I can't help the smile on my face as I walk out of the bus. I kiss Alice goodbye as I walk past them and glance at Rayn, trying not to laugh.
"Phil, d'ya feel like helping me with Gemme's birthday surprise?" I ask. Face it. I haven't got a clue what restaurant you're s'posed to take a girl to.
"Isn't that s'posed to be your job to organize it?" he asks. Yes, yes it is, but I'm clueless.
"Help me out here, man," I say, motioning away from the bus so Gemme can't hear. He rolls his eyes and puts down his book, getting up. Damien watches carefully. It's like he expects me to drag Phil off and start making out with him, like I've got some personal grudge that he is the only guy I won't fuck. I got news for you, mate. I am never going to like guys in that way. Get over it.
"Why d'ya need my help?" he asks.
"I need you to help me find a restaurant to take Gemme to tonight in Cleveland. I mean, you know the area, right?" He nods and looks thoughtful.
"I dunno the name, but I can show you where it is," he shrugs and I push him over to the car, handing him the keys.
"Go on then," he hesitates for a second before sighing and unlocking the car. I get in the passenger seat and he takes the wheel, driving us into the town. We drive past it and he points out the window.
"That was the place that I took my girlfriend to when we were in high school. Trust me, she'll love it," I smile and look at it. It's one of those little Italian places that aren't a chain restaurant, just sitting on the corner overlooking the beach.
"Awesome. Thanks man," I smile.
"S'ok, have fun tonight. Umm, actually, I'm gonna hang around in town for a while. The music shop is calling me." I laugh and nod, climbing into his seat as he gets out. "See ya," he waves at me, and wanders off down the side walk. I park up and follow him onto the sidewalk, only I go into the restaurant and book a table for two at seven.
Okay, so I know where I'm taking her... just need to find a blanket to take down to the sand for the evening.
I wind up outside a wine store, and suddenly realize I'm nervous. Why am I nervous? It's just a quiet meal and then going to sit on the beach. I give myself a mental slap and walk into the store, hoping I'll be able to find something for Gemme.
Eventually I manage to get out of there in one piece and with a bottle of alcohol free wine. Remind me never to do that again. The old woman in there was so desperate for someone to talk to; he took me around the whole shop, explaining each and every different wine. I don't care! Just give me the alcohol free stuff and leave me alone!
Hiding the wine in the boot, I go buy a blanket and then make my way back to the bus.
When I get back, I find Gemme inside, at the table with Alice. Gemme's drawing something and I smile, watching her through the window for a moment as I reach the bus.
"Hey," I smile, sitting down at the table with them.
"Mmm, hey," Gemme murmurs, not looking up from her picture.
"Gemme told me not to move... shh," Alice tells me and I sit back, watching the two silently until Gemme's done.
"Okay sweet, done." She smiles, showing Alice the picture. Alice squeals happily and I smile too.
"I see I wasn't missed," I laugh.
"You were, but we needed something to do."
"Ah, well we've got another hour and half to kill before we gotta go," I say, my nerves returning ever so slightly as I hope to fuck that I don't cock it up.
"I could draw you, but, I think you might be a little bored of that," she suggests.
"Up to you gorgeous."
"Hmph, gorgeous." She laughs, turning over the page in her sketchbook.
"What's wrong with that?" I smile, leaning my elbow on the table to support my head on my hand again.
"Nothing, it's just, I dunno. It's strange."
"You've not remembered how hot you are, then?"
"No! Like I said the first time you called me that, I'm not."
"And like the first time, you'll come around and see that I'm right," I grin.
"It's been months and I still don't believe you." Huh. I lean in and kiss her gently, cutting off the argument. No fighting before I go on my first proper date, thanks.