I immediately turned the page when he glimpsed at me and said I was sketching the surroundings as an alibi.
He broke the comfortable silence with gossip, and as much as anyone who knows me sees how much it bores me. I believe he was talking about drunkards stumbling upon the boiler room this morning and got into trouble.
I fought my mouth from breaking a yawn, but, of course, Alec espied. He always noticed little things about me, and I find it endearing. Then he said that I should be taken back to retire in my room. But I clarified that I just do not like to gossip.
He looked at me with interest as I continued sketching, and he smiled. That smile made my heart wanted to explode with giddiness, and I wanted to jump up and down. But I controlled that feeling.
So, he changed the subject, and without him knowing, I started with a new page and started outlining him, again.
‘Okay, this is not gossip so, will you please listen?’ he said with a chuckle as he looked down at me.
I nodded, smiling. Relieved that he did not notice that it was him, I was drawing.
‘The song reminded me of the people who heard of it. They thought it was about the opening of an amusement park called Dreamland,’ he said chuckling.
‘That is still second-hand information,’ I stated.
His laughter was sort of gloomy. ’Well, let me finish. Four years before my father passed, we visited Coney Island, and that park was breath-taking. We had a lot of fun. My sister and I got lost. Oh, it was a hot mess!’ he stared without seeing at the horizon. His eyes shined by the setting sun, and said, ‘I suppose, it doesn’t matter if you’re lost…’ then he looked at me, ‘…as long as you’re with the people you love, right?’
I blushed under his gaze and looked away. ‘Yes, I suppose.’ Then I became curious, ’What do you mean it was breath-taking?’ I repeated.
He looked at me, sombrely. ‘Unfortunately, I read in the newspaper that it burned down last year. There was an attraction called Hellgate, and the light bulbs began to explode from the heat of the tar or a short circuit. They did not know which, causing the fire, and it spread throughout the park.’
With a sigh, he continued, ‘I was really looking forward to coming back there with my own family.’
I placed my left hand on his arm and gave him a sympathetic smile. ‘Perhaps, someday they will build a grander amusement park.’
He looked at my hand. ‘Perhaps.’ He smiled. ‘By the way, why do you not like gossips?’
I removed my hand, but his warmth still burned on my palm. I sketched, nonchalantly and shrugged while I said, ‘I find it tiresome. It is either based on fact or rumour, but they twist it with more lies.’ I nodded. ’If they talk more often of science, astronomy, technology, poetry, literature, or, music, now those are the things that would interest me.’
I laughed at myself. ‘I like being alone most of the time, drawing or sketching. I am not sociable unless someone approaches me.’ I looked at him, and he was listening intently. ‘I’d rather be alone than pretend to enjoy hanging out with someone I do not even like.’
Alec said with a sly grin, ‘You really are a spoiled brat.’
‘That might be true.’ I nodded. ’I believe you think I am boring.’ I shyly smiled, avoiding his gaze.
‘You’re so adorable,’ said Alec with that perfect smile. His sly grin was still on his face. ’So, are you saying that you like my company?’
I looked at him, his eyes were on me, the same way I would look at something I would love to draw; curious and attentive.
‘Yes.’ I mumbled.
He leaned in and saw my sketchpad. His eyes widened, and he puffed, ‘No way!’
He tried to snatch it out from me, but I moved faster. He almost fell on the floor that he stomped his feet loudly to keep his balance. I laughed hard, and the crew inside the bridge looked at our direction.
He pulled me away from the bridge that I had to shove my pad and pencil in my satchel. So, we head downstairs and to the fore, away from meddling eyes of other people. I questioned him since most of the men I see out there were the crew.
‘How did you manage to get here?’
He was startled. ‘Er, I’m one of the best employees here,’ he boasted. ‘What can I say, everyone, adores me.’
When I rolled my eyes, he pointed at my face and laughed. ‘There it is, again!’
I shook my head and suppressed my out-of-control smile. I pressed the bridge of my nose and, turned away from him, chuckling.
He touched my back and held my right hand.
‘What are you doing?!’ I gasped as he waltzed me, and then he made me twirl.
The sun had kissed the sea, and the stars started to show up in the sky. Without music playing, we continued swaying, and Alec started to hum Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland, and his singing voice was remarkable. In the middle of his humming, Alec talked:
‘Sorry. I like that song a lot.’
I giggled, and he twirled me again.
‘It’s alright,’ I smiled and reminisced. ‘I like that song too. My father sang it all the time after we visited Chicago. He even bought the sheet music, and together we played it on the piano.’
He held me closer and whispered, ‘That’s sweet, you and your father must have been close.’
I rested my cheek against his chest and hummed, ‘Yes, we were.’
He kissed the top of my head and leaned back to say, ‘I would love to hear you play.’
I looked up and nodded. ‘I would love to play for you.’
He continued humming, and when he finished, we unconsciously started leaning into each other.
‘You never left my mind since the night you dropped your hairpin, Sierra.’ He whispered, and we both shared a smile.
‘What is it with you I find so captivating?’ he said as he twirled my loose hair between his fingers.
My ears rang at his words for I was not the only one thinking about it.
‘In a forest of liars, you stayed true. You are such a beautiful soul, Sierra,’ he said, touching my cheek gently, then, pushed my hair behind my ear. He wrapped his arms around my back and waist as I put my hands on his chest and neck. I could feel his heart pounding.
I tipped my toes as he leaned down, we pulled each other in. Before I knew it, a new sensation filled my body. I felt his lips pressing softly on mine. It was dry and cold, yet, warmth enveloped me. I felt his smile, and then he began to kiss me deeply; making my mind went blank. It was perceptible he knew what he was doing, but I gave in to the emotion. Without my full control, my lips moved, returning the favour. When we broke free, I felt a little dazed.
He caressed my cheek and smiled at me.
Our little bubble was dispersed when I heard my name, loud and stern. I froze. It was Ms Abram’s voice. Before she got closer, I told Alec that I would send Jane as a messenger for us.
‘Sierra!’ she bellowed, angrily but controlled, trying not to make a scene. I saw Jane running behind her and looked apologetically at me. Ms Abram pulled me away from Alec’s embrace. She held tightly onto my wrist, but, I did not feel the pain.
I looked back at Alec, concerned but amazed at my boldness. His smiling face will be forever in my mind.
As we walked to where she was leading me, I knew how much trouble I was in. But I did not mind every wrath or punishment Ms Abram was going to give me. I was too high to come down. Nothing could take that away from me. I touch my lips for the kiss was lingering.
From your mischievous daughter,
It was my first kiss.