At the beginning of my obsessive crush, I would audition for the school plays in the hopes that my weak voice and crippling fear of bright lights might lobby me into an excuse to spend a couple hours a day hanging out in close proximity to him. But alas, Ms. Barn never saw any potential in me. So instead, I contented myself to go to every performance of every play Bountiful Harvest put on (since Bret Anthony appeared in all of them, in roles both large and small).
And during the tender monologues wherein his character revealed their depth of affection for the female lead, I imagined he was actually delivering those lines to me. I imagined that, instead of memorized dialogue from a pre-written script, the words formed nuggets of truth culled from the deepest secrets locked away in his heart.
In this way, Bret Anthony confessed his love for me a multitude of times, with a multitude of words.
After a while, I started letting myself believe it. Sick things can happen when you let yourself believe a lie. But, you know, Bret Anthony's really hot. So you can't blame me entirely.
Those plays (and their deceiving love monologues) planted the seed for my terrible plan to ask Bret Anthony to prom. The plan I hastily sketched out in a late night fit of too many Skittles and severe lack of sleep. The plan my best friend Lace had laughed at, yet proceeded to support. The plan that would forever change the course of my life. Hopefully.
Part One, which simply involved looking as irresistible as possible, I could handle on the day of the asking.
But Part Two required a bit more planning.
"I'm not going to do that."
"Come on, Evan, I need you to, please, for me?" I clasped my hands together near my heart and gave him my best puppy dog eyes.
Evan Wall (ex-boyfriend due to homosexuality and theater tech extraordinaire) rolled his eyes at me. "Gwen, I am not refusing to do this out of spite. I'm refusing to do this because Ms. Barn would kill me, but not before refusing to sign my referral letter for NYU and ruining my life forever."
I dropped my arms to my sides with a dramatic sigh. "You are so difficult."
The bell rang, its jarring sound sending a wave of panic through me. Evan was going to leave and he hadn't agreed to help me yet.
He grabbed his backpack off the floor. "Gwen, I've gotta get going, can we talk about this later?"
When I start to panic, but don't have the words to put with that panic, I make a high-pitched squeaking noise. I made that noise in front of Evan just then, while simultaneously grabbing his arm, and giving him what I hoped looked like a meaningful stare, but could have easily been crazy eyes.
I could tell he desperately wanted to abandon my cries and get to class, but I gripped his arm as if my very existence depended on his bicep. He stared at me and sighed. "What will you give me if I do this for you?"
I let him go and clapped happily. "Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!! I will write up a contract with a full list of compensatory benefits, to which you may add. You'll have it by lunch!"
More eye-rolling, Evan's signature move. "Fine. I'll be the one eating cardboard-flavored school pizza and hating my life."
As he walked off, I felt a tremendous swelling in my heart. If everything went according to plan, Bret Anthony's confessions of love would no longer live solely in my imagination; no longer directed at some fictional character.
He'd pour his heart out to me.