Tonight, the cold winter breeze blew through my dark brown bobbed hair. I had been invited to a party on the rooftop of a luxurious L.A. home. The house was bigger than anything I’ve ever seen. It was like in the movies. The rooftop was crowded with people in over the top dresses and suits. I pushed past the guests looking for someone. I felt out of place in such a big crowd. I’ve never felt comfortable at parties. I was always a loner. I walked over to the snack table and watched the guests mingle around the rooftop. People were laughing with their drinks in their hands and having animated conversations in their cliques. Ladies on the dance floor with their fellas or gals. They were dancing so carefree in the night, as the live band played.
“Why aren’t ya out there?”
A high pitched voice that sounded naturally sweet and smooth like honey, brought me back to earth. I looked over to see a candy apple red redhead. She was wearing a flashy dress that was daringly shorter than mine. She looked at me, her eyeshadow was so dramatic and her lips were painted a deep shade of red. She took a couple of puffs of her cigarette that she delicately held between her fingers.
“Ariadne!” I say.
“Darling, I’m glad you could make it! Kisses!”
She wraps me in a big hug that feels like a warm comforting blanket around my body. Oh, how I’ve missed this girl so much. We’ve been apart for far too long, it was nice to finally see her again. We kissed each other on the cheek, as we untangled our arms from around each other’s bodies. Ariadne is my best friend. We’ve known each other since we were children. We did everything together. From sneaking out of our parents’ homes on a school night to staying up all night talking about boys. She moved to L.A. a few years before I did. When she met her now affluent fiancé. Sebastian. Ariadne promised to show me a good time when I got down here.
“How’ve ya been?” Ariadne asked.
“Good, just trying to adjust to living in the city.”
“I hear ya, I’m still getting used to it ’round here.” She says taking another long puff of her cigarette.
“Let me see the ring.” I say.
She smirks at me and lifts her perfectly dainty hand. The rock was big, but sat pretty and proud on her finger. The opalescent diamond sparkling in the light. It was made for her hand. Almost like it was perfectly picked out just for her and her only.
“That must’ve cost a fortune!” I say.
“Sebastian tells me, I deserve nothing but the best for his girl.” She says proudly with a big smile on her face.
“Well, it’s gorgeous. I’m glad you’re happy.”
She turns her head to look at me.
“Now, we just have to find someone for you.” She said.
“That won’t be necessary.” I say.
“Oh, have a little fun, Cress.”
“Is this your house?” I ask, changing the subject.
She blew out a cloud of smoke and moved her eyes back on me. She let out a loud laugh that could fill a whole room.
“Nah, it belongs to a friend of mine. You should meet him!”
“Oh, no, you don’t have to.”
“Don’t be silly, c’mon!”
She puts her cigarette out. Then grabbed me by the wrist and dragged me through the crowd. She has always been the outgoing and charming one. I always wished I could’ve been more like her. We walk into the house and into a smoke room. The room was hazy from the cigarette and cigar smoke. The smell of tobacco overwhelmed me. There were nothing but groups of men standing and talking to other fellas. Ariadne led me to a far corner of the room, where one gentleman stood out to me from the rest. He was standing with his leg propped up on the table to support the guitar that he was playing. The music coming from the acoustic guitar was pretty and jazzy sounding.
“Hiya fellas.” Ariadne says as we pass by a group of men.
They give us a nod as a greeting and continue to engage in their personal conversation. She continues onto the young gentleman playing the guitar. He was a tall man with neatly styled chestnut brown hair. He was dressed to the nines in his beige slacks that were rolled at the bottoms, exposing his socks. His button up salmon colored top had a few buttons undone at the top. He looked up for a minute to see us approaching him. He stopped playing and sat the guitar down. Leaning it against the table he previously had his foot propped up on.
“Aria!” He says giving her a lopsided smile.
He grabbed a cigar from his pocket and lit it up.
“Noah, it’s a shame to see you hiding away from your own party.” Aria said.
“You know I’m not one for making appearances at my own functions.” He says.
Then he looks at me. His blue eyes scanning my face and then traveled down to my body.
“Who’s your friend, Aria?” He asks.
He continued to look at me and puffed his cigar. He looked at me like he was fascinated by me. Like a mystery he was trying to solve in his mind. It probably had to do with me being new around here. Maybe he was the type to be intrigued by new things.
“This is my best friend, Cressida.” Aria says, introducing me.
I had to admit, I felt uncomfortable with his intense stare on me. I could feel his eyes on every part of my body, as he took all of me in for the first time. His stare made me feel like I didn’t know how to act or even how to stand. I was fidgeting under his gaze trying to busy myself to keep me from thinking of his eyes on me. I never had this much attention from a stranger before. It was quite strange.
“I’m sorry if my staring is making you uncomfortable. Say, are you new around here?” He asks.
He must’ve picked up on how uncomfortable I was through my anxious body language. I guess it had been more noticeable than I thought.
“That’s alright. Yes, I actually just moved out here a few months ago.” I say.
“Welcome to Los Angeles. It’s nice to meet you, Cressida.”
“You too. How do you and Ariadne know each other?” I ask.
“This is Sebastian’s brother.” She says.
“Oh, I didn’t know Sebastian had a brother.”
“Younger brother to be exact. Not too many people know about me. My big brother gets most of the attention.” He says.
“What were you playing on the guitar?” I ask.
“It was nothing. Just something I made up.”
He quickly brushed it off, but seemed very insecure about the little tune.
“I thought it was great.” I said.
He looked up at me. His eyes wide and he was speechless. He seemed shocked at the thought of someone liking something he did. Maybe he was caught off guard, but it seemed like he didn’t get much praise. He gave me his signature lopsided smile.
“I’m glad you like it. Would you like to hear more?” He asks.
“I’d love to.” I say.
“I’ll leave you two alone.” Ariadne says.