Chapter 70: Cucumbers
By the time the first people, Hazel and her brother Max, arrived, Gia had the snacks prepared, and Frank had dropped off some “top-secret refreshments”, as he put it. Gia had begged him to bring them some alcohol, because if she had asked her dad, he would’ve said no and locked her up in her room.
“Wow, you really weren’t kidding about the house,” Max said, looking around in the huge living room. “Oh, fire!” He immediately sat on front of the fireplace to warm up. It had started to snow outside, so they were probably cold.
“I told him you lived in a castle,” Hazel explained to Gia, and then joined his brother in front of the fireplace.
“I don’t live in a castle,” Gia argued, but that’s when the doorbell rang again. This time there were more people wanting to come in from the freezing hell that is the outside world.
“Hey, come on in,” she said to them, and Lucas and his friends Danny and Sherry, all stepped in. “Hazel and Max are in the living room.”
“Ah, fire!” Danny shouted out when he saw the fireplace, and made Hazel and Max make room for him.
“Danny don’t be so rude,” Sherry lectured, and pulled him up by his ears all the way to the couch.
“Ah, food!” Danny cheered, attacking the snacks Gia had set out on the couch table.
“Hey Gia,” Lucas said when she was watching Danny in horror as he stuffed his face with chips and dip. “Did you like the present I got you?”
“Um, I didn’t have time to open it yet, sorry,” she apologized, and then hurried away from him because Danny had just broken one of the glasses she had put on the table.
The beginning of the evening was pretty weird. The piano went through a lot, and Gerard’s fancy stereo system was practically raped when Max, Danny and Lucas decided it fun to blast Dancing Queen on it.
Gia had started to wonder if it was a good idea after all to bring in the alcohol, but since there wasn’t much of it, she allowed them to have a drink. The few beer bottles had been emptied and the rest of the bottles were half empty by the time the movie they watched was over. The movie in question was of course Home Alone, which they had all seen a thousand times. They decided to leave the Home Alone 2 for next Christmas, since they wouldn’t have had enough time to watch another movie and still do other things too.
And besides, Max’s company was required elsewhere because one of his friends was having a more ‘adult’ Christmas party. After promising his sister that he’d be there in time to pick her up, he left.
And pretty soon, now one person short, they found new entertainment when Lucas and Danny thought it would be funny to play a game called ‘Truth or Dare’.
“What are the rules, exactly?” Gia asked, nervously sitting on the floor between Hazel and Danny.
“You’ve never played truth or dare?” Sherry asked in disbelief.
“Don’t be so surprised, she lives under a rock,” Lucas said. “The name says it all,” he then explained to Gia. “You choose truth or dare, and then you answer truthfully to a question or do a dare.”
“Okay, I think I got it. Who starts?” Gia said, but she was pretty sure that a game like this can only lead to a disaster.
“I’ll go first,” Hazel announced. “Lucas, truth or dare?”
“Ooh, dare!” Lucas said excitedly. Dares were his specialty.
“I dare you to… Go next door in your underwear, knock on the door and ask if you could borrow some condoms.”
“Glad to,” Lucas said, grinning like a mad man. Before Gia’s brain could comprehend what was happening, Lucas had stripped down to just his boxers (that had the text ‘I ♥my mom’ written all over it), and exited the house.
The rest of the teens stood on the porch, in the freezing cold air, and watched Lucas make way through the snow to the next house.
“Who lives there anyway?” Sherry asked.
“A very angry 70-year-old lady with a cane and heart condition,” Gia answered worriedly.
“This just keeps getting better,” Danny laughed.
They watched Lucas wait at the door, and be beaten up by the old woman and her walking cane. Danny and Hazel were hysterical at that point, because the woman chased the half-naked boy down the drive way before stopping and yelling at him that she’ll call the police next time.
He returned to them, freezing, but satisfied of his actions. “I don’t think she had any condoms, but that was fun,” he exclaimed when they got inside and Gia wrapped the electric blanket around him.
“You’re gonna catch a cold,” she complained.
“I’ll be fine,” he said, simply shrugging it off when he pulled his jeans back on. “Okay! My turn! Sherry, truth or dare?”
“Truth. I’m not gonna run around in the snow like an idiot.”
“Okay, what is the stupidest thing you have ever done?”
Sherry thought about it for a moment, and then answered with slightly red cheeks: “In third grade, I had a crush on my math teacher and I even gave him a love letter.”
“Mr. Stewart?” Danny asked in disbelief.
“What? He was okay!”
“He was bald and had a beer gut and he must’ve been like 80!”
“He was only 48. And besides, you’re just jealous because you don’t have the same handsome ruggedness as he did.”
Lucas joined in by singing ‘Sherry and Mr. Stewart sittin’ in a tree’, and it took a while for them to calm down enough for Sherry to continue the game.
“Okay, who shall I ask…” she said thoughtfully, looking around the room.
“Oh, me! Me! I want to do a dare!” Danny shrieked with his arms up in the air.
“Fine. Danny, truth or dare?”
“I dare you to kiss Lucas.”
A round of ooh’s came from Hazel, Lucas and Danny, but not from Gia, whose eyes widened. She watched in shock as the two boys locked lips without hesitating. In fact, the two didn’t seem to have any problem with this. Hazel and Sherry wore similar grins, and Gia had to admit, the two boys were brave. Crazy, but brave.
“Satisfied?” Danny asked Sherry after the kiss was over.
“Okay! Hazel, truth or dare?”
Gia was still a little confused about how they could just kiss and then be like it didn’t happen, even if was just a dare, when she heard Hazel pick truth.
“Are you a virgin?” Danny asked with a large grin.
“Well if you must know, I’m not.”
If she had been shocked by the little scene which Danny and Lucas took part in, then this just nearly gave Gia a heart attack. “What?!”
“Yeah, it was at that party we went to…”
“With who?!” Gia shrieked.
“You don’t know him, he lives in Ohio, he was just visiting.”
“You know what, I think I love you,” Lucas said to Hazel, and patted her on the back. “Good job.”
“Well I would hardly think so!” Gia exclaimed.
“Oh please, like you wouldn’t do it!” Lucas accused in a loud voice.
Sherry butted into the argument with: “Have you ever even kissed a guy?”
“Okay, truth or dare, Gia,” Hazel said.
“Truth, I guess.”
“How many guys have you kissed and who and when?”
Gia stared at her friends, not wanting to answer.
“Come on, tell us the truth. You have to.”
“I hate this game,” she sighed.
“Just tell us. It can’t be that bad.”
“Okay, fine,” Gia said, cracking under the pressure. What harm could it do, anyway? “There was just Lucas those two times, and then the last and latest, Ryan…”
After she had said this, she knew she shouldn’t have.
“Ryan?” Lucas scoffed. “As in ‘Scary ass motorcycle riding plastic baby daddy’ Ryan?”
“Well, when you put it like that….”
“I thought you went on like one date with him!”
“I did! And… Three other dates too, but that doesn’t matter!”
“Of course it matters! You lied to me!”
“Oh like you’ve never lied to me about anything.”
Gia sighed. Not only did she hate fighting, and felt like she had been doing that too much lately, but also she didn’t want to be on bad terms with Lucas. No matter what, he was still her best friend. “Just drop it, okay?”
Lucas didn’t press the matter any further, but clearly he wasn’t happy.
“It’s your turn to ask now, Gia,” Sherry said to get the game going again.
“Okay, Danny. Truth or dare?”
The game went on for about a half an hour longer, and Gia was starting to get the hang of it and actually enjoy it. When it wasn’t her turn, that is. The small fight between her and Lucas was forgotten (or so it seemed), and he looked to be in much better mood after Hazel had been dared to go for a skinny dip in the pool. However, after Gia insisting that there would be nothing like that going on in her father’s pool, they agreed that Hazel would just go for a swim in her underwear. Still, things were looking up for Lucas, and Danny, too. Literally.
Well, that is until they ran out of food and alcohol.
“This is a disaster!” Danny shouted in despair when Hazel announced they were out of beer.
“Oh relax,” Gia said, rolling her eyes. “There’s more in the kitchen. I’ll go get it.”
“I love you Gia!” Danny proclaimed. He and Hazel had drunk the most. Sherry not so much, Lucas mostly concentrated on eating, and Gia… Well, every time she tried to have a drink, Lucas would snatch it away from her.
Frank had gotten her a good supply of alcohol, being the cool one of her uncles. They were currently stacked neatly on the island in the kitchen, and Gia was collecting them all to the tray. When she started to refill the potato chip bowls, she heard a voice behind her.
“So… I think we should talk. About this Ryan deal.”
Gia groaned when Lucas mentioned the name. She had done her best to forget about the whole ordeal. “Would you stop that? It’s no big deal. We were only together for like two weeks, and I didn’t even like him that much.”
“Then why were you with him?”
“Well…” Gia started, but she couldn’t find the words to finish the sentence. Had she been with him because apart from Lucas, Ryan had been the first guy to show any real interest in her. Or was it because on some level, she was just so lonely? Either way, or be there any other unknown reason, she hadn’t enjoyed being with Ryan. “I honestly don’t know.”
"Well, I want to know why you would date an ass like that and then lie about it to me."
"I don't want to talk about this, Lucas. It’s over."
"I don’t get it! He treated you wrong, I never did. If you dated anyone why not me?"
"I don't want to talk about it. Let’s not argue, especially not on Christmas."
"No! You will tell me why you would trust to be with some guy you barely knew!" Lucas seemed to be getting madder by the second. To Gia, it just reminded her of her dad in a way. Neither of them knew how to let things go.
"I will NOT talk about this right now."
Gia tried to push past him to the living room, but he stopped her and closed the door. He was nowhere near done talking.
"Just, tell me why. Then I will leave you alone."
“You wouldn’t get it.”
Gia groaned in frustration and gave up. "Because after you left, no one even noticed me anymore! And then there was Ryan and he was so great. I didn't know he was just trying to use me."
Lucas looked stunned and shocked as he stared at the girl in front of him.
"I made it very clear that I was, well, interested, but I didn’t do anything because I knew you didn’t want me to. And after I leave, you decide you want to date? And with some guy you hardly knew at all. You know how dumb that is?!” Lucas cried out. “We could've been together! And we know each other better, and I did like you, unlike that Ryan dude, and I never pressured you into anything. And you knew I liked you because we did kiss! Why you acting like it never happened?"
"Look, it was different with you. I was with Ryan just because I didn’t want to be alone, but with you… Couldn’t we just go back to being friends? The way we used to be? I mean, before…"
When her voice faded off due to not knowing how to continue, Lucas spoke again. "I don’t want to be friends with you. I like you, okay?! And I know you like me too, you just won’t admit it! And, to top it all, you date that guy out of all the people in the world! And by what Hazel has told me, he is a total asshole!”
“Shut up,” Gia said.
“What?” he asked, shocked. The command was bold, and so unlike Gia. But what she did next was even more unlike herself. Since he was a bit taller than her, Gia stood a bit on her toes, placed her hand on his neck and the next thing he knew, her lips were placed on his.
Lucas was caught completely off guard, but as soon as he got over the shock, she felt him smile into the kiss. It was like his whole body, which had tensed up during all the arguing, relaxed, and as if instinctively, his hands found their place on her hips.
When she pulled away, the smile on his face was ridiculously big.
“What was that all about?” he asked.
“You wouldn’t shut up,” she shrugged, but wore a small smile on her features also.
"But… What does it mean?"
Gia shook her head. “I honestly have no idea. I guess we’ll figure out.”
“Too bad the old lady didn’t have those condoms,” Lucas joked with a grin.
“Oh, shut it.”
This time it was Lucas who made the first move. The hands that were still placed on her hips, snaked around her waist to pull her closer. Gia went along with it, for once not worrying at all. This time around the kiss was more passionate. Her other hand stayed on his arm, and the other one went from his shoulder into his hair.
She may not have been very experienced with these things, but it somehow felt natural.
They were interrupted by Gia’s cell phone going off. Gia grabbed it from the couch table and sighed when she saw the caller ID.
“It’s my dad.”
“Oh my god!” Lucas groaned. “What is it with that guy?! He’s got like a fifth sense or something!”
“Don’t you mean sixth sense?” Gia asked.
“No, that’s taste. You gotta be lucky to get that.”
Gia didn’t have time to wonder exactly what kind of a crazy person she just got involved with, because she had to answer the phone.
“Hello? Yeah, we’re fine. -- No, no one’s having crazy sex orgies here. -- Yeah nothing’s broken either. -- Of course there’s no alcohol, I’m not like you. – Damn right I just called you an alcoholic, you fatty. -- Yeah, I’ll send them home soon. Bye.”
“Called your daddy a fatty?” Lucas asked. “Just watch, he’s gonna blame that on me. I’m gonna have some ass kissing to do…”
“Oh, won’t he love that,” Gia laughed. “I’m sure he’ll like having you suck up to him.”
“I think we should go back out there,” Lucas said, and she agreed.
So, when they returned to the living room, holding hands, Danny patted approvingly on Lucas’ back and they shared one of those ‘masculine, cool’ bro-hugs.
“That’s awesome,” Danny said. “By the way, Sherry, you owe me twenty bucks.”
“Yeah, you owe me a ten, too,” Lucas reminded.
Gia looked at all three of them, shocked. “You bet on this?” She hit Lucas’ arm and repeated: “You BET on this?!”
“Hey relax, I’ll give you half.”
Gia shook her head, clearly not pleased with this at all, but followed along when they all settled down on the couches and comfy armchairs again, just to talk and drink the remaining alcohol (in order to not leave any suspicious evidence for Gerard to sniff out). The only difference was that Lucas’ arm eventually found its way on Gia’s shoulders, and stayed there until it was time for them to leave.