I can’t help it. I stand awkwardly gazing at him, my eyes looking him up and down. Blushing when I realise what I just did.
“You checking me out Williams?” he chuckles with a wink.
“No—, I uh—, I was just—,” I stammer moronically.
“It’s ok, I’m a good looking boy I know,” he smirks, “You gonna invite me in?”
“I—, uh—, of course, come in,” I stammer again, feeling my insides flutter.
He smiles a genuine wide smile as he hesitates for just a second but hugs me, my hand still holding onto the handle of the door.
“Oh,” I murmur as I let go and wrap my arms around him.
“So this is your place?” He asks as he lets go of me, heading further into the entryway.
“It is,” I reply as I close the door behind us, watching as his eyes look all around, creasing a little when he looks back at me, “It’s very— you,”
“It’s me?” I frown, cocking my bottom lip out confused.
“Yeah, it’s like your old apartment, all neutral colours and wicker baskets,”
“Well I do have some colour,” I smile, biting on the corner of my lip as I direct him into the kitchen. Walking just behind him, I look at him, his shoulders flexing underneath his t-shirt.
Stop looking at him, he already caught you checking him out.
Coldplay plays softly in the background as I set myself down at the small dining table and watch as he leans against the counter, silence filling the kitchen as I watch him inspecting his surroundings.
“It really is a nice place,”
“Thank you,” I say, resting my chin in my palm, my elbow pressed against the table underneath me. He smiles again, folding his arms in front of him, his ankles crossing as we just look at each other.
With a subtle clear of my throat, I feel the same fluttering I felt when he climbed from his car moments ago and look down to the oak wood of the table.
“So—,” he murmurs, breaking the awkward silence, walking towards me, pulling a chair out with a slight scrape and sitting beside me, “This doesn’t need to be weird. I’m here to fix the car, well— do my best not to fuck it up,” he scoffs playfully, “So don’t worry, if you need to go out or even if you’re just staying in, and if you need to ask me anything, just shout, I’ll only be outside,”
I nod, looking into his eyes, pools of colour drawing me in.
“Sure,” I mutter, clearing my throat again, “I mean— sure, no problem,”
“You ok Sunny?”
“I’m— I’m good,”
“Ok,” he chuckles, “Well I guess I better get started,”
“Ok,” I nod, not knowing what else to say. For god’s sake this is Jake, I mean we’ve known each other for a long time, we’ve held each other, kissed each other and fuc—.
Yeah, don’t really need to think about that right now. I watch as he confidently strides from the kitchen and back through the entryway and hearing the front door close. I let out a long and aching breath I didn’t realise I was holding and slowly stand from the chair, padding towards the kettle and making myself a cup of coffee.
Once it’s made, I take myself to the back of the house, the weather warmer than it had been in days and settle myself down at the garden table, draping a throw over my legs and reading another new book, sipping on my coffee as I immerse myself in a world of fantasy, a world where Oliver Ross doesn’t exist. A world where we’d never met, and despite the distraction of Jake out front fixing the Chevelle, it’s a world where my heart doesn’t feel so broken anymore.
“Hmm?” I look up, humming when I see Jake stood in front of me, covered in muck and grease, but a soft and warm smile curled on his lips.
“Sorry, I was just reading,”
“Yeah I could see that, you know it’s almost two right?”
“In the afternoon?”
“Yeah,” he chuckles as he wipes his hands on a dirty rag, “So listen—, I’m getting kinda hungry, you want anything to eat?”
“I can make you something,” I offer as I stand from the chair, almost losing my balance as I stumble, my legs tangled in the blanket. Arms catch me as I nearly hit the floor, and with my fingers grasped around his forearms, I smile when I look up at Jake, his eyes warm and familiar, looking at me like I’m the biggest idiot I’m sure.
“Sorry,” I say clearing my throat, “Clumsy,”
“That’s ok,” he chuckles, helping set me right and then standing back just a little, “So, if I go wash up, I can help or— or we could go out and get some lunch,”
“But you’re filthy,” I say, scrunching my nose as he looks down at his clothes.
“So I am,” he smirks, biting the inside of his cheek, his eyes falling to the floor for just a second before he looks back to me. I can’t say what it is, call it hormones, call it emotion I don’t know, but I can’t help it, the reoccurring feeling of butterflies in my chest, the same fluttering feeling I used to get when Oliver looked at me. And even though he isn’t here anymore, somehow, in some way he’s still around.
“We don’t have to go anywhere fancy, a burger would be good, and if you’re worried I’m going to embarrass you, we can go through a drive-through then that way, the world won’t have to see who you’re with,” he laughs as I playfully swipe at his arm.
“You were never an embarrassment Jake,”
“No,” I shake my head, licking my bottom lip before I look him straight in the eye, “You never were,”
A couple of hours had passed and as promised Jake did in fact stay in the car, his car. We’d been to In-and-Out and I watched in amazement how he devoured his burger, and I laughed when it seemed as though he hadn’t even taken a breath.
The drive home was quiet, Jake humming along to the music playing from the radio, almost in some sort of food-induced haze.
“Thank you— by the way,”
“For what?” He asks, his eyes flitting between me and the road.
“For fixing the car, for taking me for lunch,”
“You’re welcome, although you really don’t need to thank me,”
“No— you really don’t. Listen Sunny, I still feel shit about how I treated you, how I blamed you for everything,”
“I know,” I interrupt.
“I know you do, but I don’t think you realise just how much. I was a dick, I was hurt and I wish I’d never done it, any of it. I miss you Sunday, I miss you more than you know,” I sit there, my heart thumping in my chest, my eyes just watching him. With a swallow, I turn my gaze back to the road and take a drink of my milkshake.
“You ok? Or did I just fuck it all up?” He asks, caution laced in his voice.
“Actually— yeah, I mean no— you didn't fuck it all up, not this time at least,"