After school I walked home before Sarah found out I decided to walk. I wanted to steer clear of Derek before I decided how I wanted to go about talking to him. The thought of Derek staring at me with his annoyingly beautiful eyes gave me goose bumps. I really wanted to see him and I wasn’t sure what it is I wanted to do when I did see him.
The Mason house looked empty because there were no cars in the lot and the windows were all closed. Derek wasn’t home yet which was kind of strange. He didn’t have practice today so he was probably at the Hut.
I decided to go into the house and do some chores to keep the house clean. I didn’t quite understand why our house was so big. It wasn’t like we had a big family to put in it.
It seemed like every car in the state came down our street to tease me into thinking Derek was finally home. I was going to go check the mail once he got home as an excuse to talk to him.
Finally, after three more hours of waiting and catching up on homework Derek was home. I heard the roar of his engine coming down the street. I walked out to my mailbox and took out some envelopes addressed to my father.
“Hey, what are you up to?” Derek asked as he walked towards his own mailbox.
“I’m just getting the mail. What about you?” I said nonchalantly.
He sighed, “I’m so wiped out. Brittany felt that she needed to get her dress today. I have never been asked so many ridiculous questions all in one day.”
“Oh well I’ll let you go inside then. I’ll see you around Derek.” I turned toward my house.
“Wait, Em. You don’t want to hang out or something?” He called after me.
“I thought you were wiped out?” I smiled.
“Well I could never be too tired to hang out with you. We could catch that movie if you want?” Derek pleaded.
I shrugged, “If you don’t mind being in public with me. We could go maybe around 7?”
He smiled wide, “Alright I’ll go get ready and you get your cute self out here in an hour so we can go out to dinner.”
“Sounds good to me I’ll meet you out front.” I knew I was blushing like crazy.
When I raced back into the house I wrote my father a quick note. I skipped up the stairs trying to think about what I would wear tonight. I was happy I decided to shower when I got home. I went with a pink v-neck and white skinny jeans. I braided my hair into a loose braid down my left shoulder.
I went out to my porch and saw Derek sitting on the hood of his car. It was his signature pose in my mind. He was wearing a pair of jeans, a white v-neck, and a blue button up.
He smiled when I approached him. Immediately he jumped off the car and went to open my door. “So I figured we could go have dinner at the diner. I’m not cheap I just think that you and I would probably feel more comfortable somewhere casual.”
I nodded, “Yes that sounds great actually. So what movie are we seeing?”
He shrugged, “I don’t know I just thought it would be fate when we go there to see what movie was showing at that exact time. That is if it’s alright with you of course.”
“That sounds like fun. I’ve never really thought of it that way before.” I stared out the window.
We arrived at the diner, and Derek opened my door for me again. He seemed like he wasn’t tired any more.
Inside I saw a few familiar faces from school but I didn’t pay much attention to them. Derek smiled at me and said. “I’ve been craving their fries all week.”
We took a table outside under heated lamps and we ordered.
“I’m sorry by the way.” Derek sighed.
“What?” I was a bit confused. I didn’t know exactly what he could possibly be apologizing for.
“The girls around here are kind of watching us and I don’t want it to make you uncomfortable. We can go somewhere else if it’s really bothering you.” He sighed.
I giggled, “I honestly didn’t notice. If you want to move somewhere more secluded I don’t blame you.”
“We could take the food to go and sit down by the beach…” I liked that he was spontaneous with his ideas.
It was a done deal; we decided to take a little trip to the beach. My only concern was that I was wearing. White never goes well with any form of dirt. On the way there we had the radio on to drown out the awkward silence.
“Do you like Oceanside so far?” He smiled.
I gave a slight nod, “Yeah, it seems alright. It’s difficult to adjust to a new place but I think I’ll survive.”
“Can you answer me, honestly?” Derek asked in a serious manner.
“I’ll try…” I murmured.
He hesitated for a moment, “Are you only going out with me because of who I am at school?”
I exhaled lightly, “No, well I didn’t know we were going out. As far as our friendship goes,” I tried to emphasize ‘friend’, ”I feel like if you weren’t who you were at school you probably wouldn’t act the same. But, I guess by your definition, no. I really just wanted to make a new friend.”
Derek smiled to himself for a moment, “So this isn’t a date to you, Emily?”
I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear, “I thought we were just hanging out a little before the movie.”
“What is a date by your definition? Is it different in California?” He chuckled.
“I don’t know, Derek. I guess this is a text book definition of a date, but I just assumed you wanted to hang out.” I glanced out the window. I wanted to escape this dreadful conversation.
We arrived at the beach shortly after my response. He opened my door for me and proceeded to his trunk. The contents of his truck consisted of a duffle bag, a blanket, and a pack of water bottles. I was assuming the duffle bag was for football and the water bottles too. I didn’t quite understand why he had a blanket.
He must have noticed my confused glance, “I just keep it in case I decide to get away for a little while at the beach.”
While carrying the food he tucked the blanket under his arm. Derek scanned the area looking for a good place to sit. We found a rock free spot with a smooth sea of sand.
Derek started to ask, “So are you and that Matt guy…?”
“No, we’re just friends. What makes you say that anyway? We’ve hardly hung out.” I took a bite out of my burger.
He finished chewing. “I don’t know you seemed pretty excited to go to his house the other day. I figured that was why, plus you’re going to the dance with him.”
I giggled, “Well he just makes me laugh that’s all. I like being around him because if lifts my spirits I guess.”
“I don’t lift your spirits?” He said in a lower tone. He seemed as if he were sad about it.
I paused. “Sort of…you have a different affect on my spirits.”
He smirked. “Different…how so?” There were different ways that this conversation could go. I figured if I flat out told him how I felt about him then he would probably tease me mercilessly.
“You make me feel like I’m at home I guess. I felt uncomfortable at first but now it feels a bit normal.” I half lied.
Derek gave a smirk. “I make you feel at home huh…”
I giggled. “Yeah. I feel that it’s only fair to tell me how you feel about me.”
He hesitated. “Well I guess I feel something for you. I guess I’ll have to get back to you on what exactly it is I feel.”
What kind of answer was that? A good one that I should have came up with that’s for sure.
“So what makes a girl worthy in the eyes of the Derek Mason?” I asked in a reporter tone.
He thought for a moment, “Well I guess she can’t be too obsessive. Like Brittany for example, she is crazy obsessive over me. I think it’s just because of my ‘title’ in the school.”
I smiled, “I can understand that.”
I felt vibrations coming from my butt, and I slid out my phone to answer the call. A husky tone was at the other end of it, “Hello?”
“Hello? Matt, is that you?” I asked impatiently. Derek had a look plastered upon his face.
“Yeah it’s me. I was wondering if you were busy…I thought we could hang out or something.” Matt offered in a soft voice.
I gave a nervous laugh, “I uhm…I’m already out with Derek. He wanted to hang out tonight too. It’s like you two think that same or something.” I didn’t know what was coming out of my mouth. After I processed that stupid comment I tried to think of a way to make this conversation less awkward for all of us.
“Well maybe I’ll stop by when I get home. We’re going to catch a movie soon. I don’t really know what else Derek has planned.” I tried to be careful this time around.
“Alright, Em I’ll see you later.” Matt murmured.
“Bye.” I smiled even though he couldn’t see it.
I turned back to Derek, “Sorry about that. Should we get going now?”
He seemed happy I was off the phone. “Yes, it’s time to decide out cinema fate.”
We gathered our things and drove to the theater. It turned out a comedy was in store for us. I was relieved for it to be something funny opposed to awkward romantic scenes. Derek didn’t hesitate to wrap his arm around me during the movie. I just couldn’t process how someone so bold can’t tell me what he thinks of me.
After the credits rolled we arose from the chairs stretching. “Ready to get out of here?” I nodded in response.
Derek held my hand guiding me out of the theater opening the door to exit. He immediately turned the heater on to warm up the car for us. It had started to rain while we were in the theater.
We made it all the way home without conversation. We were probably both thinking about Matt. Derek stopped in his driveway and escorted me to my door.
“I know you’re going to go see him,” he paused, “but I felt that since this was a date in my mind I should drop you off at your door step.” He kissed my knuckles.
“I do hope you had a pleasant time Emily.” His lips curled into a hypnotizing smile that made me ache on the inside. It became painfully obvious to me how much I still wanted to be in his presence.
I exhaled. “I truly enjoyed our cinema fate.” He winked and sauntered back into the rain.
Once he was inside I walked over to Matt’s house. I waited impatiently at the door wanting to get out of the cold. My hair was dripping along with my clothes. I needed to shower before I got sick.
“Hey, Miller. I’m sorry if I interrupted.” I could feel the heat leaking from Matt’s home. “I just wanted to see if you wanted to get a cup of coffee or something?”
“Sure.” I wasn’t sure how he hadn’t noticed I was practically drenched.
He smiled. “Let me get my mom’s keys.”
The Hut was filled with pleasant smells and warm air. Matt saved us a booth while I got up to see how bad I looked in the restroom. My shirt was starting to dry off but I had to dab paper towels at my shoes. Outside I ran into Oliver.
“Hey!” I smiled up at him from the counter.
He looked up with a smirk. “Hey Emma.”
“Emily…” I bit my lip. How could he have not remembered me? We had dinner together.
“Right. I’m bad with names sorry. Can I get you something? I’d offer you water but it looks like you’ve had enough of that today.” He chuckled.
I rolled my eyes, “Black coffee, please.”
“So you have bitter taste too, huh.” He smiled.
“Are you always this pleasant?” I muttered.
He raised his eyebrow. “Only to my favorite customers. You seem to be on my list, Emily.” He emphasized my name, my correct name.
My coffee was waiting for me on the counter so I snatched it and left three dollars for him. I glanced back at him to find him watching me walk away. Matt was already drinking something fortunately.
“Are you excited for Friday?” Matt grinned.
“Yeah, totally.” My eyes began to wander to Oliver. Was he flirting with me? It must be his humor.
A phone began to buzz forcing Matt and I to both reach for our pockets. It was Matt’s phone that was ringing. “Hello? Right now? But-okay. Bye.” He heaved a sigh. “I’m sorry Emily we just started talking. My mom needs to go back to work she forgot to file some paper work. I hate not having my own car.”
“You know what I think I want to hang around here a while longer. You know play some arcade games. My dad can come and get me.” I tried to come off as assuring as possible.
He raised an eyebrow. “Alone?”
I smiled. “I’ll be fine there are plenty of people around, Matt.”
He seemed uneasy. “If you say so Emily.”
I gave him a hug. “I’ll see you later, Matt.”
He smiled. “Bye, Miller.”
I placed my cup on the counter and tapped on it with two fingers. “Can I get another?”
Oliver smiled, “Where did your date go?”
“Matt? That wasn’t a date. We’re only friends. He had to return his mother’s car.” I took a seat at the counter.
“What a great friend he just abandoned you.” He gave a chuckle.
I shrugged. “My father can always get me after work he gets out late any way.”
“When is he getting out of work?” Oliver seemed interested.
“Your guess is as good as mine. He’s a doctor so he has funky hours.” I pulled a strand of hair behind my ear.
Oliver sighed. “I could give you a ride after my shift but it’s still for another thirty minutes or so…”
“Are you sure?”
“It’s just a car ride, Emily.” Oliver began to clean a glass.
I sighed. “So where do you go to school?”
“I go to an all boys school out of town. They offered me a scholarship in middle school so I’ve been there ever since.” He placed the glass under the counter and grabbed another.
“How old are you?” I rested my chin on my fist.
He chuckled. “How old do you think I am, Emily?”
I shrugged, “Well you must be in high school. Are you 18?”
“Nope. I’m 17 but you were close. I’m a junior in case that was your next question.” He switched to the next glass.
I blushed slightly. Was I that obvious with the questions? “Sorry… I wasn’t trying to interrogate you or anything.”
“Well how old are you, Emily?” Oliver turned around to grab a bag for someone who came to ask for one.
I was going to try being mysterious like him but I figured that I would fail. “I’m 16 and in case you were wondering I’m a sophomore.” I added a tone of mockery.
Oliver chuckled. “You’re pretty funny, Emily. You may be small but you do have some fire in you.”
Soon his shifted ended and he showed me to his car. It was pretty beat up but I’m sure he loved the freedom.
In the car we sat in silence for a while when I finally worked up the nerve to ask him some more questions. “So do you have a girlfriend?”
I then realized how dumb my question was. It was sure to follow with cursing myself out in my head. Oliver smirked. “Why do you ask?”
I shrugged. Think what can get you out of that? “I was just wondering if anyone has had the patience to put up with your charming personality.” Phew. You’re safe.
Oliver chuckled. “Charming personality huh… Well you’re no peach either. I’m sure you drive all of the guys nuts.” I rolled my eyes.
“I think you bring out the worst in me.”
He took a sharp turn smacking me into his shoulder. “Sorry my hand must have slipped Emily. I had no idea you would go flying like that…” He chuckled.
I adjusted to the seat once more when he slammed on the breaks in front of my house pulling me forward and then backward.
I unstrapped from the seat with a huff. “That is the last time I take a ride from you.”
With a chuckle he grabbed my hand. “I’m sorry Emily I guess you just bring out the worst in me.”
“You’re so…ugh.” I yanked my hand from him and closed the door.
He rolled the window down and whistled to me. I turned back around to hear him better.
“Please don’t leave so fast. I enjoy watching you walk away.” He winked.
I covered my backside with my purse and tried to get through the door as quickly as possible.
When I was safe inside I leaned against the door for support. I had never been checked out before. Well I had never been notified before. As much I didn’t want to admit it I did like being around Oliver.
Lying in bed that night I realized I had been with three different guys in one night. I began to feel like a total floozy. My mind was coming up with different reasons for it to be okay but it really wasn’t fair to anyone.
I enjoyed their company in different ways. Oliver was witty and flirtatious something that Matt would be too polite to do. Matt was a genuine friend, which was exactly why I loved him.
As for Derek… He wasn’t a friend he couldn’t have been. He wasn’t just flirting with me either. We hadn’t found some middle ground at all. He was enchanting to be around. Just one expression could make me melt inside and out.