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 the writing.
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 house.
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 spectacular.
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 music.
“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 going?”
“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 like surprises.
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 asleep.”
“…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 amazing.
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 not true.
“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 silence.
“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.”