was everyone a couple but me? I miss the times when Jake, Kate, Lisa and I were in junior high and close friends. But once we got to high school, Kate started hanging out with only Jake, he and Lisa started going out, I started liking Freddy later but he never felt the same, Lisa broke up with Jake, Freddy started liking Lisa but she still likes Jake. I guess this is called being a teenager.
I look forward and see Kate flirt with Kendall. Soon, these two lovebirds will be a couple and I’d still be single, which sucks. Kendall leaves and Kate catches me staring.
“Hey. Anything wrong?” she asks. How can I tell my friend I’m envious of everyone’s relationship? So I tell her I admire the courage she has when talking to her crush.
“Oh, thank you. Any progress with Freddy?” I’m surprised she knows but then I remember I mentioned it to her some time ago and shake my head.
“Alison, when I lost my mum five months ago…” she starts.
“Wait… you lost your mum?” I interrupt.
“Yes.” she says and I can see a bit of sadness in her eyes. “I’m sorry.” I tell her. “I should’ve known and been there for you.”
“You wouldn’t have known… I didn’t tell anyone other than Jake. He was there for me.” she reassures me. I don’t know whether to feel angry about her not telling Lisa and I. All these months, I’d been thinking she stopped talking to us because she didn’t like us anymore while Lisa thought she was making moves on Jake. But it’s always like Kate to keep bad news to herself and try as much as possible to brighten everyone’s mood.
“Anyways, after my mum died, I became anti-social. I thought I would never make friends again and no one would like me because of my mood swings. But guess the advice Jake gave me?”
“No one will ever like you if you don’t summon up the courage to let them know you. You’ve got to let Freddy know you.” she says then leaves to find Kendall.
I look for Lisa to tell her about Kate. She too didn’t know about Kate’s loss and I felt we needed to make it up to her. Mercifully, she’s alone when I find her, so I tell her about Kate and why she stopped talking to us and that Jake was with her all the time because he needed to support her after her mum passed away. I don’t tell her the part about Freddy, though.
“Really? That’s what happened?” she asks me and I nod. “I’ve got to make amends.” and I think she goes to look for Kate in order to apologize, so I’m left standing alone again.
I’m thinking of going upstairs when I spot Kate and Freddy talking then they both look at me. I have nowhere to hide now that Lisa’s not here, so I do what Kate would do… I smile. Then to my horror, Freddy starts walking towards me. I feel like pretending I’m looking for something and running away, but I find myself rooted to the spot.
“I hear you’re in need of a drink.” He tells me and hands me the second glass in his hand.
“Thanks.” I say graciously and take a sip of the juice. “Pomegranate?” I ask him.
“Yes. How did you know?” he asks surprised.
“I love mixing juices. What flavor is yours?”
“Green tea. But I don’t really like it as much as Mulberry.”
“Oh my God. That’s my favorite flavor!”
“Mine, too!” he replies and smiles. He looks at me very well now and I think it’s the first time he’s ever really looked at me. “Would you like to go with me to Burgan’s sometime? I hear they make really good juices… and it’s hard to find someone like you who knows their flavors well.”
My heart leaps as I realize what’s happening. He’s asking me out. I beam and say yes, then the fireworks start as my heart explodes.
I’ve been standing with Freddy and Alison, waiting for Jake to come. I know I invited him for the party but he’s thirty minutes late now. Was he going to like the decorations? Was he going to like my dress? I’m thinking about this when I see him entering the house, holding Kate’s hand. No way. He still likes her? I’m not going to make him think I still like him, then.
“Do you want to dance with me?” I ask Freddy quickly so that Jake doesn’t miss me and Freddy together. “Sure.” Freddy says and as soon as we start dancing, romantic music starts.
It was meant to be me dancing with Jake. I told the DJ as soon as he sees me dancing with a guy, he should play the music. I had it all planned out… but I never knew he’d still be with Kate.
I dance a lot with Freddy but I can’t help but notice how Jake is with Kate and joking around. What did she say that made him laugh? Why wasn’t he looking my way? Did he have absolutely no feelings for me? Why am I obsessing over him, anyways? Let him know I’m having a good time without him.
And then I start talking to Freddy and laugh at everything he says. He seems to be enjoying the conversation more than me, though. I look back at where Jake was sitting and find out he’s not there. My heart sinks and I tell Freddy to get me a drink.
After a while, Alison comes up to tell me about Kate’s mother’s death and that Jake wasn’t hanging around with her because he liked her, as I thought. I suddenly feel stupid and start to look for Jake to make amends. I search everywhere and find him sitting alone in the garden. It’s the first time I’m seeing him quiet.
I’m starting to think I’m not wanted but he says, “I’ve been waiting for you for a long time.” and I take that as a welcome. I sit beside him and admit I’ve also been waiting for him.
He asks why I broke up with him and I feel embarrassed about the reason, but I tell him nonetheless. I was stupid and should’ve known better.
He tells me he likes me. I tell him I like him. We kiss. The fireworks start exactly when I told the person to start them-when he sees me kissing a guy.
Everything is perfect.