Somewhere Above the Clouds

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Chapter 10 - What the fudge

River

“Be back later, Jack!”
I yelled as I was heading down the hall on my way to the front door.

“Be careful.”
A voice that didn’t belong to my brother boomed from the dark corner of the living room where the recliner sat and I jumped back, but honestly I’m not sure why. I should be used to Beau just always being. . . well, everywhere.

“I will.”
I said when I caught my breath.

I shut the door and ran to the driveway to meet Taylor.

“You ready for this you little Potterhead?”
He asked when I slid into his mom’s Jeep.

“Are you kidding? Or course I’m ready.”

In the ten minutes it took to drive to the movie theater I was able to give Taylor a play by play of the storyline. I wasn’t sure why he wanted to come when he really had no interest in the books. Either way, I was happy with his company.

“You want popcorn, right?”
He asked after we made it inside.

“Yeah but I’ll get it, you already bought the tickets.”
I walked toward the counter but Taylor grabbed my arm, pulling me back.

“Not a chance, River. Why don’t you go save our seats before everyone else shows up?”

I nodded and walked down the hall until I saw the right number. The place was filling up quickly but I managed to find two seats next to one another toward the middle of the room.

When Taylor walked in he had the biggest tub of popcorn I had ever seen along with two Icees, one blue raspberry, and the other one coke.

“How did you know I love blue raspberry?”

“Lucky guess.”
He handed it over with a sleepy smile on his face.

“Are you going to fall asleep, Taylor?”

“No way.”

He shook his head and moved the armrest up, scooting closer to me. I didn’t really mind it but I also wasn’t expecting it, he tilted the popcorn toward me and I laughed while I grabbed a handful.

Three hours later we walked out of the theater and I felt like I was going to burst from excitement. Not even the least bit sleepy meanwhile Taylor was back to back yawning.

“Thanks for bringing me, Taylor.”

He stopped walking and turned around to face me.

“River?”

“Yeah?”

“Can I kiss you?”

What?

My throat was dry and I couldn’t think of any words to say. Yes, no. Nothing came out.

Taylor moved closer, so close that I had to tilt my head to keep eye contact.

“Just nod if you’re okay with it.”
He whispered while he tucked my hair behind my ear.

I managed to move my head up and down just a little and I watched as the corners of his mouth started to tilt up.

I closed my eyes the second his lips touched mine. He gently pushed my lips apart with his tongue and sighed. He tasted like mint which was a bit of a shock, he must have slipped a piece of gum into his mouth when I wasn’t paying attention. Too bad he didn’t offer me any.

I was too afraid to push my tongue anywhere. Not that his didn’t feel nice, I just really wasn’t positive what to do with my own. He did a good enough job for the both of us.

He pulled back and I found myself trying to catch my breath.

Why?

It wasn’t like I did anything.

“What the fudge?”
I whispered and Taylor laughed.

“You’re adorable, River.”

Did I want to be adorable?

I wasn’t sure but based on the way he was looking at me, I knew without a doubt that he really did think that.

“Are you ready to go? I’m sure you’re tired.”

“Yeah, let’s go.”

I wasn’t tired at all. But I could tell that he was.

We made the short drive back to my house in silence but I kept looking over at him wondering how different the kiss would’ve been if I would’ve made an effort and I wondered why I didn’t really try.

I’ve always tried to be the best at everything that I’ve done. Why should kissing be any different?

Because you want to kiss someone else.

True. But irrelevant.

We pulled into my driveway and Taylor put his hand on his door, almost opening it to walk me up before I stopped him.

“Taylor?”

“Yes?”

“Do you think you could. . . Kiss me again?”

He cocked his head to the side and it was obvious he wasn’t expecting me to ask to be kissed and I felt the need to elaborate.

“It’s just that earlier I felt like maybe I didn’t give it my all you know? I didn’t put my best foot forward, I think I can do better.”

Now he was full-on grinning.

“You want to try again? Am I an experiment, River Stafford?”

I shrugged, hoping he wasn’t going to be offended.

“I think I’m okay with that.”
He grinned again and I turned my body toward his.

“Okay just do whatever you did before and I’ll be ready this time.”

“You got it.”

Taylor leaned in, lightly brushing his lips against mine and smiled when I narrowed my eyes at him. He was already straying from the plan. He gave in a kissed me the exact same way that he had the first time only now I was ready. I kissed him back the way he kissed me and when he groaned in my mouth it made me brave. It made me wonder what else I could do. I pulled back just enough so that I could bite his bottom lip and he slipped one hand behind my neck.

“Can I kiss you here?”

His lips were hovering right underneath my ear, I swallowed then nodded.

Why not?

His lips were so soft and I’ll never understand how he knew exactly which way to kiss me and where.

It all felt so different.

And so good.

My eyes were still closed, I’m not sure how long he let me sit there before he spoke.

“River?”

“Hmm?”
I was half asleep.

“Ready to go inside?”

I opened my eyes.

“Why did you stop?”

He sighed and tucked another strand of hair behind my ear.

“For more than one reason but mainly because I’m 99.9% sure someone is watching us from your front door.”

I wanted to be surprised but I had already noticed Beau’s Bronco and the fact that he would stay awake to make sure that I made it back alright was all too predictable.

“Thanks again for tonight Taylor.”

“The movie or the rest of it?”
He asked raising one eyebrow.

I smiled because I couldn’t help it.

“I was talking about the movie but thanks for the rest of it as well.”

“Can we do it again?”

“Go to the movies? Sure.”

He shook his head.

“You know what I mean.”

“Should we?”
I wasn’t convinced it was a good decision to make out with the best friend that I had in this town.

“Nothing has to change if you don’t want it to. But I’m not going to lie, I’ve been wondering for a while what it would be like to kiss you, and now that I have it’s going to be nearly impossible not to want to do it again.”

Heat filled my body and no doubt my cheeks. Taylor was a hot commodity, girls fawned over him at school so what he was thinking wanting to kiss me I had no clue. But I couldn’t deny the thrill I got from kissing him and I wouldn’t mind doing it again.

“Just kissing?”
I asked.

He nodded vehemently.

“Just kissing.”

“Deal.”
I leaned over and pecked his lips before opening the door.

“It was a pleasure doing business with you.”
I told him before shutting it.

I ran up the front porch steps before turning to wave goodbye to Taylor. I pushed the front door open half expecting Beau to be standing there with a towel and soap ready to scrub my mouth off while explaining to me the dangers that lurked on teenaged boys’ lips but there was no Beau.

I walked down the hall to my room and changed into my PJs then pulled my hair up on top of my head when I decided I was hungry. I’m not sure if it was the peanut butter or the feeling I had that Beau was sitting in the kitchen that drew me in that direction.

I was glad that I had started to anticipate where he would be, it was less likely he would scare me straight out of my skin that way.

“Hi.”

I said as I walked into the dimly lit kitchen.

“How was the movie?”

“So good. You’re going to love it.”
I grabbed the peanut butter and a spoon before turning toward him.

His eyes zeroed in on my neck and I instantly wished I would’ve left my hair down. I could still feel Taylor’s lips on me but somehow Beau’s gaze felt stronger. It was erasing the sting Taylor left behind. His eyes found mine and I could tell he wanted to say something but like most other times, he stopped himself.

“Can you do me a favor?”
He asked as he stood up.

“Sure.”

Anything.

"At least try and act surprised tomorrow. I know you already know Jackson is throwing you a party but he’s convinced that you have no idea.”

“Act surprised, got it.”
I laughed.

“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
He stood up and poured what was left of his drink down the sink.

“Night, Beau.”

I accidentally said the words breathlessly and it made him pause. I watched as he clenched and unclenched his fists.

Was he mad?

I started to walk closer to him and he headed for the door.

“Good night, River. Lock the door.”

I nodded to myself. This was always how it happened. We could have a thousand normal conversations. We could go days without having one awkward moment then all of a sudden we would end up right back here.

Right back to his wall being so tall that I couldn’t climb it to get back to him.

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