Something special was happening at Anna's house tonight.
Her beloved family members and closest friends gathered together, laughing, chatting, and having fun. Balloons floated away in the air as more and more people began to show up.
Guests arrived with gifts, food, and radiant smiles gleaming on their faces. Festive and lively music was playing out the windows and people danced along like there was no tomorrow.
It was her birthday.
'So why is the birthday girl herself looking out at the sky, alone at her balcony, instead of downstairs?' A faint voice asked in her head. But even Anna didn't know for sure.
Anna glanced down at all of her friends having fun, and sighed. Why wasn't SHE having fun? After all, she was turning eighteen. An eighteenth birthday was kind of a big deal.
Then again though, she always considered herself to be a bit of an introvert, and no amount of partying could ever change that. Maybe she just didn't feel like celebrating.
Maybe she just needed time alone. Just for a little while. Just to clear her head from all the anxious thoughts swarming around saying, "You're an adult now. Life's about to get so much harder."
Only, Anna realized that she wasn't alone when she heard the click-clack of someone else's footsteps behind her.
"Anna?" They called out.
Anna looked past her shoulder, and once she realized who it was, her heart immediately began accelerating at the speed of light as her gut twisted itself into a huge knot.
It was a guy - the guy she had the biggest, most massive crush on.
As he made his way towards her, the setting sun illuminating every one of his gorgeous features, Anna's heart melted like a popsicle on a hot July afternoon. 'Say something to him', she thought.
"M-Mike!" was all she could muster at first. After she collected herself a little bit, she asked him, "What are you doing here? I thought you weren't going to be able to make it."
"I was able to squeeze in about an hour of your party. How could you think I would miss your birthday?" Mike responded with a smirk, and it prompted a goofy grin to appear on Anna's face.
As he walked over close to Anna's side, he added, "I feel like I should be asking you the same thing. Shouldn't you be downstairs?"
She stumbled over her words a bit before finally answering, "Uh, yeah, I just wanted some alone time to think."
"Just... you know... about turning eighteen. I'm an adult now, but I definitely don't feel like an adult. I don't know, maybe I just need some time to process it."
Mike furrowed his eyebrows and chuckled. "What do you mean you don't feel like an adult?"
"I mean I haven't really done anything that you're supposed to have already done once you're an adult, if that makes sense. I've never made my own appointment, never tried to sneak out..."
"...I've never even kissed someone before."
Anna's eyes widened to the size of the moon once that confession left her lips. 'Why in the WORLD would you just blurt that out in front of Mike?' The faint voice in her head nagged.
But Mike just let out his cute little chuckle again. "You haven't had your first kiss yet? You know, it's not really that big of a deal," he commented.
"I know it's not. I've just been waiting for it to happen for a really long time, and I guess I expected to have kissed somebody by now. Though to be honest, I'm a ltitle nervous about it too."
"There's nothing to be nervous about, Anna. I mean, it might feel a little weird and wet at first but-- "
"Oh no, I'm not nervous about how it will feel. I... uh..." A laugh escaped from Anna's lips, though it was much more awkward-sounding than Mike's.
"...I'm a pretty big hopeless romantic. And because of Hollywood and all its cheesy romance movies, my standards for my first kiss are pretty high. I always imagined it to go a certain way."
For some odd reason that Anna couldn't really decipher, this peaked Mike's attention. "Really? What would you want your first kiss to be like then?"
Her face was flushed with a deep red. She couldn't believe that she was actually about to discuss her kissing fantasies with the guy who may or may not have been in all of them.
Anna continued, "Well for starters, I always liked the idea of sharing my first kiss with someone. You know, we'd be each other's first kiss. I think that'd be pretty cute."
She paused for a second to process her thoughts. "I always imagined my first kiss to happen somewhere secluded. Someone where there's only the two of us. Like maybe the beach."
"We'd stare in each other's eyes for a second, and then it'd just spontaneously happen and it's magical and sweet and gentle yet passionate."
"And I'd be electrified with delight because I'm finally kissing the person I love."
That garnered a vibrant laugh from Mike. "Wow, your standards ARE really high. I wish my first kiss went something like that. But I'm sure it'll happen the way you want it to."
"Yeah, and that's what I'm nervous about. What if it doesn't?" Mike took notice on the way Anna's smile began to fade away once she said this, and he intently listened on.
"I mean, what if my first kiss isn't with someone I love? What if I'm just chilling by myself at a party one night and some stranger decides to stick their tongue down my throat?"
Anna cringed at her previous thought. "Or even worse, what if it IS with the one I love, but they don't love me back? What if they're insincere about their feelings and they're just using me?"
"The worst part of that scenario is that I wouldn't even know. He could be straight up lying about his feelings towards me and I'd have no idea."
"I just... really want to make sure that when I do have my first kiss, the person I'm kissing loves me just as much as I love them. But at the same time how can you REALLY be sure, you know?"
"But anyways, that's why I'm nervous." Anna let out another anxious laugh as her face heated up even more. "I bet all of that sounded so cheesy--"
But she found her sentence being interuppted by Mike's lips suddenly crashing onto hers, to her utter shock. In this moment she felt a plethora of emotions: confusion, excitement, euphoria.
And before she could process what was happening, Mike had already pulled away, leaving Anna speechless in a dizzying haze of bewilderment.
Their faces were still at a close distance from each other, and at this point Anna's heart was close to bursting out her chest. "What the hell was that?" She hesitantly whispered.
The feeling of his warm breath hitting her cheeks made her knees weak. Mike smiled down at her and confessed, "I wanted to be sure that your first kiss was with someone who loved you too."
Anna gazed at Mike lovingly, and her lips formed a huge grin at the realization. She then muttered back, "I kind of... imagined it to be more like this..." and closed the small gap between them.
This time, the kiss was everything she wanted it to be and more. Her entire body felt warm and tingly, and she became overwhelmed with the love she had for Mike. All of it felt heavenly.
And when they pulled back this time, neither of them could stop smiling.
"Best birthday gift ever," Anna joked as Mike laughed again and placed his hand on her cheek to lean in one more time.