The week had been so special for Kayden. The weather was perfect, the city beautiful, and the shopping was pretty incredible…although the prices did not usually agree with her. The next big event on the agenda was at Time Square for New Year’s Eve. She had seen the ball drop every year on television, and now she finally got to experience it in person. She could picture the large crowds, the lights, the countdown, and the first kiss…except this year she was going to get one.
The thought had been circling in Kayden’s mind since that morning. She didn’t want a relationship before she started college, but every year in the past she had someone to share the special moment with. Maybe she was old fashioned, but the first kiss of the year was special to her. It meant the beginning of something new. Just as Kayden was leaving her seat in the Café Délicieux, a little café on the corner of 5th and Main, a man spilt his coffee all down the front of Kayden’s brand new white blouse. The coffee burnt Kayden’s stomach and the blouse was instantly ruined. The man gave Kayden a horrified looked, and started wiping her blouse. Everyone in the Café was staring. Kayden’s face turned bright red and she snatched the napkin away. He looked up with an embarrassed face and she noticed for the first time that he had big blue eyes the color of the sky that were framed perfectly by his long eyelashes. He smiled at Kayden and she could not take her eyes off of him. His perfect white teeth complimented his tanned skin and sandy blonde hair. She pulled her eyes off of him and smiled back. “Hi, I’m Tanner. I’m really sorry about your shirt,” he said, “let me pay you back for it. I hope I didn’t burn you. My apartment is just a couple blocks away from here. You can get cleaned up there.” She didn’t know how to respond. She did not want to go to his apartment or for him to pay her for the shirt. His gorgeous looks had knocked the air out of her. Kayden fell out of her trance and responded, “I’m fine, really. It’s just a shirt so you don’t have to pay me for it. I actually have to meet my aunt and uncle at the house before I go to Times Square. That is where I am headed right now.” He kind of showed a little of a disappointed look, but it soon went away when he asked if she needed a ride. Kayden could not lie her way out of this one. He would see her getting on the bus, so she had to say yes.
The whole ride to her aunt and uncle’s Kayden barely said a word. She took mental notes about where he was from and that he transferred to Cornell for his junior and senior year…coincidence? Kayden was stuck in a world full of questions and thoughts like, “Why did this have to happen? This guy has to have a girlfriend. It is not a big deal. He’s just an acquaintance.”
The twenty minute drive soon turned into thirty and then forty minutes as Tanner took some “accidental” wrong turns. While he was having his trouble with directions, she was focused on not staring a hole through the poor guy. Every once in a while she spotted him looking at her out the corner of his eye and smiling. Instinctively she smiled back, which could have been a bad move because his next question took her by surprise. “Would you want to meet me at Times Square tonight or I could pick you up? Since you don’t know anyone from around here, I figured you could use a little company. It can get pretty crazy and dangerous down there.” Kayden was shocked. She had not been planning on actually having a “date” for New Year’s, let alone a stranger as her date. Still, he was so sweet and in the hour they had spent with each other she felt like she had known him her whole life. Tanner pulled into her aunt’s driveway and patiently awaited her response. Kayden slightly nodded her head, reached for the door, and replied, “Pick me up at ten.” A wide grin spread across his face as he watched Kayden walk up the driveway. Then he thought, “This New Year’s is going to special...”
Tanner picked her up at ten and took her out to eat at a four-star restaurant. The dinner date went so well…they never ran out of anything to talk about and they shared many common interests. For one, they both played baseball/softball. Second, they were both involved in FCA in High School. Lastly, they only live thirty minutes away from one another. Kayden could not have been happier, and by the look on Tanner’s face neither could he. Once dinner was over it was 11 30 and time to head for Times Square, but Tanner was going the right way. Instead, he turned off onto some abandoned looking street and parked in front of old run down building. Kayden did not know what was going on. “Is this where you kill me?” she joked. Tanner just got out of the car and walked to trunk. He pulled out a big black bag and told her to follow him without any expression. Kayden started to get frightened, but followed him into the building. They walked up four flights of stairs. All of a sudden it turned pitch black and Tanner’s footsteps could not be heard. Someone grabbed her arm and she began to squirm. Tanner led her down a tunnel and out a door where she was shocked by the beautiful view in front of her. They had to have been miles away from Times Square, but the ball could easily be seen. She could hear the countdown…10, 9, 8, 7, 6, and then two arms wrapped around her waist. Kayden’s heavy heartbeat drowned out the counting as Tanner spun her around and caressed her lips with his. Butterflies engorged her stomach and her head became dizzy. Tanner placed one hand on her lower back to give her support and the other on the nape of her neck. Time stopped as Kayden disappeared between the touch of his muscular arms and body.