VI: The New Year
A once hopeful year of progression and growth ends tonight. I looked back at everything I've done. The work I've completed, the assignments I passed, the friends I've made and the girls I've kissed. Well there were only two but this is me we're talking about.
I'm still with Lexi. We're officially an item. She took me to visit her parents a few days ago. They were nice but I couldn't help that her father gave such stern I'm-going-to-kill-you stares. I was being targeted for assassination. I brought my concerns to Lexi who said it was normal and that her father always scared all the guys she's dated and kissed.
Kiss. The kiss. Alex.
We don't talk for a month.
I don't feel bad about it and in some ways it's better. Thanksgiving was way too emotional. Must be the turkey. We needed time apart or more importantly I needed the time to reflect on what the hell happened to me.
What's changed me over the past year? I'm supposed to be the stable one of the clan. I'm straight-forward. I'm tidy. I'm honest. I had a heart of gold which is considerably rusted right now.
I'd like to know how she felt about what happened but there are repercussions. A part of me wants to explain that we were just caught up in the moment and the other part wants to tell her I love her. Bad.
I didn't necessarily help the situation either by kissing her back. It took a lot for me to pull away and stop kissing heaven because that's what it felt like. Now me and Lexi make out frequently but it doesn't even compare to how much passion that kiss had because it just felt right. Control yourself, man.
Lexi wanted to go out. She insisted on this end of the year party at a busy nightclub. We dressed for the occasion, I had a never worn suit lying around and she wore a shiny bright dress. She met a couple of her friends, some of whom were apparent models. She disappeared with them, leaving me to mingle, trying my absolute best to not look out of place. Where are the books?
I sat at the bar stools, checked my phone for anything to pay attention to. I nursed a drink and it was quite good actually. My voicemail had a new message. I tuned out the bar music.
"Justin. It's Alex. I don't know if you'll get this but can you call me back? Can you see me?" She sounded distressed all throughout.
I finished my drink and went to find Lexi. I spoke with one of her friends and she mentioned Lexi was in the Ladies Room. I waited by the hallway and from the hallway out came this tall blond muscular man. His hair was messed and his clothing wrinkled. Someone had a good night.
The tall stranger noticed me watching, "Something wrong?"
I shook my head and he walked past me. Lexi appeared after, her red hair frazzled from before. She was pretty jumpy and a bit sweaty. I told her about Alex's message and she looked at me weirdly.
"She's probably just drunk. We have to stay till midnight." She whined.
I hated whining. Why the hell am I even here?
"She's my sister, Lexi."
"And I'm your girlfriend! Justin, we've been going out for six months now and I haven't asked anything of you except to be there for me. I need you here."
"Why are we here? Why aren't we at home?"
"To celebrate the new year, to celebrate us."
Her arms pulled me in and she kissed me. She smelled weird, like cologne?
The DJ blasted a Top 40 song. It was all perfect and I guessed it would be the time to say it, calm her fears and say the words I haven't said to her. Not because I didn't want to or that she didn't deserve it but more of the fact that I wasn't ready to let go of that hope, that forbidden hope. It was time to move forward. It's the New Year after all.
I pulled back and smiled, "Lexi, I lo-"
I stopped as my eyes wandered behind her. The tall muscular man from before appeared. Lexi turned around and looked at him, the man turned away and quickly disappeared. Now I have questions.
"Do you know him?"
"That guy over there, he looked like he knew you."
"What guy? I don't know him."
I looked into her eyes because lying usually involved the eyes but I'm not a good reader so I can't tell. I dropped it and asked her, "Look, can we please go to my sister's place? I'm worried about her."
"It's always your sister. She probably got dumped again for the thousandth time."
"Even so, I just want to check up on her. No one should be alone for New Year's."
She looked at me, annoyed. "I don't want to leave my friends."
"I'll come back then."
She shook her head, "If you're not back by midnight..."
"I'm coming back."
I leave and I'm glad. Must be the alcohol. We're usually not like this. We're never like this. We don't fight and maybe that's a problem. We're supposed to be with each other?
I'm at Alex's apartment. The really tall building. I'm pretty sure she wants to talk about what happened. I'm not scared because I'm all set on telling a lie, that I didn't feel anything and that she wasn't herself and that it must've been the turkey.
The elevator stopped. I found her door, Room 920.
I knocked twice, "Alex? It's me, Justin."
There's no response. I picked up my cell phone and dialed her number. Straight to voicemail. My ears to the door and I can faintly hear her ringtone.
That's not good.
"Alex, open up." I'm worried. I stretched out my leg a little and pray the landlord doesn't kick her out because of a busted door.
I kicked with all my might and... Not a single budge. It even hurts my foot.
The door opened. Figures.
A messy blond haired man stepped out in a yellow bathrobe. He had poorly shaped tattoos on his skinny arms. He was wearing too many gold rings for one finger and a gold chain around his neck.
"To what, may I ask are you kicking my door for?" He had a noticeable British accent.
"Is Alex here?"
His eyes grew widely, "You must be Justin! Put it there, I'm Phillip."
Phillip extended his hand, I shook it politely.
"Finally nice to meet you, you weren't there for Thanksgiving."
"My band was on tour. We rocked it."
And then that awkward silence, it goes on a few seconds. This is the guy that Alex wants?
"Is Alex here?"
"No. She went out with her friends."
"Did she have her phone?"
"I don't think so. You want to come in?"
I looked at my watch, it was just past eleven. There's still time.
It was a very luxurious suite. Very modern. All black everything. The rugs, the decor, the curtains and even the lamp. There were platinum records framed on the wall, leather couches and a big screen television to put my living conditions to shame.
He popped out from one of the rooms with a cell phone in hand. "She must've left it."
"This is quite the place."
"Thanks. I have five: one in New York, two in L.A."
"The other three?"
"Not in the States. Have you listened to some of my stuff?"
"I've been busy with College."
"Oh. I see. When you get around to it then, ay?"
I nodded. Lies.
"Between you and me, I love your sister. I'm thankful she found me. She picked me up when I was at a low, the lowest of the low. The very bottom."
"She can do that."
"And you don't have to worry about her. She's in good hands."
Damn. Phillip might as well be a prince. He's perfect. He's exactly what she needs. What she deserves. He's everything normal and he's everything I'm not.
"We should get a beer sometime."
"Of course, how else would I really know?"
We both laughed and I leave after.
I had to get back, back to Lexi. It was close to midnight. I hailed a cab and he dropped me off at the club. The line was even busier than before and the bouncer looked in distress. I asked some people in front if I could cut ahead and they simply laughed. I stood at the back of the line like a fool. I dialed Lexi's number but she wasn't answering.
Just then, a few rowdy ladies exited. It was Lexi and her friends. I called out but she doesn't hear me due to all those in line shouting ahead of me. I saw her looking at her phone and putting it away.
The tall stranger from before appeared behind the group. He said something and they all laughed. He hugged Lexi and gave her an open-mouthed kiss.
I'm about to go on a complete war path but I stopped. Just like before when I stopped myself from telling Lexi I loved her. Is she the one? Did I even love her? Did I truly love her? Wasn't she supposed to be a distraction? A distraction from a distraction. The distraction.
I couldn't watch any longer.
What a way to end the year.
I arrived at my dorm amidst all the partying. It's 11:57 so everything was loud. Most of the dorm rooms were open. A lot of champagne and party hats going around. Someone I don't know handed me a party hat and I put it on and let out a cheap unenthusiastic, "Woo."
"That's the spirit!"
I opened the door and closed it right away. I turned the lights on.
I flinched back and see Alex standing there beside my computer, wearing black everything. She also has one of the party hats and a bottle of champagne on hand.
"Jesus Alex, don't scare me like that!" I take my coat off and placed it on the chair.
"How'd you get in here?"
"I'm a wizard, Justin."
Of course. She handed the bottle of champagne to me and I grabbed a few cups lying around.
I poured the champagne into the cup and handed it to her.
I shook my head. Her face softened.
"I got your message, I went to visit you. Phillip seems like a great guy."
"Uh-huh." She stood beside me. I poured my own drink and even took a swig off the bottle. The champagne is quite good. A dash of strawberry? I studied the label.
We heard the loud countdown from the hall.
9...8...7 "Alex." 6...5...4 "Justin." 3...2...1...
"HAPPY NEW YEAR!" shouted the crowd outside. Horns blew. A whole lot of Woos. Constant banging of the walls.
"Happy New Year, Alex."
We touched cups and drink. She kept those eyes on me throughout. I stopped drinking.
"Listen, Alex. There's something you should know about me..."
She kissed me.
I dropped the cup and kissed her back. There was much more passion this time around. I needed this. I needed her. Her arms around me. I cupped her face and neck. It's like she melting in my arms. I stopped. She looked at me. We're still very close.
"Alex..." I asked with all honesty and all hope,
She doesn't and we don't.
(A/N: Thanks guys for the continued views and reviews. I seriously love looking at this traffic graph they have here. FF didn't have that before. Just to be clear about the "I Lied" chapter. It really was tricky to write and I understand it being a bit confusing but it's mostly the "I Lied" part you should be looking for and yes the kiss did happen. As for the next chapter, it's quite possible this is wrapping up so the next one will be close to perfect, I can only hope... Peace and love because I ain't got enough.)