Chapter 17: The Celebration

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"That Hayden is really something," Samara sing songed. She gave me a beaming smile. "You should ask him out on a date."

I scoffed. Despite me feeling like I'm finally ready to move on from Noah after nearly three months of being broken up, the lingering problem was I didn't know how to date anyone else. "Please, I could not ask him out on a date."

Samara pouted. "Awe, why not?"

I let out a laugh, throwing my head back. "He's like a Nathan 2.0. I could not handle another Nathan and it would be weird. He's always at our apartment."

"Meh, Nathan isn't that bad," she shrugged as we continued walking to Ed's. "Weird or not, he's sexy."

It was after our big shopping trip and we were heading over to the pub because Nathan wanted to have a dinner with Hayden, Darian, and I, to celebrate our finals being over.

When we got to the pub, everyone was already at the table. As we approached, Hayden did a double take. "Woah, you girls really know how to shop."

"It's a celebration for many occasions," Samara replied simply, taking a seat beside Nathan and placing all our bags under the table.

Nathan raised a brow and stared at Samara and I. "I get we're celebrating your finals being done but what else are you celebrating."

I gave Samara a look that I hoped said shut up, however, she did not shut up. "Audrey admitted at lunch today that she's ready to go on a date."

Darian's grinned like the Cheshire cat, Hayden had a small smile, and Nathan... I couldn't really tell what he was thinking.

Kicking Samara under the table lightly, I clenched my teeth. "Dude, I said not to say anything."

"What?" She rolled her eyes. "Audrey this is a huge deal for you."

Nathan cocked his head to the right. "She's right, Audrey. So, who's the lucky guy you want to date?"

I started to fidget with the sleeve of my jacket, not looking up because I didn't to look anyone in the eye. "No one in particular, I just meant I wouldn't oppose to the idea of going out on a date."

Nathan seemed to visibly relax and everyone stared at him, unsure as to what his problem was. "Well, I'm happy for you, princess. Now, let's celebrate!"

"Amen to that, brother," Darian hollered as he began to chug his beer.

All of us cheered as we began to drink  in celebration of ending our first ever semester of university. It was hard as hell but I was happy it was over. I looked at my friends as we talked and celebrated and a smile came over my face.

For the first time, in a long time, I felt free. I felt happy.

I got up to go to the bar and ask Ed for one of his famous chocolate milkshakes, when I felt a hand on the small of my back. "Penny for your thoughts, princess?"

I gave Nathan a smile as I looked at him. "Nothing, I just feel happy, for the first time in a long time, I feel genuinely happy."

Nathan gave me his signature grin and couldn't help but notice his hand was still on the small of my back. I felt his breath on my neck as he said, "You deserve to be happy, Audrey Holland."

When Nathan walked away, I stood there, feeling stunned as to what just happened. I could've sworn I still felt his hand on my back and his breath on my neck. Shivering slightly, I turned to Ed, who in  return was giving me a mischievous smile, causing wrinkles to form at his eyes. "Told ya' he fancies you."

I blinked a few times, unsure what to say. "I'd like a milkshake, please."

Ed got to work on the milkshake and I made my way back to the table. Everyone was talking about their plans for Christmas break, meanwhile I was still thinking of Nathan. Why was acting so weird? I can't say he likes me, not like like. He is always with girl after girl, although ever since Noah and I broke up, he had toned it done quite a bit. But I simply suspect it's out of respect for me being newly single.

"What about you, Audrey?" Hayden asked, throwing an arm over my shoulder.

I looked at him, confusion written all over my face. "I'm sorry what?"

He chuckled and gave my shoulder a slight squeeze. "What are you doing for Christmas break?"

"Oh," I started, shrugging Hayden's arm off my shoulder subtly, causing Nathan to smile to himself. "I'm just staying here. Alex is heading to Montreal and then PEI, so I don't really have any family to celebrate with."

"Well, you can always celebrate with me!" Samara exclaimed, her eyes turning bright at the idea. "My parents are going to Mexico, so you and I can have our own Christmas."

I looked at Sam, giving her a kind smile. "That would be great, thank you."

"Yeah," Darian began, "We could all celebrate together. Only, Nathan and I would have to leave for dinner. The parents and all."

Samara shrugged. "Sounds good to me!"

We all laughed and continued on with the night, but my mind kept drifting to Nathan and then to Hayden. Nathan seemed almost angry at the thought of me dating and then Hayden seemed happy about the thought of me dating.

Fingers grazed the side of my face and snapped me out of my thoughts. Hayden was moving the hair out of my eyes and placed the stray strand behind my ear. His green eyes poured into mine. "Are you okay?"

I nodded my head and moved my gaze over to Nathan. He hadn't seemed to notice Hayden touching me as he was talking animatedly to Darian. Samara, however, looked at me and winked.

I took a deep breath, suddenly feeling dizzy from all the drinks and thoughts. Getting up from the table, I muttered, "Ed, where the hell is my milkshake when I need it?"

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