Authors: Brooklyn Taylor
I could not take my eyes off her moving across the cafeteria and watching the flow of her body. She looked like she had a passion for dancing like I did for drumming. I wondered if she got lost in it too. She looked as if she really enjoyed it from the smile plastered on her face. Her body danced effortlessly. She was talented and I could clearly tell she knew what she was doing. She stood out. Not only as the most beautiful but her skill level was well above most of the others. Did she block out everything and just dance like I did when I played music?
When the performance was done, I was quickly shooed out of the cafeteria. I was hoping to give her applause for the amazing dance she just did but didn’t even get two seconds to wave. Not that she would notice me anyway. I was nothing special, just ordinary.
Two weeks have passed in school and I have kept myself pretty busy. Our dance team, the Pantherettes, will be having tryouts in just a week. I have been doing nothing but practicing hoping to secure my spot. I have danced all my life, but I’m not professionally trained in any way, shape or form. I was self taught. My parents would have loved to put me in dance classes but were never able to. I was a bit nervous knowing many of the girls I would be dancing next to would have had private training. My mom always said if you have a gift you have it, no amount of training can give it to you if you don’t. Here’s to hoping I have it.
I’ve met a lot of new people and tried to pretend my lovely fall in the main hallway didn’t truly happen. I had convinced myself that I had dreamed it or more like a nightmare. I have seen Cannon in the halls and during lunch when he is passing through but didn’t really pay much attention to him even when all the other girls were star spelled. He thought his presence demanded it.
I was sitting at the lunch table eating my pizza when every girl around me was staring at my table. Please God not another mortifying moment. Cannon walked up to my table and in my view, every girl’s mouth dropped.
Cannon takes me by surprise as he jumps on the table I am sitting at and everyone is looking at him.
“Hey ladies…” The cafeteria gets quiet. I roll my eyes.
“There is a big party next Friday at my bud Ryan’s house. I would like every one of you to come.” He winks and all the girls are acting as if he was God’s gift to women.
“It will be a kickass time, starts at 9:00 and will end whenever it’s over.” He turned and walked away after slinging his backpack over his shoulder while his friends who were waiting for him to catch up.
God, I am so stupid. My first thought was he realized he was an ass when I fell and he was going to apologize for not helping me.
I turned around and took a seat at the lunch table wanting to scream with excitement but still unsure of his action.
Autumn just came into the cafeteria and must have missed his performance.
“He wanted to know if we wanted to go to a party after tryouts. Cannon just invited the whole cafeteria to the party he is having!”
“Pretty cool! Ryan had just invited me too. Do you think your parents will let you go?”
“Crap. I didn’t think that far ahead. Maybe if I tell them that Cannon invited me they would let me and that you will be with me. It certainly isn’t a date, only a bunch of people hanging out.”
Earth to Reese! I know they aren’t going to allow it, and I don’t know why I’m even pretending they will. I’ve got to figure out a plan B.
Autumn and I had decided that if my parents say no, I’ll stay at her house and we will go anyway. I have to go and see what these high school parties are all about. I do have huge doubts though in why he seems to be taking an interest in me. Maybe he is just trying to be a good friend and show me the ropes.
Cannon was actually the first boy I kissed (well the closest to anything I could call a kiss). It was when we were in elementary school. I was in third grade, and he was in fifth. We were at recess together, and he was pushing me on the swing. He pulled back to slow me down, and I went flying over hitting the sand with a big clunk. He came running to me afraid that I was going to be crying, and he was going to get in trouble. He kissed me on the cheek and held my hand to help me up. I didn’t wash that hand for as long I could hold off. I stared at my cheek that night for hours, then touching it and remembering the slight tingle when his lips touched it. All my friends thought that boys had cooties. That might have been true but not for Cannon. Now, I’m not really sure…
Morning after morning, I wake myself up. I don’t have the normal mother or father to tell me to have a good day or make me breakfast. Sure I’m a senior in high school, but I’ve never had that. Even in elementary I took care of myself. My dad was dealing heavy drugs at the time and when he wasn’t dealing he was high or sleeping. Mom had tried several times to stay drug free but wasn’t successful with it. My dad wanted her just like him, destroyed. I have never really known what it was like to have parents that care. They didn’t understand why I hated the life we lived. More times than not they voiced their frustration that I thought I was better than them.
I listened to people talk about how their parents were annoying and watched them like hawks. They had to lie to do things they wanted to do when caring parents would try to provide them a net, so they wouldn’t get hurt, something that was only a dream for me. I yearned for that and knew I was never going to get it. I saw things I shouldn’t have seen but all it did was make me want to strive even more to make it, to get away from it. I was going to make it, and I was going to be nothing like my parents.
My evenings were pretty identical to my mornings. I did my homework, drummed with the band and then made myself something to eat. Mom worked at a hotel in housekeeping and when she was home she was either sleeping or sitting in her room in silence. I don’t know if she knew if I was dead or alive half the time nor would she have cared. Well that’s not true. If I was dead Aunt Ellen wouldn’t be paying our bills.
This is my senior year and all of my friends were going to be hanging out, partying, and having a good time, while I was just going to be living my life. It was a vicious cycle, and I was willing to do it because I knew I would survive it all. I was going to go to college and do the one thing that would piss my parents off the most and I would have full satisfaction in doing just that. It was going to make me happy to put people away that made and sold drugs and destroyed lives just like mine was.
Tonight I’m without my parents going to my first football game! They would never allow it but now, this year they are. I wasn’t all too worried about ever coming to a football game but tonight Autumn has a boy on her radar. I’m her “wingman” so she says. Autumn was the type of girl who sets her target on something and she doesn’t stop until she gets it. It doesn’t take too much convincing. She is beautiful and looks a lot older than her actual age. I was still personally bordering on the eighth grade body. In fact, some eighth graders might have bigger boobs than me.
Autumn had already been kissed, and I mean kissed a lot. She was in a rush to do all her firsts unlike me, who wasn’t in any rush. I was taking my time and didn’t want any of my firsts to be taken away from me unless it was perfect. It had to live up to that image in my head. I hadn’t really ever pictured my firsts seriously. You know, the firsts, my first hand hold, and my first kiss (not on my cheek). My first make out, and on and on. I have the image in my head that it will be with someone I was in love with. Not necessarily the one I would marry, but someone I would always remember. Autumn thought I was crazy but she supported me. Sure, she teased with her wise cracks though. My mom and dad had a wonderful marriage and I would not settle for anything less.
We finally made it to some empty seats in the student section. “Is this seat taken?” I asked the guy sitting next to where I was standing not really paying attention to his face. We didn’t have many spots to choose from, and it really didn’t concern me who I was sitting next to as long as he was clothed. Some of these idiots had their shirts off and paint all over their chests.
He turned around and smiled then patted the seat. “No. But it is now.”
How in the hell… A familiar face, my hero, Garrison. Holy crap. I hadn’t seen him since dance earlier today. How did I get so lucky to get to sit next to him?
He was wearing our school team shirt but had the sleeves torn off. His arms were bigger than the little scrawny arms that the sophomore guys had. He sat kind of close to me, and I wondered what it would be like to feel his arm around my shoulders. I had never had a guy put his arm around me before. Garrison looked even better tonight than he did the first two times I saw him, and yes, I was counting. He was just as gorgeous but in a totally different way than Cannon. Not that I was comparing them… but Cannon was the only other guy I had ever had these feelings for. Garrison was the definition of perfect and the best part about it was he didn’t know it, unlike Cannon.
Autumn was on my other side standing up hugging other students whom I didn’t recognize. She had never met a stranger. None of them looked our age but yet again, Autumn didn’t look our age. She had always hung out with older people. She was the type of person that could be thrown into any situation and could hang, nothing threw her off, a skill I was envious of. She never seemed out of her element. I always felt like a fish out of water when I wasn’t in familiar territory and tonight was definitely not familiar.
“First game as a student?” He smiled at me trying to get me to talk. I’m not sure if he was sensing my nervousness or if he really wanted to know.
“First game as a student.” And without adult supervision for that matter. The latter statement I kept to myself.
“This should be a pretty good one. It should be a no brainer if the players play like they’ve been.”
“Good to know.” I shake my head at him and smile. Oh my God, his eyelashes. His hazel eyes reflected off of them. Tonight the green wasn’t as distinct in his eyes but the brown is. Either way, they were unique.
“You’re a Pantherette?”
“Trying to be, tryouts are next week. And you are a drummer in our school band?”
“Not for the marching band, but ya a drummer. I’ve been drumming all my life.”
“It showed. You sounded pretty awesome in the cafeteria yesterday. That was you wasn’t it that winked at me? Why aren’t you sitting in the band section?”
“Ya it was. I was just filling in though. I’m not in the marching band. Why aren’t you on the field?” He smiled genuinely.
“Only junior and seniors perform the routine for varsity games.” I smiled back.
“That’s a shame, you’re really good.”
I blushed and hoped it wasn’t as obvious as it felt.
The crowd was crazy as loons as Comal Panthers made a touchdown. Fans were giving each other high fives, yelling, and clapping. They were hugging and celebrating what was already becoming an awesome game.
Garrison brought me in for a hug out of excitement and when he pulled me in and brushed my ear I about fainted. Thank God he was holding me up. I could see Autumn out of the corner of my eye and she was smiling like she herself had run in the touchdown. She was hugging another guy who I could only guess was the reason she wanted to come. Her hug didn’t end just as a platonic hug though as mine did. She was laying a kiss on his lips. I turned away as if I was seeing something I was not supposed to be seeing, shielding myself.
Garrison let go of me and sat back down. There was a part of me that felt sad he had released me. I could smell him on my shirt. It smelled of his cologne that was clean and fresh. Addicting…
“Sorry I probably shouldn’t have done that. We don’t exactly know each other. I was just excited for the team and acted on a whim.”
“It’s okay. I didn’t think anything of it! It’s exhilarating watching everyone get so excited.”
He smiled at me but didn’t stop looking at me. I wasn’t sure what he was waiting for but I knew I could feel something between us. I had no clue what it was since I had never felt it before but there was… something, not ordinary.
The Comal Panthers scored touchdown after touchdown. The sound of the stadium tonight was nothing I have ever heard and I was excited to be a part of it. It was like roars of thunder on a stormy night where you felt that shock in your spine. We stood more than we sat so we could cheer them on not missing a beat. It was an amazing night, especially sitting next to Garrison.
Autumn and I stayed the entire game and I had the most fun I had in my entire life. Sitting next to Garrison had my stomach in knots but for a good reason. He was giving me attention that I wasn’t used to but yet surprisingly loved. Several times he had grazed my hand and I had hoped he would hold it, a feeling I wasn’t familiar with. I barely knew him but felt there was this force pushing me towards him as if we were magnets.
When the game was over, he walked with us to the parking lot to wait for my parents. He had asked if I needed a ride home, but I refused knowing I wasn’t allowed to ride with teenagers. My mom had lost her brother in a car accident when he was a teenager only a block away from the house. He was in the car with a group of his friends. They had left a party and they were dropping him off. He ironically was the only one that was sober.