A/N: I wrote this in December, 2009 - and then completely forgot to post it in time for New Years. I hope you enjoy, regardless.

A New Chapter

The countdown has begun. Around them, people chant, gripping onto one another's arms. Some just stand and listen, grins of excitement on their faces. The atmosphere is electric.

Ten, nine, eight.

The scent of hotdogs and cotton candy is on the air.


If anyone was to ask him, he'd say it isn't a particularly exciting way to await for the turn of the new year, surrounded by strangers and with little space to move about and too much noise to hear his companion. It is better than being stuck at the office or at home alone though he's sure he isn't the best of company.


In fact, he's surprised Stella bothered to drag him along with her. He's been grumpy all day and has given no reason why she should invite him.


What could she possibly have been thinking when she invited him?


She knows this isn't his scene. He's much better suited to small groups of friends when he does go out.


Here, he can smell the shampoo of the man standing in front of them with no trouble. It's lucky that it's winter really. Winter means there are no sweaty bodies pressed up against his and no body odour to contend with.


He forces his thoughts away from the crowd and focuses them on Stella. She's got a smile on her face and a look about her that really has him intrigued.


The crowd erupts and various items (popcorn, hotdog wrappers, baseball caps and even balled up t-shirts) are thrown into the air. He barely notices, though because all of a sudden, Stella's arms are around his neck and her lips are pressed to his and he realises just what that look in her eyes was. His hands go to her waist and pull her closer and he deepens the kiss. The crowd melts away, out of his mind as the new year and a new chapter of his life begins.