NBK in Michigan: THE FINALE!
Catch up on the latest installments of Elodie's hilarious, awkward, amazing NBK series right here before reading her long-awaited, hotly-anticipated finale!!
I don’t know about you, Sparklers, but cute, nice, funny guys don’t regularly offer to drive me halfway across the state when I’m stranded in places. So I was a little bamboozled by this sudden turn of events.
"You’ll drive us where?" I said confusedly.
"Uh, home?" he said, raising an eyebrow and smiling a little. "I know you live in [city]."
"It’s three and a half hours," said Tara.
"I know," he said. "I have friends there that I could visit. If you want me to drive you, I mean."
We stared at him.
"It’s three and a half hours," stressed Tara.
He shrugged good-naturedly and said, "I don’t have anything better to do," which is just… wow. When I don’t have anything better to do, I invariably wind up wasting my life on the Internet or staring sadly into my empty refrigerator. He decided to devote seven hours of his day to driving three people halfway across the state like some kind of superhero.
We didn’t waste too much time pretending to decline the offer, but we fell all over ourselves giving him gas money. I could see myself relaying this story to my mother later; I would say, "So then we hitched a ride with some guy we met at the party," and she would say, "You did what?" (By the way, hi Mom and Dad. I know this is the first time you're hearing most of this story. Sorry about that.) But Tara knew him well enough, and anyway, he'd seemed like a pretty straight shooter while dancing frantically to Daft Punk the night before.
"I just need to stop by my apartment really quick," he said.
Aaand that's where I foresaw a slight problem, and it didn't have anything to do with Jack. It had to do with Matthew, my former kissing partner.
While introducing me to Matthew at the party, Jack had mentioned that they'd been roommates at one point. Or were they still roommates? I couldn’t remember, but I wasn’t too keen on the idea of a surprise visit. Matthew had been cool, but a) he seemed more invested in pursuing some kind of further relationship than I was, and b) I had resigned myself to the fact that our New Year’s make-out was like some kind of secret we’d left in the midst of the dim lighting and the loud music and the overall feeling that anything might happen. So much had happened between then and now that I didn't really want to reconcile the two moments in time. Back then (it felt like eons had passed) I had been happy and kind of flirting, and there had been hash browns and pie. Now I was cold, sleep-deprived, and disillusioned. I had just crashed my friend’s car into a snow bank and endured the intense scrutiny of a wizard shaman. The timing, in short, was not ideal.
And so it was that we wound up heading over to Jack's and possibly Matthew's apartment. I was acting like a spy who was the only one aware that we were on a covert mission. I think I hid behind a lamp for most of the time while he gathered his things. Allison, the only one I had told about Matthew, didn't seem bothered. I don't think she knew about the possible roommate connection; she kept pointing at things and asking questions, prolonging the visit. I didn't see anyone else, but that didn't mean they weren't sleeping in a bedroom somewhere. When Jack was finally—finally—ready to go, I practically broke my ankles sprinting back to the car. Crisis averted.
Now, I’m not good at small talk, much less small talk with cute guys, much less small talk with cute guys for extended periods of time, but we muddled through as best we could. I still hadn't told Tara about Matthew. It struck me suddenly that she was probably the only one in the car who didn't know; I thought Jack might have spotted us in the act from across the room, or had at least heard from Matthew. But I still didn't bring it up. I was pretty sure I didn't want my kissing technique to be discussed in an open forum. And it wasn't until much, much later—after Jack had dropped us off and we'd thanked him profusely, after we'd been at home for a few days and then gone back to school, after we'd basically put the incident behind us—that I got around to telling Tara I'd kissed somebody at her party.
"Who, Jack?" she said.
"I—no," I said, confused. "Matthew."
"Oh!" She thought about it, then nodded. "Did you try to tell me about it? That night?"
"I did, but you were puking."
"That I was," she agreed. "That I was. Well, anyway, I thought it might’ve been Jack, because he thought you were cute."
"Wh—he did? He actually said that?" She nodded. I wondered briefly if his generosity in driving us home could possibly have had anything to do with me, and I shook my head. "I don’t know how we did it, Tara, but we somehow managed to make our New Year’s Eve seem like a really ambitious but ultimately unsuccessful comedy film, complete with plot twists. I’d given it six stars out of ten."
"Yeah," she said, "I’d give it three."
So there you have it, Sparklers. The long-awaited story of my first kiss. If your life is a John Hughes movie, your first kiss will probably be at midnight to the backdrop of fireworks with someone who is not-so-secretly your soul mate. If you’re a normal person, your first kiss might just be at a party in the wee hours of New Year’s Day with a classical studies major you’ve never met before and who you probably will never see again. You might be coming off some video game flirting and an unintentional use of the phrase "damn skippy," and you'll be barreling unknowingly towards disaster and a spiritually enlightened tow truck man. Both scenarios are acceptable. If given the choice, however, I would advise you to avoid anything involving puke, or dying cars. If you can, though, try to involve pie. There is no first kiss story that cannot be improved with the presence of pie.
SO, SO TRUE. Let us all take a lesson from this series, Sparklebutts: first kisses come in EVERY DIFFERENT FORM IMAGINABLE. It's okay if yours hasn't happened yet, or if it was gross and squishy and someone caught leprosy, or it was beautiful and perfect, or WHATEVER! There is always, always pie to fall back on. LONG LIVE PIE. (Have I gotten off track?) Did you lurve Elodie's NBK series as much as we did? Did you totally think Jack was going to sneak a kiss in before the end??