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Kristina and Jeremy
I was perfectly happy with things the way they were, and why he had to change that was beyond me. I first saw Jeremy when he was 9, and moved in next door. I never thought more about him than him being my brother’s friend and never thought I would have to. I watched him enter the awkward years of Jr. High. Endured nights of Sam talk on and on about how much he hated Jeremy’s new girlfriend. None of this piqued my interest toward Jeremy until we brought him camping.
That was where he met Lisa. I wasn’t there when they actually met, just heard the play-by-play from Sam. Something about a water pump malfunction, followed by a trip to the campground’s private beach. None of this made me think of Jeremy any differently, I was almost happy that he had a girlfriend again. It had been almost three years since the last one. I hadn’t, however, met Lisa yet. She was beautiful. One of those girls that you just want to hate so bad, that when you find out they are actually good people you practically cry because no one can be that perfect. All of a sudden, all those feeling that I never felt toward Jeremy came flooding towards me.
I spent the rest of the trip in my tent. I didn’t bring anything hot enough to impress Jeremy with and all of a sudden could bear to think of him seeing me in the sweats that I rarely ever change out of. I sat in there trying to come up with the topic that had fueled all those effortless conversations in the past. Trying to find out why, now that I wanted more than the relationship we had, I had no way of ever achieving it. What happened the next night had to be God and all his powers working against me.
We had been graced with such good weather that day that you knew something huge was in store and Mother Nature wanted to soften you up before the disaster. At about 4:30, after the hike we took around the lake and just as Jeremy and Lisa sunk into their favorite make-out chair, it started to rain. No, rain isn’t exactly the right word, I think there was a plan for a new ocean, and we were standing right in the middle of it.
Lisa jumped off Jeremy so fast you’d think that he had brushed his teeth with garlic. As she ran with all she had back to the campsite, Jeremy just sat in his chair. Getting poured on as a dumbstruck look crossed his face, a very cute dumbstruck look. As I hopped in the car, I gathered all my courage and called for Jeremy to join us. As if he had just noticed the rain, he popped up, ran to the car and seated himself on the other side of Sam. And that was where I sat for the next 3 hours; just a Sam distance from Jeremy, quite easily the love of my life, for 3 hours.
When the rain finally cleared, Jeremy ran like a shot to Lisa’s campsite. It was up to me and Sam to gauge the damage that our campsite had endured. Unfortunately for Sam and Jeremy, they had pitched their tent just at the base of a steep hill, and it was now the resting place for all the water in the whole campsite. My tent, however, was perfectly dry inside, something that I really shouldn’t have tried to shove in Sam’s face. It turns out that my parents only had room for one more air mattress in their tent, and seeing as Jeremy was still at Lisa’s site, Sam got it. And yes, that meant that Jeremy was sleeping in my tent that night.
10:30 lights out could not possibly come fast enough. I grabbed my really good bra that I luckily packed, and the practically skin tight tank top that make my boobs look like 4 cup sizes bigger. Add the shorts that don’t even cover my butt and I was in business. These clothes were my only chance at showing Jeremy, well, me, because no way would my mom let me wear these clothes anywhere but to bed. I brushed my teeth like a mad woman, trying to expel any germs that cause morning breath now. Four coats of deodorant and one spritz of my favorite Bath and Body Works body spray later, and I headed back to the tent. It was 10:45, which meant that Jeremy had to be there. By arriving a little late, I got to control the entrance, and that way, I wouldn’t be caught doing something embarrassing when he got there.
He was there, and he was there shirtless. Oh yes, the HALF-NAKED love of my life was lying in my tent, about 2 ½ inches from my sleeping bag. It took all that I had to pry my eyes away from the perfectly defined six-pack, and that light brown trail of hair that led from his navel to…well, down. Resisting the urge to rip the rest of his clothes off right there, I sunk into my sleeping bag and fell into a dreamless sleep, still thinking about his form next to me long into the night.
I awoke with the dawn, as I always do while camping, and felt something heavy on my stomach and a hard pressure on my back. Before I could figure out what was happening, my heart started pounding, and the place where his hand met my exposed stomach pulsed with pleasure. It took every muscle that I had not to remove his hand, pull down my dangerously-close-to-exposing-my-bra tank top, and replace his hand. The pure pleasure that I felt as he pushed up against me far outweighed any self-conscious tendency that would be horrified if Jeremy saw my bare stomach. Ever since the whole thing started, I hadn’t even looked at my bathing suit, let alone allowed Jeremy see me in it.
I sank into a deep state of absolute, complete happiness for about an hour, as said my cell phone. It wasn’t until I started to hear activity outside the tent that I thought about how awkward it would be with Jeremy woke up. If I didn’t immediately pretend to be creeped out by his arm around me, then he would know that I liked him. And if I did pretend, then he would think that I didn’t. Either way, I would lose. Every scenario that I went over in my head could not have possibly prepared me for the awkwardness that met Jeremy’s awake.
The zipper began to open and I stiffened up, afraid it was Sam. Every morning of every camping trip ever, he would get me from my tent to announce that Dad had finished his campfire eggs, or French toast, or the one horrid attempt at campfire waffles. Sam would see that I was awake, and immediately know that I was in love with Jeremy, something I had to promise him against many times before, when we began flirting. But no, the breakfast messenger was none other than Lisa. And boy was she pissed.
I don’t think I had heard anyone scream so loud in my life. Her beautiful face distorted into a loud cry as she saw Jeremy’s arm around my waist. As you could have guessed, Jeremy shook awake, his arm immediately disappearing from my stomach, the fire still burning where his hand had been. He chased after Lisa as she stormed across the campsite. He caught up with her around the area of his old tent, and that was where it all went down. Every single swear-word that I knew but had never heard anyone say, plus a few choice words that I was unaware of, passed through the air of our campsite, and probably the whole complex based on the decibel of her screams. The one thing that stuck with me was the last thing she said before returning to her campsite, packing up, and leaving right then.
“I knew you had a thing for her,” she practically beat him with the volume of her voice, “but you said that that ended months ago!”
He had a thing for me. That’s what she said right? I’m not making this up? He had a thing. For ME. My happy dance would have to be put on hold, it would be a little obvious if I just busted a move right here. I wanted so desperately to talk to Jeremy that my heart ached. But I couldn’t, not now. Not when he was this sad. Not when he wouldn’t even look at me. Not when we sat at the table together; not when he passed me the map of the day’s trail.
The rest of the day passed in a blanket of silence, almost no conversation besides a “pass the salt” here and a “no, I think it’s this trail” there. Gone were the carefree summer hikes that had filled these days in the previous week. Gone was the light-hearted laughter that always seemed to be floating from our campfire. It was replaced with monotone voices; saying no more than was required. And that was how we drove home, in silence. Not even with the radio on. The only thing I could hear was the occasional guitar note, or whiney voice from Jeremy’s iPod, tuned to the saddest of songs that he could possibly find.
The next day Jeremy didn’t come over. That was to be expected, he needed a recuperating period, but he didn’t show up for the rest of the summer. The three and a half weeks that were left of my fun, carefree, summer were spent wondering. What was he doing? Was he embarrassed to see me because he couldn’t believe what he had actually done? Had all those feelings that he supposedly had just disappear without a trace?
The day before school started, I saw him. I was sitting out by my pool, when he emerged from his house. Trying to act like I hadn’t seen him, I went back to my book, Half-Blood, the one that all my girlfriends said that I had to read, there was nothing like this book. So far, a Centaur escaped the forest he was supposed to be in love with a girl from the small town in France that he lives in now. Because I was only pretending to read, and was really just listening to see if Jeremy was coming over, I heard his porch door re-open. And close. He went back inside. No confession, no saying how Lisa was right, he really liked me. He just went back inside.
And so, not to be upstaged, I did to. I went inside and read in my room. If he could be distant and completely without emotions, I could be too. It wasn’t until Ham started barking at the top of his lungs did I leave the safety of my room. I opened the door for Ham to go outside, and saw something on my porch. It was Supernova, the sequel to Half-Blood. On it was a note. Perfectly folded into a heart and taped to the front of the book, I gently ripped it off, to not ruin the beauty. I read it about three times before I actually understood what it meant:
Kristina- I saw you reading Half-Blood and
thought that you may want this soon. I’m
sorry that I haven’t talked to you since the
trip, but truthfully, I’m just embarrassed. I
understand that you don’t feel the same way,
but I think that it has been made clear that I
like you. No, I love you. I have since I saw
you. Even before I was supposed to like
girls. You have always been the most
beautiful girl that I have ever seen. K, please
just give me a chance.
At that moment, I dropped the book where I was. I left the front door wide open, allowing the summer heat to sink into the perfectly air conditioned house. I no longer cared. I was over at Jeremy’s faster than I would have thought humanly possible. As if he was waiting for me to come over, he opened the door even before I had time to ring the bell.
I took a deep breath, if I didn’t do it now then I never would. The second he opened the door, I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him full on the mouth. And though I had kissed many boys and many had kissed me, none were like this. I’d never had it like this; never had that thing. That moment when you kiss someone and everything around becomes hazy. The only thing important is you and this person, the person that you're supposed to kiss for the rest of your life.