"Artie, your girlfriend's here!"
I roll my eyes and heave myself into my chair, pushing myself out into the hall. Tina is standing at the end of the hallway, playfully shoving my little sister who is giggling at what she probably thought was the wittiest joke ever.
"Hey Tee," I say when I reach them and Lizzie scampers off to play with our cousins. My house is getting kind of loud and crazy, with all the relatives over. "I'm glad you came."
"I didn't realize there'd be so many people," she says, looking around and I noticed she looked anxious.
"Don't worry about it, they're all mostly harmless," I say with a laugh. "Just beware Lizzie and the other little girls, they might try to give you a make-over and you'll wind up very, very pink. Trust me."
"You speak from experience?" Tina asks with a sly grin.
I shrug, trying to act unconcerned despite the color flooding my cheeks. "Maybe, not that you'll ever find out," I answer. "C'mon, I think my dad's setting up Rock Band in the living room and I know you've been dying to show off your mad skills." Tina laughs and we join my family. This is generally how New Years Eve goes with my family; we all get together at someone's house and it's a whole night of junk food and board games and video game tournaments. This year we're hosting at my house, and since Tina's folks are both still working I invited her over.
The night goes pretty much according to the usual plan. Tina loses miserably at Rock Band, even against my eleven-year-old cousin. For a while she gets roped into painting fingernails with my sister and the other girls her age, who all can't get over her "sparkly pretty" nails. Then she comes to join our Halo tournament, and thanks to all the practice we've put in while procrastinating on homework she actually does fairly well. When my parents drag everyone over the age of fourteen into a game of Scrabble, Tina surprisingly schools us all.
When it finally gets close to midnight, everyone is crammed into the living room, watching the television while we wait for the ball to drop in New York. Everyone is chatting, and Tina and I are sitting in a back corner, so I'm out of the way.
"Make a wish," Tina says to me suddenly.
"On New Years, you make a wish right at midnight for something that you want to happen in the next year and then it's supposed to come true," she explains, glancing at the clock to see we have thirty seconds.
It seems silly to me, but I nod and stare at my hands thoughtfully. What do I wish for? There are a lot of obvious things that come to mind, but I want to think of something practical. Something that could actually happen. That we win at Regionals? No, I don't need to waste a wish on that, we can do that without luck. Hopefully. A worldwide shortage of slushies? That would be nice, but somehow that doesn't seem right.
Curious, I look sideways at Tina. She has her eyes closed and her head titled slightly as she thinks, and I feel my stomach twist suddenly. It's been a weird year for us, with everything we've been through, but I like the direction we're headed now. There's no barrier between us anymore, no lies and no secrets. She still gives me those looks sometimes, the ones that make me feel like she must be seeing some sort of superhero where I'm sitting, and I know I'm definitely still crazy about her.
Suddenly, I know exactly what I want to happen in 2010.
"Ten, nine, eight…" My family starts counting off and Tina's eyes open in surprise. We both look at each other and I swallow hard, licking my lips.
"Tee," I start.
"Six, five, four…"
She leans closer, resting her arms on the armrest of my chair, and it's sort of hard to breathe.
She glances up at me through her impossibly dark eyelashes and I take a deep breath.
She's coming closer and I watch as her eyes close lightly, delicately. My own eyes close a fraction of a second later.
I feel her breath on my jaw and at the exact moment that my family starts shouting "Happy New Year," her lips are on mine. It feels like the fireworks going off on the television are going off in my stomach too. Her hand slips up onto my face and I manage to get enough higher brain function to place my own hand on the side of her neck.
"Ew, Artie and Tina are kissing!"
Tina and I break apart, both of us flushing bright red as everyone turns at Lizzie's shout. There's a lot of "Ews" from the younger kids and wolf-whistles from the older ones. Eventually everyone starts laughing and they go back to what they were doing. Tina and I sit in awkward silence for a minute, but something in my brain makes me realize she never took her hand on my arm.
"What'd you wish for?" she asks curiously when we're sure everyone's leaving us alone.
I blush again, biting down on my lower lip when I glance over at her. "That I could have the guts to do that," I admit. "You?"
Tina gives a quiet giggle. "That you'd do that," she says and ducks her head, trying to hide her blush behind her hair.
A new surge of daring rushes through me. It's time for me to man up and finally go for it. What better time than now, the start of a new year? "There was something else I wished for too, Tee," I continue and she looks up at me questioningly. "I wished you would say yes if I ask you this question."
"And what question is that?" she asks but I can see something like hope in her smile.
"Would you be my girlfriend?" It comes out in one breath, sort of blurred together, but thankfully she understands it. She beams and then throws her arms around me.
"Yes, I will," she says into my neck and I tighten my arms around her. When she giggles again I ask her what she's laughing at, and she says, "I wished you'd ask me that too."
She pulls back to give me another bright smile, and then she kisses me again. When she finally lets me talk again, because I'm not about to break away any sooner than I have to, I smile. "You know, I'm thinking this year is off to a pretty good start so far," I say and Tina laughs, giving me one more quick kiss.
"Yeah, I think so too. Happy New Year, Artie."
"Happy New Year, Tee."
AN: And a very Happy New Year to all of my fellow Gleeks. You guys have been an amazing inspiration to me and I look forward to seeing you all again in the new year when I will hopefully be continuing to read and write more fanfiction with you all. Make a wish, have a kiss, and see you on the other side! – Artie R