Unexpectedly I had actually had a really good night. Jett was charming and funny, but he wasn't for me romantically. My head wasn't in it, my heart certainly wasn't, so that didn't leave much else. He dropped me back at Jades as I sent the 'ok ready' text to Gabe. I felt Jetts eyes on me and I began to hope he wasn't going to make this difficult for me. I tended to fuck up the whole 'letting them down gently' thing by being blunt because I would appreciate the same if it was me.
'Thank you for tonight. I really enjoyed it.' I began, ready to jump into my tirade of why it wasn't going to work when he stopped me by placing his hand on mine.
He smiled as he waited, without necessarily needing to. I think the fact that I squirmed uncomfortably under his gaze and the way I made a cringy face probably answered for me. He held his hands up and shrugged.
'Hey, no hard feelings babe. You can't win em all.'
I felt relief wash over me as I reached for the door handle, suddenly desperate to be out of this little confined space with him. It was just, awkward, and I don't do awkward. He didn't say anything else, and I just gave him a small smile as he turned his gaze back to the road, speeding away without once looking back. I don't honestly know why I do this to myself. I want real love, the sort my parents have. The kind that's effortless, that makes you feel butterflies every time you see them, I want to miss someone so bad it hurts. Yet I keep going on dates with guys that I have no real chemistry with, hoping it will suddenly materialise out of thin air. Maybe I watch too many Disney movies. In fact, I know I do. I can sing along to every word in Beauty & The Beast without missing a beat. I began to walk up and down the sidewalk, kicking at non existant stones as I tried to kill the time it would take for Gabe to come get me. My heart lurched at the thought of him, and I realised I was grinning stupidly. I was probably just glad it was him and not my brother coming- I didn't want to lie to him again. I gazed up at the sky, noticing the scattering of stars above me shimmering brightly, and I remembered how I used to believe that the universe was a whole white blinding light, and that Earth was wrapped in a dark blanket at night, but the blanket had holes in, and shards of light shone through and we called them Stars. Funny how you get more and more disheartened as you grow up, once things are explained to you in a flat reality. I heard footsteps coming up from behind me and I whirled around to see Gabe waving at me in the distance. My stomach flipped and I tried not to stare as he jogged over to me, glancing up at the sky.
'You star gazing?'
I nodded, following his gaze.
'Yeah. It's hard not to when its like this.' I waved at the clear sky and he smiled, a genuine one. I knew the difference with Gabe. Sometimes he would smile and nod, his eyes expressionless. Other times he would smile at things people said, buthe would be somewhere else, distant and brooding. But sometimes, just sometimes you would see him really smile. Like now. His eyes danced with intrigue, his body relaxed as he drank in the night sky. 'Thanks for coming to get me.'
He moved his gaze back to me and shrugged dismissively. We began to walk back in the direction of my house, none of us in a rush.
'So how was your date?'
He asked so simply, I almost replied truthfully, but then I bit my tongue. How did he know? He grinned, and I rolled my eyes.
'I won't tell, pinky promise.'
'Uh, yeah you will. Your loyalties don't lie with me.'
He was silent then, and I was disappointed he didn't try to coax anything else out of me. I wanted to tell him, if not just to gauge his reaction. Fuck it.
'It was with Jett.'
His head snapped up to mine, his blue eyes wide as he frowned at me. He stopped, turning to face me as I chewed on my hair nervously. It was a shitty habit, but I could have worse ones.
'Why? You could have anyone Summer. Why headfucks like Jett and fucking JT?'
Ooh. Looks like I hit a nerve, finally.
'I could have anyone? Really?' I echoed sadly as he nodded.
'Yeah. But none of them would ever be good enough for you.' His voice was quiet now, and I cocked my head to the side, unsure how to take that. Did he mean I had impossibly high standards, or did he mean he didn't think they'd be good enough? I tried to tap into my brave-o-metre, to see if I dared to ask.
'Is that you or my brother speaking?' I clucked my tongue as he stared at me, making me wonder if a bird had shit on my head whilst I wasn't looking.
'What? Why are you staring at me like that?' I bounced on my feet a little, feeling so nervous I couldn't help but move. Nervous energy, that's it. He put a hand on my shoulder and pushed down gently, raising an eyebrow as I became still beneath his touch.
'Why are you so nervous?' He asked quietly as I shrugged, refusing to trust my voice to answer without exposing how I really felt. Which was a hard one, because I didn't know myself. I shifted from one foot to the other as he watched me suspiciously.
'Are you on drugs?' He sighed, tilting my chin up to look in my eyes.
'Of course not, how rude Gabriel.'
He paused, his face still close to mine as I felt myself go giddy from his proximity.
'I love it when you say my full name.' He murmured, and that was it. I wanted him to kiss me so badly I was even leaning forward, on tip toes and everything. All I could hear was the blood rushing in my ears as he lowered his lips to my head, letting them brush against my skin softly.
'Lets get you home.' He pulled backwards and he quickly looked away, as I ran up to him, lacing my fingers through his. He said nothing, just squeezed my hand, pulling me closer to him. He raised my hand to his lips, kissing it softly. We didn't say another word until we walked back into the house, my Dad's snores rumbling through the house as I glanced down at our entwined hands.
'Stay.' I said softly as I felt him stiffen beside me. I didn't wait for an answer, pulling him up the stairs wordlessly. He followed me, but pulled me close to him as we stood at the top of the hallway.
'Just sleep beside me.' I whispered.
I didn't even care about Kennedy, or my brother. All I wanted was to keep this feeling going as long as possible, at whatever cost.
'Ok.' He said quietly, following me into my room. He'd never been in there before, but he didn't seen overly interested in it either. He kicked off his trainers as I changed in front of him, leaving my underwear on. He averted his eyes and I felt a pang of disappointment. Did he really see me as a sister? I pulled a long t shirt on and climbed into bed, opening the duvet for him. He got in to bed fully clothed, one of his legs sticking out over the duvet. I wriggled against him until he moved his arm so that I could snuggle there. A feeling of complete calm fell over me as I rested my hand on his chest, aware he was breathing rapidly.
'Can I ask you something?' I whispered as I felt him nod.
'How do you know Kennedy is right for you?' He sucked in a breath then, and I felt his heart rate increase, banging away beneath my hand. I wanted to calm it, but didn't know how to.
'I don't think she is. I just need to find a way to end it.'
'What do you want though, if it's not what you've got?'
I couldn't see him in the dark, but he smelled vaguely of cologne. His minty breath was close to my ear as he turned his head towards mine.
'What I've got in my arms.'
It was my turn to have a heart attack, as I wondered if I tipped my head back ever so slightly, would he finally kiss me? More to the point, would I want him to? Yes I fucking would. But still I didn't do it. Instead I sat there imagining it.
'Well you've got me in your arms, because I'm needy and you make me feel safe and warm.'
Silence fell again, and I felt my eyes begin to close.
'You want me to stay all night?' He whispered as his lips kissed my head again. That must be the third time he'd done that tonight and I was not complaining.
His free hand found mine on his chest as he laced his fingers with mine again.
I smiled as I inhaled his scent deeply, my fingers on fire from his touch.
'Night Gabriel.' I smirked against his chest, hearing him sigh in frustration. Full name usage from now on, me thinks.
We both fell asleep quickly, our limbs entangled and our hands laced together like that. Nothing special about that right?