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When Dreams Come True...
We’ve all heard the stories. You know, the ones where the girl dreams of meeting her Prince Charming, they fall in love, and live “happily ever after?” Yeah, those stories. But that’s not what happened to me about two years ago… not exactly.
It was my junior year in high school, and I had promised myself that I was going to make that my most memorable year yet. At the time, I had the hugest crush on Ben Sampson. The problem was that so did every other girl in school. He was picture-perfect—good looks, good grades, and the most popular, most athletic guy in the entire school. He set high expectations for his brother, who was year younger, a junior, like me. His name was Zach. He was just as cute as his brother, but he wasn’t into sports. Actually, no one really knew what Zach was into. He was the quiet type who kept to himself except for a close group of friends that he hung sat with at lunch. He usually went unnoticed by most everyone in school, always sinking back into the shadows.
One day I saw a poster up for the school dance coming up. I hoped (okay, wished!) that Ben would finally see the light and ask me to the dance. I watched and analyzed his every move, going where he went, talking to his friends. I didn’t know what exactly I was looking for, but I didn’t give up. I wasn’t a quitter! A few days later when I walked into school, I could tell something was amiss with the girls. They were all on edge, and they all seemed to be giving me harsh glares as I walked by. But why? What did I do to them? I found my answer when I turned down the hallway and headed to my locker. Leaning up against locker 157, my locker, was Ben Sampson. I felt my heart lurch in my chest. Why was he at my locker? That explained the looks, at least. My palms grew sweaty as I took my time walking to my locker. Soon, I was standing right next to him, staring down at my shoes. He was looking at me. I could feel it. My eyes wandered up to his face to find that he had a smile on it. He was gorgeous up close. My heart fluttered again, and I fought to control my breathing.
“Emily,” he said. I gasped internally. How did he know my name?
“Yes?” My voice came out high-pitched and shaky, and I could feel the heat moving up my neck and into my cheeks. Great. Just what I needed. When he didn’t answer, I spoke. “Why are you here, Ben?”
“My parents would notice if I didn’t come to school,” he smiled. Was he trying to be funny?
“I meant at my locker. Shouldn’t you be with Chloe?” Chloe was his girlfriend. The two of them had been together for two years now, and everyone knew it. They were great together.
“Is this your locker?” He said playfully, avoiding my second question.
“Yes, it is,” I answered. I was starting to get kind of annoyed now. “Now, why are you here?”
“Emily,” he said again, “I have a question for you. Do you think you’re up to answering?”
“Try me,” I replied. That had me intrigued. What could Ben Sampson want to ask me?
Ben looked me in the eyes as if he’d done the same thing every day of his life, and I was lost in the middle of the ocean, drowning in the blueness. I snapped from my trance when he sighed and finally spoke.
“I wanted to, uh…” he trailed off.
“You wanted to what?” I urged.
“Ask you to the dance?” It came out as a question, but I didn’t notice because of the whooshing sound rushing by my ears. My knees buckled beneath me, and I leaned on the bank of lockers for support. Ben Sampson just asked me out! Oh my gosh, I couldn’t believe it.
“What’s the matter? Emily?” He asked worriedly.
“Oh. Um.” I stammered.
“So, what’s your answer?”
I managed to mostly recover by then. “Yes, Ben,” I breathed. He grinned a crooked smile and headed off to class so he wouldn’t be late. I, on the other hand, was too astonished to move. The days passed quickly, and before I knew it, the big day had arrived. I had the perfect dress, the shoes to match, a gorgeous hair-do, a fresh mani/pedi, and the perfect date!
Ben picked me up, and we headed to the school. To me, it seemed that the night couldn’t get any better. When Ben started talking to his guy friends, I took walk to the ladies’ room. While rinsing my hands and reapplying my lip-gloss, I reflected on my perfect evening with the perfect guy. What could possibly go wrong? I thought to myself. But then, I walked out the door to find none other than Ben Sampson, my date, with his arms wrapped securely around a beautiful blond named Chloe Hunter. Yes, you heard right. His “ex-girlfriend.” Or so I had thought…
Was he using me to make her jealous? I couldn’t take any more of this. As I felt hot, salty tears spill down my cheeks, I made a mad dash for the door while my classmates stopped to stare. Great. Now I would be the talk of the school tomorrow.
I had my hand on the door, ready to call a cab to take me home, when someone pulled me back. Sampson.
No, not that one. The other one. Zach. Zach Sampson had his hand on my am, stopping me from leaving. He didn’t let go, so I turned to look at him. He looked worried and a little guilty. Why did he look guilty?
“Did he hurt you?” He asked softly. I’d never noticed how softly he spoke. I’d never noticed his beautiful green eyes, either. Wow.
“I’m fine,” I said. But as I spoke, more tears began to flow. He laughed, and I tried to smile in response.
“Come on,” he took my hand, “let’s go.”
“Where?” I asked, honestly confused. This was not the Zach Sampson I knew. He did not socialize.
“We can get some coffee or something. You look like you could use a friend. Or just a shoulder to cry on.” He offered a sympathetic smile.
This time I really smiled back. “Thanks,” I whispered. Zach and I talked for hours, sitting in those big, comfy chairs at Starbucks. Then he took me home. I never realized how sweet and funny he was. As we stood on my doorstep, that’s what went through my head.
“Thanks, Zach,” I said. “You saved me back there.”
“No problem,” he said, looking into my eyes. “My brother can be a real jerk.” We laughed. Suddenly I felt something cold against my cheek. It was snowing.
“Beautiful,” I breathed.
Zach smiled and leaned in to press his lips to mine gently. When he pulled away, he whispered in me ear. “Yes you are,” he said.