"There he is!" squealed my friend.
We were sitting at our usual lunch table outside and my friend, Lena, who was crushing on the quarterback, Jason, the black haired, green eyed, ginormous muscled quarterback, had just seen him walk outside. She did this everyday, always looking for him, which I don't even understand. We were nobodies, the band geeks/chorus geeks. Yes we were awesome, but the "popular" people wouldn't know that, but anyway. Once she found him, she pointed him out to me . . . no matter what.
You see I had once asked her to please stop, but this had just ended in her questioning our friendship. So, from then on I just let her show me. The problem was, on days he didn't show, she was in a bad mood the rest of the day. It was tiring, but I loved her so I just learned how to deal.
"OMG!OMG!OMG!" she yelled in my ear. "Eek, Laini he's coming this way!"
My head snapped up from the cheese stick I'd just been de-breading. Sure enough, he was heading straight for our table.
When he reached our table, he addressed me, "Hey Alaina, you know what tomorrow is?"
My eyes flickered toward Lena, then back to his, "no . . ." I answered, cautiously.
He smiled, his famous, perfectly straight, perfectly white, smile, "Valentine's Day," he said, lifting his eyebrows up and down.
I faltered, Valentine's Day? Oh Lord no, I hate Valentine's Day. Lena who looked mad seconds before, now looked at me with worry. Three years ago tomorrow. That is when I started hating it.
My parents, being the gooey people they were, wanted to go somewhere "special" for Valentine's Day. Knowing I didn't really like Valentine's Day(I never said I liked it, just that I didn't hate it), they let me go to Lena's house for the night. Her mom had been watching the news, and they were showing a crash near one of the places they planned to go. A small car, black BMW convertible to be exact, had been hit by a huge truck. Guess who was in the car? Yup, that's right, my parents, and no they did not survive.
Now I live with my aunt and two cousins, in Cocoa Beach, Florida. I had to move schools and everything. At first I was doing really bad, but then Lena moved up here with me after convincing her mom I needed it.
Jason was staring at me, with the oddest expression when I snapped back to reality. I realized he was waiting for me to respond, so I said, "Thanks for informing me. I'll keep it in mind."
He laughed, "Aren't you curious as to why I'm telling you this little piece of information?" he asked.
I raised an eyebrow, "No," I said, coldly.
That, of coarse, made him laugh louder, "Yeah, I'm sure you're not," he told me, "but you'll know soon enough." Then, he walked away. Yeah, that's right, he just walked away. He didn't even say hi to Lena. Oh dear lord help me I was so dead.
I looked at her, she looked absolutely crushed. "Lena, maybe he's gonna tell me that he wants to ask you out," I said, even though I was pretty sure that wasn't true.
She looked at me with a death glare, "Ha!" she exclaimed, "he did not come over here and ignore me, just so he could tell you tomorrow, that he wants to ask me out!" With that she stood up and stalked away.
I sighed, of coarse he didn't, but I was just trying to help. I got up and moved to another table, with some other fellow band geeks at it.
"What was that all about?" my friend, Daren, asked.
I sighed, again, "Jason told me it was Valentine's Day tomorrow . . . and I'll find out tomorrow why he told me," I said.
He nodded, then patted my hand, "It's alright honey," he reassured, "she'll come around."
I rolled my eyes, oh and just in case you didn't pick up on it, he's gay. "Sure, sure," I said.
Beep, beep, beep, beep, BANG!
I smashed my alarm clock with my fist. Thanks to Jason, I now knew what today was . . . in advance. I truly think I'm cursed to never going one Valentine's Day without knowing what day it is. Oh well, I guess I kind of want to know. Maybe.
I rolled over in my bed, landing flat on my back, on the wood floors. This day was starting out great, I must say. I got up, and looked at my mirror. It was on my closet doors, covering the whole thing. Great, not only did I fall out of bed, but I looked like crap too. This was wonderful, just wonderful. Okay, so I do realize that I just got out of bed, but still.
I walked quietly to my Aunt's room, trying not to wake my little cousin. I knocked on her door, "mph," I heard someone reply.
"Can I come in, it's Alaina," I said, quietly.
"Yes, hon," she said, sounding sleepy. She worked at night . . . well sometimes. She was a nurse, and it all depended, but still, she had worked last night.
I opened the door, "Um . . .," I said, "can I stay home today . . . I don't feel so good." I said it super quiet, and tried to make my voice sound hoarse. Since it was morning it wasn't so hard.
She stared me down, "What's today?" she asked.
I raised an eyebrow, aw the powers of acting, "Tuesday I think . . . or do you mean the date?" I asked, "I know it's February, but I'm not sure what the date—"
"Cut the crap," she ordered, "now what day is is?"
I sighed, "February 14th," I told her. She could always see right through me. Not that I was a bad actor . . . or liar. Actually I was really good, but she is to, and when actors conflict . . . you kind of see through each other. Sadly.
She nodded, "Stay home," she said, "just do it without lying to me."
I smiled, halfheartedly, "Thanks," I said.
She nodded, again, "No one's gonna be here though, I have work."
I cocked my head, "Didn't you work last night?" I asked, already knowing the answer.
"Yes honey, but as I told you I really need the money so I'm working overtime." She told me.
I shook my head and left the room. I had offered to help out and get a job, but she had declined. She recently had her husband leave her around the same time my parents had died. She already had 4 children before me, and I made five. Add that expense . . . minus one kid, or rather adult, I had a 20 year old cousin, and that's a lot of money. Plus her husband left, and there goes half the money. She hadn't pushed child support, she was very independent and she hated relying on others. Which is why I was going to get a job anyway.
I had been at the house for three hours, alone, when Lena called.
"Hello?" I said.
"Where the heck are you!?" she yelled.
"I'm at home," I said, "besides I thought you were mad at me."
She sighed, "I'm not mad at you I'm just mad at . . . at the world." She finished with another sigh.
I sighed to, "I'm sorry," I told her, "I just couldn't be there today."
"Do you want me to come?" she asked.
"Uh . . . yeah," I said, "actually, do you think you could bring me around to a few places for job applications?"
"Yeah," she said, I could here the smile in her voice, "anything to get out of this place. I'll be there soon." With that she hung up.
We had been to half the mall when we saw him. We had stopped at a Starbucks, for a coffee, or at least Lena had, I stopped for a Caramel Latte, no coffee. I hated coffee, but anyway, there was Jason. He was at the food court next to us. I saw him at the same time he saw us. He had a friend with him, he was hot. He had blond surfer's hair, that had some brown on the top, and was wearing black swim trunks and a plain blue T-shirt. He looked about 20, two years older than me, being that I turned 18 November 1st.
"Hey ladies," Jason said. I looked at Lena and smiled, he had officially acknowledged her. "Can I talk to you Alaina?" he added. My smile dropped. I turned to him, then back to Lena questioningly. She nodded her head slightly.
"Yeah," I told him, "just make it quick." I got up and followed him over to where we could still see them, but they couldn't see us.
He looked at me nervously, "Uh . . . can you do me a favor?" he asked.
"Possibly . . ." I said, curious.
"Alright . . . so I was wondering if you could ask Lena about going out with me for me cause I don't have the frickin' guts to do it myself and . . . and I just can't and I don't—"
"Yes," I said, smiling. "Yes I most definitely will."
"I . . . really?" he asked.
I laughed, "yeah." I said.
"Alright . . . um . . . thanks" he said, awkwardly.
"Mhm," I answered, turning back to go to our table.
"Wait, could you give her my number?" he asked, holding out a slip of paper. I cracked up at this. His smile slipped a bit, "what?" he asked.
Still laughing I answered, "she doesn't need your number." Then I walked away, him following. When I got back the blond guy was in my seat, talking to Lena. I walked up to Lena, "Heya," I said, brightly. She just glared at me.
"Do y'all mind if we hang out with you for a while?" Jason asked.
I smiled, "Nope, but let me talk to her first," I said seeing her death glare, "I really don't feel like having her give me the death glare the whole day." I then took her arm and pulled her to where Jason and I had just been talking, "I was right," I said, beaming at her.
"What are you talking about," she said, icily.
"He wants me to ask you out for him," I told her.
She stared at me, "W . . . what?"
"You heard me," I smiled wider.
"Seriously!?" she screamed, "EEEEEEEE!"
I laughed, she always did that when she got really happy. "Yup," I said.
We had gone to 3 more stores, when he said it.
We had been laughing at something Keith had said, he actually is Jason's older brother, and he's 19 turning 20 in June. He has dark bluish/grayish eyes, and is really funny. So yeah, we had been laughing when Jason said, "Oh, and did I happen to say . . . happy Valentine's Day?" to Lena. He held out a rose from his back pocket, smiling.
Lena stopped laughing and said, "No you did not," and hugged him. Then she went and smiled at me. I immediately stopped laughing, and frowned.
See I realize this wasn't mature or anything . . . but I couldn't take the smile. As soon as she smiled I stopped walking, turned around and ran to the nearest bathroom, shutting myself in the handicap stall. I leaned against the wall and slid down to the ground. I wrapped my arms around my knees and cried.
About ten minute later, I heard someone come into the bathroom, "Alaina?" I heard. It was Keith. I wiped my eyes, what the heck? This was the girls restroom. I went over to the mirror, looking to see if my crying showed. It did.
I heard a knock on the door, I didn't answer. He pulled at the door, "Alaina?" he said, "You in there?"
I hesitated, then sighed, "Yeah," I said, quietly. Trying to hide that I'd been crying.
"Your not actually going to the bathroom are you?" he asked.
"Uh . . . no." I said, confused. I heard him fall to the ground, then he pulled himself into the stall, and stood up. I stared at him. "Yes?" I asked, expectantly.
"I was sent to find you." he said.
I laughed, without humor, "You were sent?" I said, sarcastically. "Well you found me, now go away." I know, I know. I was being rude, but I didn't care. She smiled at me. Like, truly smiled. On Valentine's Day. She had to know she shouldn't do that, or at least not when someone had just reminded me what day it was.
"What's up with you?" he asked, he sounded worried.
"Nothing," I said, "absolutely nothing."
"If it were nothing you wouldn't have run away to a bathroom and cried now would you have," he said, taking a step closer.
"I . . . I wasn't crying." I tried denying.
He smiled, slightly, but not out of humor, "You don't have to hide it." he said. How sweet, hear that people, I don't have to hide. Hello have you noticed something weird. We just met . . . today!
"Can you please just go?" I asked.
He moved closer, again, I took a step back, "I'm not leaving until you tell me why you're upset." he told me, moving closer, yet again.
I sighed, "Please, please just leave." I begged. He shook his head taking another step forward. Then he reached out and hugged me. Yes you did read this right. I tried pushing him off, "What the heck are you doing!?" I yelled, struggling more.
"I'm giving you a hug," he informed me, "but not just any hug . . . I'm getting you to trust me."
What the heck was he talking about? "What?" I asked, my voice sounded so weak, dang it.
"Just trust me," he coaxed, "stop struggling."
That, of coarse, made me struggle harder. Then, out of no where, I just stopped. I have no idea why. I did not tell my body to stop, but it did anyway. Then, oh you'll never guess what I did . . . I started bawling. Full on snot filled, wet, sloppy, sobs. The worst part, I couldn't control any of it.
The best part, he never let me go. He just hugged me and smoothed my hair the entire time. Whispering sweet things in my ear the whole time, like I've got you, and things. When I finally finished, we were on the floor, and I was in his lap. His shirt was soaked, or at least on the shoulder part. He didn't even ask what I was crying about. He just grabbed some toilet paper for me to clean up with and told me he'd tell them he found me so we could go home. When I didn't argue, he got up, helping me along the way, and left.
I cleaned myself up and once happy with my appearance, went out to find them. They were over by the food court, on a bench. Keith got up first, he came over to me, quickly followed by Lena and Jason.
"Look Laini," Lena pleaded, "I am so, so, soo, sorry. I didn't think about it I . . . I . . . I'm sorry." she looked at me with her puppy dog eyes.
I smiled, weakly, "Yeah, it's okay, I . . . I over reacted." I said, "Sorry."
She ran to me, and gave me a hug. She then said, "You ah . . . don't mind riding in Keith's car do you?" she asked, nervously.
I rolled my eyes, "No, I don't mind," I told her. So I rode home with Keith, in his car. Guess what kind, yup that's right. A black BMW convertible.
I woke up and it was dark outside still, or at least I think it was. There was no light, and the bed felt different, but in a good way. I sat up and rolled out of bed like usual, only to land on something on the ground, or rather, someone.
"Oof," I heard, when I landed.
"Where am I?" I asked.
I heard a chuckle, "You're at my house," it was Keith.
"You're house?Why am I at your house?" I asked, my mom would kill me, er, no my aunt would kill me. I had a 10:30 curfew on weekends . . . oh. I had a 12 o'clock curfew on weekends, because my aunt stretched it.
He laughed, "Cause you fell asleep in my car . . . and I don't know where you live," he informed me.
"What time is it?" I asked, frantically, if I was lucky it wasn't much past 12.
"Uh . . .," Keith said, as I saw a light come on. It was his cell phone. "It's 2 in the morning."
"What!?" I exclaimed, it was then that I realized I was straddling him, still, from when I fell. I climbed off, "You need to take me home." I told him, feeling around for something to lean on.
"Curfew?" he asked, shining the light by me so I could find the wall.
"Yes curfew," I said, hurriedly, "I'm two hours late and my mo—aunt's gonna kill me!"
He raised an eyebrow, I imagine at the point I had said mo—aunt. He stood up and held out his hand. I took it and he pulled me up, so fast I was like 2 feet off the ground, I yelped. He laughed, "Come on I'll drive you home." he said.
I followed him out of his room, it was just as dark. I tried looking for him, but couldn't even see a shadow. I started feeling along the wall, and felt him grab my hand, pulling me forward. I heard a noise, then it was light.
Keith, still grasping my hand, was shirtless, and had on boxers only. He also had an eight pack. I looked away quickly from him, slipping my hand out of his. "So are you taking me home or what?" I said glancing at him.
He smiled, "Yeah, just—" He stopped, and walked over to a door that looked like it led outside. Just as he reached it, it opened, and in came Jason and Lena.
She was laughing, but stopped when she saw me, her eyes widened, "Laini!" she exclaimed, "What are you doing here?"
"Uh . . . I . . . what are you doing here!?" I stuttered.
"I am hanging out with Jason," she said, "now what are you doing here?"
"Well I fell asleep in Keith's car so . . . he couldn't bring me home," I said, indignantly.
"Hmm . . .," she answered, "well, anyway we're going to his room."she pointed to Jason as she said it. They headed the way we had come.
"So . . . hey I'll be right back," I said and ran off to find Lena. She was going into a room, Jason's I imagine, holding his hand. "Lena," I said.
She turned, "Heya, whats up?" she asked.
"Do you think you could cover for me?" I asked, "Like, as in, say I was at your house all night."
She smiled, "Of coarse, hon," she said.
I smiled back, "thanks," I told her.
I walked back into the other room, "I can stay." I said.
He raised an eyebrow, but didn't question. He walked back to his room, with me following. He turned on a light, he had a double bed, really tall. Which would explain why I fell so hard. He also had a few pictures, no posters, and he had a dresser, but it was empty. The drawers were all open, and there was a suitcase on top.
"Are you leaving?" I asked.
He glanced at the suitcase, he laughed, humorlessly, "No," he said, "I was going to though."
I squinted at him, "Why," I asked, curious.
"Uh . . . just tired oh home," he answered, then changed the subject, "so why is it you can stay?"
"Lena's covering for me," I said, "if I came home now I wouldn't have a good story."
"Ah . . ." he said. Just then, there was a bang on the wall.
"Uh . . .?" I said, questioningly.
He exhaled, irritated. "It's Jason and your friend." he told me.
I cocked my head, "Are they doing it on purpose or something," I asked, heading towards the door.
He put an arm out to stop me, "If I were you I would not go in there." he said.
"Uh . . . why?" I asked, and as I did I heard a loud moan from the other room. My eyes widened, "Oh EW!"i screamed.
He laughed, "You want to go in another room, or something?" he asked.
"That would be . . . less awkward." I said, laughing.
He grunted, then put his hand on the small of my back and led me out. "You know," he said, "You are really short."
I whipped around, "No I am not!" I yelled. Okay so maybe I was, but I didn't like it. I was only a whopping 5 feet 4 and ½ inches tall. Yes I know I'm short. And of coarse, to top it all off, he was really tall, therefore making me seem even shorter. He looked about 6 foot.
He laughed, "Alright, whatever you say." he said, provoking me.
"You just think I'm short because you're really tall," I told him, indignantly.
"I'm 6,1 that's not really that tall, besides, even if it was, I'd be used to people being shorter than me," he said.
"Your point?" I answered, getting worked up now.
"My point is that you are to short," he told me, chuckling.
I turned around and started speed walking away from him. I truly had no idea where I planned on going, but it didn't matter anyway. He caught up to me before I got even 3 feet away.
He grabbed my arm, turning me to face him, "look," he said, "I'm sorry I said you're short, you're not okay?"
I had been glaring, but now my expression softened. I sighed, "It's alright," I said, "I actually am short I just hate to ad—"
He kissed me. His lips soft and sweet, gentle, yet rough. I could feel him smile when I wrapped my hands around his neck. He lifted me up, so he didn't have to bend as much. I broke off, laughing, "Dang my shortness," I whispered.
He laughed, "I don't mind it," he whispered back. Then kissed me again. Too soon, I know what they mean now. Too soon is when he broke the kiss off. We went to his living room after that and turned on the T.V. to The Nanny. I leaned against him, closing my eyes.
I was nearly asleep when he shook me a little. I opened my eyes, "hmm?" I murmured.
"You're awake," he said.
"I am now," I said, laughing quietly.
He lifted my chin up, "You're beautiful," he told me.
I stared at him, "How am I beautiful?" I asked, incredulous.
"It's everything about you your face, your body, your hair . . . your eyes." he said.
Wow, sweetest thing I think I've ever heard, I mean, okay so yeah I did have a good body, and possibly face, but hair and eyes? I don't think so. My hair was, wavy and brown, and my eyes were gray. I shook my head, "No, I'm not," I said.
He stroked my hair, "Mhm . . ." said, then kissed me again. When we finally broke apart, he told me, "You are beautiful, and you should go to sleep, you don't want to wake up too late tomorrow, it's a school day." he laughed, probably because he didn't have school anymore.
"Alright," I said, "but first I want to tell you why I was upset earlier." I took a deep breath and let it out, "Okay, so . . . three years ago yesterday I guess, now, but anyway, it was Valentine's Day. My parents had gone out to do some gooey, lovey, thing together, while I stayed at Lena's. The news was on and . . . well there was a crash, and it was near some place my parents wanted to go. Actually, they drove your kind of car, that I picked out. So the car that crashed, fit that description. Since then, I've hated Valentine's Day, and I couldn't take it when Lena smiled at me when your brother said Happy Valentine's Day."
I looked at him for a reaction, "I'm sorry," he said, then he hugged me to his chest, bringing me close. I fell asleep like that, hugging him back, our arms around each other.
We dated for years afterward, he proposed the day of graduation. I said no. Of coarse, I loved him, just . . . I wasn't ready to get married. College graduation, he said, he would propose, but he was afraid of rejection, again. I assured him, his fears were worth while. I got a job as a dolphin trainer, which was my major. That night he took me to dinner, and when we got home, he proposed . . . again. The difference from the other times: I said yes.