The first time you kiss her, you decide right then and there that if you are going to date this girl, you need to start saving your money. She's a classy broad and deserves fancy shit that your minimum wage job can only provide if you stop blowing your paychecks on firecrackers and hooch.
You quit smoking the second time. After five minutes you think it may be the dumbest decision you've ever made, but then she looks at you like she's proud—and nobody's ever fucking looked at you that way—and suddenly it gets a little easier.
The third time she asks you for some space so she can get over someone… else.
She won't say who, but you know anyway and you give it to her nonetheless. By this point, you're pretty sure you are love with her.
As the summer drags on, she falls into a pattern. She'll get into an argument with her someone… else, call you to comfort her, and then the next day she'll be as head over heels as before, and you're just the shoulder she needs to cry on.
You still save up your money, although you're not sure what for.
You're working at a Fourth of July picnic when she kisses you for the fourth time. She swears she didn't mean to, but her tongue didn't just make its way into your mouth on its own, right? She spends the night at your house and all you do is lie on top of your covers while she lies under them. She looks so beautiful that you steal another kiss because even if this is really happening, you're sure it'll all be over tomorrow.
Surprisingly, she's still in your bed when you wake up. Sometime in the night she kicked the covers off and her bare legs are intertwined with yours. This is the closest you've ever felt to her, but the moment is ruined when her eyes dart open and she looks at the clock saying she has somewhere to be.
You take that to mean she's leaving to be with someone… else.
She calls you later that night, but you don't answer. She texts you to meet her. You don't go. You don't want to hear another sob story about New York and New Haven and goddamn MetroCards. Instead, you go to a few bars and shell out a good chunk of your savings on top shelf stuff. You're obliterated by the time she picks you up in that car of hers with its fucking nauseating new car smell—her Beetle was the only thing that didn't survive her crash—and you puke all over her dashboard.
You don't remember much after that, but when you wake up, you're in her bed this time and she's the one staring at you. You mutter some half-hearted apology; she rolls her eyes and shoves a plate of pancakes at you and even offers to pour the syrup on there for you. When you're done eating, you lean closer with your sticky mouth and kiss her for what you think might be the sixth official time. She stops you and says that she still needs to figure out whatever the hell it is she's supposed to be figuring out.
You bump into her a week later in the public library and if she's surprised you like to read, she doesn't show it. Maybe, you hope, it's another one of those things she just knows about you. She waves to you from where she's sitting at one of the ancient computers and you offer to help find her books. She accepts your offer and you stroll through the stacks at a slow, even pace because even though this is not a date, it's as good as it's going to get. She asks if you hate her for stringing you along. You tell her that as long as there's a string, you'll go along with it.
Her someone… else leaves for New York around the first week of August and it feels like you can finally breathe again. You know a guy who can get you into the movies for free so you invite her and she agrees, but specifies that if you're not paying then it is not a date. You tell her she can have all the popcorn and soda pop she wants—you have a coupon.
Her nutjob cheerleader friends are there too, probably to keep an eye on you, except they're doing an awful job since they can't keep their hands off each other. You don't mind them. They've opened her up to the idea of the two of you being together… like that. Nutjob 1 starts to say that they like you better than Rach—but Nutjob 2 cuts her off. Apparently that's classified information.
You spend the rest of the summer together soaking up every last ray of sun by the pool. By her last night in Lima, you're broke and jobless because you spent all of your time and money on her, which is not something you will ever regret. You kiss her and god, you've lost count so long ago, but this feels like the millionth and the first all at the same time. She tells you this wasn't just a fling for her. You want to tell her you love her, but it still might be too soon for that, so you kiss her again.
She leaves for the Ivy League exactly three months before her birthday. You still talk to her all the time, whenever you can, but there's an ache in your heart that Skype Chat and text messages can't fix.
You find a new job; one that pays a little bit better and offers a few more hours, and start to save up again. You quit smoking a while back—a whole summer ago, almost—and you swore off drinking for the time being, so it's not long before you've got a steady income. The only time you really spend any money is on care packages.
One day, you book a one way plane ticket. You know it's a gamble. She may not feel the same way about you. Your greatest fear is that she's been using her MetroCard to go and see… well, you don't even want to think about that.
She isn't waiting for you when you get to the airport, but then again, you didn't exactly tell her you were coming. You have her schedule memorized though and if you remember correctly, she's in her dorm room studying, even though it's her birthday.
She's such a dork.
When she doesn't open her door after a few minutes, you start to panic. It's Friday, right? Maybe her class ran late.
She opens the door slowly and she looks half-asleep until she sees it's you. She clutches at your face, peppering it with kisses and holding you so tightly that you're not really sure if you can breathe, but you don't care because you're finally with your girl.
I love you, she says.
I love you too, you reply, because it's all you've wanted to say for an entire fucking summer.
You don't know what will happen tomorrow, but you know for certain you're going to cherish every moment tonight.
And one day, maybe, you're going to be her someone… and only.