“Geno!” Emily’s face lit up like a fireworks show at the sight of Evgeni. He had just walked into the room with Ruslan right behind him. At the sound of his name being called he looked over in Emily's direction, noticed it was her who had called him and a smile formed on his face.
In a matter of seconds Emily had gone from the dance floor to Geno's arms as she hugged him tight. Ashley stayed where Emily left her with her lips forming a smile.
“It's nice to see you, too.” Evgeni's deep voice said with a chuckle. Though his Russian accent was still apparent, his English had greatly improved.
Emily couldn't help but smile as she released him from her grasp. Something in her heart was trying to tell her something. Exactly what it was, she didn't know for sure.
“Where've you been?” Emily asked, finding the words to speak.
“With Rus, waiting for you to be here.” Geno replied with an adorable crooked smile that made Emily's heart beat loud in her chest.
“Oh hey, Feds.” She smiled at Ruslan who was standing, silently, next to Geno and her.
“Hey.” He said in his incredible accent that Emily couldn't help but love. He was married and had two half sons, but was still a cutie. “You know where the rest of the guys are?”
“Yeah, they were over at the bar when I last saw them.”
“Okay, I'll go hang with them and leave you two alone.” He smiled and winked at Evgeni as he walked away.
“What'd you tell him?” Emily asked Geno once Ruslan was gone. She was curious as to what the wink was about.
“Nothing.” He said but it was obvious he was lying. Emily didn't mind though. She was glad she was alone with him. It felt weird feeling this way about him. He was her best friend, Geno. She wasn't used to thinking of him as anything more than that, but it was hard to control her feelings right now.
“You wanna go sit down somewhere?” She asked. The music was really loud where they were standing and she wanted to go somewhere more intimate.
“Yeah, that sound good.” Geno replied and smiled. To Emily's secret pleasure, he grabbed her hand gently, intertwining their fingers, and lead her to a seating area. It was quieter over there, but the music was still audible.
Emily was the first to sit down, sliding to the middle of the couch. Geno sat down close next to her. They both were acting and feeling a bit different than usual.
“You want me to get you something to drink?” He asked her, wanting one himself.
“Yeah, that'd be great.”
“Okay, be right back.” He told her with a smile and walked over to the bar.
Once he was out of sight, Ashley appeared by Emily's side.
“What are you doing?” Emily asked her.
“Coming to see how things are going.” She told her with a smile, “So, how are they going?”
“I don't know what you're talking about.” Emily said matter-of-factly.
“Oh, please! You should have seen yourself when he walked into the room!” Ashley gushed, “Your eyes lit up, your smile was bigger than I've ever seen it, and you looked at him like he was the only person in the room. As if you were really seeing him for the first time. You totally love him!”
“I do not!” She quickly defended herself but then thought about what she had said, “Did I really look at him like that?
“Uh-huh. It was like you were head over heels in love with him.” Ash smiled at her best friend.
“What am I going to do?” She asked her, genuinely mystified. She didn't know what her true feelings for Geno were, but tonight they did seem a lot like love. Without Kris around, that is.
“Well if you like him, go for it. He seems pretty into you, too. And plus it'll help you forget about Tanger.”
“Alright.” Emily told her, still unsure of what to do. The look on her face showed it.
“Hey, remember what I said before. You just need to relax and party. Forget about all this drama.” Ashley told her and gave her a hug.
“Thanks, Ash.” Emily smiled, feeling a little better.
“No problem. Now I'm gonna jet before he gets back here. Talk to you later!” She said and was off.
A few moments later, Geno was back and handed Emily her drink. She thanked him and they talked for a little bit about random things. It was kind of like not-sure-what-to-say small talk.
“So, Tanger didn't come?” Geno asked to Emily's displeasure.
“Nope.” She said, pausing to take a drink of her half empty glass, “He had better things to do.”
“What could be better than being with you?" Evgeni said ever so sweetly. Emily felt her heart skip a beat. She looked deep into his eyes for the first time and smiled, feeling as if that's where she belonged. He smiled back and thought of an idea. “Can I show you something?”
“Yeah.” Emily nodded and Geno stood up, taking her hand in his and leading her out of the loud room. They came to a door that wasn't very noticeable and wasn't used often. Geno opened it with out anyone noticing and the two walked out.
“Wow.” Emily gaped at the spectacle. The door had led to a private area with a view of the Waterfront. The few trees around them were strung with Christmas lights making them shine in the night. In the distance the faint sound of music was heard. There must have been someone playing acoustic guitar and singing nearby. “This is beautiful, Geno.”
“Not as beautiful as you are.” He said and made her feel weak in the knees. When had he gotten so romantic?
“Thank you.” she smiled, not sure of what to say. He left her speechless.
A light gust of wind blew across them, leaving a few strands of Emily's dark brown hair to get in her face. Geno, gently pushed them aside, revealing her bright turquoise eyes that were staring back adoringly into his warm brown ones.
“What was it you wanted to tell me?” Geno asked, breaking their silence.
“Huh?” Emily asked, not sure of what he meant.
“You text me earlier, say there's something you needed to tell me in person.” he explained and Emily realized what he meant. Lauren must have said that when she texted him the car. She didn’t want to tell him it was her, though.
“Oh, yeah.” She said, preparing for what she was going to say, “I wanted to tell you that I’ve been waiting to do this for a while.” Emily leaned in and kissed him softly on the lips. She was glad she only felt slightly tipsy. She didn’t want to forget about this the next day.
“You amaze me.” Evgeni said honestly when the two’s lips parted. They didn’t stay that way for long. Emily pulled him closer and the two kissed again and again, with more passion each time.
Meanwhile, in at the bar…
“So, uh, where’s Leah at tonight?” Max asked, trying to sound casual, after noticing he hadn’t seen her at all that evening.
“She’s not here.” Lauren spoke about her best friend since elementary school. She sometimes hung out with Lauren and the guys but never when they went to bars or anything. “She’s not really into this kind of stuff.”
“She’s not into having fun?” Jordan asked, butting into the conversation. It wasn’t really a private one anyway. He had Ashley sitting on his lap and was constantly kissing her cheeks and lips. It was a bit obvious that he had been sneaking a few drinks when no one was watching.
“No, she’s not really a late night partier like us. That’s all.” Lauren told them and turned her attention back to Tyler, who’s lap she was perched upon.
“So no Leah, Flower, or Tanger tonight, eh?” Sid said recapping the missing members of their group of friends.
“Nope. And speaking of Tanger, where‘d Emily go?” asked Jordan.
“Probably got upset he didn’t come and ran off.” Eric joked, “It’s so obvious their crushin’ on each other.”
“Yeah, obvious to everyone but them.” Jordan said with a laugh.
“For your information,” Ashley began, “Em was with Geno when I saw her last.”
“Oh, you mean her backup man?” Jordy smirked.
“No! She really does likes him from what I can tell.” Ashley said, defending her friend.
“Calm down, babe. We’re just joking around.” He told her and kissed her forehead.
“Yeah, yeah.” She couldn’t help but crack a smile when his lips brushed her skin. “Come dance with me, you shouldn’t even be allowed to sit at the bar.” She laughed and hopped off of his lap. She grabbed his hand and pulled him out to the dance floor.
“Look, Teek. Jordy‘s dancing.” Lauren pointed out to her boyfriend, trying to convince him to dance with her by giving him puppy dog eyes.
“Fine, but only cause you know I can’t resist that face.” He gave in and led her out to the floor.
Sidney, Max, Eric, and Ruslan were the guys that were left at the bar. Max and Eric each had beers, but Sid and Rus had to stay clean in order to be the designated drivers.
“So, Geno and Emily, eh?” Sid chuckled, bringing up the night’s hot topic.
“Well, Geno sure seemed excited to hang out with her tonight. Wouldn’t stop talking about her all day.” Rus told them.
“Where’d they even go? I haven’t seen either of them in a while.” Eric asked.
“He told me earlier he wanted to take her to some special place he found in here.” Rus shrugged.
“Twenty bucks says Geno’s gettin’ some.” Max said as he took a swig of his beer. The guys laughed.
Sid shook his head, “A hundred bucks says Tanger will be pissed.”