• It was the day before Winter break, and I could hardly wait. Mom had let me skip out on my last two periods of the school day to help her do a little shopping. It was a little pointless though. As we soon discovered after wandering through about three stores, Mom checked her list, to find she had everything except stocking stuffers from “Santa” Some of which were little personalized gifts, so I wasn’t allowed to accompany her on that trip.

    There were about forty-five minuets left until school was out for the next two weeks, and there was someone I wanted to see. I asked mom if she would take me back to school, and that I’d catch the bus home with a friend. She gave me a look of confusion that quickly gave way to a look of knowing. I blushed despite myself and watched as we drove past frosted side-walks and store fronts.

    Flashes of red and green were everywhere, as was Santa and snowmen. Angels were in windows, hanging off doors, and in wreathes. If I was lucky this year, I could be visited by an Angel.

    We weren’t more that a few blocks from the school when I saw a stand for mistletoe. I couldn’t help but smile and laugh as I watched an old couple buy a few sprigs for their own house. It was cute.

    Turning my attention to the clock on my cell phone, I estimated that by the time we got to the school, I would be free to wander campus for a few minuets before I had to stand in our usual place so I could see him, just before the two week break apart.

    We pulled in to the turn around and I hopped out of the car just barley calling a goodbye behind me to my Mom and running to the stairs in front of the school. I tripped up them two at a time and stopped just outside the front doors of the school. Again I checked my cell phone. I had just about five minuets before the bell rang, and he would be outside in no time.

    I flicked on my iPod after I had placed the buds in my ears and pushed play to start the random shuffle feature. Wandering over to the large oak tree that stood almost in the middle of the grounds, I lay up against it. A soft, cold wind blew my hair into my face, and I turned up the volume of my music. From where I was standing, I could see the cold, dark streets of down town. The trees in the park moved lightly with the wind and the gray sky loomed over head threatening to snow. I was about the only one I knew who found the nearly soulless cold of winter beautiful.

    I hadn’t been paying attention to how time was moving, so when someone came from the side and hugged me furiously, I could do nothing more than scream. Pulling my headphones out of my ears, I turned to see who it was. In front of me, giving me that I’m-cute-love-me smile, was Robert.

    “You didn’t turn and look at me when I yelled your name, so I thought I’d just give you a big hug.” He smiled stupidly and held his arm around me as I glared at him. Not quite as viciously as I would have on any day BUT today, but it was harsh enough for him to move off me quickly.

    “Have you seen Adrian? …. Robert? Ugh… just go attack your next victim and leave me to solitude. Its what you do best dear.” I laughed lightly to show him I was joking. He doesn’t often get my sarcasm. Not many people do. But Adrian does. Its only one of the multitudes of reasons I adore him. I watched Robert run off like a little girl… Some days I wonder about him.

    Crowds of faces passed by me, and I still didn’t see him. Just when I was going to give up I turned to watch, through a few groups of kids strategically grouped along the walk way as they are every day at this exact time, a girl running. What is she running at? Or from? And then I saw him. Adrian. His arms opened wide to catch someone, when that odd running girl collides with him. He picks her up and spins around, much like he did to me on Valentines Day. He was sort of my valentine, even if he didn’t know it.

    I know I shouldn’t be feeling this sudden sense of hurt. All I wanted was to cry. And maybe be a little angry. I actually thought he cared about me… And I guess he did. But he left all the signs saying he liked me… And now all those signs prove false. Ouch. That one’s gonna throb for a while. Just a friend. You know… I think I would have rather that he had stabbed me.

    He spotted me after his little show for this girl, I’d never seen before. As he waves and turns to look at her, the way his hands move it looks like he’s asking her just to stay there while he comes to tell me of their marry engagement. Okay maybe I’m taking it to far… but still. He approaches me, and I just keep staring at her, while she looks around the area surrounding her. She’s pretty. She has long chestnut-brown hair that’s pulled back and away from her face. Though she’s short as well. A few inches shorter than me, making her at least a half a foot shorter than Adrian. Her clothes are a little odd. Even compared to the vast variety you see in a school like ours. She’s wearing a simple and beautiful mint green dress. I can’t see details form where I am, but I can tell by the looks she’s getting, it must be amazing. Over that she has the strangest coat I’ve ever seen. A bright white trench coat. What does she think she is? An angel? I snort at the thought.

    For the second time that day, I get caught by surprise with a hug from behind. How Adrian got behind me I don’t know. He crushes my insides with his hug a little longer and I smile before letting him know that I still need air.

    “Sorry” He says. Its short and sweet, but I’ll take any excuse to hear his voice.

    Rolling my eyes, I smile and wrap my arms around him and bury my face in his chest. The way we embrace one another sometimes, makes it look like we’re together. I can’t count the many times that we’ve been asked if we were together. And just incase his little “girlfriend” is watching, I squeeze him extra tight to make him laugh.

    “I’m glad you came back to school,” he said, “I didn’t think I’d get to say goodbye before winter break. Two weeks isn’t that long, but I still didn’t want to end the year before seeing my best friend.” He smiled. His favorite part of the holidays was New year.

    “I’m glad I came back too.” Was all I said. Buses would be leaving soon and I probably should have been going, but his arms were still around me, and I wasn’t going to break that for the world.

    “Stella.” When he said my name, I always shivered, and smiled. And he always looked at me funny. “Stella, I think its time you go. Aren’t you going home with Lettie today? If you don’t start going, you’ll miss her bus entirely.”

    I murmured in agreement and stepped away from him. “I’ll see you the second school gets back in, promise?” I was already backing up slowly so I could turn and run as soon as he replied.

    “The very second I arrive. Promise.” He smiled at me and my heart stuttered for just a moment. And then I was gone, racing to catch my bus.


    The next few days were chaos as far as I could tell. It was Christmas Eve and I had decided to have a self devoted holiday… Day. I spent it in the mall of course. It was a place that I could really relax. Though I had to admit, no one else in the entire building could really be relaxed until after the holiday pandemonium. I sat in the back of the book store on the second floor, against a window. Below me out side, I could see people pushing and shoving their way in and out of the store. Through the throng of people I swear I saw a familiar shape force its way into the store. After a moment of consideration, I passed my self off as crazy. That is, until my original thoughts were confirmed as true, when I heard Simon’s cool, almost unfeeling voice in my ear.

    “Fancy seeing you here, Stell.” He said. “It’s the holidays. Shouldn’t you be at home baking with all the little kiddies?” He laughed and walked around me, sliding into the chair opposite me.

    “No. I don’t believe I should be at home ‘baking with the little kiddies’ thanks. I’m here for a little time away.” Simon was the LAST person I wanted to see. He might be Adrian’s best friend, he also might be my friend on the rare days he decided he wasn’t going to be an a**. But today, he was in his every day jerk-like mood. “And would you please not call me ‘Stell’? Its like I’m your pet, with the way you say it and all.” I shifted and crossed my legs, I closed my book and set it aside, staring at him. “What do you want anyway?”

    He seemed uninterested in my presence as he replied. “I’m meeting Adrian.” His eyes had been wandering from person to person, enjoying the look of pure torment on their faces as they did last minuet shopping. “If you wanted to ‘get away’ why come here? Its loud. I’d think you were one to sit in quiet.”

    “I don’t know. It just relaxes me when I’m here by myself. I don’t have to socialize; I don’t have to worry about anything but being outside in time for mom to pick me up.” As soon as he’d said Adrian’s name I began to look around in search for him. Knowing him, he’d come up and scare me if he was given the chance.

    I’m sure Simon noticed my wandering gaze, because he suddenly laughed, and when I glanced at him, he was, as he seemingly loved to do on his odd days, watching me. And as always when he watched me, the slightest bit of a smile played on his lips.
    “Simon, when will Adrian be here to relive me of you?” I asked shuffling my things around and acting as though I was going to leave. I stood though, and left him there with out getting my answer, to find a new book.

    But luck was not on my side today. I drew a book with an intriguing cover from the shelf, and began to read the back when I felt slight movement beside me. I didn’t glance up; already knowing it was Simon beside me. I finished the description on the back of the book and put it back without looking at where I was really putting it.

    Turning to face Simon, I came to the realization that he was startlingly close. The first thing I saw was his black T-shirt. He always wore plain black T-shirts. It was like he had a whole dresser full or something, they were always clean, one after another. I’d never seen him wear anything but black or white. I blushed and looked down at my shoes, more angry than embarrassed. “You’re a little close don’t you think?” I asked, studying his pants. Black. Not a big surprise. Black jeans. He was so simple when he dressed. I didn’t have to look to know he was wearing the same old worn leather jacket; I’d worn it a few times, due to our friends stupidity getting us lost. I would normally start shivering and he’d throw the coat at me saying something along the lines of “How come you never remember a jacket? Genius…”

    “I guess I don’t give much though to the personal space thing. Sorry.” Again, when I looked up, he was smirking at me. There was little space between us, and I could smell him, as weird as that sounds. He smelled warm and Christmassy. Spicy, like cinnamon, but not strongly of it. He was looking at me strangely. And then the small gap between us closed, he had one hand pressed gently to the side of my face. His eyes burned into mine for a fraction of a second before he pulled his hand from my face and wrapped that arm lightly around my neck, pulling me against him and burying his face in my hair.

    My eyes went blank and I stared ahead, not really knowing what to do. Sure I’d hugged Simon before, but it was never like this.

    After what seemed to be forever, he let go of me, and I felt as though he took a part of me with him. I didn’t really like that feeling.

    “Adrian is probably waiting for me, I have to go. It was nice to see you and chat, Stell, but I’m afraid I must leave.” With out so much as a glance back at me, he turned and walked away. He disappeared from my sight in moments.

    My mind and body froze in place. I stared at the place he had just been for a few long moments, before my limbs came loose, and I fell against the bookshelf to hold myself up right.

    “Stella?” A quiet and some what worried voice sounded behind me. I knew that voice, and I did not want to turn around and face it. Not after what had just happened. But I didn’t have to do anything. Adrian came around to face me. “Are you alright? You look sort of pale…. But your cheeks are a little pink. Are you sick?”

    “N-.. No. I’m alright. I just had a blank out moment. You know, I was looking at the books, and I got so relaxed I began to daydream. It tends to get out of hand sometimes and I lose track of everything, I even forget how to breathe.” I giggled to try and hide the hysteria rising inside me. Had Simon really been so close? Had he really looked at me in a sort of….. caring way? I must have been dreaming, that wasn’t Simon at all. All the coffee from the morning was going to my head. Absentmindedly I lead Adrian back to my little cubby beside the window, all the while deciding that I really had dozed off while daydreaming, and that the whole thing wasn’t real at all.

    “So…” He started, “I was going to meet Simon at ‘La Notte Bella’ The new coffee place that just opened up on the other side of the mall. I’d be delighted if you would join us.” He said hopefully.

    I wanted to go, but I thought I’d try to turn him down first. “Adrian, I don’t think that’s such a good idea, I mea-”

    “I know you and Simon hardly get along, but I’d really like it if you came. Please?” He said, interrupting me. I should have been mad, but all I did was nod.

    He smiled and helped me clean my crap into my bag.

    When we arrived, my theory seemed to be proved, Simon looked up, waved at Adrian and scowled at me. The usual response.

    I sat on the opposite side of the table that Simon was at, and made sure that Adrian was between us. Being a gentleman, Adrian took our orders and our cash to purchase the drinks for us. I was rather hoping he wouldn’t but, he did anyway, leaving me to deal with Simon. Little was said between us, and he kept his eyes locked on something so that his head was turned to one direction. I did the same, but in the opposite direction. When Adrian got back, the table was just as quiet as before. He handed me my hazel mocha. It had cinnamon whipped cream, which smelled just as Simon had in the dream. It freaked me out just a bit. Though I don’t think my expression lasted long enough for anyone to see, but as I set my cup down after taking a sip, I undoubtedly saw Simon smiling behind his own cup.

    We sat and quietly talked amongst our selves. It was easy for Simon and I to roughly get along with Adrian around. We sat for who knows how long after we’d finished our coffee, and the guys said they had wanted to go look at a few games, and asked if I wanted to come with them.

    “Well, no. Mom will be here soon to pick me up, I’d better head back to the book store, she’s picking me up just outside of there.” I admitted. I really wanted to go with them. But it was getting to be almost ten ‘o’ clock, and I knew they would be looking a while.
    “Well then let us walk you back, and we can stay with you until she comes.” Ahhh Adrian, always there to help and protect. “Well, so long as Simon doesn’t mind that is.”

    We both turned our heads to look at him; he nodded silently, and stood as ready to leave as I was. Adrian smiled and took my hand, pulling me up and half dragging me out the door.
    I giggled as we made our way through the crowds of the mall, my hand still tightly clasped in Adrian’s. Things had died down in the book store when we got there, and there weren’t as many people rushing in and out. Actually the rush was more to get out of the place now.
    It was cold and windy outside. As to be expected. Both of the guys stood close to me, knowing how easy I got cold. I checked my cell phone for the time and announced that my mom would be there shortly. As I made the comment Adrian pulled me a few yards away, and turned his back to Simon. I tried to hide a giggle when he gave the
    back of Adrian’s head a confused glance.

    I looked up at him and he wasn’t exactly smiling at me, but he wasn’t frowning or angry either. He kept looking at me until his black gloved hand appeared and pushed a lock of hair behind my ear. I blushed and he laughed lightly. He pressed his forehead against mine, and took a deep breath.

    “I’m glad I got to see you again so soon, Stella.” He whispered, and closed his eyes.
    I tried to control my breathing. Not twice in one day! Please! I already dreamt about Simon, not about Adrian now too! But some how, I knew this wasn’t a dream. The back of his hand was resting against my cheek. For a minuet or so we stood there, just like that, when he moved his hand, bent down, and kissed my cheek.

    He pulled back and smiled at me awkwardly. I smiled back as best I could, stumbled to the side and started walking back to Simon. Who was, as always, glaring at me. Yet the direction of his glare was off. Was he going cross eyed? Or was he glaring at Adrian?


    That night I lay awake all night. At about one I could hear mom and grandpa outside placing our presents under the Christmas tree. It was about that time that I decided to force myself to sleep.

    The next day passed smoothly. My sisters woke me at about eight AM, all hyped up because of Christmas. I rolled over and struggled to get out of my piles of blankets and pillows. I’d slept happily dreamlessly, but that was because I was tired. I didn’t think I’d be so lucky the next night.

    I pulled on a ragged old sweater over top of my tank top and headed out to the living room. Just as my sisters had said, there was our usual personalized gifts. The best ones un-wrapped and un-packaged for our instant enjoyment. Mom passed me a cup of our usual Christmas morning coffee. Peppermint Mocha.

    Presents went quickly because we had presorted them after I had gotten home. While the two little girls fiddled with their new toys, mom and I started to plate up the Cinnabons we bought the night before. The smell brought back the memory of my ‘dream’ and I shuddered. I had blueberry waffles with out syrup instead.

    After that the adults took their showers first, seeing as how we were still playing with our new gadgets. And then the girls were forced to the showers and into their dresses. When I was done messing with my stuff, I hauled it to my room and began to prep dinner. We had started on it the previous day, but if we didn’t get started now, we would never end up getting everything done.

    When mom came to take over the food, I stayed and helped a little longer. Simply because I wanted to let the hot water heat back up. My showers are long.
    About an hour before the family was supposed to start showing up, I started my shower, letting the warm water relax my muscles. I turned up the water heat until it tinted my skin pink. When the water started to get cold I got out.

    With my towel wrapped around me I stared into my closet trying to decide what to wear. I had recently gotten the last of my faded black dye clipped out of my hair, and it was back to its natural dark brown. So plain…. For my outfit I decided on a black tank top with a red shirt over top, and my white, knee length skirt with my hilarious black and white pin stripped tights, and black peep toe mini heels.

    When I’d dressed and done my hair and make up, half the family had arrived. Grandma, mom and my two aunts were busy in the kitchen, like every year. And the men were conversing loudly in the living room with a football game, and just above that noise you could hear the kids running around giggling and screaming in play. I figured I should just stick to helping in the kitchen.

    Dinner was finished by about two, and we ate at three. By four the kids were out playing in the snow and the adults were having a loud discussion with one another on some important world topic that I didn’t care about. So I sat in the corner finishing a book, when the kids came rushing in. It was getting dark out, so I assumed they were just hauling in for the night when the oldest of my younger cousins told me a weird guy was outside asking for me.

    I closed my book on the last chapter, and the kids went to the laundry room to dump their wet clothes, and watch a movie up-stairs while they played with new toys. Moving through the maze of chairs set up in our make shift dining room/ living room I made my way to the door. It was snowing outside, but I didn’t feel like going back trough the maze to get my coat. Out by the street was a dark figure. I took a few steps closer to find that it was Simon.
    “What the HELL do you think you’re doing here?” I asked as politely as I could. I tried to angrily march out to the street to confront him but just as I got close enough to him to yell in his face properly, I slid back and fell. Oops. Forgot about the heels… I landed on something, though not ground. I looked up to see Simon, his arm around me. Just as close as he had been the night before.

    “Wow… Your first klutzy moment and I get to be the one who catches you. Lucky me.” He did that thing with his eyes again. The thing where I get all caught up staring into them. “Look,” he said, breaking the silent moment, “I came here for a reason, but do you think we could go inside? I think its a little cold for me to give up my jacket, sorry. And you’re turning blue.” He pulled me right side up and wouldn’t let go of me until we were off of the ice.
    The men, and some of the women had migrated into the garage for a game I thought. The children were silent up stairs, I assumed they were asleep. Though my grandma and one of my aunts were still sitting on the couch talking. They didn’t notice us at first, but it didn’t take them to long to realize that I wasn’t alone.

    I made quick with the intro’s “Grandma, Aunt Rosie, This is Simon. Simon, this is my grandma and my Aunt Rosie.”

    He nodded and bowed slightly. They gave him and odd look. I was going to be questioned later. Oh boy.

    “Nice to meet you Simo-“

    “Sorry grandma but we have urgent business.” I piped in quickly. With out a seconds delay I grabbed his coat and dragged him from the room and down the hall. I wasn’t to sure my room was clean enough, but I decided it didn’t matter. I flicked the light switch and closed the door tightly behind us.

    “Alright, NOW will you tell me what you want?”

    He sat on the edge of my bed and looked around a bit. “Colorful room. I like it.” He shoved his hands in his pockets and looked at me. “He loves you…. You know that….. right?”
    “Excuse me…. Who?” I said, confused. I started to play with a lighter of mine, and lit and incense stick before taking a seat beside him.

    “What are you? Stupid? Adrian!” He looked at me like I was nuts.

    “Well I’m sorry I’m unobservant. Jeez! Cut me some slack, I don’t pay attention to those kinds of things…” Though my words were true, my insides had frozen. Simon wouldn’t lie about that right? No, he couldn’t. Adrian was his best friend. He wouldn’t lie about anything having to do with him. “Well…… Okay…. And your point? How is it so volatile that you had to come to my house and tell me?”

    He sat quietly for a while, glaring up at one of my posters before he spoke again. “Because……..” he sighed, “Because….. I don’t know……” He seemed uneasy with the conversation. Why had he felt the need to tell me this if it made him so uneasy. “Look Stell, Adrian and I are going to my dads place for new years. You know, that old farm type place? Well we were going to stay in the cabin just on the edge of his property. Its in the woods. I know you’d like it. We’re taking a radio out to listen to the count down, and dad offered to save us a small bottle of wine for the occasion. I know how much you like that stuff….. but…. Do you want to come? I’d really…… okay well we’d really like it if you came…. Not that Adrian knows I ever planned on asking you to join us. It’s a surprise for him.”

    “You….. Want me……. To come with you guys… to your father’s house……. The middle of no where….. into a cabin with only the two of you……….. in the forest….. all night……. With a bottle of wine……. Simon….. Is that some kind of sick joke or are you helping him plan my rape and/ or murder?” I asked I was half kidding, but at the same time it almost sounded like something he would do.

    His face flashed to horror about half way through my statement, coming to the realization of what he had said. “No! Not at all! We aren’t psychos! I didn’t mean it like that! I am soooo sorry if that’s what it sounded like. Believe me Stella, that is NOT what I had meant.”
    “If you say so, then I’ll have to trust you…. Feel honored, I’m trusting you. I’ll go. I just need directions to the place.” I half smiled, not really sure of myself. It sounded fun, and I didn’t have much else to do. Unless I’d rather sit here with all of the children again, it was my only option.

    “Oh I can pick you up.” He replied simply. “Adrian doesn’t live far from here, I was going to stop there, and then here.”

    “I… Um…. Okay.” I said. I was more than a little confused…. He wasn’t glaring, he wasn’t himself at all. Or not the version of himself I knew.

    He stood suddenly. “I should be going home now. I’ll pick you up at about six-ish, ‘Kay?”
    “Um…. Yea. Six.” I nodded and got up to walk him out the door. Again, in the living room my grandmother and my aunt gave me a strange look when I escorted him to the door. I opened the door and waited for him to go outside first.

    He stepped out and I followed, closing the door as quietly as I could behind me. It was quiet. That is, until he put his arms around my shoulders and hugged me just as he had the previous night. Only thins time, the one part that changed. I hugged him back. I wrapped my arms around his waist and held on tightly to him. His cheek rested on the top of my head, and my face resting on his chest. We stood there for an eternity. But I enjoyed it. And he ended it. He simply pulled away and walked off. Perhaps that should have hurt me. But somehow I accepted it cleanly, knowing that was just how he was.
    I slipped back inside to find my aunt and grandma ready to question me.

    “Who was that?”

    “Was that a boy friend we should know about?

    “What were you doing in your room?”

    “What were you doing outside?”

    They shot the questions at me, one after another. Like they rehearsed them or something. So I shot back my answers as fast as they shot questions. “That was Simon, a friend of mine. No he’s not. He had to talk to me about Adrian. He was inviting me to do something with them on new years.” I didn’t wait for the next wave of questions. Instead I walked back to me room and got ready for a long dream filled night.


    As I was sure would happen, I had dream after dream that kept waking me up. By morning I had gotten almost no sleep, and I couldn’t even remember the nightmares that caused me to repeatedly wake up.

    The same thing happened over and over. I hardly got a good nights sleep every night before new years eve.

    On New Years eve day, I was hardly able to sit down. But weather I wanted to see Adrian, or spend the whole night with Simon I wasn’t sure which I wanted more. I was beginning to scare myself.

    I decided to take my shower at about four. Knowing I would take forever. And I was right, I finally got out at about five, I had one hour. I was nearly jumping out of my skin as I dressed.

    My outfit was simple enough that the guys wouldn’t know it had cost me a fortune. I chose a black and white striped tank top that came with a short sleeved, cropped hoddie. Black, of course. More white than black plaid pants that flared around the ankles, fastened around my waist with a piano key pattern belt. Again, my shoes were black and white plaid, only they were more black than white. I didn’t accessorize much apart from black and gray striped arm warmers, and small black hoop earrings. And, as to be expected, with all the time I spent dressing, I could only straighten my hair, and apply some quick black eyeliner.
    I sat anxiously waiting for him, though I had nothing to worry about. He was on time. Down to nearly the very second. His car took me by surprise. A 2005 Mustang, black of course. How could I expect any less of him?

    I waited impatiently for him to come to the door, by the time he reached the steps I had seated myself on the window side bench in the spare room up stairs, which I used as a ‘study’ almost. I watched his car more than him. That is, until I heard mom open the door and welcome him into our house. It was a frightening thought to leave him down there alone with her much longer so I got up, tripping in the process sending a stack of books flying down the stairs. I think one might have hit him….

    “Oops…” I called down. “I tripped. As you all know, I’m not the most coordinated of people.” I let the blush drain away from my cheeks before going down the steps, where I again, tripped and hit the wall.

    “Today just isn’t your day, is it Stell?” Simon asked. I attempted to answer him, but I decided I was going to inspect his outfit first. He wore a black, silk dress shirt that was un-tucked from his pants. Which were a sort of semi formal dress design, that I didn’t even know existed. There is truly something to say for a guy who can shop. He wore no tie, but he had left the first two buttons of the shirt undone, giving him an innocently sexy tone. Over his shirt he had a tuxedo blazer, without buttons. But his hair…. His hair was the best part of it all. It was its same soft black, but combed into an emo style. So very un like him. I should get him to do it more often. It wasn’t long enough to fall into his eyes by its self, so it stayed in its slanted place just above his eye. The rest of his hair was longish and straight. He had quite manly layers in the back. Some went all the way to his neck, and the rest got shorter and shorter to give it a little fluff.

    “No, today hasn’t been my best day, I must admit… Though… Something I can admit to is how great you look. You really surprised me today Simon.” I smiled and started for the door, nodding to all of moms stupid little warnings about staying safe, not talking to strangers, blah, blah, blah.

    Eventually we made it out the door, but not before mom insisted on giving Simon a hug and fixing his hair…. Not that it needed to be fixed. She thought it was too close to “blocking his pretty little eyes from view” He fixed what mom had done with one shake of his head.
    I had almost forgotten about Adrian until we got to the car. I smiled widely at him through the window, and he smiled back.

    “So, would you like to sit in the back, or the front Madame?” Simon asked, hesitating to open either door.

    “Well…..” I actually had to think about that one. Either I sit with Simon, someone I was sure I couldn’t trust just because he’s definitely gone bi polar. His attitude lately has been…. Odd. Or I could sit beside Adrian. Someone I love, and who loves me. “I’ll take the back if you don’t mind.”

    He nodded and opened his door, pushed back the sat and said “Move it Adrian.” He took my hand gently and helped me into the back, though I clearly didn’t need help. I buckled and pulled my knees up so that Simon could put the seat back.

    “Simon, how come you failed to mention we were picking Stella up?” Adrian asked.

    “Oh, I invited her last minuet. I didn’t think having just you and me would be that much fun, so I brought a little life to our ‘party’” He said. Though I couldn’t see his face I heard the smile in his voice.

    I took this time to look over what Adrian was wearing as well. Adrian always dressed proper, and this was no exception. He wore a midnight blue dress shirt, and black slacks. He had over top of that his age old coat. He went everywhere in it.

    It was about a forty minuet drive from my house to Simon’s father’s house. We had made it into the more forest like part of the trip, and we had about twenty minuets to go, when I felt a pressure on my hand. I turned my head a fraction to see, that once again, Adrian had taken claim to my hand with his own.

    Rather than dwelling on that, I let my attention wander to the trees and other plants blurring past us in the windows. Simon had rolled the windows down a fraction, and I could smell the wet earth and pine trees. I closed my eyes and let myself daydream. At one point I came across a day dream that caused me to squeeze Adrian’s hand a little. He laughed and squeezed my hand back.

    The trip didn’t last nearly as long as I had wanted it too. Before long we had pulled into a large drive way, and were in front of an equally large house. Simon’s dad was rich, and that made me nervous.

    However we didn’t go inside. Instead we began our trek out to the cabin. It wasn’t as long as I had thought it would be though. We wound in and out of trees and into the forest until I thought we might be lost, but once I looked just ahead, I could see a faint glow. I assumed it was the Cabin and kept walking.

    My assumption was correct, though the cabin didn’t look nearly as big as I thought it might have after seeing his father’s house. Once inside, I found that the cabin was one room, with a little door leading to the bath room from the living room. Simon was right. I did like it. It was small, and cozy, with a fire already burning bright in the fire place.

    I finally detached myself from Adrian to look around. The first place I went to was to sit beside the fire for a moment. The other two stayed back by a kitchen table surrounded by stools. I was transfixed by the flames, and I stared into them until finally the boys came over to make sure I was alright.

    Simon brought me a small glass of the wine his father had made himself, and seated himself next to me. Not long after Adrian followed and sat on my other side. We tuned the radio to a teen’s New Years broadcast, and turned it down to a dull background noise.
    I took Adrian’s arm and checked his watch, giggling. We had just about two hours until the big moment.

    I mostly watched the flames in the fire while the two talked. Occasionally I would give my input about something or another. But mostly I stayed quiet. Adrian took my hand a few times, and I would pull it away if I needed to adjust my shirt or something. And more than once, when I had switched my glass to the other hand and let my other hand rest, I swear I saw Simon’s hand twitch like he might be ready to try the same thing.

    Truth be told. I almost wish he had tried. Yet I didn’t really know what I wanted. Okay I did, but I wasn’t prepared to hurt either of them.

    It got to be about eleven- fifty five, and we all stood up. To stretch and walk around. Simon turned the radio up and Adrian filled our glasses with our second cup.

    I stared intently at the bottle, thinking. Wine was above all, my favorite thing to drink. It was a treat I only got during holidays, and Simon had become an angel in my eyes when he told me we would be allowed to keep an entire bottle to ourselves. My family makes fun of me and tells me I’ll be a drunk because I enjoy indulging on wine once a year. I mostly just laugh at them though.

    “Stella?” My head snapped up and I realized I must have gone off into lala land again.
    They were both looking at me funny until I smiled.

    “Are you alright? Perhaps we should take that from you?” Simon offered looking at my glass.
    I laughed lightly. “No, I was just thinking about something….. I believe……. I believe something important will be taking place tonight. Though I can’t be sure weather it’ll be good or bad. Maybe both.” I said while leaning against the kitchen counter. But I didn’t miss the look on either of their faces. As though they both knew what I meant.

    Before I could say anything more though, the count down started, and Simon turned the radio up louder. We counted together. “Ten… Nine… Eight… Seven… Six… Five… Four… Three… Two… One……. HAPPY NEW YEAR!” The radio blared with cheers from whatever part it of town it was broadcasting from, and Adrian began to dance a little. I laughed and took a sip of my drink as my way of ringing in the new year.

    After much dancing and giggling, on our part as the idiotic, half drunk teens we were, Adrian held my shoulders and tried to calm down a little. He steadied is breath and laughter and flicked his glass to make that ringing sound.

    “It is the new year. And as it is the new year, I would like to start this year with a confession.” He set his glass down and took my hand. “Stella. Would you accompany me outside?”

    Stunned, I set my glass down beside his and followed him out the door, but not with out casting an almost scared glance at Simon, who was glaring at me again. What had I done to him NOW!?

    Outside was icy cold, but Adrian promised to go back inside as soon as he had said one thing.

    “Stella… I… I’m only sixteen years old. I don’t have any experience with girls of any kind. Though… I’ve realized how blind I really am about them. So many at school would more than appreciate my attention. But. I don’t want to give that attention to them; I want to give it solely to you.” He said as we stopped in a spot between a few trees.

    My eyes widened and I looked off to the side. “W-…Well… Uh… Um….. That’s very… uh… Flattering, Adrian.” My mind was working in over drive now, I knew what was happening, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stand here and take it. Or run away. I chose the more polite option.

    “Would you…. Would you allow me to… To allow us to become closer to one another?” He was looking at the ground, for that I was grateful.

    I cleared my throat about four times before I answered. “Adrian… You are my absolute best friend…. But….. If we were anything more…. I don’t know if I’d be able to trust you… I mean.. I know not much would change on the outside of things. But my whole mentality about us would be blown apart…. I don’t think it’s a good idea. I’m sorry Adrian.”

    I didn’t look at him when I said it. And he didn’t look at me either. After an endless silence he walked away, down a worn path that seemed to lead into the dead fruit groves about a mile down hill from us. I didn’t stop him. I didn’t want to. The cold began to find its way through the layers of fabric I was wearing, so I reluctantly turned and walked back inside.
    Simon was seated at the table and swirling his glass around watching the liquid within it swish. He didn’t look up when I closed the door behind me. I took this as a bad sign.
    I sat beside him and sighed lightly. “That was awkward…. Really….. Really….. Really….. Really, really, really awkward. You knew what he was going to do, didn’t you? You jerk. Next time, save me.” I set my hands on the table and started chipping off nail polish.
    He did what I expected least. He laughed. He laughed until he nearly cried, it seemed forever before he shut up.

    Wiping his eyes, he got up and gently tossed the glasses into the sink. “I think its time to take you home now, Stell.” He chuckled softly and picked up his jacket. “Lets go.”
    “Hey! Wait a sec! What about Adrian?” I looked at him incredulously for a moment, and he laughed again.

    “Being rejected hurts. I think you of all people understand that, am I right? He needs to be alone for a while. He might be pissed if I just leave him here alone for a while. But I’m sure he’ll figure out that I did him a favor by taking you home early.”

    "Ugh.... Fine.. jerk" I smiled at him anyway.