I had no previous engagements so I hung out at Forrest's house until the party started. Around 5:30 the first guests started to arrive. Max, Trevor, Kyle, and many more streamed in the door. Then around 6 another knock sounded.

"Daniel, grab the door will ya?"

"Didn't I answer it last time?"

"You're closest!"

I looked at Forrest. He looked at me. Then I sighed, rolled my eyes, and got up to answer the door.I swung it open and started to greet...

Lionel. And Claudia.

Who invited them?

I left the two of them at the door and pulled Forrest aside.

"Did you invite the loner?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Dude! He's done nothing but screw with me since I got here! I hate him!"

"Hey come down bro! Well... he's here. We can't kick him out now. Maybe... maybe we can... make the most of the situation. If ya know what I mean."

I saw the glint in his eye and I smiled.

"I think I catch your drift."

"Excellent. Here's what we'll do..."

It was a great plan. Oh yes it was a great plan. I was almost jumping up and down in excitement, because it was such a great plan.

Forrest came back and announced "All right guys! I think most everyone is here... we've got some fun lined up for tonight. So here's what were gonna do. We're gonna play some manhunt."

Trevor spoke up "But it's not all the way dark ye-"

"With paintball guns."

Nearly everyone was wearing a grin now. Everyone exited the house, guns were handed out, and the game began. I'm not gonna go too much into the game because the rest of the night is where the excitement was at... well... mostly. Needless to say, whatever skill Lionel thinks he picked up in dodgeball... didn't help very much in paintball.

Claudia didn't play obviously, but she watched Lionel and I very closely. Everytime I got Lionel she frowned. Whatever. Not my fault he was embarrassing himself.

We went back inside after awhile and someone put in a movie. It was half over when I remembered the plan.

Oh right... the plan...and then I realized something else.

I didn't really want to do the plan. I was tired. Not physically tired, but psychologically. I didn't like Lionel anymore. But that didn't mean I had to go out of my way to get him.

I could settle for no contact. Assuming he would just leave me alone things could be all right.

"Hey Daniel!"

My pensive mood was broken by a familiar voice. I was about to say something rude, then looked up and saw Sarina.

"Oh hey Sarina! how's it going?"

She sat next to me. "Not bad. How are you? You seem kinda quiet and sad."

How much did I tell her? I liked her, but I didn't want to push away with news of my recent break up. Nor did I want to pity her into going out with me.

"Oh nothing much. I just don't have anyone to share some happiness with. Happiness isn't much fun alone."

"I guess so... mind if I help you with that?"

"Not at all!"

We chatted the entire night and there wasn't a single incident. Not one. Wow. Something went right for once!

Well... almost.

I was walking Sarina to her car and who would happen to be parked next to her?

Yeah them.

Who happened to be making out while I was trying to have a conversation with Sarina?

Umm yeah. Them.

I suddenly panicked. Should I try and kiss Sarina? No. We had talked for a while, that didn't mean anything. But I wanted to show Lionel. But now Sarina was looking at me. But I couldn't. I didn't know. I looked past her...

At Claudia, who had stopped and was looking at me too. And then suddenly Lionel was glaring at me.

Everyone was looking at me.

Why me?

I looked back at Sarina, suddenly very self-conscious. Then I made a decision.

I leaned in veryyy slowly. Watching for a sign.

Sarina tilted her back and looked up me.

I took that as a yes.

We kissed.

Right in front of them.

Auto-pilot took over.

"So umm... Sarina... you wanna maybe... hang out some time?" That was a very subtle way of saying "You wanna go out?"

She smiled, "I'd like that. Give me a call ok?"

I nodded a lot. "Sure"

"Ok. Bye Daniel." She got in her car and backed out of the driveway.

I walked to my own car and left as well.

But not before catching Claudia crying in Lionel's arms.

The End

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