Kate plastered a cheery grin on her face as she hugged yet another guest. Despite the fact the numbers were relatively small considering it was her eighteenth, there were still too many people to greet for Kate's liking.

Oh, how I hate being sociable.

She had been so busy greeting people that she'd barely said anything to her main mates all night. She inwardly sighed, attempting to run her fingers through her recently curled hair. When were people going to stop arriving?

Most of the people from college had neglected to turn up. The only ones present were Phoebe, Alex, Lois, Will and two other newbies, Rihannaa and Charlotte.

Still, she admitted, glancing round the lavish room, at least the party appears to be going well.

Her mum had hired out the function room of the "White Swan Hotel" and they had certainly done her party justice. There was a medium sized dance floor situated in the middle of the room, currently packed with people, the main cream table was covered by a white tablecloth , upon which lay the most delectable buffet she had ever seen. There was a wide array of sandwiches, quiche, crisps and dip, and various other items of food that she could not even identify. Her family members were munching away, making little groans of pleasure that confirmed their approval. To the far right, lay the bar , that provided a giant collection of reasonably priced drinks and from the white ceiling hung pink balloons that coordinated with her skimpy pink party dress. The balding, middle-aged DJ spun a variety of hits ranging from Bon Jovi, Abba, to Eminem, and he even threw in some old classic ballads for the more mature party guests.

It really was perfection.

Now, if only I could sit down………
Her feet were starting to tire from all the rushing around she'd been doing.

It was just as she slid over to Phoebe in the hopes of finding some relief from her aching feet …… that she noticed who had just entered the room.

Lily was heading her way, her brown eyes flashing excitedly.

Kate squealed ,immediately forgot all about getting a seat and enclosed her best friend in a bone crushing hug.

"You came! Do you realise what time it is?"

Lily finally pulled away from the embrace, smoothed her straightened dark hair and laughed wildly.

"Of course I came! Sorry I was a little late, but I didn't finish work until eight and I needed to get ready."

Lily was a trainee hairdresser and since Kate had actually been one of her clients earlier that very day, she decided to cease complaining.

"I'm going up town in about an hour though, you coming?"

Kate gaped. She has to be joking.. "What? The party finishes at twelve……..I-I can't just leave my own party."

Lily pouted. "Well I'm going to meet some mates in town and then we're going to go clubbing. You can meet up with us when it finishes."

Kate didn't know what to say. My best mate of nine years turns up an hour late to my party and is going to leave in another hour because she wants to go clubbing! Can't she at least wait for me?

She immediately chastised herself, she was being altogether too demanding and sensitive. Naturally, Lily wanted to go clubbing. Besides, Lily even wanted to meet up with her later.

"Of course I'm going clubbing later on. I'm eighteen ,officially legal…… unlike some people. "

Lily shrugged. " So? I'll be legal in seven months and besides- I have fake ID. Ring me when you are setting off and we'll meet you somewhere. You look wonderful ."

Kate murmured a thank you, yet the more Lily spoke, the more it became apparent there was a weird quality to her speaking pattern. She noticed her sway slightly.

Oh great, she's already drunk. God help her by the end of the night. I' m not carrying her home.

Kate couldn't help grinning. Lily never could be sober at a party, you'd have better luck commanding Elton John to be straight!
"Besides," Lily continued, "It's not just my fault for being late. I had to wait for Robbie."

No sooner were the words out of her mouth than Kate automatically stiffened. She'd been so distracted by Lily's inebriation and incessant chattering that she had not noticed the person coming up behind her.

Lily shot her a beaming grin and went to sit down, at least she wasn't so drunk she'd lost the simple bodily function of her legs, Kate happily noted.

She lost all further thought as Robbie pulled her into a friendly hug. Once again, going extremely stiff, this time due to shock.

He's going to think he's hugging a mannequin. At least hug him back! What is wrong with me?

Kate tentatively hugged him back, then relaxed as he pulled way.

She had not been expecting the friendly greeting. If anything, she thought she may have received a "hey" or "Happy Birthday", but nothing more. Sure, he was always polite to her now he knew she fancied him but never once had he ever been affectionate. She didn't like it. It made her feel odd, uncomfortable, embarrassed, and awkward. Why does he have to be so friendly? Yes, he hugs his mates, I hug my mates, but we, us two, we're not mates so he shouldn't bother hugging me. I much preferred it when he was insulting me.

He handed her an envelope. A second later her brain registered it was a birthday card. She took it, glared at it and frowned.

He got me a card, that's………..sweet. He didn't need to get me a card. I wasn't expecting a card. I hope he realises I wasn't expecting a card and it wasn't a requirement for the party or anything. I mean, it's nice of him, but he really shouldn't have bothered wasting his money.

Ok, the sensible side of her brain stepped in, this is normally the part where you say thank you.

"Thank you."

Yay! Well done.

Robbie grinned. "Happy birthday."

"Thank you."

Ok, you can stop saying thank you now. Oh god, I'm a robot!

He gave her a once over. "You look good."

Kate managed to stop her questioning frown in time to prevent him seeing it. Don't attack him. It's a compliment, he's trying to be nice.

"Thanks," she said, yet again, pretty soon he'd start wondering if there were any other words in her vocabulary. "So do you."

Wow, you paid him a compliment. You may be progressing into an actual civilised human being.

Kate's inner self was starting to annoy her. She was also worrying she had split personality disorder or something Did "normal" people have full blown conversations in their head like this? She could guarantee it wasn't healthy. Some people said the first sign of madness was talking to yourself, others said it was answering yourself back , and she did both. Inside her head, and out of it. She had lost count of the numerous times when she was alone when she'd ranted at herself and then turned the rant into a full blown argument between her two differing points of view. Kate vs. Kate was an ongoing match and a very frustrating one at that. You're going to end up in a padded cell when you're older, and I don't think they allow cats in a mental hospital so you'll have nobody. Well, maybe your family, if you don't drive them to the same place that is!

She attempted to tune out her mocking thoughts . Anyway, the compliment she had previously paid Robbie happened to be true. He was wearing dark trousers and a white shirt that seemed to bring out his twinkling brown eyes.

He once again made an attempt at conversation. "How are you?"

"Good. You?"

"Good."

"That's good."

Oh this was such an intellectually stimulating, decent conversation!

No awkwardness here at all.

Hasty exit needed pronto. Move now!

Kate managed to walk about four steps until she realised he was still speaking to her, and she was running off in the middle of their conversation. Can this get any worse? How rude is he going to think I am being this time?

She turned to face him.

"How is college?" He repeated.

"It's great. I made it on to the course I wanted."

"I did too. I'm in the second year now."

I know. Lily told me. "Really?" She feigned surprise. " You still doing A-level drama at Joseph's college?" No, he just told you he'd made it onto the second year because it's such a hilarious joke. At least try to engage your brain before talking. Please.

"Yes." He was starting to look bored, and she honestly couldn't blame him.

She decided to save them both the despair of having to continue this meaningless charade any longer.

She smiled. "I need to go now."

"Alright. See you later."

He barely had chance to finish his sentence before Kate speed walked over to Phoebe's table.

"You alright? You having fun ? You look nice."

Phoebe frowned , no doubt perturbed by the rapid fire questions . Then her face cleared.

"Yes, it's alright. Have you seen that guy ? He's so fit."

"What guy?" she questioned rather loudly, casting her head around.
Phoebe looked mortified. "Shh!" She covered her mouth with her hand , a thing Phoebe often did when she wanted to tell somebody something private . Only problem was nobody could either hear her as her hand muffled the sound , or manage to lip read since her entire mouth was shielded from view.

"What?"

From behind the hand there was a muffled sound.

"Can you move your hand? I can't hear you."

Phoebe nodded her head, apparently having progressed to full telepathic signals now.

"I still can't hear you."

Phoebe's eyes flashed in annoyance, and she finally removed her hand, giving Kate a glare that seemed to be saying "Yes, you can hear me. You're just humiliating me on purpose."

She stated making funny gestures with her hands. Kate bit back a groan, rueing the day Phoebe had taken up sign language.

"Err- Phebes, I hate to break it to you but I don't know sign language . Just tell me!"

"That guy," she half mouthed, half softly whispered, "is so fit!"

"Yes, I got that part already. Who? You mean Robbie?"

Robbie was the only guy at the party she could think of as being somewhat hot.

Phoebe's face was a picture of disgust "Who is Robbie? You mean that guy you were talking to before? Ew- no, he's horrid."

Kate bristled defensively.

"Well who then!"

"That guy over there."

"Where?" Kate screamed, losing her patience and drawing attention their way.

"Phoebe groaned. "Discreet, much. He's like there, two tables away , next to Will"

And that was so hard to say in the first place because……

Kate glanced over and wrinkled her nose. "You dared called Robbie minging!" Robbie was Antonio Banderas compared to this guy. Not to mention the fact that he'd entered the party over an hour ago with Will, who Phoebe had tried to avoid all night. " He's not very….."she trailed off, not wanting to say more.

"Hey, he's hot" Phoebe protested.

"He's also Will's mate."

At this, she grimaced. "Yeah, I know. I feel like bad, Kate, but like, Will was trying to talk to me before but he's too nice. He's a bit boring." She paused, looking uncomfortable. " I don't think I fancy him anymore."

Kate felt her insides knot. "Phoebe, I told him you fancied him."

"What? I told you to wait until the party. What did you go and do that for?"

"You were all over him, and on about him 24/7. You told me you really liked him, I was trying to help. Besides, it's not just me. You told some of the new girls and they hinted you were attracted to him, plus Dick kept grilling him. I just thought I may as well confirm it yesterday, and he told me he likes you. Now what am I going to do? What will he think?"

Phoebe chewed on her lip, adopting a thoughtful expression. "I even prefer Dick to him . I don't know what to do, he really likes me, but I don't feel anything and his mate is fit."

Kate was disgusted. "Then don't lead Will on, you'll only regret it and end up hurting him. Be honest."

"But-"

"But what?" How more simple can it be?

"What if I change my mind?"

She can't be serious. "You don't feel something now, you're not suddenly going to get the spark back. Don't just be with him because you want somebody. He's not a toy, and he deserves more than that. Just don't do anything with his mate."

She once again inspected the lanky, plain, dark haired guy. Will was better looking anyway, and he really seemed to like Phoebe. Poor guy. Everyone in college, including me, has made him think he stands a chance with her. Kate felt guilty and she abhorred feeling guilty.

She walked away from Phoebe in an attempt to cool down.

Unfortunately, her cousin, Mary, saw this as an opportune moment to tell her about her latest crush.

Though Mary lived not far from Kate, Kate rarely saw her, she was lucky if they spoke once in three years. She didn't know anything about her, not even her age, although she looked somewhere around sixteen. Still, her mum had made her invite the girl anyway.

"Who is that guy? " Mary exclaimed . "The fit one."

Oh please. not again!

Kate followed Mary's eye line , and realised she was staring at Robbie.

"That's Robbie. You fancy him?"

Mary nodded, her long blond hair twinkling as she stood under the faint disco lights. Kate was please the music was at a medium level rather than the ear shattering volume that got played at most parties. It allowed her to talk to her guests, although in this case she didn't particularly want to.

Oh stop being jealous! Robbie doesn't fancy you, he never has fancied you, at least give your cousin a chance. If Robbie likes her, he likes her, if not, fair dues, but at least give him a chance to decide and make that choice for himself. Don't let your envy consume you.

"Can you introduce me?" Mary sounded hopeful.

"I'm too busy, but I'll tell you some things he likes so you can start a conversation. He likes Buffy, Bon Jovi, drama, Aerosmith, Rock FM and joking around. Does that help?"

"Thanks," Mary beamed and confidently approached him.

Kate turned away. She suddenly remembered she still had his card in her hand. She opened it and read the message inside .

To Kate,

Happy Birthday,

I hope all your dreams come true and you get everything you want, luv Robbie x

Kate gave a wry grin. Somehow I really doubt that, but thanks anyway.

Kate's mum was approaching the DJ, she gave Kate a weird look. "Are you ok?"

Kate faked a smile. "Great. The party is wonderful. I love you so much, thank you," she threw her arms around her.

How many people had she hugged tonight?

Her mum peered at Robbie. "Is that.."
"Robbie? Aha."

Her mum had heard all about Robbie, not just from Kate, Lily had found it amusing to retell the knife story to Kate's mum. Lily really was like her mum's second daughter in a way, they were both that comfortable with each other, but then again, her mum was easy for her friends to be comfortable with.

"Mary fancies him so I…."
Her mum grinned. "Yes, but he can't do anything with her. She's fourteen."

"What?" Kate squeaked.

"I know . She looks older, doesn't she?"

Kate nodded frantically. "I've just encouraged her to make the moves on him. I thought she was sixteen."

Now it was her mum's turn to look worried. "What? You better fix it. Her mum is over there", she indicated to where all her family were gathered together.

Kate looked over at Mary and Robbie in horror. They seemed to be getting on well. Too well.

Oh shit! What have I done? I'm going to get him done for paedophilia

She quickly placed his card in a pile with her assortment of cards and presents.

She had a big mistake to fix.


A/N

Yeah, she may be being overly dramatic. Mary isn't a child yet she is under-age and Kate feels pretty stupid now. I know I've been away for forever, but I've been getting prepared for uni and thinking about leaving my hometown and I just couldn't concentrate on anything. Anyway, all my stories are getting updated and I'm back to reviewing. Speaking of reviews, if you bothered reading this, I'd really appreciate any feedback