Uncaged

Corinna

If she was being honest, everything was going exactly as she thought that it would.

It was a whirlwind week for Corinna, as her parents came home from their vacation and she was expected to help get things ready for the anniversary party between classes and homework. She didn’t really want to admit it, but she had been keeping her eye out for any signs of Patrick. Somehow during the week, their paths did not cross and she felt more disappointed about this than she ought to.

But things were looking up. The party started in just a little under an hour and she knew it would be hard for them not to bump into each other, even in the spacious party room they had rented for the event at one of the local hotels.

Corinna was currently in the bathroom closest to the party room, checking her appearance yet again. She pulled on the skirt of the magenta dress she had chosen to wear, still surprised her mother hadn’t commented on the shortness of the skirt or the low cut neckline. She sighed, realizing that if there really was a problem with her dress choice one of her parents surely would have said something, no matter how distracted there were.

She smiled at her reflection, leaning in close to check yet again for lipstick on her teeth. She turned her face from side to side, making sure her eyeliner was even. She couldn’t find anything wrong with her makeup, which made Corinna happy as she had spent too much time on it. She wanted everything to be perfect, wanted this to be a special night.

Her hair was in loose waves, falling around her shoulder and she ran her fingers cautiously over a few out of control stands. She stood back and took in her appearance in its entirety and found she was pleased with the results.

She went back to the party room, looking around at the various guests that had been arriving for the past 30 minutes. She hadn’t caught sight of the one person she was waiting for, but she knew he’d be here. She had a feeling he wouldn’t skip out on this.

She moved around the room, greeting and chatting with people she knew, family members, and old friends of her parents. She smiled, laughed, chit-chatted, but still she was distracted.

While her parents were on the other side of the room she snuck over to the bar and batted her eyelashes and leaned over the bar and got a drink. She headed over to a secluded corner to enjoy the drink without anyone bothering her.

“You’re good.”

She had been looking at her phone as she sipped her cranberry vodka, but at his voice, she looked up and smiled.

“What was that?” she asked.

“I saw you over at the bar,” Patrick said, a glass of what looked like whisky in his hand. “You’re good. He didn’t even ask for your ID and you are definitely under 21.”

Corinna shrugged and finished her drink.

“I’m only a few months away from actually being 21,” she responded. “You’re not going to tell on me are you?”

“It can be our little secret,” he answered, winking at her. She looked over the fitted suit he was wearing, clashing with the messy hair and stubble. He looked good though. He reached over and took the empty glass from her hand. “I really shouldn’t be condoning underage drinking, but I’m going to get you another drink anyway. Stay here.”

She watched as he walked over to the bar, knocking back the rest of his own drink before setting the empty glasses on the bar. The bartender refilled them and Patrick returned, handing her the now full glass.

“Thank you,” she said. He moved next to her, leaning his back against the wall, leaving about an inch of space between them. She could feel the warmth radiating off of him and she loved it. She took a sip of her refreshed drink and relished the cold sweetness of the cranberry juice that burned with the warmth of vodka down her throat and into her stomach.

She held the drink in her left hand, her right arm at her side. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Patrick move his drink to his right hand, and his left arm came to rest beside hers, the fabric of his suit jacket brushing against the bare skin of her arm. She shivered slightly and took a large gulp of her drink as one of her aunt’s stood up to introduce a slideshow she’d put together with lots of pictures of her parents over the years.

“This is going to be cheesy, isn’t it?” Patrick asked as the lights in the room dimmed and a projector across the room was turned on.

“Oh yeah,” she said. Corinna finished the rest of her drink, tilting her head back. Her head was already swimming and she remembered she hadn’t had much to eat for dinner before the party as she had been so busy making sure everything was right. She bent over and set her empty glass on the floor near her feet, her arm bumping Patrick’s again as she stood back up.

Corinna watched the slideshow, set to some love song she couldn’t remember the name of, and saw her parents together through the years. There were pictures from their wedding and their first home. It didn’t take long before Corinna herself was making an appearance in the pictures, a newly born baby and her parents glowing with happiness.

She looked around the room for her parents and saw they were toward the front of the room, holding each other as they watched the pictures that documented their lives together so far.

Corinna was suddenly distracted by what was going on now as she felt the brush of Patrick’s hand against hers. She turned her head ever so slightly to get a look at him but he was staring resolutely at the slideshow. She thought maybe it had been an accident but the thought had barely entered her head when she felt his hand again, and this time his fingers were wrapping around her own.

She momentarily froze, wondering if this was really happening until she felt his thumb rubbing circles over her palm. She shuddered and turned her hand, intertwining their fingers and giving a squeeze. Handholding had never felt that intimate to her, but this… this had set her skin on fire and she never wanted to let go of that hand.

The lights came back on and Patrick quickly pulled his hand from hers and before she could even begin to comprehend what was going on or do something to continue acknowledging that they clearly had an attraction between them, her aunt was calling her up to the front to join her parents for a picture.

She turned to look at Patrick but he was finishing his drink, eyes away from her.

Maybe it had just been a fluke.
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Hey I updated! And so far this is the longest chapter! And don't worry, this anniversary party is not over yet! I wanted to switch over to Patrick's perspective for the rest of the party and the next chapter will pick up right where this one left off! I just have to write it lol

~Sally