We walk a few steps in silence and I glance at him inquisitively. “Do you know if love, the kind that makes you feel weak in the knees, will ever last?”
He smiles impishly. “I don’t know. Why do you ask? Do I make your knees feel weak?”
“I am sorry, but I am not supposed to tell you. I cannot tell you whether it does or if it does not.”
He laughs cheerfully. “Hey. Don’t mimic my words.”
We continue walking to his house, changing the subject to the weather, school, homework, holidays, nothing of any importance. We leave the past, witches and curses behind us for the rest of the afternoon. Obviously, the shadows seem to stick to me like glue, but they do not frighten me anymore, and I have to admit I am happy it is not some kind of serious illness—of the human kind. Although I try to forget about all of it, everything remains at the back of my mind. When Kieran looks at me, I can see he also feels anxious, although he is laughing cheerfully.
When we get to Kieran’s house, Shannon, Dermot, and Candice are already there.
Shannon and Dermot are standing next to each other, leaning with their elbows on the island between the dining room area and the kitchen.
Candice is leaning against the basin cupboard. As we walk into the room, Jayden is leaning across her, placing an empty cup into the basin. Her hand comes around and touches him lightly in the small of his back.
Jayden moves and takes her hand into his. As he steps away from her, he says jokingly, “Now, young lady, patience is a virtue, but I assume you have none, and I am not talking about patience.”
I ask Shannon, “Are we late? What time did you get here?”
Jayden turns toward the sound of my voice immediately, and then he smiles amused as he realizes Kieran and I saw the entire basin event.
Slowly he leans with his back against the basin and he stands closely next to Candice. He stretches his arm behind her and then holds onto the counter behind her back.
I cannot help frowning when I see this, and then I turn away from him, when Shannon says, “We’ve been here for almost two hours already. Where have the two of you been?”
“We were walking here, but I see the party has already started without us, anyway.” I glance in Jayden’s direction sarcastically.
Kieran picks up the two DVD’s lying on the counter and he shows them to me.
Shannon says, “We chose an action movie and a romantic comedy.”
Looking down at the DVD’s, I ask, “So which one are we watching first?”
Kieran walks to the cupboard and he pulls a bag of popcorn and a bag of crisps from inside of it. He opens it and then he upends it into two separate bowls.
Candice pouts and looks at Jayden as if they are joined at the hip. “Ooh, can we watch the romantic comedy first?”
He peeks at me, before he wraps his arm around her shoulders and says, “Anything you want.”
I turn around annoyed and walk toward the lounge, and I sit down on the two-seater couch. Shannon and Dermot follow me in and they sit down together onto the single couch, which is broad enough to accommodate both of them. Kieran follows moments later, carrying the two bowls. He puts them down onto the coffee table and then he hunches in front of the unit with the DVD player. He pushes the DVD into the slot and then as he walks past the coffee table, he scoops up the remote control.
He smiles at me as he sits down next to me. I put my one leg over his leg and he puts his hand on my thigh, as I lean my shoulder closer to him and snuggle into him.
The familiar introduction music of the movie company starts playing at full volume, and Kieran calls loudly, “The movie is about to start, Jayden.”
“Okay. Be there soon.”
I sigh exasperated.
Kieran leans his head closer to mine, and he asks softly, “What’s wrong?”
“We are watching the romantic comedy first, and now she’s not even here.”
From across the room, Shannon gives me a look, a look I hope Kieran did not see. A look which expresses everything I am feeling at this moment. I feel as if Kieran and I are a couple, I feel comfortable with him, he makes me feel safe, and I had decided a while back this is the only ingredient needed for an everlasting relationship. Why then am I having this feeling of jealousy toward Candice and why do I feel as if my heart is being torn into two?
Clearing my mind of all things Jayden related, I rest my head on Kieran’s shoulder as I settle into the movie. Every time something romantic happens or one of the actors says something romantic, Kieran tenderly squeezes my leg, just above my knee.
When the movie is finished and Shannon exhales a long, delighted sigh, I admit, “That was a nice movie. I enjoyed it.”
Shannon agrees, “It was so sweet.” Dermot groans melodramatically and she punches him on the arm. “Gawd, Dermot you are so unromantic.”
Kieran gently moves my leg from his and he gets up to change the DVD.
Looking over his shoulder, where he crouches in front of the DVD player, he asks me, “Don’t you want to get us some juice?”
As I start to get up, I ask, “So who wants juice? Shannon? Dermot?”
They all want juice, so I walk through the double doors into the dining room.