Goosebumps erupted from my skin as I walked down the dairy section of Food Lion. My dark hair hung wet and limp down my back, telling the world I just showered. My mother had asked me to grab a gallon of milk before heading to volleyball practice. Grabbing a random gallon, I headed towards the front to check out. Eyes glued to my iphone screen, I smacked the milk onto the counter.
"Is that all today?" A deep, monotone voice asked. I simply nodded, sending a random meme to my team's group chat. For a minute, I continued to text my friends, not bothering to look up at the guy. Usually it was some skeevy, middle aged man who liked to stare at my boobs and I was NOT in the mood for that today.
"That'll be two dollars and fifty cents." I finally looked up to see a boy my age with sandy blonde hair and caramel colored eyes. Butterflies erupted in my stomach and my hands began to sweat like a cold water bottle left in the sun. My mouth ran dry and my tongue felt too big for my mouth. Everything disappeared around me, my focus latched on to the cashier in front of me. His name tag read 'Joey'.
"Ma'am?" He rose an eyebrow, hand outstretched towards me. My cheeks automatically turned a dark pink and I fumbled for my wallet. I almost dropped the entire thing, but thankfully I managed to unzip it and get my money out without any awkward or embarrassing incidents.
"S-sorry." I stammered, handing him a crisp five dollar bill. Without answering, he put the money in and handed me change. There was no line behind me, so I stood there for a moment, fingers curled around the handle of the sweaty jug of milk. I couldn't find the guts to say something or even ask a dumb question as an excuse to talk to him. I probably looked like a fish out of water, standing there with my mouth opening and closing.
For a moment, Joey didn't even notice I was there. Instead, he seemed to be looking everywhere but at me. And when he did, he jumped a bit as if startled. "Did you need something else?" I ignored his sour tone as he looked me up and down. His eyes paused on the semi-fitting t-shirt I wore, which announced me as part of Zion High School's volleyball team, and the teeny spandex that clung to my thighs.
"No, I...I think you're cute." I blurted, then nearly smacked myself. "I think I'm in love with you." I retorted, almost banging my head against the shelves behind me. Why couldn't I just shut up?
Joey's eyes shifted from left to right and a nervous look appeared on his face. "Do I know you?"
I shook my head, stepping forward. "No, I don't think so. My name is Kennedy, I go to-"
"Zion High School?" Joey interrupted, taking a step back. He looked a bit panicked as if I was going to attack him.
"Yeah, I...sorry." I shook my head, turning to walk away. A hand on my arm stopped me and a slip of paper was pushed into my free hand. "You forgot this." Joey mumbled, avoiding eye contact with me.
"Thanks." I muttered, eyebrows furrowing. With a heaving sigh, I rushed out to my car. I climbed into the driver's seat and practically threw the milk into the back car. "Idiot!" I yelled at myself, clenching my jaw.
It wasn't like I hadn't had experience with boys before. Being on a sports team made me some type of goddess in the eyes of teenage boys, but this one was...different. I felt like I knew him even though I had nevers seen him before today. Which was kind of weird because I went to Food Lion almost every day.
I glanced at the paper Joey had handed me only to see that it was my receipt. However, thick, black writing on the back of it caught my attention.
' Text me
### ### #### '
I had to bite my lip to keep from screaming like a silly girl in a romantic comedy.
For the rest of the day, it seemed like I just couldn't stop thinking about him. When I dropped the gallon of milk off at home, I walked into the fridge before realizing I had to open it. Why? I was too busy thinking of how soft Joey's hands might be or how nice it would feel if he ran his fingers through my hair. It got to the point where my mother stopped to see examine my pupils and ask if I was smoking pot again.
It was one time and I would never, ever live it down.
At volleyball practice, coach screamed at me for missing an easy hit, my teammates staring at me like I had two heads. Why? I was thinking of tingles I felt when Joey grabbed my arm to hand me my receipt.
I never missed a hit in my entire volleyball career. I always managed to touch the ball if it swung my way. Even if it meant scraped knees and no skin for a month. Even if it meant bruised legs and breasts for a week.
"Kennedy, girl, what is up with you today?" Carolina, our best server, asked from the shower in the furthest corner. Her tan skin gleamed in the dim light of the locker room.
"Huh? Oh... nothing." I didn't want to share Joey with the girls just yet. I wanted him to myself for a while. I knew that if I told them about him they would either ban me from seeing him until after the season or they would squeal and demand to meet him. Some of the more jealous seniors might even try to steal him from me in hopes of breaking my spirit.
"You look like you have the flu." Carolina replied, frowning slightly.
"Or like you just met the love of your lie." Jenny sang, winking at me. Jenny was a newer member of the team, unaware of the 'no boys until we win states' rule. You couldn't even get laid at a party for Coach feared nothing more than STDs and unplanned pregnancy.
"Oh hush." I replied, rolling my eyes.
"Whatever it is, you better not let it throw off your game."
Later that night I finally worked up the nerve to text Joey.
' Hey it's Kennedy '
Almost immediately I got a response.
' The weird girl from my job? '
' Yeah. '
' What was wrong with you? '
' I'm just gonna say it...do you believe in love at first sight? '