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The Big Three MAG
“What event triggered the Cuban missile crisis?”
My study buddy looked from his paper to me with those eyes – the eyes of Dorian Gray. “I guess Princeton Review doesn't see the irony of putting ‘trigger' and ‘missile crisis' in the same question,” he added.
I answered with a coquettish laugh and, of course, the correct answer: the Bay of Pigs invasion. I knew the answers to all these questions. It's not like I suggested the idea of a study session because I had difficulty remembering the events of the Kennedy administration.
“Who was the Soviet premier during the Cuban missile crisis?” His voice had a curious, musical ring to it like some character in a black and white movie you could never quite place.
“Khrushchev.” You would want to hear more of that voice … like the first ten seconds of a JFK speech, before the whole nasal rasp becomes too much.
“Spell Khrushchev.” Ha! My little Cape Cod golden boy was challenging me.
“The AP exam doesn't take off for spelling.” I looked him straight in the eyes – eyes that happened to be mere inches from mine. Thank you, Aphrodite, for making small tables at coffee houses everywhere.
“I want to see if you know it.”
I stared into the tangoing twirls of blue and silver in his eyes. They should have been strands of cotton candy, but something told me they were the current of an eddy waiting to pull me in. Once you're gone, you're gone.
“K.” But the whites of his eyes were crossed with little red veins.
“H.” Did he have trouble sleeping last night?
“R.” Or was he with her last night?
“U.” No, they broke up. He's single now, but blond boy's out of my league.
“S.” It's a challenge. Does that mean I should go for it?
“C.” I wouldn't know how.
“H.” Won't he just disappear from my life when the semester ends?
“E.” Not if I play this right.
“V.” What the hell, you only live once.
He stared at me for a moment, and I couldn't breathe but didn't care to; who needs oxygen when you have so much adrenalin in your veins there's barely room for blood?
“So close,” he said in a low voice. His voice is even better than his eyes. For a moment I wondered if he would lean in and kiss me. “But you forgot an H.”
Figures I would do something to ruin it. No kiss for me. I guess spelling the names of Soviet premiers isn't something guys consider a turn-on.
“This one's easy,” he said.
Something easy? It must not be kissing me.
“Name the Big Three.”
The Big Three … somehow my mind was clear on this one. It wasn't that the answer was clear, but my mind was clear like the kind of stream some obnoxiously perfect lyrical unicorn would drink from. For a mini-eternity I didn't think about the mounds of work I still had to do, the fact I was manipulating him to spend time with me, or those damn eyes. I thought of nothing … peace. The only three words that came to my head were “I love you.”
“Don't you know the Big Three?”
There were those eyes again. Stalin must have had captivating eyes, but in a different way. In these eyes there was concern … but only concern that I didn't know the answer. In them I saw his dreams, his amazement, his past loves, his cats … but was there anything for me?
“The Big Three are Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill.” With each name I couldn't help but feel my words betrayed them all. But it was the correct answer, and logically the only answer. Still, I couldn't look in his eyes.
“Are you sure?” My God, he was teasing me! Of all the questions he decided to make me second guess myself on, he had to pick this one.
Bastard. Blond handsome bastard. He was also playing me.
“Well, what other Big Three is there?” I asked in my most seductive voice. Those years of theater had to pay off sometime. I twirled a bit of curly hair around my finger. He loved my curly hair, so unlike his.
His eyes were staring into mine and I stared right back. Was I FDR and he Stalin, or the other way around? There was a flicker of something in those cotton-candy eyes and I knew he wasn't Stalin.
“I love you.” The words that slipped from his lips were barely audible.
“I love me too.” I bet no one had ever said that to a Kennedy before. But I hadn't won yet. “In fact, I love me almost as much as I love you.”