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New Years' Eve: George and Jackie's Love Continues
Sure, he's been walking me to work.
Sure, we've kissed a couple times.
Sure, he makes me melt every time I look at him.
But, we're not going out or anything.
So, I don't expect him to spend every waking moment with me. Even on New Years' Eve. 'He probably has something to do, anyway,' I think, walking into my apartment after work. 'And he didn't want to talk about it because I'd jump on New Years' and invite him over. That would be an awkward situation.'
I stop thinking about it while grab my phone and shuffle through my house, into my bedroom. I reach into my dresser, pulling out an over-sized but flattering tee-shirt and my favorite pair of jeans.
I reach around and unzip my dress, letting it fall to the floor. Then, I slide into my jeans, not bothering to take off my tights. Leaving my bedroom, I slip my shirt over my head, making sure I'm decent before walking in front of a window.
Now, I face my usual conundrum. What to do.
'It's 5:30, not too much time to do anything,' I think, not for the first time. On a whim, I go to my small bookshelf that holds up my television. My eyes glance over the titles, but I've read all of these a thousand times. Except for one.
I pull "The Help" off the shelf and settle onto the couch, falling into the magic that is the printed word.
An hour later, I snap out of my trance due to hunger. I dog-ear the page, a terrible habit, before standing up and waltzing into the kitchen. Flipping open the cupboards, I grab a box of pasta, placing it on the counter before putting on a pot of water to boil.
I return to the living room and turn on the television, scrolling to the Swing Music channel. Dancing back to the kitchen, I get started on a simple cheese sauce by gathering the ingredients.
After close to twenty minutes, I scoop my serving of macaroni and cheese into a bowl and put the rest in a plastic dish to save. I go back to the couch, preparing to watch the New Years' festivities.
After only a minute, though, a knock comes at the door. A timid knock.
'Who is that?' I ask myself, standing up, turning down the T.V., and setting my bowl on the coffee table. I shuffle to the door, looking through the peephole.
There, George is standing, his hair is messy and hanging in his eyes. He breathes a puff of air out. He turns around, stepping down one stair. I throw open the door, saying, "George!" in a loud laugh.
"Oh, hey," he replies, turning around and smiling. "I didn't think you were home."
"Oh, no, I'm always here," I joke, opening the door wider, "Want to come in?"
I turn around as George follows me in. 'Why didn't I clean tonight?' I berate myself, feeling embarrassed by my cluttered apartment. I sit on the couch, and George takes his place next to me.
"Oh! Do you want some macaroni? I made it a bit ago, but we can heat it up," I inquire.
"That would be lovely," he agrees, cracking that crooked smile I love. He follows me into the kitchen, where I pull a bowl out of the cupboard and hand it to him. He takes over, filling the bowl and putting it in the microwave. I jump onto the counter, while George leans against the counter across from me. "So, how's your New Years' Eve so far?"
"Oh, you know, boring," I answer. "Yours?"
"Pretty much the same," he chuckles. "So, I figured, worst case, you'd be at a party or somethin'."
"Pssh, me? At a party?" I ask, in a high-pitched voice. "Never!"
The microwave beeps, and George pulls his macaroni out. I grab a fork from a drawer under my legs and hand it to him before jumping off the counter and going back to the living room, where I sit with my back against the arm, my feet extending towards George's legs.
We settle down, watching old episodes of How I Met Your Mother, laughing and chit chatting until almost ten o'clock.
"Well," he says. "I wouldn't want to impose on you, so.." he trails off as he stands up.
"Aw, c'mon, George," I moan, smiling. "Another one is coming on!"
He smiles, but I stand up, anyway, accepting that our evening is coming to an end. I follow him to the door, where he wraps his scarf around his neck, tightly. He opens the door, and I grab onto it, leaning on it. "Alright," he sighs, stepping onto the stoop. "Well, goodnight, I suppose." He shrugs his shoulders and slaps his hands against his thighs.
"I suppose," I agree, breathing the crisp air. He turns to go down the stairs, hesitates, and turns back towards me again.
"Hey, wanna go for a walk?" he asks.
"Oh! Sure!" I agree, smiling. "I just have to get my winter stuff on, and I'll be ready! Just, uh, come back in for a minute." George steps over the threshold one more time, closing the door behind him, while I rush off to my bedroom, where I put a long sleeved shirt on underneath my tee-shirt. I grab the coat I discarded on my bed earlier, and rush back to the door. I slip my feet into a pair of black Ugg-boots, buttoning my coat. I grab my pair of black leather gloves and my red scarf and beret.
"Well, that was fast," George whistles, laughing. I laugh, pulling the door open once again. George leaps down the stairs, pulling on his thick, wool gloves. "Shall we?" he asks, holding out his hand. "It's icy, careful."
I grasp his outstretched hand, and we set off, turning towards the busier part of town. "How was work today?" I ask.
"Well, the usual," he chuckles, quickly shifting his eyes away from mine when I look at him. "Just accounting."
I breathe in the cold air, filling my lungs with the crisp gas. "Indeed," I sigh, "just accounting."
"Don't you like it?" he asks, looking at me.
"It's nice, but I don't want to do it forever," I admit, looking at the ground. "I'd like to be an author, but accounting is more stable."
"I'm sure you could be an author, Jackie," George says, squeezing my hand. As we walk, the sun sinks lower and lower on the horizon until it has dipped below, and we are walking in the blue light of night, periodically interrupted by yellow street lights and flashing neon signs.
"Want to stop for coffee?" George asks, pointing at a small shop on the corner.
"If it's open," I agree, smiling. 'Is this a date, a real date?' I ask myself. 'We'll have to see.'
George pulls open the door, murmuring the usual, "Ladies first" before following suit. "What would you like?" he asks.
"An eggnog mocha, if they have it," I answer, observing the small shop. There is a young man in the corner, with whom I briefly make eye-contact before quickly looking away, but, otherwise, the room is empty. There are small booths with leather seats around the perimeter, made for two or three people maximum.
"Alright," he chuckles. "Why don't you pick out a place to settle down?"
I nod, smiling, as I turn towards the tables again. I know which one I'm going to pick. It's right by the window, so I can look out and watch the city while we hunker down for a steaming cup of coffee. I slide into the seat, pulling my gloves off and unwinding my scarf before unbuttoning my coat. I slip it off and watch as George orders the drinks.
The bored barista nods, pretending to smile, while George rattles off the easy order. He reaches into his wallet and pays for it.
Even mine. This is a date. A bonafide date.
George scurries up to the table, sitting across from me. "It's almost twenty-twelve," he observes, looking at the clock on the wall.
"Indeed it is," I agree, smiling. "Only forty-five more minutes."
We sit in a comfortable silence for a minute, me looking out the window, but I can feel George looking at me. I wish I had put my hair up. It looks drab down, slightly wavy and crazy.
"Hey, look," George says, pointing out the window. "Is that snow?"
I look closer through the glass pane. Indeed it is snowing. Little flakes of white shimmer down from the air, landing softly on the hard concrete. "Well, look at that," I sigh, hoping it will keep on through the night.
"I heard somewhere you like walking in the snow," he smirks, grinning to reveal his crooked teeth.
"I can't believe you held on to that," I chuckle, remembering the Christmas party we had attended weeks before.
"Who wouldn't hold onto such a beautiful girl's fantasy?" George asks, smiling softly and reaching across the table to grab my hand. I blush, looking at the place where our skin is now touching.
His fingers have calluses on them from typing on a keyboard for far too long, and mine have lighter versions of the same ones. The cashier steps up to our table, holding two paper cups with "Stu's Coffee" stamped on the side. "Here's your drinks," she says, quietly, setting an eggnog mocha in front of me. "Enjoy your evening. Happy New Year's."
With that, she walks away, plainly. George quickly sips his coffee, winking. "Shall we walk in the snow while it lasts?" he asks, already anticipating my answer as he puts his coat back on. I don't bother answering and just start reloading my outerwear.
At eleven thirty five, we walk out of the shop, into the snow. It flakes into George's hair, gleaming each time we pass under a street light. I can only hope mine looks as cute.
Soon, we're just chit-chatting as usual, inside I am fawning, and, I'm sure, he's completely calm. "It's almost midnight," he points out, looking at his watch. I grasp his wrist and bring it towards me. He is correct.
"Only two more minutes," I specify, looking at the stars, wondering what the new year will bring. "Twenty-Twelve, here we come."
George looks at me, his eyes soft, but he doesn't say anything, so I just ignore it and keep walking, adjusting my slouchy beret. After a moment, George stops, and I stop beside him. "Twenty seconds," he says, and I mentally start a countdown in my mind.
"Ten," he breathes, moving a step closer to me.
"Five," I continue.
Just as our countdown hits zero, George wraps his hands around my waist, pulling our hips together, and kisses me, lovingly harder than any other kiss I've had.
And I love it.
I love him.
This is officially the best start to a New Year I've ever had.