Chapter Thirty One- AireeMature

               Time stopped the moment our lips collided. At first the kiss itself was raw and held a sense of exasperated longing. As if life itself was found within our lips coming together. Finally we pulled apart, our breaths ragged trying to catch up. His hand still held the small of my back, and he rested his head against mine. Our lips hovering against each other.

"So," He said after another minute. He was smiling and laughing with himself. "How many tickets do I owe you for that kiss?"

              I laughed, and shoved him then. He barely moved and my hand seemed to rest against his chest. I could feel his heart racing as my own was, and once again I slipped my arm around his neck pulling him back to me. This time our kiss was short. "Airee!" Kali's voice cut through the moment.

           At first Hayden ignored her, and I could see the expression on his face as he struggled deciding whether or not to kiss me again or not. He shifted then, and took a few steps away from me, and then pushed a hand through his hair. "Kali," He said, smiling then. "Always such a pleasure to see you."           

"Yeah, yeah." She said, and waved him off. "Okay Romeo, shows over. I need miss Juliet here back at the booth."

            Beside me, I could hear Hayden fighting himself to stay calm. Kali's face one that was of annoyance, as if the very fact that I hadn't listened to her, and stayed with Todd bothered her. I looked to Hayden then, and then back to Kali. Shrugged, and then said. "Yeah, I don't think so."

"Excuse me?" she asked, her tone quickly matching her expression.

              Hayden laughed briefly then, and walked over to me, took my hand in his, and kissed it. "Are you hungry?" I asked him, and then covered his hand with mine.

"Starving." He answered immediately. "We never did get to have that first date, care to change that?"

              "Love to," I smiled.

            Hayden and I walked towards the parking lot then, and left Kali behind us. Pissed off and ranting about who would take over the booth with Todd once I left. When we reached his truck, there was a tiny black puff ball waiting at the window. Greeting me with a slobbery lick across the window. "Count!" I yelled, and ran the rest of the way to the door, opened it, and held my dog. "Oh my gosh, I never thought I would see you again."

"Why is that?" Hayden asked confused, as if I were missing something.

                "He was adopted, wasn't he?"

"Yeah, by me." Hayden smiled then, and pet Counts head. Count licked him, and then barked as if to agree with him.

             "Why would you-"

"Why wouldn't I? He's our dog, and well, I wasn't going to let some strange take him."

              I smiled, and then pulled Hayden into another long kiss. "I love you." I said. "You'll never know how much this means to me."

"Keep kissing me like that, and I'll call it even." He said, and I laughed kissing him again.

          "I cant believe your parents were okay with this?" I said, though it was more of a question than a statement.

"Oh, they weren't." He said, and leaned back. "But when you give them an ultimatum like I did, they didn't have a choice." I narrowed my eyes, and waited for him to continue. "Count or no more baseball."

               "Ah," I said, and smiled while petting Count again. "Well, you're playing baseball one way or the other. If I have to with hold kissing you, or not."

"Damn, look whose got an ultimatum now." he said.

                "I just know how much you like it, and no matter what your father says to make you think differently, you were born to play the game." I hesitated, and then continued. "They don't call you Zeus for nothing."

                   Hayden laughed at that, and helped me into the truck. Count spinning circles in my lap before he finally settled himself. "So," he said once he walked back around to his side, and hopped in. "IHOP?"

              I nodded, and we pulled out. The whole time, I watched him as we drove, and wondered how I had truly been happy until now. With Hayden, I felt alive, and now I felt loved. From tonight on, I knew things would never be the same, and though I cant tell where things will lead down the road. All I know is that I am excited and ready to face it together. He took my hand then, and held it in my lap. Count as if seeing an opportunity for a pillow, laid his head atop our hands and growled every time we hit a bump. The notion itself reminding me of how our relationship had been. Annoyingly bumpy but, worth it to get where we were headed. Hayden squeezed my hand gently then, as if hearing my thoughts.

"I love you." He said, and looked over at me in that instance.

                "I love you too." 


The End

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