Chapter 42: Be Mine?
“Wow,” I breathed, relief washing over me.
“Wow,” He repeated, shaking his head in disbelief and lips parted in a smile.
We turned to look at each other, and as soon as our eyes met we burst into fits of laughter, heads thrown back and eyes squinted.
“Are we really doing this?” I asked, dizzy with the possibilities of running away from everything I’ve ever known.
Some people might call me crazy for turning my back on the world and giving everything up for a boy I’d only known two weeks. But crazy was good. Crazy was familiar. Crazy was every book I’d ever read, every life that had been told between those pages. Because if the stories were ordinary, they wouldn’t be worth telling in the first place.
“Yes, we really are doing this.” He faltered for a moment, eyes lit up like sparklers on New Years Eve, before turning to face me, “What did I do to deserve you?” He placed his hands on my cheeks, palms cold, and pressed his nose to mine.
I sighed, resting my forehead against his, “I guess the library is the best place to meet a girl.”
“Who would’ve thought?”
I swallowed the overwhelming happiness swelling up inside of me, the utter surreality of everything that had happened and everything that was going to happen. In that moment, my world seemed to stop.
“C’mon Sunshine,” he suddenly pulled away from me, new intentions making the energy around us buzz, “I have an idea.”
Miles yanked open the trucks door and hopped out, a soft thump greeting him as his feet hit the ground. Twigs crunched as he walked round to let me out, opening the door to the field surrounding us. I carefully climbed out, heart thumping, and took in my surroundings.
He laced his hands through mine as he guided me around to the back of the truck, and I stumbled against him. We stopped abruptly, staring down at the cargo bed of the boot.
“Did you bring blankets?” Miles asked, voice unusually loud.
“Yeah, there’s some in the back. What’re you...”
He let go of my hand before I could finish talking, and moments later he was back with two tattered blankets strewn across his arms. He was wearing one of his lopsided smiles, and I couldn’t help but laugh at the sight of him.
He carefully discarded the covers onto the back of the truck, corners folded at the edges.
“Hop on missy,” He drawled in a heavy accent, patting the truck firmly.
“Sure thang mister!” I giggled pathetically as I swung one leg up and hoisted myself onto the back of the truck. Miles followed behind me, slumping himself down next to my arm. He reached out and shuffled closer, moving for me to rest my head on his shoulder.
Immediately my eyes greeted the stars, scattered across the sky in clumsy patterns. They glinted as I blinked, fate emanating from each tiny constellation.
“ ’Dang what a sight...” Miles hugged me closer to his chest, accent still in check. I turned to look at him raising my eyebrows. “Sorry,” his laugh rumbled through me, “Habit.”
I rolled my eyes, nuzzling into his chest. He still smelt like lemonade.
My eyes flickered shut as I lost myself in the cold night air and the feeling of his arms wrapped around me, holding me close. I’d never felt so safe out in the open like this, tucked beneath a sky of a thousand stars and lost in the smell of him and the grass. My chest rose and fell in steady motions, sleep taking a gentle hold on me.
“Kirsten?” His voice was soft now, having lost the spontaneous excitement it had earlier, and was now full of clarity and something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
“Mhm?” I murmured, voice coated with sleep.
“I want to ask you something.”
My heart sped up immediately, the same feeling bubbling to the surface from back when he’d asked me to run away with him. So much had changed since then.
I sat up slightly, opening my eyes, and turned to face him.
“Okay...” I brushed a strand of hair away from his face as he bit his lip, avoiding my eyes.
“I wanted to make this official before-” he paused, “before we rush into anything.”
I nodded slowly, moving back to look at the stars. They were so close that it felt as if I could reach up and pluck one out of the sky.
“Can you...will you,” his breath caught, “Be mine?”
Ocean blue eyes. A chequered shirt. Freckles and too many smiles to count. Cocky remarks. Teasing and tickling and breaking into cafe’s in the middle of the night. Hesitation and tension and firework touches in cheap motels. Laughter and breathless kisses, lemonade and promises. Loving books and hating books, hiding out at the back of libraries ’cause people aren’t his cup of tea. But I am. And he is mine.
He is my fantasy, my broken mirror that I’d stand in front of for the rest of my life trying to see beneath the cracks, trying to figure out every little detail about this ruggedly handsome, arrogant and absolute, smart-mouthed, idiot that I’d fallen in love with. Nicknames and shoelaces, sunshine and chasing the past. Constellations and expectations. The boy from science class and the boy that hates books. Secret locations, brick walls, flightless birds, weightless, free. Spray paint and crazy ideas.
“It’s my way of asking you out...I uh-sorry this is probably really awkward for you-” He stammered, fidgeting beside me. He’d lost his cool persona, and because of that I could tell how much this meant to him.
“Hey, hey, hey,” I placed my hand on his, squeezing tightly, “Breathe.”
He chuckled nervously, eyes wide and expectant.
“Look up there,” I pointed up to the stars and he followed my gaze, “Could you count them?”
He stayed silent for a few long moments, before echoing a simple, “No. There’s too many.”
“The amount of stars up there equal to the amount of times I’m saying yes. A thousand times over yes.”
And in that moment his entire face lit up, happiness radiating with every breath and every blink of those crystal blue eyes. He pulled me into a tight hug, taking the breath from my body. I let myself get drawn into him, feeling as if I’d been on a Ferris wheel this whole time, and now I’d finally made it to the top.
It didn’t take long to be washed away by a kiss too, a light flurry of excitement and familiar heart skips. He smiled as he kissed me, hands lost in my hair. When we pulled away my lips were numb, cheeks flushed.
He expelled a breath before falling back onto the blankets, arms tucked behind his head. I fell down beside him, kicking off my shoes and stretching my legs out. The sound of crickets could be heard faintly, and every now and then the leaves on the trees would rustle, reminding us they were there.
Now, as I fell asleep to the sound of his breathing and the lingering memory of his lips on mine, I wanted to thank the stars for one thing and one thing only.
For bringing him to me.