Loveless (Osemanverse #10)

Loveless (Osemanverse #10)

Alice Oseman

There were literally three separate couples sitting around the fire making out, like some sort of organised kissing orgy, and half of me was like, ew, and the other half was like, Wow, I sure do wish that was me.

To be fair, it’s probably what I should have expected from our prom afterparty. I don’t go to parties very often. I hadn’t been aware this actually was the culture.

I retreated from the firepit and headed back towards Hattie Jorgensen’s giant country house, holding up my prom dress in one hand so I didn’t trip, and dropped Pip a message.

Georgia Warr

i could not approach the fire and retrieve the marshmallows because there were people kissing around it Felipa Quintana

How could you betray and disappoint me like this Georgia Georgia Warr

do you still love me or is this the end When I entered the kitchen and located Pip, she was leaning against a corner cupboard with a plastic cup full of wine in one hand and her phone in the other. Her tie was half tucked into her shirt pocket, her burgundy velvet blazer was now unbuttoned and her short curls were fluffy and loose, no doubt due to all the dancing at prom.

‘You OK?’ I asked.

‘Might be a tad drunk,’ she said, her tortoiseshell glasses slipping down her nose. ‘And also I do fucking love you.’

‘More than marshmallows?’

‘How could you ask me to make such a choice?’

I slung my arm round her shoulders and we leant back together against the kitchen cupboards. It was almost midnight, music was thumping from Hattie’s living room, and the sound of our classmates chatting and laughing and shouting and screaming resonated from every corner of the building.

‘There were three separate couples making out around the fire,’ I said. ‘Like, in unison.’

‘Kinky,’ said Pip.

‘I sort of wished I was one of them.’

She gave me a look. ‘Ew.’

‘I just want to kiss someone,’ I said, which was odd, because I wasn’t even drunk. I was driving Pip and Jason home later.

‘We can make out if you want.’

‘That wasn’t what I had in mind.’

‘Well, Jason’s been single for a few months now. I’m sure he’d be up for it.’

‘Shut up. I’m serious.’

I was serious. I really, really wanted to kiss someone. I wanted to feel a little bit of prom-night magic.

‘Tommy, then,’ said Pip, raising an eyebrow and smiling evilly. ‘Maybe it’s time to confess.’

I’d only ever had a crush on one person. His name was Tommy. He was the ‘hot boy’ of our school year – the one who could actually have been a model if he’d wanted. He was tall and skinny and conventionally attractive in a Timothée Chalamet sort of way, though I didn’t really understand why everyone was in love with Timothée Chalamet. I had a theory that a lot of people’s ‘celebrity crushes’ were faked just to fit in.

Tommy had been my crush ever since I was in Year 7 and a girl had asked me, ‘Who d’you think is the hottest boy at Truham?’ She’d shown me a photo on her phone of a group of the most popular Year 7 boys at the boys’ grammar over the road, and there was Tommy right in the middle. I could tell he was the most attractive one – I mean, he had hair like a boy-band star and was dressed pretty fashionably – so I’d pointed and said him. And I guess that was that.

Almost seven years later, I’d never actually talked to Tommy. I’d never even really wanted to, probably because I was shy. He was more of an abstract concept – he was hot, and he was my crush, and nothing was going to happen between us, and I was perfectly fine with that.

I snorted at Pip. ‘Obviously not Tommy.’

‘Why not? You like him.’

The thought of actually following through on the crush made me feel extremely nervous.

I just shrugged at Pip, and she dropped the discussion.

Pip and I started to walk out of the kitchen, arms still slung round each other, and into the hallway of Hattie Jorgensen’s fancy country home. People were slumped on the floor in the corridor in their prom dresses and tuxes, cups and food scattered around. Two people were kissing on the stairs, and I looked at them for a moment, unsure whether it was disgusting or whether it was the most romantic thing I’d ever seen in my life. Probably the former.

‘You know what I want?’ Pip said, as we stumbled into Hattie’s conservatory and collapsed on to a sofa.

‘What?’ I said.

‘I want someone to spontaneously perform a song to declare their love for me.’

‘What song?’

She gave this some thought.

‘“Your Song” from Moulin Rouge.’ She sighed. ‘God, I am sad, gay and alone.’

‘Solid song choice, but not as attainable as a kiss.’

Pip rolled her eyes. ‘If you want to kiss someone that much, just go talk to Tommy. You’ve liked him for seven years. This is your last chance before we go to uni.’

She might have had a point.

If it was going to be anyone, it was going to be Tommy. But the idea filled me with dread.

I folded my arms. ‘Maybe I could kiss a stranger instead.’

‘Fuck off.’

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