The first time I met the love of my life, I was four. I hadn't known it at the time, but we were destined to be best friends. My parents had recently moved into the neighborhood and he lived next door, so it made sense for us to become friends. Even to this day, I remember how he had introduced himself. I had been sitting at a plastic patio set in my parents backyard. I was focused on my coloring book. Completely and totally oblivious to the world around me. With as much charm and grace as a four year old could muster, he ran up and emptied a large blue bucket of mud right onto my lap. I retaliated by tripping him into a pile of dog poop. Right at that moment I knew that this was the boy for me. Unfortunately for me, my parents had their camcorder running at precisely the right time. The whole incident had been captured on tape, forever immortalized on my parents "Memory" shelf. This is where the family memories (otherwise known as blackmail) are kept. Everything from my first time potty training to my sixth grade graduation. Every scarring memory that most parents like to laugh at and forget, my parents preferred to keep them, in full view of any house guests that happened to stop by. This was my punishment for teaching my dad about technology and my mom about scrap booking. Between them, I wouldn't be surprised if they pulled out the hospital brochure from the day I was born and lectured me on the importance of significant moments in my past or something just as pointless. They were fond of lecturing. My dad had taken a motivational speaking class in college and thought himself god's gift to the unmotivated, undetermined members of our community. My mom just liked to talk, whether to a large school audience or herself. She was the principal of my high school and, the worst part is, she took pride in it. Everything from informing the other people in the grocery line to corny bumper stickers. By now, I was used to the strange looks and the people avoiding me. I wasn't friends with them anyway. Having my mom as the principal pretty much ensured that the word normal would never be in my vocabulary. I have a few friends, but I've always considered two of them to be my best friends. My best friends have always been Zoe and Chase. As far back as I can remember they've always been there for me. I met Zoe in kindergarten. Her last name was Arnett and mine was Asher. Everything was alphabetical. That meant we were always next to each other. From the instant I saw her with her pink and blue hair, I knew she was going to be my best friend. The only problem was, back in elementary school, she hated Chase. She hated him so much she could not stand to be in the same room with him for more than a few minutes. It got in the way of our friendship mainly because he was practically my brother. We spent so much time together people actually began to think we were related. He had a lot of guy friends but until high school I was the only girl that he talked to. Even now, in senior year, he's only dated two girls. One of them cheated on him after a week and the other dumped him after a total of three days. Apparently she didn't like how close him and I were so she used the classic excuse "He flirts with other girls". After each breakup I was silently happy that the old chase was back. The first time he went out with a girl in middle school, I realized that I was jealous, and I liked him in a more than friends kind of way. When I told Zoe this, she didn't speak to me for a week. I was tiptoeing around her for months before I found out the reason she was mad at me. It was during a game of truth or dare at a sleepover freshman year. We all had ulterior motives for playing but acted like we were innocent. Without thinking I asked her, "Why do you hate Chase?" All of that time, she had been jealous of mine and his friendship. Eventually, after I talked to her, she got over it and joined our group. She did a lot of changing in middle school. For one, she grew. A lot. She endured the nickname giraffe for at least three years. She also became a lot less focused on school. She had always been smart, but in my mothers words "She just needed to apply herself." She never took this advice to heart and started looking at the world in a different way. She stopped caring what people thought about her. She started dating a guy named Jackson in eighth grade. His real name was Tristan B. Jackson but everybody just called him Jackson. He had a reputation, and not the good kind. He had been arrested twice and gone to counseling multiple times over the years. He also had a habit of hooking up with other girls, then begging forgiveness from Zoe. For some reason she always took him back. Regardless of her faults, Chase, Zoe, and I have been best friends forever.

"Claire you have ten minutes to get yourself downstairs before I am feeding Goldy to the cat". This was the first thing I woke up to, threats by my mom to feed my goldfish to our evil cat. This sentence in itself speaks about what type of parent she is. I rolled over and looked at the time on my alarm clock. "SHIT!" It was six fifty one. I was supposed to be up an hour and a half ago! This is what I get for trusting her to wake me up. Late. I rushed through my morning routine, trying to condense two hours to ten minutes. Finally, running down the stairs with a minute to spare, it happened. I saw Chase. This wasn't significant, because I see him every day. It was the bouquet of flowers he was holding in his hand. They were daffodils, my least favorite flower. " Yes, Yes, YES! You finally got up the nerve to ask her! What did she say?" He blushed a deep red. "Umm...Uh..I-I actually didn't ask her." The topic of conversation was Aria Revest, the girl who he had been drooling over all year. She lived across the street from us and was gorgeous. Prom was three weeks away and people were starting to find dates. "WHAT!" I yelled loudly, "How could you not have asked her! You might miss your chance!" He looked down and shuffled his feet, seeming to avoid my statement. He began to blush again, while stammering a chorus of umms and ahhs. My mother chose that moment to enter the room and promptly mention that I was going to be late. When she saw Chase she asked, "Did you ask her yet"? I was confused by this, because my mother had no clue who chase liked. When I looked to him for an explanation he just smirked, then began to laugh. "I swear, if someone does not tell me whats going on I am going to start freaking out." This only made my mother snicker and him to explode with laughter. I figured that this was a lost cause and walked into the living room to grab my bag. I found it quickly and walked out to my bike, which I rode to school almost every day for exercise. Chase came running out after me, waving his arms and yelling for me to wait. I stood and looked at him, all too aware something was up. He walked up to me breathless, still blushing. "Let me give you a ride to school just this once?" I began to protest, but he stopped me quickly. "Your exercise can wait until later, this is important." Still wary, I got into his car. I was silently thrilled that he wanted to give me a ride without my asking. He started fumbling with the keys. It was obvious he was nervous, but I couldn't figure out why. He pulled out of my driveway quickly and began driving down the road. He kept glancing at his watch like he was going to miss something important. We pulled onto the main road and I turned on the radio, expecting his usual metal crap. Instead it was classical. I almost had an aneurism at that point. He has only listened to classical music two times in his life. The first time was in eighth grade right before his drum solo in the middle school band. The second time was when he had to give a toast at his cousins wedding last year. I knew something monumental was going to happen today and I was full on freaking out at this point. I glanced over at him, fully prepared to give him hell for keeping me in suspense like this, when I saw it. It was so out of place on the bridge that I had to blink twice to see it. It was a large banner on the side of the overpass, decorated with the words, "Claire Asher, Forgive me for the mud. Will you go to prom with me?" I was in shock at this point, fully prepared for my first heart attack. This had been my dream for as long as I could remember. Every eyelash and fountain wish had been for this exact moment. I sat there for at least a minute, just reveling in the amazement that I felt. The silence was finally interrupted by him. "So... uh... What do you say?" the expression on his face was a comedic goldmine. He looked so happy but was practically shaking with anticipation. I decided to put him out of his misery, and said, "Yes."

I walked into school fifteen minutes later. I checked my watch and still had time before the first bell, so I started looking for Zoe to tell her the news. I saw Mrs. McCarthy in the hall and walked up to her. "Have you seen Zoe?" I asked. "Principals office? Police station?" Mrs. McCarthy was the only teacher with a sense of humor, so I let myself laugh. "She's just down the hall, to the left. You might be able to catch her if you hurry." I thanked her and started walking toward the music rooms. I was certain that's where she and Jackson would be. They had taken to finding each other before school started and trying to choke each other with their tongues before homeroom. Apparently they liked privacy so I couldn't even imagine what was going on in that room. When I walked into the chorus room, I wasn't surprised to see the lights off and Zoe scrambling for her jeans. I walked in and picked up her jeans. She turned around, fully prepared to start cursing me out, before she saw it was me. When she realized it was me and not a teacher she relaxed and started looking for her clothing again. I reached across the row of chairs and handed her jeans back. "Thanks" She mumbled.

"Don't you two have houses and cars for hooking up?" She glared at me angrily, acting like I was the one stripping behind a piano before school. "Yeah, so what? He can't come over later and I wanted to see him." I just shook my head and ignored her tone. "I have amazing news! Chase asked me to prom!" The expression on her face was comical, her eyebrows raised in high arches and her jaw a salute to the best of cartoons. "Oh My God! He asked you! We have to go shop for dresses today, as in right now!" I was overwhelmed and tried to find the rationality in that statement. "Okay Zoe, calm down. I can't cut class today but we can right after school to the main street boutiques." I almost never went there, due to the fact that the price tags were higher than everywhere else in town, but I thought that hey, its prom, lets indulge a little. "Perfect, I will meet you at your house at two thirty on the dot."

"Great, see you there, and remember your wallet" I called this after her as she hurried down the hall, always in motion. Right after she left the warning bell rang and the halls quickly began to clear. I rushed to my locker and tried to unpack my bag in time for class.