Candice had arranged to meet her friends at school. Mary was waiting for her by the gate. Candice’s stomach was making funny noises and all her earlier courage had vanished. She had never felt so nervous in her life. What if William didn’t like her? What if she didn’t like him? What if he thought her silly and immature? Candice had thought carefully about what she would wear. She had dressed in black jeans, a white top, and wore purple sandals. Earlier on she had thought she looked cool. Now she was thinking she should not have worn her jeans.

“Are you okay?” Mary whispered. “You’re very quiet.” Candice looked at her friend with huge, terrified eyes. “What’s the matter, Candice? Are you sick?” Mary looked worried.

“I should never have let you talk me into this,” Candice said. “I’m going home.” She turned and began walking away. Mary hurried after her.

“It’s okay, Candice. I swear to you that William is nice. He’s looking forward to meeting you. Stay cool.”

The next moment, a crowd of teenagers hurried through the school gates. Candice took a deep breath. It was too late to back out now. Everybody would know she had got cold feet.

“Oh look, there’s Majozi,” Mary said, looking across the grass at her handsome, athletic boyfriend. “He looks very hip in those white shorts,” she giggled.

“Where’s William?” Candice asked faintly.

“Perhaps he’s getting changed.”

Maybe William’s the one with cold feet, thought Candice. To distract herself, she looked over at the opposing team. They didn’t seem at all nervous.

Then Mary nudged Candice, saying, “There’s William!” He was striding across the grass, dressed exactly like the other athletes on his team, but it seemed to Candice that he stood out. Her stomach was aching again. Oh no! She was going to vomit! She took some deep breaths to calm herself down. This guy is way older than me, she thought anxiously. She had never even gone out with a guy of her own age, let alone one who was older than her! She wanted to get up and run. Just then Majozi looked up. He said something to William and they both started walking towards the girls.

Candice grabbed Mary’s arm. “I’m leaving. Tell him I had to go to the bathroom or something.” She stood up.

“Relax, Candice. You can’t go now. They only want to say hello.”

“Hi Mary. Hi Candice,” Majozi smiled. “Candice meet William. William meet Candice,” he introduced them, teasingly formal.

Hello Candice,” William smiled, looking into her eyes.

* * * * *

After the races, the boys showered and changed and, as arranged, the four set off for a party at Thabiso’s house. Candice’s parents had agreed she could go but insisted she be home by midnight. Majozi, Mary, Mercy and William chatted excitedly about the events and the great win their relay team had scored. Candice soon found herself able to join in with the odd comment.

Loud music thumped in the crowded room. William light-heartedly dragged Candice onto the dance floor and soon they were caught up in the fun of it. Before she knew it, Candice found herself thinking that she was actually enjoying herself! William was fun. She relaxed.

After a while William said, “I need some air.”

“I’ll come with you,” she found herself offering. The cool night air was a welcome change.

“Will you come out with me again, Candice?” he asked, rather shyly. She gave him a big smile in reply.

“How about next Saturday? I don’t go out in the week.”

“Nor do I,” said Candice. She paused, then, carried along by the excitement of the evening, found herself saying: “Would you do something for me, William?”

“Of course. What is it?” Candice suddenly felt shy. William would think she was silly. But she thought of his warm smile and found the courage to go on: “I’m playing in a netball league match on Wednesday. Will you come and watch?”

“I’d love to. Thanks for asking me. I bet you’re a hot player!”

“Not really,” she answered shyly.

William bent over and kissed her gently on the mouth.


What do you think? Should Candice go out with a boy older than herself?