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Snippet Seven: The Party Begins
Gabe arrived early to help set up. Nicky quietly mentioned to me how cruel I was for still leading him on like he was the only guy in my life. I honestly felt if Gabe hadn’t noticed by then, the whole night was going to go over his head. The proof had been right in front of him for weeks and he either didn’t care or was that oblivious. Either was a win for me.
Nick and I stood in the kitchen looking out over the guests. Everyone was mingling well. I was stuffing my face with chips and cheese dip trying to settle my stomach before the binge drinking ensued.
“You know this is going to be a mess,” Nicky said sternly.
I popped another chip in my mouth. “I don’t care.”
Dillon was out by the pool, I assumed his plan was to stay as far away from Nick as possible. Gabriel was behind us getting a beer from the fridge. When he headed to the living room I told him I’d catch up with him later
Alec was nowhere to be seen and I hadn’t heard from him so I was hopeful he had opted out of attending. All I truly cared about was Finn. I planned to break up with Gabe in a heartbeat if I got even an inkling of having a shot with Finn.
My mind spun into a daydream about how wonderful the evening could go. How I could be having my first kiss with Finn and we would live happily ever after. I was so zoned out for a minute I didn’t even know he had arrived.
“Your third boyfriend is making his way to the snack table.” Nick’s voice snapped me out of my trance.
“What? Oh no, I’m not ready…yes I am…crap…okay. If Alec comes in distract him. Actually if anyone comes in distract them. Wish me luck!”
“Yeah, you need it.” He smirked.
I took a deep breath and headed towards the dining room.
“Hey,” I squeaked when I saw the back of Finn’s head.
“Hi…uh…hey.” He turned toward me and in our usual awkward state we didn’t know whether to greet with a hug, a handshake, or a simple nod.
“What is with us?” I laughed. “We’ve known each other how long and we still can’t say hello?”
“I think its tradition now. We can’t change it.” He grinned.
I just nodded like a bobble head, too dumbfounded to say anything else. Where was cool Isla from lunch a couple days ago?
“This is a great place.” Finn broke our silent lull.
“Thanks! I really like it. Better than renting an apartment.”
“You look great tonight.”
“Thank you.” I tucked my hair behind my ear and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only that started to blush. “I had a great time catching up. I’d love to take you up on the movie and dinner option sometime.”
Finn took a step closer and my heart began to race. “What are you doing tomorrow? Throwing another wild house party?”
“I’m free as a….” my voice trailed off and I laughed. “I have no idea what I was going to compare myself too!”
“You’re adorable.” Finn moved even closer and locked eyes with me.
After all this time Finn was the only one who still filled my stomach with butterflies. The moment, THE kiss, I had imagined for so many years was definitely about to happen.
‘About to’ was as close as I’d ever get. I’d completely forgotten about all the others until Alec stumbled in at most inconvenient moment. Had I known mine and Finn’s paths were going to cross I never would have thrown that stupid party. It should have just been him and I. I should have gotten my perfect last first kiss.
“Hey, baby.” Alec slapped my ass and spun me around to kiss me.
My heart sank. Usually I’d be all over Alec if he was acting that way, but with Finn standing there I knew it was a mistake. Maybe Nicky was right; the whole night was a mistake. Three minutes. I had three perfect minutes with Finn before my plan began to self-destruct. I wanted a fight, but I didn’t want one that quickly. And I didn’t want to be the one fighting.
By the time I broke away from Alec, Finn was gone.
“I’ll be right back. I gotta grab something from my car.” I lied.
Around the corner Nicky was still standing in the kitchen. One look and he could read my mind.
“If you run you can still catch him, he just walked out the door.” He nodded to the front of the house.
Tears welled up inside. Genuine tears I had never felt before in regards to dumb boys. This was different. I screwed up.
He was almost to his car. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he didn’t stop, but he did and started walking back towards me.
“What was that, Isla?”
“Listen to me please—”
“I have waited, I have wasted, years of my life waiting for a chance with you. Running into the other day I thought was my sign. I thought now that Dillon was out of the picture maybe we could give this a shot. And it was all a joke to you.”
“It’s not like that. Alec is just a friend. He’s drunk…” I scrambled for excuses.
“Do you even hear yourself? It’s like you’re still in high school. Oh if Dillon could see you now—”
“He’s here too.”
“What the fu—” he clinched his fist and caught himself before he actually cursed. I always liked that he was one of the ‘good guys’. “You have some serious issues.”
“You liked me? In school all those years, it wasn’t just my imagination?”
He rolled his eyes and headed toward his car again.
“Yes or no, Finn? I need to know.”
“Yes!” He turned to face me but kept walking backward down the street. “Is that what you wanted to hear? You get the prize, Princess Isla. You were all I wanted. You get to go in the history book as my first love. And now you get to be known as my biggest mistake. I hope you’re happy with yourself.”
He got to his car, slammed the door, and without hesitation sped off down the road. I watched the tail lights disappear and waited far too long for him to turn around and come back.
I slowly made my way back to the house where a true movie-worthy-frat party had broken out. People were swimming in their clothes, the music was ten times louder than when I’d left, a round of beer pong was in full swing, and the refrigerator door had been left open. With Finn gone my other “candidates” suddenly seemed less appealing, but I was hopeful a couple shots of vodka would help drown my sorrows.