Eddie stood, leaning against the door frame. He stared into his friend’s living room, scanning the faces of people that he hardly knew. He was uncomfortable, as he usually was at social gatherings. He had been debating all day whether or not he should even follow through with his plan to celebrate the New Year with Travis and his wife, knowing it was likely that they had invited more than a handful of other people to spend the evening there as well.
He was glad, at least, that he had something to do other than eavesdrop on other people’s conversations. The house was still decorated for Christmas, so it was nice for him to look around at the scenery. A nice change of pace since he never decorated his own house.
“You’re doing a great job,” said a voice that startled Eddie a little. He thought he was alone in his doorway.
“I’m sorry?” he said, looking to his left to see a woman he had never before seen. In the moment, he could not help but notice the bright blue of her eyes.
She laughed, apparently catching on to the fact that she had caught him off guard. “I said, you’re doing a great job… holding that door frame steady.”
“Oh…” If Eddie had been in a better mood, or if he was at all good at navigating social situations, he probably would have laughed at this stranger’s joke.
She cleared her throat. Eddie looked over at her. He knew he should probably at least fake a smile, but it just wasn’t in him. “I’m Lily,” she said, introducing herself.
“Eddie. So are you a friend of the bride or the groom?”
For a brief moment, Lily looked confused. “Oh, uh, Travis is my cousin. I just moved to town and I think he felt sorry for me, so he invited me to their party. What about you?”
“I work with Travis,” said Eddie before letting another mildly uncomfortable silence settle between the two of them. “I’m really not sure why I’m here,” he said after a long moment.
“What makes you say that?” she asked.
Eddie turned away from the living room crowd to face Lily. “I’m just not big on parties. Actually, I initially said I’d be here tonight because I thought it would just be a few people.”
“I know what you mean. But I haven’t met anyone since I moved here, so I felt like I had to jump at this opportunity.”
“And, so far, how’s that working out for you?” Eddie asked, clearly referring to himself in a self-deprecating manner.
Lily smirked. “I’m not sure yet. I mean, I’ve been talking to this guy who’s kind of cute, but he doesn’t seem to be interested in me. Or in anything, really.”
At that, Eddie couldn’t help but smile. “Well, maybe he’s just one of those guys who isn’t used to beautiful women thinking he’s cute.”
“And maybe he’s just not that good at picking up on the signals that women send him from time to time.”
“I find that believable,” said Lily as she glanced upward and smirked again.
“You keep making that face. I can’t help but feel like you’re secretly making fun of me for something.”
“I promise, I’m not making fun of you,” she said, “I just keep having interesting thoughts.”
“Care to share your thoughts with the rest of the class?” Eddie asked, genuinely curious about what this girl was thinking.
“Look up, dummy.”
He followed her eyes and saw what she was looking at. Mistletoe was hanging directly above her head. Suddenly, Eddie felt very nervous. Did this girl, whom he’d known for approximately four and a half minutes, expect him to kiss her?
He sighed, “Technically, you’re the only one under the mistletoe. So, really, that me-”
Lily cut off Eddie’s words by grabbing the lapels of his jacket and pulling him toward her. She stood on her toes and her lips met his. “I just think some traditions are worth keeping,” she said as she released him. “See you at midnight, Eddie.”
He tried to respond but his mind was spinning. He could only watch her as she wove her way through the crowd of party-goers.