Chapter 1


I couldn't believe that I was going to do this! It was crazy but here I was walking down the hallways of my local high school, purpose guiding my strides. I was really going to do it.

Inside, it felt like I could burst open at any moment. It was chaotic to the point that I could hear my heart beating non-stop. I tried every trick I knew of to try and still my quaking heart, to try and calm myself but no matter what I did, I could still hear the thumping of my heart, could still feel the wetting of my palms.

I walked past my locker and the few people I had come to regard friends throughout my high school career. They called out their greetings to me but I ignored them all. I knew that if I even let my gaze fall on them, if I even let my mind be derailed from its purpose, even if it was for a moment, I'd never go through with it. So with an apology to my friends, at least in my heart, I continued walking down the hall way to where I knew my future was. I was really going to do it.

As I neared my future, my mind tried valiantly to come up with reasons why I shouldn't go through with it. It was crazy, my mind screamed at me. You shouldn't do this, Andrew. You're going to embarrass yourself. What does it matter, you're only in high school, there will always be others. On and on, my mind came out with reasons why I shouldn't try what I was about trying. I tried valiantly to come up with reasons why I shouldn't do this. It was crazy.

But I knew I was going to go through with it. I knew I was going to do it. As crazy as it sounded, as suicidal as it seemed, I was going to go through with it. Why, you ask?

It certainly was not because I knew that my life would be better off taking this chance. It wasn't because I knew that I'd always wander what my life would be like had I had the courage to pursue my future. It wasn't the fact that I'd made a promise to my Grandfather who had cancer and was dying soon that I would give it my best shot. It certainly was not any of these reasons. It was simple, when I thought of it but it was much more complicated than that.

I loved her.

I had always loved her right from the first moment I set my eyes on her, in fifth grade.

Melanie VanCamp had been my dream girl, right from the very first moment I set my eyes on her. I remember vividly the very first day she came into the classroom. It was on a Tuesday, right after summer break. I'd already gotten bored with school and the repetitious drone of grade school. As far as I knew, there were better things to do than be cooped up in a little room with other annoying fifth graders and be made to learn things that I'd already learned during that summer. It was silly, and I was bored.

But that was before Melanie was introduced to the class; that was before my life changed, forever. I remember her, even as a little girl looking lost, her deep blue eyes staring about the room. I remember her nervously flicking the errant strand of her hair from her face. I remember our eyes meeting and me falling into those deep blue eyes. That was the moment for me; the moment I met my future, my soul mate.

I looked ahead of me at the woman that was my future. She'd come a long way from that nervous girl that was introduced to our class. She'd grown into a woman, tall, slender and most of all, beautiful. I'd surreptitiously watched her over the years. I'd watched her as she grew into the woman that she was now and I couldn't help but fall more in love with her.

I didn't love her because she was the most beautiful girl in our class and the captain of the cheer squad and the president of the student council. No, those things just enhanced my opinion of her. I love her because of her heart. She was the most loving, compassionate person that I know and she hid it all in her dumb blonde bimbo look, just so that people wouldn't know and be intimidated by her. But I did. I knew that behind that personae is a woman who knew what she wanted and wasn't afraid to go after it, a woman who was smart and intelligent that she could accomplish anything she wanted to.

In my eyes, she was a goddess come to life. In my eyes, she was perfection.

I strode purposefully to where she stood, talking to one of her friends. I could literally hear the hallway go quiet as I made my way to where she was. It was now or never.

"Hey, Melanie, how are you?" I asked as I stood before her. Now, the whole hall did go quiet.

She looked at me as if I'd gone crazy as did her friend. Well, welcome to the club.

In her confusion, she couldn't formulate an answer to my question. Where I should have been scared, it gave me strength that this goddess was completely flustered with me.

"I think I just asked you how you were," I said casually as I felt small of the tension ease from me.

"I—uh—um—what –this—what did you say?" she asked completely flustered.

"I just asked how you were, I believe," I replied her.

Having calmed herself somewhat, she was able to say something coherent. "Why would you ask after my well-being?" she asked, a little annoyance creeping into her voice.

"Because I'm interested in you," I replied not being fazed by her obvious annoyance.

That got her attention. I was sure that she wanted to intimidate me so that I'd become flustered before her, thereby embarrassing myself but I'd promised myself that I would never allow her to get me flustered.

She scoffed. "Wow, that's a new one. Next you're going to ask me out on a date," she said derisively.

This was not going the way I had planned. I'd just wanted to make small talk then when we were alone, I'd declare my undying love for her. Well, first rule of engagement is that no plan survives contact with the enemy.

"Well, I wasn't planning on it but now that you suggested it, would you like to go on a date with me?" I asked as cheerfully as I could. I knew that we had an audience but that did not faze me at all. It was all or nothing.

"As if I'd ever go on a date with you," she started saying but I cut her off.

"Of course you wouldn't but I'm confident that come Friday, I'd change your mind," I interrupted, sounding more confident than I felt.

She didn't know what to do. On the one hand she wanted to just walk away but she knew that she had to embarrass me. Her reputation was at stake after all.

"That would be in your wildest dreams," she promised.

I smiled at her. This was getting to be more fun than I thought. "Then my wildest dreams are about to come to life."

She was going to make another offhand comment when the bell rang. I smiled at her as she scowled at me. She didn't like me having the last words but there was nothing else she could say about it.

She turned and walked away with her friend who had been silent all through the whole encounter. I watched as she walked away and I was still enthralled by her beauty even if it was her backside that I only just saw.

I think I did well, I told myself. If I was honest with myself, I did better than well. I did great! But then there's the matter of planning the perfect date for her. I had no idea what her idea of a perfect date was but I knew that I was going to make her want to go on a date with me, come Friday. I just needed a plan.

I turned and started walking towards where my first class was. I was immediately joined by the only person I could call my best friend.

"Dude, what the hell was that? Have you gone completely crazy?" Jeremy or Jer as I call him asked.

I looked at my friend and I couldn't help myself. "Yes my friend, I've gone completely crazy," I replied him.

"Absolutely, you're totally, deep in it," he said, vehemently.

"Totally, deep in it," I reiterated.

"Yes, you are."

"Yes, I am. Crazy in love with her," I added.

"Fucking A—hey, what's that mean? Are you crazy?" he asked incredulously.

"I just told you. I'm crazy in love with her, man," I replied him, seriously this time.

"Dude, that's just crazy. Are you fucking nuts?" he exclaimed.

I laughed at that. "But I just told you my friend," I replied laughing at him.

He was quiet for a while. "That's not funny," he started but at my mirth he smiled at me. "Ok, I guess it was funny," he conceded.

"Yeah, that it is."

"But you have to admit that what you just did was suicide," he explained.

"Then, I'd die with a happy smile on my face."

With that we came to the class. He went up to his seat as I did. We were waiting for our American Lit teacher to start when he leaned forward and asked, "Are you really going on a date with her?"

I looked back at him. "I don't know, man but I certainly hope so," I replied him.

He smiled at me. "It's crazy but I get the feeling that things are about to get a little interesting here," he expounded.

I nodded and turned in my seat. Things were sure going to get interesting. I could already feel it in my body.

"Dude, you just started a revolution," Jer exclaimed as soon as he joined me during lunch.

I looked up from my lunch. "What do you mean?" I asked, perplexed by his remark.

He carefully unwrapped his sandwiches which was his signature lunch, from his mom. Jer wouldn't touch the schools food even if it was the last thing on earth. He was that spoiled.

"I just saw Jake talking to Megan," he said while taking a bite from his sandwich.

"The geeky, glass-wearing Jake?" I asked in shock.

"The very same, my dear friend. The very same," he replied sagely.

"And what has that got to do with me?" I asked failing to make the connection.

He looked at me as if I was unserious. "You really don't see it, do you?" he asked.

I shook my head. I still couldn't see where he was coming from.

He drew his seat closer to me. "What are the odds that the day you summon the strength to talk to your Angel, Jake asks Megan out, who I might add is the only girl he's ever had eyes for," he said as if that explained anything.

"There are no odds here. Maybe he just got tired of waiting for the day that she would acknowledge him."

"Ha!" he laughed out loud, drawing the attention of people in the cafeteria. "Or maybe he was just following your footstep, bro."

"Nah, I still think my own maybe is better," I said still disbelieving what he was implying. There was no way I was the cause of a revolution.

"You just don't want to admit it, but you know it's true."

"If it's true, then my good friend, why aren't you over there talking to Lisa?" I asked while pointing at a table, two rows from where we sat.

Jer blushed with embarrassment. He's always had the hots for Lisa, but in his twisted way, he doesn't want anyone knowing about it, at least no mentioning it publicly.

"Who said anything about me?" he asked, trying to deflect my attention.

"But, you just said that I've started some sort of revolution," I pointed out to him.

"Yeah, but it doesn't have anything to do with me," he said.

"So you're saying that you don't like Lisa, because I have a box of letter that would prove otherwise," I replied.

He visibly flinched. "That was a low blow, bro. It's not funny."

"All's fair in love and war!" I declared while laughing at his unease.

"So, any thought as to how you're going to woo your fair lady?" he asked after some time.

I could have called him to it but I let it slide. It was time to give the guy a break anyway. And besides, I wanted to talk about something else.

I shook my head. "I have absolutely no idea but I'm sure something will come up," I replied.

He shook his head in wonder. "You realize that your whole future and happiness are on the line here," he asked.

I nodded. "I do realize the import of what is at stake here, but I also know that I'm more than capable of handling it."

He looked at me scrutinizing then said, "I don't know what's changed about you, but I sure like this new you."

"Same here bro, same here."

"I can't believe I'm going to say this but I'm rooting for you, my friend. God knows we could use some excitement right now."

"Thank you. And you have to do something about Lisa," I advised.

He glared at me. But when he saw I wasn't going to flinch, he started another round of talk. "Dude, you can't believe this new awesome game I just downloaded. It will blow the pants off you bottom."

And just like that, I was sucked back into the world of the nerds. It didn't bother me much. I liked nerd as much as liked the new me. I was so enraptured in what Jer was saying that it seemed like a short time before the bell for next period rang. I was going to make sure that I get my hands on that game.

The rest of the day went by without much excitement, that is, as much excitement as was caused by my declaration of intent on Melanie. Some students still gave me the eye, especially the guys, no doubt asking what possessed me to do what I did, but I paid them little mind.

I'd been warned that some people were going to take offence at what I did, and I'd been prepared for that. So, their not-so-subtle gazing wasn't doing anything for me.

I rarely saw Melanie all through the rest of the school day which was rare. Our high school while it was big, was not that big that I wouldn't see her throughout the school day. It seemed she was either avoiding me or she had skipped school completely. It didn't bother me much. I still had to come up with a plan to make her go out with me.

"So, how did it go?" mom asked as soon as I entered our house.

"Geez mom, thanks for showing that much interest in my academic career," I sarcastically replied.

"So?" she asked, completely ignoring my quip.

I sighed. There was no getting out of this. At least I had some good news to share. "The enemy has been engaged and the battle line drawn," I replied in my best imitation of a military voice.

"Yeh!!!" mom exclaimed as she came and hugged me. If I didn't know, I'd say that mom was living vicariously through me.

"Thanks mom for showing this much interest in my love life," I said as I hugged her back.

She hit me lightly on the chest. "Stop being a smart ass and tell me everything."

Mom was already moving towards the kitchen where she was preparing dinner.

"Any chance of taking a rain check on that?" I asked. "I wouldn't want to describe what happened again," I finished as I followed her to the kitchen.

She looked up from what she was doing and fixed me with a withering glare. "Or not," I found myself saying as I dropped my school bag. "What can I help with?" I asked thinking that it would be better helping with dinner while giving her the download.

"Start talking and start chopping those veggies," she instructed.

"Yes ma'am," I saluted and did as the General instructed.

I told her everything that happened that day from the moment I first stepped into the school. I told her how nervous I was and how I was able to talk to Melanie without biting off my tongue. I told her everything which is why you can't find much description of my day here because if you need more info, you could always ask my mom.

Dinner was almost burnt but dad did not mind when mom explained that it was my fault for telling her about how I was going to woo my soul mate. Dad believed her and as a punishment, I had to tell the whole story again.

I only got out of the punishment when I told them that I had to call Grand Pa before he went to bed.

I went and dialed my Grand Pa. He answered on first ring.

"How's my favorite grandson doing?" Grand Pa greeted too cheerfully immediately he answered the phone.

I grimaced. It was not going to be a short talk. "I'm your only grandson, at least as far as I can remember," I retorted.

He laughed into the phone. "Keep deceiving yourself until I die and you find that you have to share my estate with another grandchild," he joked which was a bad joke.

Since Grand Pa had cancer, we had to deal with the reality of his imminent death. So, it wasn't a good idea using death as joke, at least to me.

"I'd gladly give away all of my inheritance if it means you'd still be alive," I said with emotion.

He was quiet for a while, the full import of what I said sinking into his head.

"I'm sorry son," he apologized.

"It's okay. I know that you were only trying to joke around," I waved him off.

"So, did you go through with it?" he asked, a little too eager for my liking, making me believe that he must have been waiting by his phone for long.

"Geez Grand Pa, I'm surprised you didn't call yourself," I said in mock hurt.

He laughed gaily, which was a good thing. "Well, you beat me by one second. And quit stalling. Did you do it?"

I sighed into the phone. "Yes..." I proceeded to tell him everything that happened. I left nothing out because I knew that he would demand that I explained more. Even at that, he still demanded that I explained something more.

"That's good, but do you have any plan as to how you're going to make her go on a date with you?" he asked.

"Hmmm, nothing definite, but something is brewing inside my head," I answered truthfully.

"That's good. You have a good head."

"At least, I got that from mom."

He laughed at my quip. "I wouldn't argue that. If it was my head you got on your shoulder, you'd show up in a Dodge and sweep her off her feet," he retorted.

We laughed at his remark. Grand Pa loved the Dodge, which was the same car he wooed Grand Ma in. According to legend, when Grand Ma saw him in that Dodge, it was a foregone conclusion that they were destined together.

"Anyhow, how are you holding up, Gramps?" I asked, knowing that the term was going to rile him up.

It failed to work as he got quiet. "It's not been easy," he confessed.

"I'm sorry, Grand Pa, I wish there was something I could do," I said wistfully.

"You're doing enough. Just don't start smoking and we will be fine," he admonished.

"Yes Sir," I replied military style.

"So, don't fail to keep me posted, and make sure you study very well. We can't have you throwing your future away because you're wooing some girl," he advised.

"Will do, Grand Pa," I promised. "And hang in there, Champ. I still need you."

"Will do, Kiddo," he retorted. "Take care of yourself."

"Alright. Goodnight."

"Goodnight," he called back as we signed off.

I stood by the phone digesting all that we'd talked about. I couldn't fathom a world without Grand Pa in it. He seemed to have a way of livening up a place and he was the only one who could get me to do anything, at least something as crazy as talking to the most beautiful girl in school.

I smiled as I remembered what it felt like talking to Melanie without biting off my tongue. It was a great feeling, one I would like to repeat again. I felt giddy as I remembered that I was going to see her tomorrow. All of a sudden, it was as if time couldn't move faster. If that's what love is, then I'd be happy to feel like this all my life.

I went up to my room after calling goodnight to my parents as they were cozied up in the sitting room, the lights dimmed with the music playing. Mom had her head on dad's shoulder as they both listened to the song that was playing. It was a beautiful sight. It was a heart-warming sight.

I had a vision, one where the picture was the same but the people in it were different. Where dad sat, I saw myself, albeit older and in mom's place was Melanie, also albeit older. I wondered what it would be like us listening to some classical music on the player while our child was standing on the background watching us, imagining what it would be like for him.

I smiled at the picture my mind conjured up. That I was in love with Melanie was a foregone issue. I was certain of it as I was certain of anything in this world, as I was certain of my own name. But, this image of an older me and Melanie was new. And it was better, because it had longevity.

Without knowing, I whipped out my cellphone and snapped my parents. I had a good idea of what I was going to do with the picture but the time had to be right.

So, I went up to my room and did my assignment. Might as well get them out of the way now that I had the time.

After doing my assignment, I started thinking about how to go about wooing Melanie. I didn't want to come on a bit too strongly so that I don't scare her but I wanted to make her understand the depth of my feeling for her. I sighed. I wished it was as easy as math, at least, I could figure it out easily.

In the end, I decided to play it by the ear. Truth is, I never had a plan, at least one that was worthwhile. I had originally planned to take her to a secluded place and then declare my feelings for her, but like I earlier mention, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. So, with that on my mind, I decided that I was going to make things up as I go.

But I at least had a general idea of what I wanted to do and when I wanted to do them. Problem was hanging on to the time to do these things. Life had suddenly gotten complicated for me. But, not once did it cross my mind to give up. In my mind, Melanie was mine, my soul mate and the only thing to it was getting her to see it.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and the better part of Thursday, I didn't initiate any contact with Melanie. My plan was to play it by the ear and seriously, the timing was never right to say anything to her—too many observers. Also, I didn't want to rattle her again.

Jer had been persistent in asking me what my plans were for wooing the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with but just like him, I had absolutely no clue what I'm going to do next, except stick to a plan of not rattling Melanie. This infuriated him like you'd never believe. Here I was, about to offset the natural balance of High school and I was clueless. To him, cluelessness meant unseriousness and Jer had no use for unserious people in his life.

As for Melanie, she completely ignored me, which was what I was counting on. For anything to work out, Melanie has to absolutely hate my gut. You might be thinking that it ought to be the stupidest idea you've ever heard but believe me; I know what I'm doing.

One writer once wrote that the opposite of love isn't hate but indifference and I believe him. If Melanie had not cared a tiny bit about me, she wouldn't be going out of her way to avoid me, or to intimidate me, or she wouldn't be ruffled. But she was and that meant that she cared on some level, which was good for me. I know the reasoning seems warped but, I couldn't have hoped for a better outcome.

My parents have since that first day taken a front row seat to the unfolding drama that was my love life, although mom would sometimes try to weasel my plan out of me one way or another. Acting clueless always worked as a defense mechanism.

Grand Pa was a different matter altogether. He needed a little excitement in his somewhat mundane life—his words not mine—and I wasn't delivering, at all. He even threatened to drive down to our home and do my job for me, with his Dodge of course but I knew he was only teasing. Truth is, I'd given him something to me excited about, anxious about even if he doesn't know. What else would you call waking up in the morning and wondering when your grandson was going to make his move?

As for me, I had a general idea of what I had to do and things were looking up for me. I was barely counting the minutes and the moment was here.

After dinner, I told my parents that I was going out. I hadn't called Grand Pa because I knew he would like to know about this evening as soon as possible. My parents allowed me to go, which was the upside of being a responsible teenager.

I drove for a while before I found my destination. Up close, the house looks big, a mansion. My family was wealthy but this was another kind of wealth that I had stepped into. I steeled my nerves and walked up to the door and rang the bell.

I only waited for a short while before someone answered the door.

"Good Evening, please I'd like to see Mr. VanCamp," I said to the cheerful middle-aged lady that answered the door.

"Are you here on appointment?" she asked with the same cheerfulness.

I shook my head. "I'm sorry but Mr. VanCamp doesn't know I'll be here. But can I see him, it's an emergency, please," I implored. I had this vision that my whole plan was washed down to drain because this lady wouldn't let me see Mr. VanCamp.

"What's your name, young man?" she asked still with that cheerful smile.

I smiled back at her, hoping to charm her with my smiles. "I'm Andrew, Andrew Tyler, ma'am."

She waved me off. "No need for formality with me, Andrew. And you can come in," she ushered me into the house.

"Thank you," I said as I stepped into the house.

Looking at the décor of the house, I had a flitting thought that I'd over-reached where Melanie was concerned. Why would she even want to go out with me coming from money like this? Stop that, I chided myself. Money wasn't everything and Melanie would go out with me because I love her. That was enough reason.

"Mr. VanCamp will be with you shortly," the woman said as she left me in their porch.

I used the time to look around the house. It was a beautiful home but more than anything, it was a home filled with love and warmth, that much I can see from the pictures that hung on the wall. The VanCamps seem like a happy bunch and Melanie looked so beautiful in that picture of her in her ski gears.

I felt my heart thump in my stomach. God, but she was beautiful her hair packed careful with loose strands straining with the wind. Her arms akimbo as she posed for the picture. She had this beautiful smile on her face and her eyes seemed to shine brighter. She was...

"She is a beautiful girl, isn't she?" someone asked close to me.

In my enraptured state, I didn't even notice. "She is more than beautiful, she's a..." I startled as I came to my senses. I turned sharply to behold a tall, ruggedly handsome man smiling back at me. "Goddess," I finished forcefully.

My face was flushed with embarrassment and I was sure that my hand would break out in cold sweat any moment from now. I took deep breaths and stilled myself. Can't have me getting all flustered. It would be bad for what I wanted.

"I'm sorry for the inappropriate comment, sir," I apologized as soon as I got myself under control.

"I don't see anything inappropriate about complementing a beauty," he replied.

"But, I shouldn't have..." I was going to argue but thought better of it. I took a deep breath and said again, "If you say so, sir."

"That's more like it. I'm told you wanted to see me?" he asked.

I nodded my head. "Yes, I do, sir. My name is Andrew Tyler and I'd like to ask you something," I stated.

"Alright then, follow me," he riposted and with that, he turned and started walking away.

I followed him to a place that I could only guess was his study where he offered me a seat.

"Thank you, sir," I said as I sat down.

"What can I offer you?" he asked.

I wasn't here for drinks, so I declined. "So what can I do for you, Mr. Tyler?" he asked.

It was now or never. So, steeling my confidence and leaning forward, I replied, "I came to ask for your permission to take your daughter out on a date?" I said with as much straight voice as I could muster.

I expected him to whip out his short gun and make a small work of me but he laughed out gaily. I was not expecting that.

"That's very original and traditional of you if I must say so, but shouldn't you be asking my daughter instead?" he asked while leaning forward.

"Well, I already did, sir. But the truth is, I don't just want to take her out on a single date. I want to court her and make her fall in love with me." My voice was becoming steadier with each passing moment since it seems like the gun wasn't going to be making any appearances.

"Wow, that's a new one," he replied. "Now tell me, what has my daughter said to this plan of yours?"

I smiled at that question. "Sir, we both know how headstrong your daughter can be. I was hoping to be more aggressive when I've secured your permission."

He nodded his head while deep in thought. As long as it ended in him giving me that permission, I'd be happy with it.

He took the phone that was on his table and dialed a number. "Come to my study," he said into the mouthpiece before hanging the call.

I didn't want to think about the worst case scenario. Maybe he was calling his security to come and throw me out. I mean, what was I thinking coming here and acting all sure that he was going to grant me his permission when he doesn't even know me. I was about breaking out sweat when he said,

"Relax, someone should be here now to settle this for us."

I shook my head at the same time the door to the study opened. I wanted to whip my head and see who it was but fear or something else kept me from doing that.

"You wanted to see me, daddy," someone said behind me, and I knew the person that he had called. It was Melanie.

How was she going to react to my coming to her house? Was she going to see it as invasion of her privacy? Well, only one way to find out.

I turned in my seat and faced Melanie. God, she still looked beautiful even if she was dressed casually with no make-up on her face. "Hello, Melanie."

Her eyes fell to where I sat and blood drained from her face. I was seriously worried that she might swoon when she barked, "What the hell are you doing here?"

I was about replying her when her father interrupted. "That's no way to treat a visitor, Mel. Now sit down."

She glared at me but proceeded to sit. I looked at Mr. VanCamp and sent my thanks to him.

"Now, do you know this young man, Mel?" her father asked.

"Ye—yes, I do, dad," she replied.

I breathed a sigh of relief. I was worried that she would deny ever knowing me, but I guess from her outburst earlier, it would be a difficult denial.

"This young man here has come to ask for my permission to date you. What do you say to that?" Mr. VanCamp asked casually.

I watched Melanie's face as she was about to burst out, no doubt instructing her father to deny such demand. I knew that I had to act fast or everything would wash down the drain.

"Ehh Mr. VanCamp, please before she answers that, I'd like a moment to speak with Melanie, alone?" I asked holding my breath. There was no way he was going to accede to that request.

He looked at Melanie as she was about making an outburst remark and nodded. "I'll be back in five minutes," he said looking at Melanie that was about to burst a nerve. "Don't kill each other," he joked as he got up and left.

It was quiet for a while but then the fireworks started. "Who the hell do you think you are coming into my home, conniving with my father?" she asked with such heat that I was amazed she didn't hit me.

I waited for her to cool down a bit before replying. "I'm sorry for doing this, but it was the only option I had if I wanted to go out with you," I explained.

That cooled her down some, my apology but at the mention of going out, she started again. "Who said I'd ever go out with a worthless lowlife like you?" she asked.

I flinched at the insult. I'd been called many things but never a worthless lowlife. I wanted to wring her mouth, I wanted to get up and walk away. I wanted to scream at her that I was a human being, not some trash and the fact that I loved her didn't make me worthless, it made me special.

I wanted to do all that but I didn't. I realized what she was trying to do; manipulate me into doing something stupid. The mere fact that was trying to manipulate me gave me strength. It showed that she cared enough, no matter how twisted that sounded.

"Aren't you a little bit curious?" I asked side-stepping her name calling.

She was rattled. She expected me to react in some way to her name calling and not this. "Curious about what?" she asked, sounding mildly interested.

"About a date with me, about why I was doing all these?" I asked, perplexed that she never thought about it.

She was quiet for a while. "Why are you doing this—other than for the fact that I am the most beautiful girl in school?" she asked with conceit.

I scoffed. She couldn't be more wrong. "Is that what you think?" I asked perplexed at her shallowness. At her shrug, I added, "You're wrong. I asked you out not because of your look or your position in school."

"Then why did you do it?" she asked, sounding interested.

I smiled at that. "Just go out with me and I'll answer every of your question," I promised.

"I can't get it now?" she asked, curious.

I shook my head. "Sorry but I've been planning this date for days now, the least you could do is agree to go with me. What would it hurt?" I asked in a soft voice.

"Well, it wouldn't be all that bad," she conceded. Then after a minute she added, "If I agree to do this, you have to promise that we would go very far away, where no one will be able to see us," she stated.

I was giddy with joy. She'd more than accepted to go. "I promise. Cross my heart and hope to die," I solemnly declared.

And for the first time in my life, I made Melanie to laugh. It was the most amazing feeling in the world.

"I'll hold you to that," she promised.

"I wouldn't expect less from you," I retorted.

And just then, the door to the study opened and Mr. VanCamp entered the room.

"So, what's the verdict?" he asked as soon as he sat down, looking at Melanie.

She looked at me as if deciding something. I looked on powerless as my future rested on her shoulder. What will she decide?

"I'll go on this one date with him. We'll talk about other things after that," she declared as she got up, went to where her father was, kissed him on the cheeks and excused herself.

I was left bewildered by what had just happened. The import of the moment was not lost on me. Melanie had just agreed to go on a date with me, moi. And she said that we'd discuss further terms after that. That left a huge weight on my shoulder. One way or another, I was going to impress Melanie.

"Well, you can be persuasive," Mr. VanCamp commented as soon as Melanie left.

"It wasn't me, sir. I just got lucky," I replied him, still flabbergasted by what happened.

"Well, I'll see you tomorrow, young man," he said, getting up from his seat. I also did.

"Thank you, sir for this opportunity. I'll never disappoint you," I promised as I stood at the door, ready to go.

"See to that, young Tyler," he replied and wished me a goodnight.

In a daze, I turned and left for my car. I still couldn't believe it. I had to pinch myself three times to be sure that it was really happening to me. I drove in a daze all the way to my home.

"I have a date," I declared as soon as I entered my house.

Mom shot up from where she sat and excitedly came and hugged me. Dad patted me on the back.

"What happened?" Mom asked while dragging me to the sitting room. I shrugged her off. I had reservations to make, things to organize.

"As much as I'd like to tell you about it, I have things to do," I explained to mom, which was a good thing because she was on the phone calling the restaurant where we eat out.

I made several calls all in preparations for tomorrow. I'd made tentative calls to all of these people, explaining that until I got the consent of my date, everything else would have to wait. So, I only had to call and confirm that the mission was a go.

After much call, I placed a call to a certain old man who would be breathlessly waiting to know what happened.

"Hello Grand Pa," I greeted as soon as he picked on the first ring. I put him on speaker phone. "Eager to hear from me, are we?" I teased.

"Where the hell have you been?" he asked sounding worried.

"You're on speaker with mom and dad," I said ignoring his question.

Mom and dad called out their greeting, but he ignored both of them. "SO?" he asked again.

There would be no denying him what he wanted. Besides, I didn't want to deny him because I was bursting to shout it to the world. "I have a date tomorrow," I proclaimed.

"What?" he almost shouted. "How did that happen?" he asked.

I went on to tell them everything. There would be no leaving out any part of the story because I had three attentive listeners.

"That's a genius step, my boy. Very genius," Grand Pa said after I'd finished telling the whole story. "I always knew you had a good head on you."

"Thank You Grand Pa," I replied, still dazed that it had really happened. "Even if I got it from mom," I couldn't resist adding.

"Well, we both know that you mom is the one with the good head," he acceded. "So, what have you got planned for tomorrow?" he asked.

"Well, don't be getting ahead of yourself now, Grand Pa. You'll just have to wait and find out tomorrow," I retorted.

"Laura, please tell me he has something planned tomorrow?" Grand Pa pleaded with mom.

Mom laughed. "I'm on the situation, Gilbert," mom replied.

Grand Pa sighed theatrically. "My worries are over." We all laughed at that.

We goofed around some more as we asked Gramps how he was doing. He said he was feeling as healthy as a horse. I didn't doubt him. I sensed that this much excitement is given him a new bout of energy to tackle life.

We eventually said our good byes and I said my good night as I decided to call it a night. I had an important day tomorrow and I needed to rest up so that I could have my wits about me.

But sleep eluded me. Try sleeping with that much excitement. I still was giddy that the girl of my dream had accepted to go out with me. I was imagining what tomorrow will be like when the adrenaline faded and my body went to sleep mode. I remember thinking that tomorrow is going to be a wonderful day.

This is the first part of what I hope to be a short story. I said I hope because I tend to overdo things a little. This isn't the first story I planned posting since LINF but the one I'm writing is taking much time and I want to finish it before posting it.

I tried to be as original as I think my experiences would allow. While I'm not quite the ladies' man, I've had interactions with women and it was on these interactions that I drew from while writing this. All the same, if you think it isn't realistic enough, need I remind you that this is FICTION and I'm only just following the rules.

I'd like to hear from you, especially the females telling me if they think this situation could have worked in real life. I mean, if you are Melanie, would you agree to go on a date with Andrew, given all that had happened?

Drop me a line and let me know what you all think.

This one will be a weekly stuff as I'm partially busy right now organizing my life to write on daily basis. I'd have loved to finish this story before posting it but I'm suffering from a case of no feedback. So, please, let me know what you think as you feedback is always appreciated.

Watch out for Fortune, next week which is a short for Fortune Favors the Bold.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Consensual / Romantic / School /