Beyond the Foggy Path

Chapter 27: Awkward Teenagers

Landon and Erela walked back toward the common room in silence to allow what happened to sink in. She looked up at him for a moment and dropped her eyes when he glanced down at her. Their kiss was on repeat in her head, a reminder of how he felt about her and his response when she accepted his act on interest. She rubbed her fingers to the palm of her fingerless gloves to wipe the nervous sweat off.

He liked her. He liked her back. Erela felt his eyes on her again before his long fingers brushed against the back of her hand and light as a feather against her fingers before he wrapped his pinky around hers. An awkward and nervous step to hand holding, yet enough to read that he was giving her the chance to either wrap her fingers around his or slide away. She pursed her lips to keep that goofy smile of hers from showing and hesitantly inched her fingers around his hand. His fingers gently maneuvered about and intertwined around Erela's fingers. His hand felt soft and hot against her shaking hand.

"You okay?" Landon asked and rubbed his thumb against the back of her hand.

"Yes," she nodded. "I'm not sure how to react," Erela started and ran her fingers through her hair.

"Sorry . . ." Landon started.

"Why are you apologizing?"

"I kissed you before even considering you probably didn't like me the same way," he answered timidly.

"It's okay," she chuckled. In all honesty, she was afraid of telling him and then be turned down seconds later. Nothing was more awkward than telling your friend you had a crush on him.

"I'm relieved though . . ." he sighed and smiled at Erela. "I was nervous you'd push me off."

Erela lightly smiled a little and huffed quickly. "Well . . . I kind of had a crush on you for a while," she started. "Lets say about . . . three years? Maybe?"

"Three years," he repeated with a twinge of laughter in his tone and ran his fingers through his hair. "Then that makes both of us . . ."

"Excuse me?"

Landon smiled at her. "Yeah."

Erela blushed dark red and played with a curl of her hair. "So . . . you've liked me for a while too . . ." she started with an awkward smirk.

"Yeah," he nodded.

Erela pursed her lips to keep that goofy smile of hers to grow any bigger. "I'm curious how—why really?"

Landon stuck a tongue out at Erela. "Because of reasons."

"Reasons, wow. I should do that more often," she laughed and rolled her eyes. All in all, she was happy. Genuinely happy. "So um . . . how does this work?" she asked.

Landon chuckled and kissed her cheek. "Look it up, book worm."

"As simple as that," she sighed quietly.

"Yeah—no?" Landon shrugged, "I don't know."

"Better run for the hills now," Erela started. "I would probably be the worst girlfriend ever," she rolled her eyes without a doubt in her mind.

"Have you dated yourself?" Landon asked.

"No, but even I know I'm rather unpleasant to be around at times," she pursed her lips. "Reasons?" she tried again and looked up at him.

"Not going to tell you," he shook his head with a smirk. "What about you?"

"Uuuuuuuuuh . . ." Erela pursed her lips and dug deep into her head about the question. After she had spent some time with him since the last two weeks of fifth year, she had figured out what she liked about him. Landon was always warm and welcoming, a goofball at times, had a smile on his face eighty-five percent of the time, and somehow knew how to brighten up peoples' day. "You're very friendly, interestingly awkward at times . . ." she started listing things out. "I'll have to let that question sink in for a while for a better answer," she lied ever so quietly and tapped the tip of her nose. When in actuality, she wasn't exactly ready to tell him the rest of her reasons if he wasn't going to share.

"Well thanks," he rolled his eyes with a slight smile.

"You're just going to keep your reasons to yourself, aren't you?" she rolled her eyes and made way into the Hufflepuff common room after she tapped the "password" against the pile of barrels.

"That's kind of a personal thing."

"Alright, I'll shy away from that subject then," she nodded and kept to herself. "Ground rules I should know about?" she asked innocently.

Landon snorted before he busted out laughing, making Erela blush embarrassingly. "Ground rules? We aren't moving in together."

Erela looked around the common room. "I don't know if you've noticed, we sort of do live together along with sixty-eight other people," she chuckled. "I mean, like what not to bring up or anything ooooooooor we just play it by ear?" She suddenly thought of her questions as incredibly dumb. "Don't judge me, I'm new at this . . ."

Landon laughed a little more. "You don't set ground rules when you start dating someone. I'm totally judging you," he teased.

Her mind completely baffled as she pursed her lips with her face turning completely beat red. "You're really enjoying this, aren't you?"

"Quite," Landon grinned.

"Good, turns out there's going to be a lot of moments like this coming from me," she sighed.

Landon smiled and gently pecked her forehead with his lips before he turned to go up to turn in for the night. "See you around Ela."

"See ya," she nodded and turned to her room too.

One of the girls, Erela wasn't paying attention to who, saw the small affectionate action and wanted details. "So—"

"Don't start with me," she mumbled quickly and crashed into bed. Erela needed time to calm down a bit, keep her composure so her overly happy side didn't explode out of her. Erela was completely overwhelmed with joy. Dating . . . she was actually Landon's girlfriend. Her heart was racing so fast it was difficult to breathe. Erela changed into comfortable pajamas and fell asleep within seconds.

Again . . . the forked road was presented before her. Erela was about to step onto the clean and easy road when stopped, turned away, and looked toward the uneasy road. She then heard something beside her. Erela looked up and found Landon next to her. His hand held hers and gave it a light squeeze. Her hand trembled in his as she felt herself slip away from his grasp. He tightened his hold around her, to keep her from walking away. But, she managed and approached the uneasy road.

No . . . no, she didn't want to go there. The one road that she knew would lead her to ruin. Erela looked back at Landon and tried to call out to him. But he just stood there with a blank look on his face and stared ahead at the easy road. Landon! Landon!

Erela gasped awake, covered in cold sweat and practically clawed at her pillow and sheets. She sat up carefully and pressed her palm against her forehead and wiped her sweat off. It couldn't be . . .

Her future had changed . . .

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