A week later, my happiness is starting to die down. I have been all over town and haven't seen him. I decide to not go out looking for him, after all, a watched pot never boils. Mom and I are taking Lydia to the field hockey area, thinking she might want to sign up for the classes there. I pull up, give Lydia her water bottle, make sure I have my phone in my pocket, and get out. What I see makes me stumble for a second. There he is, on the field, playing in a blue and yellow jersey with the number sixteen on the back in white. I regain my balance, which isn't too difficult in my flipflops. I shut the door and sit down, watching him. The game ends after about ten minutes, obviously because of his skill. He gives his teammates highfives and shakes hands with a few of the other team's players before he looks over and sees me. Grins find their ways onto both our faces. He walks over to my family and me. Oh God, I can feel the blush creeping onto my face, though I don't stop smiling.
“I was beginning to think that you'd forgotten about me,” I say, feeling quite ballsy, considering the circumstances. “I'm Lindsay. This is my mom, and my little sister, Lydia.”
“Forget about you? Never. I'm Gem. How come I've never seen you here before?” We shake hands and his eyes don't leave mine. I didn't think I could blush as much as I am now.
“We're here for the summer from Florida.”
“Ah, you're the ones who bought the old house on the lake front. I don't know how it is we could've not seen each other, I'm your next door neighbor.”
“Really?! That's awesome! So your family is the one that co-owns the beach.”
“Yeah, what a coincidence. We do have a policy, though. We need your numbers in case of an emergency.” I start laughing.
“Is that so? Every single one of our personal numbers.”
“Well, I'd be content with just yours,” He laughs with me, knowing how ridiculous he sounds before holding out his phone and holding open his hand. I can hear my little sister giggling behind us and find it even harder to hold my phone steady as I hand it to him. What an 11 year old.
I put my number into his phone, save it, and hand it back to him. He finished at the same time, and in the trade, our hands touch, sending a shock of electricity through me, and throwing my head up so that we can both see into each other's eyes. After a moment passes, my mom clears her throat and tries to change the conversation from flirting to common talk.
“So, Lydia, have you decided if you want to sign up for summer classes?” Gem glances at me before speaking up.
“You should do it. I'm teaching your age group's class.” The possibility of knowing he'll be somewhere at a certain time is just too tempting.
“Yeah, Baby Bear, you should do it!” I see Gem chuckle at the nickname I've given my little sister, or maybe he's laughing about my eagerness to see him again.
“Yeah, Mom. I'd love to, it looks really cool!” Lydia seems to think that Gem's pretty attractive as well. I start beaming, I'll get to take her to practices or whatever you call them, and I'll get to see Gem. Usually, I'm not so silly about things like this, but Gem is so different than any guy I've ever met.
I drive home, grinning. I get a text as I pull into the garage. Once I turn off the car, I see that it's from Gem. And he put a little heart next to his name. I giggle at that before reading his text.
I feel really flattered that he was waiting for me to come home, but tease him about it anyway.
How can I not?
He texts me back almost immediately. The thought makes me smile, if possible, wider. We text each other for the rest of the night, getting to know each other. I learn that his parents are divorced, and the man I saw with his mom at the restaurant was his step dad. His favorite color is light blue, the same as mine. He plays piano, guitar, and saxophone. He's seventeen, and starting his senior year like I am. He's lived in Michigan since forever and he loves this town the most, and has lived here in Gloxinia, Michigan since he was nine. He invites me to hang out with his friends tonight at his house, and I wait a few extra seconds before responding with a “Sure, I'd love to meet more people here.”
I make a fast dinner, tacos with no guacamole, eat, and then run to my room to take a shower, dry my hair, brush my teeth to remove any traces of tacos, and grab a fitted floral top, jean shorts, and white flipflops. I put on a little more makeup than usual, but take care to make sure it looks natural. I don't run my fingers through my hair as much as I usually do after I curl it, making little ringlets that flow into each other. When I check in the mirror, I look natural, but nice. It's about time to head over, so I say goodbye to Mom and Lydia, telling my mother where I'm going, and head out the door. I walk down the beach about 30 feet, and he's outside, waiting for me. I check my phone, and I'm not late, I'm actually a few minutes early.
“Hey, Gem,” I say, making him snap his head to look at me, then watch his face as he really sees me.
“Wow, Lindsay, you look great, how've you been?”
“Um, pretty much the same, not a lot has changed since I last saw you three hours ago. What are we doing tonight?”
“Well, we're probably gonna watch a movie or something, chill out in the basement. The guys were talking about bringing some other people to chill for a while. You like scary movies, right?”
“Like? I love them,” I smile when Gem laughs. “You think I'm kidding? I know most girls lie about liking them, but for me, the suspense is like riding a roller coaster.”
“That's exactly the way I feel about them! You're pretty awesome, Lindsay.”
“You're welcome,” he laughs, draping his arm over my shoulder as we walk into the house and down to the basement.
I smile, his smell is overwhelming, it smells like spearmint toothpaste, freshly baked bread, and one other scent I can't place. I meet his friends, Ray, James, Ethan, and Dylan. They all seem pretty nice, and we decide to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
“More of a comedy than a horror movie, isn't it?” I whisper to Gem.
“I think the whole thing is really creepy,” he says, in a whisper that sends shivers down my spine.
During the movie, I laugh at my favorite spots, and sing along quietly to the girls parts, while Gem does the same for the guy parts. When Dr. Frank-N-Furter murders Eddie, I try to discreetly get closer to Gem, and he obviously notices being a smirk appears on his face and he pulls me even closer, so that my body is completely molded to his. I get a little thrill from this, and bite my lip before turning back to the movie. I've seen this movie a hundred times, but I can't pay attention at all. My mind and body are buzzing with the fact that Gem is this close to me. After the movie is over, I force myself to stand up.
“I love that movie.”
“I thought you thought it was creepy?”
“Well, watching it this time was a lot better than the others.” I blush and look at the floor, biting my lip, and he whispers in my ear.
“Come outside for a moment?” All I can do is nod and let him lead me by the hand out the back door. Once we're outside, he pulls me to him, close as we were inside, but now our fronts are touching. It's all I can do not to kiss him right now.
“What's going on, Gem?”
“That movie... unbearable.”
“You just said it was better than the other times you've watched it.”
“It was better in some ways, worse in others. Better, because you were so close to me, worse because...you were so close to me.”
Knowing where this is going, but deciding to force him to say it, I ask, “What would you do with me so close, otherwise?”
Gem kisses me, hard, but not crushing. I kiss him back, putting my hands on his shoulders as he pulls my waist even closer than before. I can feel his mouth open and his scent washes over me again as his tongue dances over my lips. I open them my lips, little by little, and bend so my body is fully against his. He breaks off our heated kiss, planting small and soft kisses on my lips, both of our eyes closed. I open my eyes, and he pulls away from me, now only holding my hand. He holds out intertwined hands up, and gives me a questioning look. Somehow, even though we just met, I know what he means, and nod with a smile. We walk back into the house, and down into the basement, holding hands, both of us beaming with happiness. We sit back down, and he puts on one of my favorite shows,Criminal Minds.
“How did you know I loved this show?”
“Because I love it.” He laughs and wraps his arm around me, still holding my hand, softly, but firmly. I feel a buzz in my back pocket, and open a text from my mom.
Where are you?
I told her precisely where I was going to be tonight, but I know she's stressed, so I remind her.
Mom, like I told you earlier, I'm at Gem's.
Are you two going together?
Mom, what the hell is “going together”?
Well, be home before 1 am please.
Okay, I will.
Glancing at the clock, I see it's already almost midnight, so I lean over and tell Gem that I have to be home before one.
“Want to start walking over now?”
“We still have an hour here, it takes about five minutes to walk to my house.”
“Yeah, but I want to see what you've done with the place, and... I also want a proper goodbye.” I shiver again at the promise in the sentence and nod, getting up and pulling him with me.
“It was great to meet you all, I'll see you soon, okay?” I try to say goodnight quickly to Gem's friends, who are playing Foosball.
“Bye, you two,” Ethan says with a wink and a smirk.
Once we're outside, I pull Gem's arm around me and walk close to him. It takes just less than the five minutes I predicted to get to my backdoor, and I invite Gem in. I check and make sure that our dog, Jack, is in my Mom's room, so that he doesn't go crazy, he hates when people come into the house. I lead him around, pointing at whose room is whose, and then I lead him to my room, which is fairly clean, nothing too, um, personal, out for him to see.
“And that's the kitchen. That's about it. We haven't done anything to the basement, yet.”
“I guess that's my cue to leave, then?”
“You don't have to go-” Gem cuts me off.
“I probably should. You know, we've only been together for a few hours, and only known each other a day.”
“I suppose, plus your friends will be missing you, your mom will wonder where you are, and all that.”
“Goodnight, Gem.” I kiss him lightly, and he puts his hand on my neck, the other on my waist, pulling me towards him gently. I tangle my fingers in his hair as he deepens the kiss. I crush myself to him. I smile as he moves to my neck, planting small, sweet kisses, from my collarbone back to my lips. I lightly graze his lips with my tongue before lightly biting his bottom lip in my blind passion. He moans softly in the back of his throat, before pulling away reluctantly. I have half a mind to hold him where he his, and never let him leave, but I know I can't, so I let him back away. I see that he hasn't taken his hands off me, I let mine fall to his hips.
“Call you tomorrow?” I've gotten lost in his eyes, there's no way I could say no, even if I didn't want him to call me every moment of forever. I nod, not taking my eyes off him.
“Goodnight,” he says, smiling as he kisses my hand and walks off our back porch.
Only once I get inside, do I realize, I had my first kiss tonight.