This time she had come prepared. She wouldn't be taken in by her feelings again, or caught off guard. Danny had told her he was going to be there. And this time, she was ready.
She walked into Ed's Ballroom with butterflies in her stomach, and her heart on her sleeve.
She didn't spot him right away, but she was there with a small group of friends anyway, so she danced, and chatted with people in the meantime.
She never really knew what to expect with Danny because so much time went in between the times they saw each other. He was stationed up north now, which was far, but at least it wasn't overseas. So he got more opportunities to come home and visit. This would be the first time she would see him since they kissed. Really kissed. The best kiss of her life, she thought. So far, at least. She smiled to herself at the thought of that kiss.
She knew he was bad news. Danny was a self-professed alcoholic. He had no problem admitting that, but every problem fixing it. And lately he seemed hell-bent on this self-destructive path, but she couldn't help the way she was so naturally drawn to him. She knew who he really was, deep down inside. And she just knew that if they could really be together, he could be that person all the time.
Then finally she saw him. He was 2-stepping with a blond girl she didn't recognize. She noticed his usual gang hanging out in their usual corner as well. She would wait until he was finished dancing to approach them. So she busied herself with her friends once more, and hoped maybe he would notice her first.
Another hour went by...
Where was he??She hadn't seen him since his dance with the blond.
Well I guess I'll just have to go find him then. She thought to herself as she started off across the room. She walked past the corner of the room where he usually sat with his friends, she walked past the bar, and the restrooms, but still no sign of Danny. She began to wonder if he had left!
Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw the blond that he had been dancing with earlier. She was sitting on some other guys lap, and they were making out.
Nice... She thought.
But then as she got closer, she heard a familiar husky laugh, followed by a twittering giggle. She whirled around, and the shock of what she saw hit her like a ton of bricks. It was as if someone had dumped a huge bucket of ice cold water on her. She wanted to turn and run, but she couldn't move. She wanted to close her eyes, and forget what she'd seen, but she couldn't seem to tear her eyes away from Danny and the girl, kissing and laughing. Her breathing became shallow, and her heart was pounding. She staggered backwards slowly, into a chair, and collapsed down into it.
She refused to fall apart. Not here, not now. What if Danny saw her?
She inhaled a deep jagged breath and stood up.
She walked out of Ed's alone. It was raining. The parking lot was muddy, and she had no umbrella. Mud sloshed up and over her boots, seeping into her socks. Rain soaked her hair and shirt. She sat down in her car, and turned the key in the ignition. Her friends wouldn't miss her. Danny obviously didn't.
She drove home in silence. Numbness creeping slowly throughout her body.
This was a feeling she would become all too familiar with throughout her life. But this was the first time she'd ever felt it. Crushed. Disappointed. Hopeless. Scared. Lonely. Confused. Hurt. Pain. Just pain.
How could he do this?? He asked me to come away with him. I thought...
But it didn't matter what she thought, because it was all laid out on the table for her to see. And Danny, had finally swallowed her up in his path of destruction. He broke her heart. And that was the end of their short lived romance.
Years later, she would look back on her time with Danny fondly, and remember how much fun they had together. How many firsts she'd had with him. Those 2 single kisses they'd shared would come to mean more to her than she ever thought they could. And the late night conversations, the time they skipped school to go to the beach, the letters they wrote when he was in the Navy, the Rodeo, the time he threw rocks at her window, late at night, just because she told him she'd always wished someone would... How innocent it all was. How he was the first guy to really make her feel like he wanted her, and no one else. Even if it had all been childish nonsense, it was wonderful. Their time together was like a firework in a black sky. Burning brilliant and bright; so captivating, and beautiful that it makes you sigh, and smile, and wonder. But just as quickly as it's colors explode in the sky, it disappears. And when it's gone, all that's left is smoke.