Why can't I figure this out? I'm just not happy… It's probably strange; most people would think it's at least a little bizarre I guess…I have so many things, a nice house, all the clothes I could possibly want, and I go to the best school in the area. None of that matters to me though; none of it seems worth much. Therefore, I get lost, somewhere within the spiraling blur, my imaginary world, my sketches. My only other escape is my best friend. Serena is my world, and always has been. I hope I never lose her…
It was the beginning of April during my senior year of high school. I was watching Serena practice with the girls track team. She spent hours practicing. I loved to watch her run; she seemed so strong, so confident, and so content. I could never catch that in my sketches though. No matter how hard I tried the charcoal images lacked the depth and emotion that I could see with my eyes.
"Faster, I need to be faster, I'm taking too long to make the hand off," I heard her pant. Serena was trying so hard to break her time for the big relay that was coming up soon. Her passion and dedication made me love to watch her, and made her my favorite subject to sketch too. Even now as I sat in the shade under a large oak tree completely relaxed and at ease, I still couldn't capture her perfectly yet.
"Hey Lillie, it looks like your mom's here to pick you up." I moaned hearing Serena say that. My mom always found the worst times to show up. I don't want to leave…
"Yeah it looks like it; thanks for letting me sketch you practicing Serena." I said half-heartedly seeing my mother get out of the car.
"You ready to go sweetie? Your hair appointment is in an hour and a half," her voice felt almost painful when I heard it. I don't want to leave, but I know she's going to make me.
"Yeah mum, just give me a second to say good-bye." I was silently cursing her for having incredibly lousy timing. As I got in the car, I folded up my sketchpad and put my pencil away. The perfect sketch will have to wait until another day.
The next morning I woke up, pulled my school uniform out, got something to munch on, showered, dressed, and left for school. Daddy's five-year death anniversary is Sunday. My dad died in a car accident a few years before, and I've honestly never been fully over it. I was a daddy's girl for as long as I could remember and truly wouldn't have had it any other way. He had been my confidant for most of my childhood and even my teen years, and ever since he passed I've still been trying to think of how he would have dealt with things, what he would have said. Just thinking how close the date what getting left a knotted feeling in my chest. I just need to distract myself today…
My favorite period was art class, and walking in the classroom, I couldn't wait to get started. I usually spent the class caught up in whatever new sketch or piece the class was working on, and the constantly changing music that our teacher played. Time however slipped by slowly and I wasn't able to focus, and as I looked at my piece, the thought that my work was dull fluttered through my mind.
The period ended leaving me with a half-completed chalk drawing of the current scene our teacher had set up for us, and a rather anxious need to get out of the class room. I collected my books just as the bell for the next period rang. Only an hour of boring mathematics I'll never use in my life and I'll get to relax…only an hour.
Lying under the tree was stunning. My head rested in Serena's lap while she leaned against the solid trunk of the oak tree running her fingers through my long black hair like she usually did when she knew I was thinking too much. The breeze was cool and light, just enough to blow my hair about my face, and the sun was warm for a spring day as its soft rays shined down and through the canopy like branches and across the two of us.
"Lil, are you okay?" Serena asked, hesitating as she spoke, and knowing the answer she would get no matter what.
"Yeah, I'm fine." I faked a smile and avoided Serena's searching eyes. I was never the type to open up to anyone, even Serena at times. The only way I opened up was through art. That was nothing more than an image on a canvas, so it was safe. Hearing Serena sigh and the annoyed hint to that sigh, I decided to change the subject.
"So what are you going to do for prom? It's in a matter of weeks and you still haven't even gotten a dress! Are you even gonna go?"
"Wow Lillie, way to change the subject much! I was actually thinking about that a little while ago though. There is someone I wanna go with, but I don't think it'll happen in a million years. I know the person is going and all, but I doubt that they'd ever even think about going with me." Her words caused a strange, heavy feeling to settle into my chest. Serena likes someone. Who? When did this happen? Last I knew the only things important in her life were track and me…
"You like someone? Wow, never saw that one coming. Who is it? Anyone I know?" I asked as my fingers idly started playing with my long hair. Why am I so nervous?
"Yeah…you know the person, quite well in fact." As I looked up at her I tried desperately to glean something from her smile. It was then my breath caught. The calm look she had on her face created an image I wanted so badly to capture in my sketchbook. Her hazel eyes glowed with playful excitement, as her Strawberry blonde shoulder length hair flowed softly in the breeze, and glowed from the way the springtime sun hit it. She was exquisite, breathe taking, and shook me to my core in that moment.
"Who is it then? Won't you tell me? We are best friends right?"
"Yeah…we are best friends, but I'm not ready to tell you who it is. I want to tell you at just the right time, okay? I'm not sure how you'll react and I want to be ready to take it if you get mad at me. I do have a question for you though. Since you so blatantly pointed out I don't have a prom dress, would you mind if I asked you to go with me tomorrow to pick one out?" Did she really just say that? "I want to tell you at just the right time," what does that mean?
"Yeah, sure I'd love to help pick out your dress! We can go as soon as we've both actually gotten up." I decided at that moment and as the bell rang to signal the end of lunch. I wasn't going to worry myself over whomever it was Serena liked. I looked back up at her and smiled as our eyes met. I loved her with one of the biggest pieces of my heart I could. Whoever it was would not change the way I felt about her. At least that's what I had thought.
I woke up around eleven thirty, and checking my cell phone I found that Serena had already called seven times trying to wake me up. Ugh, she's such a morning person! I couldn't help but giggle at how eager she was to go shopping for this dress. After a cup of coffee I finally called Serena back and we made plans for her to pick me up in about ten minutes. As I waited for her to pull up and honk her horn, I jotted down a quick note for my mom. It told her where I was going to be for the day, and I quietly dropped it on the night table next to the bed where she lay still asleep after a late night at the office.
It was a matter of seconds after I had made it back to the kitchen that I heard Serena out front. Walking out the door, I noticed something different about her today though. She was still driving the same beat up silver pickup truck that she had for the last year and a half, and her style was the same simple band T-shirt and tight fitting jeans, but for some reason, there was still something different. As I got in and closed my door, I still hadn't figured it out.
"Hey Serena, did you do something different today?"
"Ha, it's just like you to notice something but not know what it is Lil," She laughed "I have make-up on for once, that's what I did different today." Looking closer at her, I noticed it. She had a very light lilac color dusted over her eyelids and charcoal colored eyeliner. It's not too much, but just enough to make her eyes a deeper shade of green.
"Oh, yeah! Now I see it! It looks really nice on you by the way." I felt so stupid because it had taken me so long to see it.
"Don't worry yourself over not seeing it silly, besides pouting like that is going to make your face stick that way. Which store do you think we should go to first? Or should I just head to the mall?"
"I'll pout if I want to Serena, besides I always hear guys say how cute it is when girls pout, so in your face! As for where to go I'm thinking the mall might be a good idea, then we can look at a couple of different stores." As Serena turned onto the highway, "White Flag" by Dido came on the radio, one of my favorite songs and I turned it up and sang along. The rest of the ride was spent much like that, each of us lost in our own thoughts.
The mall was packed. Children ran past us screaming, while mothers called to their backs for them to come back as they ran. The lines at checkout register where extremely long, and most stores were crowded so bad it was hard for people to make their way around.
"Are you sure this is a good idea Lil? We can just go to another store or something you know."
"Nope, because I'm pretty sure that we'll be fine once we get up stairs to the dress stores." With that, I grabbed her hand and pulled her to the escalators. I had a dress that I'd seen in one of the stores that I thought would be perfect for her, and I was determined to see how it looked when she tried it on.
The dress was a pale lilac colored babydoll style that came down to just above the ankle with a halter tie back, ruched bust, and a beaded empire waist. As I handed it and a number of other randomly picked dresses to Serena, I noticed her looking at me weird. Part of me wanted to ask her what was wrong, but instead I brushed it off and smiled at her as I helped her find an empty changing room.
"Hey, Lillie can you come in here and help me with this zipper?" I heard her calling from the stall a few moments after I had sent her in.
"Already? Okay just give me a moment." As I eased open the door I paused to stare. I'd been right about the dress, it fit perfectly, hugging her curves, and clinging in the right places. She looks astonishing… closing the door behind me I made a motion to signal her to turn around so I could finish zipping her dress up.
"Actually, I already got it…" Her words came out just above a whisper, and the tone was something I'd never heard before.
"Oh, okay I'll leave so you can try on the others if you want. Personally though, I think you look mind blowing in this one." That was the last thing my mind registered before shock froze it completely. A moment, unnoticed, lost to the passage of time, and finally my brain figured out what was going on, what my body had noticed and reacted to already. I was pinned against the wall with Serena's warm, soft lips pressed on mine. Her body was pressed so firmly against me, as her hands rested on my waist. My arms had automatically moved behind her head and pulled her closer, my lips kissing her back. I felt her tongue run over my bottom lip, and reality crashed back down on me.
As she slowly eased open the door to the changing room, I almost instantly lost my nerve. Even without trying, she always looks so beautiful. Her long hair, pinned in a messy bun by a black clip allowed just the right amount of stray hairs to fall out and frame her heart shaped face, with a sprinkle of freckles across her nose. Then there were those eyes, piercing emerald green. I loved her eyes, it made me shiver when she sat there sketching me. Looking at her now though, I wasn't sure I should go through with my plan. I had wanted to get her in the changing rooms so I could tell her that liked her, but my mind couldn't form coherent sentences. The look I was currently getting from her sent another tremor of excitement down my spine and I lost all common sense. I acted without even processing it. My only thought was about how amazing she felt when I pressed her against the wall and finally kissed her. My elation was nearly painful. The sweet smell of lavender vanilla rushed to meet my nose because of our new close proximity. More pleasing than that, was the reaction she gave me. I ran my tongue over her bottom lip and the dream ended rather fast. Even after she pulled away, I could still taste her strawberry lip-gloss on my tongue and subconsciously licked my lips again. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I hoped she wouldn't hate me.
"Serena this isn't right…" Yes it is, this is what you want! I pulled away from her and looked her straight in the eyes.
"I'm sorry…Lil, I just…" Don't take it back, don't say you're sorry, don't say you didn't mean it.
"It's okay. You should buy that one, and hurry up too. It's getting late and I told my mom I'd be back before dinner." I was lying to her face and I could tell from the hurt look she could see right through me. She always could. I'm sorry; please don't hate me for this.
"Give me one second then and I'll grab this dress. It fits nice, and if you have to be back I'd rather not be the reason you're not" I felt so guilty for lying, so guilty for making her rush her decision, but I needed space right now. My mind still could not wrap around it, any of it. I didn't know what to make of what she had done. I couldn't understand my own reaction. It just swirled in my head like oil trying desperately to mix with water.
That night I lay in my bed staring at the ceiling blankly. There were just too many things on my mind. Prom was coming up, tomorrow was Sunday, and now today. Leaning over to my bedside table, I grab a picture of Serena and me. We were both about eleven and had these goofy smiles on our faces. A single tear ran down my cheek as I stared at the cold metal frame and image within it, which rested in my palms. Why did this have to happen? I wanted us to always be like this, like in this picture but things are going to change…no matter how they turn out they're going to change. That thought made the tears start to really fall and I threw the picture across my clothing scattered room, and turned on my CD player with my favorite The Spill Canvas CD in it. The melody of "The Night Will Go As Follows" lifted softly in the air, and I tried to wipe everything from both my conscious and subconscious mind. I didn't plan to spend forever thinking about something that would just give me a headache in the end. Instead, I pulled out my sketchpad and started sketching my Dad; it wasn't the best, but okay. For tonight, and when it came to everything that happened with Serena, he would be my escape from real thought, because when I think of him my mind tends to calm itself. Maybe daddy can help me figure out what to do so I don't screw this whole mess up really badly…
When I woke up in the morning, it was pouring rain outside and I couldn't help but shiver. Today's the anniversary. After getting dressed and eating a quick breakfast, I grabbed my coat and an umbrella, and left the house. It was a long walk to the park but I needed to go. I always felt like he was still here, right by me when I sat on the benches in the park. I can still remember his last day so clearly in my mind. It was pouring just like today, so foggy, and he had just left to go to his studio. My dad was an artist too. He had painted the mural in the center of our town, and a few other small jobs around town. His images varied depending on his moods, anything from underwater worlds swirled with blues that he couldn't have seen, to vivid replications of sunsets and landscape. It was nature's beauty through his eyes, that's what he always called it. He was my inspiration, the reason I was who I was and could accept that. I miss him…
Once I finally got to the park, I walked over to the spot where the bench used to be under the giant pine. I had grown up having picnics with him every weekend, and knelt down on the cold, wet earth . "Hey daddy, it's me. I really miss you ya know…it feels like forever ago I last hugged you and all…" this was what I did quite a bit. I would sit here and talk as if he was right there, as if he was still alive and I would see him again. Lillie would probably spend the next hour or so just kneeling here and talking.
"Dad I need your advice, something happened yesterday with someone I care about more than anything, something I don't understand. We kissed and I reacted but then…it felt so strange. The way I reacted didn't seem right, but at the same time it was perfect, heaven, ecstasy. I keep trying to figure out how it makes me feel but I can't, and I have nobody to turn to either. All mum does work and try to make everything perfect for me, and you're gone. Daddy I'm lost…" the wind picked up as I spoke and my mind dulled form the freshly opened wound of yesterday. I was raw at that moment, completely vulnerable. That's when I felt it, soft warmth that wrapped around me, soothing the stinging of my tear stained face. I'm not sure how to explain what happened next but all at once the pain and confusion seemed to fade. Part of me wonders if he was right there for a moment, if the arms I thought I felt were his. Whatever it was, it cleared my mind enough to see what to do. I wasn't baffled by the situation that had been bugging me so badly anymore. I only hoped it's not too late now…
I miss her so badly… Every day that passed after that kiss was like hell to me. I missed Lillie so much but I couldn't answer her calls after what happened. Instead, I sat in my room and dwelled on the problem at hand.
"I don't know what to do, I think I really screwed it up," I finally confessed to myself.
No you didn't. You guys have been friends forever, so something small like this is just a rain drop, not a thunderstorm.
"What do I do…?"
"I can't do that…"
Yes you can, just dial the number and wait for an answer. It's not too hard.
"I can't do it though, every time I try I just can't."
Don't even try that. You've never not been able to stay away from her before, and to be honest it was you that made a move and kissed her. Not the other way around. Be mature and call her, at least make sure she knows you miss her and don't hate her. It'll break her heart if you don't…because you know she loves you. I wasn't sure what to do anymore because I was driving myself more and more insane over it. I did however know I had to do something. There just had to be some way to fix things…
Music pounded around me as I walked into the dance hall. I had gotten all dressed up in my red and black princess style prom dress and done my make-up, but at the moment it didn't seem quite worth it. I hadn't seen Serena yet and I had no basis to believe I would. She had been avoiding me all week and had given me no cause to think she would go to prom, especially after I had finally figured out I was the only reason she had even thought about going.
"I give up, she's just not here…"
"Who's not here? Are you looking for someone special?" It can't be. Turning around I could swear my jaw hit the floor.
"Holy…Serena you look…wow…" My brain was shutting down at the worst possible time and I could feel my pulse increase as it did.
"I'm guessing that's a complement, and Lil don't worry about a few weeks ago. I just got rash and did something stupid, it doesn't need to…" I cut her off by placing a finger over her pink tinted lips, then grabbed her hand and pulled her to the bathroom.
"Serena, I'm the one who needs to be sorry for something not you. I was thinking one thing but acting on another, and pushing you away wasn't what I really wanted. There was a reason my body reacted before my mind, and I just needed to accept that." I then leaned over and pecked her lightly on the lips.
"Lil, are you sure?"
"I've never been surer in my entire life!" I smiled at her before continuing, "I just needed to slow down a bit and understand what I was feeling, it was overwhelming at first. Oh! I have something for you, a tangible sign I guess you could call it." Reaching into my silver hand bag, I pulled out a simple silver locket and handed it to her. Inside was a picture of the two of us from about a month ago sitting under that same oak, our oak, the one we've sat under every day Monday through Friday since the first day of high school.
"Lillie, you have no clue how much this means to me."
"I'm pretty sure I do, because I'm pretty sure I feel the same way. The one difference is that I needed a little push from someone to figure it out" with that, I took her hand again and lead her to the dance floor.
"Where are we going now?"
"Well tonight's our big night, so let's make the best of it and live it up! Plus I want to show off my new dress!" As I winked at her, I caught a slight blush that covered her face. All I wanted to do was dance with the person who meant so much to me. Luck was on my side, as soon as we made it to the dance floor "After Tonight" by Justin Nozuka came on and I pulled Serena's hands up and threaded my fingers through hers smiling as big as possible.
"This is our song from now on, okay?" I said looking her in the eyes intently.
"Whatever makes you happy, I'm all for it."
"Good." As we continued to dance, I lost myself in her eyes; I just prayed none of it was a dream, and that when I woke up the next morning I'd know she was mine.
Three months later…
"You are such a dork! Lillie get over here!"
"Make me if you want it so bad!" I was at my favorite beach with Serena, and having the best time teasing her and playing around. Things had been going at a slow but steady pace for the last three months, and I was the happiest I'd been in a while. I had told my mom and had to deal with a very upset reaction at first, but she eventually came around. Now, today was a day for Serena and I to just relax and have some personal time together.
"Do you really want to push your luck?!" Serena yelled.
"Why yes, I think I do! Come and get me." As I looked her straight in the eyes I saw the hint of a challenge. It probably mirrored mine perfectly. The next thing I knew she was on top of me in the water pushing me down.
"Told you not to push your luck Lillie…" I heard her whisper before capturing my lips. She was pure bliss through and through, and I was sure she always would be, my moment of perfection.
"Who says I didn't want you to do that?" I ask as I wrapped my arms up around her neck and she pulled slightly away from the kiss.
"If you liked that you'll just love this…" Her words trailed off as she bent down and kissed my ear then began placing butterfly kisses down my neck and across my chest. She was teasing me. I want you, so bad… No coherent thoughts would stay in my mind as she continued lightly setting fire to my skin and exciting my body.
"I love you, Serena…" I whispered out as she continued her wonderful torment.
"I love you too…"
Pulling back a little, I softly
kissed her again and tried to permanently engrave the feeling
into my memory. It wasn't rushed or fast, but simple, I enjoyed
the soft feeling of her lips on mine and the spinning sensation
it caused my mind. I was as happy as I could possibly be with
this girl. As the kiss ended she leaned her forehead against mine
and looked me directly in the eyes.
"You still taste like strawberries, just like the first time…"