The house was transformed into a party venue. Workers have been working since morning, putting up lights, flowers, setting up tables, inside and outside the house. The lawn had been mowed, tents were hoisted. The kitchen had been cooking non-stop, caterers have arrived with more variations of dishes to serve throughout the night.
Her parents had invited 150 guests aside from Charlene's friends. The caterers provided 20 waiters and waitresses to make sure the food and beverages was prepared and served properly. There will be at least 250 people crowding the party. She looked stunning in a white halter neck dress that her mom had chosen for her. She put on some make-up, and earrings. She brushed her hair casually because her natural wavy hair looked gorgeous on any occasion. She finally came downstairs with Mandy and Kayla when it was almost dinner time. The guests were already gathered up under the staircase, having hors d'oeuvres and champagne. They all looked up to see her descending the steps with wide smiles on their faces.
"Happy birthday, Charlene, you look lovely tonight."
"Happy birthday dear, I almost didn't recognize you."
They all greeted her as she made her way through. "Now, Charlene ... this is Mr. and Mrs. Friedman," her dad introduced her to a woman and a man he was having a conversation with. She shook their hands.
"Lovely to meet you, darling, you look dazzling this evening," said Mrs. Friedman.
"Thank you, you look lovely as well," she replied with a smile.
"They will be our guests for the weekend because I have some business to discuss with Mr. Friedman," her dad explained. She nodded pleasantly.
"And this is Landon ... the young man I told you about," her father continued.
He appeared from behind her dad, he was wearing a tuxedo, and was holding a champagne in one hand. His brown eyes matched the color of his short and wavy hair, he too was smiling pleasantly. He looked a lot like his father. "Landon will also be staying at our house this weekend, so I hope we can all get acquainted and make our guests feel at home," Bill added. They shook hands and introduced themselves to each other.
"Ladies, I think you can all go ahead to the main hall because dinner is served ... and Charlene, you can take Landon for a house tour and have dinner together later on?" her mother escorted Mandy and Kayla away. Charlene did not expected to be shoved together with the new guest, but she smiled away while trying to make out what her friends were mouthing to her.
"Happy birthday, thank you for letting us stay here for the weekend," Landon said.
"Oh you should thank my dad for that, I think, but ... you're welcome," she replied awkwardly. She lead him to walk around the house, away from the crowd, just as her mom asked her. Landon initiated most of the conversation because she didn't really know what to ask him.
Landon was an academic, it was obvious from the get go that he was probably the smartest guy in his class. He was very articulate and sophisticated with a hint of arrogance in his persona. He was a serious guy, kind of like her father. Landon was five years older than her, and seemed to have a lot of knowledge about everything. He knew about some paintings they had around the house and spoke about the foreign countries he had been.
"I heard you're going to help my dad with his campaign next year? And that you'll be working for him if he takes office after you graduate?"
His face lit up, "Yes, definitely, it's a great opportunity for a fresh graduate, and it would be an honor for me to be working for someone like your father." He took a deep breath as if he was really looking forward to the future, "The things I will learn from that experience alone ... is overwhelming, and you get to do the same once you get your degree in UOG, are you excited?"
Charlene nodded, "Yeah ... college will be a very different experience from my life here, being away on my own and be independent, I've always wanted to explore places other than Bluebridge," she said.
"You won't be on your own, though, I'll be there to help you out with everything, at least for the first year ... your dad was very specific about that," he grinned knowingly that he was assigned to care for daddy's little girl.
"Sorry about that, my parents can be overbearing sometimes, you really don't have to go through any trouble for me," she apologized.
"No trouble at all, it will be my pleasure," he said while looking her straight in the eyes.
"Thank you," somehow she felt a 'thank you' was appropriate.
They walked quite far into the house and arrived at the music room. She showed him in, the room was filled with books and a baby grand piano elegantly placed right in the middle. A set of sofa laid out near the piano, a coffee table beside it. "Nice room ... is this where you gather for family time?" he asked as he gazed around the room.
"Uh hmm," she closed the door behind her.
"Do you play the piano?" he sat on the piano chair and pushed on the keys.
"No, my sister plays it, I sing ... sometimes," she answered shyly.
He started playing a tune, "Would you sing for me, than?" She blushed, "No ... I'm not very good at it," she lied.
"I don't believe you, come on ... sing a song, a happy birthday song, it's an easy one, right?" he persuaded her while paying the tune of 'Happy Birthday'.
She sat on the arm of the three seated sofa, shook her head and covered her mouth, too shy to sing a tune. Landon kept playing, he was amused by her reaction.
"I think it's time to try all the nice food before everyone finishes it," Landon said after the song. He held out his hand to Charlene, she hesitated for a moment, then she took it, but she soon lets go after they opened the door.
She excused herself after dinner to be with her friends. She felt bad to have abandoned them to be a good hostess for Landon for a big part of the night. She sat at the back balcony and had non-alcoholic cocktails with Mandy, Kayla and some of her other friends from school, while Landon seemed to be wandering around the party and mingled with the adults.
"So, how was he?" asked Mandy.
"Yeah, how was it?" Kayla scooted over to joined in for the details.
"He was okay ... we were just talking about Gastonburry," she said casually.
"So that's the guy your parents wants you to marry? He's quite a catch, don't you think?" Mandy was being cheeky.
"Have you seen his car? A future lawyer, wealthy parents ... I wonder if he has the abs like Tommy," Kayla threw in an even cheekier comment.
Charlene elbowed her, "Shut up ... it's not like that."
"Oh, come on? Don't tell me you're not wondering how he looks like naked? I mean, he's got everything ... good looks, smart, a bright future, just that one more thing ... does he have a big and hard ... "
"Mandy! No! Oh my God! You two!" Charlene was embarrassed just listening to their comments.
"The trouble with virgins ... you should try it, Charlene, you'll know what we're talking about," said Kayla.
"Although, first times are usually not very pleasant ... but I bet Tommy is good in bed," Mandy commented.
"Hmmm ... having slept with all those girls without being committed to any of them? He must be VERY good in bed," both girls giggled.
Charlene was used to her best friends sex cackles, as far as she knew, she might be the only girl who was never been kissed in her school, let alone had sex. But she was not clueless, and she did wonder how it would feel like for her for the first time, to be kissed, to be touched, to make love with a boy that she likes. The entire night had been about Landon, but all she could think about was how badly she wanted to see Tommy again.