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The Actress and the Marine

Written by  Imyewneek
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I took a small drag from the borrowed cigarette in my hand. The condensation from one of the last Smithwicks dripped down my hand and onto my jeans. It was only my second one, but it would be my last. I wasn't a huge drinker and all that was left was whiskey (no way) and Guiness (not a fan). Either way I am a lightweight so two beers would be enough to make sure I was nicely buzzed for the party. I tried to pay attention to the girl telling a story to my left, something about Dr. Tom and a race up the stairs to class, but the painted shamrock on my cheek was starting to itch and I was losing focus.

All around the deck people were decked out in green, everything from t-shirts to hats to face paint to hair dye. Catholic University takes Saint Patrick's Day seriously. Plus considering 95% of the party goers were drama majors or musical theatre majors (and their dates/friends) it was needless to say we made an eclectic bunch.

The screen door to the back deck opened and three unfamiliar figures stepped out of Big Blue, the drama house. The first one was crazy tall, over 6'5''. The second one was shorter than me and almost a foot shorter than his friend. The third guy was just in the middle at a cool 6 feet. All three had the haircuts I knew went with the Marines stationed down at 8th and I. The middle one was cute... very cute. I sighed and turned my attention back to the story at hand just in time for the punch line.

Slowly the stories fade and the ones who had more to drink began to get a bit ADD, wandering off in various directions. I light another cigarette, feeling the smoke burn the back of my throat. I was definitely a social smoker, the buzz felt good with the beer. I was about to turn and wander towards the railing when someone tapped my shoulder.

It was him.

"Excuse me, where did you get that shamrock painted on your cheek? I like it."

I was flustered but I replied honestly, "Oh, Katie is doing them in the living room." I pointed through the back door towards the front of the house. "I'm sure she'll do one for you if you want."

No, I had no idea that was a smooth, opening line. If the Marine in front of me had not been the persistent type, my entire life would have changed. He pushed on and held out his hand to shake mine.

"My name is Ryan."
"I'm Allie."

We shook hands. The small talk commenced. Where we were from, South Carolina and New Jersey, what we did, Marine and theatre student. Who did he come with?

Brandon (and the tall guy and the short guy) who was dating Taylor who was room mates with my friend Megan. Gotcha. "My Poppy was a Marine." I venture. "Oh yea, what rank? World War II?" he asks. "Yea, he joined up when he was sixteen and by nineteen was Sgt. Major." Ryan looked in disbelief... but it was true. If you think about it, a lot of people were killed in action and the ones who survived moved quickly through the ranks, especially if they were good at what they did.

The evening continued. My Smithwicks was gone. My hatred of Guinness turned out to be a mutual thing, so we slowly became the most sober people on the porch. He made me laugh and our conversation flowed seamlessly. Eventually his friends were ready to go.

We walked through the house and were tossed onto a "living art piece" on the stair well. I did tell you it was a theatre house. He posed gamely even though I could tell he wasn't into it... but when you're out numbered by drunk theatre people you tend to just go with it.

His friends were growing impatient.

"I'll add you on facebook." he promised.

Sure you will.

Guys like that didn't have interest in girls like me. I expected nothing more to come of the evening.

Ryan reached down and grabbed my hand, planting a kiss on the back of it. Was this guy for real??? In spite myself I felt my face turn six shades of red.

Goodbye.

That evening I plugged in my laptop and curled under the covers. I opened facebook to see a friend request.

You have a new request from Daniel Ryan L....

Daniel? I don't know anyone named Daniel. My mouse hovered over the REJECT button but I caught a glimpse of his picture. The haircut, the dark brown eyes, the perfect smile.

RYAN!

My heart skipped a beat as I clicked ACCEPT.

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