High School Romance.

Ariel, an image of a red-headed mermaid poped into your head, didn't it? Well, that's kind of me. A fiery red head and look alike to Molly Quinn. I just started high school (oh joy.) and I'm so not used to it. What happened to small schools? Oh well, but, I can't really complain. And all of my classes are fairly easy, and every single one of them I share with the most random guy, football jersey number 13. That's what I call him, thirteen. And I think I like him... like, LIKE LIKE him... and I'm pretty sure he feels the same way about me...

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34. Chapter Six, Part Four.

(ARIEL: http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/set?id=99601065 )

I layed down on my bed and stared up at the ceeling. Taylor Swift's 'Come Back Be Here' played on my phone and I softly sang along. I replayed my convevrsation with Ryan earlier in my mind:

"You're sure you can come over?" "Yes, Ariel, I'm sure." "I'm sorry, I'm just nervous." "What? Why?" "Because it's my dad, Ryan, he'll skin you alive." "I love your Texas terms."

I closed my eyes and cringed, maybe my dad was right, maybe we were going too fast.

I heard the doorbell ring and I got up. I looked at myself in my mirror, applied a layer of red lip gloss, then slowly went downstairs.

My mom was wearing her favorite powder blue apron with white lace trim, she was standing in the kitchen smiling at Ryan. My dad was at the counter with a glass of wine watching Ryan under squinting eyes. And then there was my bother, who was opening to the door for Ryan and was about to start interrogationg him on the usual big brother terms.

"Hi Ariel." Ryan said once he saw me.

"Hi." I said smiling. I walked down the rest of the stairs and gave Ryan a hug. "Keep it on the low-key." I whispered to him.

I pulled apart from him and smiled. He nodded and smiled too.

"Ryan, are you allergic to anything?" My mom asked from the kitchen.

"No, Mrs. Nichols, thanks for asking though." Ryan said.

My dad nodded, we went into the kitchen and started talking. My dad questioned Ryan continually through the dinner of pasta mt mom made.

The only thing that struck me as abnormal, was the fact my brother just stared down Ryan without saying anything. Usually, even if it was just my family at the dinner table, he would have at least one thing to say.

"Are you okay, Jackson?" I finally asked.

My dad and Ryan paused on their conversation about animal rights to listen to what my brothers responce would be.

My brother eyed me, then sighed and turned to Ryan.

"Why her?"

"Um... why her what?" Ryan asked uncomfortably.

"Why would you chose my little sister?"

"Choose her for what?"

"To be your girlfriend? Easily you could have had one of the cheerleaders, but yet, you choose innocent little Ariel. Why is that?"

"Jackson, does it really matter?" My mom said.

"I chose her because I saw an innocent in her no one else held." Ryan said calmly.

Everyone went quiet, all of our eyes were focused on Ryan who was watching me with a pained expression.

"I think I should be going," Ryan said getting up, "Thank you so much for inviting me, Mr. and Mrs. Nichols. Nice to see you again, Jackson. I'll see you later, okay babe?" Ryan said. He kissed me on the cheek and then went to let himself out.

I looked to my dad and he nodded, already knowing my answer. I jumped out of my seat and followed after Ryan.

"I'll walk you home." I said. Ryan's hand was on the door knob. He looked up at me surprised and then nodded.

He held the door open for me and I went outside, the cool wind hitting me. My breath was almost stolen from my chest, but Ryan wrapped his arm around my shoulder and I was warmmed again. We started walking to his houe in a silence.

"I'm so so sorry about my brother." I said.

"It's okay." Ryan said.

We walked again in silence. What Ryan said back at my house made me start to think about what he said. An innocence? What did he mean by that?

"Thanks for walking me back," Ryan said.

"No problem." I said.

"Look, Ariel, what I asid back at your place," he stopped and turned me so I was facing him. He had a look of confusion, saddness, and a longing to find the right words to what he was trying to say.

He leaned in and crashed his lips to mine, I felt my eyes go wide in surprise. Ryan pulled back and leaned his forehead against mine.

"I don't know what it is about you, but you make me want to strive to be a better person. And you, your innocence, you see things differently than everyone else and I love that about you." He paused and looked into my eyes.

"Ariel, I love you."

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