Hard Beginnings

May 13, 2009
By
Kailee’s car dorm slammed as she collected her backpack and headed up the steep driveway toward her front door. She leaned and pushed against the sticky door trying to push away her bad day at school as well.
“Mom,” she called, “I need food…bad. I had a HORRIBLE day! This one guy—“ she stopped short. All six feet of Blake Rowley stood just inside her kitchen door, looking very sheepish.
“Honey,” Kailee’s mom soothed, “Blake says he has something to apologize for.”
Kailee glanced skeptically up at Blake. “I…I don’t know what happened me today when I teased of you in front of all the guys. I just sorta lost it. It wasn’t funny at all, and I’m really, really sorry,” Blake broke off.
“It’s ok, Mr. Rowley. I forgive you, and I’m sure your ego feels so much better. Now you can go home and thank your lucky stars it’s all over. Good-bye!”
He looked only slightly hurt at the obvious sarcasm that layered her reply. “All right. Bye, Kailee, Mrs. Driscol,” Blake nodded first at Kailee, then her mom, then left.

“Kailee, what was that about? You were unnecessarily rude,” Mrs. Driscol glanced at her daughter.
Kailee grabbed an orange and sulked back toward the stairs. “I told you I had a bad day, and he’s the cause of it. You know what’s most disappointing: He seemed like a really nice kid. He respected all the girls and didn’t let other guys’ attitudes get to him, ‘til today. Mom, it was like he was making up for all his days of being nice, and he directed most of it at me.”
“Well maybe you should give ‘im a break. I mean, he apologized, didn’t he? That counts for something?”
“Sure, sure, whatever you say.” And Kailee disappeared into her bedroom.

Kailee woke the next morning, glanced at her alarm clock, then jumped out of bed with a yelp. she should have been in the shower 45 minutes ago! Half an hour later she screeched to a halt in her usual parking place just minutes before she had to be in her first class feeling queasy for having missed breakfast. Making it her locker, she was surprised to see a bag of Panera sitting just in front of it. She opened it and read the note inside. It read:

Hey Kails,

I thought you might need a little pick-me-up this morning. I hope the teacher in your first class lets you eat during the lecture. I also hope to see your beautiful smile today!
-Your Mysterious Mister

After school the next day Kailee came home to a bouquet of flowers sitting on her front porch. Her “Mysterious Mister” persevered in sending her flowers and other kind conveniences day after day for months. Kailee always wondered who it might be, and eventually she began to detect patterns in the gifts. She could predict where he would leave the next surprise, and sometimes she left him notes of her own. Somehow Kailee felt comfortable revealing her heart to him, and she felt strangely attracted to the thoughtful man of the notes.

Walking into fourth hour chemistry, Kailee met up with her best friend, Meg.
“Hey, Megs! Wazup?” she asked casually.
Meg handed her a blueberry bagel and said, “Ehhh…not much for me, but did you hear Blake Rowley was in some kind of terrible car accident. Apparently his car got hit on the interstate, and now he’s in the hospital.”
“Ouch! Sounds pretty bad. Is he gonna be ok?” Kailee took a giant bite of her bagel.
“Yeah, I think so, but I thought you didn’t like him.”
“I’ve pretty much gotten over that. It was a while ago, and I guess I sorta took it way too far. Ya know, my dramatic side.”
“Oh, ok. Good to hear. Sooooo, missy, where’s the next mystery man gift drop off?”
“According to my calculations . . . when I get home, there should be a card stuck into the windowsill of my bedroom.”
“Clever, very clever, isn’t he?” Meg teased. Then the teacher called their attention to him, and class started.

When Kailee got home, however, she did not find a card or anything at all near the house. In fact, for the next couple days there was not a hint of her “Mysterious Mister.” Finally, Kailee faced the facts and connected the dots, and she went to the hospital.
“Knock, knock. Can I come in?” she said hesitantly at Blake’s hospital door.
He looked up at her, pleased surprise spreading across his face like a blanket. “Kails…uh…I mean Kailee! Come in! What are you doing here?”
“Hey, Blake. I came to first apologize. I should have forgiven you right away last semester. I want to confess that I held a grudge against you for a very long time, and I had no right to do so; I blew it way out of proportion. Secondly, I’ve been thinking about how right after our run-in I started getting letters and gifts from this guy, and then, when you were in the hospital, they stopped coming. Other clues have also lead me to believe that… you are him. Well?”
“I guess you caught me,” Blake admitted. “Are you angry about it?”
“No…it’s strange, but I’m not mad. I guess I’m almost relieved,” Kailee smiled at Blake, and they started talking like old friends.





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