Marian Paroo awoke earlier than usual the next morning. The night before, she had been at the footbridge alone with a guy for the first time in her life. The way that had come to be was another story entirely to Marian as she went into the bathroom. Marian wondered why she had awoken so early. Maybe it was because she knew her mother would be waiting downstairs with a million questions. Maybe it was because she couldn't wait to see Harold Hill. What ever it was, Marian didn't question it anymore as she exited the bathroom and changed out of her pajamas. After putting on light lip-gloss, Marian cautiously walked downstairs, not looking forward to the questioning that was about to come. Marian cringed when she heard her mother call her name.
"Marian!" Mrs. Paroo called.
"Hi Mama," Marian said as she slid into a chair in between her mother and brother, a bowl of cereal waiting for her.
"Marian, what happened last night?!" Mrs. Paroo sounded worried and nagry, but she winked at her daughter. Marian knew she didn't want Winthrop getting any ideas at his age.
"I met Harold…at the footbridge. We talked a little and… he kissed me. Then, we left," Marian said quickly and shyly.
Mrs. Paroo gasped and a large smile spread across her face. She caught when Winthrop looked up and her smile vanished. She mouthed "That's great, dear," to Marian. Then she said out loud
"Marian Paroo, I can't believe you went to the footbridge with boy!"
"Mama, I'm going to be late for school. Marcellus and Ethel will be here in two minutes," Marian said as she gulped down her juice and headed out the door.
"Have fun!" Mrs. Paroo called. "Oh, Winthrop. She's growing up so fast," Mrs. Paroo added.
"Mom, we need to leave for school," Winthrop reminded his happy mother. She was daydreaming about Marian and Harold.
"Oh, right! Where did I put the keys?" Mrs. Paroo said.
"Mom, they're in your hand," Winthrop pointed out.
"Oh, thank you honey. Let's go," Mrs. Paroo said as Winthrop went to get his schoolbag.
"Hey Ethel. Hi Marcellus," Marian said as Marcellus, an eleventh grader like Harold (and Harold's best friend), pulled up.
"Hi Marian," Marcellus said, oblivious to his new girlfriend's excitement. Ethel was practically jumping out of her seat. Marian got in the car quickly and pulled Ethel back down next to her.
"Marian, tell me everything!" Ethel almost shouted.
"About what?" Marcellus asked, completely clueless. Marian had expected this. Harold probably hadn't talked to him yet.
"Harold!" Ethel said. "Now spill."
"Well, I was waiting for Mama to pick me up from practice. There were two baseball game sand his cousin's softball game going on. He drove into the parking lot and pulled up next to me. We started talking and then he took me for ice cream, he made me president of the drama club, he gave me a letter Mr. Madison left me and Mama and Winthrop, he gave me a new cell phone, and…" Marian trailed off when she reached the part about the footbridge.
"Marian Alyssa Paroo! That is not everything and you know it! Come on! Tell me! Please!" Ethel cried. Marian laughed at her best friend's outburst before sobering and turning a furious crimson.
"Do we really have to go into now, Ethel?" she asked.
"Yes, unless you want me to record it when you tell me and play it over the school loudspeaker," Ethel threatened laughingly.
"Fine," Marian grumbled. "Well, he texted Mama to come at seven instead of half past five. We went back to the steps and he… asked me to meet him at the footbridge. Me being nervous and all, I said yes. I freaked out on the way home, but I got ready and went. He kissed me," Marian finished. Ethel was trying to control her excitement. "Go ahead," Marian said.
"Thanks," Ethel said quietly before she burst. "No way! Marian, you went to the footbridge!? Harold kissed you!? He is the cutest guy in the school! Besides Marcellus! At the footbridge?! That is so romantic! I didn't know how sweet he was. I always thought he was some stuck up jock. He did all those things for you? I can't believe it. Marian, you are so lucky. Oooh, do you know how jealous the girls are going to be?" Ethel finally finished her rant.
"He is not stuck up at all. You better say besides Marcellus. I know they're going to be jealous, but I have you, Maud, Marcellus, and Harold. That's enough for me," Marian said, trying to respond to everything her friend said. She saw Maud waiting for them outside her house. When Maud got in the car, Ethel yelled
"Harold kissed Marian at the footbridge!"
"No way! Tell me everything!" Maud said, just as excited as Ethel. Marian explained everything that had happened with side comments from Ethel.
"Girls," Marcellus muttered from the driver's seat as he turned into the River City High School parking lot.
A/N: The way I'm going to describe Harold next chapter is for a reason. I want him to look somewhat like the guy who played him in our school production. Keep reading to find out how Mrs. Shinn's daughter and her friends take the news about Harold and Marian. R&R please! Thanks.