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Turn It Up!
“Turn it up!” I nodded my head to the music as Cait and I drove through town, windows rolled down, singing at the top of our lungs. I didn’t care about what people thought of us, as we flew past their cars. I didn’t care about anything really. That was about to change.
We pulled into a slot at Sonic, and each ordered a small watermelon slush. Cait’s phone vibrated, signaling a new text message and I grabbed it before she could. She laughed. We were best friends, and neither of us had anything to hide. I opened her message and it read, “Hey, Cait, it’s Ben, I saw you drive into Sonic. I’m bored. I know we haven’t talked for awhile, but I really want to meet that chick that’s in your car. Meet me at the mall in 20 min.” I read it out loud, rolling my eyes at the bluntness of the text.
“Oh! Lessi, we just have to go! He is so adorable, and he’s not as full of it as that last dude that you liked. I mean, he’s kind of stuck up, but in a cute way. You’re gonna love him!” She started to pull out and drive north, towards the mall.
“I really don’t want to, guys are dumb,” I said, but my excuse sounded weak, even to my own ears.
“Well, that’s too bad, isn’t it? I’m driving and I’m your ride, and unless you want to hitchhike home, I suggest you pull out a mirror and put some more lip gloss on, cuz hun, this is gonna be a fun time.” I sighed, smiled, and pulled out a mirror. Cait had that way about her. When I started to chicken out of something, she had this way she would look and talk to me, that would give me newfound confidence. I guess that’s what best friends are for, right?
We drove through town, and pulled in to the parking lot at the mall. “Send a text to Ben and ask him where he wants to meet us,” I instructed.
She pulled out her phone and sent a quick text. Within a few seconds, he replied. “Meet me in the food court, I’m starving.”
“Food court it is then.” I grabbed my purse and checked my makeup in the mirror one last time, before we slammed our doors and headed towards the mall entrance. We passed the usual “smoking Joe” in front of the doors to the mall, and gagged as he blew a smoke ring at us. I let Cait walk through the doors first. After all, I have no idea what this guy looks like, I thought to myself, I mean if he is nasty and grimy looking, I’m running out those doors so fast, you won’t even see my feet touch the ground. I can promise you that.
Cait walked through the food court, to the other side, closest to the nearest store, looking around for Ben. I was looking too, not quite sure of what I was getting myself into. All of the sudden, she spotted him, clear on the other side of food court, near the entrances we had just come through. She started jogging toward him. I huffed, and marched after her. Ben was in the shadow of one of the massive concrete pillars, so I couldn’t see him very well at all. This is a little sketchy. Cait motioned for him to walk towards me, which he slowly did.
Oh. My. Word. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I definitely wasn’t expecting this hunk of a guy. I slowly took a step backwards, panicking. Is my lip-gloss on right? I probably have some on my teeth. He is going to take one look at me, laugh, then run the other way! He took another step towards me. There was a gleam of something in his eye. Was it intrigue? I kept taking small steps backwards, as he was slowly taking small steps forward, until I bumped into the side of a table. My face burned, as he kept walking towards me. When he was finally less than two feet away, he stuck out his hand and grinned.
“Hey, I’m Ben Green.”
“Uh, hey. I’m Alessi Renee`. I mean Lessi. Friends call me Lessi.” If my goal in life was to look completely stupid, I was definitely succeeding. I inwardly rolled my eyes at myself.
“Hmm. Alessi, interesting name. I haven’t heard that before. I bet there’s a story behind it. How about I buy us a couple of mochas over at Starbucks, and you can tell me about it.”
I nodded and the two of us started to slowly walk to the Starbucks at the other side of the mall, talking about nothing, yet everything at the same time. Actually, I’ll clear that up. He was talking, I was trying my best to put my clumsiness and accident-prone personality aside and be a normal person, at least for a couple minutes. I was succeeding for the most part, other than running into a coke machine. Ben laughed, and took hold of my elbow and let me know that he would guide me the rest of the way there. He’s smooth, but it’s kind of cute. I think I’ll give him a chance.
After he ordered us a couple of raspberry mochas, Ben steered me towards a table and even pulled out the chair for me. “A lady should be treated like a lady,” He winked.
“So, Ben. Can you please explain why I’m here again? Can we make things super clear here, because I’m not a piece of candy that someone can check out, then decide that they want. I’m a person, and believe me I have a pretty big say in that type of situation. And I carry pepper spray, so don’t try anything.”
“Whoa! Ok, simmer down a sec. There isn’t any cut and dry reason you are here. I’m actually surprised that you even came, I just saw you in Cait’s car and wanted to see if you could meet up with me.” At the mention of Cait’s name, I realized that I hadn’t even noticed her since Ben had stepped out of the shadows.
“Whatever. Speaking of Cait, where is she? I haven’t seen her since…”
“Since, you saw me and fell head over heals in love?”
“No, but way to interrupt me.” My phone beeped, alerting me to a new text message.
“Hey, Lessi. It’s Cait. Have fun with your hunk. :) I have shopping I need to do, so text me whenever you need to leave.”
“Looks like my Cait dilemma is now solved. She’s just shopping, I’ll call her whenever we are done here.”
He wriggled his eyebrows and raised his drink to his mouth, “Well I sure hope that, that isn’t anytime soon.”
“Gag me with a pitchfork. I’m sorry, but lines like that don’t work too well on me.” What am I doing? He is seriously the cutest guy that I have ever seen, and I’m acting like I can’t stand him. I mentally psyched myself up to see him shrug and walked away, but surprisingly he stayed put.
“Alessi, you’re a lot different than what I thought you were going to be. I was kind of expecting a pretty, petite little brunette. But that’s not who you are….”
“Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I guess that’s my cue to leave then. Thanks for all the compliments. See ya around.” I started to grab my purse when he put his bronze hand on top of mine.
“You didn’t let me finish. I was saying, that’s not who you are completely. There’s a lot more to you than what meets the eye. You are pretty, and petite, but there’s a lot more to you than just that. That’s all I was saying.”
“Oh.” In this case, I think that, that one word could say a lot more than just that one word.
“Yeah, anyway, I’m about done with my mocha. I don’t have any plans tonight, so do you want to go catch a movie or something?” His eyes pleaded with me to say yes, as did my heart.
“Well, I’m full out broke, so I won’t take you up on the movie, but I’ll take you up on the ‘or something.’ If that works for you.” I shrugged my purse onto my shoulder and prepared to vacate our table.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not a guy who lets a girl pay, at least not on the first date. Maybe we will do the ‘or something,’ another time but for tonight, how about I pick you up at six. We can do dinner at Panera, then hit a movie. Work for you?” He shrugged, and tried to downplay his invitation, but his words struck a chord inside of me, a chord that hadn’t been stuck in a really long time.
“Yeah, that sounds like a plan to me. I’ll see you at six. Hand me your phone and I’ll add my number.” He placed his phone in my hand, then suddenly announced that he would be right back, he needed to wash his hands or something. I added my number then took a second to creep on everything on his phone. I went through all of his pictures, expecting him to have pictures of a lot of girls, but surprisingly there was only. She showed up about every other picture. I wasn’t too concerned though, since she was at least sixty-five. Probably his grandmother. Ben still wasn’t back from the bathroom, so I checked his text messages too. To my shock, they were all clean, and there were even a couple Bible verses on there. This is kind of weird, I don’t think this guy is everything that he comes across as. He might be pretty alright.
I looked up again just as Ben made it back to the table. I blushed and he tilted his head to his phone as if to ask, “Did you add the number yet?” I nodded and he slid it back into his back pocket.
“Well, you had better get a hold of Cait, and I really need to get going. I’ll talk to you soon, within the next hour, ok? See you at six!”
I nodded and as he walked away I called Cait to tell her to pick me up. Surprisingly there were only two words on my mind, and they weren’t “Ben Green.” They were “pure bliss”.