I saw Mirry leaning up and kissing the tall stranger who called himself Ash. What kind of a name is Ash anyways, I thought to myself as I followed them into the dark street. Sounds from the party that we had just left were still audible in the distance and it had gotten really late. Mom and Dad would be super pissed since I was already late by at least half an hour. Maybe I should have gone back home straight after seeing Alex home safely. But I had been concerned about Mirry and had gone back to the party. Only to find her totally drunk and having the time of her life. With Ash.
And that was the bit that worried me the most. Who was this guy? Where had he come from? I hadn't seen him around and if I had, I would definitely have remembered that face. His exotic looks appeared to have an edge, as if he were dangerous, and his eyes were like warm, liquid chocolate.
My thoughts were jarred by the sound of girlish giggles and kissing noises. I felt my gaze washing over Mirry and Ash, as they hugged and kissed and acted as if they didn't have a care in the world. I had never seen Mirry this open or carefree with anyone, not even me. However, she appeared to have transitioned into a blushing debutante in the first flush of love.
I couldn't bear to look at the cheesy and hyper physical activities going on right before me and I averted my gaze to look at the silent, dark sidewalks running alongside us. I began to mentally count the windows of the houses that I walked by as I listened to the uncomfortable sounds that Mirry was making.
Trying to divert my mind, I thought of the wonderful evening that I had had and the goodbye kiss that Alex and I had shared at his doorstep. He had been feeling better by then and a little color had returned to his cheeks. As I had bid him goodnight, he had cracked a smile and said, "This is not how my dates usually end, you know. I am the one dropping off the girl, or not at all."
I laughed hesitantly as his hand let go of mine and he fumbled in his pocket for his keys. I waited while he opened up the door and then he turned back to me, smiling and still a little dizzy. "So...", I stuttered, not knowing what to say.
He mimicked my tone and chuckled at his own effort as he pulled me closer to himself and wrapped me in his arms. "I told you that my dates end a little differently, right? How 'bout I show you how I like them to end?"
And with that he lowered his head and captured my lips for a searing kiss.
Completely unprepared for this farewell, my hands crept into his hair of their own volition and fisted chunks of it. I leaned into his embrace as much as I could, not feeling conscious or shy for the first time in a long time. His smooth lips were warm and firm on mine as his hands lowered to my back and pulled me even closer.
Just when things had begun to heat up, a light went on in the passage adjoining the door and a lady's sleepy voice drifted out. "Alex, is that you?"
Breaking away, Alex gave me a sheepish smile which filled my heart with elation as he shrugged and signaled to me to not make any noise. Understanding his instructions, I gave him a small wave and crept away from his doorstep and into the dark night. Looking back from a distance, I saw his silhouette against the door frame now awash with light, waving in my direction.
My heart skipped a beat as I remembered the night's events, forgetting that Mirry was just ahead of me. And just then I noticed Ash looking back at me with an odd expression on his face, as if he knew what I was thinking. Feeling his inquisitive gaze on me, I felt really uncomfortable and slowed even further so that there could be some distance between me and the happy couple.
And just then I heard Ash's deep voice addressing me, "Sapphire, why don't you hop along faster and join us?"