When I was in high school, there were three girls I called my best friends: Laura, Sam and Madison. We would go to the mall every single Friday and bother my cousin, Christopher, who worked at Journeys. Of course, that’s not all we did…occasionally we would run into Claire’s giggling and screaming – stealing smaller items like earrings and lip gloss. We’d then go to Wendy’s and split chicken nuggets and fries because, let’s face it, we were on a budget.
From time to time we would also go to the movies and spoil dates for kids slightly older than ourselves – talking to the screen and whatnot. Ah, they were simpler times then. And I am sure I will pay for my tomfoolery when I have my own daughter…I only pray to God that she will be less mischievous than myself.
Anyway, Chris had a friend named Rich who I had a SEVERE crush on. He was 5′ 11″ (and yes, he has gotten taller since then), slim with sea-glistened eyes that could make you wish your GPS would break. He was four years my senior, had dyed his hair green, wore baggy, black pants with chains running up and down the leg complete with t-shirts of obscure bands. He was exactly the type of guy my mother would hate to see me bring home. In other words, he was fucking perfect.
Now, I’ll admit, I’ve never had much tact when it comes to anything…especially men, but I knew I had to be covert about this. You see, Chris and his friends had just recently started a band and were playing at some local bars trying to make it in the music world. Chris had been kind enough to get me a fake ID and would sneak me into his shows. However, to ensure my safety, he would make me hang out with his friends so they could keep an eye on me. And, under no circumstances, was I to find any of those people attractive…ever.
But those of you who know me know I am not one for the rules…especially when it comes to a boy I want.
Sam and I decided to go to the mall one Saturday morning when I knew Chris would be practicing for a gig he had that night. As we turned the corner to see if Rich was there, I giggled, turned to Sam and said, “Oh my god dude he is totally working today. What should I do?”
“Dude,” she squealed, holding my hand, “you totally need to ask him out.”
“What?! No way! He would never go out with me.” I scoffed, with an eye roll.
“Come on, Lauren – just go in there. What do you have to lose?”
She was right, I thought to myself as Sam pushed me into the direction of the store, what’s the worst that could happen?
As I walked through the threshold of Journey’s, Rich’s head popped up and he smiled at seeing a familiar face.
“Heeeey.” he sang, wrapping his arms around me. “Watchu doing here this early on a Saturday?”
I pointed to Sam and said, “Oh, uh, we’re just looking for dresses for this dance we have coming up.”
“Ah yes,” he sighed, tilting his head slightly, “I remember those days.”
There was an awkward silence as I searched for the right words to say – the proper way to tell him I totally wanted to go all the way…possibly, maybe if there were wine coolers involved.
“Sooooo,” Rich said, shrugging, “Chris isn’t here – I think his band is playing a show tonight…”
“Listen,” I interrupted, grabbing his arm, “there is something I need you to help me with.”
“Sure,” he said, now looking super concerned, “what is it?”
“I, um…I bet Sam a hundred dollars that I could make out with five guys before she did today and I only have one more to go. Will you kiss me?”
Rich laughed nervously, checked both ways as though he were about to cross the street, grabbed my hand and took me into the stock room. As we weaved through aisles of shoes and the break room, Rich leaned against a far aisle and said, “So, you need to make out with five guys?”
“Yup,” I lied, “them’s the rules.”
“All right then…”
Rich put his hand behind my waist and pulled me close in way that suggested I now belonged to him. He took his free hand, and carefully tucked a piece of my hair behind my ear before letting it rest on my neck…and kissed me as though the world were about to end right then and there.
To this day, it is still the single best makeout session of my teenage years.