Stop and stare

“I think we should go back,” I said after my realization.
“Yeah, it’s getting late.” He cleared his throat and helped me up. He didn’t let go of my hand when we were both standing. I so badly wanted to push it away but I couldn’t find the strength to do so.
When we reached home, all the people were leaving and apparently Cameron’s ride was also there. Not wanting to kiss in front of everyone, I just said goodnight and rushed inside. But before I could do that, he caught me, aimed for the mouth, and instead kissed my cheek. Acting, I appeared happy but inside I wanted to get away and sort myself out.
I checked in with Dad, made some popcorn, and headed up to my room to watch some random movie on my laptop. I nearly dropped the bowl.
“Alex? What are you doing?” I approached cautiously. I so hope he didn’t see me walking down the street with Cameron’s hand in mine. A red flower on my bed seized my attention for two seconds.
“I saw you. With him.” I could tell there was a lump in his throat, because his voice is very shaky.
“Oh.” Careful. I have to be careful with my words. Maybe he didn’t see us in the field.
“And also in the field.” Is he reading my mind?
“Alex, whatever you saw, it’s not at all what you think.” My own voice is turning unsteady, because I’m pretty sure he’s going to get mad and avoid me just like Cameron and Grayson did to me.
“Really? You’re just making out with him for fun? Holding hands for nothing? If that’s so, then why don’t you date him already?” Now he understands how I felt when I saw him with Whitney, all the allusions that weren’t true.
“I can’t believe you’re saying that.”
“I can’t believe you’re in love with a third person.” He looked absolutely revolted.
“Alex. I do not love him. He started it. I never intended to do anything with him. And you know what I did immediately after I remembered something? I stopped. I didn’t want to kiss him anymore, and I won’t ever again. I wanted to go straight home so he could leave. I realized I never liked him as more than a friend in the first place.”
“Michelle, what did you remember?”
“I remembered that I only love you.” I kind of lied. Of course I still love Grayson, because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have pictured him on Cameron’s face. But I do love Alex, that’s for sure. And he doesn’t have to know much.
“Thank God you said that,” Alex took my face in his hands and kissed me passionately, and I didn’t care. We sat on the bed. I put my hand on what seemed to be free space, but instead the rose’s thorn sliced it.
“Ow!” I grabbed a tissue and placed it on the cut. Alex held it up, inspected it, and then gently kissed it. I smiled at his thoughtfulness, and continued with what we were doing before.
Life has never been so good while living a lie.

Now is a good time, he thought.
The poster behind him on her bed was picked up and handed over to Michelle.
“Oh,” she gasped. Her eyes looking over it quickly, trying to spot everything. At the top, in neat handwriting, were the words “Our Future” and on the bottom read their names. The objects went in the order they’d occur at: the wedding, the honeymoon, their house, the children, school, trips to the lake, family night out, dates. She glanced up and smiled, happy tears trickling down. He wiped them away and hugged her tightly.
“How long did it take you?” she whispered.
“A few days. It was a lot of work, though.”
“Thank you.” She kissed him lightly. “This is how our kids will turn out?”
“I guess so. I used one of those baby maker things online. Maybe it won’t be accurate, but for now we have an idea of what they’ll look like.”
“They’re adorable, like you,” she said. “Oh, the lakes! I loved going there with my brothers and my dad. I had a Barbie fishing pole I used, but I never caught anything. So instead I usually stayed on the playground and communicated with other girls my age.” Glimpsing down again at the honeymoon picture, she asked “Where’s this?”
“The Bahamas. I’ve been there a while ago and figured you’d love the place because it has the most amazing sunsets. And I checked out the resorts they had and the rooms are incredible,” he described.
“Oh, it sounds so wonderful,” she said dreamily. “I can’t wait to get married, then.” He grinned widely.
“I love you,” he murmured. She echoed back.
Together they discussed more details about their future and kissed throughout the conversation. Not a perfect evening because of Cameron, but an extraordinary one.
He was forced to say goodnight to her at ten. One last kiss and he was gone.

The End

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