"I didn't know how to react, so I told him maybe some other time," I had just described my encounter with my crush earlier this afternoon.
Just then we heard amused snickers coming from the doorway.
"Jordan beat it! Sorry, go on Brynn."
"Why does he always eves-drop?"
"Because if you only heard yourselves you'd know how pathetic you sound," Jordan came in and made himself comfortable on his sister's bed as he laid with one arm behind his head.
"But no one asked for your opinion," I glared at him.
"I didn't think I needed your permission. You're in MY house," he cracked a wise-ass smile and showed no signs of departing.
"Alright you two, don't start again," Izzy sighed.
I'm sorry but it was inevitable. Here I was undressing my feelings before my best friend and her idiot brother had to sit in for the scrutinizing entertainment. It made me realize how lucky I was to be an only child. Although their relationship was sometimes enviable, I didn't understand why he had to bug me all the time.
Yes, I'll admit it, I probably did sound pathetic, but he didn't have to stay if he was going to complain about it. Izzy certainly wasn't, in fact she was about to give me her two cents on the matter. Scoop was, I liked my friend Isaiah, but I couldn't tell if he just liked me as a friend or if I should be a little more forward about my feelings. Now don't get me wrong, Jordan did throw in some good advice, if he wasn't in jerk mode. But today I wasn't sure what mood he was in.
My problem was, either I was having a difficult time accepting that Isaiah didn't like me back or I wasn't trying hard enough. I thought I was fairly pretty and clear out of the I-love-you-like-a-sister zone; things were just so confusing.
"You should just say "Hey I like you, do you want to go out sometime… like on a date?" and see how he responds," Jordan concluded. Maybe today he wasn't a jerk.
"It's not that simple. For starters, I'm the one that's supposed to get asked out. And second, I'm on that thin red line of friendship, what if I scare him off once he knows that I like him?" I couldn't risk not having Isaiah at all.
"Well the way I see it, either he is playing it super cool or he just doesn't like you," he shrugged his shoulders.
"Sure, you make it sound so easy," my head sunk, hopeless. Was there any sure way of knowing without ruining my friendship?
"Jeez, I don't remember being this pitiful when I was 16," Jordan looked at the ceiling as if he were king know-it-all.
"Jordan, I don't know what you're gloating about, you didn't start dating till college. And before then, you would obsess about how you'd become this "stud" because no girls gave you the time of day in high school," Izzy nodded. "He'd go to the gym at least 4 to 7 times a week."
"At least I worked hard to change myself and got what I wanted. You can be whoever you want to be in college and I see nothing wrong with that!"
"Yeah, you got what you wanted? So you actually want to attract all those bimbos you've been dating?" Izzy crossed her arms in disgust.
"I admit they are a little on the easy side, but It's a win win situation. I get to hook-up with them and they get to show me off to their friends for a while," he winked.
"Who's pathetic now? I hope to God I don't meet another YOU when I go to college," I began to feel a little nauseated at the fate that awaited me outside my school's safe haven.
"Ok hold it, you mean to tell me that making-out with a hot guy every now and then doesn't sound like a good time to you? And I'd say the majority of the guys at COLLEGE are just like me and worse!" Jordan sprung up to see my response.
He didn't know the truth about me. Perhaps I was naïve about my fairytale kiss and choosing to wait for my first boyfriend to have my first kiss with. But only Izzy understood and I didn't expect the same from her womanizing brother.
"Jordan, Brynn hasn't kissed a guy yet," I widened my eyes.Too much information, Izzy!
"Wha-at? Oh Brynn, you have what I like to call "hard shell syndrome" and you've got to break out of it before you become the next 40 year old virgin."
"Since when did Jordan start diagnosing girl problems?" I asked Izzy as though he weren't in the room.
"Babe, trust me. I think you need an injection of college culture to loosen you up."
"I hate when you call me that," my jaw clenched each time he said it, only because I knew he probably said it to all the girls he flirted with and I didn't want to be put on the same shelf as them.
"What do you have in mind, Jordan?" Izzy on the other hand had listening ears.
But Elizabeth needed no help, she needed no injections. Her and Jordan; both tan with ash blond hair. He inherited their father's sky blue eyes while Izzy's were hazel. They also had status, both parents worked in a law firm in L.A. and well you can imagine how uncomfortable their living space was; if you can pick up my sarcasm here. Izzy had aspirations of acting and singing while Jordan dreamed of making a career out of his pastime...surfing.
Then there's me, Brynn Rael. I had no fancy hobby or famous parents. I did have these awesome braces as of 8 months, provided by my mother the dental hygienist, who had transferred work places 2 years ago. From Seattle to SoCal, my world not only turned but upgraded. Only I didn't. I was actually lagging behind; I couldn't compete with all these plastic girls out here.
"Now, I'm in a good mood. So I will allow you both to join me at The Pit tonight," Jordan laid back down, I'm sure he saw this as his charitable deed of the day.
I looked at Izzy a little confused in hopes that she'd catch on.
"The Pit is just a spot where they have huge beach parties with an awesome bonfire. All the fraternities and sororities go there. I hear it gets pretty crazy… So what do you say? Are you up for this, B?"
Was my fairytale dream that hopeless and that ancient? Apparently I needed to crack my shell open, or whatever analogy Jordan was using to prove his point. Was kissing some random schmuck supposed to improve my chances with Isaiah or give me more confidence to ask him out? Who knows, but all I could say for now was that tonight might just be life changing.
I frequently slept over the Brown's house on Saturdays. My mom would have a night out with her coworkers and I'd come home on Sunday morning to her suffering migraine or hangover; however you want to call it. This really encouraged me to want to go out and drink myself silly…not!
Fortunately, I didn't have to mention this to her since I was already at their house. All I needed was to borrow Izzy's clothes and I was set for a night of the college life, or so I thought. Other than using me as a guinea pig to try out her makeup tricks, Elizabeth didn't do too badly. She managed to make me look at least 19, although she easily looked 21.
What I wasn't told was how much control Jordan had over the situation. When he saw my ordinary selection of clothing he barged in to his sister's closet to improve me.
"The whole point of this experiment is to pretend you are someone else and see how it feels for a change, not go as an older version of your lame self. We are not searching for prince charming tonight just some fooling around," he rudely explained.
Jordan shoved a piece of clothing in my hands and walked out the door closing it behind him. I held up what I thought was half of my outfit only to find a skimpy beach dress.
"Am I supposed to wear this with nothing underneath? Absolutely not!" I refused and placed it on Izzy's bed.
"Don't be silly Brynn, you wear a bikini top underneath, after all we are going to the beach, remember?"
Izzy searched through her drawer and threw me her black bikini set. I was supposed to wear this underneath her white deep V-neck dress? This would be the first and last time I decide to dress like a slut…stupid experiment! I may be dressing the part but I still didn't know the first thing about "loosening up", so my best bet would be to mimic the other girls and pray I wouldn't die of shame in the morning.
Taking one final look in the living room mirror, I could barely recognize myself. Izzy did it, transformed me into a college harlot. Honestly though, if it weren't for the ridiculously low cut on this dress I wouldn't have minded this "new me". My hair was let down in spirals as opposed to the one minute pony tail I always had. I always used mascara to cover up a small silver streak I have by my ear, thus why I always wore it up. I got teased a lot in elementary; kids called me Cruella DeVille but I would have preferred something cool like Rogue from the X-Men or the likes.
Jordan drove us over in his black Jeep with the hood off, leaving our hair flying everywhere, but it suited the occasion. I admired Elizabeth as she looked naturally stunning; she had a similar orange dress that swayed even if you so happened to blow on it. And I don't even want to say how nice Jordan looked. I refused to even look at him, especially since he kept checking on me through his rear view mirror while rehearsing his to-do list for the night. In case you were curious though, he wore a white short-sleeved shirt that contrasted well with his black swim trunks.
Arriving at the beach, you could hear the music vibrating the layers of sand off the ground. There were lights flailing all around and a white canopy where the DJ was set up. The closer we got the brighter and higher the flames twirled. The bonfire was so big that I could barely see past it, the blazes reached at least 7 feet tall. We left our shoes in Jordan's car as it was useless carrying them all night. Meanwhile I kept trying not to appear like a lost child, but it was a lot to take in.
In minutes Jordan came back with Jell-O shots, claiming that this would help me socialize. The last thing I was planning on doing was getting drunk tonight. I hoped there was nothing illegal in these shots so that I could remember my name later. Jordan kept running off with his friends leaving Izzy and myself freedom to explore. I tried retuning my brain. How could I act more like these girls and be approachable? And then I realized I was the one who had to initiate things. How else would this serve as experience for when I'd finally ask Isaiah out?
So I started hunting, scoping the land of these interesting and bare chested creatures. During the process I felt like the Jell-O shots were living up to their expectation. I finally found a guy that had similar features like Isaiah, so I strolled over to his side not sure what I was about to say just yet. He already saw me coming and turned his body to face me. He had a beer in his hand and put the other on the small of my back to lean in and talk to me; the music made it very difficult.
"What's your name?" he shouted.
"Elise," that was my middle name. "What's yours?"
"Mike. Who are you here with?"
"Just some friends," I tried shouting over the music but it wasn't smooth at all.
"Can I get you a drink?"
I nodded although I wasn't sure if I'd drink it all, either way this was looking pretty easy. Mike came back with my drink in his hand and motioned for me to follow him. I hadn't noticed that further down the beach there were outdoor couches placed for people…like us. Now although this fellow looked like Isaiah he sure didn't act like him. He was certainly more forward and no beating around the punches.
As we sat on the couch he kept asking me questions about myself, some answers I gave had little truth to them. While he rambled off about himself I found it hard to distract myself from the idea if this guy was going to kiss me or not. I wondered what button I had to press to get him to do it, if he even wanted to that is.
"Do you want to get out of here?" he asked slyly.
"I can't, I'm here with my friends."
I could tell he was over this party and my chances were slipping. Before I spoke too soon he started scooting over to me. So here was my moment, my first kiss. I tried to imagine that this was Isaiah and how much he longed to confess his feelings for me. However it really wasn't my blue-eyed friend and this fool was about to put those slobbery lips on my neck and I don't know where else.
I stiffened up once I felt his wet mouth on my shoulder. I thought I'd suffer a little longer, but mentally I wasn't handling it well. Needless to say this was NOT enjoyable. I began to shove him off lightly while moving further over to the end of the couch. Like a slimy leech, he had a couple of beers and I guess he thought I was playing hard to get or something.
I pushed him harder and jumped up to hurry away from there.
So my first attempt wasn't successful. I went looking for Izzy but spotted Jordan instead, dancing with a redhead. Needing a break, I found a log to sit on in front of the fire. I clasped on to my dress, closing the gap of my exposed chest. Not realizing I was zoning out as I watched the dancing flames and tuned out all the noise.
Why did I want to play along to this in the first place? I was in no rush to kiss anyone. What would this say about my character? Did I need to fit in that badly and become exactly like these girls…really? Did I look up to them like role models…no. And then and there I proved MY point and didn't need to hear any more crap from Jordan.
Pleased with myself, my frown turned into a smile and I didn't mind sitting there for a bit longer. Approaching the bonfire, wearing a blue hoodie and cutoff jeans, was a rather cute boy who seemed to be in the same boat as I was. I watched him notice me and change his direction. His hands were tucked away in his sweater and he sported an even cuter set of dimples.
"Hey, how's it going? Looks like you're having too much fun over here," he kept smiling.
"It's my private party. Invitation only," I grinned.
"Well extend the invitation; can't you see they're all miserable over there?" We looked ahead and saw that that clearly wasn't the case. "I'm Aaron."
"Brynn," I didn't mind telling him my first name. "So are you not enjoying yourself?"
"I'm actually the designated driver. Yup, all my friends are out there getting drunk out of their minds and I get to sit back and enjoy the show," I laughed and had to agree, it was quite the show. "So what about you?" he insisted.
"I'm here with my best friend and her brother…on a little "experiment", but I seem to have failed," I buried my toes in search of the cool sand, the combination of that with the warm fire and nice breeze behind me was all so relaxing.
"Experiment you say…do continue," he raised an eyebrow while taking a seat beside me.
"An injection of "college culture"."
"Ah, but this isn't all what college is about. Fun for some, but not all."
"What's your idea of fun then?" I turned to face him, no longer seeing him as a stranger.
"That!" he pointed to the water as it brushed lightly over the sand. "I love the ocean … Hey you've got a swim suit, come on!" he grabbed my hand and dragged me along.
We walked all the way to the wet sand and let the water reach for our toes. The view was amazing, a half-moon glistening over the blackness. I took steps further and noticed Aaron wasn't around. Before I could look back I saw something, or in this case someone, dive head first into the water. I shrieked as the water that splashed on me was colder than I expected. Seconds later Aaron's head popped out of the water and for a brief moment I thought he would be the perfect guy to practice my first kiss with.
"What are you waiting for? Get your butt in here girly!" he shouted while splashing at me.
I ran back to the shore all the while removing and throwing my dress on to the sand. Then ran even faster into the water so as not to be seen in this sexy two-piece, because I don't do sexy. There went the fixed hair and the make-up too,but this was more fun than trying to play a role I would most likely suck at.
"So Brynn, what were you hoping to get out of this night of "college culture"?"
"I'm still not sure. Truth is, and I don't know why I'm telling you this, my friend's brother teases me because I say that I want my first kiss to be special and all that...I guess he was planning on turning me into a female version of himself," I admitted.
"Please tell me you didn't follow through with this plan of his?"
"I didn't, I couldn't. Maybe a good or bad thing, who cares!"
"So you've never kissed a guy before?" he asked skeptically. "I find that hard to believe."
"True story. Because the tap kiss in 4th grade doesn't really count," I giggled.
"Can I teach you?"
"Teach me what?" I asked not knowing if we changed topics already.
"Teach you how to kiss," he beamed as the moon light hit the side of his face.
All the while, I was left with a massive lump in my throat.