Her breath caught in her throat as she unfolded the paper. Part of her didn't think there would be anything written on it, and that it would just be some silly prank. What would Rob want to tell her that he couldn't have said in person? She was painfully curious, but also incredibly nervous. Daydreams began to chase through her mind. Maybe he was going to tell her how incredible she had looked at the party or even - her heart rate nearly doubled just thinking about it - that he liked her back.
She smoothed out the creases in the paper with trembling fingertips. There was indeed writing on the little scrap, and she had to squint to read it. The ink had blurred slightly where the paper had been folded, making some of the words hard to make out. Kaylee's eyes widened as she skimmed across the lines of Rob's messy angled handwriting.
Kaylee - a few friends and I are having our own Christmas party tonight at midnight. Meet me behind my house?
He didn't sign his name, but Kaylee knew it had to have been written by him. No one else wrote their e's as little loop-de-loops like that. Well, no one else apart from her.
A smile stretched across her face. She knew she must be blushing like an idiot, but she was thrilled beyond belief. She'd never been invited to a party like this before. Kaylee didn't quite know what to do with herself. What should she wear? Was it a dress-up sort of thing, or would everyone else just be wearing their jeans?
And then there was the problem of her parents. While not unfairly strict, her parents did enforce a curfew. She had to be home for the night at eleven, unless one of her parents was with her. She shook her head. No way was she taking one of her parents with her tonight. Kaylee didn't think Rob's parents even knew about the party.
Kaylee checked her phone. It was only two forty. She had time to figure out what to do. Too much time, she thought to herself, idly swinging her legs. She wanted to race over to Rob's house right now.
She had to tell someone about it. She was too excited to keep it a secret, and she couldn't very well tell her parents. Kaylee flopped onto her stomach on her bed and snatched up her phone. The little note from Rob fluttered across the blankets as she exhaled.
Girl, I need help!! She texted Sam. Kaylee didn't have to wait long for a reply. Her phone made a quiet pinging noise almost immediately after she'd sent the text.
Whoa, calm down, what's happening? Came Sam's reply. But before she could respond, her best friend had sent her another message. Wait wait wait, tell me this is about Rob. It is isn't it!
Maybe, Kaylee texted back. She could feel that cheek-splitting grin stretching over her face again as she typed furiously.
He invited me to a party tonight. What do I do????
She added an extra few question marks for good measure, and hit send. Sam's next reply came even faster than her first.
Go, of course!! This is your chance to kiss him!
If Kaylee's face hadn't been red before, it certainly was now. She sent Sam a quick "thx" before picking up the note again and rereading it. Sam was right; she had to go, even if it meant sneaking out of her house.
Kaylee wiled away the rest of the afternoon doing chores and staring at her phone screen, watching the minutes tick by. It felt like time was as thick as the molasses her mom used in her holiday cookies, but after what seemed like eons, it was ten o clock.
She said goodnight to her family and locked herself in her room. Once she was sure her parents were off to bed, Kaylee tore through her wardrobe looking for something just right. She tried on half her dresses, decided they were too fancy for the occasion, and threw them on the floor, until she was wading in fluffy piles of fabric. She tried on jeans and skirts, sweaters and crop tops. None of her outfits seemed right.
Finally, she pulled out an old black dress from the back of her closet. She hadn't worn it in years, and she was afraid it wouldn't fit. Kaylee shrugged it on and stepped in front of her mirror. The dress was thick and comfortable, but the fabric was soft, and draped over her frame in an incredibly flattering way. The wide neckline slipped casually off one of her shoulders. The rest of the dress clung to her form, ending just above her knees.
Kaylee cocked her head to the side. It would do, she decided. It was midnight black - just right for a midnight party.
Whereas time had been flowing slowly all afternoon, it now seemed to be slipping away. Kaylee frantically did and redid her makeup until she was satisfied with it. Her hair was a bit of a disaster, but she'd have to leave it be with a couple of quick brushes. She didn't want to be late.
Kaylee slipped out of her window, almost catching the hem of her dress on the window frame. She stuck her head back inside momentarily, grabbing her phone from where she'd left it on the dresser. She almost turned away, but grabbed Rob's note at the last minute, just in case.
The walk to Rob's house was cold. Kaylee regretted not putting on leggings as her teeth chattered. She hugged her arms around herself, wishing she'd at least thought to grab a coat on her way out.
When she reached his house, she stopped. None of the lights were on inside and she faltered. What if the whole thing had been a setup? What if she was about to be humiliated?
But a figure stepped out from the shadows of the house. Kaylee squinted. The streetlight cast more shadows than light, and it was hard to tell who it was. But as soon as he spoke, Kaylee felt a little flutter of warmth inside her. She'd know Rob's voice anywhere.
"Hey, you came," he said, walking up to her. Her cheeks flushed when she saw that he was smiling.
"Yeah," Kaylee said, inwardly cursing herself. Just the day before, she'd been grasping for any opportunity to talk to him, and now, she couldn't even form a full sentence. She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts.
"Where's everyone else?" This time, she could have sworn it was Rob who blushed.
"About that....I may or may not have lied about having a party. I didn't invite anyone else." He took a step closer to Kaylee. "I just wanted to be with you."