It all started with a silly little line in a silly little book written by a silly little girl. But it would shape my destiny. Of course, I wouldn’t know it at the time. But the day I created that bucket list wouldn’t quite matter until nearly five years later when I finally had the courage, and possibly the stupidity to act on the things I had written as a silly fifteen year old girl.
Samantha and I had been friends since high school, we’d been on the debate team, the Model UN team, and Mock Trial together and then later lived in the same building as university freshman. Our sophomore year of college left us a bit separated, but as the New Year came we found ourselves at the same Del Taco where we had spent many a late night the summer after we graduated high school.
“What do you want Stella?” Sam asked me as I sat fiddling with my purse, trying to pull my wallet out of the tiny satchel bag I had only purchased because it reminded me of Eugene Fitzherbert.
“Ah,” I said looking up at the brightly lit screen and the rusting speaker box, “Three, no four, crunchy tacos and a medium sprite. And make sure they know it’s a sprite, not a fry.” I said, remembering from experience.
Sam laughed, “What? Have they given you a fry instead of a drink before?” Her eyebrows had raised on her pretty pale face.
“Yes!” I laughed too. “It happens all the time at McDonalds!”
And so it was, luckily, that five minutes later we were pulling out of the drive through lane that was more like a ride at Disneyland rather than a parking lot, with the appropriate orders. “Okay, so tell me why you and Trevor aren’t together any more.” I said, jumping straight to the subject that I really wanted to talk about. She had dropped this bomb on me when I had gotten in the car and refused to tell me about it until we were parked.
And so we went to the infamous ‘creek’ that brought back so many memories of the summer after high school. As we pulled into the parking lot I spotted the pavilion that Sam, my crush Cameron and I had climbed onto the roof and been trapped while the police checked the park after eleven o’clock. We had plastered ourselves to the far side of the roof while Trevor and another guy were on the ground, contending with the police hoping to keep them off our track.
In the process of climbing up the tree to get on the roof I had lost a contact, and being blind without them, I had an incredibly difficult time getting down. That had been an adventure.
“Okay, so, Trevor and I were taking a break from each other, because it was getting too much, you know? And we were supposed to be dating other people and so I didn’t feel guilty about talking to this guy Chris, whose new at work! But!” She said when I was about to open my mouth to say something, “It’s really cute with Chris! Okay, so three years ago, I was in an elevator at work and the elevator stopped and it was really kind of scary, but there was this cute guy in there with me and we talked for a while, but then the elevator started again.
“But then one day I went into work and there was the guy from the elevator! And he saw me and started telling the story of the elevator, just to see if I remembered too!”
“That’s so serendipitous!” I cried talking around a bite of taco and washing it down with my non-fry sprite.
“I know!” Sam threw her arms out for dramatic effect, then took a bite of taco. “So, when I was talking to Chris, Trevor was acting really jealous, and so I went back to him and a couple days after I decided we needed to take a break again, because I felt guilty because I was really talking with Chris. But then Trevor’s mom texted me that he was in the hospital and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.”
“What?” I asked, incredulously.
Sam nodded, “I know! Anyway, I was thinking that after work I would go and see him in the hospital and make talk to him, especially when I got a message from his mom that said his organs were shutting down and it’s just like he’s lost his will to live.”
I was very confused at this information, I knew that Trevor was alive and well and this didn’t make any sense.
“So, I was talking to Chris about this at the same time, because I was in class and then I had to go to work right after and he suggested just calling the gift shop and have them deliver it up to his room. And so I texted his mom back and asked what hospital he was in and then I said I would send something from the gift shop and I asked what room he was in.
“Then I get a message back that said ‘oh, don’t worry about it, it looks like their discharging him and he’ll be out before you can get here or send anything.”
“Miraculous recovery huh?” I asked sarcastically.
“I know! So Chris called the hospital and found out there was no one by the name Trevor Smith in the hospital! And no one had been there under that name!”
“So he was just faking it?”
“Yeah, and so I texted Trevor’s mom’s phone and said, ‘I know it’s you Trevor.’ And it was just a big mess then.” Sam said, taking another bit of her taco.
“That’s crazy!” I said, slightly nervous about being just a couple of miles from where he lived.
“I know right?” She said, “But it gets worse!”
“How can it possibly get worse?” I wondered.
“Okay, so after work one day, I was coming out of the parking lot and then I see a black jeep pass me, and it looked a lot like Trevor’s car. But as I was driving I couldn’t tell if it was or not and so I just headed home. But then the
jeep came up behind me and Trevor called me on my phone. He was yelling at me saying, ‘Sam! Pull over!’ and I was like, ‘No!’, obviously.”
I sat with my eyes wide open, terrified for her, “What on earth?” I asked, this behavior was so uncharacteristic from the Trevor I knew.
“Yeah, and I hung up and called Chris and he told me not to pull over and just head to a church by his house where he would be waiting.” She took a breath and a bite of taco and continued her suspenseful story, “When I got to the church parking lot Chris was almost there so I stopped and Trevor pulled up and got out of the car and knocked on my door and yelled, ‘Sam, open this door!’
“I refused, obviously, and he just yelled, ‘I’ve got a gun in my car, don’t make me use it!’”
“What?!” I cried, Trevor went hunting frequently and I knew that he was handy with a gun.
“I know! But Chris had called the police, which I probably should have done first but yeah, it was really scary.”
“Oh my crap! That’s insane!”
Throughout the night I was really shocked by what had happened, but the conversation moved on to lighter topics and some how found our way to the topic of my pathetic VL aka: Virgin Lips.
“I’m twenty years old and I still haven’t kissed anybody yet!” I cried laughing. “What I need to do is just kiss a random person and have it be that.”
Sam laughed, “You know, I’ve always wanted to do that! It’s on my bucket list!”
“Then let’s do it. We’ll go to a club and we’ll kiss some random guy.”
“Okay! When should we go?” I asked thinking about the days ahead.
“We should go next weekend!”
The next weekend rolled around and we hopped into Sam’s beat up gold Saturn and headed to our destination. “Okay, I found this really great song on itunes, it was on the top ten songs, so I bought it because it’s really good.” Sam said, taking her eyes off the road to find the song on her ipod. “It’s kind of a boy band, but it’s a really good song!”
The song that came on was really good, and a total boy band. I grabbed the ipod and looked at the name of the song and the band. I was shocked to see the band was called One Direction, a band I had seen countless pictures of, but never paid much attention to. And so, the entire way there, we listened to the same song on repeat.
At the club there it was already packed and we waded our way through the crowds just looking for a way place that would allow us to scope out the perfect people for our kiss a stranger idea. “What do you think of the guy over there with the spiky hair?” Sam asked me, pointing.
The guy was tall, which was a plus, both of us were solidly six feet tall and that had been one of our rules for the night, no one shorter! “Go for it!” I said smiling.
“Are you sure?” Sam asked. We both knew this would happen when we had been making plans.
“Yes! Go!” I wanted her to go first so I would have an example to go off of. I still wasn’t quite sure how I was going to kiss the guy. It seemed really difficult. From all of my internet research it seemed like you had to take both of your lips and put them around either the top or the bottom of the other persons lips…I was lost, even after watching all the videos. It just seemed so technical.
I watched as Sam walked up to the guy and put her hand on his shoulder and up to his neck and leaned in and kissed him! I smiled and felt exhilarated, if she could do it, then surely I could! Sam turned around and walked away leaving the bewildered guy to just stand there watching her leave. When she got back to me she quickly pulled me to another part of the room so the guy she kissed would be able to find her. “You’re turn!” She yelled over the music.
I nodded and looked into the crowd, looking for someone I wouldn’t mind kissing. I honestly didn’t know who I was looking for, but when I saw a guy that stood out a little from the crowd I couldn’t help but realize that he was the one I was going to kiss. He was not the most attractive guy, nor did he look like he belonged, but the moment I saw his nerdy face I knew our nerdiness connected. And so, with a courage I did not know I possessed, I walked up to him and, with much less grace than Sam, pulled his head down to mine and kissed him, full on the lips.
Without the finesse of a skilled kisser I didn’t do anything more than press my lips to his, but I felt the sharp tingle all the way to my toes. After what felt like an eternity, but was probably only a moment I jerked away and ran toward Sam, not the exit I had planned. In my head I had imagined walking away with a sultry swing to my hips, my hair swishing against my back. But instead I was shaking and breathing hard.
“Go Stella!” Sam cried when I got back. I laughed nervously, still full of adrenaline.
“Let’s go.” I said and pulled her toward the entrance. The cold hair was a blessed relief from the sweaty gyrations in the building. “Okay, I have to admit that was pretty awesome!”
Five Years Later…
I smoothed out my skirt, adjusted my heels, and made sure all the buttons on my shirt were secure. I did not need my cleavage falling out during my interview at a top Fortune 500 company. I was meeting with the CEO, which had surprised me, but his secretary assured me that because my position would require working with him, he would be the one to interview me.
The job I was applying for was a translation expert in the language of Chinese. I was lucky that I had chosen a language that was needed desperately by companies across the world, I just had to impress the interviewer. I had a masters degree and I also had a rather colorful resume` that would hopefully be enough.
So sitting here, in this plush office on the top floor of a rather impressive building I waited for the CEO to come out and greet me. The pretty receptionist answered her phone and then looked up at me. “Mr. Collins will see you now.” She said and directed me to his office.
I walked past the receptionist, Julie, and found the door that proclaimed BRENT COLLINS. Taking a deep breath I knocked on the door, pulled my shoulders back and waited. The door opened and a tall man stood on the other side of the door. The look of surprise on his face was probably mirrored on my own as I recognized the man from the club five years ago.
“Mr. Collins.” I said holding my hand out to him, hoping that he would just let it go and not hold it against me.
“What, no kiss this time?” He asked, smiling.
I blushed, positively mortified…
Six Months later…
Mr. and Mrs. Walter King
Request the honor of your presence
At the marriage of their daughter
William Brent Collins
Saturday the tenth of June
Two thousand and seventeen
Four o’clock in the afternoon