"It's for you" my grandmother said, popping her head in my room.
"What's for me?"
"The phone, girl." She moved out of my way as I swiftly brushed past her tearing off down the hall, through the living room, finally plopping myself in the rocking chair in her kitchen.
I inhaled a large breath of air, picked up the phone, and gushed "Hey Jill*! What's going on?"
The voice on the other end was surprisingly more masculine than my best friend Jill, and answered "Not much, but this isn't Jill."
My jaw dropped, not that the voice could see this. There was only one other person that knew I was in town. Surely it wasn't Ben*....
"Come over today" the voice said. It was Ben!
"How do you know I don't have something better to do than come over?" I asked, trying to sound much busier than I actually was.
"You don't have anything to do better than come see me and we both know it" he replied with as much charm as ego. That charm/ego concoction would prove to be my undoing, and he knew that, too.
The conversation went on for about two more minutes, ending with my agreeing to come over, of course. It took me three hours to get there, however. I had to look good - no, great - for this. It had been four years since I'd spent any time with him, and while there was water under the bridge, and while I was not lurking about in that water anymore, I had no idea where he was. Do I dress casual "couldn't care less" or flirty "see what you gave up?" or college "smart girl" or reserved "ain't no way we're going there again" or just come across as "carefree, let's see where this goes".... I decided on flirty "couldn't care less" which took some work to pull off. It ended up as a pair of short shorts, a loose tee shirt, flip flops, and pink painted toes and fingers. My hair was brushed sleek when I left my grandmother's house, but was tousled and wind-blown by the time I got to Ben's. It never did do what I wanted it to.
Knocking on the door, I suddenly felt like I'd made a huge mistake. His smile as he opened the door changed that. Immediately he hugged me, a bit like cousins at a family reunion -- close enough to seem slightly sincere, but a lot like the parents were watching and it was what was expected. Well that gave me no clues whatsoever as to what I'd gotten myself into.
He showed me to the couch, a long j-shaped sectional in blue velour. It faced a big screen TV that was turned to CMT. Ironically, Alan Jackson's video "Chattahoochie" was playing. Jackson is skiing in blue jean shorts, and I notice that Mr. Jackson's backside looks very similar to Ben's backside. Ben walks around me to sit on another piece of the sectional and as he passes, I test my hypothesis. Yep. Definitely some similarities. And I learned something I liked about country music that day, too! (I have since come to admit quite a few things I like about country music, but that is irrelevant).
Ben doesn't waste much time rehashing old memories. "I thought you were cute back in high school, but now.... Well, let's just say that you look great."
"Thanks," I stammer "so do you" as it seemed to be the appropriate response, and the truth.
"I know." That same sincere charm and equal parts ego again. I'm not sure whether to hit him or not, then I notice he's smirking in self-mockery. More than once that saves him with me.
Unable to help myself, I blurt out "So why did you want me to come over today, anyway?"
He just watches me for a minute without saying a thing, without moving. In my mind I'm preparing for any angle of answer from "to say I'm sorry for being an ass all those years ago" to "because you're hot and I'm not dating anyone right now". He interrupted my litany of excuses I was listing for him to chose from with the sound his voice, low and soft.
"To do this" he said simply as he rose from the couch, took the one step between us, knealt down in front of me, placed both of his hands on my cheeks, lifted my face to look him in the eye, and kissed me softly on the mouth. A moment later, just as my head was starting to whirl, he released me.
**More B___ Chronicles coming soon!
*The names have been changed to protect the guilty. Any real person whose name appears here should take no flattery and no offense, but thank you for my use of your name .