Brittany and I were walking to class after lunch. The bell had rang and people had started to empty the hallways.
“Hey, Mongrel,” Xavier called behind me, grabbing my wrist.
I looked back.
“You’re coming for the gig tonight, right?”
“Yeah. Of course,” I smiled at him, “I’m coming for you.”
“Great,” he smiled back, “I’ll come to pick you up at seven.”
“Okay. See you after class,” he said hurriedly and placed a peck on my left cheek.
“Hey! Xavi! We’re gonna be late!” Matt called from the farther end of the hallway.
“Yeah. Coming!” He said and strode towards them, half running.
“Give it a rest, Lover boy!!” Hunt shouted from next to Matt.
“I LOVE HER!!!” Xavier hollered back at Hunt loudly in the hallway.
Everybody in the hallway stopped to look at him and then at me. Matt and Hunt grinned at me from where they were standing. I chuckled. Xavier looked back at me once with a smile.
Xavier, oh, Xavier. I love you more.
“Wow,” Brittany said, “That guy’s really something else.”
I laughed, “Yeah.”
She smiled back, “Come on. You don’t wanna be late, do you?”
Dad and Xavier were downstairs together, waiting for me over a talk down. Xavier came fifteen minutes early and since dad was not on the shift tonight, Xavier was bound to talk with the girlfriend’s dad. While finishing up in my room, I couldn’t stop wondering what they could possibly be talking about; or how Xavier was handling it. Is he nervous? Is he sweating? As far as I knew, he’d never been with my dad without me around. So far, dad seemed to have no problem with Xavier but who knew what he could be feeling deep down.
When I came down, David was watching TV. Xavier and dad were sitting face to face in the kitchen table. To my surprise, Xavier was chuckling and so was dad. I blinked five-six times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. And it was confirmed. They were laughing together. I felt great happiness and relief surge through my whole body.
“Hey,” I said to grab their attentions.
They looked at me and both of them stood up from their places. Xavier looked nothing less than an extremely hot rock star. He wore a fitting black blazer over a V-neck white shirt that somewhat highlighted his lean body. He paired those with dark jeans and black boots.
His outfit made him look so different from how I usually see him in school; T-shirt and Vans. He looked far from a school boy now. He looked... ready to Rock. Since his blazer sleeves were pushed up to reveal his forearms, I saw that he was also wearing wrist bands on his left wrist. It made him look even more hot.
“Hey, sweetie. You done?” Dad asked, calling me back to earth from crushing over my boyfriend.
“Yeah. We should go,” I answered, flicking my gaze back to Xavier.
It was so hard to look away.
I walked ahead and the two followed me to the door. Xavier fist pumped David on the way.
At the door, I hugged dad with a bye and took Xavier’s hand.
“Bring my daughter back in time,” dad told Xavier.
“You have my word, sir,” Xavier replied with confidence.
While walking towards his car, I asked him, “He didn’t officially interrogate you, did he?”
He chuckled and grinned, “No hell of a way. The Lancasters just can’t resist my charm.”
I punched his arm and laughed with him. He was right in a way though. Even David. Now dad? And what can you say about me. I can’t possibly call a No-Xavier day a good day. Remember the two weeks he left for his tour? Lesson learned.
“You look amazing, by the way,” he said with an appealing smile on his lips as he looked down on me, “You look especially stunning in red. The color really suits you.”
Okay. He was my boyfriend. I should be starting to get used to his compliments but I couldn’t help but break a blush. With the color of the dress I was wearing, I most probably looked like a ripened red lip stick.
“Thanks,” I said and tried to smile for the compliment but I couldn’t.
I was wearing a round neck fitting red dress that exposed my collar bones and which hugged my body including my flat butt... which Xavier knew well. The sleeves went up till my wrists and the dress ended mid thigh. I knew I looked good. I put my best effort too. I had even appreciated myself in the mirror before I finally left my room, but being a girl who was rarely complimented, it was always hard for me to accept them normally.
I kinda needed Kendra, Brittany or Laura next to me to assure me of how I looked.
Who knew he’s only saying it just because he love me so much and he doesn’t want me to be uneasy about my appearance... Though I don’t look that good, I thought. And I mentally scolded myself for the idea but it didn’t leave me.
Second guesses are some problems with people like me.
The past few days, Brittany had tutored me on how to work with make up kits. And I had learned some of the most important things extremely necessary for a girl’s life. Her make up hacks worked amazing.
I skyped and talked and texted more often with Laura too. She, on her part, taught me some life dependent dress hacks too.
I had sent her pictures of me wearing the dress she sent, that night after I returned from the date to Café du claire de lune. She deserved to be a part of one of my best nights. I wouldn’t have had a dress to wear without her. My shopping had never crossed the basic necessities. Our conversation from what for I wore the dress slowly led to me telling her about me and Xavier’s relationship. She celebrated the headline news like a proud mom of one who got scholarship to Harvard.
Xavier didn’t have Facebook or Instagram accounts but she had seen him through the Reapers’ social media accounts and she was overjoyed.
“Oh. My. God. Where in the world did you find that goldfish.” She mumbled to me as she stared down on her phone screen when we skyped that night.
So the point is, despite all that help and the lessons I’d learned and applied, even after they worked, I was still self conscious and nervous.
“Don’t ever second guess yourself, Alana,” Xavier said softly as if reading my mind.
“Huh?” I looked up to him. I didn’t realize I had zoned out in the ocean of second guesses... or it could be tenth guesses.
He exhaled a deep breath and gently pulled me with him towards the passenger side of his car, “Come here.”
I stood in front of him with my hands on his chest as he leaned onto the car with his back. He took my face in between his hands and met my eyes. His eyes, beautiful, sparkly and somehow sad.
“Don’t ever doubt how beautiful you look in this dress, in this make up or in any other way. Every girl is beautiful in her own way,” Xavier said, looking straight into my eyes, assuring me with every word he let out of his mouth.
“If some people can’t see it, then it’s their problem. Not yours. Or any girls’. The only difference lies in preferences. But that’s okay. Everybody has preferences. Even I prefer you over any other girl. I just want you to know that you are beautiful. Very beautiful. And I don’t want you to look down on yourself. Be confident, baby. I love you.”
My grip on his chest tightened as I swallowed hard. I pulled him closer to me. I tried to say something but only a heavy breath made its way out of my mouth. It was one of those moment when you feel like saying so many things in gratitude but you can’t really bring out even one of them because there’s just too much to say. Nobody, nobody had ever made me feel this good and confident about myself.
“Thank you,” I said, resting my forehead against his chest.
He hugged my head to his chest and kissed the side of my head, saying, “There’s no need to thank me, baby. I’m only telling you what you need to know. You know I have a habit of stating facts.”
I caught the joke tagged in the end, how he used to say his narcissism is only stating facts. And I laughed into his chest.
Knitting my arms around his neck, I looked up to him and said, “I know that not everybody is going to look at me the same way you do. I don’t mind. I just want to look good in your eyes. This dress, this make up, it’s all for you.” It was a bit embarrassing saying that out loud but I did it and I felt like loads were lifted off from my shoulders.
He ran his arms around my ribs and hugged me tight in response, placing kisses on my cheek and temple.
“I know, baby. I know,” he breathed and placed another deep kiss on the top of my head. “I noticed every single thing and you do look amazing. I know that you started putting make ups only after we started dating. I also know that you struggled in that,” he smiled.
Oh my God, were my smudges that noticeable?!
He continued to speak, “Thank you so much for doing all that for me. I love you so much. So damn much. You have no idea how adorable you are,” he hugged me tighter.
I felt my heart leap in joy within me. He understood me so well.
“I’m actually glad that you’re starting to learn all these stuffs. Not that you look less beautiful without them. It’s just that it’s a girl thing. You should enjoy it,” he smiled pleasantly.
Why is this guy so amazing?
Pulling him closer to me by his neck whilst hoisting myself higher, I whispered above his lips, “Kiss me.”
Without missing a beat, his lips were on mine; soft and firm, making my knees weak but thank god, he was holding me up and close to his body. I kissed back.
“Promise me one thing,” he said when we paused to breathe. I met his eyes, “Promise me you won’t ever look down on yourself. And always remember, you are beautiful.”
I nodded, “I promise.”
He grinned back, “That’s my girl.”
I laughed lightly under my breathe. He kissed me again.
“I love you, Mongrel,” he whispered in between kisses.
“I love you too,” I whispered back.
“Shall we move then?” He suggested after sometime.
“Yeah,” I smiled and loosened the hug.
He opened the door for me. I got in. He rounded the car and got in too.
He tapped on the dashboard saying, “There’s something for you inside.”
I grinned at him. He grinned back. We knew what was inside. He always kept Starbursts for me there. I love this guy.
We were back to the club Brother Bear. Xavier never left my side until it was time for him to move backstage. We met our friends before that so I stayed with Kendra and Brittany throughout the time the boys were on stage.
The gig, like the last time, was awesome... And even more awesome. We stood around the very front. I took pictures and videos to sent to Laura and also for me to save on my laptop and watch them once in a while. It made me happy to see him enjoy his thing.
“This one goes out to my special someone who’s among the crowd tonight,” Xavier said through the microphone, smiling down at me, “Ms. Lancaster, I hope you like it.”
For a moment, I felt immobile and glued to the spot at the surprise. Xavier’s going to sing for me!!
The hall buzzed in curious noise, searching for the front man’s special someone. Kendra and Brittany immediately squealed and squeezed my arms. I was standing between the two of them. Not long after, those around me had followed Xavier’s gaze or caught my girls’ reaction and found me.
A girl from the back peeped over my shoulder and asked me something.
“Huh?” I looked back.
Kendra answered for me. She basically shouted at her like she was screaming she won an Oscar, “Yes!! She’s the girl he’s talking ’bout!! His girlfriend!!”
“Oh my God. He has a girlfriend,” the girl mumbled, her expression confused whether she should be excited for it or be sad.
Kendra and Brittany laughed. A wide grin broke over my face too. Then I looked back and smiled at my man.
Xavier’s eyes would meet mine as he sang for me and oh God, it would be a lie to say I was not overwhelmed by it all. He sang....
Here’s a sinner on the road
All he’s got is this guitar
And God, it’s a tough life and I’m not the best of man
The only good I’ve got is this one prayer I’m praying to you
So God, if you’re out there and if you can hear me
Keep this girl safe with me
Sinners don’t pray
Sinners aren’t good
But God, if you’ve got mercy
God, if you’ve got grace
Keep this girl safe with me
Then I’ll promise to be the best of me.
I had a good grin plastered on my fave the whole time as I watched him sing. The earnestly in his voice was significant and I felt his love envelope me like a blanket even though he was up on the stage. Matt, Hunt, Scott and Alex, all grinned at me from where they were as they backed Xavier up with their own instruments. I smiled back at them with a light laugh.
When the song ended, there was the most rapturous response from the audience. The screams were higher. The cheers were louder. Xavier jumped down from the stage and came straight towards me. I caught my breath. My heartbeat throbbed and I felt my pulse race on my skin. The body became warm all over.
People watched his every step as he strode forward towards me. His eyes were fixed on mine determinately and yet softly. I watched him without a word and when he reached me, he wrapped his arms around my waist and pressed his lips on mine. My head spined. My arms automatically went around his arms and we kissed in the crowd. Despite all the noise, the only thing I could hear was the resonance of my pounding heart and his breathing. Nothing else. It was our moment.
“Stay with me forever, Alana,” he said in between kisses.
I nodded willingly. It was a yes. There was no other answer besides that. There was no one I’d rather be with besides Xavier. He was the one. I knew we were young but I also knew that the Creator of this universe didn’t create youth to put doubt in love.
Youth is not eternal. This world is not eternal. This night itself will come to an end. And just as much as I’m sure of it all, I believe in the love that Xavier and I have for each other; that it is as strong as the rocks beneath our feet. And come what may, I stand by Xavier.
And God, if you’re out there and if you can hear me,
Keep him safe with me.