Chris McKenzie I sat between my friends, playing truth and dare. It was lunchtime, in our high school.

We were all laughing together as we got different dares to do. I was left. Finally, I got my turn. “So dude, truth or dare?” my friend, Paul asked. I replied, “hmmm…I guess dare!” “I got a dare for you, Chris!” Another friend of mine cried excitedly. “You have to take that gal behind you on a date and make her prom queen! You got five days, man!” he said pointing behind me. Everyone hooted. I looked behind me; a rather simple girl with glasses sat eating in the cafeteria. I had Spanish class with her. She was very quiet; I never had heard a thing from her. “Man! You could have given me a better girl” I said turning back towards my friends. “No buts! Go get her” Carl said, and then so calmly, “I bet it wouldn’t be that hard, girls praise you”. I rolled my eyes, but I guess he was right as I was handsome and girls were literally falling to their knees in front of me. It wouldn’t be too hard, it’ll be just one dumb date, I thought. I was sure that I would do this dare perfectly. I was obnoxious about it. “Okay guys, you convinced me. I know I can do this. What can happen?” I said the last line casually, not knowing that my whole life would change after this. The guys snickered. As I walked towards her, I ran my hand through my soft, dark hair. I reached the table, and said, “Hi!” she looked up calmly. Man! She did not even show any sign that the most popular guy in school was standing right in front of her, so I threw my ultra smile, as to emphasize my standing in front of her. Still she did not as much as blink. My confidence wavered a bit. She said, “Hello. Can I help you?” I smiled at her, just a small smile. “Oh no, no! I believe I have seen you in my Spanish class, so I just figured that why don’t I have little chit chat with you, can I?” I looked stupid, I could just feel it. Jeez! What have I got my self into? At first she just scrutinized my face; I wonder what was she looking for? Then she shrugged and said in an offhand voice, “I guess, have a seat.” “Thanks” and I sat down. She was reading something and just munching away. “So…” I started awkwardly. She looked up and gave me a tiny smile. That smile warmed my inside with relief, or was it something else? No just relief I said inside my head. “Yes?” I started again, “I was wondering…have you ever dated someone?” she frowned “No, why do you ask?” uh oh. “Um just wondering.” I said a bit weakly. I have never felt so embarrassed or nervous in my life. “Oh” was all she said. “Well then! For a first, you wanna go out sometime? Like tonight? I said this all in a rush. She looked confused, “with whom?” “Myself” obviously. “With you!” she said in shock. “Er…something wrong in that?” I asked nervously and a bit curiously; not one girl has once shown this kind of shock, on the contrary they were giddy. “Like everything! You Chris McKenzie asking me Melissa johns on a date, is this a joke?” her voice rose an octave; some people around us stared at us curiously. Melissa (I got the name) was staring at me with wide eyes. “If you think it is funny!” I muttered. She got up and started throwing her books inside her bag; I just watched her; my mouth hanging slightly. As she stormed out of the cafeteria I stood up feeling shocked and a bit gloomy; seriously, if you were-for the first time-been dissed by a girl you would know how I felt. My friends were snickering away, talk about good friends! I was not in the mood to talk to them; I just took my bag and slipped out of the cafeteria. I had Spanish next, I was still numb. My brain then registered the fact that Melissa would be in the same class. I got an excited feeling in myself as I

thought of seeing Melissa again. Excited? I think I had cracked. Me excited to see Melissa johns? No way! I repeated in my brain firmly, trying to gain some control over myself. But, I could not resist. As I entered in the room, I searched until I saw her sitting in one of the front seats; she was looking intently at the black board. I made my way inside and sat on a seat. I usually sat in the last row, but I had to give another try. I think she felt me sitting behind her because she froze in her chair. This was totally creeping me out. The class started as usual, with Mr. Varner entering and starting his boring lesson. I spent the whole lesson staring at her; she did not as much as move a muscle. At last the class ended. Melissa, as it seems, was trying to ignore me. Well! Not for long. I walked outside the school and stood next to her red ford. After exactly three minutes (I was checking my watch) she made her way outside the school and into the parking lot. Apparently, she did not see me, because she walked calmly towards her car. Finally, she saw me and her eyes widened and her expression became angry. She walked towards me and glared at me. “What is your problem? Why can’t you just leave me alone?” she practically hissed. I was taken aback by her hostility. “I just wanted to ask, what is so repulsive in me taking you on a date?” I tried to be reasonable. She took a deep breath, “I know you are just saying this to make a complete fool of me” she said through gritted teeth. “What?” I was shocked “I respect girls, you know. I so don’t want to make you look like a fool!” “Oh, yes you do!” she argued hotly. “No I do not!” Finally, she gave up. She sighed, “Fine! I accept your invitation. When is this-this date?” “Thank you very much! The date is today. Will you please give me your address so I can pick you up?” I smiled at her. She rummaged in her bag, took a piece of paper and wrote down her address. “Here!” she handed it to me. “Thanks! I will pick you up at seven” I said giving her a huge smile. I guess she did not see it as she sat in her car without another word. Melissa Johns There was a lot on my mind, as I drove my car. It will not be a surprise to find that all these questions were leading to Chris. I mean it is not like I get the most popular guy for a date everyday; this was a first. As I parked my car I could not think straight. I ruffled my twin brother Jared’s hair as I passed him; he was eating out of the ice cream tub again. We prefer not hanging out with each other in school. “Hey! Quit it Mel!” he grabbed my hand and pulled me in a headlock. “I’m going to tell mom you’re eating out of the tub again if you don’t release me this instant!” I cried as I struggled to get free. “Tattle tail” he muttered as he released me. “Hey mom!” I called as I passed my mother. “Hello sweetie, how was school?” “Um, pretty good!” I said distracted. “Uh mom?” I faced her “yeah?” she smiled. My mom is very pretty; although I do not think about my looks that much, but I do wish I was pretty like her. “I just wanted to tell that I wouldn’t be here this evening” she frowned. “Why?” This was a question I was trying to suppress from hearing from my mother, who knows how she is going to react. “Well! I have a date with someone” I muttered looking down. I heard a gasp and I looked up. She was staring at me with shocked eyes, and then she said something that made me look at her in astonishment. What she said was in a happy voice “Oh my god! My daughter is finally going out with someone! I thought this day would never come.” Huh? “Mom! It’s just a dumb date” “Just? Oh come on Mel, let’s go shopping” she grabbed me by the hand

Jared poked his hand around the corner “Mel’s going out?” he then grinned at me “With whom? Icky Tommy?” I grabbed my shoe and hurled at him. Tommy was a total nerd who picked his nose all the time. He ducked. Damn it. He’s quick. “FYI, I’m going with Chris McKenzie!” “Whoa! Chris? As in Chris the Man?” Now he was interested. “How did you manage to get a date with the most popular guy?” “Dunno do I? He just came and asked me” My mother pulled me. “Come on sweetheart! Jared stop teasing your sister” **************** As we entered the mall, I headed towards my favorite store, but mom pulled me and said, “Oh no! We are going to get you something fancy.” And pulled me toward this horrifying shop with mini skirts and trendy clothes. “!” I tried to get her out of that dreadful shop, but guess who won? Of course my mom. Well! Anyways my mom snatched a mini zebra print skirt and a black studded tank top and told me to put them on. “God! You look beautiful, hon.” She cried, tears in her eyes as I stepped out of the try room. Sigh! My mom is so emotional. She paid for my outfit; she would not let me pay. We drove back home. Oh no! It was already six. I ran upstairs to my room and got ready. Chris McKenzie I had dressed up in my favorite khaki pants and a black shirt. I rang the bell, and as I waited I straightened my shirt. Mr. Johns opened the door. “Yes?” “Uh…I have a date with your daughter, sir!” I added the sir in the end-- a polite sign. He smiled “ah yes! Come in son, Mel is just getting ready” he said. “Thank you sir” I replied, took a deep breath and went inside. He leaded me to the lounge. A graceful lady was sitting on one of the sofas. She must have been Melissa’s mom. She smiled as I entered and stood up. “My! What a handsome boy!” I smiled, “how do you do ma’am?” “I am fantastic, dear! I am delighted that you are taking Melissa. She never goes out with anyone.” “My pleasure!” I said. “Jared dear, say hello to Chris here” she turned toward a guy who was working on a laptop. He looked up—he looked a lot like Melissa; they must be twins—said “Yo!” and smiled. “Hey dude!” I said smiling a bit in return and nodded. “Have a seat there!” Mr. Johns said. “No dad, I am ready to go.” Someone said from behind me. I turned around and saw the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I mean, seriously. Melissa was dressed in this hot zebra print mini skirt and a black top with stones. She had finally opened her Shiny black hair with a limp curl at the end. She had removed her glasses and I saw her big hazel—with a hint of green—eyes covered with thick lashes. Her lips were covered with pink lip gloss. She looked a bit nervous, and at the moment so did I. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I realized my mouth had dropped, my eyes had widened. I hastily rearranged my features. “Shall we?” I asked moving closer to her. “Uh, sure” she smiled a little. Mr. and Mrs. Johns wished us a good evening—Jared seemed to be in the middle of something

important—and we got out of the house and into the cold evening wind. I opened the door of the passenger seat for her and she got in with a murmur of thanks. I got into the car and started the engine. Melissa Johns I wondered where we were going. Maybe to a theatre or a restaurant… thoughts trailed on and on. Finally my curiosity got the better of me. I asked, “Um…where are we going?” he grinned at me “First we’re gonna go to Tracy’s for dinner, and then after that I have a surprise for you! I believe you’ll like it.” His smile fell a little bit, “at least I hope you will” he muttered. Aw! The poor guy was looking so anxious; I should rather keep my thoughts—of the place—to myself. I was positive I would not like the place he was taking me to. “Oh don’t worry! I’m sure I’ll like the place a whole lot” I said as gently as I could and tried to suppress the grimace that was surely on the way. That cheered him up right away. I had been wrong about him; He was not such a big jerk as I thought he was. On the contrary, he was quite… sensitive. Nice. I do not know why but I kept smiling the whole way. Oh brother! What is with me? Chris McKenzie We reached Tracy’s and I got out myself and then opened the door for Melissa. She was still looking nervous. I said cheerfully “come on no one is gonna eat you” She closed her eyes took a deep breath. After a second or two she opened her eyes again and took the hand I held out. We walked in. Let me tell you this, Tracy’s is the fanciest restaurant as far as I know. It is also one of my favorite. Anyways, I ordered a table for two and we were leaded to a corner. The table looked quite romantic, with the candle and all, I thought. I believe Melissa felt the same thing since her eyes widened a little. We both had a seat. I picked up the menu and looked at it. I ordered roast while Melissa had spaghetti with white sauce. This surprised me; I always thought that all girls are always on some kind of special diet as they only order rabbit food, you know, lettuce and carrots and stuff(which disgusts me, I’d like to mention). Apparently I was wrong. I liked this girl…a lot. I tried to lessen some of the awkwardness. “So, Melissa! Tell me something about you” I said. First she hesitated then started off “well! I love to paint” “Painting huh? I doubt that you can paint me” I said in a teasing tone. “A challenge? I bet I can paint you” she grinned at me. That was the first time she had fully smiled at me. Her smile was so gorgeous; it knocked the air out of me. “Uh yeah! Bet.” I said weakly. I tried to clear my head and then I asked her “So you’re not on a special diet like the rest of them?” She rolled her eyes. “What do you think I am? A rabbit?” I laughed. She rolled her eyes again. “So, now you tell me about yourself.” “Hmm…let’s see…I’m a jock! I like to play soccer…” she surprised me by bursting into a fit of giggles. “What?” I asked her “well of course you play soccer if you are a jock!” she giggled. Oh! Why hadn’t I thought of it? Oh well. I narrowed my eyes and said “hmph” and pretended I was mad at her. “I’m so sorry! But I couldn’t help it!” she gasped. I smiled to reassure at her. She grinned again (my breath stopped again). This time she might have seen my disorientated face because she asked worriedly “You okay?”

“Uh yeah.” I was dazed. At the same time our food arrived and we started eating. Between bites I gazed at her, I knew it at last; I was in love with her. No one can take her place now. After finishing our dinner I paid for the food (Melissa tried to peek at how much I had to pay with an anxious look on her face, how sweet! I just smirked at her and hid the check. She sat back with a disgruntled look on her face) and we took off again. Melissa johns We reached at some kind of store. I read the sign, it said ‘Andy’s pet mart’ How cool! Chris got out of the car and opened the passenger door for me. As I was about to step out, my charm bracelet slipped of my hand. “Oh shoot” I muttered and reached for it but Chris got it first. Then he reached for my hand. Oh man! His hands were big and so soft; I blushed. After he put the bracelet back on my wrist, he took my hand and pulled me gently. I got out of the car. I noticed he did not let go of my hand, which was just fine by me. “I found out you liked animals a lot, so I thought you would like to visit the animals over here” he said as we walked towards the store. “Great!” I murmured and then something hit me “Wait! How did you know I like animals?” I asked with surprise. He blushed! He actually blushed! His cheeks flamed like fire! Wow! I was about to say never mind looking at his embarrassed expression, but he said in a rush “Well! Actually I kind of followed you around today and asked whom ever you talked with questions about what you like and what you don’t like.” He blushed even deeper if such a thing was possible. He followed me around? Well! That was kind of flattering. We entered the store and I heard sounds of cats, dogs, birds. An elderly man greeted us and asked “how can I help this fine looking couple?” I blushed at that but Chris it seemed did not think much of it. He said “oh we just wanted to check some of these animals” then he asked me “where to?” with a smile “um cats I guess” I replied absentmindedly, staring at those deep brown eyes. The man leaded us to the cats section and gave us some space. The first cat I saw immediately caught my attention (actually it was a kitten) it was the most adorable thing I had ever seen; it was light brown with big green eyes. Without thinking I leaned down and picked up the little thing and scratched it behind its ear. It let out a contented purring sound. I was deeply in love with that thing. Chris checked his watch and lightly tapped me on the shoulder; his every touch left a tingly electric jolt right through my body. He said in a gentle voice “It’s time to leave Mel.” I got a sudden shock. Mel? No one called me Mel except my parents and brother. But then I let it go as it was not something highly offending. I was just caught by surprise. As I sat in the car he said “oh I forgot my cell phone in the store, be right back!” he said with a grin. Hmph! I was sure he just wanted to call one of his girl friends or worse he was telling one of his jock friends what a loser I am. I was just thinking these things unhappily when the car door opened and he came in with…with that adorable kitten. “Surprise!” he said with another grin. I was touched. I began, “you shouldn’t have…” but he interrupted me by putting one finger on my lips “I don’t want to hear anything.” Another one of those jolts. He handed me the kitty and started the engine. Chris McKenzie

“Um…I thought we’d take a stroll in the park right now. What do you think?” I interrupted her as she stroked the kitten and looked at it with gloating affection. I wished she would look at me like that. She looked up at me and shrugged with a smile. “Sure! Why not?” I parked my car in front of a nearby park. We got out (Melissa had the cat with her). It was a very windy night. The path was accompanied with trees and beautiful flowers. We walked along the path. Melissa was shivering as she was wearing a sleeveless top. She said with chattering teeth, “god! If I had known it would be so cold I never would’ve worn this top” she rubbed her arms to warm herself. I was wearing a jacket; I took it off and wrapped it around her. “T-t-t-thanks” she managed to stutter. “So what profession are you planning to choose?” she asked me. I replied thoughtfully, “well…good question… I think a businessman would be cool, but my parents are persuading me on being a businessman” I sighed. “Wow! I never knew you were into finance and economics and stuff” she asked interestedly. “Yeah! No one knows it though…they just can’t get over me being a jock” I smiled at her. She smiled at me understandingly. “You know…” she looked down. “Yeah?” I asked her. She smiled embarrassed. “I thought all the jocks were sore losers, but I guess I was wrong…at least about you…you are not bad, from the inside as well.” She blushed, but dared to look at me. I grinned at her “you think so?” I realized something “from the inside as well. Hey…what about from the outside?” she groaned. “I was dreading this question” she moaned. I frowned “I look that bad?” she smiled at me sadly “dude, you are more than worth to look at” I grinned again and said “you’re not bad either” she made a spin and struck a pose, making the pussy a bit dizzy. We laughed and talked till the end of the track, and then we made our way back to the car. As I reversed the car, Melissa said--petting the cat--in a musing way “you know, I’m thinking I’ll name him Chris after you” she said pointing to the cat. I rolled my eyes and said “be my guest.” ****************** I drove in the nearly deserted street, slowing as soon as I saw her house. It was dark, just the faint glow coming out of the streetlights. Melissa was a little quiet on the way back. She kept stroking the cat, and frequently peeked at me. When I caught her once, she gave me a sheepish smile and hurried to look away. As for me, I kept on smiling; I don’t know why, maybe because how she kept on glancing at me. I parked the car just outside her house. She looked up a little startled, as the car stopped. “Oh!” she looked out the window and then murmured, “We’re here” “Yeah” I gave her a gentle smile. She smiled a tiny smile. It was clear from her expression, something was bugging her. “What’s wrong?” I asked her, my eyebrows pulling upwards “Um…nothing…I just—nothing” she sighed and looked down at her lap “You can talk to me, you know.” I lifted her chin so I could look at her eyes. There was shock in her eyes; obviously because of the skin contact. When I realized that I took advantage. I gave her my best probing and intense look. I could see she was trying to look somewhere else. After a few seconds she gave up. She sighed quietly and then looked back at my eyes.

“It’s just that…this was my first date ever! And I—I’m afraid I liked it quite a bit” she sighed again. I still could not understand what she was getting at. “And?” I prodded “I—I’m afraid that…I guess… what I’m trying to say is that I’m afraid this would be my last one.” “Oh!” so that’s what she’s saying. My god, she thinks I did not enjoy the date. She got it completely opposite. That’s what I was worried about. I chuckled and she looked at me again with a stunned expression. “What’s so funny?” “Do you believe that I didn’t enjoy this date?” I asked, amused. “Well I didn’t think about that much. I was considering our…different statuses” Her eyelashes cast deep shadows. “You see… I don’t know what got into you to go out with me, a…” I interrupted her “A beautiful, modest, loving girl whose heart no one can seem to catch” I added the last part, teasingly. She muttered something incomprehensible; I just got the word heart. “Look! You…okay fine, you went on a date with me—who knows what the reason was behind it—you’re not obviously going to do this again.” She said in a rush. “Who gave you that idea?” She rolled her eyes. “What moron will not get that idea?” “Mel…if a guy likes a date he went with an attractive girl” she blushed prettily at that “can’t he go on another date with her?” “Well I guess…he could” she was still a little pink I grinned at her “then that’s that, case closed” She rolled her eyes but smiled and gave me a playful punch on my arm. I grabbed her hand. It seemed like she stopped breathing. I traced my pinky on her arm; Goosebumps rose where I touched her; that pleased me. I looked down. “I was wondering Mel…would you like to go horse-back riding day after tomorrow, if you want to of course?” I looked up then and kind of leered at her. She laughed at me “You’re the craziest guy I’ve ever met McKenzie, you know that don’t you?” I just winked at her. She shook her head and giggled. “Is that a no, your highness?” I asked melodramatically. She grinned at me, her dimple going in. I wanted to touch it, touch her nose, her lips… “I need some time, my slave” she was the one now who was smirking. I was confused. “Does that mean you won’t go?” “It means, a girl has her priorities, Mr. McKenzie.” She gave me a mysterious look. I stared at her. I wanted to kiss her, but I couldn’t do that on our first date. What about a peck; it won’t hurt… while I was contemplating this, she was biting her lower lip and then suddenly a look came into her eye and she bent forward, leaned towards me… This time my breath hitched in my throat. All I could think was she’s going to kiss me, she’s going to kiss me. Is my lip moist? Do I have bad breath? But all she did was, she gave me a gentle kiss on my cheek. Her soft lips pressed lightly against my cheek.

“Bye” she breathed against my skin. My head spun. She leaned back and straightened her clothes, caught the kitten tightly against her chest. She waited for a moment; her expression thoughtful. “Hey Chris!” she finally said to me. I still wasn’t entirely normal yet; my head still spun a little dizzily. I wondered what will happen to me, if we actually kissed. I hurried to get that out of my head. I’ll think about it when the time comes. “Yeah?” my voice was a little husky. “I was wondering that if…we could go back to my house after the horse-back riding and I show you my paintings and sketches?” “So…is that a yes?” She looked heavenward and sighed “I suppose that’s a yes” “Great! I would love to see your work and then you can then later sketch me, like you promised” I smiled at her. She smiled back. “Okay then…that’s settled so, I should be off. G’night. See you tomorrow.” “Yeah! Sweet dreams” She smiled and got out of the car, with the cat hanging limply against her chest; looked like it was sleeping. She waved at me as she was halfway inside. I waved back and sighed. I started the engine and drove my way, smiling all the way.

Melissa Johns
I plunked down on my bed as soon as I came out of the bathroom. I pulled Chris— Chris the kitten—on my stomach and stroked her. This was the souvenir of the perfect date ever! As I thought of the way Chris smiled, the way his strong hands were, how they felt on my skin, how he smelled, how he touched my lip and how sweet he was, I finally realized, I loved him. He wasn’t like any other guy I’ve ever met, including my own brother! Just as I thought this, Jared came in casually and knocked on my door frame. “Knock, knock!” he grinned. “Hey Jazz!” I greeted him with his favorite nickname. “Oh cool! A cat!” he came in as soon as he saw Chris—the kitty. He loved cats as much as I did. “Where’d you get it?” he asked as he nuzzled the cat. “Chris bought it for me” “What!” He gaped at me as if I’d swallowed a fish. “Surprise much?” I said coolly indifferent from the outside, where as inside I was shouting, you fool! Can’t you think a guy can like me? Huh? Is that it? “Actually, I’m a little worried for you” he said. The ‘worried for you’ got my attention. Jared is never worried for me; this is a first. “Don’t get this the wrong way but, I kind of think that Chris is using you, I mean. It looks like he’s bribing you or something, with the cat and all. Or his taking you on a date is some ulterior motive.”

That got me mad. I mean, plenty mad. “You jerk! Get your freaking butt out, this very instance or I’m hauling you out.” He just rolled his eyes at my threat. Here’s the thing, see my brother and I are from very different universes. I cant believe how that

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