bonne annee! bonne sante!
01.01.20 | 6:26 pm

last minute, day of, i bought a sparkly black romper, pulled on my transparent black tights underneath of it, put on my boots and a cardigan, and tried to take pictures of myself (entire outfit, hair, makeup) while drinking a glass of rose and waiting for vincent to drop by.

when i told him i didn't have any plans for new year's eve, maybe i'll just stay home, he offered to take me to the small party his friends were having in their apartment, maybe a five minute walk from my place. now, i'm not sure why he did it to begin with, to be honest.

we waited a moment at the bottom of my apartment, outside the door, standing in the cold, while he texted someone. i bounced, jumped up and down, excited about where we were going, that i was going to be spending the new year with french people -- with anyone, really.

"calme-toi," he said. so i did.

we were the first guests at benjamin and marie's apartment. i said next to nothing, stumbled over my french, and focused on their cat, a beautiful, mischievous little orange and white thing that continually climbed on the counters, the stove, the fridge.

as the others started arriving, we sat on the couch (vincent and i) as the others sat in the surrounding chairs. we drank beer and ate snacks (french parties always have so much food, it's incredible).

but as soon as the opportunity to move came around, as soon as we were a few drinks in, as soon as my courage was up enough to actually talk, in french, to the people around me, vincent moved away, and that was, essentially, the last i saw of him all night.

why take a girl to a party if your entire plan is to just ignore her?

but then hugo walked in, nice button up shirt, navy blue with a nice little white pattern on it -- something i complimented him on later -- hair a bit long and floppy in the front, a well-trimmed beard, and he said, "hello." actually hello. not salut, not bonjour, not bonsoir -- hello.

and when he realized i was american, he slowly, in his sort of broken english, asked me the basic questions -- where are you from, what's your name, etc. and it was sweet. kind, even.

i liked him instantly, as soon as he walked in the door.

this is, maybe, not good, i thought. and then spent most of the night avoiding him.

instead, i became friends with the girls, specifically sara (the first girl to come and intentionally sit next to me and talk with me, who explained the rules to the drinking game for me when i didn't understand, who extended me such kindness i wasn't expecting) and leane (who talked to me a bit in english after she'd had a few drinks).

the girls all took tequila shots, and, sweetly, they all tried to explain to me how to take the shot (the salt, the lime) as though my being american meant i didn't know this sacred ritual. it was unbearably cute. and, really, shots can bring anyone together.

we played the french version of cards against humanity and it was easy to see that everyone was surprised as i won three rounds right off the bat (even if i had to ask for clarity on what was meant by some of the cards).

at this point, i wasn't talking to vincent at all -- he was always on the other side of the room, somewhere else, with other people. and i didn't mind. i was having fun.

closer to the end of the night (and the drunker i got), i started asking everyone their birthdays (why am i like this) and, lo and behold, one of the guys at the party has my exact same birthday, year and all, and with the time difference factored in, we were practically born at the same time, give or take an hour. the world is wild!

this is how i found out that hugo is a scorpio.

we all took another tequila shot.

when the clock actually struck midnight, i was in the bathroom, oblivious. i came back into the kitchen area with everyone cheering and telling me i needed to kiss everyone. so kisses were had, on everyone's cheeks, and it was lovely.

and soon after that, vincent decided to leave, and to leave quickly. i realized he was leaving and thought, oh, okay, i should go too, he brought me here, but when i tried to go, he shrugged me off basically, saying i could stay, and he quickly left out the door when i was distracted.

(so, really, that's how i got taken to a party full of people i did not know, got ignored by my "date" all night, and was left there alone by him.)

but no matter. i stayed, i talked (probably continually about astrology, as i am wont to do), and i had fun.

everyone decided to play another game -- a game i could not follow because i was so drunk and because the rules (in french) were so confusing to me.

but hugo sat beside me.

and i felt his knee brush my knee.

and i felt his hand, briefly, on my thigh.

and i knew.

while we were talking, i found out he's a bassist in a nirvana cover band, because of course he is. i found out he's twenty-four. and when i told him i'm twenty-nine, he said something to the effect of, "oh, i like twenty-nine. it's good."

and, suddenly, he was leaving too. i remember him drunkenly adding me on facebook, and i thought that would be that. he snuck out the door apparently to an apartment the floor below.

this was when i decided, at 2:30am, i should be going home as well. leane and her boyfriend (my birthday twin) were going at the same time, so i tagged along with them. marie and benjamin told me to text them when i got home safely (c'est juste cinq minutes a pied, i said) and it was really sweet.

we started down the stairs.

and there was hugo, standing in his doorway, and he immediately followed us down, not even wearing a jacket. "ou est ton manteau?" i asked. "i don't need it," he said. "oh, okay," i replied. and like that, all four of us walked into the cold.

at the end of the street, leane and birthday twin were going in a different direction. we said our goodbyes, and to my surprise (was it really to my surprise?) hugo, sans coat, starts walking with me in the direction of my apartment.

we talked briefly, and as soon as we were away from the other two, as soon as we turned a corner, he slipped his hand into mine.

"aren't you cold?" i kept asking.

when we got to my door, he stopped and asked, "i come with you?"

and he did.

i've never had my coat taken off so quickly.

and i liked the way he kept saying, "i like you."

we didn't go to sleep until 7:30 in the morning, when the sun was starting to rise.

i am certain that this was probably a one time thing. but this -- all of this -- was a damn great way to ring in the new year.

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