I stood in the mirror with my hands
on my hips. My bathroom smelled of my new "Earth Kiss" perfume,
and was slowly clouding up due to the amount of body spray that
was drifting in the air. I stood three feet from the toilet, in
front of the small stand-up sink looking into the mirror. As I
looked at myself I grinned, a small but noticeable smirk. I never
thought I looked good but that day I did. My brownish red hair
framing my face and stopping at my shoulders had the perfect
amount of swing in it, and my bangs and layers were lying just
right, with the right amount of volume to play up my simple
haircut. William always said I would look beautiful with "funner"
hair but I never listened to him. Even my make-up looked good. I
had light purple eye shadow on to emphasize my eyes and a pale
pink lip gloss that Williams's sister, Elise, had left at my
house a week prior. Standing there looking in the mirror
something caught my eye. I reached up and ran my fingers across
It is beauty that catches ones
attention, but personality that keeps the focus.
William had written that on a
napkin on our first date over a year ago, just five weeks before
summer vacation of junior year. The year my father had picked us
up and moved us to our new home in Cumming, Georgia.
William had beautiful hand writing and in the light of my
bathroom it looked like a girl had written it. I ran my fingers
over it once more before turning off the light and running out of
The December air smacked me in the
face, it burned my eyes. I raced to the car and I slid into the
seat next to him, the leather making my legs stick a little bit.
He looked at me, as I clicked the seat belt, and he smiled. I
giggled under my breath and nodded to assure him I was ready to
go. His foot pushed on the accelerator and the car began to glide
down the wet unpaved road. Every morning started out the same. It
was what happened during the day that was always
William had a way of making
everyday a fairy tale, always different, always romantic. He was,
well, quite wonderful, actually. William Barkley was fantastic.
He was beautiful too. Soft, golden brown hair shaped his face. It
was longer than most guys in our home town, but not too long for
him, it fit him perfectly. His beautiful ocean blue eyes, lined
with that particular dark shade of blue, were standing out
against the pastel shirt he had on. He was dressed somewhat odd
that day, not in the usual dress pants, and not the same button
down. No, he was still wearing nice pants, but they were jeans,
and he had on a blue polo shirt.
The radio was quiet, not the same
loud singing of country music. As I thought my eye brow must have
wrinkled because William turned his head to me, laughed under his
breath and spoke "Well what is it?" I was quite confused. But he
seemed delighted, "You're making your thinking face again. What
is it?" I didn't know I had a thinking face but I wasn't about to
argue this point, it was too early.
"Nothing really… just the radio is
really quiet." As if I had said nothing out of the ordinary he
turned the knob letting the voices of our familiar car rides
blasted through the speakers, and at that precise moment I
noticed we weren't on the road we normally took to get to school.
This one was wide and bumpy, and there were trees. Once again I
must have made that 'face' because he instantly lowered the
"Yes my dear?"
"How did you…"
"…Out of the corner of my eye."
This was like a game to him. "What are you pondering on now?" He
was quick but I knew there was no way he could have caught me
making that face again. "Um…Where are we going?" He stared at me
as if that was a stupid question. As William paid more attention
to me and less on his driving the speedometer moved more and more
to the right. He was staring at me intently.
"Hey! You better slow down…precious
cargo here," I said this with that stupid half-way-biting-my-lip
smile that I do, and at that moment whatever attention was left
on the road was switched over to me. He was doing this just to
annoy me. The car was now furiously racing down the dirt road
with no promise of a safe stop. This was by no means new to me or
to William. He drove a 2006 Dodge Viper. It was black with white
and black interior. His family had money and this car was like a
bike payment to them. In the car he really never paid attention
to the road or the other cars that might be on it. But who am I
kidding the town we lived in probably only had about sixteen
people in it…and that's total, and he loved to drive fast. Who
was I to object?
With Williams's attention fully on
me I brush the side of his face with the back of my left hand and
say nothing more than: "Pay attention to the road and answer my
question," He turned back to the road and looked a little
dumbfounded. For a moment I said nothing because I found it quite
funny that the boy could look at me once and then not remember
what I said only a few seconds earlier. He wiggled with
frustration in his seat, and when he couldn't take it anymore he
looked to me for the answer. I gave him the "stink eye" for not
remembering and sputtered out, "Where the hell are we
"Oh. Well…Um… it's a…surprise!" Why
he stuttered I wasn't really sure. I was however sure that I had
told him a million times that I didn't like surprises. As long as
I'd known William I had never liked surprises and he had always
insisted that everyone needs a surprise every now and then, but I
have never agreed with that. Me agreeing matters, well, not at
all to him. Surprises make me nervous and anxious…I don't like
them. Bad things always come out of surprises. One time when I
was six I was having a birthday party and my mom was still with
us and she thought it would be fun to surprise me with a clown. I
had never been around a clown so she never would have expected me
to pounce on him and bust his head open, but I did and I don't
My face tensed up and I closed my
eyes. I laid my head back against the head rest and took a deep
breath. I was surely not going to enjoy this one bit. With my
eyes closed I could concentrate on every move of the car. There
was a bump or two but I could tell we were on a paved road now, a
highway maybe, and we were going really fast but slowing down for
a turn. It was a right turn. This road was winding and slightly
on a downward incline. The car ride was calming me down so I
opened my eyes. The expression on Williams face assured me that
we were almost there, where ever 'there' was. I glanced out my
window; we were going far to fast for me to be sure of anything
but I thought I saw trees to my right. The car was slowing down
when I noticed a house, a beautiful house. It was the one from my
dream, the one I told William about. The house I had seen
repeatedly in my dreams as a child.
We pull into the rocky driveway and
the car jostled me around in the seat, but William spread a wide
smile across his face and said "It's pretty huh? Wait till you
see the inside."
I couldn't possibly hide the smile
that was displayed on my face but I looked at him questioningly,
"I get to go inside?!" William was amused by the fact that he had
finally found one surprise that I wasn't upset about. He got out
of the car and ran to the passenger side to open my door for me,
but he wouldn't let me out of the car. "I still hate surprises."
I assured him.
He bent down rubbed his finger tips
against my cheek and whispered "You can go anywhere you want," I
smiled even wider at this response. He took my hand and stood up,
and led me to the door step. The house was huge and the outside
was painted maroon and a deep green color around the frames. The
house had a wrap-around porch and huge white columns.
As he opened the door the aroma of
incense and roses hit me in the face. I was confused. There,
where the living room was obviously supposed to be, was a table
with a burning stick on it and it had white plates on both sides.
Under that there was a dark red table cloth and under that a
white one. It was amazing, and it was beautifully done. He had
planned all this, but how? He was with me last night. There is no
possible way he did this for me. And I'll be damned if he didn't
interrupt my thought process. "What could you possibly be
thinking about right now?"
"How did you…"
"…Last night when you fell
"…But what about the candles? They
couldn't have been lit all night."
"Elise came this morning before she
left for school, but lets not talk about the how's let's just
enjoy this ok?" Elise was William's sister. She was the only one
who knew about me and him because William was weird about me and
his family knowing each other. He always made excuses about why I
couldn't meet them and when he went home he never wanted to talk
to me on the phone. All they knew was we were more than friends,
but hell I didn't even know anymore than that.
I nodded my head in agreement; I
guess I could save my questions for later. I looked around trying
to take in all the house had to offer. It was empty for the most
part other than a large, black satin couch in the big room next
to where we were, a grand piano on the other side of it, and a
huge mirror hanging on the ceiling. The crown molding was
gorgeous, and the room was dark gray. I ignored the room and
turned to William and started to open my mouth, but he shook his
head 'no' to hush me. He walked towards me and stuck out his
arms, and I walked into them. He wrapped them around my waist and
looked into my eyes. William had beautiful eyes, but that's not
the only thing about him that is beautiful. His smile could kill
the devil; with his pearl white teeth and soft pink lips
outlining the perfection of them all, and his body 'whew' it was
I snapped out of my dazzled
daydream and returned to looking into Williams's eyes. Suddenly a
shiver weaved up my spine and I shuddered. William wasn't fazed
he only held me tighter forcing me to turn my head and lay it on
his chest. His cologne smelled amazing like an unearthly scent,
something I had never smelled before, kind of like a tree? And
also somewhat like a romantic French boy. I remembered him
protesting once when I asked about his cologne. He said he didn't
wear any, but I wasn't about to believe that. His heart was
beating normally, not too fast nor too slow, unlike mine that was
beating and fluttering like a butterfly. I closed my eyes and
just stood silent; trying not to breath to hard for it might
interrupt my ability to hear his heartbeat.
I was startled by his voice only
moments later "Andrea" I jump and turned my head to look at him
and I grinned trying to predict what he was going to say.
Something sweet like 'you look pretty' or 'you smell nice'? He
grinned back, "You mean a lot to me…you know that?" I said
nothing I just smiled and tried not to blush. "And you know I
would do anything for you?" he was looking at me intently but
when I didn't answer he continued "….Andrea, I love you."
Wow! I was in shock. I didn't quite
know what to say. I had been seeing William for about a year now
but I didn't realize he was serious about 'us'. He never told
people I was his girlfriend and I had never actually met his
family, other than his sister. I guess I just thought we were
kind of casual. I did have feelings for him though. Right?
"Wow…um. William. Honey, I don't know what to say…" Right then I
realized that was not the right answer. His mouth tensed along
with the rest of his body and he gently pushed me from him. His
emotion went, from sweet and subtle, to raging instantly. I had
never seen him like that … never angry, William was always so,
well, not angry. Anger was just not William's "thing". I was
suddenly scared. He walked to the table with intent burning in
his beautiful eyes, and wiped his hand across it knocking
everything and the plates on the floor. The plates hit the floor
and shattered, breaking all that remained of the silence.
He turned to face me and his eyes
were watering. His hands now at his side balled up into little,
tight fists. "You said we needed this to be more serious…" He
yelled at me. Why was he yelling? "So I try to take our
relationship to the next level and this is what I get? Really?"
He was so angry, and he had gotten that way so fast it made my
head spin. He didn't move from where he was standing and after a
moment of me not answering he flinched.
It was true I had said that but I
had almost forgotten about it. It was two weeks ago when we were
in the car on the way to school and we were talking about his
sister, Elise, and her boyfriend and I told him I was envious of
their relationship. I said I wished he and i could be like that
but this wasn't how I planned on accomplishing it. "William I
didn't mean just jump right into the 'I love you's'. I was
talking about finally admitting that you were my boyfriend, or by
letting me meet your family, all of them. I like you and you mean
the world to me but love is such a powerful word you know how I
feel about it." I was pleading his patience so that I may finish,
"I mean we have been …seeing each other for ever, but we live
this secret life away from our families. I just think there are
steps to doing this, honey. That's all I'm saying." He started to
calm down after that but he was still upset. I didn't believe in
love. He knew that. I had lost all interest in love when my mom
left, running off with her boyfriend never to return, and I was
only eight. She had said she loved my dad but that was obviously
"I think I'll take you home now." I
felt bad but what else could I say? I stood there and didn't
move. He looked at me confused, "Either you come home now or you
find another ride." I had no other choice it was about eight
thirty, and my truck was at my house and my dad, Kevin, was still
on his trip and not due back for a few days. I walked slowly to
the door and he slammed it shut behind me. He didn't open the car
door for me. I was shocked but opened it for myself and glided
myself in ever so slowly to be sure I didn't hit my head on the
door frame but before I had the door shut William was speeding
away from the old house.
His behavior was quickly
infuriating me. "What the hell is your problem?" I yelled over
the music he had turned on trying to drown out the
"I'm sure you can figure it out.
You're a smart girl." He was just being rude.
"You're being melodramatic. It's
not that big of a deal. You didn't mean it anyway." He said
nothing back to me. I knew that couldn't be true. He did mean it.
That's why he was so upset about my reaction. He sped up even
more putting the car right at 102 mph. His hands were tight
around the wheel and his lips were pursed together. We sat the
whole rest of the car ride in silence.
Once we got to my house I opened
the door and stepped out. He opened his mouth like he wanted to
say something but he hesitated. I leaned down through the door
with a look that I only gave in moments like this. He spoke, "It
was for you."