Josh did not get lucky on our third date, and not our fourth or even our fifth. Every night he would try to kiss me, but I would avoid it somehow. Of course, Jemima was dying to hear every detail of our rendezvous, and found it remarkably funny how he was shot down every single time. Not before long I found myself laughing with her, as each time it seemed he was just as clueless as the time before. Poor guy. But he was persistent.
I found other ways to keep him happy. Like becoming a cheerleader.
Jemima was upset with this one, because she thought I was becoming a brainless Barbie doll. But it made Josh happy to see me at his games, and eventually pleased Jemima that, since I was popular and had connections, I could score her free nachos. So it all worked out. Especially for Angie, who had her new flyer. I learned she was a senior, and being older than me, took me under her wing. I was something like her pet project. She liked to play dress-up with me and show me off to her friends.
Sometimes I liked the attention- it was like whatever I wasn't getting from my parents, I was getting from my peers. My parents had been becoming increasingly distant. Since they though I was finally obtaining the social life they always wanted, they could spend more time on their research. Occasionally it felt like the year they had left to travel the world, and I felt like I was an orphan again. But then they would come home and ask me how school was, and I would say fine, and they would ask me how Josh was, and I would say great. And Josh was great. He was what any girl would love to have as a boyfriend. He was attentive, handsome, athletic, and sure, maybe he was a bit egotistical but what great guy isn't?
Only one that I could think of.
That's why the night of our two-month anniversary I decided to reward him for his good behavior.
It was also the last game of the season, and the guys were wearing underarmour and the cheerleaders were wearing sweatpants because it was so cold out. It was the fourth quarter, and Louisville was down by 7 points with 30 seconds to go. I don't know how the players were, but we cheerleaders already felt defeated. The snow was just starting to fall, and a biting wind had just started from the south. I made a face at Jemima, who was sitting in the front row of bleachers with a box of nachos. She smiled cynically, as if to say "you asked for it". I stuck my tongue out at her and she laughed, then her eyes darted to the field. The Louisville Tigers had just come out of their huddle and were taking their places on the 50-yard line. I caught Josh's eye as he backed up and he pointed at me. I tried to smile encouragingly.
The play began, the clock ran down, and everybody shouted. We started a cheer for the offense, but my lips were too cold to form the words. 10 seconds left. The ball suddenly snapped back to Josh, and he caught it gingerly. The next second it was soaring through the air towards the end zone and-
They caught it! The crowd went wild, food was thrown everywhere, Angie was hugging me tightly, jumping up and down with my near-frozen body. The Tigers scored the the field goal and won the game. As trivial as the whole thing was, it felt good to be a part of something again.
And then I ran out onto the field, following suit with the other cheerers and found my way to Josh, who ripped off his helmet and swung me around in a big circle. And then I did it. I just did it.
I kissed him.
Right there in front of everyone, our first kiss. I knew that was how he would prefer it, rather than alone somewhere. He needed others to witness that he finally broke my cold, seclusive barrier. And he smiled like the sun had broken through the snowclouds, and I felt happy. For him.