As clear as Day

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Chapter 9

“So there’s a party going on tonight and what better way to end this night than a little dancing, right Mel?” Maddie wiggled her eyebrows at her.

Melanie sighed, she would prefer going home, do some work on her essay and go to bed. “It’s past twelve Mads! They all but threw us out of the diner” Melanie reasoned with her friend and tried not to notice the muscular body next to her, feeling his warmth at their proximity.

She went quiet after the ice cream fiasco, she had been trying to figure out how the boy next to her had so easily gotten her so comfortable. She‘d never been like this with a boy outside of family ties, and even though a part of her was singing with happiness, another part of her was scared. She had no idea where they stood, if they stood at all for that matter.

“Oh come on, you have the day off tomorrow so you can sleep then! It’s in Maple street so we can take you home in like two minutes if you really don’t want to stay. Please…” Maddie pleaded and Melanie gave an exasperated sigh to which Maddie gave her a hug.

They all got into the car and suddenly she wished Maddie had offered to sit in the back, their legs were almost touching, he’s been quiet since she’s been quiet and with every growing second she feels more stupid. This should not be a problem, he has given basically no indication that he likes her in that way so she shouldn’t be feeling this nervous and whatever it is she’s feeling. ‘Damn you Maddie for putting this in my head’ she thought to herself.

Soon they stopped in front of apartment blocks that looked way too busy for quarter past twelve on a Wednesday night or Thursday morning actually.

As Maddie and Ricky started walking Melanie stopped them with a grin “Actually guys I think I’m heading home, I have a major assignment that needs to be in next week and after my last encounter I don’t think I’m in the mood.”

She eyed Chase slightly, he hasn’t taken a step from the car, as if he knew what her plans were. Maddie gave a sad smile and pulled Ricky their way “Alright Mel, we’ll go drop you off.”

Melanie waved them of “Oh please I live like a block away, the exercise will do me good. Have fun and be safe” Melanie hugged Maddie and turned to Chase.

She was just about to say goodbye when he stepped forward “I’ll walk you home.”

His voice was laced with authority, leaving no room for arguments, she felt the butterflies that had settled a while ago came back two fold.

“So not much of a party girl?” Chase questioned as they started walking down the street.

She gave a smile “It’s not the party that bothers me as much, it’s more the drunk hormonal student body that’s the problem. How about you?”

“Well there’s not much to me” he looked at her for a second with a small smile before looking to the street ahead of them.

“Well I’ve been told you’re not much of a party goer yourself…” Melanie’s heart jumped when his gaze met hers.

He had a pained look flash across his face but quickly shrugged “I’ve been there, I just see no value in it. I’d rather walk home with you than drink shitty beer in a shitty apartment with shitty drunk people feeling shitty because I could have been talking to you instead…”

Is he flirting with me… she thought to herself, this got the butterflies fluttering even more! “So overall it’s a shitty experience then? No dancing with shitty people or going home at a shitty time in the morning?” she sent him a smile.

He gave a chuckle and took a step closer to her “I’ll only dance with a specific person, and there is nothing shitty about her…”

So there’s a girl, she thought to herself. She returned to walking home, not supplying him with a reply.

Suddenly she came to a stop when he grabbed her hand and pulled her closer, speaking just above a whisper “That’s why I’d rather walk her home…”

His proximity was blowing her fuses, she couldn’t think, move or speak. She stood there like a dear caught in headlights, staring into his blue orbs.

“Have any plans for the rest of the night?” she breathlessly asked him

He gave a lopsided smile “You tell me.”

She dragged him to her truck in the parking lot of her apartment block and quickly started to drive the familiar road to her little secret place, her butterflies turning into birds by the feel of it.

As they reached the winded dirt road, Chase gave a chuckle “Is this the part where you kill me and feed me to your pet crocodile?”

Melanie gave a chuckle and shook her head “I don’t like the idea of prison so, no you are completely safe in that regard, you’ll see in a second.”

Minutes later they reached the familiar gates and she hopped out of the idling truck to open them, making sure to close them once they were parked inside. As they got out she could see Chase was just as mesmerized by the scene as she had been the first time she was here.

“I do some volunteer work for a children’s home in town and on weekends we bring the kids here to discover nature and have some fun, there’s a hiking trail just past the trees on the left. I come in every now and then to check if everything’s fine and the owner gave me free pass to hike whenever I want… First time I came alone, I hiked too far up and only reached here when it was dark already, the river captivated me. Everything just seemed so tranquil here.”

She took his hand and led him closer to the river, the path lights guiding them to a bench. She sat down and gestured for him to join her. “Listen…” she whispered to him, and quickly you could hear classical music drifting from across the river.

She could feel his eyes on her as she turned her face to him “The old couple across the river has a thing for it I guess, sometimes they’d even dance together on the porch. It’s all just so beautiful, everything just matches perfectly I guess… ”

He gave her a heart melting smile, standing shortly after and offering his hand to her “May I have this dance?”

Melanie could feel her heart do backflips as she took his hand and slowly started to sway to the music. “This place is breath taking Melanie, but it has nothing on you…” he breathed.

Everything just felt perfect as he pulled her closer to him, lowering his face to hers, pausing just above her lips, waiting for her approval of his action. Before she could think too much of it, she lifted her lips to his.

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