Chapter XIV: Jeremy
Word count: 1555
Time Taken: 1H 32m
Jeremy was standing out, setting back the white hoodie and tugging the black scarf around his neck a little more. He shivered a bit while I stared at him, already finding myself lost for words.
How the heck was I going to tackle the subject? I could just ask; 'Hey, Jer, are you doing Sean?'
"Sorry, do you have something in particular you want to do?" He said, his cheeks a bit red, probably from the budding cold. It was only mid September, but it had gotten much colder faster than I was used to in Seattle.
I shook my head, at a loss. Already, it was getting a bit awkward, I asked him to come, but I couldn't think strait.
Relax, girl, RELAX. I told myself, repeating it in my head like a mantra with mild success.
"Well, I'm hungry, so how about we get something to eat? You want something specific?"
"Sure." I said a quick, polite smile getting on my lips. "Eh, anything's fine, really."
I followed him as he started walking closer to the town square for a few minutes. We chatted a bit about nothing; homework, the town and how I was adapting and school. We stopped when he opened the door to a small, slightly pushed back building. Immediately, the smell of asian cuisine filled my nostrils. The Blue Lotus, the nearby place mat declared the place was called.
"You ever ate here?" Jer asked me, uncovering his face.
"Can't say I have."
"When ever I eat out, I come here, it's the only place in town that serves vegetarian cuisine."
"You're vegetarian?" I asked, rather surprised. He nodded.
"More out of personal taste than eco-consciousness though. I never liked meat much, I stopped it two years ago and it did wonder for my health. But don't worry, I'm not one smug 'I'm better than all you murderers' sociopathic kind of veg'n."
That last comment made me laugh and he smiled warmly. "There, finally you're out of the shell you were all week. It didn't suit you, you're so much cuter like this."
The words caught me breathless and blood rushed to my face which turned a bright shade of scarlet. He took one of the menu and handed it to me, which I used to cover my embarrassment as my eyes ran through the mixed rows of English and Chinese characters that composed the menu. "Soo-guy chicken sounds good." I said, lowing the menu when I felt a little more composed.
He ordered for both of us and took out a small stack of bills.
"I can pay for myself" I objected.
He shrugged. "I have a job, do you?"
Damn... He had a point... My allowance had been taken away so I was left with only a tiny bit of what remained. "You win. For this time only." I grumbled.
He leaned against a column once the waitress took our order. "I can tell you don't like it." He observed.
"It always annoyed me when the guys back in Seattle would fight as to who could pay my bill, wanting to be chivalrous or something..." He arched an eyebrow and I continued. "Most of my friends were guys, I think some of them crushed on me." I admitted, smiling shyly. "I guess I was 'that girl who's one of the boys' but I never returned any of their feelings..."
Until now. My mind reminded me and I put my fist in front of my mouth, nibbling on the index finger to keep my mind shut.
"I see. Well, in kinder garden through most of primary school I was the girl's cabana boy. Danielle was the most possessive of them all. Until she stopped hanging out with us."
"I don't know, she and Sean got in a fight and stopped talking. I wasn't there and Sean refuse to talk about it..." He said with a sigh, looking rather sad. "I had to choose between her and Sean. I picked him, he didn't have anyone else and I didn't want to leave him alone..."
"What about Gwen?"
"She moved here a year and a half ago, she was reserved, sad and lost... Somehow, Sean got her to open up and she started hanging out with us. She lives in the dorms, I don't know the whole story, but her parents sent her away since she was gay..."
"Damn..." I muttered.
"There's the food. Mind if we eat outside, I want to show you somewhere."
"Sure." I said, grabbing one of the two brown paper bag with the warm, delicious smelling food.
"There's a park only two minutes away. We'll be good to eat there."
We walked in a semi-forested park which was close as he said, but walked into it a bit further, the treeline getting thicker, and the darkness swallowing everything a few yard away from the trail. Finally, we arrived at a clearing, there was the sound of low waterfalls that echoed in the air, as a small river passed through the open ground, an old stone bridge going over it, a small array of chalk, paint and marker graffiti were half-faded on it's side; one of which asked; 'You ever get the feeling you're missing the mark?'
"Woah, what is this place?"
"It doesn't really have a name, it's the old bridge or the lover's bridge. Depends on who you ask."
Lover's bridge... The words sank in my chest and it felt tight all of a sudden.
"It's surprisingly warm..." I noted aloud to myself. "And it's not raining."
"There are a few places like that around town, about a dozen, Sean loves visiting them, exploring and trying to figure out what their secret it. This place is a favorite spot for couples for obvious reasons."
"And you brougth me here?"
"I thought I'd show you some of the coolest place around town." He said, sitting on the bridge's ledge, facing away toward the water. He opened the bag and took out the styrofoam boxy dish, opening it and cracking the wooden chopsticks separate. I did the same, opening the thing and grabbing a bit of Soo guy with my finger and eating it.
We ate a bit in silence, with me occasionally giving him a stealth glare, until he put his food aside.
"So, do you feel good to talk now or were you just too shy to ask me on a date?"
I did the same, taking a moment to gather my thoughts before starting.
"It's just there's something I wanted to know, about you and Sean... Are you together?" I said, taking a brief pause before the words managed to get past my throat.
There was a mix of emotions that washed over his face, removing the gentle smile that had been present up until then, he looked a bit pained, saddened and irked by the question.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have have asked." I said, regretting it now, my gaze locking into the water below.
"No... It's alright..." He sighed, and scratched his head, seemingly trying to find how to express himself. "It's hard to explain and I don't want to lie to you. Here's the thing; there's nothing that goes on between seen and I... But there is something, it just kind of happened a few times for the past two years, when it's done we don't talk about it and pretend it never happened... It was Danielle who told you about it, didn't she?"
"Yeah..." I admitted, figuring it wasn't being a narc if the other guessed who it was.
He sighed. "She walked one us one time, we were making out, half naked on Sean's bed. His parents had just let her in. I'm surprised she told you, I don't think she told anyone else."
"But Sean got called a--"
"He gets called names everyday, he doesn't care what it is, he still jumps on it. He has that stupid pride that always gets him in trouble."
"So... Does that mean you're..." I didn't finish the sentence, I just didn't have the guts to.
He chuckled and moved a foot closer, looking right at me and not politely forward anymore. "So, that is the real thing you wanted to know?"
My heart stopped, my entire body was now burning hot and it was all tensed up. His hand came closer and he took mine. "You know, I never had a crush on a girl, before... But I do kind of like you... Do you...?"
The last two words he articulated were merely a formality, there was an awkward split second or two that just seemed to take longer than it actually did. I didn't really know what to do, but it still came naturally.
His hand on mine, the other cupping upon my cheek, the warm breath reaching down my neck, the smell of his perfume, his soft lips and mines. First slowly, then faster and soon the tongue came in.
It stretched into that moment that is ephemeral yet continues forever, where time doesn't exist and we simply were. It was a touch, a caress that engraved itself in my mind the kind I felt I'd never forget. A first kiss, a first boyfriend and a first love...