Nostalgia is a Liar

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Chapter Two

Fall, 2001

Luna had hung back after Cooper’s football game. She sits alone on the bleachers. He walks over, hair still wet from the shower; his grey t-shirt clinging to his chest; his duffle bag hanging from his left shoulder.

He walks up a few tiers of the bench rows.

“Hey…” he leans in to press a kiss on her lips

He takes a seat next to her, dropping his bag next to him. He drapes his arm around her shoulder and nuzzles her neck, kissing her earlobe.

The rest of the team, cheerleaders and a few other classmates congregated on the field; chugging beers and partaking in all sorts of other debaucheries.

She pulls four hotel bar fridge sized bottles of Jack Daniels from her handbag.

He lifts an eyebrow, “Do I even wanna know?”

Luna giggles, before handing his two tiny bottles and then proceeding to twist the cap from the one in her hand.

She takes a sip, pulling a face after the taste. He smiles, as he took the sight of her in.

“Hey, you…” he nudges her arm.

She looks across at him. His eyes never leave hers. He had a determined look in his eyes. Eyes that were deep blue under the moonlit sky. His flushed cheeks and rosy lips softened the steely gaze.

“… I love you…”

His words clung to the air for a beat. This was the first time he had said those words, the first time she had heard those words… ever.

He flicks his tongue over his top lip, clears his throat “… and I know…” he gulps “Lu, I know it’s a big thing to say… and it’s a big thing for you to hear…”

She smiles, cupping his cheek with her hand “I love you too”

His face lit up, “You do?”

She nods enthusiastically.

“I go back and forth on this a lot, ruminating on how one knows… should it be like the movies or a Shakespearean sonnet…whether it’s real or not? And how I could ever possibly feel it, if I don’t even have the most basic reference of unconditional parental love…” she sucks in a breath, “… but then I just close my eyes Coop, and it’s the way you make me feel when I’m with you. I feel alive… free… safe…”

He pulls her closer, kissing the top of her head. “And I hope I never give you cause to doubt that I love you, and just how much… and hope that you’ll always feel that way when you’re with me”

She looks up at him, her trembling hand on his chest. Her eyes lingering over his puckered lips.

She traces her finger from his collarbone up and across his jawline.

Cooper closes his eyes slowly and exhales at the touch of her skin on his.

“Everyone is still at Jase’s play, right?”

“Hmmm…” he murmurs against her cheek, before tracing kisses from her temple all the way down to her neck.

“I have an idea…” she bites down on her bottom lip

Cooper grins, “I know exactly what you’re thinking…”

“I mean… we could stay here and get wasted with the rest of them… but I only swiped four really tiny ass bottles from Brenda’s Motel”

He drops his head, shoulders shaking, quiet laughter rippling through his body.

“Okay Lu… you wanna go back to my place?”

“It depends, how quickly can you drive Thindrel?”

He kisses her with intent, wanting to linger as he parts her lips with his tongue. She pushes her palms to his chest, a cheeky grin on her lips.

“Uh-a… let’s keep that energy for your bed playboy”

He steals one last quick kiss; before they dart for his truck.

The two stumbles into his bedroom, Cooper pushing the door shut behind him. Luna pulls at the hem of his t-shirt, up and over his muscular torso. Pieces of clothing sent searing through the quiet night, only the sound of feverish kissing and passionate groans heard.

She lands softly on his bed; Cooper carefully lowering down until his chest pressed to hers.

He smiles, kissing her mouth and then again.

“You sure about this?”

“I am… and you?”

He kisses her again, “Hmmm”

He fumbles around the drawer and eventually beneath the heavy comforter.

“You need some help?” she teases

“Lu, can you not be a smart ass right now. You are considerably more intelligent than I am in every sense of the word, and I accept that. But can you just allow me to master this one thing… I’ve got this okay”

She tries to mask the giggles, “Okay cariño…”

After a few flustered minutes, he looked up at her and smiled with a sense of accomplishment.

Luna traces her finger down the bridge of his nose, lifting her head to press a kiss to the tip of his nose.

“I love you” he whispers, his lips inches away from hers

“I love you” she whispers back

Luna lay with her head on Cooper’s chest; he had his fingers weaved through her dark, curly locks.

She perks up, her chin on his pec. He lifts his head to meet her gaze.

“What?”

“Are we that cliché couple, that did it because we said I love you?”

He chuckles, dropping his head back to the pillow.

“No. We said I love you, coz that’s how we felt. And we had sex… coz that’s how we felt?”

“So, we didn’t ‘make love’?

“Lu, you would be the first person to spit-take if anyone said that having sex was making love…”

She ponders, “That’s true”

“But I’d happily refer to what just happened as making love” he grins

“Ughh… Thindrel, stop!”

Cooper’s laughter reverberates through her body.

“So, Lu… you’ve allowed me to give you my Letterman, call you my girlfriend… and even say I love you…and well, goes without saying… the sex was phenomenal!”

“Where are you going with this?”

He peeks down at her, only seeing the top of her head now.

“Hey, you…” he whispers to get her attention

The corners of her mouth turn up into a smile, as she lifts her gaze.

His eyes were sparkling with excitement. It was adorable.

“I know you think it’s patriarchal and sexist… and archaic even… but, would you go to prom with me?”

She lets out a sympathetic laugh, bites down on her bottom lip. She pushes herself up by her palms, until her face is inches away from his; presses a kiss to his parted lips.

“He says while not giving me the option of asking… but yes, Thindrel… I’ll go to prom with you”

As she kisses him again, she could feel the smile beneath her lips. She squints her eyes.

“What?”

“The sex was that good huh?”

She swats him across the chest. He winces with the huge grin never leaving his face.

He pulls her closer in his embrace; his nose nestled in her hair.

“Do you think we’ll always be this happy, this in love?” she asks, drawing circles on his stomach with her fingertips.

“Probably not always…” he pauses “… but I think even with the rocky bits of a relationship, the arguments always lead to make-up sex”

“Gah, is that all you have on the brain” she teases

“I think that we’ll remember times like this when things aren’t so great. We’ll remember how much we care and love each other… how good we can be… and then, we’ll forget why we were fighting in the first place… or at least, that’s how my dad explains it”

“Do you think we’ll get married? Have kids?”

“Of course! We’ll finish college, get the perfect job, move in together… then on your 27th birthday, I’ll propose. We’ll have 5 kids, 3 boys and 2 girls…”

Her eyes widen, “5 kids? Let’s cut that down by half, shall we?”

“Okay we’ll have 2.5 kids”

She giggles, pressing a kiss to his chest.

“I want to get married in our 30s… so we’ve lived enough life before starting a family”

He nods, “I’m all about compromise… Lu, I would marry you right now if you wanted… point is, you’re the only girl I want to marry.”

She raises her head, “You promise?”

Cooper rolls them over, presses a kiss on her forehead; then the top of her nose and finally her mouth.

“I promise you Luna Jiménez... you have my heart, now and forever”

“Good” she pushes him back.

She rolls back over to rest her head on his chest.

“Our boy’s name will be…” she starts

“Tom Brady Thindrel!”

“Over your dead body!”

“Okay at least one of the two names…”

“Okay… Brady can be his middle name…”

“Then we can do Marilyn or Monroe for our girl… middle name of course” he adds

“You’d name our daughter after my favorite actress?”

“Compromise, remember?”

She kisses the tip of his chin, “Monroe Elora… for your nana… so she’ll always have a guardian angel watching out for her”

Cooper’s grandmother, Elora, had passed away last winter. It was the first time Luna ever saw him cry.

“I like that…”

“Me too” Luna closes her eyes, picturing their little girl with her curly hair and daddy’s beautiful eyes.

“Nope!” Cooper senses Luna settling into a slumber, “none of that…”

He sits them up; presses a kiss to the top of her shoulder and neck. Then hops out of bed and pulls on his grey trackpants.

“Jase’s play is probably finished, and I’d give the after-show pleasantries about another 30 minutes… So, we have to pretend, we’ve been on the couch watching Smallville”

“That’s not on tonight…” she gets up in a huff, dressing herself

“It’s not?”

“Tuesday, Thindrel. And don’t pretend you’re not dying to see Kristin Kreuk every week”

“Ha!” he pulls his hoodie over his head.

He walks around to the side of the bed she’d been sitting, dragging her feet getting dressed.

He kisses her mouth. “Come on, hustle. I’ll make some hot chocolate.”

“With the tiny marshmallows”

He smiles, stealing another kiss. “If you don’t hurry, I’ll eat ’em all myself”

“You wouldn’t dare!”

He makes his way and pauses at the doorway, turns back and looks at her.

“Hey, you…”

Luna lethargically pulls her sweater over her head. Her hair frizzy from the friction.

“Hmmm…”

“I still love you”

She smiles, “I still love you”

He blows a kiss and heads downstairs.

Luna finally gets up from the bed, looks back at the tussled bedding and smiles.

She runs her palm across the sheets. She was so happy in this moment but couldn’t help the rising fear inside – that every good thing ends tarnished one way or another in her life.

She wanted to believe in her and Cooper’s relationship, in their love… but the cynic in her kept gnawing inside.

No! Cooper was right. The good times would be there as a reminder to them why they need to keep fighting if things got tough. Not every person or relationship ends like her parents. Not everyone bolts at the first sign of struggle or challenge.

Cooper would love her; and she would love him. And that would be enough.

“Luna!” Cooper yells from downstairs

“I’m coming!”

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