Charlie Ever After

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2o| Charlie

By the time Tanner drops me back off at the dorm it’s almost midnight. The night went by so fast and I was almost disappointed that he was bringing me home, but when I looked at my phone and saw the time, I knew it was for the best since I have class early.

I watch as he climbs out of the truck and walks over, opening my door for me. My smile hasn’t left my face the entire night and my cheeks are definitely starting to hurt.

He holds his hand out for me and I wrap my fingers around his before hopping down. His hands are rougher than mine with a few calluses and I can’t help but to trace my fingertips lightly over the palm of his hand as he walks me up to the front door of my dorm building.

“I had a great time tonight. Thank you so much.” I say as we reach the inside lobby; the thank you for more reasons than just the wonderful night. Like, how he didn’t pressure me to explain the bruises to him. I’m sure Isaac told him enough that he could surmise exactly what happened. He even made me feel beautiful even though I’ve been feeling like a cave troll since the Fourth of July party disaster. Time with him is just easy and care free, and he brings out a whole other side of me than I didn’t even know I had locked away.

He lays his hand on my cheek, brushing his thumb softly over my skin. I lean into his touch and my smile only grows larger as my stomach quickly fills with butterflies.

“Is it bad that I don’t want to leave?” He says and I can see his cheeks brighten with a blush in the florescent lighting of the common room.

I can’t help the grin that stretches even further across my lips. “Not at all.” I shake my head. “Spending time with you is just so...” I pause for a second trying to think of how I want to word what I’m about to say but all I can come up with is, “easy.” I bite the corner of my bottom lip and look down momentarily before returning my gaze to his.

“I just feel like I’ve known you forever, as cliché as that may sound.” I grin. “But I can use a little easy in my life.” The thought of something being simple in my life for a change excites me but also makes me nervous at the same time; life is never that simple, when good things come to me, usually they’re ripped away faster than they appear. I catch my mind racing and have to force my brain to slow down.

“I feel the same way. You’ve already taken me by storm.” He looks at me with the most beautiful, lopsided grin I’ve ever seen and I swear I melt into a puddle at his feet.

He brings my hand to his lips, placing a soft kiss against my skin but this isn’t enough for me. I surprise myself, but I tug at his hand as he lowers mine from his lips and I pull him into me. We’re so close that I can feel his warm breath graze my lips and it drives me wild. Before I can overthink it, I press my lips against his.

I can feel him smiling against my lips as he returns the soft kiss, deepening it for a moment before slowly pulling away. I can feel how reluctant he is to stop this kiss but he leans his forehead against mine, his eyes still closed. “I don’t ever want this moment to end, but we both have class early and I don’t want you to be tired.” He whispers softly and I can feel each syllable against my lips as he speaks.

My insides are goo and all I can do is nod before I regain composure. “Yeah, you’re unfortunately right.” I painfully groan. “But at least I get to see you first thing in the morning.”

He nods, pulling away just slightly as smiles. He looks into my eyes, his stone grey gaze penetrating my soul. It almost feels as if he’s reading my mind and I don’t care, in this moment my mind is an open book for him. He leans in once more and places the softest kiss on my forehead before he slowly pulls away, our hands still linked as he starts walking backwards until my hand slips from his.

The lopsided grin is back and my stomach flutters. “I’ll see you tomorrow. Get some rest, gorgeous.” He says with a wink before exiting the building.

It takes everything in me to not completely combust on spot. I watch him as he walks to his car and then finally pull myself together enough to make it upstairs.

When I finally make it into my room, my heart is racing a million miles a minute as I recount the events of the evening. This guy who I’ve only known for mere days has me wrapped around his pinky finger so tightly that I could probably cut off the circulation. My mind swims with anxiety but the excitement of it all forces away any negative thought.

I pull my phone out and text a hurried message to Lydia.

Call me when you get a chance. I hung out with him again and OH MY FUCKING GOD!

“What’re you so smiley about?” Scout asks from her bed, her phone lighting her face up in the moon lit room. I didn’t even know she was home, the sound of her voice startling me a little.

“Oh, you have no idea.” I squeal.

Scout sits up in bed, turning her bedside table lamp on and tossing her phone to the side. She pats the spot in front of her. “Come, spill!”

I giggle and rush over, throwing myself down on her bed and crossing my legs in front of me. “Ugh, I think I’m in love.” I gush dramatically and my actions dawn on me. Never once have I been this kind of girl; one who runs to her someone she barely knows, let alone her friends and gushes about a boy they like. Come to think of it though, I never really did have a reason to. Gavin was my first real boyfriend, but even in the beginning it was nothing like this. We had always hung around in the same group of friends, and one day it just... happened. One day we were just, Gavin and Charlie.

I swallow hard and again try to quell the anxiety that keeps trying to rear its ugly head. Scout looks at me concerned and I realize the huge smile that has been plastered to my face since I walk in has now fallen into a frown. I shake my head of all negative thoughts and return the smile to my face.

“So, it’s the guy from the other night. He’s one of my best friend’s brother’s friends. He’s so fucking hot and god-” I flop onto my back and stare up at the ceiling. “He just makes me feel all mushy inside yet ready to explode at any minute. Is that normal?” I ask before sitting up again. “I’ve never really had this feeling before.” I say, attempting to open up to her.

The shit eating grin that is spread across Scout’s lips says it all. “Duh. Obviously whatever dudes you’ve dated in the past weren’t shit if they never made you feel this way.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever had butterflies.” I blurt out and almost with I hadn’t because she looks at me as if I sprouted a second head.

“What?” Her voice raises a few octaves and her smile somehow widens. “That’s crazy! Now I definitely know the boys you’ve been with in the past weren’t shit.”

We both bust out into a fit of giggles and I catch myself thinking about how nice it feels, this sense of normalcy; talking about boys with a friend, laughing and smiling, not having to worry about nasty next messages, or getting ignored, the nagging insecurity of being cheated on- you name it. It felt good to for once be a normal girl.

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