Everyone knew who Shane Polloni was. But now that he had graduated many boys tried to fill in his shoes, but his legacy was too great. I'd imagine him to be one of those guys that 10 years later returned filthy rich and successful, wife and 3 kids. In fact if he were a celebrity, you could be sure that his posters would be plastered on every teenage girl's wall…and probably on some guy's too.
Yes it had been two years since he moved on from Blaker High and his photos and trophy's remained displayed in our school's hall. What was so special about this young man you ask? For the first time in over 14 years the school had won its first series of basketball games due to his superhuman skills. No one had ever seen so many men cry on the day of their first win, and we finally gained some respect in our town amongst the other schools.
Thankfully, Shane had rubbed off some of his talent to the next generation of star players, but they still came up short from his gloriousness. I know I sound obsessed, but to sit in the stands for those two hours and watch the school's MVP, was time well spent. And I wouldn't be surprised if puddles of drool were scattered all over the floor; I sure had one.
Those days were long gone, and I rarely saw any games now. Between classes and working at a smoothie shop to save up money for my car, I didn't care to scope out any Shane look-a-likes; because there were none.
One day at the shop, our usual customers came in and out; nothing out of the ordinary. I walked around cleaning the tables and chairs and saw a folded piece of paper that turned out to be a flyer to a party at Broodwick University. It was a fairly big campus and although it was a couple of hours away I couldn't keep from smiling…Shane was at Broodwlck.
I text my friend Hilary, telling her about all the details, she seemed just as excited to do this. It was Friday and we saw this as the perfect opportunity to go away for weekend. We had enough money to stay at a motel or something, and even though this would take away from my car fund, it was totally worth it. At least Hilary had her car.
We told our parents we were going to check out the University for a tour in the morning, so we had to leave that night. The technicalities of truth and lies in our story were so tangled that we just rolled with it. We could still tour the campus in the morning, just not accompanied by any faculty. Hilary on the other hand was interested in visiting Broodwick but not for my same reasons. She actually wanted to come here next year, while I was applying for Midville University, 16 hours away.
On our late afternoon drive, we ranted about what this party might be like. We had seen so many movies that had painted our image and expectation of college parties and guys, that we hoped it wouldn't be anything less than that. I wondered what the odds were of actually running into Shane and what he looked like after two years; I doubt he'd even know me. I was two grades under him and on the other side of the building. Every time I saw him he shined in full color and everyone else remained in black and white; I was one of them.
I had a little more confidence in myself this time around. I had grown out my hideous bob that probably made me look like I was 13, and gotten my braces taken off. Not to mention I finally grew into that training bra and was so excited when I had to buy a bigger size. I wasn't the ugly duckling turned into a swan, but more like the caterpillar turning into a decent looking butterfly; if that makes sense.
Hilary was excited about being able to drink. They would never know we were underage and would just assume we were in college too. Neither of us had ever drank really, so we knew it probably wasn't going to take much to get us drunk. That being said we had to be careful.
It was seven at night and not fully dark yet. We arrived on campus but were still clueless as to where the party was. It seemed like there were little parties on every street. We rolled down the windows and asked a couple of students where Captain Street was; luckily we weren't too far off. Finding parking was another story, we had to walk a block or two still.
"How do I look?" I asked Hilary while I tamed my hair in place and adjusted my white sequin top and jeans. I wore Hilary's white sandals that I always coveted, one of these days she'll give them to me.
"You look like you belong in College Arie" She giggled.
"Good enough." I shook my head.
We arrived at what looked like an enormous house building, with music blaring from the doors and windows. I thought we were early but it looked like this party was hours on in. Hilary and I kept looking at each other as we laughed at the sight of it all. We barely walked in and were handed two cups of beer and were told we looked "blazingly hot".
I didn't know how much of the compliments to believe since the guys were kind of wasted and way too affectionate. We were flattered but I was slightly uncomfortable with my lack of personal space. I kept as close as possible to Hilary, but a while later she was snatched away by one of the elite frat guys.
I felt like I was roaming around on a movie set of a crazy teen flick. Truth was it was just as wild if not wilder. I was a bit annoyed by the constant experimentation between girls and guys and girls and girls. I was even beginning to regret wearing this stupid outfit just to fit in; considering that the girls there all looked like they were going to a pool party instead.
It was 10 o'clock and I was already done with this scene. I didn't want to interrupt Hilary's current hook up, but being in this crowded space sure felt lonely. I walked around with my 3rd cup of whatever drink I had and then I began to feel lighter on my feet. I assumed that I had reached the point of intoxication and it was kind of trippy actually.
I needed to sit down but I couldn't really spot a decent seat. I was losing control over my balance and my vision felt all over the place. I raced to the empty space on the nearby couch. I was afraid to make any eye contact with any one and kept staring at the floor. I got rid of my cup and knew I had reached my limit for the night.
The person next to me kept elbowing me while his make out partner was obnoxious as heck. I laid my head on the arm rest and was happy to see the couple finally leave. Someone else sat down in turn, but I remained fixed on the dirty tiles and passing feet.
"Are you alright?" He asked.
I shook my head even though I was lying, but it was probably enough to scare the guy off. I couldn't imagine how miserable I might have looked; this was not the image I was hoping to portray and I wanted to leave. Before I could send the signal from my brain to the rest of my numb limbs, the guy returned to the seat beside me. I know this because I recognized his brown shoes. He handed me a bottle of water. I was shocked.
I dared look at him to thank him and felt my body sober up in seconds. Shane Polloni was sitting next to me and handing me a bottle of water. I felt like a little girl seeing Disney World for the first time or meeting my favorite actor or singer of all time. I sat up to look less sloppy and began to drink my water. I didn't know what to say, should I blurt out that I knew him from high school or remain silent to prevent any humiliating comments. I was focusing on acting normal but I still felt a little whoozy.
"Thank you." I mumbled as I fiddled with the bottle cap.
"No problem." He uttered back.
"So are these parties usually like this?"
"Yeah, I'm over it for tonight though. I'm going for a walk." He shouted over the noise and got up again.
I looked back down at the floor only to notice the pair of brown shoes still there. I looked up and saw him waiting…for me?
"Want to join me?" he signaled with the nod of his head.
I was completely beside myself to think that I would be walking with Shane in a matter of seconds. To be able to hear his voice clearer as he directed words to me; I just hoped that I wouldn't lose my balance or do something stupid.
We walked outside of the house and the further we got the more my hearing returned. There was a lingering silence although it wasn't bad; I just didn't know what to say. But I enjoyed his company more than he'd ever know.
"So do you go here? I don't think I've seen you around." He finally spoke.
"No, I - I go to Midville." I lied, I don't know why that simply rolled off my tongue. If I told him I was from Blaker High, I don't know if this conversation would've continued; I panicked.
"That's pretty far away!" he exclaimed.
"Oh yeah, I'm visiting a friend… So do you like it here?"
"I do, I mean it's quite the life as you can see...but I play in the basketball team here, and although I love it, it's not the same."
"Same as what?" I asked curiously.
"As when I used to play in high school…There was something special about the team I was a part of, and we actually made history for that school. I miss that."
"I bet you were the star player huh?" I said knowingly.
"People treated me like it but it's all about the team; without them you're nothing. I can't find that here. Everyone is about putting themselves above the next guy."
"Well that doesn't surprise me about people, especially in such a competitive sport."
"I know right!" He exclaimed.
It felt so weird to hear him talk about his thoughts that he probably didn't share with just anyone. This felt comfortable, like we were actually friends. He didn't know how much this meant to me, like a dream come true. And what was even more amazing was that he was that great guy that everyone talked about; he wasn't conceited or arrogant. I think this made me love him even more. It's sad how much I'm crushing on him.
You wouldn't believe it but we spent 4 hours walking around campus, which is way bigger than what I thought. We talked about the music we liked, movies, books and any and everything that would pop in our heads. It went by way quicker than I had expected. I felt bad about lying about going to Midville, but I didn't lie about studying business; that's what I was going to do anyways.
When we got back to the party it had definitely died down. Hilary was sitting outside still talking to the same guy. When she saw us walking towards them I could tell she just wanted to scream so many things, but I glared at her and nodded not say anything.
"There you are. Are you ready to go?" she said hesitantly.
I didn't want to but I guess we were both pretty tired.
"I know it's almost 3 am but would you like to have a late breakfast or lunch tomorrow?" Shane asked me.
It was extremely hard to not jump and shriek on the spot but I kept calm and nodded. He told me of a good place that we could meet at and decided to shoot for 10 o'clock.
On the drive to our motel I explained every little detail of my conversation with Shane to Hilary. She was thrilled for me but a little confused about why I needed to lie. I told her how nervous I was but I couldn't take it back now. She understood but insisted that I think about whether I wanted to ruin something so great based on a little white lie.
In the morning we woke up around nine, and the first thing that popped in my head was that it was all a dream. But when I realized it wasn't I leaped in excitement.
"You ready for your date with thee Shane Polloni?" Hilary smiled.
I couldn't believe it. To even hear her say that seemed surreal. And this time I was going to dress more like myself and tell him that I was actually a senior at Blaker High. Hilary was going to drop me off and pick me up in a couple of hours so that we could drive back home. But first she was going to meet up with the guy from last night at the campus.
I walked up to the chic outdoor restaurant and saw that Shane was already waiting for me I'm very laid back and like to wear my pair of comfy jeans, flip flops and a short halter dress as a shirt. So I was thrilled to see him look just as comfortable as me, wearing jeans and flip flops too. I felt like royalty when I saw the million dollar smile he flashed me. He didn't notice but I had pinched my arm to remind myself that this was really happening.
"Hey, good morning."
"Hi, have you been waiting long?"
"No, just a couple of minutes." He answered.
Even though we had talked so much earlier, we still managed to have a fun conversation. I must admit that I was paranoid, I wondered if I had a dreamy look in my eyes that gave away how I felt inside.
"I gotta say that, while I thought you looked really pretty yesterday, I think you look even more beautiful right now." Shane confessed.
I felt my cheeks grow warm and red, and in that instant I wanted to tell him that little ounce of truth that would remove the chip off my shoulder.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to embarrass you." He smirked.
"Am I that red?"
"Just a bit, but it's cute."
No, he was cute, more than cute…he was gorgeous! He had this sandy brown hair combed back and to the side, not to mention the sexiest stare I'd ever seen.
"So you have to leave today huh?"
"Why, you want me to stick around some more? Aren't you bored with me yet?" I grinned.
"Never. I think you're the realest girl I've met so far."
"Really? I can't believe that."
"I'm serious. And I wish you didn't have to go so soon. Can I get your number, address or something?" He insisted.
I hesitated, if I was to give him my number than he would find out the truth soon enough. He said I was the realest girl he had ever met, and if I told him that I wasn't really a college student than that could ruin his perception of me. This is how I wanted to keep this memory, a wonderful dream come true. And I was also horrified that a guy like Shane would realize what a dork I was once he realized that I wasn't all that special. I decided to keep the mystery going and only gave him my email.
"So what college girl doesn't have a cell phone? You have a boyfriend don't you?" He insisted.
"No I don't. And I really don't have a cell phone yet." I know I was nowhere near sounding convincing.
He played along with my story but it was clear that he didn't believe me. Our time blew by all too quickly; I was disappointed to see Hilary pull up and park down the street.
"So I guess it's time for me to go..." I said as I stood up.
"I'm still not going to get your number am I?"
"I gotta go…" Even though I didn't want to move; I felt like something was missing to keep this from being perfect.
"Alright, I guess I'll be emailing you then." He smiled.
I began to walk towards the car, looking back every couple of seconds as he just stared at me, with the written piece of paper in his hands. What were the odds of actually keeping in touch with him? I'm sure the moment I left he'd throw that paper to the ground and that would be the end of this weekend. But I wanted one last thing…just one thing from him.
I looked at Hilary and told her to wait one more minute. I dropped my purse in the car and marched back to the table. He stood up with a questioned look on his face as I approached him. I wasn't thinking about his reaction; I was just going to go for it. And there in broad daylight in the middle of a semi crowded sidewalk, I plunged in to kiss him.
It was the sweetest and longest 5 seconds of my life. It was simple and explosive at the same time. It reminded me of those old fashioned movies where there was more sentiment in the way the lady was held than the actual kiss in itself; while nowadays if it isn't a "French kiss" than it doesn't count.
His hands held on to my back as if to help keep me from falling. I had taken advantage of those few seconds to quickly feel through his hair on the back of his neck, smell his knee- weakening cologne and feel the smoothness of his collarbone. Before I could read any sense of rejection or disgust I pulled away and hurried to the car. I didn't look back, I was too afraid that I would see a facial expression that would stain this perfect memory forever.
Hilary was screaming at my bold move and we quickly drove off as I told her to go now. I couldn't believe what I had just done. I could now say that I kissed Shane Polloni, and there weren't many girls that could brag about that. I could spread this ground breaking news to the world, but it was my secret to keep. It was my precious gem to protect from thieves that want to steal people's joy.
On the drive back Hilary had told me about her hook up with Finn, but unlike Shane, he knew that Hilary went to high school. He was actually happy and looking forward to her coming next year. I had a feeling that things were really going to work out for these two. We did both agree on this being the best weekend of our lives…ever.