Daring To Love And Breaking Kisses
Homeland was a small city at the ends of the earth. It was surrounded by forests, mountains, hills, lakes and valleys which gave it a suburban outlook mixed with epic civilization.
The surrounding natural habitat gave its inhabitants diverse means of income hence, Homeland accommodated folks that survived with white collar jobs as well as skilled work from carpentry to sculpting, other forms of art, fishing and hunting.
Arda drove through the streets in quite a breeze, grateful that the traffic flowed freely, the day being early, still. She really wanted to hang out with Luke. It would be a welcome distraction, she hoped. It wasn’t long before she reached her destination.
Landmark was a nature park. It had a neat field on a wide expanse of land where people could be seen sitting, walking, talking and having fun.
There were benches fitted around the area- some lying single, some in clusters and some in squares. Dogs were being walked by their owners while some persons could be seen riding bicycles.
Arda parked her car among the bed of cars in the open parking lot and stepped outside, shutting the door behind her. Standing there, she looked around the parking lot, trying to find Luke.
She spotted him leaning against a white Peugeot truck, smiling at her. He was parked just a few yards behind her car. She returned his smile and they started walking towards each other.
Luke was about a year older than she was and stood at five foot, five like her. He was slim, good-looking and wore his dark hair, short. Why she had been able to refuse him for so long, she could no longer understand. She knew he had dated a girl for a while but that was not her concern. They were both single and free to see each other now.
Luke took her in his arms as soon as they reached each other.
“Hey, I don’t even know what you like.” He said as they stood, locked in an embrace. “Do you like simple things of life like me? A walk in the park by day? Looking up at the stars at night, etcetera?”
They disengaged then but remained holding hands as they stared into each other’s eyes.
“You have no idea.” she said to him and she truly meant it. “I do love the simple things of life.” After all, her dream was pretty simple. Graduate and find a nice boy to raise children with.
“That’s good to know, Arda.” He said and drew her closer, his eyes on her lips. Unconsciously, she found herself pressing her lips together. “Can I kiss you?” he asked. Luke had been dying to. Now that she had accepted him, he just couldn’t wait to taste her lips.
“Maybe you don’t really need my permission.” She said with a smile and his lips started to descend on hers but before their lips could join, they were distracted as a little girl closely whipped by them, laughing as a boy her age chased her around.
Arda and Luke chuckled as they briefly looked at the playing children, before he took her hand in his.
“Come on, let’s take a walk in the park and talk about anything before we have our lunch. But before that…” He pulled her beside him, retrieved his phone from his pocket, and put on the camera. “Let me take a selfie with you.”
Arda leaned into him and they both smiled into the camera as he took a shot.
“It’s lovely.” She said as they admired the picture.
“Yes it is.” He agreed, “I’ll send it to your phone.”
He stuck the phone back into his pocket and they walked hand in hand along the concrete pathway in the park. They came across a middle-aged couple kissing and as though, inspired by their show of affection, his gaze fell on hers before he made them pause. Then with a finger, he tilted her chin upwards.
“That interrupted kiss needs to be fixed.” He said and she closed her eyes as his lips started to descend upon hers. Suddenly, Arda’s eyes shot open as she heard his sharp grunt of pain. “Shit!” he swore, one hand on his head as his face crinkled with a grimace.
“What is it?” she asked, concerned.
“It’s just this sudden headache.”
“Sorry about that.” She said and watched his features relax.
“Thanks, it no longer hurts.” He said and smiled at her.
“That is good to know.” She told him and his finger returned to her chin, tilting her face upwards for another kiss.
“Allow me to taste your lips.” He said and she shut her eyes once more, ready to accept his kiss but her eyes shot open in alarm as once more, she heard him grunt in pain, louder this time.
It seemed like the pain that had hit him was worse than the first one. His hand was back to his head and his face was contorted with pain. “Damn.” He swore. “I hardly get migraines or headaches.”
“Sorry. Maybe you need to see a doctor.”
He took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. “I guess so, but don’t worry. The pain has disappeared. I’m just tired.”
“Okay. But does this mean, we won’t have lunch?”
“We’ll have lunch, but I think I will not be kissing you until after lunch.”
She found herself giggling and he gave her a hug.
Few minutes later, they were together, having lunch outside by a street at a restaurant with an eat-out, just outside its doors. Tables and chairs were set in fours under a canopy that sheltered its customers from the elements of nature like rain and sun.
The fans hanging from the ceiling of the canopy were doing a good job of keeping the air cool as they enjoyed their chosen meals. Luke and Arda were taking the last bites of their burgers and then sipping their soft drinks with straws.
“Thanks.” She said after taking a long drink from the straw.
“Don’t mention.” He said, “I’m enjoying being around you.”
Arda found that the feeling was mutual. He had a pleasant personality.
“I enjoy your company too.” she said. “I never thought I would but I do.”
“I’m glad that I didn’t give up on you.” He told her and they smiled at each other. Then they lazily sipped on their drinks for a few seconds.
“Arda.” He said.
“I never saw you dating anyone even while you kept rejecting me. Is there a particular reason why that was?”
“I did not want to be distracted by boys.” She responded. “I’m on scholarship, remember?”
“That makes sense but at some point, I wondered if you were, you know…” he hesitated but Arda could already guess what he was trying to say.
“You thought I was a lesbian? Not at all.”
“I saw Karina as my rival until I saw her and her boyfriend making out.”
Arda placed her drink on the table, her eyes rounding with surprise. “You’re not serious.” She said.
“Why do you say that?”
“Because I know that Karina doesn’t have a boyfriend.”
He placed his drink on the table and threw her a puzzled look. “How can you say that? Of course she has a boyfriend.”
“Are you sure about that?” Arda asked. “Because she is like me. She does not want to be distracted in her studies. She is not on scholarship but it is one of the values we both hold in common.”
“That’s admirable.” He said and then shook his head. “But I’m telling you that Karina has a boyfriend. I’ve seen her and the guy several times hanging out together and…kissing.”
Arda was finding it hard to believe what Luke was telling her. “Where?” she asked.
“The love garden.”
The love garden was a garden inside the university campus where students hung out mostly in the evenings. The students called it love garden because most times, student couples were seen hanging out there. Karina had always said she would start dating after school or maybe during her final year which was the stage they were in right now. Why would she lie?
“Since when did you notice her and the guy?” she asked.
“Since year one.”
Arda was shocked. Why would Karina lie? It just did not make any sense.
“Who is the guy? Do you know him?”
“Come on, stop that.” He said a bit firmly. “Are you kidding me? You know him already. Why are we doing this? And why do you seem genuinely surprised?”
“That is because I am surprised, Luke.” Arda was still shocked and her expression was grave.
“My God, you are serious about this.” Luke said as he studied her grave countenance and she nodded.
“Who is the guy, Luke?” she asked for the second time and watched him sigh.
“Jacob.” He said finally.
“What?” Arda felt like her shock had doubled as her mouth opened in a gasp and remained in a gape.
“Jacob your flat-mate, friend and whatever,” Luke said to her. “That is one reason why I kept pushing to get you. At first, I had thought he was your boyfriend because I didn’t see him with any other girl, at least not intimately even though he’s a sort of ladies’ man due to his friendly nature. I also thought Karina and you were lesbians like I said earlier until I saw them kissing at the love garden, not once, not twice.”
Arda shook her head in denial. “Jacob is like a playboy. He and Karina are always fighting at home.”
“Well, I don’t know, but I don’t see them fighting. They seem very connected to each other all the times that I’ve seen them together.”