Chapter 36 The confession

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Sean

At eight o'clock, I thanked everyone for coming to the party, but I didn't really manage to say anything yet when Flora grabbed the microphone from me. She was very excited and laughed beside me as she thanked a bunch of people for their contributions, completely stealing the show, then a massive cake was brought out and Linda made her wish.

I wanted to get Flora aside and ask her what the kiss meant, but she didn't give me a second of her attention. She had started going around the room and chatting up all her guests, because no one was allowed to be bored at her party.

Up until tonight we had been getting closer and flirting a lot. We talked almost every night before sleep and ate lunch together all the time, telling each other it was purely for Linda's benefits, even though this party honestly didn't require that many meetings. We probably held more meetings than the pharmaceutical company her parents worked for, but I never dared assume anything with Flora. It was better to be clueless than to over-analyze things, so I always dismissed Flora's feelings toward me as her having a little harmless fun with me. Perhaps she just liked making me uncomfortable.

I was fighting like hell trying not to feel anything, to wave it off as carelessly as she did, but I knew I was failing miserably. I was reluctant to kiss her even though I wanted to, because I knew exactly what I would feel afterwards.

I would feel hope. One sliver of false hope was all it needed for me to fall completely. I was cautious like the tightrope walker in a circus, afraid of losing control because there would be no safety net to protect me.

When the power cut at ten, I felt someone coming up behind me and tapping me on the shoulder. I thought it was Flora messing with me again, but when the lights came back on I saw it was Linda.

"Hey, it's you."

"Yeah. I want to thank you," she said.

"You are welcome. You should probably thank Flora though, because she did everything."

Linda nodded and said she already did.

"Happy birthday, sis. Is this party awesome?"

"It is! Definitely awesomer than posting Ray's picture on a porn site." She laughed.

"See? I told you. The best revenge is moving on and having a good time."

"Yes. Look, listen carefully because I'm never going to say this again for the rest of my life." She fidgeted and took a big breath. "You are a great brother and I love you."

"I disagree, sis." I grinned. "I think you are going to say it again for many, many times in the future."

She giggled. "I probably will. Hey, you wanna know what my birthday wish is?"

"Find another boyfriend and get married before Christmas?"

"Haha. I wish you and Flora would get back together," she said. "Everyone at this party can see how sparks fly between you."

I pretended to scoff at the idea and told her she should have spent her precious birthday wish on herself, but as I watched Flora through the crowd, looking glowingly beautiful as she always did, I knew I wished for that too.

***

Our party ended with Jake telling me "It didn't totally suck" which was all that was needed to be said. When people started to leave, Flora was the last to go as she made sure everything was being put back to order.

I could still taste her on my lips, but she was back to her professional event planner mode and she barely looked at me again. I walked her to her car. By then she had put on a trench coat over her angel costume, but I knew what was under there and it still made me very aroused.

"Well, good night, Sean," she said. "I hope you had fun tonight."

"I did. Thanks again. You know what? Before you came over, it was a little stressful trying to think up things to say to people when we decorated the house, so mostly we talked about how wonderful you are. I wish you were with me. You make it seem so easy to get along with everyone."

She smiled under the street lamp, leaning against her car. "It's okay. What you lack in conversational skills you make up for with...other skills."

I thought of what happened in my room and my heart started pounding. "I think you wasted one wish tonight."

"No, I don't think so," she replied calmly.

I couldn't see what she was thinking at all. She confused me, and I debated if I should tell her what I felt. "I...I wanted to kiss you even without the wish."

Flora raised her eyebrows coolly. "I guess you really like my costume." She smiled slyly, reaching out a hand to raise the hem of her coat. She showed me the garter belts around her long tanned thighs and I swallowed.

Just admit it, Sean.

"I like it, but the truth is, I like you."

I said it, finally. I was so afraid to acknowledge it, and I knew once I did it there would be no turning back. She would have total control over me and she could do whatever she wanted to with my feelings.

"Flora, I really like you. You know, that kind of like."

I felt myself burn up with anxiety. These were the words she said to me before, but this time it was me confessing before her, hoping she would tell me she felt the same. I had no alcohol in me to boost my confidence, and standing in front of her I felt nervous and vulnerable.

Flora let out a throaty peal of light laughter. "Who doesn't?"

She opened her car door and got in as I stood beside her car, shocked. That was not the reaction I anticipated. Flora was upfront but she was never mean.

Until now, that is.

"Why are you telling me this?" she asked nonchalantly, rolling down the car window.

She was sending me mixed signals and I couldn't read any of them. "I don't know," I mumbled. "I like you but I'm also afraid of you."

She laughed again. "Afraid of what?"

That you will hurt me, I thought. But I didn't want to say it because I knew she would do just that if I did.

The girl in front of me looked like her usual self, gorgeous and confident, but I gazed into her eyes and saw nothing that I recognized. This couldn't be the same girl who wrapped her arms around my neck not long ago, kissing me like she meant it. I was so sure there was a connection.

"Flora, I don't understand. Did I imagine everything?"

"What did you imagine?" There was a cruel glint in her eyes that I had never seen before, but I could tell it fed on my pain and embarrassment. I had a feeling that she would laugh at whatever I said, but I wanted to be truthful.

"I thought...the past few weeks meant something to you too. I had a really good time being together with you, and I thought that you might...you might feel the same way."

Flora looked at me stoically, and I could tell she was not going to give me a good night's sleep. I bit my lip and waited. Her silence was not the good kind, and with each passing second I could feel myself heating up more with mortification.

I had to say something to let her off the hook. "Even if you don't feel the same way, it's okay. I'm not asking anything. I just want you to know how I feel."

I was such a phony. I really just wanted to grab her shoulders and ask her what I did wrong, but I felt I had to be nice because I was supposed to be a gentleman.

Flora smiled and chose not to answer me directly. "Good night, Sean. Get some sleep." I watched her speed off into the night, realizing with a sinking feeling that Flora had given this party a Cinderella feel after all. The party ended at midnight, and it was not the only thing that ended.

***

If you think Flora acted like a psychopath, please read on to see if she made sense from her view. :)



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