THREE MONTHS LATER...
"Don't forget Nate's launch party is tonight," Samara shouts from the kitchen.
She and I met on the first day of university solely because we were the only freshman who seemed to be completely lost. Mara was my closest friend of all that I've made within my three years at UCLA, so when she brought up the idea of rooming together, I was elated.
Samara was undeniably of Indian descent. Her skin was a beautiful sand color with hazel almond eyes that were perfect for her face. She had thick black eyebrows that matched her unbelievable long pin straight hair. Her cheeks were rosy and her lips had a slight pout but she was a great person to be around.
She had an amazing personality, and she was a very caring soul. Mara wasn't overly affectionate, but she showed in her actions that she cared and you'd feel it. Even though I was older by just a year, she was definitely the motherly one of us two, albeit I always thought of her as a younger sister. We were attached by the hip especially after crying and laughing together so much through the years.
She was my rock and I was hers.
"Yeah, yeah I won't forget. You've reminded me a million times already."
"I've reminded you 'a million times' but that pretty little head of yours is still going to forget," she sighed taking a seat beside me on the sofa with snacks in hand.
"Buy me swedish fish if you do?"
"You're the sole person on earth keeping them in business, you know that?" I laugh. "Deal."
"You are the sole person my dear Alora," she grinned.
At least one day throughout the week when our schedules allow us to, Samara and I indulge ourselves in a movie night to help ourselves unwind. It was my turn to pick the movie and we were watching Forrest Gump.
"Sure, sure." I mumbled. "Did you ever call your mom?"
"Mmhm. She's visiting next week."
"I can't wait until she brings her chicken tikka masala. I've been craving it for weeks," I groan.
"Same here. Her food tastes like home, you know?" I smile nodding my head knowing exactly what she means.
"Oh shoot, drinks," snapped Samara and I laugh.
And she says I'm the one with the horrible memory.
"Want anything in particular?" she shouts from the fridge.
"Just a shikanji."
"You know, I'm Indian and I've never got into that the way you did."
"I guess I just have a broad and openminded palate."
"Please. Says the girl who can't survive a day without at least one cup of coffee," teased Samara handing me the bottle of spicy lemonade.
"Can you blame me? Coffee is the best thing that's been placed on the planet," I point.
"Second best," she corrected. "Me being the first obviously, but I will give it some credit because it's the only thing that keeps you sane. Andddd it's the reason you finally talked about a guy."
"I was complaining about a listless drink thief," I deadpanned.
"A handsome listless drink thief," she sang.
"I never said he was handsome, he was attractive. There's a difference." He was handsome, a sight for sore eyes not that I'd ever admit that out loud. But he was rude and inconsiderate. No amount of good looks can cover up an ugly personality, let alone have me fall for you. I had standards, very high ones. "Besides, that was three months ago."
"Still, it's the best I've ever gotten. What if-"
I cut her off before she starts fantasizing a love life for me. She wasn't one to display affection, but she was a sucker for romance. "Oh would you look at that, the movie's starting."
I'm awaken from my deep slumber by the sound of light knocking on my door. I trudge to the sound in slight annoyance because I was about to eat the most delicious cake I've ever laid eyes on but couldn't due to said light knocking.
On the other side of my door stood Samara barefooted in a sultry wine red dress with thin straps. Her make up was done flawlessly, sexy but elegant and her knee length black hair was in a sleek low bun.
"You look stunning. I didn't know you were going on a date tonight."
"A date? Alora? Nate's launch party's tonight. You know? Our friend?"
My eyes snap open in realization. Mara's already giving me the 'you forgot didn't you?' look.
"I'm sorry, I forgot," I plead.
"Tell that to the pack of swedish fish you owe me. The uber's going to be here in twenty, so..."
"So?" I asked confused.
"So we have twenty minutes! Chop chop."
About an hour and a half later we pull into the lot of massive glamorous hotel filled with important and most definitely wealthy people. We're led by a concierge to the hall where the event is being held.
The big double doors opened exposing a vast extravagantly designed party. A large number of circular tables stretched across the carpeted floors, posh royal blue velvet chairs accompanying them. Elegant glass chandeliers hung low from the high ceilings that illuminated the entire hall. A big theatrical stage sat directly at the front with a large screen and projector at ready. Silver clothed rectangular tables line the walls of the room, some accented with little candies and promotional accessories and others with hors d'oeuvres to enjoy until the party really started.
"Oh wow, it's beautiful," I sigh in awe.
"Yeah, Nate sure went all out," Samara says glancing at the placement cards on the table beside us.
"There he is," I point to the upper right corner of the room where I spot our friend in his gold sequin blazer.
Nate had his dirty blonde hair slicked back looking the most professional he's ever had. The glitter of his suit made his calm green eyes sparkle, the little flecks of gold in them reflecting shining brightly. He was always an outgoing and lively person and it showed even in his work environment.
Nathan and I about met the same time Samara and I did, he was the senior that helped us when we got lost. He was always very welcoming and easy to talk to—just an all around good person to be with. It wasn't long before we formed a close bond with him. Nate was the big brother we didn't know we needed but had anyway and we were beyond proud of him.
"Of course his suit's glammed," Mara laughs.
"Congratulations Nate," I grin giving him a hug.
"We're so proud of you," Samara smiled doing the same.
"Ladies ladies, you're going to scare the men away," he laughs. "But thank you so much for being here and supporting me every step of the way. I'm really grateful for you two."
"No need to thank us. We're friends."
"Speak for yourself," Mara interrupts. "You can thank me by directing me to the champagne."
As if sent by the gods, a server passes with a tray of champagne flutes and Mara plucks one off with a devious smile.
"You're welcome," she says lifting it up in mock toast. Before she can take a sip, the glass is snatched from her hands and downed from the thief behind her.
"No champagne for you tonight," Dylan smiles patting her head.
"You're no fun," she pouts not even checking the voice behind her because she can recognize her childhood friend's from anywhere.
"Oh, another drink thief," I joke.
"Alora," Dylan greets giving me a little side hug. "You know it was for the greater good." We all laugh at his remark knowing it was true.
"Nate, congrats man," the two do a little hand gesture that ended in a hug.
"You two clean up pretty well," Mara compliments looking at the two men side by side.
Dylan had curly brown hair that fringed a bit at the ends and black eyes—yes black. He wore a traditional black and white suit that made him look more serious than he ever could be. Samara and Dylan have been best friends since they were four years old and in the time I've known her I've gotten quite fond of him myself. He was a very easygoing guy and only got serious when it came to Mara.
"And you two look absolutely stunning," Dylan smiles.
I look down at my mermaid gold satin dress that Samara managed to find for me to wear. It paired perfectly with my brown complexion. I don't know how but she managed do my glowy but subtle make up before the uber arrived. My naturally curly dark brown hair was slicked back in a puff with two little curls in the front and edges (hopefully) still intact.
"Thank you," I smiled. "Couldn't have done it without Mara here."
"What would you do without me?" she sighs and we all laugh.
"Alright everyone. It's almost that time so I'll be taking my leave now. I sat you three at the same table near the center and uh, gifts go to the left Alora."
"Alright. Good luck!"