A Little Taste of Heaven

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"Running out of time." (2)

As the sun sets and the stars appear, Ian calls everyone to their backyard, and he brings the party there. Then he shows the yacht Ros was telling us about earlier. And she was right because it was for V.I.P.s, which is a load of crap. So, only the popular kids are allowed to enter and drink real alcohol.

It’s alright with me that the crowd will be cut in half, anyway, this means I could dance and enjoy it with my friends, besides it is so pretentious. But Ryan looks at me with his mischievous smile.

I tilt my head and crease my eyebrows, “It looks like something is brewing inside your head. Uh oh, what are you planning?”

I bet he is thinking of sneaking in or something.

He narrows his eyes and wriggles his eyebrows. “We…” he leaves it hanging for a short while, holding out his pointing finger from me to him a few times, head hanging low.

“You and I are…?” I say, my left eyebrow arched, trying to figure out what exactly he is going to say.

His smile spreads brighter. He is nodding as he says fiercely but in a whisper, “You and I are going to CRASH that Very Important Party.”

So, I was right. Ryan wants to sneak in. How predictable. My eyes stare at the people getting into boats, then back at him as he patiently waits for me to say yes. It is ridiculous. How is he even going to pull it off?

I laugh and shake my head, “And how are you going to do that, hm?”

He looks up to think and puts his hands in his pockets, “well, I don’t know,” he shrugs.

I smirk, “Huh, okay. I’ll see you back inside.” I start to turn away

He suddenly pulls me back, holding my arm. “Come on. It will be fun!”

Before I could answer him, Ian sashays towards us, “whatever you’re planning, Ryan, it won’t work, bud.” He is holding a beer bottle and points it to a boat, and then he wraps his arms around our shoulders, “because you two are on the list.”

I couldn’t help rolling my eyes. “Cool,” I mutter. It’s just so pretentious. I know I said that already, but it really is!

“Great!” beams Ian, clapping Ryan’s back. “Hop in on one of the boats. See you guys there.”

We watch him put an arm around a girl and head to his yacht in one of the boats, screaming and enticing cheers.

Ryan laughs, shrugging his shoulders. “Well, that was easy. Now, let’s go!”

I have no choice because he pulls me in before I could say no. As we aboard the yacht, the music inside blasts with the latest songs of whatever is popular these days. Ryan never leaves my side, so I am just standing still by the railings of the deck, observing my wild, egoistic schoolmates, dancing and drinking their precious booze.

“Do you want any drink?” asks Ryan loudly.

I shake my head, answering back, “No, thank you, I’m good! It might be spiked, anyway!”

He laughs and says with a charm, “How about a dance?” then dances awfully on purpose.

I laugh. Oh god, Ryan Kaufman is adorable! I can’t help it myself sometimes.

He flashes me a warm smile when he sees me laughing. “You know what? Let’s get out of here instead.”

I nod and giggle, “Sure, but how?”

He holds my hand and takes me to the upper deck. It is quieter and less hopping than the main floor. The pinkish-orange-cloud-covered sky opens, releasing rays of light, making the ocean’s surface reflect beautifully and onto Ryan’s pale eyes. His expressions then become soft as he pulls something out from his left-side chest pocket. He sings lightly, “Small and white, clean and bright. You are happy to greet me.”

“Edelweiss,” I whisper when I see the flower on his palm. He takes my hand and places the flower on mine. But how did he know? I blink a couple of times.

He then clears his throat and stands up straight. “Mariana, I know you said, let’s keep our relationship a secret but, I don’t want to anymore. I want them to know I’m yours, and you are mine,” he declares.

My eyes go wide, and my eyebrows rise. I’m completely shocked, “What?!” I exclaim and swallow hard when I remember the entry from my journal, stating that Ryan and I were secretly dating. “Right, er...”

His cheeks reddened. “Well…?”

I hesitate, “oh, Ryan. I — I like you a lot, an awful lot...” nodding, reassuring him I really do.

“But?” he continued my lingering sentence.

I giggle. “But, I don’t think I’m ready for that kind of commitment.”

He nods. “I understand,” then replaces his frown into a smile. It doesn’t reach his eyes, though.

“But seriously, thank you for this,” I say, holding up my hand and smiling so bright, it outshines the darkening sky. I carefully put it in my pocket.

He chuckles in reply, “I told ya I’d replace the gardenias.”

Smiling, I look at the distance, and I’m pretty sure he is looking at me.

There is something calm and inviting in the air between Ryan and me, and we let it dominate us, even though we can hear and feel the booming beat of the music below, vibrating on the floor beneath our feet.

Harry Styless song crosses my mind, and I hum nonchalantly. Then, I remember a little of why Ryan stopped talking to me when we were in college when I was humming the part ’Maybe one day you’ll call me and tell me that you’re sorry too’ but, it was unclear as if I intentionally erased it from my memory.

Suddenly, aware of his admiring gaze, I became self-conscious and embarrassed, so I stopped humming. He smiles warmly at me when I look up at him.

“Why’d you stop?” asks Ryan in a soft, low, fluid-like-how-Stephenie-Meyer-described-Edward’s voice.

I see his eyes twinkle, and I look away when I feel my heart skip. I don’t know why he has this kind of effect on me as if he’s casting a magic love spell, Edith Piaf style. And it seems like he read my mind, for he starts humming La Vie En Rose. I don’t know why the atmosphere should be awkward, but it’s not.

When he finishes the song, he asks, “What are you thinking?”

I quickly looked at him, shocked, happy and sad, all at the same time. So, he cares? When I couldn’t think of a reply, he leaned closer to me and placed my hand in his. He kisses the back of my hand then pulls me closer to him. I feel completely frozen by his actions. I’d never thought he was this forward. Persistent, yes. But forward? I had no clue.

“You don’t mind me closing in the space between us, do you?” he says huskily. The voice I love, the sound where I can hear the angels sighing.

I bob my head in response, unable to speak, magnetized by his mesmerizing eyes.

“Mari,” he says in that tone again.

I feel my knees go weak, and he notices it since he supports my weight by grabbing the small of my back. Now, the space between us is closer, and I can feel his breath against my cheek. My mind goes blank, for I have no idea what to think or even say, so I raise my eyebrows. Deepening the gaze, he slowly moves his hand from my waist to my lower back, giving me shivers to the bones. He takes my right hand and sways me to the distant music, which we assumed is a slow one. We keep dancing until the stars appear in the partly cloudy sky.

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