It was a cold winter evening, so I'd layered on warm clothing before heading to my friend Chelsea's house. The whole train ride there I felt nervous because I was going to be meeting Chelsea's group of friends. I've never enjoyed meeting new people, but quarantine had almost driven me into insanity, so I was looking forward to human interaction.
Chelsea answered the door at the first knock. She greeted me and as I walked into the house I could hear a lot of chatter.
"So, who's here?" I asked, slipping my shoes off.
"Sarah is here," Chelsea said, closing the door behind her.
"Oh, good!" It felt nice knowing there would be two friends to hide between.
"And just the usual gang are here," she said.
I wondered how many of them there were. It sounded like ten people at least.
Chelsea must have seen how nervous I was because she said, "Don't worry, they're all really nice."
As we got closer to the kitchen the chatter grew louder, but the moment I walked in our eyes met and I blanked. His amber eyes locked with mine and I felt embarrassingly aware of how frumpy I was dressed.
As Chelsea introduced me to everyone I looked over all the faces smiling back at me and managed to say something along the lines of "hi, nice to meet you all," even though I hadn't heard any of their names.
Everyone thankfully went back to their conversations and Sarah came to sit next to me.
However, I felt uncomfortably out of place for the rest of the night. There I was with a group of friends who'd known each other for years and I was the outsider, it was painfully obvious. I wanted to hide, so I stayed quiet and kept my head down.
I'd also spent that whole time trying to avoid looking at the hazel-eyed guy and kept failing. I assumed he was dating whoever the other girl sitting next to him was but I wasn't sure.
They looked like a good match, both were extremely attractive and she had spent most of the night flirting with him. Though he seemed quiet and closed off, especially towards her. I felt a pinch of jealousy every time I glanced over but I shrugged it off. I had to keep reminding myself that a guy like that wouldn't even remotely be interested in a girl like me.
When there were only Sarah, Chelsea, and myself left I finally felt comfortable and at ease.
"I'll admit, tonight I didn't hear anyone's names tonight. I completely blanked when you introduced me," I said, helping the girls clean up the dishes.
"Well, my boyfriend's name is Mark, he's the guy with the glasses," Chelsea said, "and his two friends are Leon and David. And the other girl is Tiff."
"Oh, my god. Did you see how hardcore she was flirting with David tonight?" Sarah said, double-dipping a pretzel into one of the dips on the table.
Chelsea smacked Sarah's hand away from the dip. "Tiff always flirts with him, but she doesn't have a chance."
"She can't take a hint," Sarah said, "he barely spoke a word to her the whole night and she was drooling over him."
Now I knew his name and that he was single my interest in him peaked.
"Yeah," Chelsea said, "but he was extra quiet tonight though, he must have been a little shy in front of Lia."
"What?" I could feel myself blushing.
"Wait, really? I didn't take him for the shy type," Sarah said.
"Which one is David again?" I pretended not to know.
Sarah got out her phone and showed me a picture. There he was with his hazel eyes and perfect smile.
"Honestly, David is usually quiet though," Chelsea said.
"We should ask him if he's into Lia," Sarah said, shoving a pretzel into her mouth. "Do you think he's hot, Lia?"
I could feel myself going hot in the face. "Yeah, he's attractive," I said, stacking the plates into the dishwasher and trying to hide my rosy cheeks.
"Oh come on, just attractive? Even I think he's hot and I'm practically married." Chelsea said.
"Tiff has her eyes on him though, so watch out," Sarah said.
I felt myself run hot with jealousy. If he wasn't interested in a girl like Tiff then I stood no chance. "I don't even know him, and anyway he is way out of my league."
Chelsea smacked me on the butt with a wooden spoon. "Can you not put yourself down."
"Yeah, shut up. You're a total babe." Sarah said, flinging a pretzel at me. "I think you should shoot your shot, you two would make a cute couple."
"I don't even know him," I said.
"Don't worry." Chelsea squeezed my shoulders. "You'll get to see him again next weekend and you can get to know him. He's coming over for the barbeque."