Chapter 5Mature

Mark was driving me home some weeks after our little "misunderstanding" when he suddenly said, "Jini, you know I've never met your parents. Do you think I could today?"

     I thought about it and realized that even though my mum had nagged me about introducing her to my first boyfriend, I had never actually done so. "Yeal, I guess you should, huh? Hopefully they won't mind us being alone for a bit Mum doesn't get hom for nearly an hour."

     "I don't think it'll be a problem, we'll be good," he teased. "I have enough homework to keep me busy fo at least half an hour, the other half is up to you."

     I smiles to myself. Though me and Mark had a pretty good balance of alone time and time with friends, there were other people around when it was just me and Mark; we usually hung out at the library. Now would be the first time we would be properly alone for a significant amount of time. We hadn't even kissed yet.

     We pulled up to my house and I let us in. The house seemed strangely quiet as we made out way to the kitchen and dumped out things on the table.

     The silence between us made the scratching of our pens seem louder than it should have. I found it harder than usual to focus on my math homework, but it was much easier to just sit and stare at Mark. I still couldn't believe someone so beautiful could possibly like me as much as Mark did. And he was beautiful. Instead of bothering with confusing numbers, I decided to try and find some flaw, something about him that wasn't completely perfect. Surprise, surprise, I couldn't find a single thing, no matter how hard I tried. So intent was my concentration, I didn't even notice that he had looked up at me until he said, "Jini, what are you staring at?"

     I shut my eyes and shook my head. "Nothing," I mumbled.

     "Finished with your homework?" he asked.

     "Yeah, for now. I can't take any more numbers."

     "Then I'd like to show you something before I hand it in." He rummaged in his bag and re-emerged with  his sketch book. He flipped through it until he found the picture he was looking for before he handed it to me.

     I took it, open curiousity on my face. The picture was of me, the one he'd been doing in art for the past few weeks. But at the same time, it wasn't me. It couldn't be me. Even though he had only used pencil, he had made my skin glow. He'd drawn me with my eyes closed and captured a perfect look of thoughtfulness on my face (an exoression I was sure I wasn't capable of making). The lines of my body were flawless, my hair a neat cascade down my back. It was me, I could see that in my facial features, but Mark had made me look more beautiful than I could ever look.

     I must have been quiet for too long, becuase he asked anxiously, "Do you like it?"

     I wanted to say that of course I liked it, but I found myself saying, "This is how you see me?" instead.

     He looked confused. "Of course that's how I see you."

     "But...this isn't me, not really. I'm not nearly this beautiful."

     Mark smiled, gently plucked the book from my hands and set it on the table before pulling me into his arms. "You don't see yourself properly then. If you could see yourself through my eyes, you would see the most beautiful girl on earth."

     I buried my face against his chest. "But I'm not beautiful at all," I muttered.

     "To me you are," he whispered. "And that's all that matters."

     I pulled back to look at him and saw the honesty in his face.  "Really? You really think I'm beautiful?"

     Mark smiled down at me. "Yes, of course I think you're beautiful."

     I smiled back. Holding my gaze with his, he slowly leaned his face down closer to mine.

     I tried not to, but I felt my body stiffen in surprise and mild panic.

     Mark stopped, so close that when he spoke, I could feel his warm breath against my lips. "Don't you want me to kiss you?" he whispered, sounding hurt.

     "Yes, of course I do," I breahted. "It's just..."

     "Just what, Jini? No matter what it is, you can tell me."

     I decided to be honest with him. "It's just...that's I've never kissed anyone before. I don't want to do something wrong."

Mark nuzzled my nose with his. "Tou can't do anything wrong, Jini. I've never kissed anyone either. We'll learn together."

     Gently cradling my face with his hand, he lightly pressed his lips to mine.

     That simple contact made my body tingle, like thousands of bolts of electricity were running through it. Like a tidal wave had hit me. Every thought was knocked from my mind. I was only aware of Mark's lips on mine, one hand tangled in my hair, the other wrapped around my waist, drawing my in closer. The rest of the world ceased to exist. To me, it was an eternity, an eternity of abolsute bliss, but in reality it was only a few moments.

The End

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