X. Date Night
“Babe, where are we going?” I whined for about the tenth time since we’d left my house. We’d been driving for almost an hour and I was getting antsy.
“Hon, if I tell you it won’t be a surprise,” he said with a small smile as he brought our intertwined hands up to his lips. “Pratica un po ’di pazienza, hm?” He suggested before he kissed the back of my hand. He knew it drove me crazy when he spoke my language, so he strategically used it against me. That boy...
“Fine,” I huffed, tugging my hand from his and crossed my arms before I leaned against the window.
“Babe,” he whined as he fruitlessly grabbed for my hand, though he knew my childish antics. “Come on, babe. We’re almost there. Less than five minutes okay?” He said, offering me his hand. I glanced at him and saw him giving me puppy dog eyes. “Please?”
I looked at his hand then his face then his hand again. I sighed before I reluctantly took his hand. I honestly hated him sometimes. After a few more minutes of driving, he pulled into the parking lot of a park that was mostly empty except for a few people here and there. “Where are we?” I asked as I followed Madison.
“Three towns over,” he said, “where no one knows us. Our named. Our lives. Our secrets. It’s a blank canvas waiting to be painted on and I’ve got a rainbow in mind.”
“Woah,” was all I could say. He planned this out so that we could be ourselves in public without having to worry about who saw us. It was...perfect. “So, if I decided to do this,” he said putting his hand in mine, “it wouldn’t be such a big deal, would it?” I looked around in order to verify that no one I knew was around before I slowly shook my head. He gave me a reassuring squeeze.
“And what about this?” he asked before his lips met mine in a chaste kiss. As he pulled away my eyes grew wide before they automatically started darting around to make sure that no one saw, surprise still rushing through my system at his sudden action. He chuckled. His dimples were so cute. “Un passo alla volta. Capisco.”
“Don’t spring stuff like that on me, Mads,” I groaned causing him to laugh once more.
“Come on, we still have much to do,” he said before he gently dragged me along. As we walked hand and hand, most people didn’t spare us a second glance, but if they did, they either didn’t care or didn’t show that they did. But we did a few side looks or looks of disgust, but they kept their mouths shut which was a wise choice. But I didn’t really care about what these people thought. As Mads led me deeper and deeper through the trees that laid within the park, the more I realized that the only reason I didn’t show Madison off to my friends like I wanted to was that I was worried about losing people that I cared about. And even though I knew that if they were truly my friends they wouldn’t care, I was too scared to take that risk. But these people meant nothing to me and no matter what they thought, it was easy to be myself around them which felt kind of odd but comforting nonetheless.
After a few moments, we ended up at a frozen yogurt place where we could mix and match our own flavors and toppings. Despite my protests, Madison insisted on paying before walking me over to a bench that overlooked a beautiful pond filled with various fish, ducks, and geese. “How is it?” Madison asked as he slung his arm around my shoulders and slightly moved closer to me.
“Amazing,” I gushed. I’d mixed every chocolate option they had and put gummy worms on top. “It tastes like heaven in my mouth. How’s yours?” I asked noticing he’d barely had more than two scoops of his.
“I found out the hard way that salted caramel and pistachio frozen yogurt was never meant to be together,” he admitted woefully looking at his failed experiment.
“No, it was not,” I laughed as I playfully cringed. “Whoever put that idea in your head straight up lied to your face.”
He frowned. “Can I at least have some of yours?”
“Sure,” I sighed playfully rolled my eyes before I dipped my spoon into my cup. But, Madison being Madison, gripped my chin and turned my head before pressing his lips against mine, his tongue lightly sweeping over my lips and teeth. “Madison!” I semi-whined as he pulled away, causing him to laugh before he plucked my spoon from my hands that was already prepped with frozen yogurt on it.
“Yeah, yours is definitely better,” he decided before kissing my cheek before saying in a sing-song voice, “Thank you, baby.”
“If I didn’t like you so much you’d totally be dead right now,” I grumbled as he held me closer.
“If you killed me then we wouldn’t be able to finish the rest of the awesome date I still have planned,” he said before sticking the spoon back into my frozen dessert then stood up and offered me his hand. “Come on, Noah. We have to hurry.” Despite my faux anger, I took his hand and allowed him to lead me through the park in a direction we hadn’t gone before. We were walking across a bridge that lazily stretched across a river as the moon chased the sun out of the sky and lightning bugs began flickering through the darkness. It was beautiful. “We’re almost there,” he advised before he put his hands over my eyes, causing me to tense due to reflex. “Rilassati, piccola. Sono qui,” he whispered in my ear, causing a grin to subconsciously spread across my face.
I let him slowly direct my steps until I heard the sound of a door opening followed by the smell of cinnamon and chai tea. “This place made me think of you and your passion for creating and writing. I hope you like it,” Madison gently whispered before taking his hands from my eyes, causing me to gasp as soon as my eyes had adjusted. Around me were walls stacked to the ceiling with books as well as tall shelves overflowing with books and journals. At the top of a small set of stairs was a large sitting area consisting of pillows and blankets on the floor along with bean bags and other chairs. There was even a tall bookcase that had a ladder leaning against it that led to a huge window seat also covered in pillows. The lighting was low and relaxed giving the vibe of home along with the small cafe on the other side of the store that had various teas, cakes, and cookies on display. And to my surprise, other than a few staff members, Madison and I were the only inhabitants of the bookstore.
“Wow...” was all I could manage taking in the sight before me before I looked at Madison who was looking at me with an adoring grin. “How did you find this place? It’s amazing.”
“One of our ex-employees opened this place and with my charming personality and wit, I convinced him to let us have this place all to ourselves a week before opening night. I couldn’t keep my excitement at bay and found myself placing a quick and excited kiss on his lips before I quickly pulled him toward the bookcase with a ladder and excitedly climbed up it. “Baby, rallenta,” he chuckled, climbing up the ladder with half the speed and excitement I had.
Like a little child I allowed myself to become absorbed in the soft blankets and admired the various familiar titles that lined the shelves, a string on fairy lights a foot or so above my head. “So I take you like it?” Madison softly asked as he wrapped his arms around my waist while resting his chin on my shoulder as I flipped over a new James Patterson book in my hands.
“No,” I said shaking my head causing his eyebrows to furrow and panic to deep into his eyes. I smiled. “I love it. Thanks Madison.”
He let out a sigh of relief before narrowing his eyes at me. “Don’t do that to me, Noah,” he chastised.
“Now you know how it feels,” I said in a sing-song voice before placing a kiss on his lips once more, this time allowing it to be lengthy and deep. He smiled against my lips just before I pulled away and allowed my attention to return to the book in my hand.
“Babe,” Madison said, causing me to look up from the book and notice that his arms had left my body. “I want you to read to me,” he said holding up a copy of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I smiled before I put my book down and crawled over to him.
“Good book choice,” I observed as I took the book from him and allowed him to gently settle me in his lap and wrap his blanket around us. He rested his chin on my shoulder as I cracked open the book so he could read it as I spoke.
“Ready when you are,” he announced readjusting his grip on my waist.
“So impatient,” I playfully chastised before I started reading. “It’s a weirdly subtle conversation...”