By: K. Langston

“Don’t worry about that stuff, Syl. I’ve got this. Besides, I wasn’t gonna take you in my beat-up truck, or my mom’s Taurus. That would not be cool.” He settles in next to me, the faint smell of his familiar cologne filling the small space. “We’re pickin’ up Rachel and Will, too.”

“They knew about this?”

He nods, a boyish grin curling his lips. “I wanted to surprise you. You surprised?”

“Definitely surprised. Thank you, Linc.” I lean over to kiss his smooth cheek. “This is going to be the best night ever.”

Linc reaches for my hand, lacing my fingers with his, and he doesn’t let go until we get to the hotel where prom is being held.

Tonight is not going the way I planned. Matter of fact, it’s not going well at all. From the second we walk in, Linc is pulled in every direction. It is normal. Everywhere we go he has people wanting to be near him. It’s as if he is the only person in the room. And usually I’m not bothered by it, but tonight I want his full attention.

“Will you stop being a chickenshit and tell him already?” Rachel says.

While Rachel and I sit at the table, the guys go grab us some drinks.

I’ve tried several times to tell him but I just can’t seem to find the right time.

Or the courage.

“I’m going to. I’m just…”

“Chickenshit,” Rachel finishes.

She’s known about my feelings for Linc for a while now and has been doing her best to convince me to come clean for months. She even worked through what to say with me so I didn’t sound like an idiot. And all of it sounds really good, in theory.

Now…not so much.

“You’re not helping you know; you should be giving me words of encouragement.”

“Okay, fine. If you don’t tell him, I will.”

I glare at her. “You wouldn’t.”

She challenges my stare. “Oh, I so would.”

“Would do what?” Linc asks, placing a clear plastic cup filled with Coke in front of me.

Will takes the seat next to his girlfriend with a knowing look on his face. I could kill Rachel for telling him but apparently when you’ve been together as long as those two, there are no secrets.

She promised me he wouldn’t say anything.

“Nothing,” I say before putting the straw between my lips, sucking down half the drink. My mouth is so dry. My nerves frazzled. I need to relax and take a deep breath.

The DJ puts on a familiar song and Linc reaches for my hand, pulling me onto the dance floor. “C’mon.”

His arms wrap around my waist, holding me close, while mine find their place on his shoulders.

“Remember this song?” he says after a few turns.

I remember.

How could I ever forget? It’s my favorite song in the whole wide world, especially when he sings it.

“Ferris wheel,” he reminds me with a smile, even though I already knew. “You were so damn scared. Kind of like you are now. What’s up with you? You’ve been on edge all night.”

I have the sudden urge to flee, to run away and hide. Fear sits like a heavy stone in my belly, and I find it difficult to speak around my tight throat.

“Talk to me, Syl.”

Nothing’s wrong.


But that all might change the second I open my mouth.

I’m in love with you.

It’s right there on the tip of my tongue. It tastes of hope and desire, and a million other emotions I can’t define. It is every dream and fantasy I’ve ever known all rolled into one beautiful moment.

But I can’t say the words. Fear outweighs courage and just as quickly as it appears…

My chance is gone.

“I’m just scared about graduation is all,” I lie.


I shrug, avoiding his eyes. I’m afraid if I look at them, they will see everything I’m hiding inside. “You’re still comin’ with me, right? Have you heard back from Vandy yet?”

Shaking my head, I lie again. I received the acceptance letter two weeks ago but I haven’t told him yet.

Yet another secret I am keeping from him.

“You’ll get in. And if you don’t, you can go to community college until you do.”

“I still have no idea what I even wanna do with my life.”