Six years ago
Theo looked around the room, bored to death with the slow music coming from the speakers. It was New Year’s Eve for God’s sake. Couldn’t they hype it up a little?
Declan, his buddy from university was holding a party at his home since his parents had conveniently gone away for the weekend. His girlfriend, Bernadette, was somewhat of a goody-two-shoes and preferred Jazz over the regular dance music.
Theo was beginning to regret coming here tonight.
He pushed away from the window that he had been leaning against and went in search of his brother. He had seen Alex come in with a few of his classmates a while ago and Theo hoped their company would keep boredom from killing him.
He passed through the kitchen and headed out to the backyard where he heard the sound of laughter coming from. When he stepped out, he saw that a group of kids a few years younger to him was sitting around a wooden bench, talking and laughing, blue plastic cups in their hands.
He made his way toward where he spotted Alex and a few of his other friends.
He clapped his brother on the back in greeting and said hello to a couple of the others that were passing some chips around. He noticed a tall, dark-haired guy standing opposite him, whispering something into the ear of a girl who stood next to him. He couldn’t see her face as she was partially hidden behind him but she was wearing a navy blue dress with white open-toed sandals. It was the color of her hair that caught his eye. It was a light auburn shade with dark brown highlights running through it.
He frowned when he saw the guy reach out to touch her and she seemed to move away a fraction.
He was distracted when a second later, Alex called out his name and asked him if he wanted a drink. By the time he looked back, the girl was making her way to the house, her back to him.
Theo stared at her for a moment longer and then dismissed her from his mind. Maybe she just seemed a bit familiar to him because he’d seen her somewhere before.
For the next hour he hung out with a couple of the guys.
He knew they had to go back in the house before midnight for the countdown to begin. Declan’s girlfriend had hung tiny mistletoes in the living room for kisses. He sighed, he surely wasn’t getting any tonight.
While he had dated on and off during the last couple of years, he hadn’t had a committed relationship yet and he didn’t know when he’d have one.
Time passed by quickly and before they knew it, it was close to midnight. The door to the backyard opened and Theo heard Bernadette call out to them all, motioning them to come back into the house.
When he got there, he picked a flute of champagne from the tray being passed around and held it between his fingers. He glanced around the room, trying to find a spot that wasn’t already occupied by couples wanting to kiss beneath the mistletoe.
When he looked toward the back was the moment he saw her.
Theo felt as though his world had just come to a halt.
He stared at the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. She stood way in the back, holding a flute of champagne between her fingers. Her auburn hair was left down and the short curls framed her face to perfection. She had soft brown eyes that were looking straight ahead.
Theo swallowed through the lump in his throat. What the fuck had just happened?
Her left arm was crossed over her middle as she hugged herself. Her dress came to her knees, showcasing her calves and feet that were enclosed in those white sandals he had spotted before.
She stood alone and Theo wondered where the guy from before had disappeared to. Was he her boyfriend?
He hoped not.
When he finally got his frozen body to move, he began to make his way toward her. Her gaze had dropped to her feet and she seemed to be lost in thought. Theo felt his heart jerk in his chest when her hand came up to brush a few curls behind her ear. It was such a little gesture, but it made his cock stand at attention.
She had on a thin silver bracelet on her wrist that matched the silver chain that rested on her collarbone. The pendant was a tiny silver cross that had a single gem in its center.
He heard Bernadette shout something from the front of the room and he faltered when her head came up and she began looking around as though she was searching for someone. Fucking hell, that guy had to be her boyfriend.
He had almost made it to her when she turned away from him to look at Bernadette who continued speaking. Theo couldn’t make out a word. Every fiber of his being was focused on the girl before him. It was almost a compulsion to touch her. To speak to her. To hear her voice. He placed his glass on a table nearby.
In a moment, he was right behind her. His tongue felt heavy in his mouth. Couldn’t she sense the nervousness radiating from him? He felt as though every single eye in the room was on him. And yet, no one was even looking in his direction. The other guy hadn’t come anywhere near yet.
Theo swallowed hard.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, he heard Bernadette shout and declare that the countdown was about to begin.
He needed to talk to her now, before the lights went out.
She didn’t seem to hear him.
Theo waited for a second longer and in that time the lights went out and the crowd began shouting.
Suddenly she turned around and looked at him for a second. Then she smiled and placed her glass of champagne on the table next to her.
Had she heard him?
Fuck. Why was he so nervous?
Speak louder, Theo.
He reached out to offer his hand, “Hey, I’m-“
“Hey, I was wondering where you’d disappeared to.” Her voice was soft but he heard it because of their proximity.
Then to his utter surprise, she took a step toward him, placing her palms on his chest.
Her hands slid over his shoulders and gently tugged behind his neck, making him lean in toward her.
Theo caught her arms, intending to remove them from his body. “No, I’m not-“
She reached up and covered his lips with hers in a soft kiss.
Theo went still.
Around them cheers rang through the room with a chorus of Happy New Year.
Before him, the girl stepped back with her eyes slightly closed and murmured, “Happy New Year.”
Then she reached up once more and kissed him again, pressing herself to his torso. He felt the soft weight of her breasts pushing against him and he lost all sense of rightness.
Theo couldn’t stop his hands from moving down her arms and wrapping around her waist. He couldn’t stop himself from kissing her back. Her lips were soft, warm and she tasted like fruit punch. He was going to hell.
Bringing his hand up to cup her jaw, he tentatively touched his tongue to the seam of her lips. She tensed in his arms for a second before she relaxed again and opened up for him. Theo took the chance to slip inside her mouth and almost groaned when he touched her tongue.
His hands ached to move to her front and cup the softness pressing into him. His cock hardened in his pants, rigid with need. Fuck, he was such an ass.
When he massaged her tongue with his, she let out a soft moan that made his cock jerk.
Fucking hell, he was about to lose it.
He pulled back slowly, slipping his tongue out and kissing her mouth gently, softly.
Her eyes were still closed, her breath coming in short pants. Theo thought his heart was going to burst with the adrenaline pumping through his veins.
He had just kissed another guy’s girlfriend and he didn’t fucking feel like shit when he should have.
He stared at her face in the darkness, memorizing what he could. He stroked his thumb down the nape of her neck and back up again.
Then he leaned in again and gave her one final kiss, filing away this memory with all of its perfection.
He slowly took her hands in his and stepped away from her. Then he dropped a quick kiss on her forehead, let her go and slipped away into the crowd. When the lights came back on, he was gone.