Just a Little Crush (Crush #1)(2)By: Renita Pizzitola
I spun around and forced a friendly smile. “Hi, Noah. Um, great party.”
He glanced in the direction Mason had disappeared. “Thanks. I’m glad you made it.”
I nodded and rocked on my heels.
From what I could tell, he seemed like a nice guy, so not reciprocating his interest made me feel bad, but it didn’t faze him. And though his advances might look subtle from the outside, he was actually pretty relentless.
“Can I get you a drink?”
“No thanks. I don’t drink much.”
“Oh.” He shoved his hands in his pockets. “Want to dance?”
I smiled. Though I enjoyed dancing, I had no plans to do it with him. “Yeah, don’t really do that either.”
“Here you go.” Mason reappeared and shoved a red plastic cup into my hand.
Noah stared at the cup, then at Mason, then back at me.
Like an idiot, I just kept smiling.
“Okay, time for that dance you promised. Excuse me while I steal her away for a minute.” Mason looped his fingers through mine and pulled me toward a makeshift dance floor.
As soon as we were swallowed by the crowd, I burst out laughing.
“What?” he yelled over the music that blasted from a speaker right by my ear.
“Your timing’s impeccable.”
He bowed slightly. “At your service.”
“So what am I supposed to do with this?”
He shrugged. “Drink it.”
I sipped the beer. It was cold and fresh from a keg but still held little appeal. Beer had yet to grow on me, as did most alcohol. Mom loved vodka more than she loved me. I was way too familiar with the ugly side of drinking. But as long as I took a sip here and there, I’d blend in with the crowd and never be questioned about my lack of consumption.
Eventually, Mason would finish his and, instead of fighting the crowds, he’d steal what was left of mine.
“There she is,” he said.
I scanned the room for Mason’s current love interest. “Where?”
“Pink top, brown ponytail.”
“She’s cute. But a little too innocent for your taste.”
“Looks can be deceiving.” He grinned.
“How did a girl like me end up with a man-whore like you for a best friend?”
“I’m the one who should be asking how a guy like me ended up with a prude like you.”
“Hey, I’m not a prude. Well, at least I don’t think I am. Who knows?”
“I already volunteered my services. Telling you, once you’re devirginized you’re gonna go wild. Might as well get it out of the way.”
I hushed him and looked around. “Someone will hear you.”
“A guy who likes sex and a girl who’s a virgin. Yeah, that’s something no one’s ever seen before.” He shrugged. “I’m just trying to do you a favor.”
I laughed. “Your thoughtfulness amazes me.”
“No-strings-attached sex is very generous. You laugh now but one day you’ll come around.”
“No thanks. I know where you’ve been.”
“Good point.” He glanced back at the girl. “And you know where I’m going.”
I rolled my eyes. “Go. It’s fine.”
“That’s okay. I’ll find her later. I promised not to abandon you.”
“Go. Seriously. I’m fine. I’ll practice blending in with the walls.”
“Now I really can’t leave you.” He shifted his weight and stared at me.
“It was a joke. Anyway, I see a girl from one of my classes. I’ll go say hi.” I walked away and glanced back. With a shooing motion, I said, “Go.”
He shrugged and went to find his brunette.
I hadn’t really seen a friend but Mason came to have fun. I didn’t want to be his party paperweight.
I wandered into the kitchen with my beer cup still in hand. There was nothing worse than being alone at a party. Well, not true. Being alone and sober.
I turned and was actually happy to see Noah. At least I wouldn’t be the lonely loser. “Hi.”
He glanced at my still mostly full beer.
“I really hardly ever drink. My friend assumes if he puts a beer in my hand I’ll drink it; if I don’t, he does. I’m more or less his cupholder.”