I licked away the luscious coffee mousse from my top lip, at the same time giggling a bit, knowing everyone's gaze was directed at me.
'Mmm... This is too yummy,' I exclaimed exuberantly, looking over at my friend, Thea Norwood, in awed surprise, who had prepared the exhaustingly complex raspberry and coffee mousse cake, my favourite, solely by herself. 'Oh, Thea, I love you.'
She chuckled as I gave her a tight hug.
'I'm glad, sweetheart,' she responded simply.
Tongue-tied for a moment there at her bland reply, and the unwelcome, awkward silence that followed, I glanced around, tugging at my purple-dyed fishtail, and caught my best friend, Lenny Wingley's eye.
Hello? Say something~! I glared at him.
Smiling drily, he side-stepped his girl-friend, Lila Hales, and drawled in his husky, languorous voice, 'Righto, presents next.'
Everyone in the living-room roused to motion at his nearly authoritative tone.
Mentally, I heaved a sigh of profound relief as I watched Len discreetly with adoring eyes.
Whatever would I do without you, Len.
As if reading my mind, he winked at me and I almost pinkened.
No, don't get me wrong now. I don't really, er, think my one-sided foolish infatuation with the popular guy is of much significance, and does not really need to be recognized either, thank you very much. It's just that he's... Well, dang it, he's just too attractive for his own good. You get the drift.
Oh, and he already has this 'Über'-hot, ravishing, SENIOR- year girl-friend. So there you have it.
Fat chance, Erin. As I tell myself all the time.
All of my friends dropped around me on the couch as I began unwrapping Thea's silver, foil-wrapped box.
I earned an encouraging smile from them as I oh-so-slowly, so as to not make it oh-so-clumsily, lifted the cover off the palm-sized package.
Everyone gasped with sheer appreciation as their eyes roved over the dazzling platinum lavaliere that rested on a bed of white satin.
I stifled back a scream. Putting on an appropriately delighted expression as I opened gift after gift, hiding my horrified shock at the ruthless opulence and almost-frightening lavishness of all of them - it was irksome, but I pulled the stunt off.
Carefully concealing my blatant adoration for Lenny's xomparatively inexpensive flat, purple-colored, knee-high boots, I winked at him gleefully.
Long after everyone had left did I give in to the fit of shudders.
There is something seriously twisted behind all this, I speculated.
I mean why on earth would the whole school's kids be more than willing to empty their pockets on a mere freshman?!
Snorting to myself, I silently admitted that all of this has been happening since I was seven, when my parents were plane-crashed eight years ago.
With no one to guide and keep an eye on me, I'd been well on my way to develop that rebellious streak most kids get after incidents like that, when suddenly EVERY-FREAKING-ONE's attention attained a mutual target: poor, ol' me. ME.
It was insane. Suddenly having all the luxuries of life I once had and then lost. All the populars hanging around me, my ramshackle house being renovated, alll my worldly desires fulfilled - yep, in the beginning, I basked in ALL that big time.
Literally EVERYTHING around me just... Transformed.
It was as if I was in an another dimension altogether. As if I was living in a make-believe world. An illusion.
I started noticing things when I turned fifteen.