Michela Walters’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: Hopeful Beginnings
The clock struck ten. Another year was coming to a close and Maisy was still single, still a broke actor trying to make it big on Broadway, and still living in the same teeny tiny apartment she’d been sharing with three of her friends for the last four years. She’d worked more waitressing and bartending gigs than she’d had callbacks for and she was beginning to think it was never going to happen. In an two hours it would be a brand new year and Maisy was thinking maybe it was time to reassess her goals. Grabbing a notebook off her shelf, she wandered into the miniscule living room to watch the waning minutes of the year tick to a close.
She plopped on the ugly plaid sofa and settled into the one corner that was still slightly comfortable and flipped on the TV, scanning the channels for something other than Ryan Seacrest or Carson Daly. Settling on CNN’s coverage, she nestled down and began to think about all the things she wanted to accomplish in the year ahead.
When Maisy had graduated from NYU she vowed to give her acting career five years to come to fruition. This was it. If it didn’t happen by the end of this year, she’d told herself she needed to find some other way to make a living. She knew making it big was a long shot and vowed to not waste her entire life to capture the brass ring if it wasn’t realistically ever going to.
Jotting down her thoughts and dreams for the year ahead, she was startled to hear her best friend and roommate’s voice. She’d thought she was the only one hiding out from the festivities.
“Why didn’t you go to Fitzpatricks with everyone?” Sheila asked, wandering into the room holding a jar of peanut butter and a spoon.
Maisy set her notebook on the coffee table and simply shrugged How could she explain to someone that New Year’s Eve was her most loathed holiday right up next to Valentine’s day. The expectant kiss at midnight when no one wanted to kiss you was the absolute worst. One she’d decided she wouldn’t subject herself to this year. Maisy’s list of goals for the new year didn’t include sealing it with a kiss by some guy who felt sorry for her. Nope, she was going to accomplish all her dreams on her own. Screw men and their impossible expectations of women. Maisy was attractive, thin and personable, yet she somehow always landed in the friend zone. She was thankful for Shelia, Steve and Jackson, without them she would have left New York and never looked back. Instead they all worked together and tried to be the supportive family none of them actually had. Living together in the tiny apartment that had been handed down from NYU students to NYU students year after year was just a lovely perk. When the four friends finally decided to move on, they too would go looking for a worthy group of struggling artists to hand it off to. In the mean time, they just enjoyed living close to midtown, even if it meant they all lived in shoeboxes barely big enough for a twin bed and a dresser.
“You know the only reason Jackson organized a night out was because his buddy Robb is hot for you, right?” Sheila commented as she left the small living room and headed back to her bedroom.
Her words instantly perked up Maisy’s ears. “What do you mean and why - for God’s sake - didn’t you tell me before now?” she called after her.
“Oh, one mention of Robb and now you want to go to a party?” She popped her head around the corner, a look of impatience graced her face. “ Come on Maisy, he’s been interested in you for months and you haven’t given him the time of day. What would have changed tonight? The ball would drop, you’d look into his eyes and fall in love? Really? I thought you were smarter than that. Romance is for novels, not people like us.”
Maisy stood, offended by her friend’s comments. “What does that even mean?” She used air quotes to accentuate her words, “people like us?”
Sheila walked back into the room and plopped down on the worn sofa that had been in the apartment since before they moved in. “Don’t get upset, I just mean you and I are picky. We want a guy to be strong, masculine and assertive. We’re not damsels in distress, but we don’t want to stick our necks out and have them trampled on. I know your past as well as my own and we’re both just waiting for the perfect guy. I just wish it was easier to find him, that’s all.”
She understood what her friend meant, but by saying it out loud caused Maisy to think twice about her statements. Was she really such a diva she couldn’t see a nice guy right in front of her face? Hell, its not like she was some amazing catch. Robb had a job doing what he loved. Shit, if she had a devious bone in her body she could have dated him just to get in touch with his contacts at the broadway show he was part of the crew for. No, she hadn’t really noticed the shy guy who’d been popping in on their brunch excursions and dinner parties. No wonder she couldn’t get a date, not if she couldn’t even notice a guy flirting with her. Maisy glanced back at the Felix the cat clock, its eyes judging her with every tick and swish of its tail. Maybe it was time to do something about her lack of love interest by actually paying attention to the men around her instead of playing the passive, self-absorbed drama queen she was.
“How long do you think they’ll all be at Fitzpatricks?” Maisy asked, heading towards her room to change out of the sweats she’d had on since her shift at the restaurant had ended.
Sheila picked up the notebook where Maisy had written down all of her goals for 2015 and called out to her, “Think you might need to add get midnight kiss to this list. You know, maybe right between get an acting job and lose five pounds.” She chucked the notebook at Maisy and gave her a wry grin and told her she was coming with. “Shit, maybe Jackson has a couple other friends he hasn’t introduced me to yet. The night’s still young.” With a wink she was off to her own room.
Maisy stood at her closet trying to figure out what to wear and decided right then that maybe this was the year she was going to make her own luck, make her dreams a reality and finally kiss a guy at midnight who she actually wanted to journey into the new year with.
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Michela Walters is a wife, mother and book enthusiast. She is currently attempting her hand at writing her first romantic fiction novella. You can read her other stories on her blog: michelawalters.wordpress.com