As the peer leaders talked about college in my English class, I asked my teacher if I could leave for a little while. On my way to the vending machine, I saw Vanessa crying on the staircase. I stopped walking, not knowing what to do. Do I comfort her? Or do I not? But it would be wrong if I didn't. So, I grabbed two water bottles and went over to her.
She sniffed as she looked over to see who was sitting beside her. "Verona, right?"
"Here," I handed her the water bottle; she took it.
"College?" I asked and she nodded. "I figured. Just hearing about it makes me wanna just…"
"Mhhmm, I know what you mean," she said, gulping down the water. "I just can't handle the pressure. Not today."
"But I don't get it, you're so beautiful," I blurted out. I blushed from embarrassment. "Sorry, that's not what…I mean, I didn't…it's not like that-,"
"I know," she stopped me. "Just because I'm pretty, people think I can't have problems."
"I'm sorry," I said.
We chatted for a little while about college and how we got into our situation. She said she's had social anxiety ever since she was a child. I told her I was the same though I was more depressed. The bell rang and we parted ways, saying our goodbyes to each other.
"Verona!" Ryan grabbed my arm and pulled me on the side. Just by his touch, I blushed. "Listen, would you uhm-," he cleared his throat. "Would you?"
"What is it?" I asked.
"Alright, I'll just say it, okay?"
"Go ahead, no one's stopping you," I told him.
"Would you have dinner with me tonight?"
"What!" I cried. "No!"
"No?" I asked myself. "Wait. That's not what I meant."
"Look, it's a family dinner. I'll pick you up by 7. Okay?" he soon left, in a hurry. I stood there for a good minute, being bumped by other people, trying to figure out what just happened. It's all I could think about throughout the whole day. I didn't see him at all in school, so I couldn't ask him if he was being serious or not. So I went home, thinking that he was joking but the clock strike seven and the door bell rang.
"Why aren't you dressed?" he asked me when he saw me in shorts and an oversized shirt.
"I didn't think you were serious."
"Get dressed!" he said tensely pushing me inside.
"And wear something nice!" he yelled.
What is going on? Ryan is at my house, telling me to get dressed and to wear something nice. I looked at my closet. I don't have anything nice. Then I remembered I had this white dress from years ago.
"Hurry!" he said.
I gulped as I put on the dress. I quickly fixed my hair and put some decent make up on and went downstairs.
"Is this good enough for you?" I asked him.
"Yea, yea, it's good," he said in a hurried voice, he didn't even look at me.
"What's the deal anyways?" I asked. "Why now? What is going on?"
"I'll explain later," he said. He grabbed my hand and my face flushed. He led me to his car.
"Get in," and I did what I was told and he shut the door for me. I put my seatbelt on and I sat there, awkwardly, not knowing what to do. I learned that he only lives about ten minutes away from me and I probably learned the direction to get to his house.
"Hey!" his dad loudly said. He hugged Ryan and he hugged me. "It's so nice to meet you!"
"It's nice to meet you too, Mr. Williams," I said.
"You know, this is the first time my son ever, ever brought a girl home,"
"Dad!" Ryan cried.
"What! Just sayin'"
I giggled but stopped when Ryan glared at me but his gaze softened quickly. What was his deal? Dinner was fun. His dad was really funny and loud, it kinda makes me wish that my dad was still alive.
"Alright, kids, I'll leave you two alone. I'll be here downstairs if you need me, doing the dishes,"
"We can help," I offered.
"No, no, you're a guest honey, it's okay," he smiled warmly at me. I meekly smiled back.
"Let's go?" Ryan asked and I nodded. I followed him upstairs where his room was, everything was neat and in order.
"I'm in your room," I blurted.
"Yes, you're in my room," he repeated.
"I don't think I should be in your room," I said.
"Why not?" he asked dumbfounded.
"Uhm," I didn't want to have to explain why I shouldn't be in his room. I mean, I'm a girl. He's a guy. And it's late.
"Listen, I need to tell you something," he began to say and my heart started to beat fast.
"Yeah, you need to tell me why you've been acting so strange," I gulped, fidgeting in my white dress. I'm so uncomfortable. He sighed, turning his back on me.
"This isn't easy to say,"
"Look, you took me all the way here to tell me this thing and now you wouldn't? That doesn't make any sense now, does it?" I told him, trying to challenge him a little bit so he could just get on with it.
He sighed once again. He opened a drawer, took something out and closed it. He turned around and held a familiar phone.
"Where did you get that?" was the first thing that came out of my mouth.
"I found it," he said.
I began to tear up. "You're?"
I bit my lower lip. My knees started to shake. I took a step closer. And another step. Until I was so close to him, I could feel his breath. I took the phone from his hand and inhaled, holding my breath for a good amount of seconds.
"Verona, I'm…I didn't know until yesterday," Ryan whispered. I nodded as I try to comprehend everything that was going on right now. I began to cry. Here I am; standing in front of the person I trusted with this phone and it so happened to be Ryan. Ryan, whom I've managed to have feelings for. His hands slowly made their way to hug me and I felt their warmth.
"Thank you," was all I could say. "Thank you."
"No, I should be the one thanking you, because of you I've changed, for the better," he whispered to my ears.
I hugged him back, crying. And he let me cry all night in his arms, as I tell him about how my dad died and how much had changed ever since then. He also shared some stories about how his mother died and how he never told anyone about it. And we sat there, on the floor, revealing secrets after secrets. And it was a nice feeling, finally talking to someone about it.
He drove me back home after a little while.
"Thank you for inviting me to dinner," I said once we reached my doorstep.
"No, thank you for coming over," he said. "Are you sure it was okay with your mom?"
"Yeah, she's working late tonight,"
"Ah," he awkwardly stood there, with his hands on his pockets.
I sighed. "Well, goodnight."
"Goodnight," he was walking away and I was opening the door when he said my name. "Verona?"
Before I could answer, he cupped my chin and leaned over and pressed his lips against mine. My eyes widened as they slowly closed. He glided his lips over as my heart beat faster. I wrapped my arms around his neck as he caressed my hair. His kiss engulfed me whole; passionate. I leaned away and he only grabbed me closer for more. I moaned as his kiss intensified, as his tongue brushed my lips and made their way through my mouth, dancing inside me.
I sighed as our lips parted ways.
"Goodnight," he said once more.