As my eyes closed, I could feel his soft lips graze mine, and his hands slide from my upper back to my waist. I moved my hands carefully to curl around his neck, pulling his face closer in the process. The instant our mouths touched, I could feel a tingling sensation spread throughout my body; I was in love. I loved his appearance first, then his voice, and now I was in love with kissing him. But, before it could get any further, I pulled away to gaze into his eyes and tell him how I was feeling.
“I love you.” I managed to state with a certainty, letting myself smile widely. He paused for a moment, contemplating his answer, and in the process pulling me a little closer.
“I love you, too. I really do.” He smiled, gently, which made me blush quite a bit. And with that, we shared another savory kiss before pulling away yet again. I rested my head on his chest and let myself lean on him. He didn’t seem to mind, for all he did to react was brush my hair with his hand and hum quietly. His voice was amazing, there was no doubt about that, but us standing there, holding each other closely, I felt like all of it was too good to be true. I had no idea what to do, just like the last time we kissed.
We just stood there for a while, comforted in each others’ arms. Just then, there was knock at the front door. What a way to ruin the moment, I thought sourly. Giving Dan an apologetic look, I headed downstairs and saw Riley standing on the front porch. My eyes must have looked like two full moons. My heart fluttered, giving me hope. She’s not mad anymore!
Smiling, I opened the door invitingly. She was rubbing her arm nervously, and stepped into my house with uncertainty. Dan had followed me down, and looked just as surprised as me.
“Hi, Riley.” I said, choosing my words carefully. She could be very sensitive sometimes. Well, all the time, I should say.
“Haylee, I have to talk to you.” She glanced at Dan. “Alone.” She added.
“Oh… Okay. Give me a second.” I took Dan outside, hoping Riley wasn’t watching or eavesdropping.
“Sorry, Dan. It’s just…”
“Honestly, I’m so happy for you!” He gave me a quick hug. “Text me and tell me how it goes, okay?”
I smiled, feeling a warm sensation crawl underneath my skin. “I promise.”
Then I kissed him this time, but made sure to make it short and sweet, just in case Riley was peeking through the window.
We parted. “Saturday at noon?” I checked.
“Yep.” Then he got in his car and drove off.
I stared at his car for a while as it drove away, grinning to myself. I shook my head, clearing my thoughts. Now to see what Riley has to say.
She was standing at the entrance to the living room, smiling a knowing smile that I had missed while she was mad. I smiled back.
“What?” I said, although I already knew what she was grinning for.
“You know exactly what. So how many times does that make it? Ten? Eleven?”
“Whoa, whoa. Bring it down some. More like… Three.”
“Well, that’s surprising.”
We left it at that, and sat down on the couch in my living room.
I took a deep breath. “That’s not what you came over to talk about, is it?”
She looked as nervous as I felt. “No, it’s not.” I saw her trying to gather up her courage. “Look. I’m kind of sorry about my explosion…” I fought back a smile. This was killing her. “I probably should have left as soon as I saw you two…. You know… Doing your thing.”
She searched my face for a reaction. I gave her one. “It’s been killing me only having Dan to talk to all those weeks.” I said with a grin.
She smiled as well. “It’s that bad, huh?”
“No, but I need a best friend as well as a boyfriend.”
She piped up. “So you guys are a thing now? Like a couple?”
“I don’t know, but probably. He nearly called himself my boyfriend earlier. You should have seen his face!” I told her what has happened during the past weeks, and caught her up on all the news and gossip, making sure to include everything about Dan. I even told her about Tyler Emick. Now that’s two people who know.
We talked for a while longer, until I had to kick her out.
“Sorry.” I had said. “I just really need to work. It’s almost Friday.” I added with a wink.
It’s Saturday! This was the one day that I took off; Sundays I went to church and then worked. Dan’s car pulled up, and he looked more excited than usual. What is it that he has to tell me? It’s too early for a proposal, besides, he would look nervous for that. I smiled at the thought. It was becoming normal for me to talk to him, less intimidating. I ran up to him and jumped into his arms, and he swung me around like a child.
“You’ll never believe what happened!” I almost died. His voice cracked, and we both laughed hysterically.
Recomposing ourselves, Dan continued. “So Daniel in the Den is on YouTube, yes?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “Well apparently it got around, and The Virgin Records wants to invest in it! This means everything to me! I could make a career out of this! I would need to form a band. We could travel all over the world doing gigs, concerts, and maybe even festivals!” Dan was obviously very exuberant about this.
I tried not to let my smile fade. This meant that I would have to deal with a long-distance relationship for the rest of my life, and I don’t think that I could go through that again.
Instead, I pretended to be exuberant, too. “Dan, that’s awesome! I’m so happy for you! Do you think Chris would be interested in something like that?”
“Yeah, I already asked him about it. Oh man, this is going to be wicked!"
He was so caught up in the moment, he picked me up and kissed me. He was stronger than he looked. When Dan finally let me go, he saw the surprise in my expression.
“I’m sorry, love, I’m just so excited!”
I backed a step away. “I can tell.” My eyes were tearing up; I smiled wider to try and hide them.
Nothing gets past Dan. “Haylee, is there something wrong?”
“No, no. I’m just so happy for you…” A single tear escaped my eye.
“Oh, love..” Dan hugged me, causing a stream of tears rolling down my face.
He just let me cry for a minute, until I stopped the tears myself.
“What’s wrong, Haylee?” Dan asked earnestly.
The crying started again. All I could get out was, “Tyler Emick,” I said between sobs.
Finally he understood. “Here, here. Let’s get you inside.” Dan carried me bride style into my house and up to my room, where he laid me down on my bed. I clung to his neck while he was carrying me, although I knew that he wouldn’t drop me. Dan laid down beside me and let me cry on his chest while he stroked my hair.
“Concentrate on me.” He murmured. We went through the same process that had helped me last time I was crying.
I sat up cross-legged on my bed once I was sure I could talk without sobbing. He sat up in front of me, his jeans rubbing against my crossed legs.
I took in a shaky breath. “I don’t think I can handle a long-distance relationship anymore, Dan. I’m not saying I don’t trust you, I just can’t…” My voice cracked, ending my unfinished sentence. He leaned forward to kiss me, but I lowered my head. I was on the edge, and I didn’t want to lose it in the middle of a kiss.
“Love, I’m not sure if they’ll even accept me yet. This is just a test. It’ll be like an interview. Nothing to worry about.” He smiled, lifting my chin.
I hesitated. “Where is it?”
His brow furrowed. “South Carolina.”
My lips went into a tight line. “How long will you be gone?”
He looked guilty. “Chris is coming with me; I already have the plane tickets. He wanted to make a vacation out of it…” He trailed off.
I nodded. “That’s okay. I’m not going to interfere with your fun.”
He suddenly looked very excited. “You could come with us! I could buy an extra plane ticket, get another hotel room…”
I stopped him before things got too far. “No. My schedule won’t allow for a vacation now. I’m sorry, but you two need some time away from me. Alone.”
Before he had time to interject, I gave him a long kiss. Maybe that’ll convince him.
We broke away slowly; each kiss seemed better than the last.
I broke the silence. “When are you leaving?”
“Monday.” He said quietly. “I’ll probably be gone for three weeks if that’s okay with you.” We still held our heads close together.
“Of course it’s okay with me.” I hesitated. “I sincerely hope that you get the job. It’ll be great for the both of us.”
I could see that he was about to interject, but stopped himself. Slowly, he reached down to kiss my neck. I’ve never had that happen before, but now I see what I was missing out on.
All too soon, Dan went home, promising to Skype me every single day that he was in South Carolina. I still remember our parting kiss vividly, as I was trying to keep it fresh in my mind. This would be the longest I would have to live without Dan within a few miles of my house. I was going to need Riley now more than ever.
Monday came and went. I couldn’t see Dan and Chris off on their plane because of a nephew’s birthday. I let my thoughts wander. Haylee Smith instead of Haylee Moyer. I smiled at the thought. Haylee Smith sounds a lot better. I like it.
Dan Skyped me on Tuesday, showing me his hotel room and sending me a kiss through the screen. I laughed. He was so cute, for a 27-year-old at least. The actual interview was on Friday, he had said, and he couldn’t wait, but was nervous at the same time. He said that The Virgin Records was a pretty big company, and was tough to get into.
“You’ll make it, no problem. With a voice like yours, they can’t possibly turn you down.” I had said.
Friday morning, Dan called me real quick before he left.
“I can’t get rid of the butterflies!” He laughed nervously.
“Dan.” He was overreacting. “Take three deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth.” I heard him breathing.
“Hey, I think it worked! I guess you have some tricks of your own, don’t you?”
“Oh you don’t know the half of it.” I joked. By then it was time for him to leave, and I wished him luck, even though he wouldn’t need it.
At eight o’clock, I Skyped Dan to see how it went, even though he said that he would when it was over. Surely, I thought, it would be over by now? I tried not to worry too much when he didn’t answer. Maybe he’s out celebrating with Chris. I decided that that was it; he was probably out drinking at a bar or something. My blood turned cold. Drinking. That’s what had killed Tyler. I shook the thought away quickly. Dan wasn’t an idiot; he knew better than to drink and drive. I had to trust him more. But no matter how hard I tried, the thought wouldn’t leave my mind, always nagging at the back of my brain, begging for attention. Finally, I got off the computer, and checked my phone one last time. I decided to sleep with in under my pillow, just in case he called late.
I woke with a start; my alarm seeming to beep extra loud this morning. I found my phone under my pillow and checked it. No new notifications it read. I decided to forget about it and get the day started.
Every single day was like this. On Monday, I was getting seriously concerned. No call, no Skype, not even a single text that suggested that Dan was still even alive. I shook my head. Idiot. Of course Dan’s still alive. It would be in the paper or something if… I stopped thinking and continued along with my book. I was almost done now, and hoped Dan got to read it.
Despite my typing, my thoughts stubbornly continued to wander. What if he’s seriously injured? What if he lost his phone? What if he got depressed because he didn’t get the job?
None of them seemed to fit Dan’s personality. My eyes widened as a new thought crossed my mind. What if someone forced him to do something terrible?