“My key’s here, I’m heading back to my apartment.”
Finn stared at the message on his phone. Unknown number. Must be Sullivan. His phone buzzed again.
“There’s something wrong with your sink, I swear I didn’t do anything to it.”
“Yeah, it’s been messed up for a few weeks now.”
Work was slow. Finn thought about next week. Next Friday, the 24th, he was having his Christmas party. He counted his guests in his head. Gavin, Jenny, Aaron, Luke, Bee. Maybe Sullivan was coming too. He was hoping he could convince his friends that Kieran really was different. Maybe they would accept him, and then he would have more friends. Maybe he would be happier.
The week slowly drained away, full of quiet work. Finn started a few reviews of recent books. By Thursday, the first was complete. The party was tomorrow. He left to buy some groceries after he posted his review online.
Comparatively, the time leading up to the party was a mere blink in time. Before he realized the hour, Gavin and Jenny were knocking on his door. Bee arrived a few minutes later. She met him with a kiss. Aaron and Luke joined the rest at seven thirty.
Eventually, it was nine. Nine ten. Nine fifteen. Nine twenty. Nine thirty. It didn’t seem like Sullivan was going to be coming over.
“Finn, don’t worry about it,” Bee said to him. “You have us. You have me.”
She added, “I’m sure he’s fine. You can’t take on everyone’s problems.”
“Yeah, I guess,” Finn said. Bee hugged his arm and smiled.
Ten more minutes passed. The doorbell rang. Finn answered the door.
“Uhh… hey, Blake,” Kieran said. He had a box of cookies in his hand. “Were we… supposed to bring food? I brought these. I don’t know if you want them.”
“Oh, great, thanks! What are they?”
“Ginger snaps. I was going to get peanut butter, but I thought someone might be allergic…” Kieran said awkwardly, scratching his head.
“Hah, come on in, I’ll introduce everyone.”
Kieran followed Finn to the living room, where Finn introduced him.
“This is Kieran Sullivan. He’s my neighbor,” he said, smiling.
“These are my friends, Aaron, Gavin, Jenny, Luke,” Finn recited, pausing and pointing for each of them. They each said their greetings.
“And this is Bee—short for Bianca—she’s my girlfriend,” he said finally. Bee got out of her seat and went to shake Kieran’s hand.
“Uhh, hi,” Kieran got out, shaking Bee’s hand. She smiled brightly at him.
“So, do you guys want anything to drink?” Finn asked everyone. Everyone made their requests.
“Beer, I don’t know, anything with alcohol,” Kieran said.
“I don’t have any,” Finn lied.
“What? Really? Water, then, I guess.”
Finn left to the kitchen, and Kieran took a seat on the carpet. He stared at the TV, which was playing a holiday commercial and its accompanying jingle. Holidays didn’t mean much to him, anymore.
“Sullivan, right?” asked Gavin.
“Hm? Yeah,” Kieran answered.
“Why are you here?”
“I… was asked to come here.”
“What makes you think—”
“Gavin, stop, we don’t need this—” Bee interrupted.
“No, Sullivan, what makes you think you can just come here after how you‘ve been acting?”
“…I don’t. I was asked to. You’d have to talk to Blake about that.”
Finn returned to the room with the drinks as Gavin continued.
“To hell with that! I’m not too comfortable with some jackass mooching off of my friend!” Gavin shouted.
“Gavin, what the hell!” Finn yelled.
“This was a mistake…” Kieran whispered.
“I’m going to go,” Kieran said, standing up, then heading for the door.
“Good night,” Kieran finished as he went out the door.
Finn stood there for a moment, and the apartment was quiet. In the next instant, he turned to Gavin and directed his anger at him.
“Why would you do that?!” Finn shouted. “He didn’t do anything wrong! Why don’t you understand that?!”
Gavin seemed surprised by Finn’s response.
“Stop thinking you need to defend me! I can take care of myself!”
“Finn, I’m sorry, I—”
“No, just… leave! Everyone, please.”
Everyone gathered their things as Finn sat in a chair in the dining room. He buried his face in his palms, letting out an exasperated sigh. Bee approached him, planting a kiss on his cheek and saying good night. As everyone left, Gavin apologized, unanswered.
Grace in Wonderland Splash - Thumbs: Final: Feedback from 2D lead Julia Yurstev And others from SEMC
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