Emily parked amongst the many cars lined up outside Aj’s house that night, and checked her reflection in the rear-view mirror one last time. She felt completely self-conscious, as if a hundred eyes were staring at her. Emily had always been the girl-next-door best friend to Nick, but tonight, she was dressed to impress. Dressed in a simple but form-fitting strapless black dress with a daring slit down the side that showed off her Florida tan and athletic curves, and black sandals that increased her height even more, Emily had to admit she looked good. With a little help from her mom, her long hair was swept up into an elegant twist, accentuating her shimmering silver earrings. She wasn’t used to being so dressed up. Still, she squared her shoulders and headed up the path to the front door of the sprawling mansion.
Before her finger even reached the bell, the door swung open, revealing an excited Aj greeting guests.
“EMILY!” he welcomed warmly, letting her in. He gave a low whistle, “Damn, you FINE.”
Emily shot him a look and laughed at his antics. “How AJ of you, Alex,” she teased.
“Really, Em. I’ve never seen you so…dolled up before,” his eyes roaming her body appreciatively.
She gave him a light smack on his arm, “Quit being such a GUY!”
Aj put up his hands in mock defeat. “Fine, fine. No more looking,” he grinned. “You can go on to the living room, everyone’s in there.”
Of course, Aj’s living room was much larger, and way more equipped to throw a bash than a normal living room was. The centre of the huge room had been converted into a temporary dance floor, with loud, thumping dance music pulsating through the huge speakers to the side of the room. Many couples were already dancing away while other guests milled around watching, chatting or sipping drinks. Emily threaded her way through the throngs of people and finally found a familiar face off the dance floor.
“Hey guys!” she called out to Brian and Leighanne, who were sipping drinks and talking to friends simultaneously.
“Em!” Leighanne squealed, “I’m so glad you could come!”
“I’m glad to see you too, Leigh,” Emily smiled, giving her friend a hug.
“How have you been holding up?” Brian whispered into her ear while he gave the younger girl a warm embrace.
Emily shrugged. “Alright I guess.”
Suddenly the fast dance beat thumping from the stereo system slowly faded into a beautiful, slow ballad. Emily recognized it as the solo Nick did on tour last year.
“Oooh….Bri, let’s go dance!” Leighanne cried.
“Actually, I thought maybe I should dance with Em first. She’s got no date,” Brian suggested.
Emily blushed, “Way to make it obvious, Bri.”
He shrugged sheepishly, “Sorry.”
“Oh alright, hon. You keep an eye out on him, k, Em?” Leighanne winked.
“No, really. It’s okay. You two should go dance,” Emily shook her head.
“Oh whatever, Em. I was starting to get tired of her anyway,” Brian joked, referring to his fiancée.
Leighanne hit him playfully on the arm, “Hey…I heard that!”
He laughed and led Emily out on to the crowded dance floor...