Defining Us (Book 2 of Discovering Me Series)

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Chapter 61: Drive - Glades

{Isabella}

Flashback

“It took a while due to difficulty choosing between two groups who did exceedingly well, but the audience has finally selected its winner. -” Headmaster Lawrence started to announce into the microphone as all of the senior groups stood on stage.

“This group went above and beyond what they were called to do. We asked for an act and they gave us an entire production. They didn’t just sing, they gave us a show. How they did it, I still don’t know, but I’ve learned that it’s best not to question their team captain’s methods. Congratulations, Elle-Stars.” He said, smiling in our direction as the crowd cheered.


“It is our anniversary and you want me to publicly make a fool out of myself. I should be surprised, but I’m not.” Milo was looking down at me as we continued to cuddle in bed.

“We’ve been in love for a year. I’d be very worried about your understanding our relationship if that weren’t the case.” I rubbed his chest as I kept my head on his shoulder.

“We you said we would be together all day, I was under the assumption that we’d would alone.”

“We will be for the most part. We just have some minor business to tend to first.” I shifted my face upward to look at him. “Morgan’s going to Japan tomorrow. Your team promised to fulfill your punishment before spring break. This is our only time to do it.”

“At least I got to wake up to you.” He pushed back my hair with a relaxed smile.

“We’re going to have a good day. I even have a present for you.” I softly pressed my lips to his. “Am I lisping too much? I’ve never talked to you this much while wearing my retainer.”

“Am I squinting too much? I’m not wearing my glasses.” He joked in response.

“I don’t like you.” I grinned and put my hand on the side of his face.

“You’re right. You love me.” He returned his lips to mine.

I couldn’t stop smiling as we kissed.

We left bed when we recalled the time. We need to shower together to make up for waking up late. Kissing and touching took place though it was banned last time, but we still kept enough boundaries to be safe.

“I think my curling iron is in your camp bag. Is it okay if I check?” Elle walked into our shared bathroom, the curtain allowed her to believe it was just the two of us.

“Yeah.” I sighed as he kissed my neck.

She left to retrieve it. I guided his face to mine and kissed him deeply.

“It was there. I talked to Ry and he said Milo’s not home. He thought he was here, but I see that isn’t the case. Do you know where he is?”

“Probably out getting me coffee or something. It’s our anniversary.”

“That’s right! Ugh, so sweet. Shame you’re about to torture him.”

“He’s used to it.” I smiled against his lips.

“Hurry your shower along. We have things to do.”

“Kay.” I responded between slow kisses.

I put my hand on the side of his face when he rested his forehead against mine.

“Do I actually have to get you food?” He whispered.

“Yup.” I smiled.

We returned to my room together. We got dressed side by side. I giggled as he slid on a hot pink crop top that was two sizes too small.

“I hate this so much.”

“Your team lost and you agreed to do this if it happened. It’s a good color on you.” I ran my fingers through my damp hair to distribute curl definition cream.

“We were sure we would win.” He tugged at the hem as an attempt to make it cover more.

“NEVER underestimate Elle.”

“The same could be said about Ry.” He checked himself out in the mirror. “You can pick out the shirt you want me to wear for the rest of the day.”

I went to the overnight bag he put on my desk. The shirts inside were the one I bought him for his birthday and the one Elle bought him for mine.

It was an instantaneous decision. I threw the black V-neck at him.

“I’m surprised you didn’t go for the boat one.”

“We’ve actually made love on a boat. No need to fantasize as much.” I resumed getting ready.

He hid his crop top beneath a jacket he zipped up all the way.

Milo drove Adam, Ryan, and me in his car. He stopped and bought me breakfast on our way to the store. I made him buy it for the rest of the car, simply because I could. Morgan took Nick, Finn, Sami, and Elle in her van. One of Milo’s far guards followed us in a car. He was prepared to monitor him inside the store from a closer, but still out of sight distance.

Milo was permitted to wear at hat and sunglasses to prevent him from being recognized. The other guys were very jealous when they saw his accommodations.

“Stop recording our pain.” Finn tried to put his hand in front of Sami’s phone’s camera.

“I want to be able to laugh at it now and later.” She managed to continue recording as we walked into the local convenience store.

All the shoppers stared with the most bizarre expressions when we walked inside the building.

“Where are these damn things located? I want to get out of here.” Finn grumbled in frustration, stalking off in search of them.

Sami followed with a skip, hop, and smug grin, still recording it all on her phone.

“Found cotton balls. Can these just count?” Ryan yanked them off a shelf and presented them to us with minimal effort.

“Nope, you can’t use those for a period. If you need help finding your tampons, ask an employee. Better yet, I DARE YOU.” Elle challenged, knowing he’d be unable to surrender.

“You are the worst.” Ryan puffed out his chest and walked off in pursuit of a person to ask.

He found a middle-aged man restocking toilet paper at the end of one of the aisles. Deeming him as their best option, Ryan strolled up to him.

“What’s your tampon situation like here?” He deepened his voice and crossed his arms.

When the employee registered what he had said, he stopped his task and turned to look at him slowly.

“Is this a joke?” He asked with his face contorted in complete confusion.

“No, I need my tampons or I can’t leave.” Ryan answered with a straight face, keeping the same tone.

Elle may have inserted clause that stated they must take ownership of the tampons when talking about them. She knew Ryan would spin it into a sweet caring for one’s significant other thing otherwise. And it made the boys’ embarrassment grow tenfold. It was brilliant.

Tears started streaming down my cheeks as I tried to contain my laughter.

“They just started their first periods. It’s a very magical time.” Sami added.

I laughed outwardly alongside Elle, Morgan, and Adam. The boys glared at us.

“Right...well, aisle 7.” The man answered.

“Thank you for the help.”

“There’s a whole aisle dedicated to these things?” Finn used his thumb to point down the feminine hygiene aisle, but remained outside of it.

“This is overwhelming.” Nick was the one brave enough to walk in first.

“How do we know which ones to get?” Milo joined him.

“Figure it out.” We walked in once all of the boys were inside browsing.

“This one smells nice.” Ryan was sniffing one of the boxes.

“That’s disgusting.” Finn scowled.

“What? It said ‘scented’. I wanted to see what it smelled like. It’s not like it’s been anywhere yet.” Ryan said defensively as he sat the box back down on the shelf.

“This one says that it ‘expands like a flower’. Why would anyone want that?” Nick asked as he started reading and comparing boxes with Milo. Ryan somehow convinced Finn to smell boxes with him.

Who knew watching your boyfriend and guy friends go tampon shopping would be the funniest thing ever? It took twenty minutes for them to narrow it down to two.

“I’m thinking we should go with these. The box is artistically superior, very contemporary. And have you seen those commercials? They make fun of the other companies that have women running around in all white.” Finn explained his choice.

“I don’t know, Man. These guarantee the best protection against leaks. I don’t have time to deal with discomfort during my schedule.” Ryan point to the other option and the other guys nodding in agreement.

“They do realize they aren’t actually having a period, right?” Morgan whispered.

As if in answer to her question, Ryan said, “But then again, this one says that it has double absorbency of the next leading brand. You’ve got appreciate an over-achiever. I’m much more comfortable using a product that asserts its superiority.” now siding with Finn.

“Yeah, they’ve forgotten that they can’t menstruate and will in no way be using these products.” Elle said as we observed them.

“Maybe we should remind them...” Adam suggested.

“Don’t ruin this for me.” Sami stopped him by putting her arm out.

Once they finally reached their decision and each grabbed box to take to the checkout, we trailed behind and resumed laughing at the stares they were receiving.

They made it out of the store and two the cars in one piece. None of them hesitated when it came to changing shirts.

Milo and I were excused from the shopping trip with Elle because it was our anniversary and shopping did not faze Milo very much. He was pretty used to being subjected to fashion.

We went to my suite to bake cupcakes from scratch.

I put an apron over his head. He kissed me the moment my heels were back on the ground.

“We’re sneaking into the music building later and you’re going to play my song for me again.” I reached behind my back and tied my apron’s belt.

“Only if you do your routine for me in person.”

“Deal.”

We kissed again to confirm our promises.

We mixed and baked our cupcakes, following one of my mom’s recipes. We allowed them to cool, leaving the suite to do our other activities.

We held hands as we walked across campus. I kept looking over at him. I smiled uncontrollably each time I caught him doing the same.

We got into the music building with my master key and gained access to one of the piano practice rooms using Sami’s pin code. He sat down on the bench in front of the glossy black instrument. I looked around in hopes of finding a place to sit. He patted the empty seat beside him.

“Won’t I get in your way?” I sat down.

“No. I stay in the same area.” He placed his fingers on the porcelain keys.

“When did you learn to play this?”

“This summer after you left Listonenia. I missed you and it gave me something to do.”

“How soon after?”

“Did I miss you?”

I nodded.

“The moment you were out of sight. I always do.”

“Me too.” I admitted.

He stole a quick kiss. He soon after started playing The Kooks’ song for me for me.

So at my show on Monday

I was told that someday

You’d be on your way to better things

It’s not about your make-up

Or how you try to shape up

To these tiresome paper dreams

Paper dreams honey

So now you pour your heart out

You’re telling me you’re far out

You’re all about to lie down for your cause

But you don’t pull my strings

Cause I’m a better man

Moving on to better things

But uh oh, I love her because

She moves in her own way

But uh oh, she came to my show

Just to hear about my day

And at the show on Tuesday

She was in her mindset

Tempered firs and spangled boots

Looks are deceiving

Making me believe it

And these tiresome paper dreams

Paper dreams honey, yeah

So won’t you go far

Tell me you’re a keeper

You’re all about to lie down for your cause

But you don’t pull my strings because

Cause I’m a better man

Moving on to better things

But uh oh, I love her because

She moves in her own way

But uh oh, she came to my show

Just to hear about my day

Yes our wish’s that we never made it

Through all the summers

We kept them up instead of

Kicking us back down to the suburbs

Yes our wish’s that we never made it

Through all the summers

We kept them up instead of

Kicking us back down to the suburbs

But uh oh, I love her because

She moves in her own way

But uh oh, she came to my show

Just to hear about my day

But uh oh, I love her because

She moves in her own way

But uh oh, she came to my show

Just to hear about my day

He played at a slower tempo and with a different instrument than the original song. He took the guitar strumming pop song and transformed it into an emotional piano ballad.

I rested my head on his shoulder when the song concluded. He kissed the top of my head and put his arm around me. I lifted my head and turned it to have my face parallel with his. We shared several short kisses.

“We’re kissing as often as we did on my birthday.”

“I now understand how you felt on it.”

I kissed him once more before taking his hand and yanking him from his seat. I tugged him along to the dance building. I didn’t bother changing once we were in the studio. My dress provided nice movement. I simply removed my shoes and jacket and plugged my phone into the aux chord.

“You’re incredible.” He picked me up and spun me around when I finished.

I giggled. “You might be biased.” I put my hands on his shoulders.

“You’re impossibly talented.” He placed me on the ground, but kept his arms around my waist.

“Again, biased.”

“No.” He leaned down and kissed me.

“I’m anxious about the video airing.”

“In a good or bad way?”

“Bad. People can be harsh online. What if we’re the only ones that like it?”

“That won’t be the case, but if it is, we’ll watch it all the time because it makes us happy.”

“Promise?”

He nodded and leaned down to kiss me. I smiled against his lips. I put my hand on his shoulder as we smooched again.

We left after doing a few lifts for fun. We decorated our cupcakes upon returning to my place. He ate one. I had three. He insisted on getting me real food and ordered takeout for us.

We started watching a horrible horror movie as we waited for it to arrive. It was the first one I ever showed him. I relaxed beneath his arm, resting my head on his shoulder. He occasionally kissed the top of my head as he continuously rubbed my arm. I felt safe and content, savoring the delectable yet familiar smell of his cologne. Coincidentally it was the one he wore the night before the start of our trial run. It was always my favorite of his collection.

We eat dinner in the living room. I draped my legs across his lap, still wanting to touch him as our hands were occupied. We went to my room for present time.

“Let me give you yours first.” I went to my closet.

I gave him to wrapped box. He was seated on my bed at that point with a box beside him.

“I wonder what it is.” He thought aloud as he pulled off the paper.

The first thing he pulled out was his watch.

“I’ve been wondering where this went.”

“I stole it for a good reason. Flip it over.” I urged him, rubbing his arm.

“What do the numbers mean?” He stared at it.

“They are the coordinates of our spot, the place I met you.”

A smile twinged on his lips. “I love it.”

“You got me a special bracelet. I wanted to return the favor.” I returned it to his wrist.

“It’s perfect.”

“I’m glad you like it.” I leaned in and kissed him.

He returned to the box. I had filled it with mementos from our year together: blank tick-tack-toe boards, a copy of Woodland Chainsaw Massacre and Fame, a pony keychain, the program from last year’s spring production, a vile of sand I collected from the beach, a dog collar for Dante with SMA’s address on it, and a captain’s hat.

Our place had started it all, but we had gone so many places since then -- marvelous ones, even when things got dark for us.

“And you say you’re bad at gifts.”

“I am compared to you. All of it is super cheesy, but I think its dorkiness makes it cute.” I picked up the captain’s hat and put it on his head.

“I thought you said you were over the obsession boat.”

“I lied.” I whispered into his ear and kissed his cheek.

“And now it’s my turn.” He reached over and handed me a wrapped box.

I tore the yellow paper and revealed a wooden jewelry box. The quote: “You have a place in my heart no one else ever could have” - F. Scott Fitzgerald etched on the lid. I traced the indentations with my fingers before lifting the lid.

A ballerina sprang up. Studying her, I noticed that she looked just like me –- freckles and all. I cranked the knob in the front to watch her twirl. Mary had a Little Lamb was the jingle she danced to. My smile widened. Glancing down inside the box, I noticed a diamond necklace. I recognized it to be Eliza’s.

I teared up and clenched my eyes closed to keep them from escaping. “I fastened this to her plaque. It should be in Greece.”

“She wanted you to keep it.” He put his arm around me.

I mentally chanted, She wants you to be happy, to keep my tears to a minimum.

He put his other arm around me, encasing me. “This box is to collect the valuable items you treasure because they are associated with people you love. You can put your bracelet from me, your necklace from Audrey, your school master key from Finn and whatever else belongs beside them in there whenever you can’t have them on your person. They’ll be safe with mini you.”

I breathed a laugh through my congestion. “You’re too good at gifts and there’s no way you stuck to the budget.” I swiped away the few tears that had fallen.

“Do you understand who your best friend is? She is ALWAYS my consult. Your birthday gift is free. I combined the two.” He kissed the side of my face. “Do you like it?”

“Beyond words.” I opened my eyes and turned to him.

“Are you okay?” He put his hand on the side of my face and caressed my cheek. “Maybe I shouldn’t have put her bit in there.”

“It belongs.” I feebly smiled. “You have been nothing but helpful when it has come to her. I needed this.”

He leaned in and kissed me. “I love you, Iz.”

“I figured.”

He kissed me with more force, but it was welcomed, just as it always was.

“The real question is: do you trust your jewelry in my box?” I opened it to him.

“Consider this a trial run.” He removed his watch and singlet and dropped them inside.

“They’ll be together.” I nestled my bracelet inside of his watch.

I moved my jewelry box to a safe place before things progressed further.

“Hi...again.” I smiled down at him once I straddled his waist.

“Hi.” He guided my face down to his.

I smiled against his lips when his hands moved to my rear end.

“Can’t stay away.” I teased.

“I did at camp. It was torture.”

“The worst is over. Today was the day last year. You get me today too.”

“Wait. Are our condoms back in your nightstand?” We paused after we had been kissing a while.

“Do you think I would be doing this if that weren’t the case?” I pulled back a little and tucked my hair behind one of my ears as I looked down at him.

“I’m just making sure we’re not going to have the same problem as last year.”

“We’ve wised up since then. I’d hate to be mad at you on our anniversary. We’re having such a good one.” I resumed kissing him.

“The first of many.”

I smiled against his lips. He rolled us over.

“Hold on.” I reached over to my nightstand. I returned his captain’s hat to his head.

“Really?” He smirked down at me.

“Shhh. Don’t question it.” I guided his face back down to mine.

He laughed, making me do the same. Our playfulness didn’t stop us from fully giving into the magnetism we fought each moment were together. Upon its conclusion, we got ready for bed and laid down.

“Guess what.” My head was on his chest.

“What?” He was soothingly rubbing my back.

“Our third date went pretty well.”

“There’s no way this was our third date.”

“We really don’t do concentrated romantic things. We just sort of hang out.”

“You’ve never expressed interest in --”

“I″m far from complaining, Babe. I’m obviously into it.” I kissed his bare chest. “More than our bi-annual dates would get overwhelming.”

“We can’t have that. It would ruin a lot of things we have in the works.”

“I know. We’re on the right track.”

“We’re doing well.” He agreed.

“And I’m happy.”

“Me too.” He kissed the top of my head.

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