You know that stupid adage – good things happen when you least expect it? Well, I always thought that was a bunch of crap. Then, I realized almost every significant experience in my life occurred when I least expected it.
I was ten years old and wanted a cat. I had for ages. My birthday was on October 9th and the day was October 5th. My parents told me they were forcing me to go see Fallingwater – the house built partly over a waterfall by Frank Lloyd Wright. I didn't really know anything about it aside from the fact than it was in Pennsylvania. When we started our drive, I thought it was taking a long time, but what did I know, I was only ten. When my mom forced me to look underneath the driver's seat for something, I thought it was weird. It turns out she was only making sure I didn't see the huge "Welcome to Ohio" sign.
After some more driving, we arrived in a residential area. It must have rained before we arrived. It smelt like dirt and everything had a thin layer of water on it. I still didn't see any river or creek or body of water, for that matter. My mom ushered my inside the house and all I could see was cats. Lots and lots of cats. My heart skipped a beat and I didn't dare think of what this meant.
"Mom…why are we here?" I managed to stammer out.
"Because you get to pick a kitten."
Now this is the truly embarrassing part. I start crying. That's right. Crying. I was so fricking happy to get a kitten, I was bawling. God, that was not one of the finer moments of my childhood.
That day, I went home with a sleeping kitten on my lap while I sat in the backseat. I remember wanting him to meow so that I could hear his voice. Eight years later, I can't get him to shut up. I still love him though. He's one of the best presents I've ever received.
I had been waiting anxiously for my acceptance letter to my first choice college for a month now. I would come home from school and read in my room until I heard the slam of the mailbox being closed and the retreating steps of the mailman before I would run downstairs and anxiously check the mailbox. It was never there.
Everyone said I was shoo-in and that I would definitely be accepted. I was still nervous though. I applied under the early action criteria, meaning I would know if I was accepted earlier than I would if I did regular decision, but I wasn't locked into the college and could go somewhere else if I wanted to.
It was January 30, the next to the last day that they would be sending out letters of acceptance. When it didn't come that day, I checked on their website to see if my dates were mixed up. They were. The acceptance letters would actually be sent out starting January 31. I felt stupid.
The next day, I rode the bus home with my friend Annie and we made a cake for our French class. When I got home at eight at night, I came into my room to see a huge envelope from my first-choice college. I dropped everything I was carrying unceremoniously onto the floor and ran to my bed. Hands shaking, I ripped open the envelope from the side. Screw neatness.
"Dear Michelle, We are happy to announce your admittance into the class of 2013!"
I didn't read anything else and just screamed to my dad that I would be going to college.
That night, while tossing and turning in bed, I realized that I didn't check the mailbox myself for the first time in a month that day. The one day I forgot to check the mailbox and didn't even think about the damn letter, was the day I got what I wanted.
In my eighteen years, I've never had a date. I've never been kissed. I've never had anyone even like me in any sort of romantic manner, as far as I know. I tried to justify it in my mind. I know I'm not really unattractive; I would never be called beautiful though. Most of my friends are girls. I'm smart. I don't think I'm really hilarious, but my friends find my sarcasm funny. So in short, there is nothing wrong with me. I just needed to meet new boys at college. Of course.
When my friend, Isabella, came up to me and told me she had something to tell me about Liam, the boy I had a crush on for literally two years, I thought it was going to be one of those times where something good was going to happen because I wasn't expecting it. How very wrong I was.
"What's up, Isabella?"
"Um, well I was trying to figure out if Liam might like you during that field trip."
"I told you not to!" I said, my face burning already. God, if he knew… "What did he say?"
"Are you sure you want to hear?" My heart plummeted wildly. That didn't sound good. I swallowed a little and replied in the affirmative. "He said that you were the type of girl he would settle for. But he didn't want to settle. He wants some blonde bimbo, basically." She was censoring. I knew it, but I didn't want to know anymore. I felt like I was breaking inside. All my secret hopes and dreams were gone.
"Michelle, are you okay?" she asked, her brown eyes widening.
"Yeah, I'm fine. He's an egotistical, superficial, douche. I knew that before. It sucks you know, but it could be worse. At least I didn't, you know, really, really like him." Lie.
"Are you sure?"
"Yep. Um, I have to get to physics now. You know how Crazy Jimmy flips out if you aren't on time."
That afternoon, I came home and screamed. I screamed into my pillow and cried until I couldn't cry anymore. How stupid could I have been? He obviously didn't like me. I had wasted two years of my life on that complete asshole. Stupid, stupid, STUPID. And that night, I ran. I ran until I could barely breathe. It didn't matter that the harsh winter air was stinging my lungs. I just wanted to go somewhere. I couldn't stand it anymore. When I finally came back home, my cheeks were red and wet. I had been crying while I ran, but I couldn't even tell because I was so numb, literally and figuratively.
Fucking hell, get over it Michelle. You never dated him. You knew he was an asshole, but you still liked him. You're better than this and you know it. So I got over it. I pretended it didn't hurt and that I was more angry than anything else. In a few weeks, everything just became a bad memory and a stupid mistake.
"Hey, can I ask you something Michelle?" someone asked, tapping my shoulder. I turned around to see who would disturb my solitude. It was Dan. Again. Good lord, the kid was kind of annoying. I mean he was nice and kind of cute, in a twitchy type of way. But the problem was he didn't like fiction. Who doesn't like fiction? It was an almost daily argument. He maintained nonfiction was the best because you could apply it to real life. I told him it was boring and wondered where his sense of adventure was.
And he was a super-ginger. Not that there is anything wrong with gingers, but I liked dark haired guys. With dark eyes. He had blue eyes the same color as the sky on a nice day. God, that was a shit simile, but it's true.
"I was, wondering if you'd…." then he started mumbling. His ears were bright red and I had no idea what the hell he was saying. Maybe he'd want to copy my French homework. He looked embarrassed. But I mean really, copying my French is no problem. Tibby does it all the time.
"What? I have no clue what you just said." He cleared his throat and said,
"I was wondering if you would be my date for prom." Oh. Ohhh. Shit. How the hell was I supposed to say no? The poor kid looked so embarrassed and hopeful and every other emotion I used to feel around Liam. Fucker. I would just say no in a nice way and that would be the end of it.
"Um, well, okay." Excuse you, brain?!?!
"Really?" Shit, I just said yes. It would be mean to take it back. I sighed and smiled a tight grin,
"Yeah." He looked like he wanted to say more, but at that moment, Coach Q came in and told us to gather up. Q was a big guy and everyone had learned from the first gym class of freshman year not to cross him. I was saved, for now at least.
"Annie, I have a problem!" I whined into the phone, while twisting my hair.
"Hmm?" I heard her take a sip of her tea. She's practically obsessed with the stuff.
"Dan asked me to go to prom with him…"
She gasped and replied, "But he's annoying! What did you say?"
"I said yes! I don't know why the hell I did that! It was like my brain and my vocal chords were on two different planets. I wanted to say no, but I said yes. And now I can't get out of it because that would just be plain mean."
"You think?" Annie giggled a little before telling me that I would have to "suck it up." My friends are lovely advice-givers.
The day of prom had finally come and I was hardly thrilled. It was nice to get dressed up and everything, but lord, this night was going to be awkward. Dan picked me up at 5:01 PM. He looked nice and was perfectly polite in front of my parents. He opened the door to his car and then drove us over to Annie's house for pictures and to wait for the limo.
We dined, we danced, and we laughed. I was surprised by the fact that I was actually starting to like Dan. It wasn't awkward at all after the first half hour. It was the last slow dance of the night when he whispered into my ear, his hot breath sending shivers throughout my body, "So, have I grown on you yet?" I was shocked. He knew?!?
"Um, I don't know what you're talking about." I replied, cheeks burning red.
"I know you thought I was annoying." Oh lordy.
"How did you know?" I asked, staring into his eyes.
"You acted like it. But I liked you and I had to take a chance." If it was possible, my face turned even redder.
"You don't annoy me anymore…" I replied shyly, and decided to screw it. I stood up on my tippy-toes and kissed him softly on the cheek. Act of courage for the day? Check that off of my list.
"Good," he said with a smile, and then leaned down to kiss me on lips. A jolt went through my body and I knew I wasn't breathing. I let out a breath as I pulled away and whispered into his ear,
"I'm glad you asked me." I think I gave him the shivers. Ha, take that.
"I'm glad you said 'yes.'" he replied as he wrapped me into a tight hug.
I guess that stupid adage is right after all. Good things do happen when you least expect them. I like someone I never thought I would and I'm happy for it. He's perfect, even if he is a ginger who doesn't like fiction.
So this is my very first story. A lot of the events in this are true as well as all of the characters. Constructive criticism is really appreciated. I know my grammar sucks but I tried. I hope you guys liked it though!