Chapter 19: Dance
The next day at school I felt pretty crappy.
Because I hadn’t slept all night. I had tossed and turned thinking about Noah and how I felt like I had made a huge mistake with Logan. It wasn’t the same between us anymore. I kind of felt like I was walking on broken glass, and I just didn’t love him like that anymore. Like we had lost everything we once had, including the trust.
I was actually starting to question why I had fallen for him in the first place. I mean, sure, I had thought he was the perfect boyfriend, but now I realized that he had used me throughout the relationship. Walked all over me, just like Noah had warned me he would.
At lunchtime, I went to the bathroom and washed my hands and face, trying to clear my mind of all of the thoughts and doubts poking at me. I was hoping somehow my mind would erase itself of all the doubt and just return to the normal loving-and-adoring Logan. I had to put Noah to the back of my mind, because any liking he had felt towards me would most likely have completely stopped after I had shown up to school boasting Logan on my arm.
I stopped as I spotted something on the basin. Sitting on the bench-top was a note with my name on it, as well as a white rose lying next to it. I frowned at it and opened up the note, curious of its contents.
Meet me on the rooftop.
I looked around the bathroom to make sure nobody else was in there - any other girl called Marley - before pocketing the note and stepping into the crowded hallways where all of the juniors and seniors were headed off to lunch, since we had different lunchtimes to sophomores and freshmen.
The way I saw this, there were two options:
a) Pretend I had never seen the note and return to my lunch table. Or,
b) Satiate my curiosity and follow the note’s instructions to the rooftop, just to see what was up there. No one ever went to the rooftop.
I think we all know which option I was going to choose.
I hitched my satchel higher on my shoulder and started for the doors.
When I stepped out onto the sunny campus, I looked around to make sure no one was watching, before scurrying towards the science wing.
When I made it inside, I snuck through the corridors—since it was against school rules to be here during lunch hour. I felt like a ninja or spy, ducking in and out of alcoves in my haste to get to the familiar door. Seriously, I should make this into a career, or something. Sneaking seemed to be my forte.
Inside the science wing was a door leading to the stairwell. That stairwell led to the rooftop.
Slowly, I opened the door and stepped into the humid stairwell, where it was hot and sweaty and sticky. I quickly checked behind me to make sure no one was there, before closing it and starting up the stairs.
Nervousness twisted my stomach as I climbed higher. I had no idea what to expect when I walked up the stairs. I hesitated briefly on the top step, my hand lingering on the metal doorknob that would lead me onto the rooftop. What if this was all just some stupid prank? (Author’s Note: Haha, flashback to Pranking the Bad Boy xD)
I sighed and decided to grow a pair and just open the door. Before I could talk myself out of it, I opened the door, and it swung open at my touch.
I stepped onto the rooftop, and discovered it deserted. Not a soul was in sight. All around me, there were different types of flowers: roses and tulips and forget-me-nots and geraniums and gladiolas and gerberas. All in different colors, creating an aroma of beautiful flowers.
I frowned and stepped forward, gulping nervously. Despite the amounts of plants and flowers, there were no humans here.
“Do you remember when we were thirteen and you told me that your dream was to dance on a rooftop in the rain?” I jumped at the sound of the new, familiar voice, and spun around to see Noah standing there, leaning casually against a pipe. He wore a simple white tee that covered his impressive muscles, as well as jeans, and his hair was perfectly tousled, making my heart speed up.
My eyes widened as I took him in. “I…” I had no idea what to say.
He took a deep breath and stepped forward. “You said you saw this romantic movie once, where two people danced on a rooftop in the rain. You said that you couldn’t imagine a more romantic gesture.”
It was true. I had always thought dancing on a rooftop in the rain would be the most amazing and romantic thing on Earth. I had always dreamed about it. I had even dreamed about doing it with Logan, but of course it never happened, and I thought that it wouldn’t because relationships weren’t perfect like they were in movies. There were no fireworks and tingles and special songs and memorable moments.
Like it would be with Noah.
“Yeah?” I said slowly, taking a cautious step towards him.
He walked over to a CD Player I hadn’t noticed before, and turned it on. Softly, my favorite song in the whole world began to play. I gasped as the song floated in the air around us. It started off simply with a guitar plucking, and my heart sped up in my chest.
BEGIN PLAYING SONG NOW
“Well, I wanna make that dream a reality.”
“But… it’s not raining,” I told him, hating to tell him that. I looked at the blue, cloudless sky where birds flew up ahead. It was a gorgeous, sunny day.
He pulled a keychain out of his pocket and pressed a button with a small beep, and all of a sudden warm, light rain began to sprinkle down around us. I gasped as the warm droplets made contact with my skin, and looked around in wonderment at how he had turned the sprinkler system on.
“How…?” I whispered, looking into his eyes.
“I wanted to make it perfect,” he replied, stepping forward and holding out his warm, calloused hand. “May I have this dance?”
I slipped my hand into his and he pulled me towards him, until there was no space between us. One of his arms went around my waist, and the other kept my hand clasped firmly in his. My hand cupped his shoulder, and soon we were moving back and forth. The words from the song drifted in the air around us.
Took a deep breath in the mirror.
He didn’t like it when I wore high heels, but I do.
Turn the lock and put my headphones on.
He always said he didn’t get this song, but I do. I do.
Walked in expecting you’d be late.
But you got here early, and you stand and wave. I walk to you.
You pull my chair out and helped me in.
And you don’t know how nice that is, but I do.
In a way this song kind of narrated my life. All of the things Logan hated about me that Noah loved. Logan never opened car doors for me or pulled the chair out. He thought it was sappy and pointless when I had two arms perfectly capable of doing it myself. Noah did it every chance he got, religiously. All the things he did that Logan Hawkins would never be caught dead doing.
And you throw your head back laughing like a little kid.
I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny ’cause he never did.
And I’ve been spending the last eight months, thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end.
But on a Wednesday in a café, I watched it Begin Again.
I looked up into Noah’s eyes, and he was staring down at me as if he thought I was the most beautiful creature on this Earth.
And then I saw it in his eyes.
He loved me.
Noah Fordman—my ex best friend and then enemy—loved me. And I knew in my heart that I loved him, too. I was through with pretending I didn’t.
He said he’d never met one girl who
Had as many James Taylor records as you, but I do.
We tell stories and you don’t know why
I’m coming off a little shy, but I do.
“Marley,” Noah whispered, twirling me around, and keeping a tight grip on me.
“Noah,” I whispered back, feeling lost and dizzy in his eyes. My heart was pounding a mile a minute, but in a good way. Butterflies swarmed in my stomach, and my knees felt like jelly.
I was long gone.
“Marley,” he repeated again, as if he was forcing himself out a dream. “I know everything about you. I know about the puppet you were obsessed with when you were ten, I know your hopes and dreams and aspirations. I know about your allergies to pollen and I know that you hate cherry tomatoes. I know that you want an eternity tattoo on your wrist, and that you were afraid of ghosts and had to sleep with a night-light until you were twelve. I know that you have a fear of cockroaches and that every night before you go to sleep, you write in your diary. You won’t admit it to anyone, but you’re obsessed with neatness. Your least favorite quality in yourself is the color of your hair, but you love the color of your eyes, because you think they’re special and unique, whereas your hair is just a normal mousy brown…. Even though it’s actually really beautiful. What I’m getting at is that I know everything about you. Every little thing you ever told me, I remember. I know you, Marley. Maybe better than you know yourself. I love everything about you, and I can make you happy. Happier than he can. Does Logan know about the shoebox under your bed where you keep all of your keepsakes? Does he know about your obsession with old movies and poetry? I’m the one who knows everything about you. I’m the one that loves you and promises to make you happy no matter what. So, I’m asking you, Marley Jayne Adams, will you be my girlfriend? Not as in a fake girlfriend, or to make someone jealous. Will you be my real, honest-to-God girlfriend?”
I didn’t even have to think about it. I nodded, and whispered, “Yes.”
He stepped forward and pressed his lips to mine. Immediately my arms looped around his neck and brought him closer. I was sick of pretending I didn’t love him when I did.
When he finally pulled back, we were breathless.
“I love you,” he whispered.
“I love you, too,” I replied.
Then on a Wednesday, in a café, I watched it Begin Again.