Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chapter Seven: Meet Me Out Back

It was the third week of school, and we were all still trying to get used to our new schedules and adjustments. Classes were going well and it just felt good to be a Senior. I was trying to capture and relish every moment because I knew it would be my “last beginning” at the school, and it was kind of sad. My schedule was extremely busy. Three of my best friends and I were elected FCS (Fellowship of Christian Students) officers, so we worked hard to plan upcoming Bible studies and activities. I was on two cheerleading squads: football and basketball, and was co-captain for one. We practiced constantly for upcoming competitions and hoped to make it again to Nationals. On top of my school activities, I had my Church activities: Sanctuary Choir, Youth Choir and Drama.

My plate was full.

Wednesday night after a long hard practice for Cheer competition, I was in my room getting ready for Church that evening. Mom came in my room and said, “keep Friday night open - we’re taking the Gatsby’s out for dinner to get to know them”. Gulp. I tried to act calm. “We’re – we’re doing what?” I stuttered as I put on my mascara (as if I didn’t hear her loud and clear the first time). She repeated herself and added, “Oh, will you follow us in your car so that Curt and Becky can ride to Tulsa with us?”

“Sure”, I said, as if I could care less.

Then it hit me. If Curt and Becky were riding with my mom and dad….where were Darin and Casey riding? My armpits started sweating. Oh no. A forty-five minute car ride with this boy that everyone idolizes like a royal prince? Can I do this? What if there’s nothing to talk about? My armpits were soaked at this point. What if he’s weird? What if I’m weird? Great.

I got up and put on more deodorant.

I called Amber, initially to have her talk me down and tell me it was going to be okay, but then I thought I would have a little fun…since she thought he was “soooo cute”. She said hello and I immediately started in – “guess where I’m going Friday night?” She had no idea. How would she? I started boasting about taking them out and how Darin was going to ride with me. She yelled, “NO FAIR!”, and I went on and on about it and she grew greener than spinach with envy. I portrayed to her like it was no biggie – yeah, a cute boy, who cares…but inside, I was about to have a heart attack. Why did I let this guy have this effect on me? Just because everyone else bows down and worships him, does not mean he is anything to write home about! I had such weird mixed emotions.

I don’t know why I was so nervous. Darin and I talked in class occasionally and it was no big deal. We were new friends, and I did NOT want him to interpret it for anything else. I was stuck in between a rock and a hard place, though. To become better friends, you must talk and hang out, but doing that between a girl and a guy can sometimes be misinterpreted by one party….especially when one party is known for dating every girl that ever stepped foot in my town. It was a fine line that I had to dance around, but I was as careful as I could be. I was friendly, but not overly friendly. I was interested in his stories, but not prodding for more. I played it cool, and hoped he never misunderstood me. I hoped and prayed Friday night would go smooth.

Inevitably, the evening came. We drove over, picked them up, and Darin pushed his sister into the back seat. He was tall and long legged, so I thought nothing of it. The ride to Tulsa went unbelievably well. This boy was a talker. One conversation I remember having is how there are only so many music notes in the world, yet we have billions of different songs and none of them sound the same. Casey was pretty quiet in the back, only chiming in when she had something to say.

We arrived to Outback Steak House, and met up with our families. We had a round table, and Darin made his way around the table, next to the wall. I deliberately sat on the other side of the table. Again, I didn’t want anyone to misinterpret anything I did. We sat across from each other and as our families told stories, asked questions and bonded, I sat back and took in the whole evening. His mom ordered prime rib and it was as pink as a cherry popsicle. That was very distracting to me. His parents asked me why I had never attended Truth and Peace, and I told them about Precept Boot Camp. What I really wanted to say was, “because I don’t want your son to fall in love with me if I go”. I chuckled to myself at the thought of saying that, and quietly kept eating my steak.

Once our long and leisurely dinner was over, we made our way to the parking lot to head home. I unlocked my bright red Dodge Stratus RT to let Darin and Casey get in. Casey announced that since Darin had the front seat on the way, that she gets it on the way back. Darin told her that was not the way it was going to go and forced her in the back seat. She didn’t go down without a fight…she was flailing her arms and legs the whole time he squeezed her in between the seats. I couldn’t stifle my laughter. Darin and Casey had the exact age difference between them as my brother and me, so their arguing was all too familiar.

Darin won the battle and sat up front with me. We listened to smooth tunes and laughed all the way home. I went exactly the speed limit (maybe a little slower), to prolong the evening as much as I could. I was having so much fun. At one point, we broke out into a three part harmony of the Flintstones theme song. It was a great night with Darin and his family. I knew this was only the beginning of a beautiful friendship.