1. A cause for celebration
"Sit still Haddy, we're almost done," she murmurs, completely immersed in plucking the strays off my eyebrows.
I huffed and squeezed my eyes shut, trying my best to stray my thoughts from Bethany's painful handiwork.
I pictured the outfit I'd picked out for the party this evening and a flutter tickled the pit of my stomach. It was the perfect blend of sexy and innocent. It was me. And for the first time in my entire, slobbery life, Bethany had agreed on this too. She'd squealed and jumped with contagious joy, later announcing that she was actually proud of me for not picking out a combination that looked like something I'd borrowed from a homeless person. The rest is history, because this party was going to be the biggest, the most legendary, and it was our last time to have fun as students of the same class because come a week, we'd be graduates baby.
The burning sting in my cheek snapped me out of my celebratory thoughts.
"You know, I'm getting really tired of hearing you say that."
"You slapped me!"
"Yes, I did, but only because you weren't responding to me calling your name out three times. I was starting to worry that you'd fallen into a coma," she rambled so fast, I had to take a moment to decipher what she said.
"Right, I'm sorry, I was just lost in thought, but don't slap me again. Now I'm going to go in there looking like a cake faced puffer fish." I winced, pressing on the tender skin.
"Honey, if that's what you want then I'd be honored to take care of the other cheek." She smirked.
I threw her one of my nastiest glares and she was zipping her lips not a moment later.
"Come on, it's party time." She linked her elbow with mine and lead me further into the room.
"Oh" I gasped.
"My" she breathed.
"God!" The blond a few feet away from us moaned outrageously. She was pinned to the wall by none other than Bryce Edwards, aka the school's womanizing nimpho, and I knew I'd need to douse my eyes in holy water before I even began to comprehend what they were doing.
"Ookay, we should go before the boat leaves us behind with those two, honestly I don't need a rehash of Bryce's version of some fifty shades shit," Bethany dragged me across the bridge that lead us to the Noah's ark sized yacht. Jace Michealson's parents had jumped at the opportunity to give up one of their most luxurious properties for us on this day, and everyone knew it wasn't a big deal for them to host a bunch of shit faced high school kids on their fancy boat because there's more where that came from, and well, they literally own Pierceson High so there was no saying otherwise anyway.
The salty breeze played havoc with the satin of my dress, the sheer fabric danced furiously around my knees and dangerously flapped around my thighs. I placed my palm over the stubborn material below my waist, not wanting to flash anyone.
"Come on, we should head indoors and get ourselves a drink." I followed Beth's lead. Anything to escape the sneaky breeze.
We stepped into a lounge/ bar/ social setting area. The place was already packed, and from what I could see, some were already having trouble holding their own with the alcohol. The lighting was warm and there was a Chainsmokers remix shaking the walls. The scent of leather and strong beer stung my nose the second I walked in, which in turn caused me to wrinkle my nose unattractively, and just as my luck had it— I spotted him across the room at that precise moment, right as his eyes caught mine.
Everything else didn't seem to matter anymore, the noise dimmed, the smell was non- existent, hell, I didn't give a shit about the smell anymore. The lights were brighter, the temperature rose slightly, there was a buzzing in the air and I had the sudden urge to sway my hips, jump atop the marble counter of the bar and dance the night away. There was definitely something in the air. Jace had probably put something in the AC vents for all I know.
"Hadly!" I jumped at the sudden intrusion.
"Honey, are you okay? You kind of spaced for a bit. Are you sure everything's alright with you? I mean, first it was this afternoon and now, oh my god Hadly, is there something you're not telling me? Becau—"
"Bethany! Calm down, I'm fine, I just-"
"-what is it?" She whispered lowly, discreetly pushing me over to a corner.
My gaze hurriedly swept the room as my feet numbly followed Beth's lead. I was only half conscious of my movements, eyes bouncing over every individual in sight, mind occupied by a certain someone and his presence here today.
"Hadly, tell me what's going on," she murmured in that rare, serious tone of hers.
"It's nothing, it's just- I saw Adrian." My stomach shuddered at the mention of his name, and those familiar syllables on my lips felt like a breath of fresh air.
"What? Are you sure? Well, what is he doing here? Were the alumni invited or something?"
"Beth, keep your voice down, and I'm not sure, maybe they were." My eyes kept lingering everytime I caught flashes of dark hair, broad shoulders, hell, even that perfectly straight nose of his.
"Oh my god... you still like him." She hissed, a massive grin on her face. I fought the smile trying to overtake mine and lowered my gaze shyly when the massive grin took victory.
"Oh my goodness!" She squealed excitedly, bouncing on her feet.
"Beth, calm down, people are looking." I gritted through my teeth.
"We should dance, this calls for celebration, come on!" My protests fell upon deaf ears as she dragged me over to the dance floor, throwing her arms up and swinging her hips from side to side. Bethany's excitement was always contagious, and so I soon found myself mimicking her movements, screaming the words of the song blasting through the speakers. A few others joined us in a matter of time, an unspoken circle formed amongst us as we allowed the music and the high to takeover.
I yelped as I was snatched and pushed into a corner.
"Adrian, what the hell?" I shrieked, heart pounding.
I looked up at him. God, he was so hot. He'd grown handsomely into his features, and from the strain in my neck— I could tell he'd even gotten in a few inches to his height. His hair was longer than before, and I knew he never liked it that way, which meant he'd missed an appointment with the barber, but I'd always loved his hair. His eyes crinkled in the corners as he smiled down at me like he hadn't seen me for years. And it sure as hell felt that way.
"Hey Adrian." I smiled back, sounding breathless.
"I see you're enjoying yourself, you should make the most of it before it's time to hit the grind." I missed his voice, that deep baritone and intellectual tone of his.
Leonardo Decaprio could have been at this party and I still wouldn't have been as happy as I was to see Adrian. I had the sudden urge to kiss him but I had to restrain myself to avoid being too forward, so I took a step back to create some space between us. That's when I piqued with curiosity.
"Wait, how are you here? Were you invited or something?" I inquired.
"Yeah, so were the rest of the alumni, some of us couldn't make it though. But the guys are here, Amaya, Melissa and their gang too." He beamed, slipping his hands into his pockets, and I grew more excited at his words. It's great to have the OG's here at our party. I knew some of them were in the country to visit their families during the holidays and I'm suddenly more than glad that they decided to join us here tonight.
"Oh my god that's great! I can't wait to meet everyone," I gushed, the tension between the two of us forgotten.
A few laughs and reminisces later, and we were getting along like the previous year never happened. He was being his usual, charming self. We cracked jokes, he caught me up on his college life and I filled him in on what was happening in mine, but there were moments in between when I'd catch him staring a moment too long, something unspoken in those darkening eyes and each time, my heart would stop functioning like it's supposed to. I was also very aware of how we kept drifting towards eachother like there was an invisible string that drew me in as it did him, and as the conversation went on and I began to catch whiffs of his enticing cologne, or feel the balmy warmth his body exuded, and the subtle brushes of his fingers— I couldn't find it in me to care enough to step away this time, because I was too far gone, too lost and too possessed by all that was him.
"Hadly." He whispers, close enough for me to count his non- existent pours. His fingers trace my hairline, tucking a few stubborn curls behind my ear with a touch so gentle— you'd think I was made of the most valuable combinations of glass.
My eyes fluttered shut just as he leaned in, and every atom in my body ached to have his lips on mine. His warm breath coated my slightly parted lips, a feather light brush, and the expanse of my skin erupted with goosebumps.
I was prepared to beg him to kiss me but suddenly the ground beneath us was shaking, unsteady, I lost my footing and my body felt weightless.