By the next morning, it was very clear that I had done something. Blondie and Blondie Jr. were absent from breakfast and when I did see them in passing, I wasn’t even worthy of a look. It didn’t bother me any. The more they ignored me, the more glory I got out of the fact I was pissing Chris’ new family off. I started editing some of my pictures from the day before, waiting for Blaine’s text. It finally came around ten or so. The parentals are gone til dinner, he wrote. I glanced around the empty house, Chris and Tammy working at the Wharf and Hannah off with some friends. She was probably plotting my demise like in those Teens that Kill shows you see on television. Let me pack up my stuff and I’ll be over, I responded. Grabbing my external hard drive with my edited stuff along with my camera and purse, I headed out the front door. Chris had asked me to be back by seven tonight for a family get together like my first night. As long as Blaine went, I would try to suffer my way through it again.
The sun was shining again as I walked up the street to Blaine’s home. It was a ranch style house with a two car garage. The exterior was painted a light blue color, the trimming a bright white in comparison. I rang the doorbell and bit my lip. I had no clue why I was nervous. I’d felt this way since I told him goodbye last night. That and the feeling of excitement at the thought of seeing him. I mentally gripped myself as the door opened. “Hey.” Blaine said, smiling at me. He was wearing a printed black t-shirt with a dinosaur on it and a pair of jeans. His feet were bare and his hair looked as if he had just crawled out of bed. All the mental gripping I had just done flew out the window. He was down right adorable.
“Morning.” I replied, feeling lame at my lack of quirky sayings. He moved aside to let me in. It was dark compared to the outside, my eyes adjusting to the change. I followed him to the back of the house, passing a bathroom and a two closed doors in the process. He opened a door at the very end of the hall and I followed him into it. It was a typical guy’s room. Clothes were piled here and there on the floor surrounding a twin size bed that was unmade. There were two dressers against facing walls. On top of one was a flat screen television hooked into a game system. Near the door was a computer desk with a laptop set up on the surface. There was a picture of a seagull opened in his editing software program now. The picture looked so clear and perfect now. I didn’t understand why he wanted to edit it.
“Can I see what you have?” He asked, pointing at the flash drive in my hand.
“Sure. It’s in the Edited folder.” I handed him the small device which he pulled into the lap top. He sat down in the computer chair and pulled a stool next to him. I took the hint and sat down. On the screen, a window popped up. Soon, I was looking at my pictures. He clicked through the all, various animal shots and ocean scenes filling the screen.
“These are incredible. You have a natural gift for this. What software do you use to edit?”
“Basic photoshop stuff that came on my laptop. I try not to edit them too much in fear of losing the real thing.”
“Well you are awesome.” A small blush filled my cheeks but I managed to hide it.
“Thanks. What do you have for show and tell?” I asked. He clicked back to the editing software.
“That’s it? One picture? We were out there for like eight hours and you don’t have any pictures you are comfortable showing me?” I questioned, looking at him. He shrugged.
“I’m picky when it comes to my work.”
“Blaine. Come on. There’s gotta be something to show me. I won’t judge you. Believe me.” He glanced at me then sighed.
“Fine.” He clicked on another folder. Picture thumbnails loaded. He clicked on the first one. Slowly, he clicked through each one. The shots of the dolphins and seagulls were amazing. His camera had an amazing zoom feature and he knew how to use it well. The pictures continued, rolling waves and clouds appearing. Suddenly, he closed the window. “That’s it.”
“What? You have like a hundred more according to the folder count.”
“Those are just duplicates. So what do you think? Bad right?”
“No! I don’t think they need edits. I think some of them are great as is. You should ask your mother. She’ll tell you.” He shook his head.
“She prefers film to digital cameras. Says it’s not real art work this way.”
“Well she’s out of her mind then because that is art.”
“Okay. Okay.” He said, smiling a large goofy smile. “So I was thinking today I could show you a few more places in town that are cool. There’s Moss Island and then Crossman’s Cove. Both are nearby and easy to get to. I figured we could do bagged lunch out there.”
“Sounds like a plan to me.”
I helped him make a few sandwiches before we climbed into his truck. We traveled for five minutes before parking at the entrance of a park. We walked from the parking lot down to a sandy beach. In the water, I could see a small island about 50 yards away from the shore. “How do we get there?” I asked.
“Paddle boat.” He responded, pointing at a rental booth nearby. I helped him drag a bright green paddle boat from the pile of them after he paid for it. Climbing in, we started paddling our way to the island. It only took about twenty minutes (due to my lack of coordination) and soon we were pulling the boat onto the sand. There were some trees surrounding us but it was mostly beach all around the island. We walked around for a bit, taking pictures and talking about different things like school and colleges. When the sun was high above us, we stopped by a beach on the other side of the island and ate our little lunch.
“So has Hannah given you any grief since yesterday?” He asked, finishing up his sandwich. We were perched up on a large boulder, our legs dangling off the side of it. I shook my head.
“No. It’s actually quite nice. She’s isn’t talking to me and neither is Tammy. Should make tonight go really well. What is family game night anyway?”
“Usually an excuse for my mother and Tammy to drink. Dad and Chris will sit around and discuss work or whatever.”
“What about the kids though? What did you and Hannah do?”
“We’d hang out in her room.”
“Oh God. Shut up. Shut up.” I said, holding up a hand. “Forget I asked.”
“It’s not like we were humping at every given opportunity!” He exclaimed. “We’d go up there to just talk and stuff.”
“Stuff. I know what stuff means.” I said.
“Yeah yeah. Not like you never did ‘stuff’ back in Maine.”
“I haven’t.” I said. His head about snapped to look at me. “What?”
“You’re a virgin?” He asked.
“What if I am? Is that bad or something?”
“No! I actually think that’s a good thing. Girls around here act like it’s their golden ticket to everything. Hannah included. And believe me, I never punched that ticket.” I raised an eyebrow.
“No?” He shook his head.
“Never went all the way.” We sat silently for a while.
“What’s the farthest you’ve gone?” I asked. “I mean I’m assuming you aren’t a virgin but how many games have you scored at?” He leaned back, looking up at the sky.
“Only one. My girlfriend before Hannah. What about you? Have you at least got close to a home run?” I felt my cheeks turn pink.
“Let’s just say I’m still in line for tickets.” He sat up to look at me.
“You’ve done nothing? Nothing at all? Like not even fooling around at a high school party?”
“Guess I’m not popular enough for high school party invites.” I said, sipping my water.
“Well what about your first kiss? I mean the guy had to of tried SOMETHING to get in your pants. We’re guys. That’s usually our main goal in life.”
“Um...I’ll let you know when I have it.” His mouth gaped a little bit. “Would you stop that? You are making me feel like a dumb prude or something! I mean you must think I am.”
“No. I just find it so hard to believe that someone as beautiful as you has never been kissed.” My legs felt like jelly as I looked at him. I’ve never had anyone call me beautiful before. Well besides my mother and our next door neighbor Miss Betsy. But this was a boy. A real breathing and incredibly handsome guy calling me beautiful.
“Ready to keep going?” I asked, sliding off the giant rock. I was amazed I didn’t collapse under the influence of my jelly legs. I grabbed my bag from the rock as he slid next to me. Turning, I moved to start back down the trail again. A hand grabbed my elbow though and pulled me backwards. Turning back, Blaine wrapped an arm around my waist and pressed his lips to mine. My eyes widened in shock as his other arm held my hand. They closed though as the kiss continued. His lips felt slightly wet and I could taste the water he had been drinking. His tongue traced my lips but didn’t move forward any. He pulled back a moment later, still holding me close to him.
“There.” He panted. “You’ve made it out of the line and into the front gates.”