Well, I feel like shit. Reason? Simple. I didn't get into my dream college :( I feel so bad about it. Really and extremely. As if I'm not good enough or something. Daaaammnnnn, been crying since the results came out. I wasn't even wait listed. A huge ass blow to the self-esteem really.

Anyway, I just needed to get that out. So like before, brands and songs mentioned are not mine.

Enjoy!


Chapter 18
When the Clock Strikes 12

I opened my eyes and shrieked. In front of me were masks of hideous creatures…Oh wait, it's just the girls. In their normal form.

"Oh," I said, my tone flat. "It's just you guys."

Kayla pouted. "What do you mean 'it's just us'? We're amazing, excuse you."

I scoffed playfully. "Yes, your highness, you are utterly 'amazing'."

"Don't be sarcastic to me!" she screamed hysterically.

I couldn't help but laugh at her antics. "I shall not be sarcastic to thy highness."

Sophie and Jordan tagged along with my giggles. This left a very red-faced Kayla who, by the way, hates being laughed at. Seeing her distress, I got up from my bed and slung an arm around her.

"C'mon, Kays," I reasoned. "I was just kidding. Don't take it too seriously."

She stuck her tongue out to me. "Bleh," she started to smile. "I've got something to tell you guys."

We all sat on my bed, creating a loose circle to find out what Kayla wanted to say. She cleared her throat as if this was a formal meeting.

"Girls," she started. "I've got a proposition for you."

We all groaned. Propositions and Kayla never mixed properly. With her face in her hand, , Sophie said, "Just get to the point, sis."

Kayla mock-glared at her sister. "Fine. Justin asked me if we wanted to go with him and the guys to the lighthouse on New Year's Eve."

Sophie squealed at that, making Jordan and I look at her weirdly.

"Don't you know what this means?" she nearly screamed. Jordan and I shook our heads. "It means," she explained. "That they want to see if the legend is true!"

I cocked my head to one side. "What legend?" Jordan held the same question.

Kayla's eyes widened. "How the hell can you two live here and not know about the legend?"

Jordan shrugged. "Then enlighten us, please."

Sophie sighed. "Okay, well, long ago, it was said that there was once a couple who really loved each other. As in, they were inseparable."

Kayla nodded. "Yup. But the thing is, they weren't allowed to see each other. Apparently, before they were even born, their grandfathers tried to set up a business together and one of the grandfathers stole money from the other. No one know which one did it because they blamed the other."

"But," added Sophie. "The couple didn't care about some stupid fight started years before. So, they met up in secret at the lighthouse in the beach every night. They would never be out too late, in case either one of their families gets worried, and they would always be home by midnight."

"This is starting to sound a lot like 'Romeo and Juliet'," whispered Jordan to me, making me giggle.

Kayla ignored us and decided to continue. "And then, they decided to run away together and they decided to do it the day before New Year's Eve, when both their families were busy with preparations. They agreed to meet up in their usual time and leave right away. But, something happened to the boy before he was able to meet up with the girl. His mother caught him as he was about to leave and asked him to an errand; he had no choice but to do it."

Sophie nodded. "Yeah. And then, since he didn't show up, the girl got worried that he ditched her. Soon, she got pretty angry just stayed inside the lighthouse, out of someone's view. Then, the boy finally made it and was looking for her. When he couldn't find her, he then thought that she ditched him. So, he went back home, still extremely angry with the girl."

"Then," continued Kayla. "The next day, they saw each other…" she trailed off to give a dramatic effect. "With other people! Imagine what the other thought!"

Sophie nodded. "Yes, think of all the pain the other went through. But you know what? They still loved each other. And so, that night, they went back to the beach right in front of the lighthouse at their usual time and saw each other. Immediately, they were apologizing to each other."

"Once that was settled," said Kayla. "They both got their things and left in a boat that the guy's family owned. And finally, when the clock strike twelve, they shared a kiss under a bunch of fireworks. After that, they both lived happily without the pressure from either of their families."

"So now," intervened Sophie. "Legend has it that any couple that shares a kiss at midnight of New Year's Eve will stay together forever."

Jordan scoffed playfully. "You know, you could have just told us that last part without adding the dramatics of that legend with it."

Sophie pouted. "Well, you two asked."

I took my time processing this information. "So," I ventured. "The guys invited us because they want to kiss their respective girlfriends and last a long time. That's what you're telling me here?"

Kayla and Sophie grinned at the same time. "Yup."

I slid my eyes over to Jordan. "But you and Shane aren't together yet."

Kayla and Sophie also looked at her. She blushed.

"Well," she laughed nervously. "About that…"

It took us all a second to realize what she meant. From that moment on, the rest of the day was spent with us screaming our lungs off at Jordan for not telling us sooner about her new development with Shane.

Honestly.


I stood up and checked myself in the mirror. I smiled.

Outfit, I thought. Check.

Wearing jeans, a hoodie, and sneakers didn't look so bad for a fireworks display, right? Right. Besides, I was using Saunti's hoodie, so he had no reason to complain.

I sighed in content once more as I placed my nose on the sleeve; I actually asked Saunti if I could use his cologne and spray some on the jacket. He seemed to think of me as crazy at the time, but soon enough, he agreed.

Now, every time I bring the sleeves up, I smelled my boyfriend. Ah, life was good. I grinned thinking about him and how amazing it was to have someone like him. And to think he and I fought like cats and dogs before!

A knock on my door was what made me snap out of my reverie. I looked up and beamed even more at the intruder of my thoughts or, more over, the subject of.

Saunti stood in the doorway looking extremely cute in one of his old t-shirts, jeans, his usual Vans, and a blue baseball cap that he wore backwards. Once he saw me, he stopped for a moment to examine my outfit before grinning.

"Now," he said in a low and really sexy tone. "That's a really nice jacket. I wonder, who's the lucky and handsome boyfriend that gave it to you?"

I laughed as I ran to him. Knowing what I wanted to do, he quickly opened his arms and caught me at just the right moment. His arms were automatically around me as he placed his lips on mine.

When we pulled away, I grinned. "I'm not sure about lucky, but handsome is fine."

He put me down, his arms still around me, and pouted sweetly. "Oh, come on. You have to admit I'm extremely handsome and lucky."

"Prove it," I grinned.

"I have you, don't I?" he asked without even thinking about it. "That already proves how lucky I am."

I blushed at his honesty. I only looked at him for a moment to realize that he was dead serious. I smiled softly at him and laid my forehead against his.

"I love you," I whispered. "So much."

He smiled back. "I'm never going to get tired of hearing that."

I continued to smile until I finally gave in and kissed him sweetly.

"I love you back," he said after we pulled away. "And that won't change, no matter what."

I closed my eyes and leaned on him. "Promise?"

He closed the distance between us again and whispered one word.

"Promise."


Later that night, Saunti and I found ourselves walking hand-in-hand going down to the beach where our friends were waiting. Apparently, that legend Kayla and Sophie told me was common knowledge to everyone else. Many people, young and old, were scattered around the beach, all were couples.

Being the only ones who had enough guts to stay in the lighthouse, it was easy to spot our group. Sophie waved as she saw me, but couldn't move from her spot since Brian had his arm around her. Soon enough, Kayla and Jordan spotted me as well but were both in the same predicament as Sophie and couldn't move away from their significant others.

Saunti grinned as he saw how sweet Shane was being to Jordan and came closer to my ear.

"I'm going to guess and say that something happened between those two."

I laughed. "You have guessed correctly." When I didn't elaborate, he raised his brow in question. I leaned in with a coy smile. "I'll tell you all about it later."

He looked at me, his eyes filled with promise. "I'll keep you to your word." Before I could reply, Kayla decided to cut in.

"And what," she said. "Are you two lovebirds talking about?"

I looked at her with a sarcastic expression. "Lovebirds? Babe, speak for yourself. I'm not the one wrapped around my man and can't move because of it."

She blushed as I grinned in triumph. "Shut up, Iris." This only caused me to laugh.

Five minutes later, we were all seated on the base of the lighthouse playing Truth or Dare while waiting for the fireworks to begin. Yes, we are weird. Deal with it.

"All right," said Konnor looking around the group. His eyes landed on Vince. "Vince, my man."

Said person grinned. "Yes, dear old Konnor?"

"Tell me," Konnor continued. "Truth or dare?"

Vince grinned. "I'm going to be a wimp for now and say truth."

Konnor narrowed his eyes. "Seriously bro?"

Vince shrugged. "Later man, when I'm drunk." Once he said that, we all started eyeing the coolers filled with drinks.

Konnor laughed. "Fine man, I've got something good anyway."

"Shoot," said Vince.

Konnor grinned. "If you could have both Gillian and Talia with you on a deserted island, what would you do?"

"Oh!" I exclaimed. Many of the guys followed my lead. "Busted!"

Everyone laughed at my comment while Vince blushed.

"Hey!" he cried indigenously. "It is not my fault that my two crazy exes are still in love with me!"

This only made me laugh even more as Konnor replied. "Vince, they are not just crazy, they are psychos, dude."

Jordan and the other girls seemed confused as to what we were talking about. I turned to them.

"Vince once had a girlfriend," I explained. "Her name was Gillian and she was obsessed with Vince. At first, Vince found it cute that she was like that and got together with her. But when he saw that she was seriously psycho, he broke up with her."

"But what about that other one?" asked Sophie.

Saunti laughed. "Talia was a different crazy altogether. She was more interested with popularity than Vince. When the two of them got together, she, literally, controlled Vince. Every time he went out, she would monitor him. Plus, she was super paranoid about Vince being friends with other girls."

I grew quiet remembering those awful memories. What Saunti and I didn't tell the girls was that, when Vince tried to break up with Gillian, she tried to kill herself. Eventually, Vince had no choice but to tell the school's guidance counselor and later on, Gillian was placed in a mental hospital.

Talia, on the other hand, was more vicious, at least in my opinion, she was. Like what Saunti said, Talia was popularity-crazed and was paranoid with Vince and his friends. She was so paranoid, that she went so low as to call me out.


If I remembered that day correctly (how could I forget, really), I was at Vince's house with Konnor and, as usual, fighting with Saunti. Vince and Talia were inside the living room talking, until Talia went inside the kitchen where we were. She came over to me and told me that I was a bitch for trying to steal Vince from her. At the time, I only looked at her as if she was on crack. I mean, hello, this was Vince we were talking about; Vince, who is like a father to me.

I told this much to her, hoping that she would feel reassured, but it only made her angrier. She lashed out at me with curse words and spite, while Konnor and Saunti moved in front of me as if they were trying to hide me from her. Vince heard everything she said and came into the room. When he started defending me, Talia seemed to explode and broke up with Vince.

I felt pretty bad about that, even though I didn't really do anything. I told this to Vince and all he did was shrug.

"Trust me," he had said. "You're worth it, Iris. I'd rather lose a girlfriend who was only in it for the popularity rather than lose a real friend like you." I melted at that. God, you really had to love Vince. There was no choice with that.


Saunti squeezed my hand, making me come back to the present. He looked at me with a smile that said, 'I know what you're thinking and I'm telling you that it's okay now'. Yes, I could tell that with just one smile.

I smiled back, grateful for his support.

Only a moment after that, the fireworks started, startling everyone. We all stood up and watched as the fireworks created shapes in different colors.

Saunti came up behind me and placed his arms around my waist. I leaned back on him, a calm settling over the two of us knowing that the other was just there.

Soon enough, everyone started the traditional New Year's Eve countdown.

"Ten!" they cheered.

I looked at Saunti and smiled.

"Nine!"

"Are we seriously going to do this?" I asked.

"Eight!"

He raised his brow at me. "Do what, exactly?"

"Seven!"

I smiled. "That midnight kiss legend thing."

"Six!"

He laughed. "Do you want to do it?"

"Five!"

I rolled my eyes. "I don't actually believe in that bull."

"Four!"

Saunti smiled ruefully. "Then we don't have to do it."

"Three!"

I grinned at him and put my hand behind his head and pulled him towards me.

"Two!"

He looked at me confusedly. I smiled wider.

"Just in case," I whispered.

"One!"

Before he could say anything, I kissed him passionately. He twisted me around to get a better angle and wrapped his arms tighter around me.

Fireworks, rapid as my heart beat, flew in the sky. There was even a flash, but we ignored it. All that I knew right at that moment, were his lips on mine at the strike of twelve.


Preview
Chapter 19: Worth It

"Elmo," I said, gaining his attention after another pause. "What's wrong?"

He shook his head. "Nothing is wrong, baby. It's just…"

"Just?" I urged.

He opened his mouth to say something, then sighed instead. "Never mind, Iris. You wouldn't understand. In fact, I don't completely understand it myself."

I reached for his hand and laced our fingers together. "Then maybe we could try to understand it together?"

He shook his head. "No, I don't want to freak you out with it unless I'm sure."

I felt my brows crinkle. "Why would I freak out, Saunti?"

He didn't say anything as he looked down at the grass under us. For the first time that Saunti and I have been together, I was scared.