We pull up in front of Desiree’s house, not even five minutes later. She doesn’t even say goodbye before she climbs out of the Jeep and goes into the house. Once again, I’m alone with Conrad, and I don’t mind one bit.
“Well, I guess this is it,” He says, handing me Desiree’s keys.
“I guess so.”
I fidget with the keys, reluctant to say goodnight.
“At least until next weekend, that is,” he adds.
“Do you, do you want my phone number?”
“Of course I do Syd if you want me to have it.”
I smile and nod. Conrad smiles back at me and pulls his phone from his pocket. I tell him my digits, already looking forward to when he calls me. He taps the screen more than needed to enter a number, but when my phone dings, I know why. I go to reach for it, but he stops me.
“Read it later,” he says, “now you have my number too.”
We get out of the Jeep, and he walks me to the door. When we stand at the threshold, he takes my hands into his.
“I’m glad I met you tonight, Sydney.”
“I’m glad I met you too, Conrad.”
“Despite our age difference, you seem like a bright, mature young woman. I realize the gap may make things a little difficult, but I still want to see what this is between us.”
“I do too. Part of me wonders, though, why me? Why bother? I don’t want you to get harassed for dating me.”
“Why you? Why not you, that is the question. Take a look at yourself. Any man would be lucky to have you. The question is, why me? As far as you know, I’m just a struggling musician living with a roommate. I don’t see myself as much of a catch.”
“Really? Well, from what I know about you so far is, you’re a gentleman, you’re kind, you don’t drink much, you seem pretty smart, and you’re very talented, not to mention, you’re absolutely gorgeous.”
Did I just say that? Conrad’s eyes drop to his feet, and he looks almost…bashful?
“You’re going to make my head blow up,” he chuckles, pushing his hair off his face.
“I’d like to know more,” I continue.
“I think that can be arranged, but some other time. Right now, it’s late, and I know you’re tired. We’ve got plenty of time.”
I nod in response. I feel my legs dip a little, alerting me to just how tired I am. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed up all night like this before.
“I am pretty tired.”
“I can see that.”
“Are you going to be okay walking back to your place?”
“I’m a big boy. I think I’ll make it.”
I take a step closer to the door handle, but I still hesitate. I want to kiss him goodnight, but I’m not sure that I want to make the first move. I feel like I may have seemed too eager earlier when we kissed in the garage.
Like he was reading my mind, Conrad tugs on the hand he’s still holding and pulls me against him. I look up at him and wait.
“Goodnight, Sydney,” he says softly.
“Goodnight, Conrad,” I say, my voice barely a whisper. He releases my hand, and his hands travel up until my face is secured between his palms.
I’m stock-still, afraid to break the spell, as he bends down, and meets my lips with his once again. I place my hands on his forearms for support and close my eyes. A tingle shoots through my lips, down to my belly, and lower still. I open my mouth slightly, giving his tongue access. His kiss is slow, deep, sensual, and perfect. His tongue tastes like he was just sucking on a mint or something, I love it. I want more, more of him. This is a new sensation for me, to feel this way, to want someone in a way I’ve never wanted anyone before.
Too soon, Conrad breaks the kiss and pulls away. He takes a deep breath and stands up straight.
“Okay, Sydney, I should go. If I don’t…”
“Okay,” I whisper, still breathless, but I’m curious about the end of that sentence.
He smiles at me and then starts backing away before he turns and heads down the driveway. I watch after him. When he reaches the sidewalk, he turns and waves at me.
“Bye, Syd, until next time.”
“Bye,” I murmur, but I don’t know if he hears me or not.
I lose sight of him rather quickly, so I go into the house. I feel like I’m floating on air. I can still feel his lips on mine; I can still taste the mint. I head to Des’s room. She’s already in her pajamas and sprawled out across her bed, but surprisingly, she’s not asleep. She watches me curiously as I reach for my bag and start changing into my own PJs. She doesn’t say anything until I come back from her bathroom after washing my face and brushing my teeth.
“What happened when you guys left?”
“We just went for a ride on his bike, then went and checked out Mayfair Point.”
“That’s it? Nothing happened? I find that hard to believe Syd. Do you realize that you’ve had a ridiculous shit-eating grin on your face since you walked in?”
“Nothing really happened,” I shrug.
“But something did. Come on. You can’t hold out on me, this is big.”
“Okay, well, I told him how old I really am,” I admit.
“What? Why’d you go and do that?” she gasps.
“Because he asked me, and I didn’t want to lie to him. He’s surprisingly good at reading me.”
“So, is that all? Did he freak out?”
“Does he know you’re still in High School?”
“No, I think he thinks I’m in college. Curse my parents for starting me in school later than the other kids.”
“Hey, at least you weren’t held back in grade three like I was. It’s weird being a year older than everyone.”
“So, are you going to tell him?”
“Probably, but not yet. I want him to get to know me better before he sees me as just another high school girl. I don’t think he’s that way, but I only met him tonight, and there’s a lot more to learn about each other,” I explain.
“Probably a wise thing to do,” Des nods her agreement.
“Anyway, when we got back to Harrison’s, he kissed me,” I then reveal.
Desiree squeals loudly and claps her hands together. I join her on the bed, and we hop under the blankets to get comfy.
“Oh my god. How was it? Was it awesome? I bet it was good, huh?”
I laugh at her enthusiasm.
“It was- it was amazing, Des. I mean, you know how you see these great kisses in movies and television, and you think, yeah, right- but it was just like that. I practically attacked him though, I’m a little embarrassed.”
“Oh, I just got chills. Look at my arm.”
Des holds her arm out to me, and I see little goosebumps on her skin.
“Don’t be embarrassed though Syd, I’m sure he didn’t mind at all.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right. And then, just now, as he said goodbye, he kissed me again. I managed to control myself this time, but it was just as good as the first time.”
“So when do you get to see him again? Did you make plans?”
“Yeah, maybe next weekend. We exchanged numbers…Oh! Which reminds me…”
I jump out of bed and grab my phone from my jacket…or I guess it’s Violet’s jacket, which I’ll have to return. I quickly get back into the bed, eager to read his message. Desiree looks at me expectantly, waiting for me to share.
“When I gave him my number, he sent me a text but told me to read it when I got inside,” I tell her.
“Okay, well, you have got to show me. You can’t tell me that then hold out, or I’ll die of curiosity.”
“Okay, you can see, but don’t ever mention it. He might have meant for it to be private.”
“My lips are sealed. Come on, read it!”
My heart beats a little faster as I open my messages and find his.
* Sydney. Close your eyes, and I’ll kiss you. Tomorrow I’ll miss you. Xo
“Awe!” Des sighs.
“It’s a Beatles lyric,” I tell her, my heart fluttering.
“Yeah, he’s a musician, all right.”
“So, how about you?” I ask her, “you disappeared with Harrison, and then you freaked out when you found out I left for a bit. What gives? I figured you must have been having fun so you wouldn’t mind. You seemed kind of weird and grumpy when we left the house.”
“Yeah, sorry about that, Sydney,” Desiree’s eyes drop to her lap.
I can tell when something is bothering her.
“Tell me what happened. I shared, now it’s your turn.”
“Okay. Well, Harrison and I went to his room to…”
“Yeah, and anyway, we were right in the middle of things when his phone rang, and he answered it. I could tell just by the gist of his conversation that it was another chick calling him. He tried to lie about it, but you don’t talk to your guy friends the way he was talking to whoever was on the phone. It was disgusting. I got mad, got dressed, and was going to leave, but when I came out of the bedroom, you were gone. That awful girl, Violet, told me you left with Conrad.”
“Wow! So he’s a total player then.”
“I guess I should have known better. I mean, he is the lead singer of a band on its way up, and he’s totally hot. I’m sure he has a long string of girls at his disposal. I avoided him the best I could until you got back.”
“Sorry, we took so long then. I didn’t realize…”
“No, don’t be sorry, you couldn’t have known, and I shouldn’t have given it up so easily…”
Des stops mid-sentence and lets out a huge yawn, and I can’t help my own that follows.
“Anyway, I’m so tired, let’s go to sleep.”
“Good idea. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed up all night before.”
“You had a big night Syd. You may have found the guy you deem worthy enough to make you a woman,” she teases, I think.
I swat at her and laugh.
“Shut up! You’re terrible sometimes, do you know that?”
“I do, but you love me anyway, and that’s why I love you too.”
It doesn’t take me long to drift off to sleep, but as I do, all I can picture is Conrad’s face, his smile, his scent, his kiss. I find myself fantasizing about all of the things he could teach me, and I’m ready to learn.