11:30 pm on a Thursday night. To me that means pajamas, sleepy time tea and the cheesiest Hallmark movies I can possibly find. Instead I get a text from Tanner and the only words I need to see are “Meet me by the Lake.” and I’m pulling on my shoes, putting a cardigan around my shoulders and heading out the door.
The Lake. Two simple words, but they make up my whole 17 years. My family broke down on that Lake, when we found out my mom had breast cancer. My family also became stronger here, when we found out she finally beat it. My first friendship blossomed after a dare to jump off the biggest rock out here. My first kiss was behind the huge willow tree that lays at the waters edge. My first sip of alcohol was taken during the many bonfires we had here and that night was the first night the lake truly became Tanner and I’s.
I was used to these late night meetings. It was the only time we could be alone without our friends wanting to be around or our parents asking what we were doing. During the day this place is swamped and even well into the night but sometimes when you wait long enough, the crowd will die off and you will have it all to yourself.
I was just expecting another small fire filled with blankets, small talks about what we wanted in the future, and lots of cuddles. But I wasn’t expecting the sand to be lined up with candles. The breeze to be perfect and the sound of the water to flood the silence. I wasn’t expecting a perfect bed of blankets, pillows and rose petals leading my way to a beautiful barefoot man dressed in loose jeans and a perfectly fitted white t-shirt. I didn’t expect my heart to feel this way, or for something inside me to be wanting more.
I didn’t even say a word, I just walked right up to him and put my arms around him. The smell of Tanner Mitchell was intoxicating to say the least. “Hey baby” came out of his mouth in a raspy breath and completely gave me the chills. “Thank you” is all I could manage to say back because what else could you say? That feeling was coming back into my stomach every time he looked at me with those green eyes.
I always hoped that Tanner would be my first, and everyone always said you will know when you are ready. I never knew though, and I called bullshit on that whole philosophy. But now standing here, with everything he has just done for me, I think I know and I’m sure he hoped like hell that I would.
I take his hand and I lead him to the bed of blankets and pillows and I kiss him. He immediately deepens the kiss and pulls me towards him. I’m shaky, I’m nervous, I’ve never done this before but it feels so right, he feels so right. He stops and just looks at me, “Are you sure about this Lauren? I didn’t bring you out here with intentions. I just wanted to do something special, that’s all. This is on your terms.” And there it is, the sweetness, the protectiveness, the adoration that tells me I’m sure.
“Please, I love you.
I want this. I want you.”
I just blurt the words out that we haven’t even said to each other yet, but I have sure as hell felt them. How could I not when he’s looking at me like I just gave him the best gift in the world. Like I just told him everything he has been waiting to hear. “I love you too, baby” is all he says before the lake takes the two most sacred firsts that I was holding onto.
The first time I fell in love with Tanner Mitchell, and the first time I made love to him. I have a feeling though, that it won’t be the last.