January 1st, 1989

January 1st, 1989
Orlando, Florida
Miriam and Hank’s condo

Happy New Year!

It was the kind of kiss you get lost in, and lose track of your surroundings, which is surprising, considering we were in the middle of the dance floor of an overcrowded club. When Gabriel and I finally stopped kissing, we stared at each other, and I imagine the huge smirk on his face matched mine. I looked at the throng of people around us, all of who appeared to joyously be celebrating the first few minutes of the New Year.

‘Pour Some Sugar On Me,’ was clearly a crowd favourite, and was playing for at least the third time. I have no idea who sings it, but I know I’ll be singing, “I’m hot sticky sweet, from my head to my feet,” for a while to come. We made an attempt at dancing, with Gabriel’s hands resting on my hips, and my hands on his shoulders, but halfway through the song, we gave up. Gabriel nodded his head to the outside, so I took his hand and he led the way, through the thick crowd. It seemed everyone was either playing fake guitars or swaying their hands in the air to the music. Scottie waved to us when we passed him at the bar, and looked happy talking to a short girl, sporting pink cowboy boots and big, big hair.

We stepped out of the club into a street party, where the noise was deafening from those appropriately named noisemakers. I normally hate those things, but in the midst of the electrifying atmosphere, with so many people in good spirits wishing each other Happy New Year, the sound didn’t bother me.

I hadn’t planned on going to the airport last night with Scottie and their sister Carina, but they insisted I go with them. Scottie pretended to order pizza and told his parents we were going out to pick it up. Kevin and Liza had no idea we were actually going to the airport to pick up their son.

I had seen boyhood pictures of Gabriel at his parent’s home, along with those of Scottie and Carina, but nothing more recent. At the gate, Carina was the first to spot her older brother, and from the way she greeted him, it’s obvious she adores him. Scottie and Gabriel hugged and laughed when they commented on the fact it was only a week ago they said bye to each other in California.

I felt a little self-conscious just standing there, then Carina introduced us and Gabriel shook my hand (which seemed a bit formal.) We smiled at each other, and my awkwardness disappeared. I didn’t see any resemblance between Scottie and Gabriel at all. Gabriel is definitely the better looking of the two, with his dark hair and pale blue eyes. He’s more rounded in the body too, not fat, just not as lean or as tall as his older brother.

I have to mention how lovely it was when we returned to Kevin and Liza’s (I know this is all last year, but I want to make sure I remember it all.) Carina and I went into the house first, and Scottie followed. Their dad, Kevin, was sitting on the sofa, watching tv. Without turning round, he said, “hi guys,” and held up his hand. Scottie slapped the palm of his hand to his dad’s as he passed.

Liza came out of the kitchen, asking where the pizza was, just as Gabriel came walking through the front door. Her mouth fell open, and she burst into tears. She grabbed Gabriel and hugged him really hard. The funny part was watching Liza, standing behind the sofa, still holding onto Gabriel, while she tapped Kevin on the shoulder, in an attempt to get his attention. A few seconds passed before Kevin turned his head and saw what was happening. “No way!” he shouted, jumping up. He grabbed his son, and Liza, by which time Carina and I were also crying!

New Year’s Eve is my favourite night of the year, and I have to say, last night was definitely one of the best ever. For the past five years I’ve spent it in England with Ben, but I don’t know if that will ever happen again. Seems strange that the New Year arrived for him in Italy, six hours ahead of ours. I have no idea what he was planning on doing.

In the early hours of this morning, back at the Q family home, we all agreed that going to Church Street Station was a great way to welcome the arrival of 1989. Everyone started to find their place for the night, either in a sleeping bag on the living room floor, or dotted around the various sofas in the living room. I sat out on the sun porch with Gabriel, and when it appeared everyone was asleep, we shared another very nice kiss. Or two.

After what felt like zero sleep, Liza woke us up with an announcement that brunch was ready. We each trickled into the kitchen and Liza said we all looked like we’d made the most of celebrating the New Year. There was much lounging around digesting the delicious brunch, while we decided how to spend the day. I ended up going to the community pool with Gabriel, Scottie, Carina and a few of their cousins. Their other friends went home, and I have a sneaking suspicion they’ll all be having an early night (like me, I doubt I’ll even be awake long enough to watch the Tracey Ullman show.)

At the pool, I was wearing shorts and a baggy t- shirt (my regular cover up mode) and as I was walking back from the “restroom,” Scottie jumped out of the lounge chair, and pushed me in the pool. Nice! If I want to pay him back I’d better hurry up as he’ll be heading home to California in a couple of days.

The Q family invited me to go out for dinner with them, but knowing Gabriel is only here for a short time, and Scottie is heading home soon, I said no thanks. Liza has talked so much to me about her boys and about how much she misses them, so it’s lovely to see her so happy with her three kids all together. Gabriel attends university in California, actually they call it college here, when I called it “uni” they had no idea what I was talking about! Scottie is settling into his new job, also in California, and baby sister, Carina, is still in high school, here in sunny Florida.

On their way out to join their family for dinner, Carina and Gabriel dropped me off here at Miriam’s. Only Donna was here as Miriam, Hank and Carol also went out for dinner. It was obvious from the way Donna, Gabriel and Carina interacted and teased each other that they’ve been friends since childhood.

Right in front of Gabriel, Donna looked at me and said, “you two were getting cozy in the club last night.”
I could feel myself blushing, and when I caught Gabriel’s eye, he smiled and said, “hell yeah!” Which made us all laugh.

I walked Gabriel and Carina out to the car. He took my hand and said, “you sure you don’t want to come to dinner with us?”
I said of course I’d like to, but felt they should have some family time together. Gabriel took me by total surprise when he pulled me into him, and kissed me. I felt my cheeks burning up, and when I looked at Carina, she smiled coyly, and got in the car.

When I came back into the condo, Donna was standing in the living room, with her arms crossed
“Holy shit,” she said, “what just happened?”
“I believe it’s called snogging.”
“We call it making out. And you two were making out big time last night. One minute we were all dancing, then I went to the bar, and when I came back, the clock struck midnight and you and Gabriel were like magnets.”
I laughed and could feel myself blushing again.
“Do you think Gabriel is good looking?”
I nodded my head in an enthusiastic yes.
“Hmmm,” Donna said, uncrossing her arms.

In the four weeks I’ve been here, this is the first night Donna hasn’t gone out with the guy she calls “Redneck Robbie.” Having spent some time around him, I’ve more or less figured out why she calls him that. Double R, as I refer to him, doesn’t seem to care when Donna calls his name, so it can’t be that bad!

Donna can be really stroppy at times, but I got to see a much nicer version of her today. There’s only a year between us, but we’re very different, and I’m sure a big part of it is that she’s lived here in the States since she was eight. She’s lead a completely different life to the one she would have had, if her mum hadn’t married Hank, and moved here from Scotland. I wonder if it’s strange for Donna having Carol as her stepsister? They share the same mum, but not the same dad. I don’t think I would like that, but then again, as an only child, I can’t imagine having any siblings.

Rang Pamsy (keeping in mind the five hour time change between here the UK) and as usual, she wanted every last detail. I didn’t have much energy, so I only shared the condensed version of all that’s occurred in the last three days, since our last mega chat.
Pamsy’s reaction, when I told her I kissed Gabriel, made me laugh.
“Blimey,” she said, “what a way to start the year!”

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