The Question This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 12, 2012
The trip to the restaurant began in silence. She sat in the back seat staring at the beads of water dancing on the glass in the wind. Her father lit a cigarette and her mother changed the radio station to WSSH; they proceeded to discuss the work involved in redecorating the living room. Leslie didn’t pay any attention to the conversation - she had other things on her mind.

Tonight was the night. She had to ask him now. Leslie knew that he would be working tonight and had persuaded her parents to try that new restaurant in hopes of seeing him. But seeing him wasn’t the only reason she wanted to go there; she had to talk to him. She’d known Jesse for more than twelve years as he lived down the street from her. But ever since freshman year she had hardly ever talked to him especially since she had switched to a private all-girls school and he had gone on to the public high school. Oh, she’d seen him occasionally on the weekends when he was out in his driveway washing his car. They’d wave but she had never taken the initiative to say anything more than “hi.”

Now Leslie wished she had stayed to chat with him those times; it would’ve made tonight’s visit so much easier. “He won’t say ‘yes’,” she muttered to herself, inwardly cringing at the thought.

“Did you say something, hon?” her mother’s voice floated to the back.

“No, Mom. Just talking to myself,” she answered.

Her father’s voice boomed, “So, Leslie, I hear the prom’s coming, huh? So who’s the unlucky guy?”

“Dad!” she moaned and then hurriedly changed the subject. “I heard that this restaurant has the best baked stuffed shrimp.”

“Well, I think I feel like steak tonight,” her father declared, parking the car. “Here we are!”

Leslie began to feel anxious; she could feel her stomach knotting as she rehearsed over and over again the words in her mind. “Wanna you you?” Maybe she shouldn’t ask just yet, maybe after dinner would be better; that way she wouldn’t feel stupid during the meal in case he said “no.” Or like her best friend Nancy suggested, she could casually “forget” her purse and then ask for Jesse when she retrieved it.

Her father held open the door for her mother and Leslie and they walked in.

“How many people? Three? Oh, Hi Leslie, I haven’t seen you for awhile,” Jesse looked up from the counter, flashing a warm smile.

Her mother said, “Hello, there, I didn’t know you had a job here. Working hard, I see. And how’s your mom and dad?”

“They’re doing fine.” He led the way to the back of the restaurant. “We’re not that busy tonight. Here are your menus.”

Leslie watched the back of his blond head weave back to the front desk. Suddenly she announced, “Be right back. I have to go to the ladies’ room.” She slowly passed his desk hesitating but Jesse’s back was turned. Quickly she marched to the bathroom.

Nervously, Leslie washed her hands and then peered into the mirror. Pushing a strand of brown hair back, she took a deep breath. “I’ll do it,” she decided, gritting her teeth, “even if it kills me.”

She left the room confidently and approached Jesse. “Hi, Jesse,” she breathed, “How’ve you been?”

“Leslie, hey!” His clear blue eyes twinkled. “Pretty good, but I can’t wait ’til senior year’s over and summer’s here. These last few months have been draggin’, if you know what I mean. So tell me, what’s happening in your life?”

“The usual...nothing. Jesse? Um...listen, can I ask you a huge favor?”

“Sure, ask away,” he said, his blue-blue eyes beaming even more.

“Well, what are you doing May 18? I mean... what I want to say is, are you...? well... I want to know if you would care to go to my senior prom with me,” she blurted, twisting her hands nervously behind her back.

“Are you kidding?” he grinned. “I’d love to go.”

“You would? I mean, hey that’s great,” Leslie exclaimed with a sigh of relief.

“Hey, if you ever feel like getting married, call me, OK?” he laughed, his tan face crinkling.

“Yeah, right,” Leslie brightened, her light brown eyes lighting up as she made her way back to her table. “Yes!” she thought to herself and her face started to jerk into a grin in spite of herself.

As her father lay the tip on the table and they started to leave, he tried again. “Y’know Leslie, are you sure you don’t want to take me as your prom date?” he teased.

“Sorry, Dad. No need to,” she returned, heading toward the exit. “I already have a date.”

“You do?” he said, astonished.

Leslie waved good-bye to Jesse; he winked back. “Uh-huh,” she sang.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Potterlover929 said...
Jan. 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm
I really liked this..... it gave a great picture of what it's like to ask someone out. Good job!
Sarah_G said...
Jan. 13, 2012 at 4:16 pm
I liked this and how it started out in the beginning, but I wish you would've added more detail. Otherwise it was pretty good. :)
dfntlygchll said...
Jan. 12, 2012 at 8:15 pm
If only things were that easy, huh? >_< Either way, this made me smile!
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