It all started on January 1st, at midnight. It was the first day of the year. Actually, it was the first second of the year and things already seemed to be going well. After all, not any girl got a kiss from the cutest boy in town and that was the luck Letitia was having on that moment. Even if it had been a mistaken kiss, given that he had probably tried to kiss her best friend.
Maurice opened his eyes on the tenth second of the year and that pair of green eyes, as green as olives, widened in surprise. Yep, he had definitely thought he was going to kiss Priscilla, who was too busy in an intense exchange of saliva with the son of one of her parents' friends. The guy had the same haircut as Keanu Reeves, in one of the movies the actor did during the nineties and screamed something about ten-thousand-dollar prostitutes while walking on top of a garbage mountain.
In an instant, Maurice's arms let her go and he was standing half a meter away from her, a noticeable thing if considered that there was an average of eight people per square meter in the room on that moment. The fireworks still exploded outside, the sound was loud enough to be heard, even with the music playing and the screaming around. The light of the fireworks mixed with the city lights. It was a beautiful scenery seen from the top floor.
Letitia awkwardly smiled as she smoothed down her jeans, wrinkled from dancing so much, and pretended watching the people around her, without facing Maurice. The boy, on the other hand, couldn't take his eyes away from the girl with red cheeks. It should be the shock of the discovery that he had kissed the wrong person. One couldn't blame him.
Priscilla was simply beautiful. She wasn't too tall, but she wasn't too short either; she had the ideal height. She was thin, but not too thin that she would look like one of those anorexic models. She had brown eyes and long lashes. Any girl would kill to have lashes like hers. And her skin? Priscilla's skin was soft and shiny, naturally tanned – just like chocolate milk. Her wavy, long hair was the final touch, going all the way down to the middle of her back.
Letitia was the opposite of her friend: tall and clumsy, sometimes she didn't quite know what to do with her long arms. She was too white and, when she tanned, all she got was a red color that made her look like a lobster. The only thing she liked about herself were the blue eyes – although, if she didn't blink for a long time she was at risk of starting to look like a psycothic killer with lame blonde hair.
Someone gave the girl a glass of champagne. She didn't even see who did so, but she guessed it had been her brother – Charles loved showing off with drinks; he thought champagne was for teenagers and claimed to like whiskey or rum better. It wasn't a surprise to see him lying on the floor during parties, always too drunk to even say his name properly. Charles was one of those drunk people that got incredibly happy during the first thirty minutes of drinking and then started crying, skeptical about the world and its lack of justice.
A bottle appeared in Maurice's hands, but he didn't even look at it, because he kept staring at Letitia. The girl got nervous with that and the lack of any reaction or word from the boy's part, so she started walking. She pushed some people out of her way to be able to get to the exit door. The girl's luck was that nobody seemed to worry about her and no on tried to stop her.
At least until Letitia reached the door that lead to the balcony and a smiling Priscilla with messed hair suddenly showed up. She was very pretty with a white mini skirt with sequined details and a cotton tank with a colorful design. Her makeup was still in place, as if she had just applied it – except for the lipstick, which had been wasted with the fake Keanu Reeves.
"Let!" she said in a very loud voice, even though the two were in front of each other. "Did you see? Did you see me?"
"Of course, sweets!" Letitia smiled, half laughing at her friend and her exaggerated excitement. "Who was that guy?"
"Ah!" Priscilla seemed to be afronted. "He wasn't just a guy. He's Raphael. What a beutiful name, huh? Ra-pha-el. R, A, P, H..."
"Thanks, Priscilla, but I know how to spell the name."
The brunette simply laughed and finished spelling Raphael's name before telling Letitia how the two ended up kissing. The young man was the son of Priscilla's father's best friend, so they had known each other for quite a while already. The little detail was that Raphael simply adored annoying Priscilla and getting a rise of her, making the girl have thoughts that involved the boy and around seventeen different ways of killing someone.
Everything had changed there, at that party. Raphael had behaved like a true gentleman, apologized for acting like a complete asshole for around ten years and confessed that he had always liked Priscilla, but had never known how to get the girl's attention. Apparently, his logic was the same of that of a ten-year-old boy.
The girl didn't even care about her best friend's mean comment and proceeded to talk about Ra-pha-el for another five minutes until she changed the subject with no warning. Priscilla said something about the decoration, the lack of food and the excess of alcoholic drinks before taking a good look on Letitia. It was as if she had just remembered something really incredible. She smiled, showing most of all those pearly whites she called teeth.
"I saw you! Don't even try to hide it. Maurice kissed you!"
"Oh... yeah," that was all Letitia said, feeling awkward again and playing with her blonde locks.
"Geez, Let! Don't tell me you didn't like it!"
"It's not that... It's just that..."
Letitia didn't finish her sentence, allowing her voice to trail off and her thoughts to wander. How was she supposed to say that, in all honesty, who should have kissed Maurica was actually Priscilla and not her? It would sound as something stupid and her friend would deem it as crazy the fact that someone would rather kiss her instead of Letitia. That was the brunette's best quality: she wasn't a show off and she wasn't snobby either.
She tried guessing why her friend wasn't super excited after having kissed Maurice, but she soon remembered that she had left Raphael alone for too long, since she had said she would talk to the blonde rather quickly. Priscilla planted a sloppy kiss on the other girl's cheek and left, saying that she would soon go back to her friend as soon as she had the chance, so they could get back to their conversation.
Letitia pretended to agree before opening the dark glass door and standing on the outside. She closed the door and felt a shiver run through her body. It was a bit cold out there, but only because she had just left the heat and the animation of the party. The sky was dark, but it wasn't blue and the stars weren't so visible. The big city's pollution was to blame for that.
The young girl walked through the balcony, which seemed to be a winter garden with so many flowers and vases scattered around, and rested her arms on the protection bars. She didn't even have to stand on the tip of her toes to see the crowded street down there. It was almost interesting to think that those who watched the fireworks from the streets wanted to be at the party and Letitia just wanted to leave. She didn't want to walk into Maurice after the accidental kiss.
The music kept playing and people kept dancing, excitedly. The hired DJ played everything, from eletronic music to hip hop or the latest tunes from the radio stations. How come everytime you come around my London, London bridge wanna fall down? Almost fifteen minutes of the new year had gone by and only then the fireworks started subsiding. It wasn't a problem, she wasn't even paying that much attention because she couldn't stop thinking about how she wished Maurice wanted to kiss her.
Letitia was distracted with her thoughts, but noticed when someone opened the balcony's door. The music's volume went up considerably for a moment or two before going back to normal, indicating that the door had been closed once more. It could only be Priscilla, hoping to finish that brief conversation from earlier. Nobody else would walk out of the best New Year's party in town. Letitia turned around with a smile, but got serious-faced after noticing that it wasn't a tanned girl who was standing there.
"Hi," said Maurice.
It was even funny to think such thing, but he seemed to be feeling awkward and not actually know what to do, standing there with his hands in his bermudas' pockets and the curly hair being messed up by the slight breeze. The red-haired boy walked over to the protection bar and also rested his arms on it, seemingly not noticing that Letitia caught her breath when their arms touched. She felt another shiver run through her body, but that one wasn't because of the cold.
The two were silent for a while. The girl didn't know what to say and she didn't want risk saying something stupid. She wasn't the kind of person that could control what they said when feeling nervous, so she decided it was best to be quiet. And the time went on like that, until Maurice asked if she had gotten tired of the party already.
"Oh, no. The party's cool, even if I'm the only person actually wearing pants around here."
"I think you look pretty like this," he said. "I mean, you don't like skirts anyway."
"Yeah... that's true." Letitia tried not to care about the fact that Maurice would never compliment her. "Have you talked to Priscilla yet?"
That was the only thing she could think of to change the subject. It wasn't original, nor subtle, but she didn't worry about it. All she wanted was to stay there at balcony by herself. It was not easy to stand beside the boy with whom she had fallen in love, knowing that he only had eyes for another person and would never notice her. Maurice turned his head to look at the girl next to him, seeming confused with the fact she had made such question.
"Yeah, I did. She introduced me to Raphael. I bet they'll start dating by the end of the month."
"Ah..." she didn't know what to say. "I'm sorry."
"Why's that, Letitia?"
She sighed. In the girl's opinion, it was obvious that she was sorry for the fact that Maurice knew that the person he liked only had eyes to another boyu; she knew well what it felt like given that she went through that every day. The hardest thing would be to explain that to him, so she settled on saying that she was sorry because he liked Priscilla, but who had hooked up with her was Raphael.
Maurice seemed to agree with the thought, but didn't say anything and Letitia became quiet, feeling her chest tight. The sky was completely dark by then and the fireworks had stopped some time before. She stood there, looking down; if the girl bent a little more she would end up falling off the balcony. And that was what almost happened when she lost her balance, not used to wearing stilettos. Luckily, Maurice had fast reflexes and held the girl by her waist. To say that it was eletrefying would be ridiculous and a complete cliché, but the only accurate way to describe the moment.
"Thanks," she said after a while. "I'm never wearing heels again."
"You know, Letitia, about the k..."
"You don't have to say anything, Maurice."
"I don't?" he asked.
"No. I know you thought you were going to kiss Priscilla," Letitia said quickly, he almost couldn't understand it. "And it was dark, so it wasn't your fault."
"Actually, that wasn't quite what I was going to say."
"It wasn't?" it was her turn to ask.
She looked at him without understanding. If he wasn't going to apologize for the kiss, what would he say then? She really had no idea of what it could be. Maybe he wanted to say that the kiss had been so awful that it would be best if she never kissed anyone else ever again in her life. That comment would be the end to Letitia. The final touch in the utter humiliation of any girl.
Letitia just stayed there, without saying anything, trying to get the guts to look into his eyes. Although the girl was tall, Maurice was about two or three inches taller than her. The difference was that Maurice wasn't the littlest bit awkward and moved around as if he were in a haute couture catwalk. He could have been a model had he wanted to purchase that carreer, he was only twenty years old – there was time still.
The girl felt his hand touch her left cheek softly and she didn't even have to look in a mirror to know she had blushed. He made her raise her head so they could look at each other and the girl felt her knees go weak for a moment. It was ridiculous just how easy it was for her to get to the conclusion that most of the love symptons ever mentioned in books or movies were real – weak knees, butterflies in the stomach, etc, etc, etc.
And just like that, ever so slowly, Maurice closed his olive green eyes and leaned his body towards Letitia. She closed her eyes as well and waited, almost not breathing anymre. It was hard to focus on breathing when she was about to get a kiss from Maurice, especially that he knew that who he was going to kiss was Letitia and not Priscilla!
Those ten seconds exactly before his lips met hers seemed to last so much longer due to her expectation. But, when it finally happened, it was amazing and Letitia wouldn't be sure of which subject to use when she told about that kiss to Priscilla – it was obvious that she would have to share that with her best friend.
"Does this mean you like me?"
"Oh, of course not. I just have this habit of randomly kissing people for no apparent reason," he said with a smug smile and Letitia lightly punched his arm. "Ouch, that hurt!"
"Shut up, you jerk!" she said with a smug smile of her own and pulled him down for another kiss before he could reply.
¬ The movie with Keanu Reeves is Johnny Mnemonic (1995).
¬ The music verse is from Fergie's London Bridge.