XOXO, I Hate You
By Elena Lane
Date: May 22, 2019
Ch. 77

Gordon looked at her with confusion, “Why must you remind me?” he said with a chuckle.
“I was just thinking and realized how much of a nerd you are.”
“I’m not a nerd,” Gordon refuted.
“I beg to differ. You like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings.”
“No, I like Star Trek and The Hobbit.”
“Aren’t The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit the same thing.”
“Well, they’re by the same author and the same concept, I suppose. Most people like both, but I myself did not like The Lord of the Rings. Call me a freak if you must.”
“Isn’t that like saying you just don’t like the seventh book in the Harry Potter series?” Beverly asked.
Gordon just shrugged.
Beverly laughed, “You’re a freak, but for reasons beyond your dorky movie and book selections.”
“I’m a perfectly normal human being.”
“No, I really don’t think that’s true, but I--” Beverly stopped. She had been about to say, “I love you anyway,” but for obvious reasons she couldn’t finish it. She caught herself, “But I hang out with you anyway.” Then she added, “You’re a lot more interesting than most of the people I talk to. Everyone else is boring and though you’re a bit of a nerd, you’re handsome and fun to be around. So, I really can’t complain.”
“You’re quite interesting yourself,” Gordon commented.
“I guess that’s why we make quite the pair,” Beverly said with an uncharacteristically chipper voice.
It was approaching midnight; so, all the people quieted slightly, ready to take in the new year. Beverly gave Gordon an expectant look, wondering if Gordon was going to make a move come midnight. She kind of wanted him to, but at the same time it made her nervous. A kiss would make things too real and would make things complicated. If Gordon kissed her, Beverly wasn’t sure that she could push him away anymore.
The countdown began, all the young people chanting along with the descending timer. Gordon took Beverly’s hand in his and she let him. They stood linked together with the coming new year. Finally, the clock struck zero and everybody took drink, but then it was time for the customary New Year’s kiss. For a second, things were awkward between Gordon and Beverly. Gordon clearly wasn’t sure whether he should go for it or not, but as quickly as the awkwardness came, it went and Gordon pulled Beverly gently towards his chest, leaning his lips towards hers.
The second their lips touched, Beverly’s stomach was filled with excitement that she couldn’t explain. Was she excited? Overjoyed? Overwhelmed? She didn’t know, but whatever it was felt beautiful with only a small amount of lingering apprehension. The kiss was perfect and it just made Beverly even more confused, but instead of mulling it over for the rest of the night, Beverly pushed the thoughts aside once again. They could be addressed later. There was no need for Beverly to stress herself when, for a little while longer, she could remain in a complete state of bliss.
They stayed at the party for a little while longer, socializing and giving each other small, affectionate glances. Beverly was having more fun than she had in a long time. So, she was somewhat bummed when the party started to die down and people started to leave, too drunk or too tired to stay there any longer. Thus, it was evidently time for Gordon and Bev to leave. Beverly felt like Cinderella leaving the ball. The clock was ticking and soon, things would have to go back to how they were before and Beverly would have to somehow get Gordon out of her mind. Because real life wasn’t a fairytale and nothing about romance was simple. If only it was. If only Bev could let herself fall in love with Gordon and let herself be happy.
Beverly and Gordon got into a taxi and directed the driver to Beverly’s house. It was late, but they were still in very good spirits. So, during the ride they chatted playfully and talked about their beautiful night together, but then, the conversation went from jovial to serious when Beverly began griping about how her parents hated that she went to community college and were ashamed of her.
“I’m sure it isn’t like that. They’re not ashamed of you. They just want you to be the best person that you can be.”
“Trust me, they only had children so that they could brag to their friends. I guess three out of four isn’t bad. Plus, Bradley probably counts for two. They love him so much; they love him in a way that they can never love me. They think that my dreams to be an artist and curator are stupid.”
“Your art aspirations aren’t stupid. Your parents just don’t appreciate you for the person that you are. They want to change you into the person they envisioned when you were born and they want you to have an easy life,” Gordon began and Bev listened attentively. “Artists and curators don’t have the most luxurious life. It’s a hard industry to get into. Parents want their children to be financially secure and sometimes forget all about their children’s happiness. Your parents don’t realize how special you are, Bev. I know that you feel like you’ll never be as good as your siblings and you’ll never be able to make your parents proud, but I don’t think that’s true. You may not see it yet and your parents may not see it yet, but you are going to do great things and shine just as brightly as the rest of your family.”
“That’s sweet of you to say, but I don’t know that it’s true.”
“Just trust me for now. Someday you’ll have a life filled with beauty and happiness and when that happens, everyone else will be jealous because maybe they can have a lot of money and prestige, but they’ll never have the passion and the vivacity that you have.”
Beverly lean her head on his shoulder, “You always know what to say.”
Gordon chuckled, “Besides, you have a trust fund. So, you really don’t have to worry.”
Beverly slapped him playfully, “Maybe that’s true, but I want to make it on my own and make my parents of me.”
The taxi pulled up to Beverly’s house as Gordon said, “I know you, Bev. I know how great you are, even if no one else sees it.” Gordon gave Beverly a quick kiss before they emerged into the torrential downfall and then opened the door. They both slid out of the taxi and walked hand and hand to her house.

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