“Honey, I’m home!” I yelled in a sing-song voice as I burst through the front door, knowing very well that no one but me would be home at this time. “Finally, alone at last,” I said with a smile. As the door shut behind me with a thump, I let out a slow and deep sigh of relief.
I’m starving, I thought wistfully, looking forward to the food I could binge on since Jill was out and about for the afternoon. Not hesitating anymore, I sauntered into the kitchen, planning to eat the one thing that I was forbidden to eat during the usual weekday. Rummaging through the freezer like a pirate digging through the sand to find their buried treasure, my excitement grew with every second.
I grinned as I whipped out the hidden pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream that was kept stashed in the very back, bottom corner of the freezer. I was salivating at the mere thought of feasting upon its minty goodness. Unfortunately, my grin slowly turned into a frown of dread and disbelief as I registered the lightness of the bucket. Audibly gulping, I slowly peeked underneath the lid of the ice cream container, only to fall to my knees dramatically at what I saw.
“Nooooooooo!” I exclaimed in horror, letting the empty container fall from my hands in despair. Staring at the ceiling light in existential, nihilistic surrender was the only type of closure that seemed achievable at that moment.
Although my preference was to continue to mourn over the loss of something so precious to me for the rest of the night, a worried knocking was heard from the front of the house.
“Tessa, are you okay?!” A muffled voice yelled through the door. I turned my head in the direction of the front door, looked down at the fallen ice cream container, then looked back towards the door. Maybe if I do nothing, they will leave, I thought lazily. “Tessa!” The voice called again, refusing to let me mope over my losses.
Deciding that it would be better to just send them away myself, I slowly got up, groaning in the process. The walk to the door was quick but still painful.
As I opened the door, the last person I expected to see was William-fricken-Thatcher.
“You’re alive!” He exclaimed, relief evident in his voice. Before I could process what was happening, his hands reached out towards me, as if they were trying to pull me closer to him. While I should have realized that he was trying to give me a hug, it did not appear that way to me in that moment. I took it as more of an unwelcomed motion than a comforting one.
“Don’t touch me,” I said calmly, brushing off his efforts as I swiped his hands away and took a step back. I would have expected him to be hurt by my actions, however, Will seemed more apologetic and understanding than anything else.
“Sorry,” he conceded in a sincere voice, shocking me just the smallest bit as he continued to speak. “I just heard you yell and got worried. I forgot that you’re not a fan of touching. Are you okay?”
Whether he was asking about the yell or my state of mind overall, I couldn’t really be sure.
I quirked an eyebrow at him as I crossed my arms and leaned back on one leg. “Um... Yea. Why wouldn’t I be?” I asked in return, wondering why he seemed to care about something that wasn’t any of his business.
Will ran a hand through his messy dark hair before awkwardly scratching the back of his neck as he looked anywhere but towards me. “I was on your porch when I heard you yell, and I thought that something was wrong,” he confessed. Before I could speak up, he looked back towards me with concern, his eyes roaming over my body quickly. His hands fluttered around as he began to spew fast-paced questions that he didn’t give me time to answer. “Are you sure you’re okay, though? You seem a little thinner than last week, and you have bags under your eyes. Did you get enough sleep last night? Why did you yell? Are you hur--”
“Will!” I interrupted, reaching forwards and catching his wrists, holding them still between us as I held his blue-eyed gaze with my own. Up close, I realized that he had tints of brown in his iris that was barely noticeable. Will stopped talking immediately and his eyes widened in surprise. He looked at my hands on his wrist before staring back into my eyes, seemingly stunned into silence. “I’m fine,” I assured him calmly, “I just made a discovery that made me... Less than pleased.”
Slowly, his head began to nod up and down as he swallowed dryly. I nodded back to him with raised eyebrows, hoping to convey to him that I really was okay. After he appeared to get the message, I released his wrists and stepped back, placing my hands behind my back and gripping them together tightly.
“So uh...” Will winced as his voice cracked, and cleared his through before continuing. “So why were you yelling?”
“My mother-flipping ice cream.”
“You heard me,” I asserted, turning around and walking through the front entrance. “Follow me.”
We both walked into the kitchen and sat at the small table by the wall, facing each other as an elongated silence took over. I pursed my lips as I thought about what to say, not really sure how to start the conversation. Will seemed to be having the same problem, as he opened his mouth to speak, then apparently second-guessed himself and looked away awkwardly.
“Uh...” I began slowly, “did you close the front door behind you?”
Will’s face deadpanned quicker than I could blink as he leaned back in his chair. “No, I left it open so that any random stranger can just come in and pet your cat,” he retorted, sarcasm leaking through every word he spoke.
I snorted as I shook my head incredulously. “Well, now I know you’re lying, you son of a biscuit, because we don’t have a cat. So, ha!"
He smirked at me as he slipped down the chair slightly and tilted his head in inquiry. “Do you ever cuss?”
Will chuckled at my answer, rolling his eyes as I saw the empty ice cream container still on the floor on the other side of the kitchen. My poor ice cream. “Interesting,” He muttered under his breath, his dark eyes giving me a once over before looking the other way.
I pursed my lips, trying to ignore the sudden warmth I felt on my face. Electing to ignore the sudden tension in the room, I clapped loudly, startling Will out of whatever train of thought he was following. “So! What has brought you to Casa de Tessa?” I asked, leaning back in my chair as once more glanced at the ice cream bucket, wondering when I should get up to throw it away.
He rolled his eyes as he picked up his backpack from where it was leaning against his chair, unzipping it and pulling out our geometry textbook. “I’m your tutor, remember? You never texted me back about where we should meet up next. Your house is on the way home to mine, so I figured I’d stop by and see if everything was alright. Also, you never expanded on the ′mother-flipping ice cream′ you mentioned earlier.”
I blushed and laughed nervously as I gave him a pained smile. “Right,” I admitted, remembering that my phone died on the way home and I had yet to plug it back in. “Sorry, my phone is dead.”
Will nodded at my answer, accepting my answer. “Figured as much, just wanted to be sure. So, what about the ice cream? I assume it has something to do with the bucket on the floor in the corner that you keep looking at?”
I laughed awkwardly, scratching my head as I ignored the obvious blush that was probably rising to my cheeks. “Oh, that.”
“Yea,” he replied with amusement in his voice, “that.”
“We are out of ice cream, to put it simply,” I said informatively, feeling sadness at the mere mention of the critical loss that I recently suffered.
Oh, my poor ice cream. I’ll never get to experience its minty goodness now.
Will looked surprised at my answer. “You ran out of ice cream, so you acted as if you just found out Darth Vader is your father?” The incredulity in his voice was enough to have me feeling a small bit embarrassed, to say the least. However, before I could respond to his question, a deep laugh erupted from his lips as he grinned at me.
Wow he has a nice smile.
“You should smile more, it looks nice on you.” I blurted out, already regretting the words as Will suddenly stopped laughing, his eyes widening in shock. I could have sworn that his cheeks got darker as he coughed and looked away to gather himself. Instead of making a comment in return, he glanced at me with a small, insecure looking smile on his lips. He tilted his head, causing a stray hair to fall in his face.
“You really think so?” He asked me, a bashful tone seeping from his voice as he looked between me and the surface of the table multiple times.
I grinned and nodded my head, hoping to give him some encouragement as he suddenly became very shy. “Yes,” I responded, “I do. ‘Happy’ looks good on you.”
He ironically smiled at my answer before coughing and clearing his throat quickly.
“So,” he started, obviously trying to change the subject and move onto a new conversation, “ready to study?” The geometry book was flipped open, and the mere sound made me want to tear up and cry.
Why math, just why?!
I intended to reply with something that was quirky and intelligent, hoping to somehow steer the conversation away from anything that had to do with studying at this moment. However, there was no need for that. My stomach growled loudly, catching both mine and Will’s attention. I sighed in despair and looked down at my stomach.
I know, baby. I wanted ice cream too.
Will’s sudden laugh startled me and I looked at him in confusion as he tried to communicate me through his laughter.
“Y-you just talked... just talked to your... your stomach!” He strained out between laughs, falling out of his chair as he fell apart.
Oh my God, it isn’t that funny, I thought in embarrassment, regretting getting up this morning. I groaned and banged my head on the table, ignoring the fact that his laugh was absolutely hilarious. It sounded somewhere in between a circus seal playing with a beach ball and a chicken laying an egg.
Eventually, Wills chortles died down as he rolled over from his hands and knees to sit cross-legged on the tiled floor. He looked up at me with a crooked-lipped smile that made my heart to a little flip.
I sighed as I look down at him apologetically. “I’m sorry,” I said with an embarrassed chuckle, “I’m not used to being around people at home. I’m usually by myself.”
That just makes you sound weirder, I thought in regret. I doubted that there was any way I could rescue the situation at this rate.
He chuckled at my answer, casting me an amused glance as he tilted his head. I said nothing, not wanted to embarrass myself any further. Rather than saying something, Will stood up without warning. He grabbed the Geometry textbook and shoved into his backpack, barely zipping the thing up before he slung it over his shoulder. “C’mon,” he ordered, offering his hand out to me and holding it there when I didn’t react.
I raise an eyebrow at him as I glanced down at his hand in trepidation. “Where are we going?”
He gave me a lopsided smile. “Where do you think? To get ice cream! Are you coming or do you want to stay here all alone?”
I pursed my lips, debating whether or not I should go. On one hand, I was always down to go get ice cream. On the other, however, I wasn’t used to people--besides Jordan--actually wanting to hang out with me. “But we have to study,” I pathetically said, hoping that maybe that would keep me from having to confront the anxiety I was feeling.
Will kept his smile as he bent down at the waist, meeting my gaze at eye level. “We can eat ice cream and study,” was his answer. “Besides, ice cream helps you think.”
I bit the inside of my cheek in thoughtfulness, wondering if this was going to work out, or if I was going to regret this night for the next three years as I lay in bed and think about all the embarrassing moments in my life. Thankfully, before I could get anymore stressed about the situation, Will caught my attention once more.
“Tessa,” he called softly, ”please come to ice cream with me.”
I sighed, not being able to come up with a single reason why I wouldn’t go with him. Deciding that it was time I stop overthinking the offer, I placed my hand in Will’s extended one and stood up, looking into his eyes confidently.
******************** (warning: unedited past this point)
“You did what!?” I questioned in shock, falling into a fit of laughter. Will watched me, a smile upon his lips as I cackled uncontrollably.
“Yea, I had to get my wisdom teeth pulled, and was really high on pain medication after the surgery. My cousin likes salad a lot, so I started crying and demanding that he stop cannibalizing Bob the Tomato and his family.” He continued, causing me to laugh again as my stomach began to hurt. We were receiving various judgmental stares from surrounding tables and booths, but I really did not care in that moment.
Currently, we were sitting in the corner booth of a 50′s styled diner that has most likely been around as long as the town has. The walls are white, decorated with neon signs, tire hubcaps, old tire rims, and pictures of old car movies--such as Grease and American Graffiti--that were filmed in this very spot. The floors were a checkered white and black, and in the corner of the diner, there is a large jukebox, outlined with neon colors and such.
“Wow,” I say, my laughs finally dying down, “who knew The Will Thatcher still remembered his VeggieTales.”
His eyes widen as I crack up more. “Oh, this is just too good.”
He grumbles under his breath. “Yea, okay. Whatever. Let’s just get back to studying.”
I sighed and pouted my lips. “We haven’t eaten any ice cream yet.”
He chuckles and looks at me with a lopsided smile. “No, I suppose not.” He lifts his hand and signals for a waitress to come get our order.
“Hello kids, my name is Susie, and I’ll be your waitress for today. What can I get you?” A kind looking eldery woman asks us, a warm smile on her lips.
I smiled warmly at her. Her face gave you a comforable smile as her white hair was pulled into a messily styled bun.
“Hi, could we please have two scoops of cookie dough ice cream for me and...” He trails off, giving me a look that says it is my turn to order.
“And two scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream.” I chirp, getting giddy at the idea of ice cream. I am reveling in delight now, just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
Susie nods at us both with a homely smile before walking off to get us our ice cream.
“So...” I say awkwardly, rubbing my hands together in front of me. Will chuckled and pulls out his text book for Geometry.
“Ready to study?” He quirks an eyebrow. I nod and turn my body to unzip my backpack resting on the booth seat next to me. I whip out my American History book and plop it down in front of me, letting it hit the table loudly as I sigh in an extremely over-dramatic manner.
Will shakes his head with a smile as he chuckles, looking from the book--that I loathe more than yoda loathes darth maul--to me. “You are so dramatic.” He humors, a crooked smile that would make any girl’s heart flutter--including mine--coming across his lips.
I huff and cross my arms. “Am not!”
“Are to.” He teases me.
I do the best come back since the history of mankind.
I stick out my tongue.
Peak of maturity, I know. But not only that, I use an extremely well thought out come back to top it all off.
“Am not, now shut up you stupid head.” I snap at him, making him full-on laugh out loud.
“Aww, you are so cute!” He coos, reaching across the table and pinching my cheeks. “You’re cuter than a baby koala wearing a christmas sweater.” He says, a lopsided smile evident on his lips.
“Shut up you lard.” I say, but because of his hands on my cheeks, it comes out sounding like ‘shushd uf yoo fward’.
He laughs more and releases my cheeks as I give him my best death glare. Just as this happens, Susie comes up with our ice cream. “Here you kids go! Cookie dough and mint chocolate chip!” She chirps, setting the delicious desserts in front of us. I stuff a spoonful of ice cream in my mouth, and Will goes to do the same before Susie speaks up. “Oh, and I just wanted to say, you two make an adorable couple. You remind me of me and my husband, Earl. Ah, young love.”
And with that she leaves, leave me staring after her, my mouth open despite the spooful of ice cream I had shoved into it. I turn my head to look at a thoughtful looking Will before he looks at me and smirks.
“Close your mouth, Princess, you don’t want any flies to take all your ice cream.” He says.
And with that I shut my mouth, feeling my cheeks burn with a blush that is more red than a freaking rose.