”God, Elena, this is getting ridiculous! You know what, this is the end of it. If you don't do something, to make him see you, to make him see your feelings, you will either move on, or I will do something!”
I sighed, and looked at my best girlfriend. This wasn't the first time we had talked about this. No where near the first time, actually.
This had been a normal topic of our private conversations the past four years. And it was starting to bug me. Why did she keep believing anything would ever change? It hadn't changed the past fifteen years. Why should it now?
And it wasn't the first time she told me to do something about it, either. She knew I was never going to agree to do something. I'd rather sit back, and let life go it's own way.
As an answer to her statement, I shrugged and let my hoodie cover even more of my face. I was wearing one of my favorites. It was big and I was able to hide in it.
“It can't go on like this. We're here because you're turning twenty, and the only thing you're doing, is looking at him from a safe distance. And you're not even dressed up! How is he even supposed to see it's you, if you keep wearing those hoodies and the sunglasses?”
Caroline looked like she was about to explode from frustration. And she probably was. I rolled my eyes and took off my sunglasses. She already knew I was looking at him.
He was sitting at the bar, still wearing his leather jacket. His dark jeans and boots made him look like a bad boy, and of course his stunningly blue eyes looked flirty. He wasn't alone. As always, he was talking to a girl.
“He's used to me dressing like this. He knows this is my style...” I said, and looked down at my hands, that were currently playing with my sunglasses. No need to torture my self more than necessary. Before I could react, Caroline grabbed the glasses and put them in her bag.
“Hey! Give 'em back!” I said and reached for my sunglasses. Not that it was particularly light inside The Grill. I just felt naked without them. Sunglasses had been a part of my daily outfit for the past seven years.
“Nope. Not unless you make me a deal. Because I have the perfect idea to bring you and loverboy together,” she said, a big smile on her lips. I frowned and cocked my head. Caroline had an idea to play matchmaker? That never ended up well.
She had been trying to set up several times, ever since we were 15. But it had never turned out successful. That could be because I had always been in love with someone else. But that someone else, would never ever return my feelings. Never.
“Come on, Caroline. Like he would ever like me. I'll just ruin our friendship,” I said and looked up at the bar once again.
He was sitting with his usual glass of bourbon in his hand and was talking to a blonde girl. God, if he brought another one home...
“Yes, he would. That's why I have the perfect plan. Now, we're going shopping tomorrow, and then you're going to tell him, that he's coming with us to California!”
I felt my eyes grow wide, as she told me about her 'perfect plan'. There was absolutely nothing perfect about that! I had always wanted to go to California, sure. But with him? No, that would make everything too difficult.
“That is never going to work! How on earth did you come up with that plan?!” I said, chocked that she could even think about something like that.
“It's perfect! And if you don't agree, then your other choice would be to move on, and never know what could have been!” she said, obviously happy that she came up with that idea. I sighed, and looked at him again. He had moved closer to the blonde one, and his arm was smoothly wrapped around her waist.
I felt the familiar pain in my chest, at the sight of him with someone else. Maybe Caroline's plan wasn't all bad, after all. Maybe I would get to be the one his arms were wrapped around!
It was a silly dream, but suddenly, it didn't seem so far away. What damage could it do? If we didn't get together, we'd be on holiday together, enjoying California!
“Okay,” I said, determined to make Damon come with us to California. He knew I'd always wanted to go there, and we'd been traveling together lots of times. This would just be another place to visit. And Caroline would be there.
“Great! You're going to ask him tomorrow, and when he says yes, we're going shopping!” she said, clearly excited that I'd agreed to her plan. God, what on earth had I gotten my self into?
“Hello, birthday girl!” His arm wrapped around my shoulders, as he sat down next to me and pulled me closer. In the shade of my hood, I blushed as I got close to him. He smelled nice. Like alcohol, leather and male perfume.
“Hey Damon,” I said and quickly got out of his tight embrace. Even though I really enjoyed being in his arms, I couldn't handle it. It hurt too much, knowing I wasn't more than a friend. A little sister. Nothing more than that.
His hand went to my head, and he pulled my hood down. I raised my eyebrows at him, and started to pull it up again, but he grabbed my wrist.
“Not today, Lena. Please, lose the hood today. It's your birthday, and you're a bit too sober!” It was by then I noticed the tray on the table, holding at least 20 shots. He didn't expect me to do the 20 shots, did he?
“And you're turning 20! You know the rules! Start doing those shots,” he said! I looked at my best friend. His eyes were shining, but his pupils were dilated. He clearly wasn't sober. But how could I deny those blues eyes? No way I could.
I sighed and grabbed one.
“Do you want to help me?” I asked, smiling innocently at Damon. He laughed and shook his head.
“No way, Lena. I did this when I turned 20. Come on, you know I'll take care of you when you're drunk. I promise. I'll make sure you don't do something stupid,” he said. I sighed. He knew exactly how to make me do, exactly as he wanted to.
“She'll do it, if you promise one thing!” Caroline said, before I did the first shot. I frowned and looked at her. Why did she use me, to make a deal with him?
Oh my God, this was about the trip to California! She was going to use my drunkenness as a reward for him.
“And what would that be, Barbie?” Damon asked, raising an eyebrow.
There had always been a terrible tension between Caroline and Damon. They had been sleeping together shortly when we were in freshman year. It had been the worst time of my life.
But he had seemed happy with her, until he dumped her, because he got bored. Typical Damon. And now she decided to ask him? She knew I was going to ask.
Or maybe she didn't.
Maybe she didn't believe I wanted him to go with us. That could be why she asked him. To make sure I didn't back out.
I felt my cheeks growing red, as Caroline started talking.
“If she do the 20 shots, you're going with us to California, this Friday. You know, cozy holiday! You know Elena has always wanted to go to California,” Caroline said, putting on her business mask. That woman was going to be a salesmen, that's for sure.
“To California? Well, why would I reject that? Of course I'll go. It'll be fun. I like traveling with Elena,” he said and nodded at the shot, encouraging me to drink.
Knowing that I had to do it, I let the burning liquid slide down my throat. God, it tasted awful. It had to be tequila.
“Great, then that's settled. We're leaving this Friday, at 10 in the morning! That means 9.30 in the airport, Damon!” Caroline said, knowing that Damon had a habit of being late. He laughed and handed me another shot. As I downed it, I realised that there was something Caroline wasn't telling me. Something she didn't want Damon to know.
“That's early... Fine, I'll go. Now, Elena, you need to get drunk!”
There was no way of not getting drunk. The 20 shots went down, and then I headed for the dance floor with Caroline. She got us another drink, and then we danced together, as if we were lesbians. Somehow, that attracted incredibly many boys. That was a turn on?
“Hello sexy.” I felt a male body behind mine, and a pair of arms around my stomach. I looked down at the hands, and didn't recognise them. They were big, too big to be Damon's. And I didn't want anyone else than Damon to touch me.
As soon as I thought about him, he appeared in front of me, looking at the guy with fury in his eyes. But when he talked, his voice was calm.
“I'm just gonna cut in here,” he said, and removed the guys arms from my waist. As soon as he'd done that, I wrapped my arms around his neck and started dancing with me. He laughed and wrapped his arms around my waist, as he started almost carrying me to the booths again.
I was beyond drunk, and all I wanted to do, was to cuddle with Damon. That's why I sat in his lap, and slung my arms around his neck, while leaning my head towards his chest.
“Damon, you know how much I love you, right?” I murmured, being extremely drunk. I had told him I loved him many times, but he'd always thought I meant as a friend. And he would keep on believing that.
“Yes, Lena, I know. Now, I think you're ready to go home. Am I right?” he said, wrapping one arm around my back and the other started to stroke my hair. I smiled at him and kissed his cheek.
“You're so good to me. You always take care of me,” I said and looked into his wonderful blue eyes. He looked amused. His other arm wrapped around my legs, and he stood up, started walking towards the exit.
“And I will always be here to take care of you. You're a bit too drunk to drive. I'll take you,” he said, and sat me down on the ground, so that he could open the front door. Then he lifted me inside, and placed me on the seat, carefully putting on my seat belt.
Then he got in the drivers seat, and I drifted off to sleep, while he drove home.