Looking around the room, Sandra tried not to let her face betray the despair gripping her heart. The party wasn't exactly kicking, neither were the fellas Jacinta had said would be there. There were guys there, sure, but the kind who wore jumpers knitted by their mums. As she sank another champagne, Sandra resigned herself to another New Year's Eve without a kiss.
She knew she shouldn't have built this night up; New Year's Eve parties often ended up far less exciting than anticipated. She could count on one hand the good times she'd had on the last night of the year, despite what all those Hollywood movies promised.
Grazing the buffet, Sandra's head was turned by a late arrival. The tall blonde man locked eyes with her as Jacinta greeted him at the door. Sandra sucked in her tummy and pulled her shoulders back as Jacinta guided the man over to where she stood.
'Sandie, I'd like you to meet Sven. He's the visiting researcher at work I told you about.'
Sandra blushed as Sven took her hand and kissed it.
'Hi,' she said shyly.
'Hello,' he said with a suitably Swedish accent.
'I'll leave you two to it,' said Jacinta with a knowing smile as she headed to the kitchen.
Sandra and Sven managed to find quite a lot to talk about. Both were research scientists, although in different fields, both held university grants and had worked overseas, and both were single on New Year's Eve.
Burning with the suffused glow of alcohol and welcome male attention, Sandra allowed Sven to walk her out onto the balcony as the minutes marched towards midnight. As the other partygoers counted down seconds to go, Sven pulled Sandra in close, wrapped his arms around her waist and shoulders and planted on her lips a long, slow kiss that stayed with Sandra well into the new year.