It’s been a little more than a week since I had gotten beat up by Thomas and his minions.. My bruises were gone and so were the cuts on my face, though my nose still hurt every now and then when I’d sniff too hard or touch it a little too roughly on accident. James has been walking with me everywhere ever since, too, watching my back for me and making sure no one messed with me while my face healed and I appreciated the gesture, but I admit that it was sometimes a little irritating.. I felt like a kid that needed to have a parent with him at all times and I didn’t like the idea of being ‘protected’ or whatever it was that James felt he needed to do, but I didn’t complain.. He’ll back off soon enough, I hope, since I do tend to like my privacy more than he does.
Today, James and I didn’t have class and he knew that I’ve been dying to go to the pool, so he put his plans aside for me today like he has been and he came with me. I’ve been floating here next to the edge for about twenty minutes, just minding myself and relaxing as I felt the water around me, each ripple or small wave causing my body to sway a little back and forth and it made me even more relaxed, just enough to feel good about closing my eyes for a few moments. I got lost in my own mind, my very calm, almost unconscious mind, even forgetting that I was in the pool for a split second from how loose and unknotted I was and I could stay like this forever, especially when we had the pool to ourselves..
I heard James swimming behind me and I kept my eyes shut, him joining me at the edge of the pool, “How’s it goin’ over here?” He asked.
“Fine..” I replied, letting out a calm sigh.
“You look really tired, did we get up too early to come here?”
“No.. I got up at noon, that’s not exactly ‘early’.. I’m just really relaxed, that’s all.. I probably could fall asleep, though,” I replied and he laughed lightly.
“Why do you like swimming so much? I mean, sure, it’s fun as hell sometimes, but doing it almost every day? I’d get bored,” he wondered.
“I don’t know why I like it.. It’s just pretty tranquil, and it helps me think less if I have a lot on my mind.. It’s the only thing that can make me feel at peace, if only for a little while,” I replied with a gentle sigh to follow.
“Oh, hey- So I checked that dating thing I signed you up for, you got quite a few responses,” he brought up and I raised my brow as I slowly opened my eyes, though still too relaxed to show any sign of real interest.
“And there’s actually a few girls here at the college that I’ve never seen before, but are interested. Some of them are pretty cute.. I looked into some of their backgrounds and a lot of them come from the more physical educations, like some girls were on the soccer team, the swim team, stuff like that, so, I bet all of them have killer bodies,” he pointed out.
“Did you read the messages?” I asked, though nothing was jumping out at me that could spark my interest so far.
“Yeah. Pretty much all of them know you as the one guy who loves swimming in the college but isn’t a part of the boy’s swim team. A lot of them seem to like that. One of them even invited you to midnight skinny dipping when the weather gets warmer,” he replied, nudging me with his elbow and I chuckled softly just to humor him. “I don’t know what you were so worried about, there’s girls here that go to the college and also just regular girls in town that are interested in you. I guess they like the quiet, mysterious type,” he continued with a soft laugh. “I should probably tell you this, too.. Uhm.. When we go to walk Kat home from her class, she’s going to introduce you to someone from there that she thinks you’d like and get along with.. I told her to not worry about it, but, you know Kat.. She insisted. We might go out for drinks later, and she’s bringing her. She’ll probably force you to come, so..” He admitted and I sighed.
“Did you tell her about the online profile?” I asked and he shook his head.
“No, which is why I’m sure she’s trying to set you up with this random girl instead of letting you do this at your own pace.. Honestly, if I were you, I’d go just to make Kat happy, that way if it doesn’t work out, she can see for herself and she might stop hounding you so much about finding a girlfriend. She just thinks you’re lonely and I can understand her trying to look out for you, but.. She just wants to see you happy..” He tried to make me understand.
“Lonely? When have I ever said that..?” I asked.
“You haven’t, I think it’s just hard for her to understand how you can be so okay with no contact with someone in an intimate manner for so long..” He hesitated a moment, his demeanor changing, “She’s just used to it, I guess..”
“Well, first of all, my sex life is none of her business.. And second, I keep telling you if you don’t want to see her with so many other guys right in front of your face, then say something to her.. She’s just interested in guys that show interest in her, and apparently there’s more than just you that wants that attention, so try harder,” I replied, knowing exactly what he was trying to get at.
“I can’t, you know that.. She could never just be with one guy, let alone that one guy being me of all people..” He replied, his tone at a loss.
“Why do you have such a hard time following your own advice? You keep telling me to be confident and go the extra distance or believe in myself more, and look at you.. You’re doing the same thing that I was doing at the cafe last week..” I sighed heavily, unable to believe that I was going to do this, even when I didn’t want to, “Listen.. I’ll go out tonight with you guys, even if that girl comes.. I’ll be there for you for moral support when it comes to Kat, but you gotta do the same for me.. You just have to make sure Kat notices how hard you’re trying to get her to pay attention to you instead of everyone else, make her feel special tonight and I guarantee she won’t look at any other guy in the place. But, you gotta be confident, or you’ll lose her interest if you’re not. That’s one thing I’ve noticed that she can’t resist, when someone pays all of their attention to her. Treat her like a queen and she’ll be yours.”
“I already do that..” He replied with a short tone.
“Well, obviously not.. You’re not trying hard enough. You’re her best friend and she’s not going to stop seeing you as such until you show her more,” I pointed out.
“Fine, I’ll try.. But, you gotta promise me then that if you end up having a good time with this girl, don’t just do it for Kat anymore, do it for yourself. Just have a few drinks, have fun.. Put yourself out there like you want me to do tonight. If you don’t want to fuck her, then don’t, it doesn’t matter either way, but when was the last time you even kissed someone?” He asked and I could feel my cheeks beginning to blush.
“I.. I guess it’s been the same amount of time with both..” I reluctantly admitted.
“Do you even remember how to anymore?” He asked with a grin and I scoffed.
“Of course I do! I’m not stupid..” I answered and James laughed.
“I didn’t say that you were, I’m just messin’ with you, no need to get so worked up,” he replied and I turned my head away, “We’ve been here for about two hours, we should get ready to leave so we’re not late to walking Kat home,” he suggested and I nodded with a sigh, watching him hoist himself out of the pool and he gave me his hand, pulling me out as well and we went to the locker room.
James and I went to the showers, rinsing off all of the chlorine and I couldn’t help but think about what was going to happen tonight.. Knowing Kat, she’d want to go somewhere nice so she could dress up, resulting in us needing to dress up nicely as well and I didn’t know what I should even wear. I didn’t have much to look through, all I could remember having was one black suit that I was forced into buying when my grandfather died before we had moved to Dronningslund. I never met him before, my father rarely spoke of him in front of me and whenever I’d ask about him, he’d assure me that one day I’d get to meet him because he really wanted to meet me, but everything changed before I ever got the chance and even my uncle avoided the subject. I heard all about him from my grandmother after he had died, telling me that he had been in the loony bin since my father was eighteen cause he’d killed two people in his lifetime, and it was weird and unsettling to think about, seeing as my father’s taken someone else’s life, too..
I shut my eyes as I stood in the shower, trying to forget about all the different things that flooded into my head the moment I got out of the pool, but I turned outward towards the shower across from me anyways.. “Hey, James,” I got his attention.
“Do you think I could borrow something to wear tonight?” I asked, not wanting to wear a funeral suit to go out in.
“Yeah, no problem. We’ll find something for ya,” he replied and I was glad that I had my clothing situation figured out at least, now if I could only figure out how to avoid being myself tonight since that’s been getting me nowhere..
We got out of the showers and I spaced out as I changed into my clothes, going pretty slow as I got lost in thought and James knocked me out of my trance, “Ollie!”
“I said your name three times, what’s the matter?” He asked.
“Nothing, I’m just nervous about tonight, I guess.. What if we don’t get along? What if we have nothing to talk about? Please don’t leave me alone with her if it’s obvious that it’s just going to turn into an awkward silence.. I know how you like to follow Kat wherever she goes, but please stay if it’s that obvious.. Will you?” I asked, pleading almost.
“Ollie, it’s going to be fine, trust me. From what I’ve heard from Kat, this girl is a lot like you. She’s shy, she’ll probably be even more nervous about this whole thing than you are. Like you told me, just be confident. I bet everything that you say, even if it is boring, she’s not going to ignore you or call you stupid or anything.. You’re worried about nothing. Just go there with an open mind and I’m sure there will be a happy ending,” he replied with a grin.
“Wait, what’s that supposed to mean?” I asked with a nervous tone.
“Anything you want it to. I’m just sayin’.. If she wants to do anything to you, like kiss or whatever at the end of the night, you’ll know then that it was a success, and.. Maybe you should let her, that’s all.. If you guys have fun, why not have more fun at the end of the night?” He answered suggestively and I sighed. “Come on, it’s been a long time. Live a little,” he continued and I eventually nodded.
“I-I mean.. I guess I could.. But only if she wants to.. I don’t even know if I want to drink that much..”
“Well, you should at least have a few beers to get rid of those nerves, help you loosen up a little, you know? If you don’t want to drink that much, then just stop drinking when you feel like you’re comfortable enough to be left alone with her, then just coast it out from there,” he suggested, but that only made me more nervous.
James and I left the pool and we waited in the courtyard in front of the main building for Kat and her friend to join us. The snow finally decided to show itself this week, big flakes falling from the sky and I watched as James held out hands and his his tongue in hopes of catching some of them. I didn’t care much for the colder season, it meant that I couldn’t be in the ocean or my favorite pond as much as I wanted to be, but I could at least look forward to one thing and that was the yearly ocean dive I did for the Polar Bear Club. It wasn’t until a week before Christmas and I still had some time before then, but I was still excited about it.
“No way,” James began and I looked to him curiously.
“What is it?”
“Isn’t that the same girl that I pushed you into last week?” He asked and I looked to where his eyes were set, seeing Kat and I recognized the girl as well.
“Damn.. Yeah, it is..”
“What do you mean damn? She’s cute, I distinctly remember saying that before, too,” he pointed out.
“Yeah, I know, she is, but I still feel bad about doing that. Now I feel like I have to apologize to her again,” I replied and James laughed, “What?”
“Nothing, it’s just that obviously she knows who you are, she probably knew who you were when you bumped into her, too, since she’s in Kat’s class. She probably wants you to bump into her again, if you know what I mean,” he said with a nudge and I rolled my eyes.
“You’re such a pervert,” I replied and he laughed again.
Kat’s face was glowing with excitement as she dragged her friend over to us, obviously excited to introduce us and I tried to put on a believable smile. “Did you tell him already?” Kat asked James and he nodded, “Soooo, this is Jody. Jody, Oliver,” Kat introduced us and I could already see in Jody’s expression that she recognized me from the week earlier, she even looked a little star-struck, but I didn’t know why.. I wasn’t that special.
“Nice to meet you, even though we’ve already met, but.. Informally,” I said with a soft chuckle and I watched her smile shyly.
“What?” Kat asked and Jody looked to her briefly, then back to me.
“Oh, well, uhm.. I was leaving class last week, I believe Monday, and they were on their way to class. Oliver bumped into me on accident, though we didn’t introduce ourselves then,” she replied to Kat and she instantly looked to James.
“What? Don’t give me that look.. I didn’t do anything,” James replied with a grin and I continued to hold my smile that I hoped was believable.
“Well, get more acquainted, you two,” Kat said before she walked up to James and took him by the arm and I watched her force him to walk with her, “You pushed him into her, didn’t you?” She questioned with a smile on her face as they walked off ahead of us and I knew then that they had schemed with one another on this to bring Jody and I together..
I looked to Jody and I let out a soft, nervous chuckle, “Uhm.. Are you, uhh.. Coming back to our place with us, or are you going home?” I asked.
“Oh, I’m going to your place. Kat and I wanted to get ready together.. You’re coming out with us tonight, aren’t you?” She wondered, hopefulness in her tone and I nodded.
“Yeah, I’m coming.. So, should we, uhh..” I gestured with my hand to follow James and Kat and she smiled.
“Oh! Yeah, let’s catch up to them,” she suggested and we began walking with one another.
This was a little awkward, I didn’t know what to talk to her about and I’d rather us walk in a group than separately like this. If this silence, this awkward silence, lasted much longer on this walk, I seriously wanted to reconsider going out tonight, knowing then that it would just be more and more silence between the two of us.. I looked to her periodically out of the corner of my eye, noticing her facing forward the whole time, her eyes to the ground ahead of her, as if watching every step she made in fear that she would trip and make a fool out of herself in front of me. I couldn’t deny that I was doing the same thing, trying not to slip up in front of her and not wanting to bump into her a second time.. I noticed that Kat kept looking back at us, too, probably telling James how cute we looked or something equally annoying..
Luckily, we caught up to Kat and James before there was too much silence between us and the girls walked ahead of us, giggling amongst themselves every now and then as we walked home and I was curious as to what they were talking about. “Don’t worry about it,” James said and it was as if he had read my mind.
“I’ll never understand what that means.. The giggling.. It’s like they want us to want to know what they’re talking about, but they’ll never tell, so why make it so obvious in the first place?” I asked, getting a little anxious at the fact.
“That’s exactly what it is, though,” James replied with a snicker, “Which is why I say not to worry about it, because you’ll never know. Well, unless you get her drunk enough, then she might spill it.”
“My goal isn’t to get her wasted, so I guess I’ll just never know.. Unless you know and you’re not telling me, which I then advise you to tell me this second,” I said sternly and I heard James laugh.
“Yeah, yeah, you caught me.. She just likes you a lot, that’s all.. Kat says that wasn’t the first time she’s ever seen you, when you bumped into one another, I mean.. She’s had a little crush on you for a while now and she knew Kat was your cousin. You must’ve just never noticed her when you’d come to walk Kat home, but she’s noticed you, apparently.. Plus, Kat talks about you a lot in her dance class because you’re single and they know that and she’s always looking to set you up with someone. Why she picked Jody, I don’t know, but there has to be a reason, right? She wouldn’t just pair you up with some random girl that you have nothing in common with,” he answered.
“I guess so.. She doesn’t even know me, though.. Hearing stuff about me from Kat is one thing, but actually being around me is entirely different.. I don’t like girls who only rely on looks,” I said with a displeased tone.
“Well, at least we know she doesn’t think you’re ugly,” he replied with a laugh, nudging me and trying to cheer me up since my demeanor had turned a little sour, but I wasn’t that amused. “Lighten up, will you? I know you said you’re not just going to hit it and quit it, but at this point, why not? You pretty much have a sure-fire way of getting it, she’s obviously already crazy about you.. Just humor her tonight. ..Remember me telling you to live a little? Get to know her, don’t get to know her, fuck her or don’t, I don’t care.. Just think about it, though.. Kat and I are only trying to help, in our own ways.. Whichever way you want to go is fine with me, just make sure you’re doing whatever it is that you choose because you want to,” he continued and I nodded.
“The more you tell me to make it my decision, the more you seem to talk about sleeping with her. Why do you care about this more than I do? How many times already have I asked you two to back off?”
“I.. I don’t know, really.. I just want you to be able to find something to focus on a little more than your usual shit.. You’ve been through a lot.. I got curious a little about what Thomas had said.. I know it’s a sensitive subject, and I know people have caught on that you lost your Mom and all that, but I talked to Kat about it a little.. She told me some stuff about her and-“
I stopped, putting my hand on James’ torso and he stopped his footsteps as well. I looked to him with a serious face and I could see the glint of worry in his eyes, “I don’t know what she told you, but I don’t talk about my mother for a reason.. Don’t bring her up to me again,” I said quietly, watching him nod and I removed my hand from him.
“I’m sorry, man.. I didn’t mean anything by it..” He said truthfully.
“I know you didn’t.. But if I ever want to talk about it, I’ll come to you, alright?” I asked and he nodded once more, seeing the remorse in his eyes and I continued walking again, James walking with me and I felt like I was walking with Jody again for how quiet James was being. I felt bad for confronting him like that, but I was’t ready to talk to James about what happened exactly.. Granted, he could go online and do some digging and he’d eventually be able to find out what had happened to my family when I was just a boy, so I didn’t know why he felt the need to talk to Kat and I about it when he could just do that, but I suppose he maybe was just trying to help out.. He didn’t mean any harm by it, and I knew that, but if there was one thing I never talked about with anyone, it was my parents. Or rather, my entire past.. That was between Kat, Camilla and I, and no one else.
Jody was so adorable and I was so happy that I had made this happen for her. She’s been talking to me about Oliver for months now and I finally managed to get Oliver to agree to a date. Well, it couldn’t really be called an official date, but James did a good job of talking Oliver into it and I knew that they were going to hit it off. I was so excited for tonight. I was already ready to leave, it only took me an hour to get ready, but Jody was having problems with her outfit, and I knew she was extremely nervous about going out tonight. “Does this look okay?” She asked with a hint of worry in her voice, “I’m glad we’re the same size with clothing, but I still feel like this looks better on you than me.. What do you think?” She asked, turning to face me away from the mirror and I looked her up and down.
“I think you look great, but if you want to change, be my guest. The boys have to wait anyways and I’m sure they’re ready by now, but you gotta make a big entrance if you really want to impress Oliver, so.. Do you feel impressive wearing that?” I asked, watching as she quickly turned to face the mirror once more and she ran her hands down the dress, her face giving hundreds of different expressions as she looked to herself.
“No.. I don’t feel impressive..” She admitted with a sad face and I laughed.
“Well, take it off. Try this on instead,” I offered, handing her another dress and she slipped out of the one she was wearing.
“What if nothing looks good on me..? What if I just make a huge fool of myself? He doesn’t seem like the judgmental type.. But.. What if I can’t find the right thing to wear to make his jaw drop, you know?” She asked, slipping on the other dress up her legs and she looked in the mirror again. She was so nervous and I loved knowing that Oliver was most likely nervous, too.. They’re already so cute together!
“Believe me, Oliver is not the judgmental type. I’m sure anything you wear, you’ll look amazing in, and his jaw’s going to drop no matter what you put on. Just look at you, Jody! Gorgeous blonde hair, pretty blue eyes, your lips are perfect, which I’m jealous of, and your body is way more curvy and sexy compared to mine. How could you not impress him, really?” I asked.
“Stop it, Kat..” She said with a smile as her cheeks blushed, “Thank you.. But, you’re way prettier.. Your legs are so long and you’re so tall, like a model or something.. I’m so short.. I feel like I need a chair to stand on just so my eyes meet his chin, for goodness sake’s,” she said with a bothered tone as she continued to check herself out in the mirror.
“Who cares if you’re short? Short is cute. And you don’t need a chair, he’ll bend down for you to get at those lips,” I hinted with a smile and she looked to me, her expression and her body reeking of nerves.
“You really think he’ll kiss me?” She asked, her eyes staring at me and I couldn’t help but laugh at her.
“You’re even cuter when you’re nervous! How could he not kiss you?” I asked, continuing to giggle as she grew more anxious and she faced the mirror again. “Stop worrying about it so much! He’s going to love anything you wear, he’s going to love everything you say or do or whatever.. Just stop worrying about it. The more you do, the more you’ll screw up.”
“Great.. Really encouraging, Kat..” She said sarcastically and I couldn’t help but giggle to myself again.
“What about you and James?” Jody asked.
“What about me and James?” I asked back and I watched as she smiled and looked to me.
“You know that he likes you, right?”
“Well, I’d hope so.. He’s our best friend, so..” I said with slight attitude.
“That’s not what I mean..” She emphasized and I watched as she slipped out of the dress she was wearing and tried on another one.
“Then get to the point, you’re starting to bore me,” I said attitude once more and she laughed.
“Stop putting up such a high wall.. Open your eyes more. He like likes you,” she hinted again and I rolled my eyes.
“No, he doesn’t..” I ignored the subject, “Did you find a dress yet? I’m so ready for a drink that I might just do a few shots right when we get there..” I continued, walking over to her.
I looked at her in the mirror, watching her eyes light up when she slipped on the next dress and I saw her smile, “This.. This is the one. I love it!” She exclaimed happily and I smiled at her through the mirror.
“Awesome, you look so good in that! Now let’s get going, I need to get my party on, especially since we don’t have classes tomorrow,” I replied, walking towards the door and opening it.
“Wait, wait.. Is my makeup okay? And my hair?” She asked, seeing her nervousness reaching it’s max and I smiled.
“You look beautiful, really.. Let’s go make some jaws drop,” I said with a sly grin, seeing her face turn excited and she followed me out of the room.
James and I managed to find clothes to wear for going out tonight and I thought that I looked okay, though I wasn’t really the most stylish when it came to looking nice.. Kat, Camilla or my grandmother would usually dress me when it came to special occasions, I just hoped that I looked okay enough for wherever we were going. I stared off at the wall, James sitting at the dining table next to me and he caught my attention, “Nervous?” He asked and nodded.
“Yeah, kind of.. Is this a double date? Is it even a date? I don’t know what kind of mindset I’m even supposed to be in right now..” I replied, scratching the back of my neck.
“Well, I don’t think it’s a double date, considering Kat isn’t going with her arm around mine, you know? So, I guess we’re just going for support. To make sure you two get the right amount of alone time and whatnot, or make sure you guys don’t get into a fight for whatever reason or anything unpredictable,” he replied with a soft laugh.
“Yeah.. I doubt we’d fight.. But, is it still a date if I don’t kiss her at the end of the night?” I asked and I felt James hit my arm. “Ow! What?!”
“Stop being such a fuckin’ pussy.. I know you’re a shy guy, but come on.. You’re not this shy, are you? It’s just a fuckin’ kiss, maybe more if you want it to be, but none of this shit is new to you. Stop asking questions and just feel the situation out when we’re there and settled.. Stop thinking it’s a disaster before we even leave the house, got it?” He asked sternly and I nodded, though I felt as if I was being disciplined and I didn’t much care for that. But, since I didn’t like it, I decided to do as he said and I tried to stop thinking about it so much. He was right, going into it with a bad attitude would ensure that it would only end bad, too..
James and I perked up a little when we heard the girls’ heels clicking on the stairs and the floor above us, James standing from the chair and we both looked towards the stairs and the first thing we both saw were Kat’s legs and James let out a quiet whistle that only I heard. I rolled my eyes at his reaction, obviously not as impressed as he was since she was my cousin, though she did look nice for the occasion. Jody then followed right behind Kat and my eyes widened a little as I stared at her, watching her legs as she walked down each step and my eyes traveled up her whole body until our eyes met when she finally had reached the floor. Her cheeks were a flush and pretty pink and she held her arm to help cope with the nerves I knew she felt.
“Damn.. You look beautiful,” James complimented Kat and she smiled properly, as if she knew she looked good and didn’t need him to tell her.
“See? What did I say? He’s blown away,” Kat said to Jody and I snapped out of my trance, hearing Jody laugh bashfully.
“O-Oh.. Yeah.. You look really nice,” I complimented, taking a lesson from James when he had complimented Kat and Jody couldn’t seem to wipe the smile off her lips.
“Thank you,” she said quietly and I smirked.
“Well, let’s get some drinks and have some fun,” Kat said with a grin and we followed her lead, the girl’s putting their coats on and we left our place and took a cab to wherever Kat had decided to go.
We all sat at the same booth at the bar after hanging up the girl’s coats, chatting for a while as we had a drink together, but about an hour into the night, Kat grabbed James’ hand and pulled him out from the booth, “Let’s go take a shot,” she told him and he didn’t object, “We’ll be right back,” she told Jody with an enthused wink and I wanted to roll my eyes at this situation she was forcing me in, but I didn’t just in case Jody would notice and I didn’t want to give her the impression that I was bored. I just wished that Kat knew how much this situation sucked for the both of us, and I’m sure since Jody was just as shy as me, if not more, then she must be feeling a lot worse about this as she sat next to me, quiet and playing with her fingers nervously.
This was my chance, I suppose, to get to know her a little.. James and Kat had already taken their shot, but they still stood at the bar, giving us way more time than we needed and I knew Kat was stalling. I tried my hardest to think of something to say to Jody, but nothing was coming to mind.. I only somewhat wanted to get back into dating, so being forced into it was a huge turn off to the entire idea. What didn’t help even more was that I didn’t even really want to know anything about her.. She didn’t seem intriguing or mysterious, she didn’t seem fun or exciting, she just seemed so concave and boxed into her own little world.. But, I guess so did I in this instance..
“So, uhm.. H-How long have you known Kat?” I asked, needing to break this awkward silence and Jody looked to me.
“Since I joined the dance class when the new semester started in August.. So, only for a few months,” she replied and I nodded, “Have you and her always been close?” She asked in return.
“Oh, uh, yeah, ever since we were born..” I answered and already these questions were so painfully bored to answer. They seemed so cliche and typical talk to people that had no idea what to say to one another..
“Do you have any siblings? Kat doesn’t talk about anyone else in her family except for you and her dad, so..” She pointed out and I nodded again.
“Yeah, a little sister.. She’s studying abroad, I think she’s in France somewhere close to Switzerland right now. She’ll be visiting soon, actually, maybe before or after Christmas sometime..” I replied with a smirk and she nodded in understanding. “What about you? Any siblings?” I asked.
“Yeah, uhm.. A little sister, like you, and an older brother. He actually attends the college, too.. He’s in his third year, like you are,” she answered and I grew a little curious.
“What year are you in?”
“This is my first.. I’m nineteen, so..” She replied and my eyes widened a little.
“W-Wait.. How’d you get in, then? I thought you were twenty one..?”
“I have a fake ID,” she answered with a nervous smile and I chuckled.
“Let me guess, Kat talked you into it, didn’t she?”
“Well, yeah,” she said with a soft laugh, “Who else do you think would’ve?” She asked sarcastically and I smiled. I wasn’t really expecting her to be this young, and I would’ve never guessed that she’d risk getting caught with something such as a fake. She seemed more like the ‘southern belle’ type, a do-gooder, not that there was anything wrong with that, I just wasn’t expecting it.
I watched as Jody took a sip of the wine she had got every now and then as we talked casually.. I didn’t expect to get to know her all that much, but I made sure to at least remember a few of the things she had said. The thing I liked most about her was her modesty and how humble she was as she talked, she was also very diffident at times, yet not too shy to the point where it was all that awkward anymore. She was trying to pursue something in dance or theater, just like Kat was, trying to get credits and get a diploma with something to fall back on just in case her dancing didn’t work out. She seemed like she had a lot planned, like she knew where she was going and how to get there, and I admired that about her.
I noticed James and Kat hadn’t come back in a while, but I guess it was alright.. I didn’t need him to save me from her or save me from a lack of conversation, I didn’t mind the simple things that we shared and it was actually kind of nice talking to someone else that wasn’t James or Kat. I’ve come to believe that it’s a little hard to make me laugh, but she managed to be able to a few times as we sat there, finishing our drinks and a waitress came by to give us fresh ones. “So, were you nervous about tonight?” I asked with a smirk and Jody smiled softly as she let out a quiet giggle.
“Yeah, really nervous, actually.. I think the wine’s helping, though,” she replied and I chuckled. Even though she has a fake ID and has been drinking before she’s legally able to, it made me wonder how much she could actually handle. If she drank any more, I believed it to be too much to the point where it would make me feel like I was taking advantage of her and that was never my intention, so what should we do now? “What about you? Were you nervous at all?” She asked and I sigh with a smirk on my lips.
“Yeah, I’m actually still a little nervous now.. Would you maybe, uhm.. Wanna grab some air?” I asked and she smiled as she looked to me.
“Isn’t it a little cold outside?” She wondered in return and I didn’t think before my next words.
“I can keep you warm,” I said softly and I watched as her smile began to fade, “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-“
“Okay..” She agreed, to my surprise, “Let’s go,” she continued and I watched her stand from the booth, walking to go get her coat where she hung it and I looked over to where James and Kat were by the bar.
They were still drinking with one another and I smirked as I watched them together, proud of James with how he’d managed to keep Kat’s attention on himself instead of anyone else in the bar. When Kat went to order something for them, James glanced over towards us and he made a curious yet excited expression at me and I chuckled to myself. “Where are you going?” He mouthed to me and I read his lips.
“Outside for air,” I mouthed back and he nodded in understanding, cocking his eyebrows at me suggestively then and I rolled my eyes with a smirk still on my lips. I stepped over towards Jody and I placed my hand on the small of her back, leading her out of the bar and outside in the cool air.
It was still snowing out, but there was no wind and it was completely silent outside with the only noises being the occasional passing car or whenever someone would use the door to the bar and the music would flood out into the streets, but only momentarily. Jody and I walked a few good feet away from the door down the sidewalk and she began a conversation first, “It’s really beautiful out.. What made you move to a place like this, besides going to college? Anything?” She asked.
“Well.. If I wasn’t attending the college, I think I’d still eventually end up here. I’ve grown to have a love-hate relationship with this place, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.. I can find myself in trouble sometimes, but I still really love it here. There’s just something about it that I can’t put my finger on,” I replied.
“I feel the same way, actually.. I really love how peaceful it is, especially at night,” she answered, “I’m really, really glad that I moved here.. And I might have a little confession that I’m just confident enough to say out loud from the wine I had,” she continued with a soft giggle and I looked to her curiously.
“What’s that?” I asked, watching her stop walking and I slowly came to a stop as well, looking back at her and I could see her blushing cheeks from where I stood.
“I-I’ve.. I’ve had a crush on you ever since the first time I saw you my first day attending the college.. When I had joined the dance class, I noticed you and James outside waiting for Kat like you did for us today in the courtyard. To be quite honest, it was all a little too surreal. The cherry blossom trees were still in bloom and it was the beginning of August, it was perfect out and it was even like the a scene in a movie for how beautiful everything looked. And then, there you were, standing by the fountain,” she confessed and I grew a little bashful from her words, I had no idea that she’s liked me for this long. I was a little flustered, too, unsure of how to respond to her and I heard her let out a soft chuckle, “Wow, I sound like such an idiot,” she continued, turning her head away from me.
“N-No, you don’t.. I guess I just wasn’t expecting this tonight. I admire that you were able to tell me, it must’ve been hard.. You’re a lot braver than me,” I replied, seeing her look up to me.
“I had fun tonight.. Would you be open to, uhm.. Doing this again? Maybe without James and Kat..? I know the nights not even over yet, but..” She offered, thinking to myself for a moment and I contemplated what James and I had talked about earlier. Jody already liked me and has had a thing for me for a few months now, she obviously wouldn’t ask if she didn’t enjoy talking to me tonight and being with me.. I guess the question was whether or not I liked it. She was a really nice, sweet girl, and although I didn’t know much about her, I guess I could admit that getting to know her a little better couldn’t hurt. The more I thought about it, the more okay with it I became, and I decided to give it a try. If it didn’t work out, then I’d just have to start over again..
“Yeah.. Yeah, we can do this again,” I agreed with a smirk and I saw her face light up with joy. I felt pretty good about myself at this moment, never did I imagine someone would be so crazy for me, especially when we barely even knew one another, but I liked the feeling of my ego getting stroked after such a long time of nothing but disappointments. I didn’t expect to see myself with one of the blonde Barbie’s that reigned over the college, but at least it was someone, and someone who liked me.
“Are you getting cold at all?” I asked, still able to see her blushing cheeks and she nodded softly, “Would you want to go back inside, or..?” I wondered next, but she answered my question by approaching me and I looked down to her in slight surprise.
“I like it out here.. Besides, you offered to keep me warm earlier..” She reminded me and I had forgotten that I had even offered that.. I grew a little nervous as she waited for me to take initiative, but I finally reached forward and put my arms around her, Jody then closing the gap between us and she hesitantly put her head against my chest. I enjoyed the extra warmth she gave off and her hair smelled wonderful, I even enjoyed feeling her chest rise and descend against mine when she took each of her long breaths and it didn’t take me long to notice that she was taking rather large inhales, as if purposely trying to savor my scent. She seemed relaxed, the most relaxed I’ve seen her all night and I wondered how being in my arms helped her.. I don’t think anyone’s been as content as she was when being around me, but it made me feel wanted, it made me feel even better about myself.
I could feel her fingertips playing with the fabric of my coat, getting anxious about something and I wondered if she was waiting for me to kiss her. Did I even want to, though? I liked her enough, sure, but I guess I wasn’t all that attracted to her physically. But, tonight has been somewhat fun and a little easier than I thought it was going to go, so why not take that last step? But, wait.. Aren’t you supposed to kiss at the end of the night, when you take the girl home? What if she didn’t want to go home after this, or even she did want to leave, would she want to come back to our place..? I was starting to get nervous again, the thought of the kiss possibly not being the last thing we did together tonight was making my heart beat faster and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to go as far as she might want to..
“Oliver..” She caught my attention, “You’re heart.. It’s going crazy,” she said quietly with a gentle laugh, “What are you thinking about?” She asked, pulling her head from my chest and she looked up to me. I noticed her quickly glance at my lips before coming right back to my eyes and I knew then that I had guessed right, she wanted me to kiss her and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to do so in fear that she might want to do more than that and I didn’t know if I was ready..
“I-I’m, uh… Not really thinking about anything, in particular..” I replied, my first lie to her already and it was only our first date.
“I find that hard to believe,” she replied with a cute smile, “Tell me the truth,” she requested and I decided to oblige.
“Well.. I-I was just, uhm.. Trying to figure out if I should kiss you or not,” I replied and I noticed her smile a little more.
“And what’s keeping you from doing it?” She asked next, though I found it hard to answer her, “I understand.. Kat, uhm.. Might’ve mentioned something about you.. And, well.. How long it’s been,” she admitted and I sighed, letting go of Jody.
I stepped away from her a few feet, angered and embarrassed by how Kat likes to blab so much about my personal life lately, “I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to strike a nerve or anything.. I was just trying to say that it’s okay, and that you have nothing to be nervous about.. It’s been about a year for me, so I’m kind of in the same boat as you.. I’m nervous, too, but.. I really enjoy being with you.. Do you enjoy being with me? Because if you do, then.. We could do this together, we can be nervous wrecks together,” she replied with a soft, awkward laugh. I was still a little angry, I really didn’t enjoy that she knew how long it had been since I’ve been with someone, considering that was none of her business and it was none of Kat’s business, either.. “I’m sorry, Oliver.. I ruined everything, didn’t I..? I’m just going to grab a cab home.. I’m really sorry..” She continued and I turned around, watching her walk to the edge of the street to try and hail a cab, but I didn’t want her to leave yet, I didn’t want this date to turn out bad and I didn’t want someone as understanding as her to be put through a situation like this just because I was being a coward.
“W-Wait, Jody..” I got her attention, seeing her look over her shoulder towards me and I stepped up to her, slowly bringing my hand up to her face and I could feel how warm her cheek was in the palm of my hand. “May I..?” I asked quietly, seeing her cheeks blush a bright red and she nodded with a smile.
“You may,” she answered happily and I smirked, lowering my head and we both shut our eyes just before our lips touched and we kissed on the sidewalk under the falling snow. She was right, moments like this seemed surreal and I felt as she did now when she had first saw me. It really was just like a scene from a movie.. Standing together at night under the moon that hid behind clouds in which a gentle and calm snow fell from. It was weird to think that just a little over a week ago, I bumped into Jody and never thought anything of it, never thought that I’d end up going out with her, and never thought I’d end up kissing her like I was now. It was also weird to think that this might’ve happened for a reason, but I thought that might’ve been a stretch.
I eventually pulled away from Jody and she looked up to me with nervous eyes, shying them away from me then and I heard her let out a quiet giggle that expressed the happiness she felt. “Would it be wrong of me to ask if you’d mind taking me home?” She wondered and I shook my head.
“No, not at all.. I’ll get a cab for you,” I replied with a smirk, about to walk more to the edge of the sidewalk but she caught my attention and I looked back to her before getting a cab.
“Well, what I mean is.. You can come home with me, if you want,” she corrected herself and my heart beat picked up its pace again. She wanted me to come home with her already? “Sorry, it’s just.. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about it, and I’d really like to, uhm.. I-If you do, too, that is.. And I really don’t want you to think that I’m like this on every first date that I go on, it’s just-“
“N-No, no.. I don’t think that.. I guess I just wasn’t expecting it, that’s all..” I replied with a nervous smirk.
“So, do you.. Wanna get out of here?” She asked with a smile on her lips and I thought about it for another moment.. I know that James told me to live a little and that if the opportunity presented itself, I shouldn’t turn it down.. But, was it too soon? Now knowing that I could have her tonight even without needing to work to get her in the mood, I found it rather flattering that she actually liked me this much to the point where she was comfortable enough to do something so intimate with me on our first time out.. I enjoyed the feeling of being wanted, it had been a long time since I’ve felt this way, this good about myself, but I still thought I wasn’t ready to jump right into things..
“A-Actually, uhm.. I’d like to wait, if that’s okay.. Since you know already how long it’s been, thanks to Kat..” I ended reluctantly, “You understand, right..?” I asked, watching her expression lose a little bit of its luster, which made me think she didn’t care for my answer, but soon her expression went happy once again.
“Yeah, you’re right.. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to come on so strong..” She said with remorse and I stepped closer to her.
“No, it’s fine.. It’s just.. If we’re trying this out, then I think going slow is the best way.. I’m not looking for anything ‘on the whim’ or a one-night kind of thing, so..” I tried to explain.
“I understand, believe me.. And I agree, I’m not looking for that, either, so.. Slow, then?” She wanted to reconfirm.
“Yeah,” I replied with a smirk, watching her then reach up with her hand and she brought it to my neck, sliding it to my nape and she pulled me in for another kiss. I couldn’t say that I was overall happy just yet, but starting things out slow with Jody and knowing she understood what I wanted from the beginning so the wrong impression never came about was a good thing, and I was happy with how the night was going.
When our long kiss had stopped, she smiled as she looked up to me and I grew a little nervous again. The term ‘girlfriend’ didn’t really come to mind at first, though now that we were dating, I guess she could be labeled as such. “So, do you want to go back inside, or..?” I wondered.
“Actually, I think I’m going to head home..” She answered and my expression shifted to a slight surprise, though I guess she did want to go home earlier with me, but now that I wasn’t, she could still very well have the desire to leave.. I thought she’d want to stay a little bit longer just to hang out with me more, but maybe she was just tired, after all.
“Oh, uhm.. Alright.. I’ll get a cab for you,” I offered and she smiled appreciatively.
I opened the door to the cab for Jody and we said our ‘goodnights’, watching the cab pull away and I stood there in the silence of the snowfall, pondering to myself if I had done something wrong already.. Maybe I was thinking too much into this, but if she liked me as much as James had made it seem, as well as Kat, I assumed she would’ve wanted to stay at least a little longer.. Did I lose her interest when I told her I didn’t want to go home with her? Should I have accepted the offer, even when I didn’t feel right about it? Now I felt bad, I felt that I did something wrong and I felt as if I ruined the night even when I was just convinced that it was going to end well.. I sighed softly to myself as I stood there alone, finally deciding that I didn’t want to go back in and I waited on the sidewalk for a cab of my own, ready to go home by myself. I ruined the evening, just like I knew I would.. I think I’ll hold off on labeling her my girlfriend now..
| Next Chapter |