"Hey, I don't know what to do. My formal's under a week and my date can't go anymore."
I swallowed, and all of a sudden my mouth seemed dry. Did my heart always beat this hard? Has is it ever beaten this hard before? It was his voice; I had known it was him before I picked up the phone. That was why I braced myself for the flood of emotions, triggered by a single sound from his lips. He was the magician and I was the enraptured. I squirmed slightly and silently in my seat as if this movement would make my tone sound nonchalant about the non-platonic feelings I had about him.
"Oh really?" came my voice. Secretly, I congratulated myself on its casualness. "That's a shame. How come she couldn't go?"
I never really believed in destiny, but this was too chillingly close for my comfort. I shook my head, easing back realism into my mind.
"Yeah - her mum wouldn't let her. Damn, I'm stuck by myself then." There was a pause. "What should I do?"
It was the four words again.
Four seemed to be a magic number for I could think of another enchantment that was by the name of four letters as well. But in this case, the four words described a question of which my heart, bound in the four-letter word, knew the answer but my lips refused to say so. It was the perfect opportunity, but I didn't dare.
"Go with your sis then!" I joked, masking a snigger. And my real thoughts.
"Oh my god, stop it!" He was amused nonetheless. "You are lowering my self esteem!"
"How about your other girl friends?"
"Nah, I don't want to invite them."
"Then one of your guy friends."
"You kidding? I'm not paying for them."
"Hang on I got a brilliant idea!" My tone changed into seriousness.
"Grab the White Pages, find a name that sounds hot and dial."
There was a pause.
"Screw you Katie!"
I began laughing, releasing my first real emotion through the whole conversation.
"Very funny," he huffed and I smiled, imagining the way his dimples would form.
"I just need to go with someone, I already brought the tickets and I can't get a refund."
My smile slowly faded as my heart beats increased to a crescendo.
It was the dry throat again.
"I ... I...dunno," I stumbled and swerved. "I'm not sure what you should do."
My heart, on the other hand, was positively fuming and was screaming at me exactly what it wanted. I knew the answer, the perfect solution, but I could not bring myself to say it. Pride reasoned that it would be weird if I was inviting myself to another's formal. Realism added, knowing him, he would be too nice to refuse even if he did not really want me to come.
"It's too late to ask someone else I suppose," he was talking. I slumped against the wall. "I mean it's less than a week away."
"Yeah, it is probably too late," I murmured and closed my eyes. Heart mimicked cruelly, yeah too late thanks to you! What couldn't you have plucked up the courage?
"Well, if you don't have an idea, I'll talk to you later okay?" He said. "I've got to go now."
"Bye," I whispered and the line was dead.
Why was I so scared? I just had to utter a single sentence in a casual friendly way and it would be alright.
But then again, he probably did not think of me in that way - he asked her first, didn't he?
Yet, I had to do it. Perhaps it was time to change things.
Next time I will.
It was him calling again. I steadied myself and picked up the phone.
"Hey Ben, about the formal, I can -"
He cut me off. "No worries. I have it all fixed. I didn't call about the formal."
"Oh," I sat down on the bed, harsh disappointment barely concealed. The day was suddenly dark.
He continued. "I just wanted to talk to you."
Was that dawn?