Suzanne Lucero - Young Adult
I walked around the college campus with my two best friends. It looked just like I remembered it. The campus was full of graduating seniors from all of the area high schools, eating free food on the quad, visiting booths set up with games, or just chilling to some great music.
"I think I'd like to go swimming," Lani said. She snagged a beach towel from a pile by the pool entrance. It was paid for by local businesses and covered with advertising, but hey, it was free, so why not?
"OK, you and Aggie go ahead," I said. "I'll meet you there in a few minutes." I walked purposely to where I'd seen the one person I was here for.
For years I'd dreamed of having a dark, brooding man who held his passion rigidly in check fall hopelessly in love with me--I regularly spent my nights with Mr. Darcy, Mr. Rochester and Heathcliff--but tonight would be different. Tonight, I was going to make Brandon kiss me.
I walked up to the bench where my prey was holding court. The big-man-on-campus and athletic demi-god had his arm casually draped around Regina, his latest flavor-of-the-month, and he was laughing uproariously over some joke one of his lackeys had told. Brandon was tall and dark and handsome, just like I imagined Heathcliff would be, but that's where the resemblence stopped. He wasn't quiet or brooding, didn't have that air of danger and mystery about him. In fact, he was much too careless, too casual with his affection to suit my taste, but I'd always secretly wanted him to kiss me...just once. I tapped him on the shoulder.
"Excuse me, Brandon. Can I see you for a minute? Over there, by the corner of the building?" Brandon looked up.
"Oh, hi, uh..."
Say "Hello Ally. I was hoping you'd come tonight," I thought.
"Hello, Ally. I was hoping you'd come tonight."
Now get up and say "Sure. Whatever you want." Brandon took his arm from around Regina and began to rise.
"Sure, whatever you want,"
"Hey, what are you doing?" Regina demanded. She stuck her lower lip out in a pout. "I thought you were here with me, Brandon." She put her hand on his arm and tried to pull him back down beside her. Ah, Regina. Queen of the mean girls. She'd finally managed to shed her parasitic boyfriend, Greg, and latch on to the prize catch of the school just before graduation; I didn't want to think of how she'd done it. Tonight was my night with Brandon, though. I knew I could disregard the laws of physics and use my mind to send Regina flying over the back of the bench but I'm not normally a violent person. I gave her a dose of her own medicine instead.
"Shut it, sister. You're used goods. Anyway, who'd want to be with a skinny witch like you when he could be with me?" I took Brandon's free arm and wrapped it around my waist and made him shake off Regina's clutch. I hated being mean like that, but even though I felt dirty sinking to Regina's level of pettyness, I gave myself some slack. Just because I'd never say hurtful things like that out loud didn't mean I'd never think them.
I put my arm around Brandon's waist and we began walking toward the corner of the Admin building where an old pine tree stood. The boughs of the massive tree swept down to near the ground, but if you parted them and walked toward the trunk, letting the branches close behind you, there was a lovely alcove where a couple could be undetected. Decades of college students had used it as a trysting spot and I'd decided that this would be the perfect place for our first--and probably only--kiss. I walked through the branches, the scratch of the pine needles against my skin muted, as pain is in dreams, and Brandon followed. Turning toward the high school sports hero who wouldn't give me more that an absent-minded "hello" in the school hallway, I began my carefully choreographed and long anticipated conquest.
Say how much you really like me.
"You know, Ally, I really like you."
Tell me you think smart girls are sexy.
"You're very smart." He paused to look at me for a moment, assessing me. "Personally, I think smart is sexy. I'm surprised no one has tried to ravish you yet."
Oh, I like that. Ravish is good, very Jane Austen. Now tell me that you think you'd prefer me to Regina any day.
"I do believe," Brandon said, as he put his other arm around my waist and pulled me into a close embrace, "that I'd prefer you to Regina any day. There's so much more to you." He ran his right hand apreciatively over my rump. "Regina's pretty but she uses her anoretic body more than she does her mind, you know?" He brought the hand that had just carressed my bottom up and held the back of my head as he brought his mouth close to mine. "But we could have such...stimulating conversations..." I could smell his sweet breath, feel his heart hammering under his shirt, sense his desire. I held the moment, savoring the anticipation of feeling his lips on mine...
Tires screeched on the street outside; a car hit something. I sat bolt upright in bed, my heart doing a tap dance in my chest, my lips tingling. Damn. I'd come so close. I looked over at my nightstand and groaned as the clock came into view. Five AM, only an hour and a half since I'd gotten to sleep. I'd stayed at Operation Graduation until 2:00 in the morning, swimming mostly, and had been too keyed up to get to bed until 3:30. Now an accident had wrenched me awake, my dream unfinished.
I kicked the covers off, swung my legs over the side of the bed and stood up. The sun was just turning the edge of the early June sky pale as I stumbled to my window, which faced the street in front of our house. I looked out, peering right and left as far as I could I but didn't see anything. The few houses on our street, all colonials set behind large front lawns, were dark. No light shone out from a front door or window, indicating an equally inquisitive neighbor had heard a crash and was looking around for its source. I opened the window, thinking I might be able to hear something, at least, but all was quiet. No hiss from a broken radiator, no hubcap spinning on the road broke the early morning hush. Even Althelstan, the Great Dane next door, was silent. . I slammed the window shut and crawled back in bed.
The sound of the accident bothered me. I'd heard it through my ears, not in my dream, and believe me, I know the difference. Sounds in my dreams are made from memory and imagination; in the outside world they're physical realities, louder, more immediate. That's why my alarm doesn't have to be set very loud to wake me up. Real sounds trump imagined ones every time.