december | 21st | wednesday. 
vivianna, 
acs. 
title: mistletoe, justin bieber <3 :D
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meant to publish this yesterday but there were a lot of bad words apparently...

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I carefully placed a stocking over our fireplace, trying my best to ignore Stella's and Nate's flirting.

God, get a room.

"-seriously though, if we had guys as perfect as you in high school I'd only ever have had one boyfriend."

Oh lord.

"You're too nice," Nate mumbled, putting up a streamer.

Uch, if I had said that he would have laughed, said he knew he was perfect and then made a 'joke' about me.

"Need any help Vi?" I looked over my shoulder to spot Melissa in her red Christmas sweater, glittering pencil skirt and tights. It was a Christmas party not an effing club. Here I was in my 'ugly' Christmas sweater and jeans, psh.

"No, its fine, really." I smiled, but Melissa set her mug down and helped me anyway.

"So how's Chicago been treating you?" She asked, picking up another stocking, I yawned and shrugged.

"Same as always," She smiled and nodded. "How's England."

"Its great, but uhm, I'm not sure if I'm going to stay there for long..." I stopped and stared at her.

"What? But Oxford was your dream school." I said, staring her down. I may have not been able to salvage all my friendship with Melissa while she was abroad, but giving up her dream school? Ridiculous.

"Yeah, yeah, but I feel like I'm distancing myself from a lot of people," She side glanced at Aiden who was sitting with Tina at the dining table and discussing something or the other - god knows. Melissa quickly looked away when I looked where she had been looking.

"Oh, well that's an acceptable reason I guess." I continued to put the stockings up. I cleared my throat and pounded on the nail to keep it from falling, I must have looked like someone in need of anger management because when I looked up Melissa, Nate, Stella and Jade were staring at me.

"You okay over there?" Nate asked, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth as if he knew something.

"Just fantastic."

"You sure? Because I'm n-" Nate started.

"She said she's fine Nate," Stella said, 'gently' pushing his body back to her direction, his eyes lingered on me for a second before he turned back to her. Great, just fantastic, this is exactly how I wanted to spend Christmas eve morning. Besides why was Nate even talking to me?! I thought it was small talk only since the beginning of eighth grade, no need to change all that now.

"Vivianna? C'mere, I need some help!" Jade called, retreating to her room. I dropped the stocking in my hand, huffed so that my bangs blew out of my face and followed after her. When I pushed open the door to her room she was sitting on her bed with a Vogue in her lap. She patted the space next to her and I sat down reluctantly. "Look hun, I know you don't exactly /love/ everyone here or everyone who's coming tonight, but please just try to keep it inside until Monday. I know this is totally hypocritical but its the holidays. I'm perfectly aware that Stella is an A Class, a*s kissing, bitchh, but just try to ignore her. I also know that Karina is so sweet that she makes you want to barf up all the sh-t you've eaten but just ./two days/, that's all I'm asking."

I stared at her, was she being serious?

"Fine." I said, getting up and walking out of her room.

Jesus Christ.

+

The warm cider sent my spine into a tingling fit. The buzz of being around friends, family and all the noise and chatter had me bouncing on the ba.lls of my feet in excitement. The entire penthouse was decorated in such a cozy yet eloquent way and I absolutely adored it, obviously the idea was entirely mine...well Tina helped.

"Lovely," I turned around to face my mother, her glossed bob and her little black dress and pearls made her stand out even at her age. "I see you've gotten all the good traits from me." She winked and I smiled, enveloping her in a hug - a well needed one at that.

"Ma, I hate everyone." I whined, sipping more cider, my mother responded by raising her eyebrow.

"Really?" She asked sarcastically.

"Well, its just some of the more than others," I spied Karina from that corner of my eye, talking with a bunch of our old high school friends. God the bithch looked fabulous, standing around and talking as if she effing owned the place. Sheesh, and those /heels/, it was a Christmas party for the manger's sake, not a strip club -did people not understand that?

"Karina? I knew she was bi-"

"Ms. Winters," my mom looked up at Nate and smiled, making eye contact with me as she hugged him, I refrained from rolling my eyes. My own mother loved the boy more than she loved me. If I were to ever /dare/ smack talk precious little Nate, I'd be hit upside the head with her monogrammed, brand name clutches.

"Nate! How are you? You look fantastic, still studying medicine?" Nate laughed and nodded.

I took this as the opportunity to leave. I walked through the hordes of perfume drenched women, the lingering smell of expensive colognes, smores, cider, wines and pie - it was absolutely suffocating. It wasn't like I was generally an unhappy person or anything it was just people are so d-amn annoying.

The moment I walked out onto the terrace, I regretted leaving my jacket in my room. The cold air hit me like a brick wall and the city below was in full swing just like the room I'd left behind.

I walked towards the railing and leaned on it, next to me was another silhouette and I could make out from the Christmas lights and the flickering terrace light that it was Aiden. "Hey."

"Hey."

"Its suffocating back there." I said, trying to start up a conversation, he simply nodded. I noted his jaw tightened when he tried holding back a yawn and immediately shook my head, staring back out at the lake shore in front of me.

"You know, Melissa wants to move back." He asked, turning to me even though his body was still pressed against the intricately molded barrier.

"Well-" People really had a thing for cutting each other off today.

"I overheard her talking about it with some of our old friends and she brushes it off like its nothing. Its /Oxford/, f-cking /Oxford/." I cringed a little at the way he slapped the icy railing, shaking his head. Obviously this was about something completely different than what he'd like to think. "You know I worked my a*s of for it."

"I know," I said, tracing a figure eight in the ice in front of me with the tip of my finger. I'd read somewhere that that was supposed to calm you down, I switched directions and kept going, my eyes closed shut.

"I was miserable for days." He stated, blowing out a puff of cold air.

"I remember," I said faintly, not sure how to deal with this. Aiden had always been a bit moody but he never liked to open up about anything. In most scenarios, he'd be the one to blow something off and act like it was nothing. In all my years of being his friend, he'd never talked about how he felt like he was now.

"I gave it up though, for her. Its like she's throwing it away, if she knew how much it meant for me to go there..." I nodded again. I knew why he wanted to go there so badly. His mom had mentioned to me once that his dad had gone there and everyone on the Near North Side had heard the story of his dad walking out on them when he was only five and only to pass away seven years later. It meant everything to Aiden, whether he admitted it or not, to be like his father who he'd always held in high esteem. He pretended to hate him though, but at the same time wanted to follow in his footsteps.

Although my dad had walked out on me, I still talked to him and visited him, I'd never understand what it was that Aiden had gone through and quite frankly, I never tried to.

"She's just doing what you did, she wants you guys to work out." I said in a monotone.

"I'm perfectly aware," he bit back. I nodded, that's how I always dealt with Aiden, you either talk back or act like its no big deal. "But its different, that was my dream school and I gave it up because of how miserable it made me to watch her cry over not making it. Sometimes I feel like she didn't even think about what I did for her, like she just expected it. And what if, just what if, she didn't get bumped up? What if I gave it up for nothing? You know it would be all the same, she just wanted to test me."

I blinked, it didn't really occur to me that that would be something Melissa would do. She was generally kind hearted, breezy and funny, but there were moments when she could be selfish, but then again, I didn't know her as well as Aiden did and again, I'd never tried to.

"That's the thing though Aid, what's happened has happened. You can be bitter about it for the rest of your life or just live with it. I mean if you hadn't given it up you'd be in England, freezing your peanuts off and you wouldn't be living with your two best friends, a building away from your other three. You'll still be doing what you've always planned on doing, you just would have gotten your education from somewhere else. But who cares? Really, it doesn't matter." I shrugged and punched him lightly on the shoulder, "You'd still be a hardheaded pain the a*s."

He chuckled softly. It was silent for a bit and I was unsure if I had said the right thing or not. I watched as some sleet slid off the roof and crumbled onto the floor, holding back a sigh.

"You would have missed me," Aiden said, I rolled my eyes.

"Eh, barely." I laughed, he picked up a piece of ice and let it melt through his fingers, a small smile tugging at his lips. I blushed a little from the idea of me staring at him and looked away again. It was so stupid of me to have weird feelings toward Aiden of all people, but could you blame me?

There was a sudden awkward silence that I thought was maybe just me, I had the urge to break it but nothing came to mind. I mindlessly stared at the sky's reflection on the lake, and curled and uncurled my toes.

"Hey, Vivianna..." the way my name fell of his lips sent a rush of heat to the bottom of my feet, it was so formal yet at the same time it made me kind of happy.

"Hmm?" I tore my gaze away from the water and the first thing I noticed when I looked away was how close Aiden was, leaning towards me. I could see how long his eyelashes were, the laugh lines that were forming at the edges of his eyes, the moistness of his lips...I could smell the lingering scent of aftershave, spearmint and his cologne that I'd grown accustomed to over the years. I noted the intensity of his gaze, directed towards my lips that I hadn't realized I was biting. He was getting closer, much too close for comfort, but I didn't mind.

What the he// was he doing? Why was I feeling so drunk when all I'd had to drink was apple cider?

When he opened his mouth to speak, his words came out in almost a whisper, "I think you should go back inside," he suggested, going back to his original stance of facing me with his weight against the barrier.

"Oh, yeah - uh, good idea..." I said, biting my top lip and running a hand through my hair. I couldn't help but notice the smirk on his lips and the slight shake of his head when he looked back towards the glaring city lights gleaming against the ocean.

I blinked, suddenly extremely frustrated. What was he doing? More importantly, what am /I/ doing? At that moment, I wanted nothing more than to be in the comfort of my bed, my face planted in my pillow and the sound of Seinfeld playing in the background.

So that's how I ended my night, but not before turning back one more time to see Aiden drawing a figure eight on the railing and looked up to see a mistletoe hung haphazardly above my head; I sighed harshly and shut the terrace door, it was Christmas Eve for f-ck's sake.



MERRY CHRISTMAS <3
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