An Unlikely Love: Our Story

I'm telling our story, not because it's an interesting one...but so I can remember it.


 Here it goes...

He was everything I knew I didn't need to want.  He had a reputation that should have made me run a hundred miles per hour in the opposite direction.  A stereotypical "Mr. Popular" in every sense of the term.  Quarterback, Homecoming King, blonde hair, blue eyes, partier, and wilder than your average eighteen year old.   I thought I hated him.  He was a cocky, arrogant player as far as I could tell.  For reasons I could never entertain, he made just about every girl in our school weak in the knees, but his charm never phased me.  Especially in Math Analysis when he slid his chair next to mine and smoothly asked to copy my answers.  I rolled my eyes and promptly asked the teacher to move him across the room, which she did.    I was his opposite...honest to a fault.  I wouldn't even chew gum in class because I was scared to death of getting caught.  I was never late and if I missed an assignment it made me sick to the stomach.  I think I went to two football games throughout my entire high school career.  I was boring, predictable and preferred my pajamas to cute little outfits on any given day.  I wasn't popular, but I was well-known as a "good girl".  Just standing next to Devin Almond in the hallway would have made me feel like I was tarnishing my squeaky clean reputation.  

Don't ask me why, but every now and then I would let my mind go there.  I would bump into him in the halls and for about two quick seconds I would wonder what it would be like to date a guy like him.  Then I would shake it off like a bad habit because I knew he was out of reach for me.  Not because I didn't think I deserved him, but because I could never really justify him deserving me.  From what I had heard he had always treated everyone he dated like complete crap, and I'm not about that life.  I was way above having any guy making me look like a fool, I was perfectly capable of that all by myself.   After all, I fell down the cafeteria stairs and tripped over my own feet on a regular basis.  And for reasons I won't get into, I shouldn't have even been thinking about him at all.

But for a period of time I couldn't help it.  Something about him made my mind begin to go to that place I hated for it to go.  I would randomly run into him at school in places he normally wouldn't be, I would pull up at the one main stop light we have in our town and he would be right there in his black mustang waving me out into the road ahead of him.  Certain songs would come on the radio and I would just start to think about him.  I barely knew him, and my mind just kept going there.  But before I could even wrap my head around where my mind was drifting off to, I would slam that door shut.  I knew better.  Girls like me didn't date guys like him.  I would be setting myself up for heartbreak.  I convinced myself that the thought wasn't even worth entertaining because we would never work.  Even worse,  I probably had never even crossed that boy's mind and here he had pulled up a permanent seat in my head. 

So I dropped it.  Time passed and I didn't think twice about him. 

And we finally made it to the end of our Senior year.  We all loaded into the buses in alphabetical order to head to the local 4H campground for our pre-graduation picnic.  My friend Ashley and I were on the same bus and spent the ride looking through our yearbooks and getting excited about graduating and leaving ACHS in the past.  It was a great day spent with people that I knew I would miss when that final bell rang, but Devin wasn't one of them.  He hadn't crossed my mind since I permanently booted him from it.  The day came to a close and they were rounding everyone up at the pool area to load into the buses and head back to the school.  I was standing next to the pool and someone came up from behind me, wrapped their arms around my chest and swiftly jerked me to the edge of the concrete and threatened to throw me in.  It was him.  Shirtless and looking like something that had the potential to destroy me.  I fought him off before he even came close to letting me go, locked eyes with him and we both started laughing.  That's when I felt something and there was no going back from there.  I didn't care about anything but getting closer to him.

The bus arrived back at the school, I jumped in my silver Honda and drove straight home completely dazed and confused about what I had just felt.  And I felt a twinge of sickness in my gut because I knew he probably didn't feel the same way.  No sooner did I walk in the house, the phone rang.  "Hey Kelsey, it's Devin...I've been thinking about you."  Apparently while I was on the way home, Devin had already called Ashley and gotten my number.  I couldn't breathe.
Two minutes into the conversation I found his well versed womanizing vernacular starting to pull me under.  In that moment I felt sure that this relationship would be dangerous for me if I ever let it get that far.  Why was I even considering a relationship with him when I was already in another relationship?  He was too.  I knew it was wrong, I felt the guilt wash over me like a tidal wave because this was so unlike me.  I wasn't the cheating type, even though I knew he was.  The thought of letting him in and giving him control over me, and just knowing that he could possibly do the same thing to me that he was doing with me...sent a sharp pain through my chest.  I felt bad for his girlfriend and even worse that I was betraying someone too.  But with every word he spoke, I felt his power take over.  I could feel him in my bones and we hadn't been talking but for a matter of minutes.  He already owned me, every part of me and I didn't even know if that is what he had intended.

I struggled to break away from the direction my thoughts were heading, but when I finally did I regained a sense of clarity.  I knew that if this would ever lead anywhere it would have to go slow, and I would have to pry the control from his hands and deal with him on my own terms.  I started building my walls up as fast as I could because I knew I needed a barrier there to protect myself.  We talked for hours getting to know each other.  Once he realized that he didn't have to schmooze me to hold my interest in him, the conversation got real and I started to realize that he was showing me a side of himself that not many people had seen.  It didn't take long for us to peel away the first layer of ourselves.  The layer that seemed to prove we had absolutely nothing in common.  He was wild and I was tame, he partied and I stayed at home on Friday nights, he liked to fight and I was a peacemaker, he had absolutely no problem instantly connecting with people and conversing with them and I was shy and quiet, he was adventurous and free-spirited and young at heart while I was conventional, timid & an old soul. Our chances weren't looking good from this side of things, but I didn't care. 

I was so wildly attracted to him that I was willing to deal with the differences.  Towards the end of that first phone call I found that on a deeper level we were a lot more alike than we had thought.  We were both simple people at heart, we loved our families, we had a passion for life and we were open to seeing where all of this would take us.  We were becoming friends.  Friends with an attraction to each other that neither of us could really act on.  In true forbidden relationship fashion, that made it even more tempting.  We knew a relationship at that time was out of the question and we knew a friendship probably wasn't safe...but we weren't breaking any rules and that's how we justified what we knew was wrong.  We hung up the phone and everything stayed the same in our lives. 

Well, almost everything stayed the same.  I found myself paying extra attention to the way I looked those last few weeks of school.  I would take different routes to class hoping that I would see him.  I started figuring out that he was doing the same thing because he started popping up everywhere I was.  He would pass me and grab my hand then let go so no one could see.  He would catch up to me and walk me to class so we could just talk in person for a few short minutes because seeing each other outside of school was not going to happen for us.  The boy who was chased by all was chasing me.  The ones that were close to me started noticing a change, and quickly figured out that the resident "it" boy was hot on my trail.  They were confused just as much as I was about what it all meant and what would happen from there, but they never questioned me or doubted that I had everything under control.  I was wishing that I was as confident in my ability to control myself as they were.
Almost all of my credits were completed for graduation, so the last semester I had two free periods a day.  The first was spent in the library with Megan reading magazines, putting on makeup and dreaming about college.  The last was in another wing of the school on the technology hall where Megan, Emily and I would do homework and help the business teacher with things she needed done.  We were down to our last two weeks of school so the days were dragging and there was no work left to do. We filled the long slow hours with conversations about any and every thing, and at that point they seemed to be consisting a lot of my newfound muse.  No sooner did his name leave my lips to start talking about our latest phone conversations and run ins, he popped up in the doorway.  "Hey Kels, let's go for a walk."  My heart jumped clean into my throat.  Talking on the phone and in person were two totally different things.
 
It was easy to say no when we were fifteen miles apart and I didn't have to look into those blue eyes.  I knew it wouldn't be smart to take him up on his offer.  It was against the rules to walk around the school without a hall pass filled out and that in itself made me a nervous wreck.  But walking around with him...was the most rebellious thing I had done in my life.  I couldn't make myself stay in my seat, it was like I gravitated right to his side before I even had the chance to think it through.  I glanced back at the girls with a baffled look on my face and they started giggling at my lack of self control.  He shot me a sly grin and grabbed my hand.  I jerked away because physical contact with him felt too right and I knew better... and I hadn't planned on being that easy anyway.  He laughed...finding it amusing that I was different and didn't jump at his advances.
 
We playfully flirted all the way to the back stairwell and down to the high school weight room.  But I noticed he had stopped trying to touch me.  I was disappointed that he was no longer pawing all over me and working for my attention, but I was even more disappointed in myself for wanting him to.  He knew how to play this game far better than I ever would, and he knew exactly how he was making me feel and what it was doing to me.  That struck a chord of annoyance within me so I shut down and forced myself out of the haze my desire for his attention had pulled me into.  I was so ashamed of myself for letting him affect me in this way.  I had leapt across a huge line that I didn't even know I was capable of crossing.  The guilt kept coming and I kept ignoring it. 

I didn't even know where we were going and I started to not care because my head was in a completely different place than I was...busily assessing the entire situation.  I was happy with him, content and peaceful amidst the churning uneasiness inside of me due to the wrongness of the situation.  And I was confused about what I wanted because I knew it would always be work with Devin, and I knew that just as much as I was a challenge for him...he would be a challenge for me too.  It felt like we walked forever in complete silence as I was trying to process my thoughts and wrap my head around how much I felt like I needed him even though we barely knew each other.  Before I knew it we were rounding the corner headed back to my class and my chest started to tighten.

I felt a lump coming in my throat because it was painful for me to pull myself from him knowing our time is always limited and never guaranteed.  I dropped my head when I knew it was time to part ways and I started veering off towards the other hallway.  I could tell he sensed my coldness and I thought he might be feeling like I wasn't worth the effort.  He was still close behind so I looked back at him as I turned and found a wanting smile in my sadness to shoot his way.  He needed to know that I wanted him even though I didn't want to need him or let him know how I was feeling.  Before I even turned halfway he had grabbed my forearm and jerked me into him so quickly that I practically slammed into his chest.  I looked up trying to get a glimpse of what he was feeling behind those needy eyes and before I could even begin to focus his lips were on mine.  I had been wanting that kiss so badly that I surprised myself by not savagely reciprocating and making it last until I was good and ready for it to end.  My instincts took over and I shoved him full force into the white cinder block wall behind him before I could even begin to kiss him back.

I heard the words "You touched my lip gloss, I have a boyfriend!" escape my parted, stunned lips in the form of a shriek.  The aftermath of the electric shock that was still pulsing through my body from just touching his lips had me realizing that the emotional attachment I had to this boy was nothing compared to the physical attraction.  I recovered as fast as I could and became livid that he pushed me to make physical contact with him when he knew that was a boundary I wasn't okay with crossing at this point.  But I couldn't help but laugh at how childish and immature my response was. He mistook my giggles for flirting and swooped in again because he wasn't about to settle for an 'almost kiss'.  I dodged that attempt like a skilled professional... twirled around and jetted off in the opposite direction before he could even think about trying to catch me.  I looked back with my best flirty 'aha' look to see an amused smirk on his face.  That look shouted 'game on' and I knew he wouldn't be settling for anything halfway with me.

[Writing this as a 26 year old feels so weird and high school-y.  But I still remember exactly how I felt in those moments, and it's pretty fun re-living the beginning of us as I tell it here.  Fifty years from now when my husband and I are old and watching our grandchildren play...I will be thankful I have this to help me remember our story so vividly.  Thanks for bearing with me! :)]

2 comments:

Amy Kruszec said...

Whhyyy have I not read this yet?! More!

Kelsey Almond said...

Oh my gosh girl! Haha! I'm working on the next chapter little by little. This story will be a work in progress for a long long time as I started on day one and it began 9 years ago! ;)