Of all places, they met at the happiest place on earth: Disneyland.
Not only that, but it was Grad Night: an annual tradition for thousands of high school graduates throughout Southern California. The senior class would take a trip to the amusement park at the end of the school year, and spend the entire night there. The buses wouldn't be loaded back up until sometime after sunrise the following morning.
In between waiting in long lines for different rides, Christina and her friends stopped by one of the outdoor club-themed corners of the park which was accompanied by a DJ with blaring speakers. Christina thought the rides and attractions were fine, but when it came to having a good time, nothing ever topped dancing in her book.
Elsewhere, Adam had successfully dodged all of the miniature clubs for the first half of the night. He was too self-conscious when it came to dancing.
I'll leave it to the professionals, he'd always say.
His buddies were leading the way to the next line – Star Tours – when they walked past another one of the temporary clubs. Unlike the others that were playing pop and hip-hop, this one was playing what sounded like Latin music. He couldn't help but be impressed by the way this particular crowd was moving in flawless rhythm. Based on what he'd seen earlier, he could've faked his way dancing to the other music. There was no way in bloody hell he'd survive two seconds trying to dance to music like this. Everything seemed more soulful and vibrant here. His eyes sifted through the crowd, and he couldn't help but zero in on one specific girl who twirled, twisted, and rotated with what appeared to be incredible ease. When she smiled with pleasure, he couldn't help it – he stared. Beautiful seemed like an insult to describe her. It was such an understatement.
"See something you like?" one of his friends, Phillip, teased.
Adam shoved his hands into the pockets of his cargo army shorts. "This is the first time in my life I wish I knew how to dance."
"There's nothing to it, man. Just wing it. She seems to be dancing with a bunch of chicks. You should swoop in."
"Yeah right," Adam laughed.
Phillip shrugged. "Your loss, dude. I'm going over. She's too hot to pass up."
He stopped him by clamping down a heavy hand on his shoulder. "Wait, you're serious? That's not cool, man. I saw her first."
Phillip shrugged off his friend's hand. "I don't care. If you don't make a move, you've got no claim. It's not every day you see a girl who looks like that."
"Alright, fine. Just give me a second." Adam sighed and turned to face the rest of their friends. "Will you guys come, too? I need backup. Maybe you could dance with her friends."
It took some coaxing. Not everyone in their group was as bold and daring with girls as Phillip. So far, he was the only one from their small group who'd had sex. The cockiness had followed immediately after his first official "mounting."
Phillip led the way, and once they approached the target of girls, he took the floor: "Hello ladies. You mind if we join in to dance? I can't promise we'll keep up though." His charm was enough to garner an invitation for everyone.
Adam swallowed hard before he leaned in to talk near her ear. The music was too loud to speak at a regular volume. "I'm Adam," he said.
She tried standing on her tippy toes since he was so much taller than her, but Adam leaned down so she wouldn't have to reach so far. "Christina," she replied somewhere over his shoulder.
It didn't take very long for her to notice how uncoordinated he was. She took pity on him and made sure to bring her game down several pegs so he wouldn't look so clumsy next to her. She tried making her moves as simplistic as possible so he'd be able to mimic and follow her lead. Their dancing eventually boiled down to clasping hands, and the occasional twirl.
Christina laughed when he used her hand to twirl himself. It was an awkward looking spin since he had such a hard time getting her arm around his much taller stature.
The two newly forged groups spent the rest of the night together, eating a very late dinner, and waiting in different lines. They decided to make Space Mountain their last stop before sunrise. The wait was nearly three hours.
Adam wished the wait had been longer. He stood next to Christina and talked with her the whole time. When the time came to leave, he broke away from his friends so he could walk her back to her high school's bus.
"What are you gonna do when you get home?" he asked conversationally.
"I don't know when that'll be," she said. "My friends and I are going to the beach as soon as the bus drops us back at school. We figure we'll have the beach to ourselves since it's so early in the morning."
He brightened at that. "Oh yeah? Which beach?"
She named it and he grinned. She smiled back, amused by his reaction. "What?" she asked curiously.
"I go to that beach sometimes. I like to surf."
Christina smirked. "Yeah, I would've guessed that."
"What do you mean?"
She gestured vaguely in his direction. "The way you look."
To his great annoyance, Adam knew he was a typical white boy: tall, and lanky, with dirty blond hair and light blue eyes. He'd been told he was good looking, but he thought he was generic when he looked around at all the other guys in his high school. Maybe that was why he was so drawn to this girl. She looked like no one he'd ever met.
Before tonight he thought he knew what black hair looked like. Christina's thick, lengthy hair seemed to be blacker than black. Her eyes were nearly as dark which should've been creepy, but the shade added depth. Her skin had a warm tan, which made him curious about her ethnicity.
"This is the part where you invite me to the beach," Adam said in a stage whisper as he cupped one side of his mouth.
Trying not to smile was difficult. Christina feigned ignorance. "Is that right?"
"It's the polite thing to do," he shrugged. "No pressure." Then, for no particular reason, he flashed her a cheesy grin.
He was way too cute to turn down.
"I'll give you my cell number. Call me when you're near the beach. We'll meet up," she said.
If they talked all night at Disneyland, they spent the entire morning talking at the beach. A summer romance was inevitable. They lived several cities apart from each other, but they spent as much time together as they possibly could that summer. Eventually, Adam joined Phillip's exclusive No-Longer-A-Virgin club. When Adam and Christina discovered sex, they seemed to forget and ignore everything else. Being teenagers with hormones going off the charts, their hunger was insatiable. They couldn't get enough of each other.
Lust replaced the slowly growing seed of what could've potentially been genuine love and affection. It was a classic mistake they'd pay for sooner rather than later.