Chapter 30 - My Prince Charming
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CHAPTER 30 - MY PRINCE CHARMING
I giggled as I listened to another one of his stories. Never thought Eric would be one to joke so freely, well, he actually isn't. From what I've heard, his dates are never so lighthearted as ours was.
I was having the best time of my life, because even if it was a very romantic situation, dining as we were in a cozy and really cute Italian restaurant, which took us a little to reach, but it was worth it, and we were having fun, laughing and chatting together like we never have.
It felt like we'd just met and were really enjoying the time together. And there I noticed how I was right ... that lovely child I saw years ago was still there, was just very well hidden behind the bad boy mask. I enjoyed, really enjoyed, seeing him smile so spontaneously and happily and sweetly. I enjoyed the gleeful glint that lit up in his blue eyes as he smiled and laughed so truthfully. I enjoyed his hand reaching for mine now and then, gripping it till the waitress came every now and then.
And even her, a sixtyish woman, grinned from ear to ear as she beheld his hand entangled in mine. She said we were by far the cutest couple she'd ever seen and I blushed at that, Eric squeezed my hand, which made my heart skip a beat, especially because it felt all too perfect.
I enjoyed his voice ... so deep and yet boyish. I enjoyed his silly stories, his odd reasoning ... everything. I enjoyed every single moment of our date. Turns out that when he's spontaneous, he's very much far from that intimidating bad boy roaming the school hallways. Turns out that when he's carefree for real, he's such a goofy and funny boy, one that's clearly trying to make an impression, but that only makes him even cuter.
In the end, I came to the conclusion that Eric Rivers is both. Hot and sexy and irresistible with his mystery halo, but also cute and lovely and adorable, well, only when he wants to be that. I might sin of arrogance, but I am pretty sure I might be the only one that's ever seen this carefree side of him. And I love it. Truly.
When we got out of the restaurant, we decided we'd take a walk, also because there was to digest the huge dinner our lovely waitress brought us. She didn't even let us order. Just as we sat down and she came to us, she perfectly knew we were a couple at their very first date, so she told us to enjoy the night and she'd think of meals and everything. When a calm low and romantic tune filled the small room, I realized she meant everything in every detail.
For a moment I thought it was all settled, that she was in cahoots with my date to make everything perfect, but Eric assured me that while he knew the place, he'd never brought any girl here, so he barely knew the old lady as well. Maybe she was just charmed by him just as much as I was, just as much as the girl at the cash register, the old lady's grandniece, apparently, was.
The girl ogled my date with envious eyes, but other than glare at me or something, she grinned, winking, like congratulating with me for the good catch. I just smiled shyly as I, as oddly naturally as ever, let my hand slide in Eric's, feeling my heart skip a beat but also smile as he squeezed it.
We walked in silence for a while, it was all so romantic, I mean, we were walking in the park, but since it was pretty late, there wasn't anyone. Actually, I couldn't help but notice that the places we went were all clear of people we might knew ... could it be that ...
"Eric?" I called, breaking the silence. He was walking with his hands stuffed in his pockets, a few inches away from me, while I was trying to keep a moderate pace, just not to be too slow.
You could say I still felt nervous about all the thing, I mean, for as much as it's been an incredible night, it still was my very first date and ... well, with Eric. Even though, it felt all natural. I just had to adjust to this new situation for some aspects.
When I called him, Eric turned to me, giving me an interrogative look. I inhaled deeply. Didn't want to spoil the atmosphere, but ... well, I had to know. So I cleared my throat, fidgeting with my hands, as we kept walking. "M-maybe I'm just paranoid, but ... well, um ... is it just me or we've been ... frequenting lonely places? I mean, places where none of the people we know might see us ..."
All of a sudden, he halted his steps and turned to me, his eyebrow arching for a moment, his lips then parting to say something, but nothing came out. In the end, after a few seconds of silence, he sighed, then came closer, grabbing my hands. "Don't take it bad as I tell you this ..." He started and my heart already skipped a beat.
Could it be that our night being so perfect was just an illusion? That I was hallucinating? Maybe he felt like it had been a huge disaster, so now he had to find the right words to dump be with tact ... it felt ... disappointing and deluding. Because something inside me had hoped. Really hoped. Something inside me had rejoiced, already jumping to Eric and I being a couple. But what if that just wasn't it? What if I misread it all and now he had to bring me back to reality?
"... but I think it'd be better if ... for a while, we lay low ..." I arched an eyebrow at him, confused. Not because I wanted to boast of my relationship with him, but because I didn't understand the reasons for it. Was it seriously what I feared? He felt ashamed of being seen with me so had to hide me?
Eric sighed, looking around for a moment before coming even closer, so much that he almost closed the gap between our bodies. "It's not that I want to hide you, Natalie." He told me, his fingers making me feel Goosebumps by stroking the skin of my cheek and temple as he pulled back a hair lock of mine.
"I just think we should keep it a secret for a while." He continued. "Don't want people inquiring on our thing when it's just started." He explained. It took me a moment to absorb it all, during which I stared at him, dumbfounded, so that Eric sighed, leaning his forehead on mine. "You know my reputation isn't exactly ... stellar." He told me, his lips so close to mine that if I'd leaned, in just a little, I would have brushed them, which was unsettling per se, because my heart ran rampant and emotions multiplied, almost taking my breath away.
"I don't want anyone to put a spoke in our wheel. Especially when it's just started." He pecked my lips. "This thing between us ... it's important to me. You are important to me, Natalie. I want you to be sure about that." One more peck. "I'm not playing. I want it to work between us. But ..." He sighed, so I cracked a smile as I pecked his lips as well, finding the courage who knows where.
It's absurd, you know, seems like since when I came in contact with him I've been changing, and it's been just two weeks, better said, it's been just a few moments. So I guess that on the long run, he's gonna do good o my brave side, while I should do something about his irascible character. I guess we could both do each other some good, maybe.
"I get it." I agreed, eyes half closed, hands at his sides, a half smile on my lips. "I don't need to boast of it. I just need to know I'm not your nth prey." I inhaled deeply against his lips. "I need to know I'm not just a game for you."
I have no idea where did those words come from, but I blurted them out, because something inside me begged me to, telling me that we needed an insurance before embarking on this thing. Because Eric had touched something inside me and if it was what I believe, then it was scary, but if he was in, then so was I.
Eric half smiled as he pecked my lips, now cupping my cheeks as he spoke: "A game? You're my princess, baby. You're all that I want."
I giggled as I slowly sank in his arms, which should have been odd, considering we were just at the real beginning of our thing, but it felt natural. Truly natural. Like in his arms was the only place I could and should ever be. And as he kissed me, I felt like my life had just started having sense.
The clock had just struck midnight when we reached my door. My mother had been inflexible about it: 18 or not, I was to come home at exactly midnight, just like Cinderella.
I leaned my back on the door, feeling tired, but happy, as I smiled at a beaming Eric, who looked, now as ever, so different from that bad boy I used to be so scared of only till a few days ago.
Taking a step closer, he caressed my cheek and as my lips closed, my eyes, I'm pretty sure, did the smiling, because I knew what he was about to do.
"Goodnight, Natalie." Eric mumbled before pressing his lips on mine. We let ourselves go to a very romantic but still passionate kiss whose control we nearly lost because I felt him grip my hips tighter as, for some reason, my hands, wrapping around his neck, slipped inside his shirt. Don't worry, I only touched the bare skin of his neck and upper chest, nothing more. His hands reached my back and his roaming it had me moaning against his lips and he groaned as well.
Eventually, he pulled back, making me giggle as he cursed. "If I don't go now, your mother might want kill me."
I couldn't help but giggle more as he said that. I stopped when I realized he was gazing at me with a tender smile on his lips, something like ... adoration in his eyes.
I caressed his cheek, unable to retain myself, feeling like I needed to touch him as much as possible, even if in a very innocent way. Raising on my tiptoes, hand on his chest (and I swear,I could feel his heart racing), I placed a lingering kiss on his cheek before whispering: "Goodnight, Eric."
"I guess the date was a success." Mom commented with a small smile as she reached me in the hall. I was leaning on the door, trying to breathe and finally take in everything that has happened in this amazing day.
How things have changed in so little time! I've gone from being happy because my crush finally asked me out, to dump that same boy to literally jump in his archenemy's arms and feel on cloud nine as he gave me an absolutely perfect first date.
Only a couple of days ago I felt contrasting things towards him, now it's all so clear ... I want to be with him. I want to be with Eric. I want it with every fiber of my being and knowing that he wants the same makes me giggle at the only thought.
Coming closer, mom pinched my cheek, which I felt as red as a tomato, so I guess that's why she did it. "This Kyle must be really special." She commented and I gulped, looking up her, confused. Oh, right ... she knew I was going out with the Angel ... how will she take it when I tell her she let me spend a whole evening alone with the Devil?
I grinned so much that she arched an eyebrow at me, clearly confused. So I explained her everything about Eric showing up at our door before Kyle, apologizing for having been rude with me (yes, I did omit the part about the hickey he gave me this afternoon), me, as cliché as it sounds, running to him, jumping in his arms and kissing him, him asking me out, we enjoying the most perfect of date and ... finally, him saying he wants a real thing with me.
His words were still resonating in my ears, making me feel lightheaded and all giggly. You're all that I want. Yes, that's what he said. I'm his princess. I know, I know, it sounds cheesy, but I dare you not to swoon if a boy, that handsome even, calls you his princess and tells you you're all that he wants. Let's admit it, we girls all want a boy that'll be our Prince Charming, even if just for us and not to the whole world.
Well, my Prince Charming has or acts as he has, horns and a pointed tail, but still ... if I'm his princess, then he must be my prince.
Mom grimaced a little after I told her everything, so I tried to explain as best as I could that Eric was misjudged, that I felt like I could trust him because he wasn't at all as bad as he seems. She mulled for a moment, arms crossed, which worried me a little.
Not that that I thought she'd put a veto on my seeing Eric, I mean, she couldn't, because I'm a major already, and she never would, because I know she trusts me, but still ... something deep inside me made me feel as a little rebel for dating the bad element. Even though, a big part of me says he's only bad because he wants to be seen as that. And I will have proof to that, I'm sure.
In the end, mom nodded, saying that, for a first relationship, she'd imagined me with someone with a little less of a troublesome reputation (even she knows about his bad name, yes), but as long as I was happy, she was too, and as long as he would prove himself to be up to the mighty defense I offered on his behalf, then she wouldn't have anything contrary with it. In a word, she obviously expected him to behave.
For a moment I thought she'd ask me to meet him, but she didn't. Phew. Meeting the mother for a second date ... well, that's tough, even for the most resolute suitor, right?
In the end, mom let me go to sleep, but not before having teased me a little, of course.
I'd just slipped off my dress and everything, was in my comfortable pajama when my phone buzzed. Sitting on bed, I giggled to myself, already knowing, just by instinct, who it was (especially considering it was half past midnight). It was a message, and it left me with a silly smile I managed to keep even while sleeping: Sweet dreams, princess. Let me do at least a cameo in them maybe.