I was barely paying attention to the speaker.
I sat on the hard bleachers of the Falcon Gym as another round of Winter Wishes were announced. Some cheerleader gave a dude a rose and some guy got a kiss from his mom. I just kept fiddling with my clarinet. When were we going to play again? That's what the pep band was for, right?
The overly preppy girl kept on listing them off, probably embarrassing the heck out of the students whose Winter Wishes were granted.
I didn't care.
It wasn't as if they were going to bother granting my Wish.
I wasn't even intending to submit a Wish. I just did it on impulse. Mr. Oram had forgotten to hand them out until the last day they could possibly be submitted, so with five minutes left of class, he randomly started passing out little slips of paper.
There was a blank for my name and grade level, and one for my Wish. It had to be five dollars or less. I looked around the room. People were writing, thinking, placing their Wishes in the envelope on Mr. Oram's desk. Some people were packing up.
My eyes settled on Aaron, across the room. Could you buy a person for five dollars? He stood up, folded his little paper, and walked over to Mr. Oram's desk. Aaron placed his Wish in the designated envelope, then turned around and waved at me. I waved back, sighing.
No. I didn't want Aaron. I wanted something from him, something smaller. The bell sounded, and the class stood up. Some headed straight for the door, while others wished Mr. Oram a Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year, a See You In January And Have A Good Break. I remained at my desk. I would not be late for chemistry.
Mr. Oram looked at me, obviously wondering why I wasn't heading to third period. I smiled, looking back down at that stupid piece of paper that could potentially embarrass me for life. Picking up my favorite ice blue mechanical pencil, I hastily scribbled a mistletoe kiss (from Aaron Mulberry) on the little line. I dropped the folded purple card on Mr. Oram's desk on my way to the door. "Have a good break, Mr. Oram!" I called on my way out of class.
"And the next Winter Wish is from a sophomore." Preppy Girl announced. I perked up a bit, even though I knew it was pointless. She grinned at the crowd. "This one is interesting. It seems she wished for a mistletoe kiss."
All my senses were on high alert. No. This couldn't be me. I'm a nobody. Just an invisible clarinet ninja who writes band-related articles for the school news magazine. They wouldn't grant my Wish...would they?
"But not a kiss from just anyone," Preppy Girl continued. "Sarah Harrington and Aaron Mulberry, come on down!"
I jumped up, clutching my clarinet as hard as I could. The metal keys dug into my hands. The crowd had fallen silent, or as silent as over six-hundred students in a gym this size could possibly be. All I could hear was the pounding of my heart, the blood rushing past my eardrums. I looked at Aaron for a second, taking in the look of pure shock on his face, before bolting for the door.
I collapsed right outside the door to the band area. Why did it have to be locked? The band room was supposed to be a haven for all music students, a safe place that was always open.
"How did I know you'd be here?" An amused voice asked. I looked up, startled to see Aaron standing over me. He smiled apprehensively, sitting down beside me on the side opposite my clarinet. I froze, until he rested his head on my shoulder, just like on the bus ride to Harvest Festival of the Bands, also known as the Best Day of My Life.
"So, why did you run?" Aaron inquired curiously. I shrugged, which was difficult to do because his head was still on my shoulder. I rested my head against his, his silky hair tickling my cheek. I marveled at how comfortable this was, especially after the Bands of America trip.
"I didn't think they were going to announce my Wish in front of the whole school." I explained.
"You seriously wished for a mistletoe kiss from me?" Aaron laughed, lifting his head up to look at me.
"I couldn't think of anything else!" I snapped. He grinned.
"Well, they actually got you some mistletoe." Aaron informed me. He held up a small sprig. "After you ran out, the girl walked over and handed it to me, apologizing. Then she said I could go look for you, if I wanted to."
"Thanks," I sighed, taking the mistletoe from him. I set it in my lap.
"What, no kiss?" Aaron asked in a joking tone. I stood up, looking down at him, and leaned against the still-locked door.
"It's what you wished for, isn't it?" He stood up as well, grinning as he placed one hand on the door, slightly above our heads. He was holding the mistletoe. I closed my eyes.
This wasn't happening. Any second now, my alarm was going to go off and I'd have to get ready for the last day of school in 2012. I was going to make myself some Instant Breakfast, put on my jeans, Bands of America T-shirt, jacket, and tennis shoes. I was going to grab my backpack, clarinet, and my gift for the party in publications class, and follow my dad and brother out the door.
I opened my eyes. The mistletoe was still there, and Aaron was looking at me expectantly. "Ready?" He whispered. Somehow, I managed to nod.
Aaron leaned forward, his silver eyes never leaving mine, until our lips met. This was exactly how I had imagined kissing Aaron would be, yet totally different at the same time. The kiss was caring and tender, innocent and sweet, but we both knew he was the one in control. He deepened it a little, and I carefully brought my hands up, running my fingertips through the soft light brown hair on the back of his neck.
Too soon, in my mind, we separated. "Merry Christmas, Sarah." Aaron whispered, handing the mistletoe back to me. He placed a tender kiss on my forehead, and then disappeared, walking around the side of the building. My knees gave out and I sank to the ground, letting my head fall back against the still-locked door.
"Merry Christmas, Aaron."