I got out of the car slowly, ignored Mike as he drove away. It was a warm summer night, a night that just felt like summer, and as my flip flops slowly clip clopped up the driveway, I felt as though my world was crashing in on me.
He sat on the white bench on my porch, slouching down, his eyes on the floor. I stood in front of him and a long moment passed before he finally raised his gaze.
To my surprise, he actually did look upset. His mouth was pressed into a firm thin line and his eyes were glazed over, as if he was half asleep. But I could tell in the way his fists kept clenching and unclenching that everything was not right.
"Have a nice date?" he asked scathingly, his eyebrows raised, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
My fingers were trembling. I liked him so much. I could smell his cologne from there and I closed my eyes briefly.
"Where have you been?" I asked, and to my relief, my voice wasn't trembling.
"I had finals," he said bitterly. "I was trying to study. I didn't realize that I had to keep tabs on you or you were going to run off with Prince Freaking Charming."
"Finals?" I echoed incredulously. "I didn't hear from you for over a week. In that entire week, you didn't have one second to call me? Are you kidding?"
He stood up, disgusted with me. As he stood, I realized he was holding a bouquet of sunflowers – my favorites. He threw them at my feet.
"Have a nice summer," he spat and he brushed passed me without a backwards glance.
"Joey," I said despairingly. "Don't. We just went to a movie – it wasn't a big deal—"
He whirled around, his face wrenched up with anger. "No," he hissed, "You're right. A movie is not a big deal. You know what is a big deal, Kristin? The fact that it never occurred to you to pick up the freaking phone and call me. That you were so damn willing to just let it go and move it. The fact that you gave up on me so easily. That you didn't trust me enough to wait – "
"The last time you disappeared it was for two months!" I shouted back. "What part of that means I should trust you, Joey? There are things—things that just don't add up with you," I said, desperately. "Why haven't we kissed yet, Joey? Why haven't I been to your house? Why the hell don't you hang out with me on Friday nights?"
He stared at me and I could tell the answers were on the tip of his tongue. "I…"
Then he trailed off and shook his head. "You know what? Forget it. You're not worth it."
And he turned and walked away.
I was very mature about it. I didn't cry or scream or ask him to stay. I wasn't even fifteen yet, but I bite my lip and went inside. I left the flowers sitting on the floor and went inside and promptly ate three cartons of Ben and Jerry's ice-cream. And then I cried.
I called him the next day, and the day after. He never answered, but I know he saw it. So, eventually, I forgot it. And him.
But he was still the first guy I ever really liked, and the first guy who liked me back. And I felt like I had messed things up, and badly. But still, I did my best to forget him.
Until a year later, the day before Christmas. Again, I looked down at my ringing phone and somehow I knew it was him. I had just one thought as I looked at the caller ID.
Here we go again.