Between the end of the Spring Dance and the first few hours she was awake on the Saturday Sky managed to forget Roger’s promise to consider being her boyfriend. It was only when the doorbell rang at about 11 o’clock and she answered it to find Roger with a strangely closed expression on his face that she remembered.
“Oh my goodness,” she gasped. “You’ve come. Does that... does that mean you’ve made a decision?”
Roger nodded. “Shall we go somewhere private?”
“Definitely,” she replied breathlessly. He stepped inside and she closed the door behind him. She led him up to her bedroom. Now there was an interesting thought. Roger had always been allowed up to her room because he was nothing more than a friend. Would that change if he became her boyfriend?
‘Don’t,’ she chided herself. She didn’t want to raise her hopes only for them to be crushed. For all she knew, Roger might be here to tell her that they were going to stay friends now, and all that they were ever going to be was friends.
At the door to Sky’s room, Roger paused, as if having the same thoughts. She hung about her bed, waiting for him to come in. After a moment he entered. She sat down and gestured for him to sit too. He sat down but didn’t look very comfortable.
“So...” Sky murmured, praying it was just nerves making Roger feel awkward.
“So,” he said quietly.
Sky waited patiently. It took Roger a few seconds to say his next words.
“I thought. And I still don’t want to lose you.” He was looking at the floor, a furrow in his brow. “But I found myself playing out a scene in my head last night as I was waiting to go to sleep and it was the most beautiful film in the world.”
“What happened?” Sky murmured.
Roger looked up, into her eyes.
“I told you I loved you.”
Sky could barely contain her excitement.
“And ... do you?”
A pessimistic side of her she’d never known till now suddenly saw Roger saying, ‘No, I don’t. It was just a daydream.’ Her excitement turned instantly to dread and she wasn’t so sure she still wanted to hear Roger’s answer.
“Close your eyes and we’ll find out,” he said, almost too softly for her to hear.
Slowly, uncertainly, Sky closed her eyes.
Five seconds passed. Nothing happened. Her breathing was deceptively steady - her heart felt like it was pounding in her chest, charged with fear and anticipation. Sky was about to ask Roger what he was doing when suddenly there was contact.
Roger’s mouth. Against hers. It took a second to realise he was kissing her.
Desperate not to scare him, she held still, letting his lips move against her mouth. When he took her hands in his and gave a gentle squeeze, she gave in, starting to respond.
After fourteen years of friendship, it was surprisingly easily to share a kiss. All this time they had been walking down a road of closeness and this was just another step. An easy shift from feeling like siblings to feeling like something more. It was natural, it was wonderful and it was meant to be.
Briefly, Roger broke away.
“That’s so good,” he whispered, his way of conveying what they were experiencing. He resumed, letting go of Sky’s hands and holding her waist. She rested her arms on his shoulders, loosely clasping them behind his head, and they just sat there delighting in the pleasure of the kiss for several seconds, letting it become a little intense but happy to keep it relatively chaste, as though they had agreed on boundaries beforehand.
Afterwards, Sky leant back, a smile upon her face.
Roger smiled back shyly, more resembling a four year old than a sixteen year old.
“You want to be my boyfriend,” Sky said unnecessarily.
“I do,” Roger whispered.
Sky threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly.
“Thank you! Oh, Roger, thank you! I promise that if I even start to feel wrong, I’ll tell you. Everything’s going to be all right? Okay?”
“Okay,” Roger said, hugging her back. “And I promise the same. I won’t lose you, Sky. I don’t know what I’d do if that happened.” He kissed her hair tenderly, sealing the promise as well as emphasising how he felt about her.
Sky stood up.
“Let’s go for a walk,” she suggested. “It’s forecasted to be a lovely day today and I want to see if the world looks different.”
Roger stood up. “I hope you’re not disappointed,” he said, looking a little worried.
“Sh,” she said to him, a smile playing on her lips. “You’llmake it magic if the world hasn’t changed.”
Roger smiled too, nodding in agreement.
They left Sky’s room and went downstairs. Sky informed her mother who was gardening before they set out for the local park. There wasn’t any problem with this - Sky and Roger’s parents were used to the pair hanging out together and each trusted their child implicitly as well as considering the other child a well-brought-up, well-behaving one.
And to Sky’s delight, the world indeed seemed subtly different.
“It’d be really nice to lie together beneath that sky,” she remarked, casually swinging Roger’s arm - she didn’t know when but they’d begun holding hands. “It’s so clear and blue: we could just get swallowed up in it and drown in our emotions.”
“What a lovely idea,” Roger murmured. Sky looked at the carefree smile on his face and gave a smile of her own.
The couple passed several basking cats.
“We can’t hear it but I bet they’re purring,” Sky whispered to Roger. “They can feel our bond and it makes them happy.”
Roger grinned. “You’ve turned all sweet and gooey, Sky.”
Sky stroked the back of Roger’s hand with her thumb.
“Yeah, I have, haven’t I?”
Roger kissed her on the brow.
“I really like this new you.”
“Does that mean you didn’t like the old one?” Sky teased, poking a tongue out.
Roger shook his head, grinning.
“Nope. I really liked that one too. I like any you.”
“N’aw,” Sky said, though that word completely failed in conveying the deep sense of gratification that Roger’s statement brought her, and the accompanying swell of her heart, though she rectified the non-communication of the latter by planting a kiss on Roger’s cheek. “I like any you too,” she told him.
In the park, Sky said the light breeze was a dreamy goddess of love sighing at their relationship. She saw the adorable ducklings on the river as outward symbols of their amazing nature as a couple. And the swan they saw was something romantic as well.
They strolled, ambling really, along the path of stones that ran parallel to the river on their left till they reached the small forest at the edge of the park and found a wooden bench to sit on.
“Now we’re in the magic place,” Roger said, and Sky was surprised because while she had been full of romantic ideas along their journey, Roger had remained silent, merely listening to her suggestions and nodding in agreement. She had thought that perhaps the beauty of their together-ness hadn’t touched him in the same way it had her.
Evidently she had thought wrongly, and she smiled, focusing on his expression and tone as he continued. “This is the place where the fairies gather,” he said, looking intently into her eyes, his tone casual but his gaze serious. “The fairies are invisible to humans but we can always feel their magic.”
He lifted a hand and ran his fingers through Sky’s hair, watching them as though they trailed fairy dust.
“They orchestrate pleasure,” he murmured, looking in her eyes again before leaning in and planting a quick kiss on her lips. “They charge the atmosphere.” He held her hands, held her gaze and waited. The world seemed to freeze around them. Time stopped and the moment belonged to them. Sky leant forwards and Roger leant forwards and they shared a sweet kiss that was electrified by the buzzing air around them.
Roger pulled away and leant back. Sky straightened up too.
Roger grinned. “And they make us humans do crazy things.” He stood up, pulled Sky to her feet too, let go of one hand and ran, tugging at her so that they were both running, in no particular direction, just running for the thrill of the wind in his hair. He stopped and, holding onto Sky tightly, whirled her around and around in a circle, causing her to laugh aloud, until they were both breathless. He stopped and hugged her tightly, murmuring, “I love you,” into her hair, with the tone of someone discovering it for the very first time but of someone who had known it for a long, long time because the secret had lain in his heart, waiting to be revealed, waiting to show itself, waiting to be spoken.
“I love you too,” she whispered, so happy that she’d said something the night before, so excited that Roger and her were actually going to be something more, so full of love for him and adoration for the sheer romance of the world that she felt fit to burst.
Roger leant back and angled himself so that he could kiss her again. This time the kiss was slower, more intense. They allowed it to deepen until they were clutching at each other tightly, and beneath their spinning minds, a great current was slowly beginning to form, a current with immense power, that was pulling them into each other, pushing away the rest of the world and even their acknowledgement of the world, and drawing them into a new universe made especially for them where the skies burned like firelight on jet and the grass was soft and springy beneath their feet.
And Sky knew in that instant that she’d never see Roger in the same way again.