Opposites Attract

June 4, 2008
By Melanie Todd, Lumberton, NJ

Her delicate lashes fluttered as the December sun peeked through the window of a small hospital in New York. Lily looked up to sees a bright red poinsettia bouquet. A young man with crystal blue eyes that complimented his bright blonde hair was on his way out the door, as he noticed she had awoken, he cheerily stated, “Merry Christmas.” Then he disappeared without a sound. Where had the flowers come from? Who had paid for them? She searched the bouquet for a card or note, but she had no luck. “Excuse me Paula,” she began as the nurse looked over she continued, “do you know why that young man put this lovely bouquet here, because I know my step mom did not send these.”

“Yes, that young man volunteers here. He asked local florists to donate some extra flowers for some of the people that will need to stay here over Christmas. He also had toy stores and families donate things.” Wow! Why would he spend his Christmas Eve this way? Hasn’t he any plans? Shouldn’t he be with his girlfriend with those eyes there is no way that he is single.

“So I guess this means I’m not getting out of here any time soon, huh?” she responded dully.

“Nope, I am afraid not, but at least you’ll have somethin’ pretty to look at. Those are in a mighty fine vase too. It looks nicer than the ones that the other bouquets are in,” she had a sly smile on her face as she said that last part, as Lily was pondering why my iphone on my bedside table vibrated. My dad had just texted me, “good morning princess! i have an early x-mas present for you. i will come by with it on my way home.  ” she was her dad’s little princess as every girl should be, but in her step mom, Sherry’s, book she was the devil and to her Lily might be. There was a knock on the door and Jenny and Dave walked in.

“Hey girl! How’s your knee?” Jenny asked as she stormed into the room.

“The nurse said your surgery went well! That’s great maybe you’ll be able to bail outta here early. Who sent the flowers?” Dave asked after giving me a quick peck on the cheek.

“I’m not really sure,” Lily lied, “t-t-they were here when I woke up,” she felt bad about lying to her boyfriend. You’re supposed to be able to be perfectly honest with each other. Especially, on Christmas Eve when you’re supposed to be all honest and cheery so you get a lot of presents, but something told me not to tell him about mystery man.

“Well, I have some last minute shopping to do. I just wanted to see how you were,” Dave said as he began to stand up.

“You know how bad he is at getting presents, so I am goin’ with him,” Jenny said after giving me a big hug. She was right. He really stunk. She knew everything about me so she could help find the perfect gift. She has picked out just about every gift Dave has gotten me.

“I hate hospitals, why didn’t you say the cue earlier? I made it very clear that I wanted this to take thirty seconds that way I would only have to spend a total of a minute in here. Fifteen seconds to walk to her room, thirty seconds to converse and fifteen seconds to make it back to the door. ” Lily heard Jenny say with her evil stare as they opened the door.

She put her ipod back in with a sigh and slumped down in the hospital bed. The brilliant brain surgeons at this hospital forgot to give her crutches so she was stuck here.
Suddenly, a figure appeared at the door. Lily was certain it was not a roommate because dad paid extra so she could have a room all to herself. Jenny and Dave were not coming back especially after that comment. The young man that delivered the flowers appeared in the doorway. Even though she only caught a glimpse of him, Lily would recognize those eyes anywhere.

“Here it looks like you need these,” he called as he laid a pair of new metal crutches at her bedside.
Lily drifted off to sleep later that evening, contemplating where she had seen that face before. She soon was back in the beginning of the year, it was picture day. Lily had had nothing to wear. “Maria!” she yelled, “Maria where is my pink pearl dress! OH MY GOD!!!!”
She came darting up the marble steps with the dress. Lily snatched it from her and dismissed her immediately. “Spanish maids,” she muttered under her breath. After changing, she got a text message from Dave- I’m waiting with the car. Where are you?
Lily darted down stairs, put on shiny matching heels and went out the door. “Took you long enough!” he said.
They went into the car. She said in a little voice, “Oh I’m sorry, we got a new maid.” He didn’t respond. He just smiled as he drove.
Avoiding mud pits in the grass where Dave parked the car she came through the school doors. Then she passed in front of Stephanie and her little posse. “Well, Well, Well you really outdid yourself this time Lily,” she sang.
“Like your face. Wait, wow look at that dress. Where did you get it, the dollar store?” Lily said back.
“Wha’ev’!” She turned and stomped away with her little posse.
During lunch Lily went to Starbucks to get a little cappuccino. She had to check if anyone was in there or else it would like “Ms.Apple! May I get you something?” or her favorite “Ms.Apple I use your software!” For crying out loud my dad’s the founder of Apple, but our name is Moore. Luckily, no one was in there. She grabbed a seat at the counter. “One cappuccino please. Oh and can you put an extra shot of caramel in it?” Lily asked.
“Yes Ma’am” He answered. He poured it in a mug and slid it across the counter. Too bad there was some change on the table because the mug flipped over and spilled all over my dress.
“OH MY GOD!!!” Lily yelled at the top of her lungs.
“I’m so sorry. Uhh… Let me get you a towel.” He dashed over the counter while she ran out of the store. He came out chasing her.
“I’m very sorry Miss!” he said.
“Sorry? Sorry? This dress costs about $500 and all you can say is SORRY!” She was so furious that she turned around to slap him but right then the heel of her new shoe broke and she stumbled into his arms. Lily felt this warmth, this energy inside. Then she realized they were in the middle of a street where people were watching. Lily quickly let go and called a taxi. She swiftly stumbled towards the door. When she looked back, his eyes were still focused solely on her. She never forgot the young man, but could never allow herself to fall for a peasant.
Her heels clicked against the marble floor of the Old Westerly Mansion where this year’s Freshmen Spring Formal would be held. An antique crystal chandelier hung in the center of the dance floor. Lily and Dave hand in hand beside Jenny and her date Bill. Through several songs the couples dance.

“Did you tell her yet?” Jenny asked Dave after she drapes her arms around his neck.

“Tell me what?” Lily butted in without hesitation.

“Guess not. Well, maybe you should hear it from me first. Dave and I have been goin’ steady for several months now and we feel that it is time to cut the string with you. Sorry things are the way they are. People do crazy things for love don’t they?” Lily was awestruck by what she was hearing. Her boyfriend and her best friend? Together?

“I have always been suspicious of you Jenny. I knew that you used people and were interested in overruling me as leader. If you think that it will be this simple you thought wrong,” Lily quickly bounced back.

She was still trying to consume the used to be best friend Jenny’s words. There was no way she was going to display weakness. “As for you Dave, I have always known that you are weak and allow other people to influence and control your thoughts but puhlease. I wasn’t planning on keeping you for very long anyway. I need a strong man. I know that I can get much better than some pathetic guy, that thinks he’s a big hot shot because he’s cheating on his girlfriend. You are both shallow and foul.” She knew that she had won this battle. Even Jenny knew she had been defeated, but she needed to have the last move in this. Just as Lily was about to spin on her heels and flip her glittering light brown hair. Jenny leaned over to Dave and kissed him.

Lily calmly walked out of the solid carved oak doors into the fairytale gardens that surrounded the mansion. She balanced her body on the edge on the spurring fountain. As she looked up through her blurred vision, she saw a familiar figure. “Michael Thompson,” she said happily as she wiped a tear off her cheek. He was the only person right now that she wanted to talk to. He always had just the right thing to say and the perfect timing. He strolled over to the fountain where she sat.

“He’s is not worth it. He’s not worth another tear or another moment of your life. He obviously cannot see a good thing when it’s right under his own nose. He is not worth you ruining your only Freshmen Spring Formal. You look beautiful. In your silver glittering dress and matching high heels, all you are missing is the crown,” he said as he reached over to a flower bed. He picked one of the pale blue lilies that were in full bloom. “It’s not a crown, but…” his voice trailed off as he tucked it in Lily’s flowing shoulder length light brown hair.

She leaned over and gave him a hug. Without him, who knows if she would even had had a spring formal? She had been planning on running home.

“What do you say we go back in and dance?” They ended up twirling directly under Dave and Jenny’s nose. The new couple suspected that it was supposed to make them jealous and frustrated, but they knew that Lily was a bad actress. She was truly enjoying herself with this mystery man. Together Lily and Michael twirled throughout the entire night.

“Why don’t we get a cup of coffee and I’ll walk you home,” Michael asked as they once more passed through the solid oak doors, but this time with smiles spread across their faces.

Lily pleaded, “I’d like that, but can I have one of your famous lattes as a substitute for coffee?”

They walked under the starlit sky and up to the steps of her huge pure white mansion. Just before he turned to leave at her front door, she slipped something into his hand. He looked down and it was a ten dollar bill.

“That includes interest,” she mentioned. She met his eyes and had a sly, sweet smile on her face and then disappeared behind the weaved glass French doors.
Lily’s fingers tapped the small screen of her iphone. She was texting Dave as always during English. Technically, she was writing just not on the proposed topic. Lily daintily crossed her legs awaiting Dave’s reply. He was neither as slick nor as fast as she was at sending the quick messages. Lily nearly jumped out of her seat as Mr. Henderson called irritated, “Ms. Moore your mid–term.”
Lily weaved through the desks gracefully, moving towards my teacher with every step. She grabbed the paper and on it there was a BIG FAT RED F!
“Mr. Henderson there must be a mistake,” she began, “I don’t understand… I don’t deserve…”
“No mistake here Lily. Maybe if you weren’t texting all the time maybe you could have gotten a better grade.” He exclaimed,
“Not one but out of you. You will retake this course, if you don’t get your grade to at least a C. Now on to your next class, I do not have time for this.” He told me.
Lily was so confused and furious. She stomped to the Starbucks Café and plopped into a chair.
“Bad grade huh?” a voice said. Lily looked up and saw the boy the same blue eyes and the same blonde hair.
“Here drink this it will make you feel a lot better,” he stated as he set down a steaming hot Styrofoam cup with the Starbucks logo spread all over it.
“What is it?” Lily asked cautiously as she reached for the sweet smelling cup.
“It is a caramel latte. It is really good. A lot of people here put too much milk and caramel and not enough coffee but over the years I have mastered it,” he declared proudly, but not obnoxiously.
Still a little unsure about taking a sip, she grasped the cup. It smelled sweet and inviting. There was something about his smile that ensured her that he could be trusted. After spending an hour talking to Michael, he spirits were lifted. The after work crowd arrived and she knew Michael had to get back to his job. As she reached for her purse, she realized that in her hurry she had forgotten it. Seeing Lily’s dilemma, Michael came up and said without hesitation, “Don’t worry about it. It’s on the house today. Here,” he said as he handed her a ten dollar bill, “it starting to rain take a cab and go study. I insist.” He added before she could protest. He really was a sweet guy. Seconds after she had told the cab driver the address, it began to down pour.

Two Years Later…

Everyone that surrounded her wore navy blue caps and gowns. A few of the high standing NJROTC officers were wearing their uniforms. She searched the crowd in vain for those familiar sparkling sky blue eyes. Suddenly, she heard her name be called by the headmaster. It was odd to here his voice without a touch of anger. The rolled up paper tied so daintily with a ribbon that matched her gown was in his outstretched hand. She slowly made her way across the grass to the cobble stone path that led to the front of the portable stage. Her new heels clicked against the metal stairs. As her foot reached the fifth stair, she began to stumble forward. Merely before she fell forward, an outstretched hand helped her to regain her balance. She did not need to glance over to realize who was standing in the shadows; she knew very well who it was. Still she found her gaze fall upon the young man’s reassuring blue eyes.

“Congratulations Lily, you deserve it. Now go get your diploma.”

Lily spent the entire remainder of the ceremony itching to get out of her seat and see Michael. She had already skimmed the people in front of her without finding the young blonde haired man. Lily decided it would be rude to turn around so she sat fidgeting with the hem of her robe. Finally, the last name was called. Everyone quickly made their way to the field where all of the desserts, drinks and appetizers were displayed. Lily hopped around looking for the young man.

“Hey congratulations princess! Sorry Sherry had a meeting and couldn’t come. Who ya looking for?” her dad called.

Lily replied hastily, “I have something to take care of real quick. I’ll meet you back at the house.” Lily ran to the Starbuck’s Café that was merely around the corner. He practically lived at that place. For sure they would have a clue as to his whereabouts. He should be at their graduation though.

“Hey, do any of you guys know where Michael might be?” she asked catching her breath.
“Nope we thought he was at the graduation, where I’m guessin’ you were considering the robe and cap,” one of the coworkers continued, “he resigned this morning so you won’t find him anywhere around here.”

The girl that stood on his right added, “He had said something about leaving for Iraq, this afternoon at like one.” He must have been drafted for the war over there that would explain why he was wearing his uniform. She knew that it was twelve thirty when her name was to be called. That means if everything went according to schedule, he would have had enough time to see her, but still catch his flight. Lily slumped at one of the counter stools.

“Can we get you anything?” The black haired teenager asked.

Lily could only think of one drink that would please her, the only thing that she had ever ordered from here. A latte, but she preferred the way Michael had made them. Believe it or not there was a difference.

4 Years Later

Lily’s flight had just arrived back from Africa, where she had led the Peace Corps in assisting the children there in need. She followed the strong aroma of freshly brewed coffee to a Starbuck’s Café. There she sat with her dainty long fingers wrapped around a steaming latte. As she sat weary from the past few weeks’ adventure, only one name lingered in her mind…Michael. A thunderous applause filled the air of the port as a long line of men and women in navy blue uniforms filed out of their recently landed plane.
Suddenly, as she watched the memorable sight a familiar face broke from the crowd to retrieve his luggage. A man with blonde hair, lightened even more from the sun, and crystal clear blue eyes. His face was more matured but his spirit still shone as a high school boy. The recognizable gold, red, white and blue ribbons and badges covered the dark navy suit, though now even more had been collected. A bright badge still shiny and new caught the light filtering from the skylight overhead. This one could easily be identified as important by the single word that it spelled out, Lieutenant. As the man, bags in hand looked up his fairytale blue eyes fell upon her gleaming hazel ones. For a long moment, they stood like that in awe.

She remembered her senior graduation that had been held on June 13th four years ago. The day she had discovered that he had disappeared once again, but this time perhaps forever. As if in a trance she leaped up out of her seat and gracefully flew into his arms. For several moments they embraced in the airport, but it felt as if they were standing in the fairytale gardens of the Old Westerly Mansion with the moon full, bright, and shining overhead along with the blanket of stars. Their eyes met as Lily broke away. “I love you,” they sang out to each other simultaneously.

Her eyes wandered off to where she had left her purse and bags. Unfortunately, to her surprise they were no where in sight. “Looks like you need a ride home,” her Prince Charming whispered in her ear coming to her rescue once more.

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