May 2008

I stood looking at myself in the mirror, trying to recognize some aspect of myself. My hair was up in a fancy updo, little twists and braids into a messy bun of curls. My mom insisted that I get my makeup professionally done, and the lady might as well have made me look like a raccoon with the amount of eyeliner that is around my eyes. I take a q-tip and try to tone it down some. After a few tries, I feel less raccoon like and face the reality that I should just leave it alone before I make it worse. It wasn't that I looked terrible, I just didn't feel normal with this amount of makeup on my face. My mom said that it didn't matter because this was Prom and a reason to wear it, so I went along with her plans to avoid a fight.

I left the mirror and take my dress off the hanger on my bathroom door, it is simple but beautiful. It is a shorter length coming to my mid-thigh, but not tight against my skin. It is a deep teal color and has an empire waist, accentuated with a thick black band in the fabric that goes around to the back. It has a high neck line in the front, but the back has a deep square cut out the reaches just below the middle of my back. I smile at the memory of finding this beauty in the store with Rae, she convinced me to buy it and I'm glad she did.

I slip it on and put on my simple black 3 inch stilettos and gather my clutch to put money and my ticket in it. As I do I hear the doorbell ring and my heart skips a beat. I glance at the clock, 5 o'clock sharp, he's on time. I flit back to the mirror to check my appearance one last time with the dress on, and I smile at myself. I am going to Prom with Taylor. My smile grows bigger. I laugh nervously to myself and take a deep breath. I approach my door and listen to my dad talking to Taylor about football, I smooth down my dress and get ready for the "big entrance." I don't care who you are, or what you think, but I believe that every girl, deep down, lives for those moments where they have the chance to wow the person they care most about. This was mine.

I open the door and walk out to the living room, hearing my heels click on our wood floors. I hear the voices stop as I get closer and I turn the corner and my eyes meet his and I freeze. All eyes are on me and my face heats up. Actually, I take it back, I don't want my moment anymore, I'll take jeans, a t-shirt and just being a face in the crowd any day. Still, I feel him looking at me and I can't look away from him. He smiles first, and I smile back nervously, not as confident as I was before. My dad breaks the ice first, saying something about his little girl being all grown up, but I'm not really paying attention to him, I just nod and keep staring at Taylor. He looks good, he didn't even need an entrance to wow me. No fair. He's in a black suit with a dark teal vest underneath and a black collared shirt under that. We match perfectly. It brings a smile to my face.

I feel myself being guided to our patio where my mom starts pointing a camera at us and instructs us on how and where to stand. We give each other a look of dismay and start laughing. Click. He pulls me against his side and I lean my head against his shoulder. Click. He whispers 'You're beautiful' to me in my ear, I look down shyly at the ground. Click. I look up at him and smile. He smiles one of my favorite smiles back at me. Click. I wrap my arm around his waist and feel joyful. I face my mom and smile. Click. Maybe this won't be so bad after all.

After a few hundred more pictures, we head over with our parents in tow, to Anna's where our entire friend group is meeting to take group pictures. This takes about another 30 minutes of pictures of singles, doubles, dates, just girls, or just boys. It takes forever and by the time it's time to leave, I feel like my face is frozen in a smile. Taylor and I decided to drive alone in a car from our friends, so we pile in and all of our friends' cars pull out and we caravan all the way to prom.

It's night time when we get to the dance and cooling down. As we walk to the entrance, Taylor lends me his jacket. My heart melts. I smile and thank him, and we walk hand in hand to the front. We get in, put our stuff under a table and set out to find our friends. After searching for a bit, we find our friends on the dance floor with the live jazz band. I look at Taylor who seems to have gone rather pale and nervous. I put my hand out towards him, "Would you like this dance?" I ask dramatically, trying to make him lighten up.

He seems to have gotten paler, "I don't know how to swing dance" he insists.

"Well I don't really either" I try to make him feel better, but I can tell he is uneasy about dancing. He stays silent for a bit longer, probably not knowing how to get out of this without hurting my feelings so I grab his hand and start moving before he can think of an excuse. I take him through the basic, pull back and step in to the side move and a basic twirl, and he seems to keep up. I pull him close at one point and say, "You're the best for doing this" and smile at him, trying to let him know how much I appreciate him doing something out of his comfort zone.

"Anything for you." He laughs and smiles at me. He has a way of making the cheesiest of lines work, yet still cheesy at the same time. It's something so unique about him, that I think if anyone else tried to say them to me, I would burst out laughing. But I don't with him. I laugh regardless and start to dance with him again. Then I feel someone grab me from behind. I whirl around and see El, Rae, and Anna beaming at me with their dates, who are also good friends of mine. We all start talking about the dance and the different floors, and how there is a DJ outside on the patio with 'hipper' music and where the food is at.

Taylor and I decide to go explore some and take a break from dancing, though that's more his idea that mine. I get a little nervous as we approach the main dance floor, seeing everyone bumping and grinding, I'm not sure if Taylor will want to go out there or not. Just as we get there, the music cuts off and the DJ announces that Prom King and Queen are about to be announced. We move in a bit closer to the stage to see the contestants, I recognize a few and know one, who is one of Taylor's close friends. We make bets on who is going to win, we both loose the Prom Queen but win the King, who was his friend Gabe. Cheers erupt when they get crowned and they wave out to the crowd, everyone is chatting about the winners and starting to leave the dance floor once the announcement is done. As the music starts once again, I recognize the song and internally groan, it's a slow song. But then I remember, I have Taylor and won't have to awkwardly stand to the side looking at a wall like it was the best thing since sliced bread.

I turn to face him and he's already smiling at me.

"Would you like this dance?" He asks, mimicking me from earlier.

I smile, take his hand, and nod, not having the words to say yes. I wrap my arms around his neck and he pulls me closer as he wraps his arms around my waist. I abandoned my heels earlier, so my head reaches that perfect spot right at his shoulder, so I rest my head there against him as we sway back and forth. I inwardly laugh at the music, it's "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing" by Areosmith, it seems super cheesy and cliché, but somehow perfect for the moment. As the music builds to the main chorus I hear Taylor humming, and as soon as I pull back and look at him, he's singing the words to the song. I chuckle at him and he grins at me and keeps singing. He has no shame, and I can't help but be attracted to that. I feel him pull me closer to him as I rest my head back against him and smile, blissfully happy. He sings the rest of the song into my ear and at the end of the song he presses a kiss into my hair and then to my forehead. I still, not sure if he's going to go for the lips, we haven't fully kissed yet. He must have sensed my hesitation, and pulls my arms down from his neck and hold my hands to his chest.

"Liz" he says, just barely above a whisper. My eyes meet his and I tune out the rest of the dance and the hundreds of people around us. It's just him and me. Nothing else. And I realize, this is what all those romance books talk about, the moment where you connect with someone through a single look and just know in deepest part of your bones and soul that this person is something else. Something special. Something dangerous. Something deep. It shakes me to my very core.

"Liz" He tries again. Searching my face with those brilliant eyes and squeezing my hands he still has trapped against his chest. This gets my attention.

"Taylor" I breath out, not sure what's to come next.

He smiles slightly, takes a deep breath. "Liz. Be my girlfriend."

Shocked, I take a second to repeat in my head what he said. His girlfriend? Oh my goodness. Girlfriend. Boyfriend. And I look into his eyes once more and notice he's stroking my clasped hands with his thumb, it feels rather nice.

Focus, I tell myself. And as I do, a million different scenarios run through my head coming out with a thousand different scenarios. Some good, some bad, but mostly I settle on happy outcomes. I battle with my brain which is reminding me that I leave in three months, it won't be worth it. My heart squeezing at that thought and aching at the chance to feel for him. But how can I say no to him? How can I deny what I just felt when we were dancing? How can I deny what I feel everytime I look at him?

I return my gaze to his hopeful looking face, and start to smile.

"Of course, I'll be your girlfriend. Be my boyfriend?" I ask in return.

He breaks out into what will be from now on my favorite smile on him. His left side a little higher than the right, and a little dimple on his left cheek.

His eyes crinkle with joy. "Of course I will."

And with that, he leaned in and captured my lips with his, making me the happiest girl alive.