It was a cool, fall day. I smiled to myself in the mirror as I combed my straight red hair then covered it with my favorite beanie. Today was going to be a good day. I could feel it. I turned up my radio, and started singing along with Avril Lavigne at the top of my lungs into my hairbrush. Getting way into the moment, I began dancing crazily around my room. A loud, sharp knock on my open door, scared me and I stopped in the middle of attempting the robot. My eleven-year-old brother was standing there with an ‘I don’t even want to know’ look on his face.
“I’m ready. Let’s go.”
I couldn’t help it. I started laughing and I couldn’t stop. Soon, tears were rolling down my cheeks and I was leaning on my bedpost, convulsing. When I could finally look at Michael without busting out laughing again, I washed my face and did my best to reapply my make up. My brother waited impatiently in the bathroom doorway.
“Come on! I was supposed to be there ten minutes ago.”
I looked at him seriously and put my hands on my hips. “You tell your little midget friends that if they have a problem, bring it to me, ‘cause I’m gonna shove my foot up their butts.”
He smiled slightly then ran downstairs and jumped into my Grand Prix. I followed at a slower pace, grabbing a granola bar on the way and locking the now-empty house. Then, I started the engine, and we headed toward the park. My brother and his friends meet there every Saturday, so they can play field hockey and basketball. Total guy crap was my opinion. I always took a book with me so I could keep an eye on them.
When we got there, my brother ran off and I headed to my favorite park bench, carrying a worn copy of Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. I loved all of her work. It just seemed so lifelike. I smiled to myself and settled onto the hard wood of the bench. I knew I was gonna be there for a couple of hours at least. I couldn’t leave until Michael got bored.
That’s when I saw him. His name was Wes. He was sitting on the bridge that went over a small stream that ran through the park. He was all alone, just sitting there, not doing anything. He reminded me of a character in the book I was reading. He was the guy that everybody avoided in school, because he was big and intimidating. If he had any friends, I had never seen him with them. Plus, his iPod was always on and in his ears. I didn’t know if wanted friends or not, but I decided to give it a chance. I had that feeling again- the one that told me something very good was about to happen.
I jumped up and tucked my book into the waistband of my jeans. Then I skipped over to Wes, and plopped down next to him. He looked at me suspiciously. Then he shrugged and looked away. I smiled and tugged an earbud out of his ear.
“Whatcha listenin’ to?”
He frowned. “Breaking Benjamin.”
I laughed. “I love their song Breath, don’t you?”
He looked down at me like he was seeing me in a new light. “You like Breaking Benjamin?”
Then he smiled and pulled the other earbud out and turned off his iPod. I was amazed.
“I never saw that coming.”
“What?” he asked.
I waved at his iPod. “Aren’t you, like, addicted to that thing?”
“Well... yeah, but even addicts have to take a break once in a while. It’s not like you can snort crack every second of everyday.”
“You have a point. You know, I always saw you as this big, scary guy who could crush me like a bug, but guess what? You’re not.”
He smiled at me. “Yeah? Well I always pictured you as the cheerleader who dated the quarterback and ignored all of us ‘peasants’.” I never pictured you as someone who listened to Breaking Benjamin.”
I laughed delightedly. After that, we talked until Michael got done, and every Saturday after.
One Saturday, we were sitting quietly, just enjoying the day. Wes smiled at me.
“What?” I asked self-consciously.
“That’s the same beanie you were wearing when we met.”
I reached up and stroked the soft fabric of my hat. “You remember?”
“Of course I do.” He reached out and pushed a lock of hair behind my ear with his thumb. I shivered.
“Would you like to go on a date with me?”
He pulled back in surprise. “I was going to ask you that.”
“Yeah, well, we both know I’m better at getting to the point.”
He chuckled. “Alright, then yes. I would like to go on a date with you. When?”
I grabbed on of his big hands and started playing with his fingers. “Now.”
“Well why not?”
His hand encircled mine, holding it tightly. “Well, you know what you get to do on the first date?”
I pretended to think hard. “Hmmm... eat?”
He laughed and shook his head. “Nope. Guess again.”
I sat up on my knees and stared into his eyes. They were a deep, chocolatey brown. I felt my lips curve into a smile as I leaned forward. My eyes closed slowly, and then my lips pressed softly against his. The kiss was sweet and innocent, but it didn’t stay that way for long. Wes deepened the kiss, wrapping one arm around my waist, and pulling me ever closer. His free hand snaked around my head and twisted into my hair.
“What are you doing to my sister?!”
We jerked away from each other. My brother was staring down at us in shock. Wes looked at me in surprise and raised an eyebrow. I couldn’t help it. I laughed. Hard.