Cora sipped her drink and tried to move through the group of people that had now gathered in the kitchen. She was aware that they were speaking, but she wasn’t interested in what they were talking about. Stepping into the doorway, she felt the vibrations of loud music and smelt cooking BBQ food that drifted in from the garden. She was unsure where to go next in the stranger’s house now that she had her red wine or who was actually here that she knew, beside from Kimi, who she’d come to the birthday party with.

Shrugging and telling herself that it didn’t matter, she turned around, pushed her way through the kitchen crowd and went outside. The garden was small and tidy. She had stepped out on to a stone flagged patio, which was clustered with plastic tables and chairs. People slowly walked about or stood in groups all holding glasses and seemingly talking.

Cora stepped to the edge of the patio, more to be out of everyone’s way than anything else. She looked out of the small lawn, the empty flower beds which boarded it and the tiny pond with its trickling waterfall. She sipped her wine and wondered what was beyond the tall, dark brown fence at the back.

Someone brushed her elbow and stopped at her side. She felt eyes on her face and though she knew she would regret it, she half turned to the man beside her.  He was taller than her and was wearing black trousers and a blue shirt. He was also clean shaven, with longish black hair styled back. He looked cute and Cora could already feel her cheeks reddening. She glanced away and missed what he said, or at least she thought she did.

She watched him carefully and understood perfectly what he was trying to ask her. Now the problem was how to reply. She turned over a few things in her mind, sipped her wine and let her lips form the words she couldn’t hear, but knew her mouth could say. He looked startled and apologised. She shrugged; she was use to that now and turned away.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw his lips move. Frowning, she turned back and watched him repeat the question, to which she nodded yes. He then asked some more, his curiosity growing as it sometimes did with people. It was all boring to her as she was so a custom to it, but at least he was handsome enough to stare at.

Then he changed the subject and wanted to know why she was here. Cora frowned and tried to choose words that would make the most sense, though it was hard to do that with a limited vocabulary.  So, she told him that a friend had brought her and she didn’t know anyone here. That seemed to work and he agreed he hated that when it happened. Cora smiled, it seemed like they were getting somewhere. She brushed a strand of blonde hair behind her ear and had a mouthful of wine.

He asked the next question too fast and she had to pick things apart before she could answer. She shook her head, blushing and half trying to hide it from him. He wanted to know why, but she couldn’t give him any real reason. She shrugged and pulled a face. He laughed before saying he didn’t understand why she didn’t have a boyfriend. She sighed, smiled sadly and finished off her wine. He asked if she wanted another, she nodded and let him take her glass, before realising she couldn’t tell him what she had been drinking.

Feeling a wave of frustration, she walked after him and into the kitchen. It was less crowded now and she was able to point out the bottle to him. He poured and gave her the glass back, before getting his own drink. Somehow, she was aware he was speaking though his back was turned. It was the little signs she had gotten use to watching out for that gave it away, though sometimes she made mistakes. Still though, she tapped him on the shoulder and had him turn around.

He laughed, apologising and repeated himself. She smiled at his words and nodded. It was nice to find someone accepting for a change.