The first time I met Julian, I think he was hoping I was drunk. My best friend had suckered me into coming to her party only because she had told me it would just be a small group of girls watching movies and eating popcorn. I got more than I bargained for when I showed up an hour early and there was talk of kegs and who was going to buy the booze. Her squirrelly brother collected five dollars from me for my supposed consumption of alcohol.
Julian was the only other person who seemed sober throughout the night. I sat there and watched my friends to make damn sure that none of his friends got a hold on mine. I considered myself a sort of babysitter.
It was Lexi's first time drinking and I had to watch her like a hawk since over the last hour of the party we had decided to cut off her alcohol consumption and she was currently hiding it in coffee cups. As I followed her down the hallway, Julian cut her off the pass and took the mug from her. He was holding his jacket in one hand and as Lexi began to collapse, he tossed it toward me as he caught her. He scooped her up and as he passed me he smiled.
"De nada," I nodded, following him toward the living room where he planned to set down my inebriated friend. He nearly dropped her when I said those words.
"Hablas?" he turned around quickly once he had set her down.
I nodded, pinching my fingers together to notate that yes, I knew a little.
The little twinkle in his eyes drove me wild. No one had ever looked at me like that, much less a handsome guy. I was hooked from the moment he started paying attention to me; a typical symptom of a girl who rarely gets attention from the opposite sex. We spent the rest of the night together, talking about movies, music, even dancing a little bachata together. At the end of the night, he asked for my phone number. When I said no, he asked if he could give me his. I nodded, it couldn't hurt. And as he handed it to me, he leaned in and kissed me on the cheek. My heart melted like hot wax, dribbling down pathetically as my cheeks flushed redder than cherries. The day after the party, I realized that there was no way that Julian actually had any interest in me. It was a one-night thing. He was hoping to get some and I didn't let him. That's what I figured. I pushed Julian to the back of my head, fully expecting to never see him again.
And then he called.
Clearly he had taken advantage of Lexi's drunken state when he asked her for my phone number. The sound of a deep Spanish accent came through the receiver of my cell phone and for some reason I began trembling. I was so nervous. I was on the phone with a guy. What was I supposed to do? What was I supposed to say? He led most of the conversation and by the end, I had resolved that we were just friends. After all:
He was 24.
I was 16. Things just didn't work like that.
Clearly I had underestimated these things.
Phone calls turned into long e-mails, love letters, poetry. One day he even showed up at my school. That was point break. Long story short, I told him that he was scaring me. I wanted him to back off, and that equated to no more calls, no more visits and no more e-mails until I told him otherwise.
Surprisingly, he took it well. He nodded, and left the school cafeteria, walking tall and he turned back only once to wave as he walked through the door. Feeling pretty good, I dropped off my books at my locker and hopped on the school bus at the end of the day.
Little did I know that that was definitely not the last of Julian that I would see in a long time.