A New Age for Love


Asha Chandar, Editor

I take a deep breath and ring Charlie’s doorbell. Marcus and I stand on the doorstep together, ready to head to dinner before the big Valentine’s Day dance.

It seems crazy that this is our second Valentine’s together.  I remember the day I first asked him out during the winter of our junior year and now we’ve been together for a little over 2 years.

“Dude. Chill. You two are basically soulmates. He’ll love your present,” Marcus says, laughing at me.

“I’m not nervous. I love him more than anything,” I say, in spite of being extremely nervous. “Besides, this is your first Valentine’s with Jay and your hands are shaking.”

He just shakes his head, though I notice his shy smile, which is rare for someone as confident as he is. Just then, the door opens to reveal Charlie and Jay’s parents.

“Hello Bailey, Marcus. It’s so nice to see the two of you. Please come in, they’re just finishing up.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Williams. It’s  nice to see you as well,” Marcus replies.

As I walk through the entryway, I can’t help but think back on all the memories I associate with this house. Charlie and I told their parents we were dating in their living room. Their parents were nothing but supportive of their sexualites when the boys came out, like mine and Marcus’s, fortunately.

I turn to Marcus to recall those memories but Mr. Williams abruptly turns in our direction.

“I want them home no later than midnight. You two can stay if you’d like, but you’re not staying in their rooms, understand?”

We both nod, acknowledging his instructions. Right at that moment Charlie and Jay come downstairs. My heart skips a beat as Charlie walks over, dressed in a black button down and jeans with is hair slicked back.

“You look amazing Charlie. I’m speechless,” I say.

Marcus nudges me and I hand Charlie his gift, “This is for you.”

“Bailey, this is incredible. You remembered I wanted this. I thought I mentioned it like once,” he says, gripping his new Zelda funko pop so hard his knuckles turn white.

“You mentioned it on New Year’s and now seemed like a good time to give it to you.”

His mother gently takes the flowers from me and goes to put them in a vase. Jay and Marcus quickly exchange gifts and we all head off to dinner.

Charlie and Jay chose the restaurant this year, so naturally they chose their favorite, Red Robin. I made a reservation two weeks in advance just in case it would be packed tonight.

By the time we got there it was a little busy but not packed. We are seated in a corner booth, Charlie and I on one side and Jay and Marcus on the other.

I wrap my arm around him casually and he leans slightly into my touch. Jay and Marcus are engaged in their own conversation.

“You look so handsome Charlie,” I whisper, casually looking over the menu.

A light blush creeps up his neck as he mutters a quick, “Thanks.”

The waiter comes to the table a few minutes to take our orders. Charlie and I end up splitting a turkey burger, while Jay and Marcus get their own. Charlie generally doesn’t eat as much as the rest of us and I’m too nervous about tonight.

We’ve been together for two years, but we haven’t been out to a formal school dance as a couple. We went to prom as ‘friends.’

Basically, I’m extremely nervous, but once we all finish, we decide to head straight to the dance. But before the four of us can leave, Charlie disappears.

“Where is he?” I interrogate the other two.

Marcus smiles. “Follow us.”

The three of us head to the car, and in the middle of the parking lot is Charlie, now with a  red suit jacket and a red bowtie, with a package in his hands.

“Charlie,” I gasp, walking over to him.

“Bailey, this is for you.” He hands me the package, a bag stuffed with tissue paper. Inside of it are new cleats for football.

“I love you with my whole heart and I only want the best for you. You are going to get a scholarship for football or basketball and you are going to be amazing.”

“I love you too. Thank you so much for these. Charlie, you are the best boyfriend a man could ask for,” I reply. I kiss him gently before we head to the dance.

We exit the car hand in hand, though I can sense Charlie’s nervousness.

“Everything is fine, you guys. Tonight is a night for us to have fun and enjoy ourselves. No one is going to judge us or say anything. That means you Charlie,” Jay states confidently as he glances around the room.

“Can we dance? We are going to freak out more if we just stand here,” Charlie asks.

“That’s a great idea,” Marcus says. We walk onto the dance floor and Secrets by One Republic is blasting through the speakers. No one says anything other than to compliment us on our suits and how adorable we are as a couple.

We end up dancing most of the night, periodically taking breaks for water or punch. The last song of the night was What About Us by Pink. I end the dance by kissing Charlie for the first time at school.