Kevin sat on a lawn chair in his friend Riley’s yard with their group. It was the last time they’d all be together — college coming in a few weeks — and everyone knew it. They were determined to have a good time, because there was no other option. This was it. No one wanted to go away with anything less than gleaming memories. Kevin had no clue how much Riley had spent on fireworks — they were big, they were loud and there was a ton of them.
And Angela was there.
She wasn’t a part of their core group, but her orbit brought her close. One of the major regrets that Kevin would take away from high school was not asking her out. She seemed too perfect, in some strange way; he didn’t want to sully his opinion of her by actually talking to her.
That was stupid, he finally realized, but it was too late. Still, he decided to talk with her, and he soon kicked himself for ever waiting. She lived up to his expectations. The way she smiled, the way the fireworks’ light lit up her face, it dazzled him.
And then the burst charge on one of the big finale fireworks exploded on the ground instead of in the air.
Kevin didn’t think, putting himself between Angela and the explosion, shielding her the best he could. The explosion hit with physical force. Dazed, she looked at him, gratefully.
It was, by far, his finest high school moment.