We all checked out of our various hotel rooms and piled into the cars. A bunch of us, loosely from the same dorm, had driven down from the U to watch the men’s basketball team in the finals. We won, so that morning everyone was laughing and joking and in good spirits. I was in the front seat of Scott’s car, and his sister Renee and our friend Heather were in the backseat. We were one of a caravan of cars headed home.
We were laughing and joking in Scott’s car. Most of the jokes centered on Scott being a geek. I remember him saying “You’re just lucky this geek has a car.” Scott wore glasses and was an Engineering major, but other than that he seemed like a regular guy. He laughed with us easily and seemed not the least bit uncomfortable having three girls in his car. He wasn’t skinny, but actually fit. He wasn’t strikingly handsome, but more the kind of guy with average looks that could grow on you. His sandy brown hair was cut short and he was clean shaven and had clear skin. He was more nondescript than anything. Then Heather got a text on her phone from Mel in the car in front that said some folks in her car wanted to stop at the Renaissance Fair for which we had just seen signs.
Scott’s face lit up. “Cool! I love Renaissance Fairs. That would be awesome.”
“That’s because you’re a geek,” said his sister Renee.
“If you mean because of the sci-fi fantasy books I read, then yeah, you’re right,” he shot back with a sheepish grin.
“What is it like at a Renaissance Fair?” I asked, because as an English/Journalism major I had had my share of Renaissance literature classes, and actually thought I might like to go.
“It’s awesome.” answered Scott immediately. “It’s like going back in time. People walk around dressed in period costumes. They put on jousting shows and demonstrate industries like blacksmithing. There are also tons of booths where you can buy clothes, pottery, weapons; all sorts of stuff.”
“Sounds like a blast,” returned Renee as she rolled her eyes.
“No, really, it is,” said Scott. And then just to me he said, “You should go, really.”
I was silent after that. Did he think I should go because I was interested or because he wanted me to go with him? Did he like me? How would I feel about it if he did? Was I attracted to him? Well, I wasn’t not attracted to him. I decided it was best to assume he meant nothing by it.
When we stopped a few miles later for gas, it turned out most people wanted to go to the Fair. With a little rearranging, Renee and Heather got a ride back with some folks continuing on home. Scott and I got back in his car and followed the others towards the fair. It was not awkward at all and the laughing and joking continued even though it was just the two of us. Scott, it turned out, was just an incredibly funny and easy-going guy.
When we got to the Fair, we all started out as one big group but it soon broke into a boy’s group and a girl’s group, as the guys got hung up in the weapons tent and the girls gravitated over to the jewelry.
After an hour or so, I let myself get separated from the group and started wandering around on my own. I was browsing through a period clothing tent, eyeing the bustiers for some reason and sizing up if they had ones large enough to fit me. They did. As I turned to leave, there was Scott at the entrance to the tent peeking in. We noticed each other at the same time. His face broke into a grin. Had he been looking for me? Had I been looking for him? I couldn’t really say, even to myself.
“So, see anything interesting?” he said.
“I’m trying to decide what would suit me. Shall I dress like a tavern wench or a royal lady?”
“The wenches had more fun. But I think your teeth are too straight.”
We both laughed.
It was then, standing just inside the entrance to the clothing tent that my cell phone rang. It was Mara, my best friend from high school. She attended State college, closer to our hometown so we didn’t see each other as much.
“Lacey, what are you doing? Can you meet me for dinner? There is someone I want you to meet!”
“Dinner? Maybe. Where are you?” I looked at my watch. It was almost 3:30.
“I’m actually just south of the U. I didn’t think I’d be nearby, but Dave surprised me and took me to Engleton’s. I told him I wish I’d known because I would have invited you. But he said to just call you up. We’ll hang out nearby at the dam until you can get here.”
“Who’s this Dave?” I asked, laughing.
“That’s why I’m so desperate for you to come. We’ve been seeing each other for about a month now, and I’m dying for you to meet him.”
“Sounds like fun. I’d love to meet Dave.”
“So can you come?” I had turned away from Scott to take Mara’s call and was staring blankly at a clothes rack, but I could sense that he was still right there. I was starting to feel a connection, like maybe he had come to find me. Did he like me? Did I want to just leave before finding out? Did I want him to like me? I still had no idea.
“Well, listen, I’m not home. I’m actually at a Renaissance Fair in South Orange with a bunch of people from my dorm. I’m not that far from Engleton’s, but I didn’t drive myself. Let me see what I can do and I’ll call you right back.”
I turned to face Scott and was startled slightly to find him right there. I mean right there. Close. Looking at me. Leaning in. And then he was gently kissing me. I responded, kissing him back. So he kissed me harder. His mouth was cool and fresh and as our tongues touched I felt a thrill of electricity shoot through me. Then we had our arms around each other. Now there was definitely attraction. I felt tingly all over. Actually there were waves of tingly rippling through me. He was a fantastic kisser. I had been kissed before but not like this. This was not dutiful prom date kissing. This was not I’m young and bored and want to explore kissing. This was kissing that said I want you and only you.
I realized that I had been looking for him after all, hoping this would happen. And I realized he had been looking for me. Only me. Because he liked—me. After a few minutes we stopped kissing, but just pulled back a little with our arms around each other. He was smiling. His eyes were twinkling like he’d just told a great joke. Mine probably looked the same.
It was me who spoke first. “I really do want to leave and go meet Mara.” I said. “Would you like to come with me?”
“I was hoping you would ask.” he said.
“Did you think kissing me would up your chances?”
“Something like that, yeah” he said.
I reluctantly let go of him and pulled out my phone.
“Mara.” I said, after she answered. “It turns out I have someone for you to meet, too. His name is Scott. I just met him yesterday and it turns out he’s a great kisser.”
I held the phone out from my head so Scott could hear Mara’s laughter.
“About five then?” I said, back into the phone.
“Okay, then, bye.”
I put the phone away and said, “Let’s get out of here.”
Scott took my hand and kept it all the way back to his car.
“Did you want to tell anyone we’re leaving?” he asked.
“Nah, they’ll figure it out when we are both missing!”
Contributed by aspiring romance writer Tess Earnshaw.