First Time Lucky

By: Chance Carter

Chapter 1

Shane

Mrs. Fairfax was explaining a concept on the board, a blur of numbers and lines that probably would have made sense to me if I were paying attention. I wasn’t. I wasn’t watching Mrs. Fairfax’s sweeping hand gestures, nor was I watching the slow ticking of the clock above the board, nor was I watching the rain cascade down the dirty window pane. The only spot in the room that received my full attention was one desk, three down from the front and two in from the side.

Dallas Keane’s desk.

She was leaning over her binder, paying almost as little attention to the lesson as I was. The hand holding her pen tapped out a rhythm against her other palm, and I wondered whether she was tapping out the beats of a song or if it was just some random pattern. Her shoulder length thick hair formed a silky curtain around her face. It caught the light and shimmered when she moved her head. I could watch her all day.

How long had I been in love with Dallas now? It felt like only yesterday that we were young kids, running around a school like this one only much smaller. She wasn’t like the other girls, who joined their snickering little circles and complained in high voices about how dirty and gross the boys were. I couldn’t blame them for it. We were dirty and gross. Dallas didn’t care though. She could often be found running in the back playground, long hair flying everywhere as she tried to escape the dreaded curse of being “it”.

I knew she was special back then because even when the people she called friends pretended I didn’t exist, Dallas was always there with a kind smile and a welcoming hand.

We were older now, and I didn’t crave kindness in the same way I used to when I didn’t understand how the world worked. There was still a light about her though, something that made me sit up and pay attention every time she opened her mouth to speak. I’d loved her since I first understood what love was, but never had the nerve to ask her out. I always reasoned that the time wasn’t right, that I’d give it another week, another month, another year. We were seventeen now, on the cusp of adulthood and graduation. My time was running out.

A knock sounded on the door and Mrs. Fairfax halted her lecture. The door cracked open to reveal two perky girls that I recognized from the student council.

“Hey Mrs. Fairfax,” said one of them, a tall, slender thing with round glasses and a gummy smile. “Do you mind if we make a quick announcement about prom?”

The girls in the class immediately started tittering. This was news they did not want to miss.

Mrs. Fairfax smiled and welcomed the girls in, where they took up a spot at the front of the room and stared out at the waiting masses.

“Hey guys, we’re Becky and Gina from the prom committee,” said Gina, who I knew, from my biology class with her last semester, was an insufferable know-it-all.

Becky adjusted her glasses and stepped forward. “I know you’ve all been waiting anxiously for this year’s prom theme, and we’re delighted to announce that the wait is over.”

Gina took her spot next to Becky, clasping her hands in front of her. “This year’s prom theme is...” She smiled coyly. “Drum roll please.”

A few people in the class started drumming on their desks, Dallas included. Her hair was pushed back now, and I could see her mouth split into a wide grin. Seeing how excited she was for prom almost made me giddy too. I wasn’t a big fan of organized dances, especially ones with as much pageantry as a prom, but if Dallas was interested....

Becky flung her arms open above her head. “Midnight in Paris!”

The girls in the class started chattering amongst themselves, and I caught snippets of the conversations.

“So romantic!”

“...always wanted to go to Paris.”

“Do you think there will be cute French boys there?”

Someone jabbed a finger in my arm, and I looked over at my best friend, Jacob Rowland. He rolled his eyes back in his head and stuck a finger gun into his flaming red locks.

I chuckled. Now that I was looking elsewhere in the room, I noticed a few girls behind Jake were staring my way. I caught one of them looking, and she blushed and turned to the girl beside her, giggling.

I could’ve indulged in a little preening, but I didn’t give a flying fuck if some giggling halfwit entertained fantasies of me asking her to prom. I set my sights back on Dallas, curious what her reaction to all this was. She was talking to the girl beside her now, a nasty piece of work named Sasha Barnett. I had no idea why a little angel like Dallas would want to hang around someone who flaunted her crummy personality like a pair of diamond earrings. The two of them whispered to each other, and at the front of the room, Mrs. Fairfax tried to regain order.

“Guys, guys! Prom is still over a month away. You’ve got lots of time to gossip and chit chat about it. But you’ve only got so much time to absorb all this math before exams.” She placed her hands on her hips and stared menacingly at the class while the prom committee girls slunk out the door to disrupt the next classroom.

The class quieted, and soon we were back to integers and square roots. And I was back to Dallas.

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