"Ticket number 828962," said the announcer over the intercom. I was out bowling with my boss and co-workers for our Christmas party. The bowling alley was having a drawing for a chance to win money. They pick a number out of a bucket and if you have that ticket number, you have the chance to bowl a strike to win the prize money. I looked at the ticket in my hand. The ticket read the number 898962. I told my co-worker Michael that I had the winning number. He immediately pushed me up to the counter where the announcer looked at my ticket. "Congratulations," said the announcer. "Pick a lane you would like to bowl on." I looked at all the lanes and decided on lane 7. My lucky number 7. As I walked over to lane, I was deciding on whether or not I really wanted to do this. I wasn't a terrible bowler, but I wasn't an amazing bowler. Once I got up to the lane, I grabbed my ball, and took deep breaths. I was extremely nervous and I could tell that everyone was able to see I was. "You can do this Lauren," said a voice behind me. I looked over my shoulder and saw Nate walking up to me. He was one of my co-workers. We got along well, but the past few weeks we've been having lunch together, and telling each other stories. All night he was the one who was always talking to me and sitting right next to me. A few times he put his arm around my shoulder, and asked me how I was. He also touched my sides ever so gently a few times. This is the first time we hung out outside of work since we were both always so busy. As he was walking up to me, the memory of when I first met him suddenly popped into my head. * * * "Lauren, meet Nate," said my boss, Tony. It was the middle of August and it was my first day of work. I looked up and saw this cute guy with curly brown hair and sparkly green eyes. He held out his hand and I grabbed it and shook it. As he walked away, I couldn't help but notice he was extremely attractive. Like model attractive. I wondered to myself why he was working in a deli. He was perfect. That day was the same day I met my other co-worker, Michael. He was cute. And that was more my type. We instantly became best friends. I also started to develop feelings for him. I knew nothing could ever happen to us. He was two years older and he had a girlfriend of 3 years. Being friends was enough for me, even though I wanted more. Knowing that nothing could happen between Michael and I, I started to hang around Nate more, and I soon realized that all I wanted was to be his. * * * The music was loud in my ears, but I could still hear Nate's footsteps behind me. He put his hand around my waist and put his other on my arm. "Here, let me help you," he said. My heart was racing in my chest. The way his hands held me. In that moment I felt something between us. The electricity going from me to him was indescribable. He face was inches from mine. I looked into his eyes and thought to myself for a moment whether I should just go for it and kiss him or not. But I looked around and saw the amount of people watching me. There was at least 50 bowlers there or so. "Line the ball up with the middle pin and let it go," said Nate. "Like this," He swung my arm back and forth and showed me. He squeezed my arm and walked back to the chairs. I followed his advice and lined the ball up with the middle pin and let it go. As I watched the ball roll down the lane I could hear Nate behind me cheering. The next thing I knew, I heard the ball hit the pins and I heard everyone cheering loudly. I knocked all the pins down! All of my co-workers came up to me and hugged me. A man came over and brought 288 dollars and gave it to me. Nate pulled me aside, pulled me into an embrace, and kissed my cheek. Just as quickly as it happened, I got pulled away by Michael. "Your dad is on his way to pick you up," he said. "Okay," I replied. I grabbed my phone and dialed his cell phone. He picked up immediately. I could tell he was just leaving because I heard the garage door opening. "I'll be there in 20 minutes," my dad said. "Can I just get a ride by someone else," I asked. I didn't want to go home yet. It was only 11 pm. Before my dad could answer, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and saw Nate. "I can take you home," Nate yelled over the music. I nodded in agreement. "Nate said he can take me," I said into my phone. It would work well since he lived two houses down from me. "Alright," my dad replied. "I'll see you tomorrow. Have fun!" I hung my phone up and was about to thank Nate, but he left to go bowl. The rest of the night was pretty calm after that. I bowled and chatted with my friends and co-workers. Nate occasionally came over to me lane to talk to me. After all 10 of my co-workers and I finished our fourth game, it was 2 am. We all decided it was time to leave. So, I put my shoes on, grabbed my bag, and walked out the door. I walked to Nate's car and he was already waiting. He opened the door for me. I got in; he closed it, and walked to the driver's side and got in. Nate started the car and we were off to my house. Throughout the night we all had a few drinks. To be honest, I didn't think Nick should have been driving, but I just wanted to go home and go to bed, so I didn't care all that much. For the first few minutes, we didn't talk. Eventually he looked over at me and saw me shivering. He took his sweatshirt off and handed it over to me. I immediately put it on because I was freezing. I zipped it up and I couldn't help but notice it smelled so much like him. I inhaled deeply, but trying to not look conspicuous. It smelled like Hollister perfume, mixed with vodka, and a pine forest smell. To be honest, it smelled great. I looked over at him and smiled. "Thanks," I said. He smiled back. "You're welcome,” he replied. We sat there with silence for about 5 minutes. I was looking out the window, when I felt something warm against my hand. I looked down and saw his hand on mine. This is what I've been waiting for since I met him. The feeling I got in my stomach was beyond words. Almost instantly I grabbed it back. I started to question myself. Why me? I’m just an ordinary girl. I'm 5'4. I have brown hair, a slightly big nose, my teeth weren't perfectly straight, and I've been told that my breasts weren't very large. I don't want to say I'm ugly, because no one is. I'm just not beautiful. From what I knew, I wasn't his type. He went for tall and blonde. I guess miracles do happen. "I like you Lauren," Nate said. I looked up at him and without hesitating I told him I liked him too. At this moment, I knew he was the one. He was the one I had been searching for. The half to make me whole. He leaned over and our lips touched. Sparks flied. I got a feeling I never got before when I kissed someone. We both pulled away at the same time. For a second I though I was dreaming because I saw these bright lights, and I felt my head jerk back and hit the back of the seat. Suddenly, it felt like I was flying. I looked out the window, still dizzy, and saw rocks and trees. Frantically, I looked to my left at Nate. We looked at each other. There was fear in his eyes. I reached for his hand and braced myself. He must have been thinking the same thing because when I reached for his, he was reaching for mine. I grabbed it tightly and held on. * * * Memories were flossing through my mind. I've read that when you die, your life flashed before your eyes. I opened my eyes and I saw were bright lights. I thought to myself that I was dead and this is heaven, but things started becoming clearer. I saw a woman in white staring at me. Beep. Beep. Beep. That was all I heard. "Can you hear me," the woman in white asked. I could barely move. It hurt. It felt like I was being hit by a semi over and over. The woman in white got up and left the room. I felt my eyes getting heavy. I tried to fight it. I was afraid. Eventually I gave in to the darkness. * * * "Lauren," said my step mom, Jenna. I was able to tell it was her voice right away. It has a certain ring to it. My eyes fluttered open and I was my Mom, Dad, Step mom, Michael, and Tony all standing next to my bed. I was in the hospital. The whole crash wasn't a dream. My thoughts went to Nate. "Where's Nate,” I asked. "Is he alright?" I looked around the room frantically. Everyone looked down. My mom grabbed my hand. Tears started streaming down my face. "He didn't make it," my mom replied. There was a pain in her voice as she said it. "He died instantly when the car hit the ground. I'm so sorry honey." I pulled my hand away and buried my face into my pillows. Without hesitation, the tears came. * * * I cried for weeks straight after that. Nate had died because of me. I kissed him. I took his eyes off the road for two seconds. And it that two seconds he swerved to the left land, a car hit us, and sent us flying off the cliff. We landed on the ground below. Nate hit his head hard on the dash and died instantly. His airbag didn't deploy. Mine did. I suffered broken ribs, a broken leg, a severe concussion, and some cuts from the broken glass. I was in the hospital for 2 weeks before they let me leave. It hurt so much to know Nate wasn't coming back. My last memory was him scared for his life. I hated knowing I would never see him again. That I would never feel his touch again. I went home and I recovered. It took a long time, but I did. I never left the house. But one day, my doctor stopped by the house and brought me my things I left at the hospital. I opened the bag and there were cards and stuffed animals from family and friends. At the bottom was Nate's sweatshirt. I pulled it to my face and inhaled. It still smelt like him. Memories flashed though my head. The first time I met him, the hand holding, the winning strike, and the kiss. I never met anyone like him ever again. I eventually let myself love again, but it was never like the love I had with Nate. To this day I have his sweatshirt hanging in my closet with pictures of the night we all went bowling. I hold those very close to my heart. He was, and always will be the one.
Not Just a Love Story
January 27, 2012