She was hot! She was hot and she knew it. The table had been 'guy central' as guy after guy made the pilgrimage to the shrine to ask for her to bestow even the smallest amount of attention on them. She danced with a few, but turned three times as many away.
Some things never change.
She was hot! She was hot and she knew it. The two girls with her weren't bad, but they didn't even come close to her. A steady stream of guys made their way to her table and after a moment or two of conversation she sent them on their way. Football players, baseball players and all of the other types of jocks wanted to sit with her at her table in the school cafeteria, but she turned them all away.
I sat and watched and wished I had the nerve to try, but if she wouldn't have anything to do with the school's elite what chance did a bookworm like me have. None I thought; not a chance in hell. Bobby the bookworm. That was me. The kid with the worst case of acne on the planet. The kid who sat in the back of the class room. The shy guy who kept to himself.
Two years went by and Bobby he bookworm had filled out some. The acne had faded, but my face was so covered with scars and pits that it looked like a golfer with spiked shoes had walked across it. I was still the shy guy and I still sat in the school cafeteria and looked across the room to the table where she sat with her two friends and held court.
And then the strangest thing happened. She looked my way, our eyes met and she smiled at me. I knew it as sure as I knew my own name. She didn't smile in my direction, she wasn't smiling as she looked off into space – she was smiling at me. The buzzer rang announcing the end of lunch period and breaking the spell and we all got up and shuffled off to our next class. I didn't have any shared classes with her in the afternoon so I didn't see her again my first two classes the next day. I thought I saw her glance my way once or twice, but I was probably mistaken.
I was sitting in the cafeteria alone at a table which is how it usually was when she and her two friends came through the serving line. I, along with every other male in the place, watched as she paid the cashier. Next she would look around for an empty table and we would all watch as she and her two friends walked to it. It was the walk that we all wanted to watch. It was the sexiest sight in the world. Even if you couldn't see the rest of the package the walk alone would give you the hard on of all hard ons.
The cashier gave her her change and she looked around the room. There were several empty tables on the east side of the room and none on the side where I was sitting although there were three empty seats at my table. She turned and headed toward the empty seats at my table and behind her I saw her two friends look at each other in confusion before following along behind her. She walked up to my table, looked at me and said:
"May we join you?"
I was too stunned to say a word, but she knew the likelihood of my saying no was on a par with the moon being found to really be a big blob of cheese and so she sat down. She looked at me and said:
I nodded a yes.
"So tell me Robert, why do you sit here every lunch hour and watch me like a hawk?"
Her friends looked from her to me and then back to her and "what the hell is going on here" was as clearly on their faces as it was in my mind. I was shy, but it was the kind of 'shy' that prevented me from approaching people, not the tongue-tied kind of shy when people started talking to me. I smiled and said:
"Beauty attracts the eye. Extreme beauty attracts the eye and holds it."
She appeared surprised at that. The doofus was not a slack jawed clown? I had no idea what she was thinking at that moment. I wasn't the kind of guy who was privy to the way a goddess thought. She gave me a dazzling smile and asked:
"If that is true why have you never come over to talk to us?"
"What? Me? A commoner approach the throne?"
She laughed and said, "We could stand a steady diet of that kind of flattery, right girls?"
Her two friends, Carol and Bev, gave half assed smiles that clearly indicated that they had no idea of what was going on.
"Seriously" she said, "Why haven't you ever spoken to me before?"
"I can turn that back on you. We have been classmates for over three years now. Why haven't you ever spoken to me?"
"Because I am the queen bee and all the males are supposed to approach me, not I them" and then she laughed and said, "The truth of the matter is that I have been pretty much a superficial stuck up twit. I'm so used to all of the good looking guys fawning over me that I have never paid much attention to guys who look like you."
There was a sharp intake of breath from Bev and Carol when she said that and she laughed again and said:
"I'm the queen and the queen can say what she likes." She looked me right in the eye and said, "You know what you look like so you are not surprised that I see you the same way right?"
I shrugged and said, "No, not really."
"Good. We start off with no illusions."
"That's right bubba, start off. Meet me after school and you can carry my books home."
"Carry your books?"
"A figure of speech Robert. I usually go out the east door."
Then she switched subjects to who to vote for for the prom king and queen and we talked while we ate lunch. When the buzzer went off she said:
"East door at three. See you there."
She walked off leaving me sitting there wondering what the hell had just happened. Befuddled yes, stupid no! At three I was on the steps outside the east door when she came out. Bev and Carol were with her and when they saw me waiting I saw the look that passed between them. Each was soundlessly asking the other "Do you know what is going on here?" There was no surprise on her face when she saw me because she knew that I would be there.
She handed me her book bag and I took it. At the bottom of the stairs she turned right, but I took her arm and steered her to the left. She gave me a questioning look and I said:
"Bear with me my queen. All will become clear soon."
I walked us into the student parking lot and up to a 1993 Ford Mustang convertible. I unlocked the passenger door, opened it as I bowed low and said:
"Your chariot awaits my queen."
None of the three had ever seen the car before which wasn't all that odd since I'd never seen it myself before the previous night. It was my eighteenth birthday, but the decision had been made that we would celebrate it on Saturday so I wasn't expecting anything until then. Mom had told me to take out the trash while she got dinner ready and dad got out the plates and utensils to set the table. I went out the door to the attached garage where the garbage cans were and stopped in my tracks when I saw the Sea Green Mist Mustang with the white convertible top. It had a huge red bow on it and a streamer that said "Happy Birthday Rob."
I just stood there and stared at it. Mom and dad came up behind me. Mom said, "Happy birthday honey" and my dad said "The color is kind of yucky, but you're young enough that it can grow on you."
Mom punched him and said, "Shut up you. It is beautiful and I'm pissed you didn't give it to me and give Rob my clunky looking van."
"Couldn't give it to you" dad said. "You go out driving in that and I'd be beating guys off of you with a stick and I'm too old for that shit."
Mom laughed and said, "You are kind of old a decrepit. Maybe Rob will loan it to me some night and I can go cruising and find me some stud who can keep up with me."
Dad said, "I'll show you old and decrepit" and he picked her up, put her over his shoulder and carried her in the direction of the bedroom as she laughed and told him to put her down.
I held the door so Bev and Carol could get in the back and then she climbed in the front and settled into the white leather seat while I put the top down. I started it up and turned to her and said:
"Where would my queen like to go?"
That was the start of my relationship with Melissa Anne Courtney.
She directed me to Bev's house and then to Carol's and told them that she would call them later. Once we were alone she said:
"Why don't we go through the drive-thru, get a couple of Cokes and then drive over to the park?"
"I hear and obey my queen."
She laughed and said, "I should have found you sooner."
"I've been here all along."
"Tell me about yourself."
"Nothing to tell. I'm a bit shy and I keep mostly to myself except for a half dozen really good friends. Mostly I go to school, study and spend time at the library three or four times a week."
"Why so much time at the library?"
"I belong to a chess club that meets there on Tuesdays and a book discussion group that meets there on Thursdays. Wednesdays I read books to a group of four, five and six year olds."
"I notice that you don't participate in any sports."
"Don't care much for them. I'm not into physical competition. I do play tennis with my mom on weekends and bowl with my dad sometimes, but I get most of my exercise in the gym that my dad set up in our basement. But enough about me. Why has the queen deemed this lowly commoner worthy of her attention?"
She was silent for a moment and just as she was getting ready to say something we arrived at the Burger Barn and pulled into the drive-thru. I ordered two value meals and then drove across the street to the park, got out and went to a picnic table and sat down. She took a bite of her burger and a sip of her Coke and then said:
.... There is more of this story ...