Jamie should have known studying with Kira wasn’t his smartest idea; but he’d always had problems saying no, especially to the girl with the smile that made him feel as though he was being electrocuted. The first time she asked, he was too distracted by the way her thumb was stroking his bicep to logically think through what she was saying and besides, she suggesting they hang out together for the first time in years and he wasn’t going to pass up that opportunity.
All things considered, the first time they studied together hadn’t been a complete disaster. And by that, he meant that he hadn’t done anything incredibly stupid. He’d suggested they meet at the park because he knew how much Kira loved being outside. They’d sat on opposite sides of a picnic table, their notebooks and binders spread out in front of them as they reviewed their biology notes and Jamie had done his very best to focus on his papers and not the girl across from him.
He should win some sort of acting award, he’d thought as he kept his eyes glued to his review sheet and listened to her hum as she took notes from her textbook, because he was getting really good at seeming as though he was completely indifferent.
Today, they were studying at his house, working on a research paper for their English class that wasn’t due for a few weeks. Jamie had mentioned during their last study session that he liked to get things done early because he didn’t enjoy the stress of procrastination and Kira figured he could be a good influence, so she’d asked if they could work on it together.
Of course, he’d said yes, despite the fact that he knew logically it didn’t make sense since they would have to turn in entirely different papers. It wasn’t until that morning that he’d realized they would be in his house entirely alone.
His mother and Caroline had already left for their girls’ day of doing…well, Jamie wasn’t entirely sure, and his father was moments away from leaving to go participate in what his uncles referred to as ‘banding’.
As Jamie stood in his bathroom, running his fingers through his hair to make sure it looked tousled in a way that seemed effortless, he was silently praying that his father would leave before Kira arrived because the Brewer boy had conveniently forgotten to mention his Sunday afternoon plans to his parents. This was mostly due to the fact that now that Jack was aware of Jamie’s feelings, he got the biggest shit eating grin on his face whenever Kira was mentioned in any sort of conversation. What made matters worse was that he was pretty sure all of his uncles knew as well – which wasn’t really surprising because Jack had never been able to keep secrets from his band mates – made evident by the secretive smiles they all shared when Kira had come bounding into the kitchen of the Saxton house during the Vertical Limit monthly family dinner the previous week.
Unfortunately, it seemed as though luck wasn’t working in Jamie’s favor, because before his father could shout upstairs that he was leaving, the doorbell rang. Sprinting out of his bedroom, he ran down the stairs, hoping to beat Jack to the door, only to wince at the sight of his father already turning the handle.
He held his breath as he slid off the bottom step, shrugging at Jack’s confused raised eyebrow before he pulled the door open to reveal Kira Saxton, her messy bangs falling into her eyes and wide smile on her face as she rocked back and forth in her scuffed combat boots, clutching the straps of the cloth tote bag that was hung over her shoulder. Jamie cocked his head to the side and licked his lips at the sight of the strip of skin that remained uncovered because she’d cut off the bottom of her Vertical Limit t-shirt so it didn’t quite reach the waistband of her black skinny jeans.
“Hi Uncle Jack!” she grinned, stepping through the door without invitation as though it was her own house and kissing her uncle on the cheek. Jack didn’t mind because he liked that his nieces and nephews thought of his house as a second home, but he was a little confused as to Kira’s presence in the first place.
“Hey, Keeks,” he furrowed his brow and shot Jamie, who had averted his gaze from Kira’s midriff, a questioning look. “What are you doing here?”
“Jamie and I have a study date!”
She wasn’t sure why she used the word ‘date’ and she wondered if it was some sort of Freudian slip, all the while not noticing the way Jamie’s cheeks flushed and Jack’s eyebrows shot up as his lips twisted into a smirk and he shut the door.
“That’s cool,” Jack replied, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans and holding in a laugh as he ignored the daggers Jamie was glaring in his direction.
“English essay,” Kira explained with a shrug and a widening smile. “Super exciting stuff, right?”
“Well, you guys have fun,” Jack grinned. “I’m actually about to go meet your dad.”
“Yeah, he told me,” she nodded, raising her fingers into air quotes. “Banding, right?”
“See?” Jack looked pointedly at his son, who had made fun of that exact word just a few hours before. “She gets it.”
Jamie rolled his eyes and raised one arm to lean against the railing of the staircase. “Dad, don’t you need to go?”
One month ago, Jack would have had no problem leaving Jamie and Kira alone in the house. He might have been surprised that they were spending time together, but it wouldn’t have made him uneasy. Now that he knew his son’s feelings, however, he was worried that studying could escalate into something…more. It wasn’t so much that any of them were against their children dating each other, but Jack was concerned at how any sort of romantic relationship would change the family dynamic.
He knew his son well enough to know that Jamie would never intentionally hurt Kira, but he also knew that as much as Ethan liked to say that Kira’s love life was entirely her own business and she could take care of herself, he was still a protective father. Jack had been there when Ethan had followed Kira on her first real date, watching from a distance to make sure the boy she was with didn’t try anything inappropriate. If things between Kira and Jamie ended badly, the teenagers wouldn’t be the only people scarred by the wreckage.
“Yeah,” Jack nodded, running a hand through his hair. Smiling sweetly, he took a step forward to kiss Kira on the cheek before turning his gaze to his son. “J, can you walk me out? I need to talk to you real quick.”
Jamie shot his father a glare, but softened it to an apologetic glance as he cast his gaze at the brunette. “You wanna go set up in the backyard? I’ll be out in a minute.”
Nodding, Kira stretched lips into an angelic smile and wiggled her fingers at Jack as a goodbye before walking towards the back door.
Once she was out of hearing range, Jamie narrowed his eyes at his father as they turned to walk towards the garage. “Way to be completely unsubtle, Dad.”
“Sorry,” Jack chuckled, digging his keys from his pockets and twirling them around his finger. “How come you didn’t tell me you were hanging out with Kira?”
“Because it’s not a big deal,” Jamie shrugged, lying through his teeth. “We’re just studying.”
“I know,” Jack nodded once, stopping in front of the door to the garage and fixing his son with a stern stare. “And studying is all you’re going to be doing, right?”
Jamie would be lying if he said that the thought of being completely alone with Kira hadn’t caused a bunch of knots to form in the pit of his stomach, but he also wasn’t sure he had the guts to make the first move. Besides, Kira was completely oblivious to how he felt, and there was never really a right time to spring an emotionally charged moment on someone.
So he rolled eyes again and shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans, his toes curling inside his pristine white Converse. “We’re not gonna hook up while you’re gone, if that’s what you’re asking.”
“Ok,” Jack shrugged, the tone of his voice conveying more trust than he actually felt. “Be good.”
Jamie nodded and watched his father open the door to the garage and turn to press the button on the wall and he stood in the hallway until the garage door closed and he could hear Jack’s black Range Rover zooming down the street. Taking a deep breath, Jamie tugged his fingers through his hair, pulling and twisting upwards as he walked towards the back door, pushing open the mesh screen to see Kira sitting with her back to him, her laptop open and books spread out on the large wooden patio table.
“Hey, sorry about that,” he breathed out as he slipped into cushioned chair to her right, where his school materials were already set up, silently screaming with joy that she’d chosen to sit so close.
“About what?” she asked, her blue eyes lifting from her computer screen as one hand reached up to fiddle with one of the many small rings pierced through the cartilage in her right ear. Ethan hadn’t been able to come up with a valid reason for her not to get them seeing as by the time he was her age, he already had multiple piercings and tattoos.
Even if Jamie had responded with some sort of explanation, she probably wouldn’t have comprehended a word because she was too busy trying not to notice how adorable he looked when he was flustered, with his reddening cheeks and rapid blinking. She knew she made him nervous; it wasn’t hard to figure out, considering the rate at which he spoke in her presence, but she also knew she wasn’t special in that regard. Give him a stadium full of people and Jamie Brewer could charm the pants off every person in the audience, but one on one with a pretty girl and he turned into a stammering mess.
“Nothing,” Jamie replied quickly, deciding that if she hadn’t observed Jack acting strangely, then he certainly wasn’t going to point it out. “Wanna get started?”
She nodded and reached for her battered copy of To Kill A Mockingbird to find quotes to use in her essay, worn not because it was rattled back and forth in the bottom of her book bag, but because she’d spent so many hours turning the pages, discovering something new, even when she was reading it for the hundredth time.
They didn’t speak much while they worked. Every so often, he’d point her to a quote that could be used to support her thesis or she would ask him whether a paragraph she was writing sounded awkward, but the soundtrack of their afternoon was mostly the soft breeze floating through the trees and the neighbor’s dog barking from behind the fence of the house next door.
He thought it was nice that he was comfortable spending time with her but not speaking. Often times, he felt like his entire life consisted of listening to people talk or talking to other people and although he practically hung on to every word Kira said, he liked that despite her generally vivacious personality, she didn’t feel the need to fill the silence.
He also enjoyed the fact that their lack of interaction meant he didn’t have to worry about embarrassing himself by tripping over his words while they spoke and that her concentration on her essay meant she didn’t notice him glancing at her every few minutes, wondering if he’d ever get up the nerve to tell her the truth.
After about two hours, she shut her laptop and placed her book on top, rubbing her palms down her face as she spoke. “I’m starving. Do you wanna get some food?”
The thought of eating caused his stomach to growl as he realized he’d skipped lunch that day and he nodded eagerly as he closed his own books and began to pack up his things, knowing that he was probably on his own for dinner anyway. She slipped her laptop, books, and notebooks back into her bag and slung it over her shoulder as she waited for him to grab his own materials and walk back into the house.
It was only after he’d set his things down on the couch in the lounge room that he realized he didn’t have a car, as it was still in the shop, getting looked at for some leaky pumps.
“I can drive,” Kira suggested when he mentioned his dilemma with an apologetic smile, always the epitome of go with the flow.
Agreeing, he patted his back pocket to make sure his wallet was there and grabbed his house key from the hook on the wall by the door to the garage and a gray zip up hoodie from the closet in the hall to layer over his navy button up in case it got chilly later before following her out to the bright red Ford Fiesta her parents had let her borrow for the day.
Kira was a meticulous driver. After getting into a fender bender while Lucy was in the car two years ago, she decided she never again wanted to see that look of fear on her sister’s face and vowed to become the world’s best driver. So even as she bopped her head and sang along to the classic rock station and they talked and laughed about the ridiculous pranks that had been pulled around school since the start of the term, she made sure she was following all the traffic rules.
After fifteen minutes, they pulled into the parking lot of a strip mall, Kira insisting they go to this hole in the wall Chinese restaurant she’d discovered with her dad a few weeks before.
“Let’s get it to go, though,” she said, shooting him a secretive smile as they got out of the car. “There’s somewhere I want to take you.”
Generally speaking, Jamie wasn’t a fan of not knowing what was going on, but the way her eyes lit with excitement and crinkled when she smiled was captivating, so he agreed and they were soon zooming down the road once more, the Fiesta now filled with the scent of friend rice and lo mein. He didn’t question their destination because he could tell she was enjoying having a secret, and he was pleasantly surprised when they came to a stop in a sandy beach parking lot.
Much like his father, he had never learned to surf, but the beach was still one of his favorite places when he needed time to himself. There was something about sitting in the sand and listening to the waves crash on the shore that was completely calming.
Grabbing their food cartons, he followed her down to and across the sand until they reached a set of flat rocks. He watched her climb them as though it was something she did on a fairly regular basis, reaching down for the food before encouraging him to do the same. Taking a deep breath, he pulled himself up beside her, stretching out his legs to the front, but keeping his knees bent as he sat to her left and reached for fried rice.
“Do you come here a lot?” he asked as he opened the carton and shook off a few stray pieces of rice from the plastic fork he’d requested from the restaurant because he’d never quite gotten a handle on chopsticks. His eyes scanned over the coastline, soaking in the way the setting sun cast an orange glow across the water as the last of the beach’s visitors began to pack up their chairs and towels, knowing that soon the water would be too cold to enjoy.
She shrugged as she pulled chopsticks from her lo mein and began to expertly twirl the noodles around the wooden utensils. “Sometimes. It’s nice to get away every once in a while. Life can get so chaotic.”
“I feel ya,” he replied, shoveling a forkful of rice into his mouth and watching as she did the same with her noodles. Kira had never been one to hide her emotions – something he both admired and envied about her because he often felt as though he was becoming too closed off – but as they sat on that rock and he watched the breeze blow strands of her purple streaked hair into her face, he couldn’t help but think that the moment was a sort of insight into her soul.
She chewed thoughtfully on her noodles for a moment before responding, her lips stretching into a teasing smile. “I know you do, Mr. President. I don’t know how you handle all those extracurricular activities.”
It honestly came down a very complicated schedule and really good organization, but Jamie desperately wanted Kira Saxton to think of him as more than just the class president, so he shrugged and stabbed a piece of chicken with his fork. “It’s not that bad.”
“Nah, I mean, kudos to you for being so involved and still being on the honor roll,” she replied genuinely, “Is there anything you can’t do?”
She meant it jokingly, though sometimes she did think Jamie Brewer was Superman and she wondered if he had a kryptonite, not realizing that if he was asked, he would undoubtedly say it was her.
“I can’t tie my shoelaces.”
He blurted out the answer to her rhetorical question in an effort to prove her wrong and instantly felt his cheeks heat with a blush when her eyebrows shot up in surprise.
“What?” she sputtered out, eyes glancing down to the Converse that he’d need to bleach when he got home because the sand and residue from the rocks had made them dirty. He always bought shoes with laces in a size too big so that he could slip them on and off without actually needing to tie them up. And if tying was necessity, he asked Caroline for help, the only person besides his parents who knew his secret.
“I just never really learned,” he said quietly, keeping his eyes glued to his nearly empty carton because he didn’t think he could handle looking at her directly.
“Do you want me to teach you?”
That wasn’t the response he was expecting and he lifted his chin to look her in the eyes, finding her eyes filled with genuine honesty and not a trace of judgment in her expression. Perhaps he should have known better than to think Kira would ever think less of him for his flaws. For her, it was just nice to know that Jamie Brewer was human after all.
“That’s alright,” he laughed, a rush of relief flooding through his veins, despite the fact that he found the idea of Kira teaching him how to tie his shoelaces to be strangely erotic. “I’ve survived this long without that skill, I think I’ll be ok.”
“Alright,” she grinned, reaching over to take his now empty carton with the spoon inside, and twisting her torso to toss it, along with her trash, into a nearby can.
The sun had just about set, the shadows taking over the water and sand and he found himself glad that he’d pulled on his hoodie in the car because it was starting to get chilly. Kira, however, had not had the same foresight and was shivering lightly as she sat beside him, arms wrapped around her knees, which were pulled to her chest.
“Do you want my jacket?” he asked, knowing his long sleeves would probably be enough to keep him sufficiently warm for a while.
She shook her head, her eyes lighting with a different idea and she nodded towards the water. “We should go in.”
He pulled his brows together in confusion. “In the water? It’ll be freezing.”
“Come on, Brewer,” she grinned, pushing herself to her feet. “Live a little.”
The rational part of him knew that wasn’t a good enough reason to follow her, but the emotional part of him always had a weakness for her smile, so he used his palms to push himself upwards as well and dusted off the back of his dark wash jeans before following her back down the rock and landing in the sand with a soft thud.
“We don’t have swim suits,” he pointed out the obvious once they were both on the ground.
Flashing him a devious grin, she gave him no warning before she crossed her arms over herself and curled her fingers beneath the frayed hem of her shirt, pulling it over her head and dropping it on the sand. This had never been part of the plan, but she’d never been one for plans in the first place.
He blinked rapidly, averting his eyes from her nearly bare torso as quickly as possible because he didn’t want to give her the impression that he was checking out her body, despite the fact that he was, in fact, checking out her body. As he turned his head to look away, however, something caught his eye and his eyebrows shot up in surprise at the sight of the markings on her ribs. In black ink, just below her bra line, was a block letter ‘x’ and just below that, a cursive ‘z’.
He furrowed his brow in confusion as he nodded at the tattoos, cheeks still tinted red at the surprise of her taking off her top. “Are you missing a few letters?”
She glanced down at where he was looking as she kicked off her boots and lifted her feet individually to peel off her socks as well. “No, they don’t go together.”
After her feet were bare, she shot him a pointed stare, silently wondering why he was still wearing clothes. Thinking perhaps, that being in his underwear as well would make things slightly less awkward, he stepped out of his Converse and peeled off his socks and set them to the side before shrugging off his hoodie and beginning to unbutton his shirt.
“The ‘x’,” she began to explain, “is from…”
He cut her off before she finished. “From your dad’s guitar. He has the same tattoo on his finger.”
Jamie recognized the ink from his Uncle Ethan’s hand. Despite having to upgrade from the guitars he’d used as a teenager, Ethan had stuck with the tradition of having the ‘x’ as a signature on his instrument. Kira’s tattoo was a homage to the fact that she’d always be proud of her father.
“Yeah,” Kira nodded as she popped open the button of her jeans, impressed with his observational skills. “And the ‘z’ is for Lucy.”
He wasn’t at all surprised. Kira was the most devoted big sister that could ever exist. He could relate because despite the fact that they were both so stubborn that they squabbled often, he knew that when it came down to it, he would do pretty much anything for Caroline.
“Do your parents know?” he asked, shrugging his shirt off his shoulders and folding it neatly before leaning down to place it on top of his shoes.
“They didn’t at first,” she admitted, a little caught off guard by his toned abs, as she shoved her jeans down her legs and kicked them off her feet. “I didn’t tell them when I first got them, but they figured it out eventually.”
“Were they pissed?” he laughed, unbuckling his belt and pushing his jeans off as well, a little relieved that out of the many patterns of embarrassing boxers he owned, the ones he’d worn today were plain black.
She shrugged, squishing her toes into the sand, standing bathed in moonlight in just her mismatched underwear, a scene so surreal that he momentarily wondered if he was dreaming. “My dad can’t really be pissed about me having tattoos. What about you? Ever wanted a nose piercing?”
They’d seen enough pictures of the band as teenagers to know all about the nose ring Jack had stopped wearing soon after he got married.
“Not really,” Jamie replied, not wanting to admit that he was a little afraid of needles.
If she suspected that as his reasoning, she didn’t say, simply laughing again before nodding towards the ocean, her smile wide and exhilarating. “Come on!”
She took off running before he could respond and chuckled to himself as he ran after her, squeezing his eyes shut when his feet splashed through the water, freezing just as he expected it to be. They splashed each other repeatedly, laughing the whole time but couldn’t stay in long because of the temperature.
Both shivering, they returned to where their clothes were laying in the sand and attempted to shake the water droplets from their bodies. Jamie used his button up to dry off his torso a bit before pulling it on and watching Kira do the same with her t-shirt.
The long sleeves of his shirt were enough to keep him partially warm, but Kira was still shivering beneath the thin cotton of her tee, so before she could protest, he shook out the sand from his hoodie and wrapped it around her shoulders. Smiling gratefully, she tugged the sleeves over her arms and pulled the sides over her front to hug herself and he helped her out by rubbing his palms quickly up and down her upper arms.
“Thanks,” she laughed lightly, feeling her body temperature rising, more due to the fact that it was the closest she’d ever been to Jamie than his arm movements.
“You should have brought warmer clothes,” he scolded her, though the tone of his voice was completely teasing.
“If I had, then we wouldn’t be in this position right now,” she pointed out. It was a bold thing to say, but she was getting tired of dancing around the subject. Dropping her arms, she flattened her palms against his bare chest, his skin still damp from the water, and tilted her chin upwards so could look him directly in the eyes, the corners of her lips lifting into a small smile when she felt his heart rate pick up beneath her touch. “I’ve missed you, you know.”
It was the honest truth. Jamie had been her best friend as a child. They were practically joined at the hip and everybody knew that if they saw Jamie, Kira was probably close by. But for Jamie, becoming a teenager had meant becoming responsible and Kira had been reluctant to shed her rebellious ways and a result, they’d grown apart. As much as she missed being mischievous with him, she was proud of the person he had become and proud of all he’d accomplished. She just wished she was still a part of his life as well.
Jamie was pretty sure he had forgotten how to breathe. His hands ceased their movements and his mind was screaming echoes to her words, but he found himself unable to speak because he couldn’t quite believe it was actually happening. Kira had always been special to him, even as a kid. It wasn’t until he was a teenager that the bond of friendship they’d shared as children had slowly morphed into something deeper, something more complex, something that he’d avoided talking about because he was certain she didn’t feel the same way.
But now here she was, leaning closer as she stared at him with those eyes that made him feel completely lost but completely found at the same time.
Before he could work up the nerve to take action, she had closed the gap between them, kissing him soundly on the lips, her fingers crawling out to tug on the unbuttoned panels of his shirt for support. His fingers curled around her arms, pulling her close once he’d overcome his shock, returning the pressure to ensure her that her feelings were not at all one sided.
“I’ve missed you too,” he finally whispered as they pulled apart, causing her to suck gently on his top lip before she took a step backwards, a gigantic grin brightening her face. He mimicked the expression as he reached down for his jeans, feeling slightly intoxicated despite the fact that he’d had no alcohol. Pulling his phone out of his jeans to check the time, his giddy mood came to a crashing halt at the sight of the ten missed calls from his parents because it was already thirty minutes past his curfew. “Shit.”
“What’s wrong?” she asked, wide eyed and wondering if he’d regretted kissing her as she tugged her jeans over her legs and jumped a few times to make them sit correctly on her hips.
“I’m late,” he winced apologetically. “My parents are gonna kill me.”
Technically speaking, Kira did have a curfew, but her parents knew better than to expect her to actually abide by it, so as long as she didn’t end up in trouble with the law, they never bothered to punish her for coming home at ridiculous hours. But Jamie’s parents were unused to him breaking house rules, so the fact that he was late was a cause for great concern.
Realizing the urgency of the situation, they got dressed as quickly as possible and returned to the car, driving home in silence, each wondering what the kiss on the beach meant for their relationship.
Kira grabbed Jamie’s arm before he could get out of the car once they came to a stop in front of the Brewer house. “Hey, wait a second.”
He wasn’t going to get out of the car anyway; he was already late, so a few extra minutes wasn’t going to make his punishment that much worse. The entire car ride, all he could think was that he didn’t want them to say goodbye as though nothing had happened, so he was happy that she seemed to be on the same wavelength.
“I’m not sorry for kissing you,” he said, putting her fears to rest without her having to speak.
She stretched her lips into a wide smile as her features relaxed, her eyes twinkling. “Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m the one that kissed you.”
“Oh yeah?” he raised his eyebrows, leaning across the center console.
“Yeah,” she replied, mirroring his actions until their noses were brushing. “Don’t you think you should return the favor?”
He didn’t need to be asked twice and he pressed his lips to hers hard because he wanted to remember how it felt, cupping her cheek with his palm, and kept his closed for a moment when he pulled away, his lips automatically curving into a smile when his eyelids fluttered open. “Goodnight, Kira.”
Leaning back against her leather seat, she raised her hand in a wave and wiggled her fingers, a smile lingering on her lips as he pushed open the car door. “Goodnight, Jamie.”
In a moment of confidence, he dropped one eye in a wink as he climbed out of the car, waving as he shut the door and watched her drive off before stuffing his hand into his pocket to pull out his key. He entered the house slowly, finding all the main lights off and wondering if his parents had gone to sleep.
“Where the hell have you been?”
Jamie squeezed his eyes shut and winced, thinking he should have known better. When he reopened them, he saw his father emerging from the kitchen where he’d been stress eating as he waited for his son, dressed in plaid pajama pants and plain white t-shirt, hand stuck inside a bag of Doritos.
“I was….” For a moment, Jamie contemplated lying because he didn’t want his father to think of Kira as a bad influence, but he also knew he was a terrible liar, so Jack would see through him immediately. “I was with Kira.”
Jack’s eyebrows shot up in surprise as he removed his hand from the bag of chips. Of all the answers Jamie could have given, that was the last one Jack expected. Though, if anyone could convince his straight laced son to break the rules, it was Kira Saxton.
“We went to the beach and we kind of lost track of time,” Jamie explained quickly, not wanting his father to get the idea that they were doing something far less innocent.
“The beach…,” Jack repeated, nodding at Jamie’s hair, which had been flattened by the water. “Is that why your hair is wet?”
“Yeah,” Jamie sighed, running his hand through his locks as he twirled his key ring around his finger. “We went swimming.”
Jack parted his lips to ask the obvious follow up question as to what they were wearing when they went swimming, but decided against it because he didn’t really want to know. As far as he could, they hadn’t seemed to have gotten in any trouble, and considering the company, Jack was going to take what he could get. “Ok.”
“Ok?” Jamie asked, surprised at how easily he was getting off the hook. “So, everything’s cool?”
Jack let out a light laugh. “Oh, you’re grounded for missing curfew. I’m just sparing you the lecture because it’s far too late and I’m much to tired.”
Jamie knew better than to argue and make things worse, so he smiled gratefully instead. “Fair enough. Goodnight, Dad.”
He went to make his way towards the staircase, but Jack calling his name caused him to turn his head before he reached the bottom step.
“Be careful, alright?” Jack said quietly once he had his son’s attention.
Jamie didn’t need to ask what Jack was talking about. “I’m not gonna hurt her. I promise.”
“I know,” Jack nodded, “But make sure you don’t get hurt either.”
It wasn’t as though Jack thought Kira would ever intentionally bring Jamie pain, but they were teenagers and they had no idea how their lives would play out and chances were that anything that happened between them would eventually end. Jack just wanted Jamie to be completely aware of what he was getting himself into.
Licking his lips, Jamie nodded in reply. “I won’t.”
Jack smiled softly, hoping for the sake of everyone involved, that those words were true. Jamie was rational and mature, but Jack knew from experience that deep feelings could affect the brain in a way that made a person completely crazy. “Goodnight, bud. Sweet dreams.”
Waving, Jamie took the stairs two at a time, padding quietly down the hallway as to not wake Caroline and stepped into his room, getting ready for bed while making as little noise as possible.
It was really incredible, he thought as he lay in bed, staring at the faded glow in the dark stars he’d pasted to his ceiling because he was afraid of the dark as a child, how much could change over time. Two days ago, kissing Kira Saxton was a fantasy, something he daydreamed about when someone in a student government meeting was going on a particularly long rant about something unimportant. But less than two hours ago, he’d discovered that it was possible for daydreams to come true and now he was wondering if it was something he’d have the pleasure of doing on a more regular basis.
They hadn’t really talked about what it all meant, but he assumed there was plenty of time for that. They’d known each other their entire lives, so surely that wasn’t going to change because of a few kisses. Deciding that the next day, he’d ask her on a real date, he turned on his side and shut his eyes.
That night, Jamie fell asleep with the corners of his lips upturned, unaware that three streets over, Kira had fallen asleep smiling as well.