Monday, August 27, 2012

Dancing in A Downpour

Two steaming bows of broccoli cheddar soup and two bows of salad sat opposite of each other on the smallest circle table in Panera Bread. With a cup of tea and a coffee, it could have easily been mistaken for a cozy date, but instead of a couple, my best friend Sarah sat opposite me. We were both too well-dressed for Panera: Sarah was in a pair of bright lilac cropped jeans with  black sequin tank, and I was wearing snakeskin print jeggings with a burnt orange racerback tank. Where would be headed to all dressed up? A concert of course.
Thick dark clouds kept cutting off the sunlight that was inconsistently pouring through the window right by our table made me wish I had waterproofed my makeup.
Tonight was The Fray and Kelly Clarkson. We were mostly going for The Fray. Sarah had lived on their new album all year, and had gotten me hooked on their newest songs in the process. We had gotten these tickets only a few weeks after we had gotten our Coldplay tickets many months ago, and had spent the past three days hyping The Fray.
We took our time eating our dinner, out of the three concerts this was the only one where it was just the two of us and it felt good to slow down and move at our own pace. We had pavilion seats, so there was no rush to go and get a good spot on the lawn like we did for Train, and we didn't need to add in an extra hour to drink and preparty like we did for Coldplay. By the time we got on the road and the highway took us north, a steady rain had started. From the warmth inside of the car, I was glad I had ditched my original corset dress for pants and my leather jacket. This was Michigan: I had worn shorts in March and broke out the leather in August.
When we arrived at the theatre, I regretted not throwing an umbrella in the back of my new Ford escape.
"I don't even want to get out of the car," I sighed, watching everyone else walk up in sweatshirts and those disgusting plastic ponchos.
"Thank God we don't have lawn seats," Sarah said, "I'm putting my jacket over my head."
"So much for curling my hair," I said, taking one last look at the loose curls.
Jackets over our heads, we hurried to the entrance.
"Hey look, its 93.9, we used to listen to them all the time at work before we got evicted," Sarah said, pointing out a red booth.
"I do find it rather funny that you guys got evicted, I mean it sucks you're out of a job, but to pay absolutely no rent for over a year, what was your boss thinking?" I mused as my eyes slid across the radio station booths set up near the entrance. The thought crossed my mind for a fraction of a second, but no, it was impossible, it was-
"-If I wasn't going up to school-"
The green tent. 98.7, the radio station Ian worked for-
"-I would be pissed-"
No way.
Tall, short cropped dark hair, there was no mistake.
"Ian!" I hissed suddenly, cutting off Sarah mid sentence, and without further explanation I tore off across the entrance, "Ian!" I called louder as I neared the lime green tent, my leather jacket keeping the total downpour of rain from drenching me.
The tall guy turned from where he was standing outside the tent, "Hey!" he threw an arm around me in a hug as I reached him, "What are you doing here? Are you going to the concert."
No, I'm actually stalking you, what else would I be doing an hour away from home all dressed up? "Of course, I love The Fray, suckish night for it though," I ducked back under the cover of my jacket.
"Yeah, we're packing up," he nodded to where he was untying something on the tent, "You got lawn seats?"
"Pavillion, I wouldn't actually be here if I had lawn seats," I scrunched up my nose at the thought.
"Nice," he smiled, "You going to Jennifer's thing later?"
"Yeah, I'm making an appearance after the concert," Other than the concert of another favorite band, tonight was my other best friend Jen's birthday party, "So, I'll see you later tonight then?"
"Let me know how the concert is," Ian said.
"I'm getting out of this rain, I'll talk to you later," I replied, my heart pounding in pure shock.
"See you tonight!"
I turned and caught up with Sarah, who was staring at me from near the entrance, "Was that...?"
"What is my luck?" I cried out loud as soon as we were out of earshot, "Ian comes back from his summer in London and I run into him in the pouring rain totally on accident? Sarah, I had the perfect entrance to Jen's party planned: We would be more than fashionably late, I was bringing a hot friend," I motioned to her, "My hair would be windswept and I would have that post-concert glow. It was going to be the first time Ian saw me in a social situation, and I would make a brilliant impression, but this? No!"
"I can't believe it!" Sarah echoed.
"I'm in complete and total shock right now! Of course, its pouring rain, and my hair is gross, and I've got my leather jacket over my head for Chanel's sake!"
"Ok calm down!" Sarah said with a laugh.
"Can my luck ever get any worse!" I moaned as we found our seats under the pavilion, "I will actually introduce you to him when we get to Jen's, it's slightly important that my best friend meets the only guy I've ever hooked up with," I said with a dark laugh.
The opening band was shit. It gave me perfectly enough time to get my shock in check before Kelly Clarkson took the stage. I felt like I was 12 years old again, dancing around my room to my 'Breakaway' cd, as Sarah and I danced around and sang the lyrics at the tops of our lungs like total fools. I hadn't expected her part of the concert to be as fun as it was, but by the time she finished, Sarah and I both concluded that Kelly and the two of us could actually be good friends. We would be friends mostly on the account of the 'orange creamsicle' drinks Kelly was enjoying during her performance.
And then The Fray came out.
They played my favorite song, 'Turn Me On' and I danced like I had never danced before.
And then they plated Sarah's favorite song, 'Rainy Zurich' and she screamed so loudly when it began I thought my hearing would never recover.
And when they played one of their old hits, Sarah and I were screaming the lyrics so passionately that the middle school girl in front of us turned and blatantly stared at us.
Like we actually gave a fuck.
Then they began some ballad from their newest album, and Issac, the lead singer, came into the crowd to sing it, and he sang RIGHT OUTSIDE OUR ROW. We were literally less than a foot from him, I thought Sarah and I were both going to pass out. It was incredible, we both even touched him!

I never wanted it to end, but we had another party to get to, and the excitement didn't end when the lights turned back on.
To be continued...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Strawberry Hill

"Three concerts in ten days, I'd say this is a good start to my summer," I beamed. Yes, it was the 7th of August and my summer had literally just begun with the Coldplay concert six nights previous. Now was the time to blow off some serious post-summer-classes steam.
I leaned back on my elbows on the picnic blanket we had laid out on the sprawling lawn and admired the pile of shoes that belonged to me and two of my closest friends. There were Ceileigh's cobalt blue platforms, my neutral wedges, and Sarah's gold strappy sandals. Ceileigh and Sarah had come out of the womb as best friends; Sarah and I had been friends since our freshman year of high school, and had grown closer with every passing year; and Ceileigh and I known of each other since freshman year, but we didn't become close until our senior year. The three of us were an inseparable trio, even with going to colleges at three different corners of the state of Michigan. The fourth addition to our group had his grey Converse still on his feet. Joey was Sarah's neighbor, her long-time crush, and my favorite person to secretly stalk in a very Pretty-Little-Liars-esq way. We're talking creepy, perfectly timed, anonymous texts.
"And we get to do this all over again in three days," said Sarah with a smile. Tonight was concert 2 of 3, and as the lawn began to fill up, I had a feeling we had made the right choice in adding one more to our line up.
Train was performing in Detroit tonight, and we had made a last minute call to get lawn seats. It was a warm night as the sun sank over the top of the pavilion, and I found myself on my feet as soon as Train opened with "50 Ways to Say Goodbye." The show was more fun than I even anticipated. I had worried the crowd would be a lot of middle-aged fans, but there was actually a good younger mix that kept the atmosphere electric.
"...She likes babies and surprises..."
"Sarah that's so you!" Ceileigh said as the classic "Meet Virginia" began.
"...She wears high heels as she exercises..."
"And that's so you Ceileigh!" Sarah exclaimed, catching on quickly.
Sarah has this natural motherly-instinct, and Ceileigh has a serious problem when it comes to her shoes.
"...She drinks coffee at midnight..."
"Xaylia!" Both Ceileigh and Sarah exclaimed at the line that followed in the next verse.
I do have a tendency to drink coffee at what most people would consider the wrong time, but when life could be this fun, why would I not want to stay awake to appreciate every small moment?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Live For The Moment, Not For The Memory

"... I'm still mad at her, I just ask her to call me back because for once, I'm under a lot of pressure, and she's all, 'I've got work 'till 10, and then have to wake up early to go up north, so I'll have to see how tired I am.' Come on!" I sighed, fluffing my friend Sarah's curls.
"I can tell you're still mad, you've told me this story like three times!" Sarah laughed.
The Mad Men theme song echoed from the other end of the bathroom counter, "Speak of the devil," I hissed as I glanced at the incoming call. It was Jen, "She's lucky I'm too excited about tonight to be as pissed as I still should be," I said to Sarah before answering with a cheery hello.
My cheeks were perfectly contoured, my hair was curled, and in neon yellow shorts and an aqua halter, I was ready for my first concert. Yes, I was 19 and it was my first concert. Don't judge.
"... Ok, I'll put on your lashes," I giggled, "We'll be over in like, 30 minutes... See you then!" I hung up and turned back to Sarah's curls, "I suck at this being-mad-at-my-best-friend-thing today."
"Understandable, it's Coldplay!"
I could hardly contain my excitement as I applied glitter eyeliner to Sarah's lashes. Coldplay, one of my all-time favorite bands, was playing in Detroit tonight. Months ago, Sarah and I had gotten our tickets and we had been counting down the days until today for what felt like forever. Me and my best friend Andrew had bonded over our mutual love of Coldplay, and had been planning to go together to the concert as soon as we found out we both had tickets. It wasn't long until Kang got a bit jealous of Andrew and me, and got tickets for himself, Jen, and Jen's boyfriend. Finally, the day was here.
"How long till you get here?" Andrew asked the second I picked up his call twenty minutes later.
"Ten minutes!"
"Make it five," Andrew snapped.
"I could if I were in the driver's seat," I said with a laugh before muttering to Sarah, "Stay in the right lane, it's the next exit."
Andrew and Kang were waiting in the driveway when we pulled up, and only a few minutes later, I found myself squished between Gabi, Andrew's fiancee, and Kang in the backseat of Sarah's black Fiesta.
"I can't believe we're actually going!" I said in shock under my breath as we sped on north.
"How many times have you said how excited you are?" Kang asked.
"I lost track hours ago," Sarah said sarcastically from the front seat.
"I think we should make a drinking game out of how many times Xaylia says she's excited for Coldplay," Andrew said and the entire car erupted in laughter.

"I feel like our best friendship just went full-circle," I said to Andrew as the pair of us led the group from the parking lot to the arena. Sarah and Kang trailed just behind us, followed by Jen, her boyfriend, and Gabi.
"Coldplay brought us together," Andrew said with a nod, polishing off his drink.
"And where we are, at the Coldplay concert, drinking rum and coke," I smiled, "That was my first ever drink at a bar, that you bought me."
Andrew returned my smile, "We're not best friends, we're best friends forever."
"Forever!" I said as Sarah and Kang caught up to us. We all finished our drinks, feeling buzzed from the rapid pace we had drank them at as we joined the crowd pouring into the stadium.
As we headed in, they handed us wristbands, wristbands I had only seen pictures of on tumblr. Andrew  and I tightened each other's around the other's wrist, and we all parted to our separate seats, agreeing to meet up again after the opening acts.
Well, opening act number one was boring, and Sarah and I had barely found our seats when we immediately went to buy shirts, where we met Andrew and Gabi in line doing the exact same thing. When we returned to our seats, Sarah and I had matching navy t-shirts and a beer to share, thanks to Andrew. As Marina and the Diamonds performed next, Sarah and I were visited by both Kang and Andrew, who both wanted to chat before Coldplay began.
The second Coldplay stepped onto the stage, Sarah and I screamed. The bracelets on our wrists lit up in time with 'Hurts Like Heaven,' which just so happens to be my favorite Coldplay song. The concert flew by in a haze of lights, and confetti, and light up bracelets, and some of the best music on the planet. Everything was perfect.

It was a rare nights of nothing but pure happiness. I was just so happy to be at the concert of one of my favorite bands, with my best friend by my side. Even when Sarah missed the freeway entrance coming home because her navigator (Andrew) was still decently drunk and feeding her pretzels instead of paying attention to the GPS, I had a stupid-big smile on my face. It was one of those nights where I was reminded of what it felt like to live in the moment, and to just make the most of every second. I believe that when you 'live for the moment, not for the memory' you can create some of the best memories; and that night was filled with memorable moments.

Monday, August 20, 2012

May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

"Check this out," I said, pulling a crumpled receipt from the inside of my purse.
Andrew let out a bark of laughter before passing the receipt onto the guy to his right.
"'Call for a good time, sexy lady,'" Jon, one of Andrew's fiancee's friends, laughed as he read the message out loud.
"Does this happen often?" Marcell, one of Andrew's friends from Oklahoma, asked as he handed me back the number one of my more creative customers had left me today.
I shrugged, "Somewhat, but I must say this one was decently creative."
Andrew took the number out of my hand.
"Andrew! Don't!" I said with a laugh as he pulled out his phone.
Our tiny table erupted in laughter as Andrew called the unsuspecting guy, pretending that he was the waitress who the guy had left his number for. The tiny suburban downtown was bustling late that Saturday night as the guys cashed out at the bar where I had met them. It was a warm summer night as the four of us headed down the street to another bar where they knew I could get in.
Sucks being the only one underage sometimes.
But as we joined the crowd going inside, there was an unexpected bouncer waiting to greet us. With only a moment's hesitation, I pulled out my own ID, my heart sinking all the way to the bar's wooden floor. My fun night out with my new best friend was about to end faster than I could say, "I'm 19."
"This isn't you."
"What?" I stared at the bouncer, a bemused smile touching my Stila-glossed lips, "I'm Xaylia, born February 16th, I've got brown eyes and contacts, and I live at 51349..."
This was not happening, my own ID wasn't a fake! Ok, so the picture on the license had been taken three years ago, back when I was 16 and my hair was cropped to my chin, and I could see where that was coming from, but honestly!
"....  and I'm an organ donor! It's my ID!" I smiled, trying my hardest not to laugh.
He gave in and handed me back my license.
I was in!
I slipped my yellow patent leather wallet back into my purse and strode over to meet Andrew, Marcell, and Jon.
"No way," Andrew was beaming.
"How did that happen?" I giggled, "He thought my ID was a fake! And somehow I still got in, even though this thing says right at the top that I'm underage until 2014!"
"It's because you're a girl, and you're not exactly bad-looking," Jon said exasperated.
"Still!" I laughed, absolutely amazed at my good fortune.
"Come on!"Andrew took my hand loosely and we squeazed into a space around the packed bar, "Now remember," Andrew said, "It's all about confidence," he said as he waved the bartender over and rattled off his drink.
The bartender turned to me, "Double rum and coke, on the rocks," I said simply, as if I did this everyday.
Andrew gave me an approving nod, "And I'll get her's too," he said to the bartender.
"Thanks!" I smiled at Andrew, surprised.
"That's what you get for being confident," Andrew returned my smile.
I had been to bars before with my friend Jen and our selection of older friends. But they were always bars where they didn't card to get in the door, and we would always just sip waters as everyone else around us drank. But this was my first real trip to a bar, where I could order drinks and everything. The best part of it was, I could do it without being someone else, somehow no fake ID was necessary.
"What are we toasting to tonight?" Jon said, raising his glass.
"To getting lucky!" I proposed, and the guys raised their glasses in agreement as we clinked.
The tiny light on my phone lit up on the bar, and I quickly checked the text. It was from Kang. I quickly typed a response.
"Who are you texting?" Andrew asked playfully, taking the phone from my hands.
"Your bestie," I said, sipping my drink.
"Let me handle this," Andrew slid open the keyboard and started typing.
I rolled my eyes, still too happy about my luck to honestly care.
He handed me my phone back and I smiled at the line from Dodgeball, "Let's mate. Or date, socially."
"My turn," Jon took the phone.
"Well I guess you all can just take my phone for the night, don't cause too much damage," my said sarcastically.
We were all laughing when Jon abruptly stopped, "Oh shit."
"What?" the three of us asked and he held out the phone to me.
Whatever he had said to Kang had crossed the line. By his response, Kang thought I was far more into him than I actually was, and Kang seemed... excited. He said he had been planning on asking me out next weekend when he would be in town, but I had essentially stolen my thunder with whatever I had apparently said.
"Jon!" I shot back at him, "You're getting the poor guy's hopes up! Let me do some damage control here!"
I thumbed a quick, sorrythatwasjon, message hoping not to sound too horrible as I finished off my drink, feeling a certain lightness from being in a bar with three cool older guys.
We ordered another round, and Jon paid for mine, claiming, "Pretty girls shouldn't ever pay for their own drinks," and midway through our second round, Andrew stepped away from the bar, "Come with me," he said, weaving his way through the crowd, until we reached the hallway that led to the back entrance of the bar.
"You've got to call Kang, I feel really bad right now," Andrew said guiltily.
"Don't feel bad, it was Jon who took it a step too far, and don't worry, I can handle this."
"I'll handle it, next weekend we'll all be laughing about this little...misunderstanding," I placed the call, and Kang didn't pick up, "Hey, it's Xaylia, look I'm so sorry, Jon got his hands on my phone and was just being, well, Jon. I really apologize, I shouldn't have let him touch my phone, and I'm sorry me, or Jon, gave you the wrong idea but, um," I thought of his response where he said he wanted to actually ask me out, "I would still like to maybe go out with you sometime, so I'm sorry again, and I'll see you next weekend," I ended the call and glanced up at Andrew, "Good?"
"Yeah," he said, and we both took long drinks, "So would you go out with him?"
I sighed, "I guess..."
"You 'guess'? Girl, you can do better than that!"
"It's just... you know, that little thing I told you about a few weeks ago, on our walk..."
"Please just tell me I'm being stupid, Andrew," I leaned my head against the brick wall, "I knew I shouldn't have fallen for him, but I did, and I'm so stupid to keep holding onto this..."
"No, its not stupid..."Andrew was cut off by a large group of guys coming in the back door, and we leaned back against the wall to let them pass. Andrew started to finish his sentence when one of the guys coming in the door called his name. I was taking a sip of my drink when someone else called my name.
"Xaylia!" One of the guys in the group detached himself to come over to me, "What are you doing here, Black Hand?"
"Andy!" I smiled at the familiar sight of one of my old marching band instructors, "Hey!" I said as we hugged. I could smell a bit of weed on him, obviously he hadn't changed back when I knew him when I was in high school.
It actually might have been a slightly awkward encounter, running into a band instructor in a bar, if I hand't been buzzed. I explained my amazing luck at getting in tonight, and Andy was telling me about his new motorcycle when I introduced him to Andrew, and Andy introduced me to his friend who knew Andrew.
"Talk about a small world," I said when they left and suddenly, I felt something buzz, and the Mad Men theme song came from my bag, "It's Kang!"
"Let's go outside," Andrew suggested, and as soon as we pushed open the back door, I answered.
Basically the entire conversation was me apologizing over and over again, and Andrew being embarrassed. Naturally, I kept that conversation short.

Andrew waved to a pretty brunette who was passing with a group of her friends on the other end of the street.
We were sitting down outside, against the back wall of the bar, comparing our boat shoes, when Andrew became suddenly subdued.
"That girl asked me out a day after I asked Gabi out," he said, matter-of-factly, "I sometimes wonder what would have happened if she asked me out a day earlier..."
"What do you mean?" I said, swirling the ice around in my empty glass.
"Sometimes this marriage thing scares me," he admitted. Gabi was Andrew's fiancee, and the wedding was scheduled for next summer, "Gabi's the only girl I've ever been with! She's my first real girlfriend, the first girl I've ever had sex with, sometimes I wonder if there's anything more out there..."
And I let Andrew just talk, as he confessed his worries about not being ready to settle down.
"You love her," I said after he had seemed to say it all, "And love always wins through in the end. I think you know these things in your heart, if it's meant to be."
Andrew seemed younger than I had ever seen him. He was scared, and he didn't want to be. He was nervous and doubting himself, and as we sat there, outside the bar, I wanted nothing more than to reach out and take his hand. To assure him with more than just my words that he was making the right choice in marrying Gabi. But something held me back, I don't know what it was, but I didn't reach over, I just said some more comforting words as he told me not to tell anyone what he had just told me.
"I won't tell a soul," I smiled comfortingly, "Friends share secrets, it's what keeps us close."
He returned my smile as Jon and Marcell drunkenly joined us.

For once ever, the odds all seemed to be in my favor. I had magically gotten into a bar; for the first time since I had made my older friends, being 19 didn't hold me back. Andrew holds the exclusive honor of buying me my first drink at a bar, and now we both were holding a secret of the other's.
Double rum and coke will probably never taste as good as it did that night.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

And The Princess And Her 12 Cats Lived Happily Ever After

Once upon a time, there lived a princess who was too smart for her own good. She kept her heart guarded, practically with a moat and fire-breathing dragon, because she had had it broken two too many times in her life. Not broken by a guy, but because she was so passionate about something. She put all of her heart and soul and energy into something, and it didn't reciprocate. The two times this happened hardened her, made her more cautious, because she knew she wasn't ready to handle that heartbreak again.
Of course, that princess is your very sarcastic author, Xaylia. I realized I live my life like it's all a grand science experiment now. I can't blindly believe things without proof. I've got to see, and feel, for myself that something is truly right before I can accept it. All of this can be factually represented by the pretty much giant failure that is my love life.
I didn't get my first kiss until I was 18 years old. Let's not even begin to elaborate on the many levels of suck that that is. I dated the guy who gave me my first kiss for about a year and half, until I ended it. He was going to college away from home, I was staying home, and I wasn't going to be able to see him at all because of the commitments he made. I was realistic with my decision to call it quits, and I don't regret it.
And then there's the fact that I dated a guy for a year and a half and didn't have sex with him because I knew he wasn't the right person. Yes, I listened to the facts my heart was telling me. Again, no regrets, but sometimes I feel like a baby for having my virginity in tact at over 19 years old. But then there's most of the time when I know I made the right choice. I want it to be special, and I know it will be with the right person, and I know that's a value our society has lost.
Now that I've introduced myself, back to my life.

I worked with this guy, we sort of fell into a flirtationship with each other. He was the exact guy a girl shouldn't fall for: he could so easily go off and change the course of his life with not even a moment's notice. He was five years older then me, ambitious, worldly, and kind of hot. He had his shit together, unlike most guys my age. I'm a bit beyond my years, I've always been told I was born middle-aged, so we seemed to click.
He asked me out. Then he left two days later for a two-month job where he was traveling around the country. He sent me a birthday present while he was away, it was really sweet.
And while he was away, I became absolute best friends forever with his sister.
He came back and his entire family fell in love with me. Things went back to normal, but this time we actually tried to keep it secret. Somehow, having my best friend, his sister, know of our flirtationship didn't feel right. We snuck around a bit. May have made out a few times, and then he left to spend the summer in London.
I feel for him. Realistically, I shouldn't have fallen for him. But in reality, he was everything I was looking for. Smart, funny, good-looking, stylish, adventurous. We had chemistry.
His name was Ian. The older brother of my best friend Jen. His older brother, Andrew, became my best friend when he was in London.
Right before Ian left for London, for about a day, I got that 'he's just not that into you' vibe. I hardly heard from him while he was in London.
I held onto this lingering hope that things would work out with Ian for the longest time, until I came to the realization that Ian was simply a reminder that there are guys out there who've got what I'm looking for. A reminder that it's ok to have high standards, because there are guys out there who will meet them. And when those right guys come into my life, the chemistry is great, and the ensuing reaction is worth the wait.

Princesses are told to keep their 'head, heels, and standards high.' While this princess may have a closet filled with pumps and stilettos, she sometimes needs a reminder to keep those standards as high as the heels she wears. And not to lower them for any guy. There are guys out there are who are just what she's looking for. She proved that hypothesis with a guy named Ian. Maybe it's more fun to be a scientist than a princess.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

No Sugar Added

"Gabi!" I turned around and jumped at the sight of Andrew's fiancee standing next to the hostess stand, "Hi!" I said, coming over to give her a hug.
"I've got a delivery," she said, hugging me back and holding up a white bag.
"Oh-What?" I stared at the golden Godiva logo.
"It's from Andrew, he's quite taken with you I think," she held out the bag with a knowing smile.
Andrew Kang, her Andrew's best friend. The guy I had met two nights ago.
"Sh-should I open it now?" I didn't even know what to do as I held the bag at arm's length.
"Whenever, it's up to you. Hopefully it'll change your mind about coming out tonight," she said with a smile.
"Well thanks," I said, staring at the bag, not even knowing what to really think.
"See you tonight?"
"I guess I'll have to come out and say thank you," I waved to Gabi as she headed out of the small pizzaria where I worked.
"What is that?" One of the girls I worked with as I brought the bag with me behind the counter.
"Better question, who is it from?" Another one of the girls peeked inside, "Open it, Xaylia!"
I cringed as I reached inside the bag, pulling out an envelope with my name on it. There was a cheesy card, with something about "smiling when I think of you, which is a lot" accompanied by a phone number. I read over it so fast the words barely registered with me. I didn't even want to read the card, it was too sweet. And I wasn't one of those girls you tried to be sweet with. In high school, my nickname had been the Black Hand of Doom, or Black Hand of Death. Both of which were used interchangeably, given to me because of the "black soul" my marching band instructors told me I had. Along with the letter was a purple box of Godiva truffles.
With shaking hands I grabbed my cell phone and pressed the number that was all too familiar.
"Jen, I'm freaking out," my entire body felt strange, my heartbeat was racing, and things seemed to blur.
"What's going on?" Jen asked.
"Kang, did you know what he did?"
"What are you talking about?" I could hear her smiling on the other end of the line.
"Is he with you?" I asked quickly, pacing behind the restaurant counter.
"No, just Andrew," Jen replied, "What did he do?"
I hesitated. Andrew was the one I needed to talk to. Jen didn't know the full story.
"Chocolates. Godiva chocolates Jen! He had Gabi drop off Godiva chocolates at work for me! Jen this is too much! I'm not a-a flowers and chocolates kind of girl! I don't even eat sugar! I don't-"
"Xaylia, relax!" Jen laughed, "This isn't high school any more! This is what real guys do when they like a girl! He likes you!"
"I've known him two days! How can he like me, he hardly knows me?"
"You need to chill out! Stop freaking out! It's all good girl! Are you coming out with us tonight?"
"Well now I have to, I've got to say thanks! I'm a little burnt out from two nights in a row of partying, but I guess I can make it a third," I sighed, before catching a glance over my shoulder that made my heart literally stop, "Shit, Dan just walked in, I'll talk to you later," and without even ending the call, I threw the phone under my bag as my boss strode up through the kitchen.
"Who got these?" he asked, poking his head into the Godiva bag.
"Just guess," said one of the other girls, "Xaylia of course!"
"Damn girl," he gave me an impressed look, "You get numbers from all of the customers and now you've got guys giving you chocolates."
"I don't get it!" I said quickly, still feeling slightly disoriented, "I don't even eat sugar, Dan! Where does all this come from?"
Dan shook his head, "Sometimes you need to know where to apply those smarts of yours and you'll figure it out," he laughed before heading back to his office.

"I've got to tell Jen," I told myself as I swept up the restaurant after the lights had turned off, "She's got to know really why I'm freaking out."
But how to tell her without her murdering me on the spot? "Hey best friend, this really nice guy who you're also good friends with likes me and its all too much for me because I still have a tiny thing for your brother," wasn't about to go over too well.
Months ago, behind the same counter where I had just had the closest thing to a panic attack I've ever had, me and Jen had the closest thing to a fight we've ever been in.
"You know what my Grandma and my Dad were talking about this morning?" Jen had asked.
"Uh, how would I know?" I raised one eyebrow.
"They were talking about how you and Ian should date," she spat, "if any more of my family says that, I'm going to lose it!"
"Any more of your family? I know your Mom said something once but-"
"My mom! My dad! Andrew! Gabi! My grandma! And you know what?" she turned to me, "I don't want to lose my best friend to my brother!"
"Jen, what are you talking about?"
"Yesterday! At my Dad's party! They all didn't want to disturb you and Ian when you were chatting at the bar! But I don't want you to come over to my house to see him and not me!"
"Jen, hold up! Ok, that just couldn't happen, he's your brother!"
"I wouldn't put it past you!"
"You wouldn't put it past me?" I threw the term back incredulously, "Ian wouldn't even look twice at me! It couldn't happen!"
"I just don't want to share my best friend!" Jen shouted.
"Jennifer! He's so far out of my league, you don't even have to worry about it!" I raised my own voice.
"He is not out of your league!"
"Yes he is!"
"He's not! I'm saying that as his sister! And if you were ever to date him, I don't know what I would do, I would, I would-" she was searching for the term, "I know where you live! I know where you sleep! I could slit your throat if anything happened with you and Ian!" she proclaimed.
"Well trust me, you don't need to break out the knives, because nothing would ever happen between us!"
That was before I made out with him, after he sent me a birthday present when he was traveling, and smack in the middle of our flirting. A couple months later, she changed her tune. She admitted that we would be good for each other, and she would want her brother to end up with someone good, someone like me. Of course, she came to that realization exactly a week before he left to spend the summer working in London. I couldn't have thought of more sucktacular timing.
I couldn't tell her that night. The moment wasn't there. Instead I lied through my teeth to Kang, telling him that the chocolates I hadn't even opened were delicious. I also realized, I had an even better friend in Andrew than I had thought. Kang had asked him what we talked about on our walk the night before, and he didn't tell a thing. I had a feeling I had told the right person in the family about me and Ian.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Family Affair

"It's fucking cold out now that we're not around the fire."
"Its like the damn Sahara Desert out here,"I shivered.
"Sahara? Who says it Sa-har-uh? It's Sa-hair-uh!" Andrew teased.
"Sa-har-uh sounds more exotic! We're going on an adventure, braving the Sa-har-uh Desert in the dead of a frigid night!" I called, charging down the suburban block, swinging my half-empty beer bottle in one hand.
Only drunk best friends think it's a good thing to go on a walk around the block at 3am. I once read that at 3am most people are in their deepest stages of REM sleep, so its essentially the closest they are to being dead. Me and Andrew were most certainly not even close to being dead.
"-hang on, I've gotta piss-"
And Andrew kept continuing whatever we were talking about as he went around the other side of a tree. I giggled and had another sip of my beer.
"So tell me," Andrew came around the other side of the tree, zipping his pants, "What do you think of Andrew Kang?"
"He's a nice guy," I sighed. Andrew Kang, or Kang as we mostly called him, was my best friend Andrew's other best friend.
Both Andrews live in Oklahoma, and Kang is moving up to Michigan in a few weeks, and Andrew visits nearly every weekend or so. My other best friend is Andrew's sister, and she had told Kang all about me, and apparently he had been dying to meet me. I had met Kang yesterday, and his interest was obvious. I, on the other hand, was just enjoying my multiple Ciroc and Sprites and being around a bunch of friends.
"But there's something that's holding me back," the words tumbled out of my mouth.
"What?" Andrew asked as we walked next to each other.
"I, I shouldn't tell you, I really shouldn't," but I had to, someone had to understand, "I may have had a littletinythingwithIanbeforeheleft."
Andrew stopped dead, "Like, my brother Ian?"
"Maybe..." I bit my lip as a small smile spread across Andrew's face, "It was kind of a long standing flirtationship kind of thing that turned into something more, and then he left for London and-"
"'Turned into something more?' Better fill me in on that one, gurl," Andrew punched me lightly on the arm.
"We may have met up a few times, we may have made-out," I waved an airy hand as Andrew stared at me. The look on his face was as if he was almost... impressed.
"It was a long time coming, and I'm probably over-thinking things like usual, but I kinda liked him, we had some chemistry," I took a self-conscious sip of my beer. Someone had to know why I couldn't just fall for Kang, even if I wanted to, "And I guess I'm still holding onto this tiny, glimmer of hope at the back of my mind that things will just work out with Ian."
I might regret this in the morning. It was one of those 'sober thoughts become drunken words' sort of moments, but I needed someone on the inside to understand. Under normal circumstances, I would tell Andrew's sister, Jen, my other best friend, but not this one. She would kill me if she knew me and her other brother were more than just friends. She would literally slit my throat if she knew about our secret meet-ups, and make-outs. I would be in a grave on the side of the road if she knew that the one night when she called her brother, wondering where he ran off too after a family party, him and her best friend were both shirtless in the back of her best friend's car.
I guess I'm a pretty shitty best friend.
And a pretty damn good actress, because she doesn't suspect a thing.
Hopefully Andrew is as good of a secret-keeper as Ian.
And if he's not, well, I better pre-order my gravestone.