I don't believe in love at first sight. I've had my share of past wannabe-loves, short flings with cute guys at the mall, and times when I couldn't care less. I have never thought there was just one specific guy out there for me. The odds are too massive and my standards are way too high. The irony of this story is that I met a wonderful guy that was everything I wanted, but it taught me that good things never last forever.
My home life is eighty-five percent excessively boring. So when there's nothing exciting on TV or the Net, and I'm not feeling inspired enough to write or play piano, I leave. And when I get out of the house, I head to the skate park. I like to just sit and watch everyone. Most of the time I am the only one not moving. Everyone has a direction to go, things to do, and here I sit. Kind of relaxing, actually.
Not long after I got settled, I saw him coming toward me. As usual, my first impulse was to ignore him. I didn't know who he was, so he couldn't possibly be looking for me.
"Hi, the voices in my head told me to come talk to you."
I jumped and realized he was standing right next to me. It took a couple seconds for what he said to register, and then I laughed. And the more I thought about it, the more I laughed.
"You like that? I got more."
Deep breath to calm myself, and I said, "Hi."
"Already covered that. Now you're supposed to tell me what to call you."
"How does Sam sound?"
"I imagine she sounds like you, right?"
He was quick. I laughed again. "And you are?"
"A lot of things. Crazy, active, talented, handsome...well, I'll let you be the judge of that."
I had to agree with him. His blond hair was sort of all over the place, but it looked good. He had dark brown eyes and a huge grin that never left his face. "What's your name?"
"My friends call me Ace." He reached into the pocket of his too-big jacket and handed me a slip of paper. "My girlfriend can just call me."
Of course he wasn't single, I thought, until I saw what was on the scrap. Seven digits stared me straight in the face. Some doubtful nature prompted a sarcastic remark. "Right. So how many of these do you have in those bottomless excuses for pockets?"
"Well, counting this one..." He took it from me, reached into both pockets at the same time and turned them inside out, scattering paper everywhere. "Whoops. Hold on." I rolled my eyes, convinced that I should just get out of here. He stooped down to gather them up, handing each one to me. I didn't see any that had his phone number; they were mostly business cards and ticket stubs. Finally rising, he announced, "Just one, babe. And it's for you." With a sigh, I reached for it, but he whipped it away and sat down by me. "I'm on a mission. I have only three months to live and I have got to make them the happiest days of my life. Will you do me a favor and call me tomorrow? I'll wait for you."
"Do you really only have three months to live?"
"Nah, I made that up." He passed the paper around my waist to hand it to me. "But you'll still call me, right?"
"I guess so." Definitely time to go. I took the paper and did just that. I put it on my desk when I got home, intending to forget about it. Maybe he wasn't single, but he was too cool to not be a player. I wasn't taking any chances.

The phone rang one and a half times.
He remembered my name! "How did you know?"
"I told you I'd be waiting for you. My school is having a Fourth of July party. Will you go with me?"
"Boy, you don't waste any time, do you?"
"Hey, I managed by pure luck to get a sweet girl to call me. I can't let her go just yet."
"Are you saying you want a-"
"Not right now. I just wondered what it would be like to dance with you."
"Do I have to dress up or what is this?"
"You can get a little dressed up if you want. It's a dance, food, fireworks, just a general good time."
"Sounds great to me."
"Cool. Can you meet me there? It starts at eight, and it's at the public school close to the bank."
"See ya, babe."

I took his advice and only dressed up somewhat. I had jean shorts, a gray tank with stars and a white cover shirt. Not a lot of makeup, and only my favorite ring, earrings and an ear clip.
The place was crawling with people I didn't know. My sensible voice was telling me that he stood me up. Then I heard, "Hey, Sam! This way!" Following the sound, I was caught completely by surprise as a pair of arms wrapped around my shoulders. He was truly bold; not a second after that he kissed me very close to my lips. I liked his forward style, but I wasn't totally sure I liked him all that much.
"Yo, Ace! Who's the girl?" Everybody called him Ace. Did he not have a real name? I sure wasn't going to call him that.
His arms still around me loosely, he yelled back, "She's mine!" and kissed near my lips again. He was so sweet! "Let's go party, babe."
We entered, and were met with quite a display. The gymnasium was gigantic and strung wall-to-wall with streamers and balloons. Classic lighting, too-colored strobes and a black light in the DJ corner. Then the music started.
I pride myself on being a decent dancer. He impressed me as well, both of us tearing up the floor like a couple of wild things. I had always wanted someone to do that with. I was having a blast, but the first slow number came on and I noticed I had lost him! He didn't even come back for the next few songs! I started to think, how mean of him to lead me on like that and then disappear. I knew he was a player.
My ecstasy sinking to an all-time low, I made my way to the bleachers and sat. I don't know how long I was there, but then I heard a voice next to me.
"What's wrong, Sam?"
I looked up. "Where were you?"
"I'm a wanted man, babe. You wanna get with me, you gotta wait your turn."
I don't think my face could have fallen any further. He bit his lip, and suddenly grinned. A "romance" song was beginning.
"I'm just kidding! Come on, I am dying to slow dance with you!" He walked me out to the floor. Not wanting to appear too eager, I kept arm's length away from him.
"So where were you?"
"Got you a present."
"For what?"
He shrugged and smiled. "For liking me."
I smiled back. "When do I get it?"
"Later. By the way, am I sensing some hostility here?"
"You're not close enough." He took my hands from his shoulders and pulled them further around his neck, bringing me to him. "Stay there." He held me tight, which was good because I thought I might float away. Cliché, I know, but wow. When the song ended, he didn't let me go right off either.
"Attention, please. The fireworks are about to start. Everyone exit through the front doors."
We found a spot on the grass to wait. He was acting a little...nervous?
"You okay?"
"I'll tell you later, all right?"
The first rocket went off, followed by the typical oohs and aahs. When the show got up and running, he whispered, "Now look around."
I did-and almost lost my lunch. Makeout city, everywhere! It was like, get a room for heaven's sake!
"See why I'm nervous? It's expected. Nobody really watches the fireworks." He looked me in the eye. "I didn't want to say anything because I figured you wouldn't be into it. That you wouldn't like me."
"If you were the same as all those other guys, I might have bailed out on you. But I like being with you. It's like...I don't know. Maybe I could say I loved you, if I believed in that sort of thing."
"What's that?"
"Falling in love after what, a week? For me it just doesn't happen that way. You're incredibly sweet, but..." I trailed off.
"Well I guess now wouldn't be the best time to give you this then." He held up a gorgeous silver bracelet with a note.
I read it. "To my girl Sam: You are the best thing that ever happened to me. I want it to always be this way. I love you. Aaron." My gaze turned to him.
"You're the only one who knows."
"How do you know you're in love with me?"
"If I wasn't, would I go through all this trouble?"
I pondered that for a minute, then eyed all the locked-lip couples. "Don't they ever come up for air?"
He laughed. "Not usually. Let's watch the end of the show, huh?" His arm slid around me as I donned the silver strand bracelet. We looked up just in time for the grand finale. It was perfect.

I loved being with Aaron. Every day I got just enough of him to go to bed happy. We did everything from movies to nightclubs to exploring the local woods, and I couldn't stop smiling. It was mostly me in the phone department, but he made up for it by not allowing long pauses. He was very good at it.
It wasn't long before sentimental ol' me started to believe I was falling in love with him. I wouldn't let myself dwell on the concept because I knew for a fact I had no idea what love like this was supposed to be. The only time Aaron let me know was in the note with the bracelet, and that was okay. And he never ever really kissed me. He would always get as close as possible to my lips, but it just didn't happen. All I had to do was turn my head, and I didn't. After all, I obviously wasn't the forward one in this setup (or relationship, as the sappy romantics call it.)

The accident happened late Halloween night. There was a rule that no cars could be out after dusk that night because of all the kids, so everyone was wandering the streets without a care. Aaron and I used this rule to our advantage and kept the egging tradition alive. We had the time of our lives, running around and chucking our eggs wherever possible.
I didn't see a thing. We were crossing the street to our next target, and we did hear the car but there were no headlights to warn us. I was on the sidewalk when the sound of a revved-to-its-limits motor reached my ears. No screech of tires, which I took to mean that Aaron made it safely. When I whipped around, I saw him hit the curb of the walk.
Nothing kicked in for a while; the next thing I knew I had my flashlight on, looking him over. Blood on one whole side of his face-covered with it! He was barely gasping for air and not moving at all. Fortune brought us a witness and an ambulance. Then came the waiting. Waiting, watching Aaron. Waiting with his dad in the hospital lobby. Waiting as the doctors talked to him and not me. Just waiting, with pounding heart and sandpaper throat.

"Aaron?" I whispered.
"Sam?" His eyes fluttered open. "Oh Sam, it's you."
"You gonna be okay?" I reached for his hand, but he shook his head slowly.
"Doctor says I've got internal bleeding and it's too much to do anything about. I'm checking out, Sam."
I wanted to cry so badly, but I couldn't. He raised my hand with his own. "You wore it." The beautiful bracelet slid down my wrist and back up as he replaced his hand on the bed.
"Of course I wore it. I really have nothing left of you now." My voice broke and I blinked a few times to keep back the tears.
"Sure you do." He brought his other hand to my face and lifted his head to kiss me where he did it best. This time I turned to get it full-on, but at that moment the hand holding mine went limp, and his head dropped.
No matter how hard I try, I can't forget the way the comforting pulse of the heart monitor turned to one long, steady wail.