IX. Morning Surprises
Goodbyes were always the hardest part. Always.
“Babe, I have to go,” I muttered against Madison’s soft lips as he feverishly kissed me. We’d parked in the back of the soccer fields so that no one could see us and we’d already had our goodbye kisses back at my house, but as soon as I went to unbuckle my seatbelt, Madison’s lips were on mine. And they’d remained on mine for the past four minutes.
“Fine,” he grumbled before he placed one more lingering kiss on my lips. “But you better text me tonight.”
“I will,” I smiled before I looked at my reflection in the rearview mirror. My hair was messy from Madison’s hands, but my hair looked messy all the time. My lips were a tad puffy, but I could take care of that. And the hickies Mads had given me were safely hidden below the high neck of the shirt I was wearing. “See you tomorrow.”
“See you tomorrow,” Madison repeated as I grabbed my soccer bag from the back seat then sprinted to the fields where the boys were slowly starting to trickle in.
“Hey Noah,” Connor greeted as I approached the group.
“Hey Con,” I responded.
“Where were you at school today?”
“I didn’t feel too good, but I’m better now.”
“Alright, just don’t push yourself too hard, okay?”
“Okay, mom,” I said, causing him to punch me in the shoulder.
I laughed. “Alright boys. Let’s start with a few stretches to get warmed up then let’s run five laps before we get into a few drills.” Groans rang out from the boys and Connor narrowed his eyes. The boy loved running his laps.
“Just for that, we’re going to make it ten,” he announced, causing the group to look at me for help, but I shrugged.
“You heard your co-captain. Ten it is.”
I saw Connor smile out of the corner of my eye and I instantly regretted it. When I gave Connor an inch he tried to take the whole freaking world. But luckily I kept an eye on him and we only did ten laps around the huge field. Practice then continued as usual with rough play, swears, and boys being boys. I continued to check my shirt to make sure that my hickeys were covered because I really didn’t want to deal with questioning eyes or lie about how they’d gotten there.
As soon as practice was over, I practically ran off the field. I was tempted to ask Madison to drive me home since he’d brought me here, but then I realized I was becoming too dependent on him too quickly so I refrained. I didn’t want to scare him off with my clinginess.
After walking home, I took a quick shower then changed into the sweatpants Madison gave me earlier that day, opting to remain shirtless. After that, I Nona to check on her since she wasn’t home and she explained that she got finished later than she expected to and hated driving in the dark, so she would return tomorrow. As soon as I hung up, I began texting Madison.
Me (21:26): Hey. I just got done with practice. Nona won’t be here until tomorrow.
Mads (21:28): Hey, babe. I miss u. How was practice? And was that ur way of subtlety telling me u want me to come over ;)
I rolled my eyes at his text before I responded.
Me (21:32): I miss you too and it was tiring as usual, especially with my co-captain Connor running drills. As for the last question, I would LOVE to have you over tonight, but it’s a school night and I need to be fully charged. Sorry :(
Mads (21:36): I know some ways to keep u “fully charged” ;)
He teased, but I felt a blush stain my cheeks nonetheless
Me (21:38): I hate you.
Mads (21:40): No u don’t. U adore me. Anyways I’ll let u rest. I’ll be counting down the minutes until I’ll see you again. Goodnight hun <3
Me (21:43): You’re right. Goodnight babe <333
My morning was off to a rough start. I’d slept through two alarms, was out of coffee, and had nothing but a lone apple to hold me over until lunch since I’d forgotten to go to the store and I didn’t have Nona here to remind me every five seconds. I’d just gotten out of the shower and was currently looking for something to wear to school. I was about to have a mini mental breakdown when a familiar sweatshirt caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. Madison’s Columbia sweatshirt. Smiling to myself since I knew it was my boyfriend’s, I slid it on and instantly his scent rushed into my nose, relaxing me and making me feel as if everything was okay even though I knew that if I wasn’t at school in less than twenty minutes Mr. Hill was going to slowly murder me. I quickly slid on some sweats and a pair of shoes before I grabbed my backpack, phone, earbuds, keys, and apple before I headed out the door. But to my surprise, as soon as I opened the door, I saw Madison in front of it with one hand frozen in mid-knock and the other with a giant brown bag that smelled of delicious foods.
“Please tell me that’s for me,” I begged, knowing I’d barely make it to second hour on just an apple.
“Yes, Noah, it’s for you,” Madison said with an amused smile, causing me to smile before I wrapped my arms around him.
“You’re the best,” I said giving him a tight hug.
“I know,” he said once I released him. “Now let’s go. You don’t want to be late to school, now would you?”
“Ugh, don’t remind me,” I sighed as I followed him out the door, making sure to lock it behind me.
“Fine I won’t,” he said as we walked to his car and got in.
“How did you know I was running late and needed breakfast?” I asked as I opened up the bag to see two breakfast burritos and two hash browns waiting for me.
“I didn’t, but I figured that since we’re having our little date a bit later I should at least bring you breakfast to pamper you or whatever, you know?”
“Well thank you,” I said before I leaned over and kissed his cheek.
“You’re welcome. This is yours by the way,” he said offering me a large Starbucks coffee frappuccino in a glass bottle. “I didn’t know what you liked so I just grabbed one and hoped for the best.”
“You know me too well,” I chuckled as I took it and opened it, greedily taking in its contents that helped keep me awake all day during my classes.
“That I do, and I look forward to knowing more tonight,” he said as he rested his hand on my knee before he pulled out of my driveway. I savagely tore apart the food, not having realized how hungry I truly was until that very moment. “So what’s your first period?” he questioned as I gobbled down my second burrito.
“Creative writing,” I answered once I’d swallowed my food. “Mr. Hill. It’s great.”
“I remember taking high school classes,” Madison said as if he’d graduated a hundred years ago.
“I hope you would or else I’d be a little concerned. You didn’t graduate that long ago, you know.”
“I know, but sometimes it feels like it. Especially with work and all.”
“Well luckily you have me to make it more bearable,” I smiled and he smiled back.
“Luckily I do,” he agreed before squeezing my thigh.
It didn’t take long for me to finish my food and lace my fingers with his. All tension and stress left my body when he used his thumb to gently massage the back of my hand. “Alright, babe. Here’s your stop,” he said as he pulled into my school, causing me to sigh.
“Already?” I groaned.
“Don’t worry, we still have this evening,” Madison reminded and I nodded.
“We still have this evening.”
“What time do you get out? I want to pick you up.”
“Two twenty-three,” I said as I grabbed my backpack from the backseat where I’d thrown it.
“Great, I’ll see you then,” I said before I opened the door and got out, but there was a nagging feeling in my chest telling me there was something I forgot. I looked around to make sure the parking lot was clear before I ducked back in and gently kissed Madison on the lips.
“Thanks again for breakfast. It was great,” I said as I pulled away.
“If that’s the reward I get I’ll bring you breakfast every day if that’s what you wanted.”
“Bet,” I chuckled before I climbed out, this time shutting the door behind me and offering Madison a small wave just was the warning bell rang. Great. Now how exactly am I going to make it from here to the complete opposite side of our colossal school in less than five minutes? There was only one option. I ran. As I ran, I nearly bumped into people earning a few looks or curses and I could barely get out a “hey” to the people who called my name. My butt hit my seat the same time the bell rang.
“Ah, just in time Mr. Bruno,” Mr. Hill teased causing me to force a chuckle between my labored breaths.
“Wouldn’t...miss this class...for the...world,” I made out, causing him to shake his head before he gave us our assignment. Luckily, I was feeling extra inspired today and I quickly got to it before I got back to working on my portfolio that I needed to be finished soon. But my mind wandered to Madison. What was he doing? Did he miss me like I was missing him? Was I on his mind?
I was finished by the time the bell rang. Good, I’m almost done. I only have one more slot left in my portfolio, but I was struggling to find a piece to put in it. Remember what Mr. Hill said: don’t force it. I continued through the day making sure that my hickeys were covered and that I was not acting too different despite feeling like a completely different person since yesterday. But of course, Mads had to make it difficult by texting me sweet nothings throughout the day and giving me simple yet vague hints about our upcoming date.
“Bro, did you hear about Allison?” One of the boys said as I sat at our usual lunch table.
“She’s lesbian and she’s dating Kimberly. Man, it’d be so hot to be right between them in the-”
"Woah, Bryan, I’m trying to eat,” I said cutting him off with a slight chuckle. That’s the thing I’ve noticed about this school: when girls come out it’s fine and people sexualize it, but if a boy comes out, he gets ridiculed, made fun of, "loses his masculinity", and people act like he's a completely different person. That’s not fair. But despite my strong opinion, I kept my mouth shut.
“Where’s Connor?” I questioned when he didn’t show up after a few minutes.
“He has a new lady friend he’s hanging out with,” Bryan said, wagging his eyebrows.
“Finally,” I said. Connor was great, but he wasn’t strong in the flirting department which was tragic. To say I was proud of him would be an understatement.
I continued floating through the day up until the final bell rang and I practically ran out of school. “Woah, Bruno. Slow down,” Ellie’s boyfriend Anthony laughed as I passed him.
“Hey, Anthony,” I said as I clapped him on the shoulder.
“Are you coming to the party tomorrow?” He questioned. “It’s going to be crazy and I bet you there’ll be one or two kegs for you.”
“I don’t know, Tony,” I said weighing my options. Either spend tomorrow and Saturday with Madison or get really wasted tomorrow and feel it until Sunday. Decisions, decisions. “You’ll know tomorrow. If I come, you’ll know and if I don’t-”
“-my loss,” he chuckled, shaking his head.
“Ah, so he learns,” I chuckle just as I saw Madison’s car pull up out of the corner of my eye. The corner of my lips turned up a bit before my attention returned to Anthony. “Good luck with your party and tell Ellie I said hi.”
“Will do, Bruno,” he said before we slid hands and did the whole “bro-hug” thing then I made my way to Madison’s car, struggling to keep my excitement at bay.
“Hey, babe,” Madison greeted as I got into the car before he leaned in.
“Not yet,” I said, stopping him midway. “When we get home, alright?”
“Right, I keep forgetting,” he said, deflation evident in his voice but he put his hand on my knee nonetheless.
“How was your day?” I asked after a few tense moments of silence.
“Good,” he said. “Classes are stressing me out a tad bit, but I’ll survive.”
“Classes?” I asked, looking at him as we hit a red light.
“Oh yeah, I take online college courses. They’re not the best, but they’re doing a good job of getting me closer to my degree.”
“What are you studying for?” I asked.
“Major in computer coding and minor in psych,” he shrugged.
“Oh, my boy’s hot and smart,” I smiled as I laced my fingers with his.
“Call me Daddy Smarts,” he laughed, causing me to roll my eyes.
“Please never say that again.”
“Yeah, I think I vomited a bit in my mouth,” he cringed as the light turned green. I laughed.
“Where are we going?”
“Your house,” Madison said. “We have about four hours until our date officially begins so I figured we could cuddle a bit. Watch some Netflix. Maybe even make out a little.”
“I like the sound of that,” I smiled.
“I knew you would,” he said, the edges of his mouth turning up into a small smile.
It didn’t take long for us to pull up to my house and for us to be walking through the door and into my bedroom.
“Oh, cozy,” Madison observed as he kicked his shoes off and sat on my bed. “I like-” he was cut off by my lips meeting his. He instantly kissed me back and wrapped his arms around me so that there wasn’t a single part of our bodies that wasn’t touching. “Have I told you that I think you look really hot in my clothes?” He muttered into the skin of my jaw that he was currently kissing.
“You might have mentioned it once or twice,” I sighed as ecstasy washed over me and he moved to my neck. A moan escaped my lips and I felt him smile against my neck.
“Ah that sound,” he mused, causing me to lightly chuckle as he put his face level with mine.
“That sound,” I repeated with a small smile before I placed one more kiss on his lips. “I’m hungry, are you?”
“Yeah, but I’m not hungry for food,” he winked, causing me to punch him in the shoulder and a blush to ignite across my cheeks.
“You suck,” I frowned, before realizing what I’d said and who I’d said it to. And by the mischievous look in Madison’s eyes, I knew he’d heard it before I had.
“Well...” he trailed, obviously enjoying my flustered state.
“Don’t even, Mads,” I warned before I got up and walked out of the door.
“Noah,” he whined from in my room, but I didn’t respond. I’d had enough blushing for one day. I grabbed a bag of chips from the cabinet just as I heard a low rumble in the driveway. I hurried to the window and softly cursed. Nona’s car. Great.
I quickly headed back to my room to see Madison laying on my bed with the next episode of the Vampire Diaries cued up on Netflix. “My Nona’s home,” I quietly said as I shut my bedroom door.
“Do you want me to leave and come back later?” Madison asked as he sat up.
“What for?” I asked, throwing the bag of chips at him. “As long as that door remains closed, we can do whatever we want,” I said using my head to motion at my closed door. “All you have to do is pop out and say hi and then we can leave where we left off. We just need to be quiet.”
“You know it’s hard for us remaining quiet. You know with me sucking and all.”
“Madison, you know what I meant,” I said through gritted teeth, both annoyed and a bit flustered.
“And you know what I mean,” he winked. I hit him in the face with my pillow. “Oh, he likes it rough, does he?” Madison chuckled, causing me to hit him again. “Okay, okay,” he laughed, “I’m done. Just please stop hitting me.”
“Noah, honey, I’m home,” my Nona’s innocent little voice called. “Whose car is that in the driveway?”
“Come on,” I said standing up and offering Madison my hand. He took it our hands remained intertwined until we go to the living room where Nona was and we let them fall to our sides.
“Hello, Ms. Bruno.”
“Hey, Nona,” Madison and I said together.
“Oh hello, Madison. I didn’t know you were coming over,” she said before pulling him into a hug and kissing both his cheeks
“Oh, so do I not exist?” I asked, half serious and half joking.
“Of course you do, miele,” she chuckled before doing the same to me.
“How was your getaway thing.”
“Good,” she nodded. “But I’ll spare you the boring elderly details. I really need some rest. If you need me, I’ll be in my room, okay boys?”
“Yes, Miss. Bruno.”
“Get some rest,” we responded simultaneously, causing us to look at each other before we broke out into small smiles. After she left, we returned to my bedroom, careful to quietly close the door but to also lock it as well. You could never be too careful with my Nona.
I cuddled up in Madison’s arms and he wrapped his big arms around and even snuck one of his hands underneath my sweatshirt and rested it and my bare stomach. I decided I liked it. I liked it a lot. “You better not have watched on without me, Mads, or I swear I’ll kill you,” I threatened as the recap started playing since I hadn’t watched it since I last saw Madison.
“I haven’t, no need to get your boxers in a bunch,” Madison teased as he patted my stomach. I smiled to myself as I buried myself deeper into his chest. I felt happy. I think the happiest I’ve ever been since my parents’ death is in Madison’s arms. I was excited for tonight, almost as excited as I was to see what trouble Elena and the amazingly hot Salvatore brothers got themselves into next.