31. Suits and blue velvet hearts

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''This villa is the definition of luxury,'' Andrea said as he looked around for the 100th time.

I nodded my head and wondered why the hell I was with him. Even if he was boring to death, I did agree with his statement. Our school organizers who hosted this evening decorated the villa with red balloons, heart-shaped decorations and posters, but it still kept its old-fashioned charm.

''Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's a Renaissance building,'' I said. ''It has that kind of architecture.''

Dario showed up from behind, with a cigarette in his mouth. ''Oh, look at you, Pit! Talking about Renaissance and shit.''

He was alone. I was surprised that he came to the party this early, but I wasn't surprised that he was already drunk. His presence made Andrea shiver and Dario smiled at his reaction. He sat next to us, and I wished it could be as simple as this. He could just sit there and we could talk about football and I could tell him how nervous I was. There was something in his eyes tonight that made me think it was possible.

''Hello, Andrew,'' he said. ''Would you like a cig?''

Andrea shook his head and gulped. Dario glanced at me with amusement, and I tried to hide my smile. I knew he wasn't just making fun of Andrea's innocence. His eyes were also saying, ''so this is it? This is your new best friend?''

I glanced again at the gate, impatient. I was supposed to accompany Noemi tonight, like a real gentleman who knew how to put on a butterfly collar and stuff, but at the last moment she changed her plans. Federica needed a ride, so Noemi's mum took them both by car. I guess it would have been awkward to take a bus wearing a formal dress. Surrounded by girls wearing cheap cocktail dresses and heels, I couldn't help but wonder what Noemi would look like tonight.

''Dude, is that your girlfriend?'' Dario patted me on the shoulder. ''Dude, is she wearing – a suit?"

I snorted, he was probably messing with me. Or at least, that's what I thought until I saw her. She was holding Federica's hand, who looked like she was going to fall at any moment, with shaky high heels and an enormous red dress. Noemi, instead, didn't have any of those problems. She walked smoothly, her other hand shoved into the pocket of her black pants. Her wild hair was brushed into an intertwined braid, decorated by a crown of flowers. She might have been wearing a suit, but she looked more feminine than ever.

''What is this?'' Dario exclaimed giggling. ''A fashionable attempt to smash the patriarchy?''

She smiled. ''Hi! Dario, right? You should have worn a pink dress tonight. We would have smashed the patriarchy together.''

He laughed again. ''I would have, you know? If you just hit me up or something. Pit, don't you think I'd look good in a dress? With my sexy legs and shit?''

''Totally,'' I said, ''you'd be the cutest.''

That's where it ended, this little moment in which we forgot we weren't supposed to care, to laugh at each other's jokes and act like we did a few months ago. A place where bitterness and jealousy didn't exist, where our emptiness could be filled by each other's words the way it did the day we met. Why did we make everything so complicated? Why were we so stubborn and proud?

Federica tapped Noemi's shoulder, asking her if they could go inside.

She nodded her head and looked at me. ''Hey you, butterfly boy, are you wearing comfy shoes? We're gonna dance till the sunrise tonight. Got it?''


I smiled, realizing that this was the first time she ever went to a party. I could see excitement sparkling in her eyes.

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