"Adam! Adam, little kiddo, wake up!" I opened one eye, looking at the blonde girl in front of me whom I recognized as my older and only sister. I moaned.

"I don't wanna... go to school..." She started to shake me around only more.

"You're not going to school. Don't you remember? Norah's party is in half an hour!" Immediately, I opened both my eyes, suddenly being very much awake. I didn't like it. I sat at the edge of my bed, rubbing my temples.


"Just what I thought. Come on, she's probably waiting for you. Go shower." I drowsily stood up and walked to the door of my room, drowsily.

"I'm leaving now, Adam. You're lucky I checked your room if you were awake. You've probably knocked out your alarm." I groaned again, opening the door.

"Happy working, sis." I said while closing the door, walking to the bathroom to get myself a good shower.

I was the youngest of four; I had two older brothers called David and Boris and an older sister called Sarah. Unfortunately, they were all at least five years older than I was, so I was pretty much an only child despite having so many siblings. The other three never paid any attention to me, so I was free to do whatever I wanted.

I let the warm water stream over my back, relaxing. I never showered for a long time; five minutes was all I needed to wake up properly. But I'm a disaster whenever I wake up, so I need the shower to wake up properly.

My parents were both working and leaving early, so it was usually my sister's job to wake me up. She was the one I was the closest to as she was, after me, the youngest. The other two, twins, had already left the house a few years ago. David first, then Boris. Sarah would probably be leaving soon, making me all alone in the house.

Not that I minded.

But having so many older siblings makes you feel alone as they barely pay any attention to me. Fortunately, I had a childhood friend whom I saw as the sister of my age I had never had. Her name was Norah. We used to live close to each other, but then I moved to the other side of the city. We still kept in touch, though.

And yeah, I still live at home. Mostly because my parents never had the time to teach me how to cook and I don't have enough self-confidence to start living on my own. It also helped that the college I was at was close.

It was her birthday today and, as it was summer-break for us, she celebrated it with her friends by throwing in a party that would last all day. We'd start with swimming in a nearby huge swimmingpool, then we'd eat something somewhere, and we'd close off in her own house where we would all have lunch.

I was looking forward to it, if only I could be on time. I'd promised Norah. I'm never on time, but I promised Norah to be there this time. On time.

Yeah, like that was possible now.

I was done showering, re-dressed myself and ran downstairs; I had breakfast in a hurry before gathering my stuff, Norah's present, putting it in my backpack and hurrying to my car to meet Norah, who lived at the other side of the city...

"Well, there you show up. Finally. I thought you made a promise." Norah, waiting in front of her house with her friends, said those words when I stepped out of my car. She didn't sound happy.

I had tried so hard to be there on time; I even broke some speed limits, but it was all for naught.

"I... I'm so sorry... I tried so hard... overslept..." Norah, to my surprise, laughed.

"Come on, Adam, as if it were a surprise you were late. I pretty much counted on it. It's no big deal." Norah liked pretending she was angry to fool me. I looked at her annoyed, still panting from all my running. But before I could react, Norah introduced me to the others, standing in front of her house.

"Anyways, this is Timothy, whom I think you remember. My ex and still a good friend of mine."

"We've met before, I guess." I remembered the well-known Texan accent from last time we met – Timothy and her were on the same school and had dated for a while before going back to being good friends. We shook hands.

"This is Hank Smith, a friend of mine." I shook hands with another guy whom Norah had never mentioned before – which was usually a bad thing for the guy in question. Or a good thing, depending on who he was.

"I think you've met Demy before, as well as Alice." It wasn't the first party Norah had thrown in, so I still remembered most of the people from her last birthday. I shook hands with the white blonde-haired girl and the red-haired one.

"I think I still remember you guys."

"We do too," Alice said with a laugh. I never liked both of them – brainless beauties they were to me – but Norah told me more than once they had actually a good side. Some things are hard to believe.

"And these two friends are probably new to you. This is Karla," a girl with long black hair shook my hand, "and this is Mandy."

A girl with short, curly, blonde hair shook my hand and smiled a small, gentle smile. She was a little smaller than me, but not too much; however, she made the impression she wanted to be so small she wasn't there at all.

"Nice to meet you, Mandy," I said.

Why had I accepted the invitation anyway? I had never known Norah that well until about two months ago. We started working on a project on school together and got close that way, but that was about it.

Still, she seemed absolutely determined to invite me over. I had no idea why, but I decided to accept the invitation – after all, I could also just stay home and do nothing. I liked the idea of having a party better, especially since my mum pushed me when she heard I was invited to a party of Norah.

I don't have many friends – I'm very closed off and very shy – so whenever I seem to get a friend, my mum always pushes me to take further steps with that friend. She was absolutely thrilled when Norah once came over. Never, ever be an only child. It means your parents have way too much attention for you. And, since my parents are divorced, my mum's got all the time in the world to push me to make friends. She never had many friends at her own school either and she feared I was going in her direction.

When I accidentally told my mum – I swear, I didn't do it on purpose – that I was invited for a party, she was thrilled even more and pushed me as much as she could to accept the invitation. Of course, there wasn't much of a choice left for me then.

So yeah, that was why I accepted the invitation in a nutshell.

So, I showed up one hour earlier than planned. I had no idea why I came over and I still don't. One by one, everyone came in and in the end, we were all waiting for Adam. It wasn't a surprise, as Norah told us more than once he was going to be late. Of course, I was the first one to show up, so I was introduced to everyone who came in. Timothy seemed like a cool guy to hang out with, Norah looked a bit too much at Hank, I already knew Demy and Alice as we hung out before and they were pretty okay, I guess, and Karla was a bit creepy with her long black hair and mysterious glances, but they were all pretty much okay. Much better and more open than I was, anyway. I was mostly busy with not being there.

As the last one, Adam, arrived in his car, she first seemed angry and then she laughed and introduced him to every single one of us. Of course, I still was there, somehow, so I shook hands with the guy too. It was my sixth handshake with someone I didn't know and it once again made me want to fall through the floor.

I shook his hand way too hard and unintentionally squeezed the life out of that hand – I really didn't mean to do it, but I was so damn nervous! How long had it been til my last party?

"Nice to meet you, Mandy." I managed to crack up a tiny smile with my shaking lips.

"It's good to meet you too, yeah." Surprised I didn't stutter? I used to, but I taught myself to stop doing it because it made my shyness even more visible than it already was. Still, I know it doesn't help. Adam smiled at me; he smiled a big smile with lots of white teeth.

"Hey, I know I've got a beautiful, impressive hand that's good to hold – but can I please get it back?" Shocked, I let go of his hand and opened my mouth in surprise.

"Oh... oh I'm sorry!" Adam shrugged.

"It's okay, I know I'm amazing," he replied with a wink. "Where are we heading?"

I was left to curse my shyness and once more, I was remembered as to why I never came to parties.

Living in a house with three older siblings, while you are the youngest by five years, means you've got to be heard sometimes. It also means that you can only be heard by your parents by shouting hard. So I taught myself how to shout.

I suffered and suffer from the virus called shyness, of course. Most people do and the ones who don't manage to hide it well. I manage to hide it by being in incredible denial; by looking like a complete jerk who is full of himself, also my way of shouting. In reality, I'm probably the most insecure of all, but I don't want them to know. However, I never act posh when Norah and me are alone – she was the only one I trusted, enough for me to show her whom I really was.

But this girl in front of me had a whole different way of hiding it. She didn't. Rather, she showed just how shy she was by not letting go of my hand. So, naturally, I made a few jokes about it. I really shouldn't do so, but I can't help myself. After all, I was just as shy as she was.

"Where are we heading?" I asked, turning to Norah.

"The swimmingpool, three blocks ahead."

"Ah," I closed my eyes and smiled. I knew exactly what swimmingpool she was meaning – I liked it there as well, as there was lots of stuff to do there usually.

"You've been there?" I heard Alice ask.

"I used to live two blocks away from here, but we moved. Of course I've been there once. It's great in there, just trust my excellent judgement. Although they probably changed a few things. Haven't been there in a year." Alice immediately nodded and remained silent.

"So let's get there?" Norah asked and the group immediately started walking. "I'll walk ahead, I know the way."

While we were walking, Norah and I discussed all kinds of things that made no sense or were completely illogical to others. We had so many inside jokes that it would be impossible for an outsider to understand us.

However, suddenly, Norah turned around, still walking, and she was looking at the crowd to see if everyone were enjoying themselves. I fturned around too, still walking, to see what she saw; Timothy was talking to Hank and Hank was shouting, so I guess the conversation was animated. Anne and Demy were talking to each other, something they only seemed capable of doing, and Karla was trying to tie in with the conversation between Timothy and Hank, something that kind of didn't work, but hey, she was trying.

The only one walking all alone was Mandy, so naturally, Norah gestured at her to come near us and talk to us. Mandy shook her head, after which Norah gestured once more, with a smile, to come near her. Mandy shrugged and walked to us with her hands in her pockets.

"You okay, Mandy?" Norah asked.

"Yeah, doing fine, I suppose..." Mandy shrugged.

"You don't look like you like the party." Mandy shook her head and tried to smile.

"No, really, I'm doing fine."

"Then why are you so silent?" Again, the blonde haired shrugged.

"I don't know..." After a short silence, Norah talked again.

"How are your grades?"

"Fine." I decided I should step in this conversation, as Mandy didn't seem to want to show initiative. And Norah was way too cliché in trying to start a conversation, anyway.

"You know what I dreamt about last night?"

"It's great in there, just trust my excellent judgement." I rolled my eyes – fortunately, nobody was paying attention to me – at this stupid outburst of arrogance. This Adam-guy really seemed very full of himself, something that I generally didn't like in people. I was already making a mental note in my head about not getting too involved with this guy today, when we suddenly started walking with Norah and Adam at front.

They really seemed to be enjoying themselves – laughing, whispering, giggling... I knew they were talking about me. About my blonde hair and my skin that looked like I hadn't seen the sun in the past five years.

Then, they turned around and after some time, Norah gestured to me. Now I was certain.

They were talking about me. I shook my head in confusion, after which Norah gestured again; I understood that she wanted me to come talk to her or something. All right then, I thought, why not. This party's ruined anyway. So were my plans to stay away from Adam, or Mr. Posh as I had started to call him in my mind.

"You okay, Mandy?" Norah asked. Yeah, I was, I was doing fine, as fine as someone who had rarely ever been to a party before could be, why do you ask? I wanted to voice that, but I could only voice the fine-part.

"You don't look like you like the party." No, I wasn't enjoying it. I wanted to go home, I wanted to read a book all by myself and perhaps be accompanied by my mother. Or visit a friend that I did know well. Surprise, Mandy has got friends. I don't have many, but I can be me with a select few. A very select few. Anyways, I opened my mouth, wanting to say 'I wanna get outta here' when actually, 'No, really, I'm doing fine' came out. Great.

"How are your grades?" Norah asked after asking why I was so silent. Oh great, thank you Norah, now I genuinely feel like a three-year-old. I apparently had a new favourite word; 'fine'.

Then, Mr. Posh decided to step in with a question about what he had dreamt. I shrugged and Norah said she had a feeling she was going to know in due course.

"I was dreaming about Christmas, but it wasn't Christmas, because everyone was at the beach, enjoying the sunshine. It was also too warm for Christmas-trees because they all fell apart immediately, so we had to celebrate it with big green sticks that represented the trees. I didn't say the dream made sense. What about you, Mandy?"

Mr. Posh actually managed to say four sentences without putting emphasis on how awesome he was! I decided to reward him – actually I felt pushed to talk, so I decided 'to hell with this', but I like pretending – by opening my mouth and talking.

"Well, there was this one dream..."

I think I may have been hasty in my judgement about Mr. P- I mean, Adam. By using a few tricks, he suddenly had him, Norah and me in an animated conversation about dreams and what they could actually mean. Why did he understand me so well that he could involve me in a conversation I normally didn't want to be in?

I decided to drop my mental bitchy behavior and cut him some slack. He seemed a lot nicer when he was in a conversation with Norah, something I couldn't quite comprehend.

However, suddenly, Norah interrupted Adams three-minute rant about people who psychic people, one I actually quite agreed with.

"Hey, guys, that's the swimmingpool!"

Author's Note: I hope you liked the first chapter of this three-shot =) It's written as a request for jmudukedog that turned out to be a little too big for a one-shot. Next chapter'll be here in two days!