I was dreaming.
Everything was white, like snow had just been thrown over the world like a blanket trying to keep us warm. Inside was white too; white walls, white floor, white ceiling, white bed. Winter both inside and out.
Then Jacob appeared, white shorts hanging low on his hips, the smirk of the devil hanging dangerously on his lips. He walked so smoothly towards me it looked like he was floating. He stopped when his body was almost touching mine. He caressed my cheek. Grasped my waist. Kissed my lips. Everything so soft. So delicate.
So not real.
I woke with my heart slamming against my chest, trying to break free of its cage of my bones. I tried to sit up but a weight was holding me down, and that’s when it all came rushing back.
That would explain why I love you.
Will you be my girlfriend?
It wasn’t helping me keep my heart from making a jailbreak.
“Kaia…” The deep voice mumbled, no louder than a whisper in my ear. “Stop wriggling.”
I didn’t stop. I wriggled to lie on my side, Jacob’s peaceful face on the same pillow only inches away. His eyes were open, dark, blue and shining like he was looking at the sun. The same thing I’d seen so many times before but never knew what it meant.
“Good morning, beautiful,” he said in the same rumbled voice through a sleepy smile. I ran my eyes over him, the blankets tangled between us so everything above his hips were out and in the open.
He was still shirtless, but his chest was glistening like he’d just had a shower. Then I realized what it actually was, and my nose scrunched up.
“Huh, Jacob? Why are you all sweaty?”
And then I could feel it, his sweat through my top and too close to my face and I tried to push him away. Some girls liked their men covered in sweat but all it was to me was a reason to shower.
He chuckled and pulled me closer into him, which usually I would be all for but as I said; he was gross. “I woke up early and knew that if I stayed, I would have woken you up and I didn’t want to, so I went for a run.”
“What’s early?” I asked, trying albeit not as hard, to push him away. It was like I kept forgetting he was an athletic six foot three eighteen-year-old boy. I was dreaming to think he would even budge.
“Uh,” he averted his eyes, looking from wall to ceiling to anywhere except me. “Six?”
“Six? That’s barely any sleep and as a teenage boy you need a lot of it and now you’re going to be trashed tonight at the party.” I didn’t want to be overbearing which upon reflection, I was a little, but it was stupid to get up that early. He should have just gone back to sleep.
“It’s not every day your best friend becomes your girlfriend. I’m a little hyped, okay?”
I bit my lip, heat threatening my cheeks. “Still not sorry…” I mumbled and he just laughed.
“You love me anyway. Despite my ridiculous no sleep which you’re only criticizing because it’s bad for me and you love me so you want me to be okay.” His grin stretched further with every word until it couldn’t anymore. I felt as he looked, happy and peaceful and content to the core. I supposed that’s what being in love is.
“You know what I love?” I posed, his eyebrows raising in answer. “Boys who shower after they run.”
“You’d love me even if I didn’t have a shower,” he boasted.
I gave him a look. “Do you want to test your luck?”
“Fine,” he huffed, rolling his eyes without a tinge of annoyance. Before I could say anything he quickly kissed me and was out of bed in the next second, pausing when he looked back at me.
“What?” I asked, feeling almost self conscious. His eyes were roaming all over me, lingering on places exposed from the sheets with nothing innocent in his mind. I had the strangest temptation to tease him, nothing I’d considered before, not like that, but his answer evaporated any idea that was beginning to form.
“You are so beautiful,” he said it almost in a groan, running a hand through his hair, his eyes looking torn between wanting to look away and doing anything but. “You made me forget what I was going to say.”
“So it’s my fault?”
“Hell yeah it’s your fault! You need to stop looking like that so my brain can function normally.”
I was sure my cheeks were blazing this time.
“Go have your shower,” was all I said. He took one last look and shook his head again, as if in disbelief, and padded across his room to the ensuite. The door closed, and the sound of water hitting tiles of the shower hummed quietly in the background.
I was Jacob Beck’s girlfriend.
I woke up to him this morning. It was the best morning of my life so far.
He loved me.
And like he said; it’s not every day your best friend becomes your boyfriend.
The ensuite door swung open, my eyes flicking across the room at the sound. Said boyfriend was standing at the door with a towel around his hips, looking like he’d just had an idea.
“I remembered!” He exclaimed, proud of the fact. I was proud of the fact that I hadn’t drooled yet.
Damn, I had a hot boyfriend.
“I was going to see if you wanted to grab some breakfast.”
His excitement was nearly tangible, looking like a kid on Christmas morning. I didn’t understand why.
“Isn’t that the normal procession of events? Wake up, shower, breakfast?”
He rolled his eyes. “I meant do you want to go out for breakfast, smarty pants?”
“Don’t you have a party to prepare for?”
His bare shoulders shrugged, his expression such that he couldn’t have cared less about the party tonight. If he was thinking anything along the same lines as I was, he’d be wanting to just hang out. No huge party, no late nights, no drinking, no clean up. Just us, maybe the group, a bowl of popcorn and a movie. That would have been heaven.
“The party can wait. My first breakky date with my girlfriend, can’t.”
“Moron.” I didn’t know how else to respond.
“That’s okay. Deflect emotion with insults and rudeness. See if I care.”
He did care.
So quick he couldn’t see what was coming I slid out of bed and ran at him, jumping on him like I’d done at school what felt like so long ago to put up a show for Audrey who seemed such a problem of the past. I wrapped my legs around his hips and he caught me, my laugh bubbling from my chest.
I pressed a kiss to his lips, once, twice and again, as if each time would be the last. Then I just rested my forehead against his and said; “I don’t deflect emotion with insults. I like emotion. I deflect cute comments because I don’t know how to respond.”
“You might want to find a way,” he winked, setting me back on my feet, his hand returning to the top of his almost falling towel.
“Just get in the damned shower,” I laughed, pushing against his sticky chest to try to get him back through to the shower. He wouldn’t have moved an inch if he didn’t let me think I was strong enough to do this. Then I turned and headed out the door, back to his bed for a little more sleep.
Kaia had fallen back asleep by the time I got out of the shower. Mind you, it was a quick shower too so she must have been tired.
I wanted to let her sleep, following her own advice that teenagers need lots of sleep and it would be good for her to continue, but it was nearing 10am and again, she was right. I had a party to prepare for.
The party was so far from my mind if it weren’t for the texts from the boys, it might have slipped my conciousness and I would have got a hell of a surprise this evening.
I didn’t want it anymore. The main reason I had thrown it in the first place was to keep a hold of Kaia for a little while longer but now I didn’t need to worry.
Kaia loved me.
She was my girlfriend.
She wasn’t going anywhere.
Three statements. Three facts. Three things I never thought I would be able to say in my entire life.
Loving Kaia up until now was like loving the sun; no matter how bright she shone or how often you could see her, she was always that little bit out of reach. I never thought the day would come where my sun would come plummeting to the earth and land right in my bedroom at midnight on my birthday to tell me she loved me too.
It was surreal. I almost didn’t believe it, but the sleeping girl in my bed was proof. Proof that the impossible had become a reality and Kaia was all mine.
I let her sleep until half past ten but then decided it was time. I took her home to change out of the sweats she had crept over here in and then, when she was sufficiently dressed – in her opinion, I rather liked the sweats – we went for a late breakfast.
There was a café Ada told me about a week or so ago; a block back from the main street with ivy and loads of green plants running up the black exterior. It was ‘cute’ in Ada’s words, ‘quaint’ in Kaia’s. To me, it was the ‘place with the best food in town’.
A waiter seated us in the back corner with a flower in an old milk bottle in the middle of the table, my girlfriend smiling graciously at the man who handed us our menus.
No words could do her justice. She wasn’t typically beautiful like what girls like Audrey thought they were. She was different; lean but not a stick, her paleness as pretty as a snowflake’s, tall but still far shorter than me with legs that went on forever. Lips not to full or thin, a few freckles dotted across her nose, long dark hair to contrast the fragility, and the most intricately intriguing eyes I’d ever seen; gray one day blue the next.
“What are you staring at?” Her voice too, how could I forget? It wasn’t airy or delicate, but strong and earthy, like a saxophone compared to a flute. She spoke with heart, so much that it was evident at all times, even when she was angry or frustrated or upset or bothered. Very admirable.
“I never thought we’d be here,” I admitted, scratching the back of my neck.
“In this café?” The corner of her lip turned up in a smirk. Teasing, always teasing.
“In this relationship.”
“Why?” She asked as if I hadn’t had the biggest stroke of luck to get a girl like her to fall for me. As if it were an every day occurrence.
“I liked you when we were kids,” I admitted, the words spilling out like someone had slammed their hand on the keyboard to my brain. “Since I met you with your two braids and the goddamn dimple in your cheek and your smile that never seemed to fade. Your happiness was contagious, and I always wanted more.
“I didn’t realize what it was until you brought up Audrey, years after we became friends. You convinced me to asking her out but it didn’t feel right. Sure I thought she was pretty but I knew I didn’t want to do it. It was then I realized I liked the girl who’d pushed me into someone else. I wanted to ask her out, the one who didn’t know what a skirt was and wasn’t scared to play in the dirt, get up to mischief and have some fun.”
Kaia’s smile had faded. I didn’t know what she was thinking. I couldn’t stop.
“So I dated her, we drifted a bit, I left, and then I came back six years later when everything had changed. You were the person I was most interested in seeing; I’m sure you could ask Hayden and he would vouch for me on that one. But you had Marcus, and then we had our little fight and I was convinced that you hated me so why not return the feeling?
“Then of course, after our ridiculous game of hide and seek at the park I remembered who you were and it snowballed from there. You’ve been around for so long, whether in real life or my head or my heart, but you’ve never really left. But in all those years I never thought you could possibly like me. We were just friends, that’s all it seemed you wanted.”
I took a breath. It was like I’d been holding it in for so long and now it was out there and in the open I didn’t know what to do. I could tear my eyes away from Kaia’s, a hundred things lying just beneath the surface, the meaning of which I couldn’t read.
She was thinking, thinking so hard her eyes began to lose focus as her mind ran off to find a response. It sure took a while, but then it came back with a blink of her eyes, softening when they refocused.
“I liked you too,” she mumbled, playing with the napkin under her cutlery. “When we were young. I liked you.”
She shrugged. “I liked you. I didn’t want to admit it.” I was silently begging for her to look at me, wondering what was hiding in the eyes she purposefully kept shielded.
I tried a different tack.
“Isn’t it funny that it was Audrey who made us drift in the first place and Audrey who brought us back together?”
“I can’t tell if I hate her more for the former or should be slightly redeemed for the latter.”
Finally. Her eyes flicked to mine, a mixture of emotions swirling in the grey-blue. Amusement. Loss. Happiness. Confusion.
For me, it wasn’t even a question. Not a single part of me disagreed, my heart and my head on the same track for once.
A smile caught my lips and I took a sip of water, setting it back down on the hard wooden table.
“I think I’m going to go with the latter.”