First Time: A short story

The first time you talked to me was to ask if I was a Wiccan.

I thought you were a real funny guy and you thought I was a freak.

I was in the library studying chemistry, looked up, and there you were, the star soccer player and jock extrodinare who came to pick on the punk. You were surrounded by your friends and I was surrounded by my textbooks and notes in an illegible scrawl that one of your morons laughed at. And then I asked him to pronounce the word and he managed the gorgeous shade that is bazooka bubblegum.

You asked if I hid switchblades under my blazer and I asked if this was a cheap reason to feel me up.

You called me a punk and I called you an airhead and an asshole, and smirked as you walked off.

You had a cute ass, asshole.

The second time you talked to me was passing in the halls.

And you had given me a nickname. Hilarious.

And then I realized I didn't even know your name, and that you probably didn't know mine. You didn't mind, but I did, a little. See, I like my name, I respect it, and that it what I answer to. So I didn't appreciate having a book hit the heel of my combat boot as you beckoned me over to you and that terrible excuse for a name you christened me with. Slowly, I bent down, shoving my purse aside and grabbed your book, which happened to be Of Mice and Men, walked over to the trashcan as slowly and deliberately as possible, dropped it in.

You called me a bitch. I told you in a not very nice way to get lost.

I didn't ever find out what you wanted from me, and I didn't care when you towered over me and told me I'd regret what I had done.

I laughed right into your very nice blue eyes.

The third time you talked to me was a great big groan in Government class.

And we were partners for the rest of the semester.

You pushed your desk next to mine and "accidentally" kicked my shin. I raised an eyebrow and smirked, careful not to get crimson lipstick onto the rest of my face. You noticed and made the universal gesture for "What the hell is wrong with your lips?" by encircling your mouth with your fingers. I blew you a kiss. And thus the flirting began.

Only it wasn't really flirting. It was you and me being antagonistic to each other.

And when we got an A on that project, I thanked you sincerely before shoving your desk back at your seated chest.

You moved away, a scowl marring your handsome face.

The fourth time you talked to me was to ask me for my sister's number.

How very underhanded.

And I called you a pedophile, incredibly insulted and only slightly disappointed. But, you specified, a friend wanted it, not yourself. Your smile was infuriating and I quickly jotted down her cell phone because you were standing a bit too close for comfort and I could smell your neck. Nevermore had I hated Axe than then. You caught my hand as you drew the paper away, seven digits written so quickly that they were almost illegible, even for me. You read them back to me and I mouthed them as I watched your lips move, utterly fascinated.

And then you asked for mine. It jolted me out of whatever trance I was in and I simply stared at you.

Called you insane, said no, and walked away.

The fifth time you talked to me was when you stopped by my house.

With a faithful moron at your side and my sister behind me.

I was getting ready to go out too, to dinner and the mall with some friends I would pick up in half an hour. As your moron and my sister hung out in the living room for a few before they left, she directed you to the room at the end of the hall. The first comment you made was that this couldn't possibly be my sleeping quarters because there was too much pink and not enough black and blood. You saw me dance around my room and pretend to scream to a CD and managed not to laugh as I found my socks. You saw my hair down and said nonchalantly that it looked nice like that. You asked if I could wear it down more often and I said fat chance. But, you said, it makes you look really pretty.

And I never cared about looking pretty up until that very second. But only because I wanted to look pretty for you, ridiculous as that sounds.

And so I threw a Chuck at you and told you to get the hell out of my room, but not too harshly, because you laughed on the way out. Oh yeah, my sister said, he likes you.

The sixth time you talked to me was in the library again.

I was studying AP Biology this time, and you were alone. And nervous.

I raised an eyebrow at you and circled letter D before giving you my full attention. I was struck by how good-looking you really were, if you added a lip ring to your bottom left side and smudged some eyeliner along your bottom lash, you could really go places. Not that soccer boy didn't suit you; it was that it didn't suit me. Not that I cared; I did, but I'd die before telling you. You made small talk before asking right out if I would be going to homecoming and if I had a date. I could only laugh. Girls like me, I replied, don't belong at their senior homecoming. Besides, I continued, Dead Poetic is coming for a concert that very night, and I, for one, would be there.

You'll be missing out, you said. I laughed and asked, On what.

You batted your eyes at me and said, Why, me, of course.

The seventh time you talked to me was at Winter Ball, senior year.

I was without a date and there was no girl hanging off your arm.

I asked if the peroxide finally killed her, and you asked when Death was coming to pick me up. My friends managed to convince me to come to this hated celebration, but they were indisposed with their dates and left me out in the open to fend for myself, vulnerable and available. With as good as you looked in your suit, I wondered how shitty I looked in a borrowed dress and hastily curled hair - nothing fancy and special about my looks that evening except that I looked terribly and horribly different. But you said I looked fine and grabbed my hand before I had a chance to voice my protest of statutory rape. You marveled at the fact I had forearms, stripped from my cuffs and bracelets, and I felt very, very naked with your fingers leaving singe marks that only I could feel. Here I was, standing in the middle of some place I didn't belong in, wearing clothes I'd never seen before and shoes that hurt my heels with some one that was so incredibly wrong for me

You laughed softly and told me to quit freaking out, wrapped your arms around my waist and said Put your hands behind my (good smelling) neck.

And that I looked nice, and normal-looking. I didn't know whether to be insulted or flattered, but I was grateful that you let my rest my forehead on your shoulder.

The eighth time you talked to me was when you handed me a white envelope.

You were nervous and I was confused.

It was after the dance, and cars were leaving all around us. Read it, you urged me, pressing it into my hands. Your fingers brushed my palm and set them on fire with your light touch - almost as if you were afraid to touch me. Either was I was porcelain or I was the Ebola virus, and at that moment, I was afraid to know so I didn't ask. My crystallized breath danced in front of your nose and your cheeks were bright pink in the cold. My shawl did little to cover my bare shoulders and I shivered. You made me promise to read it, and I promised, more than a little weary of the strangeness of the situation. Gone was your arrogance - I mean confidence - that had grown so endearingly onto me. Your normal infuriating smirk was replaced by trembling lips that stumbled over words, and a tongue that moved too quickly for your mouth to follow.

Is something wrong, I asked, concerned, an odd feeling gutting my stomach. In that moment, I felt like you looked.

Wrong. No, nothing's wrong - yet. Just read the letter, ok? Bye.

(I'd just like to say that I read your letter.

Dear Wicca,

Merry Christmas! Do Wiccans celebrate Christmas, being pagans and all - or are you witches? - I can never remember which is which. Can witches celebrate Christian holidays, or can you focus on the secular aspects? - I remember debating this in Religions with you. I personally wouldn't know; my family's Lutheran and us Lutherans celebrate Christmas. Well, merry winter break.

I'm tired of this, so I'll just tell you outright why I'm writing a Christmas/winter-break letter: I like you very strongly. I know this may seem weird and rather random and seemingly inappropriate, but I wanted you to know.

And I wanted you to know that I think you're an awesome girl. You're smart and talented and very sarcastic. You've got a good heart and a pretty smile and the funniest laugh I've ever seen (Seen? Heard?), and I think you look pretty nice in your uniform skirt and blazer. I think your clothes look good on you, even if they don't look good on me, and I don't mind the fact that you're borderline satanic. (Joke here) I like hearing your voice and I liked dancing with you as much as I like trading insults with you. I've tried to find any reason to talk and visit with you. You can make me laugh and at the same time, feel like the biggest dumbass on the face of the entire earth. Sometimes, I can't even follow what you're saying - sometimes I can't even hear what you're saying - but I know I like being around you and talking to you.

I didn't always like you, but there was something attractive that I couldn't help but like since I talked to you sophomore year. And I wanted to tell you or - something - before graduation came and I might never see you again, and regret it for the rest of my life. Because I would, I would regret not telling you this, despite what might ensue because of it.

I understand if you're slightly freaked out, and I understand if you don't like me back, or you're not interested in me. I just wanted you to know.

Have a happy Christmas, Wicca. See you around.)

The eighth time you talked to me was a greeting on the first day back from break.

And like clockwork, I could predict that you would yell it aloud for the entire senior hall to hear. Only today, I hoped I would hear it.

Down the hallway, your buddies at your side, soccer jocks with letter jackets, and mine in second-hand camouflage, borrowed plaid, and plain zipups. Your friends laughed at the stupid name and mine shook their heads, cursed you to hell, and then prayed for whatever problem you had. But you and I were higher than it all, on a different level of intimacy; our eyes connected like a laser gun strikes the enemy's vest before it begins to vibrate from the hit. I broke away to slowly unhook my purse and grabbed a sealed white envelope, pulling it out with deliberate grace and natural ease, and placed it on a shelf in my locker, shutting it behind me - unlocked - before walking away. They didn't understand what was happening, no one did except you and me. I laughed to myself because I knew your eyes had been riveted to me the entire time.

Which made me feel beautiful and scared. And I felt like blushing in my embarrassment (does this count as flirting?) or smiling gleefully, but I did neither and nothing at all, so I won.

And I wondered what I had set into motion by replying.

The ninth time you talked to me was that afternoon in Calculus class.

You were my Gabriel and my Lucifer and on your lips held my death sentence or my get-out-of-jail-free card.

By that time, I was dying with suspense, trying to pretend nothing was out of the ordinary when everything had been rearranged. You snuck up behind me, the chair back to your abs. I heard you had something for me, you whispered in my ear as I pulled out my binder, and one hand clasped over mine, protective and gentle. I jumped in surprise and hit your chin, and it hurt. I laughed through it, though, because it was too humorous to be serious. Yeah, I said, rubbing the top of my throbbing forehead, It's in my locker. Or, you said, waving a ripped envelope with a seal just like mine in front of my face, so white it was blinding, It's right here. Or it's right here, I corrected myself, clicking a mechanical pencil and pretending not to care, because I really did care. I cared a lot. Are you serious? you asked. I looked up with open wide-open eyes, staring into your bright blue eyes pleading for my solemnity. Serious as colon cancer, I replied.

There was the arrogant smirk that I both despised and loved, as you knelt down beside my chair as more students filed into the room.

Are you doing anything this Friday night? Because there is a movie I'd love to take you to.

The tenth time you talked to me was to say that I looked beautiful.

You said it with such sincerity that I almost believed you.

I didn't really look beautiful, but I felt beautiful because you had said I did. And no, my hands weren't shaking and I didn't stutter, but I was nervous and my stomach twisted itself over occasionally. In a moment of weakness, I styled my hair down and left the red lipstick in my purse, and I felt out of character and out of place sitting in the passenger's seat - what soon became my electric chair, my nerves were so on end. But you, you were the gentleman, as much as you had the capacity to be and still be you. You let me pick the radio station and then the dinner. At Ming's, we poured over the Living section and picked out a movie. You pulled out my chair and didn't sit until I had. Your bought my concessions and I had to fight to pay for my ticket, and you insisted that it was nothing, it was really nothing, that I was worth it, and you didn't mind, can I just please pay for you? And you didn't attempt to hold my hand or wrap your arm around my shoulders or to kiss me not exactly unwillingly and I, in turn, almost kissed you out of gratitude. And then the movie ended too quickly and you drove me home.

And that was that. Our first date, me as your official girlfriend, you as my proud and arrogant and almost perfect boyfriend.

And it was that day, a mere two years later, that you got down on your knees and said Wicca, you're the best thing to ever happen to me; would you bestow to me the honor of becoming my wife forever and ever?

Of course I said yes.