I really couldn’t believe the situation I was in. Here I was, locked in a room with my nemesis, and he was holding me and stroking my hair while I bawled my eyes out. Lincoln’s arms felt strong as they cradled me against his chest. His voice was soft and comforting as he whispered soothing words in my ear. I didn’t get it. Why was he comforting me like this when he hated me? More confusing still was why I wasn’t pulling away when I couldn’t stand him. Why were there tingles of electricity shooting down my spine while he was touching me?
Eventually, I got myself under some semblance of control and tried to pull away. Lincoln’s arms tightened around me, and I was held fast. I told myself to pull away, but I didn’t. The strange thing was, I wanted Lincoln to keep holding me.
A minute later, Lincoln pressed a hankie into my hand, then resumed the stroking of my back and hair. I looked down at the hankie and gave a watery giggle. I never imagined someone like Lincoln carrying around a hankie. Sure, he could afford silk ones, but a football team captain normally didn’t go around carrying hankies.
“What’s so funny?” he asked.
“You. This,” I said waving the hankie a little. “I didn’t expect…” I trailed off, feeling my face heat up. I looked down at the floor, and when I pulled away, Lincoln let me go this time. I kept my head down while mopping myself up. I was too embarrassed to look at him and figured Lincoln would be bragging the next day in school about being the hero during my freakout. The thought of it brought new color to my face, and I felt like crying all over again.
Lincoln gently took my shoulders and turned me so I had no choice but to face him. I still kept my eyes downcast. “There are a lot of things you just assume about me. You’ve not taken the time to try to get to know me. You just wanted to hate me, and I don’t know why. Lenora, please look at me.”
I shook my head, but Lincoln’s finger tilted my chin up so my bloodshot eyes looked into his soft blue ones. “Please don’t do this to me, Atherton,” I said.
“You can call me Lincoln. Most of my friends call me Linc.”
“Lincoln, I can’t–“
“You can’t what? I just want you to listen to what I have to say for once and look at me while I speak to you. Is that too much to ask?” I’d never seen such a serious, imploring look on him and found I couldn’t look away. When I didn’t say anything, he took it as an encouraging sign and continued. “I’m sorry I was mean to you when we were younger. See, I–” It was his turn to blush. “I had such a crush on you back then. You were so smart and pretty, but I couldn’t tell you that because I’d never hear the end of it from my buddies.”
I stared at him, open mouthed. “Really?” I croaked.
“If I”m lyin’, I’m dyin’. Then, you beat me up.” He grinned sheepishly, and I couldn’t help but laugh.
“You deserved it,” I said.
“That’s what my mom said,” Lincoln replied. “Anyway, I was surprised because I never thought someone like you could fight like that.”
“What do you mean someone like me?” I asked a little defensively.
“Someone so pretty and brainy. You kicked my ass, and funnily enough, it made me like you even more.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Ever so gently, I reached my empathic senses out to him, and what I got back flummoxed me. Lincoln was telling me the truth. He really did like me back then, and he liked me now.
He continued. “You never gave me the time of day after that. I tried to get you to notice me, so I kept bragging about my family’s money and connections hoping it might impress you. Then, when we started band and choir, I’d mess around on the sax and get to the piano as quickly as I could hoping you’d come over so I could sing to you.”
“Oh, you had plenty of fawning bimbos to sing to who ate it right up,” I spouted. “You certainly didn’t need me.” As I said the words, something inside me twisted, and I became angry as always at picturing those girls lapping up Lincoln’s attention. I bit my lip as I felt a sob rise to my throat. I couldn’t believe I was feeling this way. As I took a moment to look inside myself, I realized I was jealous. Deep down, I’d wanted Lincoln to sing and play for me alone, and I’d conjured a veneer of anger and disgust to hide my real feelings.
Lincoln gave me a sad little smile and tapped a forefinger lightly on my nose. “For an egghead, you really are dense sometimes. Didn’t you ever figure out that I didn’t care about them? It was you I wanted to sing those songs to. It was you I always thought of when I’d play ‘Baker Street’ because I knew it was one of your favorite songs.”
“Really?” I asked, feeling utterly dazed.
Once again, I called upon my empathic senses and knew he was telling the truth. I will never forget the words he said next.
“All those love songs were meant for you, Lenora. I’d tune everything else out and pretend it was just you and me in the room. The sunlight would shine through the window and turn your hair all different shades of gold. In your smile would be such love for me, and I’d see the ocean when looking into your beautiful blue eyes. Then, you’d say my name in that angelic voice of yours, and I knew there would never be anyone else for me. I love you, Lenora. You’ll always be my endless love.”
Another thing I’d never expected was Lincoln having a poetic side. I should have known better because inside every musician or singer is a poet in some form. Lincoln loved me and had for a long time, and all he’d been rewarded with was my bitchy attitude. He was right. I’d not given him a chance and had always assumed the worst.
Once again, tears rolled down my cheeks but for a different reason. I was too overcome to say anything. I collapsed onto the piano bench, buried my face in my hands, and really wailed. Lincoln sat beside me and pulled me close. “I’m sorry,” I blurted out when my sobs subsided and turned into little hiccups. “I’m normally not like this. I never expected to hear a confession of love while locked in a smelly old music room.” I snorted out a laugh and wiped my eyes with Lincoln’s sodden hankie.
Lincoln chuckled and shrugged. “Life never works out the way we plan. I’m sorry, Lenora. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
“You didn’t upset me,” I said, my voice stronger now. “It’s just been quite a day.” I took a steadying breath and shrugged. “There’s a lot I need to wrap my head around. Lincoln–“
“You can call me Linc,” he said, smiling a little.
The grin spread over my face before I could stop it. “Linc, I’m sorry. I never imagined that you…that we…” My face flamed again, and I felt my throat click when I swallowed hard. “I owe you an apology for treating you so badly. Can you forgive me?”
His answer was to take the soiled hankie from my hand, pull me up into his arms, and lower his lips to mine. The instant our lips touched, the room exploded with fireworks, and violins played harmoniously in my head. Kissing Lincoln transported me to another dimension where the only ones who existed were Lincoln and me. My arms circled his neck, and I kissed him in return.
When our lips parted, he caressed my wet cheek with an angel’s touch. “Please give us a chance, Lenora. We can take it as slow as you want, and I won’t hurt you. Just let me prove to you that I’m not the jerk you always thought me to be.”
“I think you already have,” I whispered. “But Linc, there are some things you need to know about me before we can take this any further.” A cold feeling of dread squeezed my heart as I said the words. I needed to be truthful with him. I knew a relationship built on lies and secrets would never survive. He could easily walk away from me, but there was no other way.
I blew out a long breath and began. “Linc, I have certain…um…talents. I know how crazy this is going to sound, but you see, I’m a witch.” As expected, he looked at me bewilderingly. I explained more and performed some simple magic, one spell which was a cleansing spell for his hankie. When he finally started to believe me, I told him of my empathic senses and explained that the reason I freaked out at first was because I figured I was feeling how my mother felt during the last hours or moments of her life. I normally am not claustrophobic, but being locked in a room against my was a trigger for my reaction.
“So, now that you know I’m a freak, do you still want to date me?” I asked apprehensively.
“I’ll admit I never believed in this sort of thing until now. I mean, I’m as big a Harry Potter nut as the next person, but I never imagined it could be real. It’s cool though. I mean, I bet you’re the only witch in school so I have a precious commodity.”
I grinned in relief at him. Yes, he was right. Ms. Blankenship, who I now had the privilege of calling Mathilda, said there were no other witches nearby and that this was a reason I had to be extra careful who I showed my magic to.
“Just promise me you won’t turn me into a toad or something,” he said.
I burst out laughing and couldn’t stop. I laughed until my sides ached, and he had to hold me up to keep me from falling over. When I could contain myself, I threw my arms around him and kissed him soundly. I grinned at him when I next spoke. “I thought of it earlier when we were practicing with Mrs. Chapman but then figured it wouldn’t last long before bimbos with names like Fifi and Muffy and Bitsy and Poopsy would be dying to kiss you and reverse the spell.”
Lincoln let out a long guffaw then leaned his forehead against mine. “That’s all well and good, but you know what? It would never work because the kiss has to be performed by your true love, and my only true love is you.” After a long pause to let it sink into my thick skull,, he said, “There’s just one question. Why don’t you just blink us out of here or something?”
I grinned sheepishly. “I don’t know how to teleport yet and I’m certainly no magical locksmith. I won’t learn that until next month.”
Linc studied me for a minute, probably trying to figure out if I was serious. When I didn’t crack a smile or bat an eyelash, his laughter rolled up and out of him like a volcanic explosion. This got me roaring with mirth, and we laughed ourselves into helpless puddles on the floor, unable to move because our stomachs hurt too much.
We spent a few more hours in that locked room before the janitor on duty found us and got us out. During that time, Lincoln and I sang “Endless Love” as well as many other songs. I showed him how I could beatbox on my flute, which he loved. We talked and jammed, he asked me to Prom which I accepted, and then, he gave me a huge surprise when he asked me if I liked Amadeus Landgraab.
My eyes widened, and i stared at him. “Of course I do! Doesn’t everybody?” I said.
“I was hoping you did because I wanted to ask you to be my date to his next concert. This one’s special because I got backstage passes too.”
“You what? You got…oh my God!” I squealed like the shameless fangirl I was and jumped up and down.
“I take it that’s a yes,” Lincoln said, the corners of his mouth twitching.
In answer, I flung myself into his arms and kissed him like a woman possessed. He’d turned my feelings completely around in just a few hours, and taking me to see and actually meet Amadeus Landgraab sealed the deal.
The next day, Mrs. Chapman couldn’t believe the improvement in our performance. She was ecstatic when we told her we were dating and gave me this “See, I told you so” look. As it turned out, Lincoln and I were the hit of the show and got several curtain calls.
Since the day in the locked room, Lincoln and I were inseparable. We were voted Prom King and Queen, and we were considered the Golden Couple. Other girls tried to flirt with Lincoln, but it was only me he wanted. I became the target of those love songs I once thought were cheesy, and I was the one to bestrew smoldering smiles when he rocked out “Baker Street.” Lincoln treated me like a queen, taking me on fancy dinner dates to Bridgeport to the Prosper Room and other places of that caliber. After the initial Amadeus Landgraab concert, Lincoln got us tickets and backstage passes to several more. Amadeus was very charming and made me feel special each time I was able to speak to him. He even autographed my entire collection of his CD’s, which I will always cherish.
I lost my virginity the night Lincoln proposed.
He was very passionate, but yet, he could be tender when needed. He was my world, my life, and the only one I wanted to fall asleep with and wake up to every morning for the rest of my life.