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New Year, New Feelings

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It was December 31st. New Year's Eve.

Isaac had invited all of his friends - the whole Dick Clique - over to his apartment in the complex they all lived in.

Nobody knew how, but Isaac had somehow managed to get an apartment that was at least twice as big as everyone else's. Probably mob ties.

Midori was the first one to arrive, around 8. Isaac had asked her to come over to help him set up, and she was happy to oblige. Most of the work fell to her, as Isaac was... too short to do it himself. Most of what he did was passing the decorations to her to set up.

Midori pinned up streamers around the room and put up little decorations dangling from the ceiling. She put up a banner above the sliding door to the balcony that read "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" with little firework explosions on the sides.

Isaac set up the kitchen with snacks and drinks. For a robot who was incapable of drinking, he had a surprisingly large amount of booze.

Jack Daniel's, Smirnoff, Mad Dog, Hennessy, Fireballs...

Basically, if you named it, he probably had it.

Jack showed up a couple hours later. Isaac was shuffling around on the balcony, doing his best to organize the plethora of fireworks he had gotten. He really was a go-big-or-go-home kind of guy with this stuff.

When Jack walked through the door, Midori practically bounced off the couch and hugged him.

"Hey, Jack! Welcome to the party!" she said, greeting him with a huge grin. Jack looked around.

"Doesn't look like much of a party yet. Do you know when Alex and Nic are going to be here?" he asked, putting an arm around her shoulder.

"Oh, they'll probably be here soon. I'd say thirty minutes, tops." Midori answered as they walked to the balcony.

Isaac turned to them with a grin. "Hey, either of you have a lighter?" he inquired.

Jack dug around in his pockets for a minute. "Yeah, here's one. Setting off fireworks already? It's still two hours until next year, you know."

"Blowing shit up is fun!" was Isaac's sharp reply, snatching the lighter from Jack's hand. He picked up a Roman candle and fumbled with it, trying to light the end.

Jack watched him with amusement. "Need help there, shortstack?"

"Fuck you! Yes, I do." Isaac said dejectedly. He handed Jack the lighter and held out the firework. Jack leaned down and lit the end and Isaac quickly turned to the railing just as the balls shot into the air, hissing and exploding into bursts of color and noise.

When it was finished, Isaac laughed and chucked the firework shell as far as he could.

As he quickly walked back inside, he heard someone yell, "OW! Where the hell did this come from?!"

He had to stifle a laugh.

Jack and Midori and Isaac shot the shit while they waited for the final duo to arrive. They joked around and made bets on who'd get shitfaced first: Alex or Nic.

Isaac betted 40 that Nic would get absolutely blasted first. Jack and Midori both agreed that Alex would be the first to go down and out from drinking too much.

Finally, the life of the party arrived. Alex swung open the door and hollered, "HEY, ASSHOLES! IT'S US!" with a huge, exaggerated, sweeping gesture.

He had probably been drinking even before he'd arrived. He sauntered in through the door, and Nic trailed behind him with an amused grin on his face.

"Yeah, hi, guys." Nic said. Alex fumbled across the room and flopped over on the couch. He nearly crushed Jack underneath him, but the masked fellow shuffled over just in time to avoid the bulky mass of douchebag that was about to smother him.

"Whassaaaam, y'all?" Alex said, lounging across the couch.

Yeah, he was definitely already drunk.

Nic walked into the kitchen and was greeted by half a counter full of just bottles of booze. If he didn't mope around basically all the time, his eyes would have shone with delight at the prospect of getting completely wasted.

And so he poured himself an iced glass of Absolut vodka.

He turned around, drink in hand, and saw Midori rooting around in Isaac's fridge. He walked over to her and leaned in.

"Find anything good?" he asked. Midori shook her head. "The only thing I've found is Jell-O. Want some?" she asked, offering him a cup of red Jell-O. Nic shrugged and took it.

He grabbed a plastic spoon and went over to the couch. Alex had a smug grin on his face and Jack looked annoyed, sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table. Isaac was sitting across from him, trying to goad him into a card game.

Nic nudged Alex. "Move over, asshole. I want to sit."

Surprisingly, Alex respected his request and scooted over enough for Nic to sit next to him.

"Hey, whaddya get to drink?" Alex asked, leaning heavily on Nic.

"Some vodka. Like a basic bitch." Nic replied. "Want some?" He offered the cup to Alex.

"Hell yeah!" Alex promptly snatched it from Nic's hand and took a huge swig before handing it back.

Nic stared at him. The asshole had just downed half his glass in one drink.

"You know what? I'll just go get you your own glass. Do you want me to get the bottle and bring it over here?"

Alex shrugged. "If ya wanna."

So Nic got up yet again and poured Alex his own glass and then brought the bottle over to the couch and set it on the table. He handed Alex the glass he had made and refilled his own.

"I'm not doing anything else for you for the rest of the night. You used your 'Nic Does Something Nice For Me' ticket of the night."

That prompted Alex to laugh. "Yeah, sure."

Midori reentered the living room with... a bowl of candy. Nic looked at her and sighed. Always with the candy.

Not much happened for the next hour. Jack got his ass kicked in multiple card games by Isaac, Alex got even more shitfaced, and Nic got considerably drunk, downing at least 11 glasses of vodka.

It was around 11:45 when things started to pick up. Jack had forced himself back onto the couch, and Alex was having none of it. He elbowed Jack and said, "My couch, asshole!" and tried to push him off of it. Jack recoiled by punching him in the side, replying with, "Fuck you, it's a couch. You can't hoard the whole damn thing!"

And so an asshole throwdown ensued. Alex kicked Jack in the shin, causing Jack to punch him in the arm. The two started punching and kicking each other, trying to knock the other off the couch. Nic got up because the two of them started to push him around, almost knocking his drink right out of his hand.

He moved over to the wall next to the balcony door and leaned against it, watching the two drunken idiots scrap for who would get the couch.

Eventually, Alex managed to get Jack off the couch, but Jack, in his drunken stupor, fell over onto Isaac's coffee table and smashed it in half.

"Hey! Fuck you guys!" Isaac yelled. He looked extremely pissed off.

"That's an expensive fuckin' coffee table! You guys are going to pay for my new one!"

Jack let out an irritated noise, giving Alex one more good kick before he turned and started towards the balcony. He walked face-first into the closed glass door like a fool.

He yanked the door open and walked out. Midori trailed after him.

Nic raised his eyebrows and took a sip of his drink.

Once Alex had chilled out and seemed to have entirely forgotten his scrap with Jack, Nic sat back down next to him. Alex had drunk even more than what he had before the party and slumped against Nic.

Both of them were considerably boozed up. It was nearly midnight when Isaac dragged everyone out to the balcony to set off fireworks. Everyone was giddy to ring in the new year with tons of explosions.

They had a lot of rockets and a lot of Roman candles. Nic had brought enough smoke bombs for everyone to set off one.

The Dick Clique gradually set off more and more fireworks as midnight approached.

Alex seemed to be distracted by something, but Nic had no idea what. Alex wasn't setting off a lot of fireworks, but instead squinting at the ones that were being set off in the sky around him.

It was shortly before midnight and Nic was caught up in the fun of shooting off Roman candles into the sky, laughing and watching the balls of light shoot out from it and explode into color.

Jack, Midori, Isaac, and Nic were all counting down to the new year together when Alex grabbed Nic and turned Nic towards him, startling the shorter man. As everyone collectively shouted "ONE!", Alex leaned in and kissed Nic. He could taste the booze on Alex.

Nic wasn't sure how to feel about it, whether he was completely shocked or if he loved it. It was short-lived, though, as Alex pulled away moments later and rushed back into the living room. Nic stood there, wide-eyed and startled by what had just happened.

Did Alex Asboth really just kiss him the very first moment of the new year?

He didn't get to dwell on it long because the rest of the crew swept him up into a big cheering hug. They were all drunk beyond belief and having fun.

When they all fumbled back inside, Alex was sitting back on the couch with his head thrown back and a stupid, definitely drunken grin on his face.

Isaac accompanied Midori and Jack to the kitchen in their quest for food. Nic took the chance to break off and sit next to Alex.

Alex seemed to freeze up a bit when Nic sat down, anticipating exactly what Nic was going to say.

"Uh.. did that really just happen? Or was I just, like, hallucinating from booze? ...Is that even possible?"

Alex rolled his lips in before saying, "Yyyyeaaah." and nothing more. Before Nic could press any further questions, the rest of their friends reentered the room and sat around. Jack sat on the couch and Isaac and Midori sat on the other side of the smashed coffee table.

Everyone sat around and talked about random things for about another hour before everyone started dispersing, heading back to their own apartments. Nic and Alex were the last to leave.

When they had exited, they had to walk down the same way to get to their respective places. Nic awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck, trying to figure out some way to fill the silence that sat uncomfortably between them.

Nic eventually cleared his throat and said, "Uh.. tonight was a lot of fun. It was nice to be around everyone again. Do you -- uh... can I sleep over at yours tonight? I just-- don't want --"

Alex laughed and elbowed him. "Calm down, dude. It's... fine. Yeah."

The two of them lapsed back into silence, but it was far more comfortable than before.