Chapter Thirty Two - She Sees Right Through Me
My pointer finger tapped away against the metal bar. There were multiple held before me, blocking my access out. It's really quite sad how they have just left me to die of bored in this single cell, along with others.
There is a single toilet seat, not a cubical. Just a single toilet seat, smack bang on the side. There is a wooden bench to the left of me but its occupied by two bodies. I'm sharing this cell with four other guys. One is a cross dresser, long red silky dress, tall black high heels and makeup piled on his not so young skin.
He is one of the males on the bench, examining his nails. The one beside him is scary, he wears a mean look on his face and at any moment I'm waiting for him to swing a punch at me. Tattoos cover his arms, neck and legs. They're mostly weird symbols and skulls but there is also a mermaid.
He wears a black thick jacket and black short to his knees. I think he has some tobacco in his mouth because he continually chews in a disgusting matter, slight drips of brown liquid rolls down his chin and he spits every so often.
My eyes dart away from him when he gives me that what-are-you-looking-at look. All I'm thinking is how long Al will take to get here. The last guy in here is much older, maybe in his 60's. He looks tired, slumming against the cold white walls. His fingers run along his creased forehead as he thinks.
He is just some poor old grandfather. I watched as the police threw him in. He was drink driving but not. You see, he had drunk a few beers at the pub before he hopped back in his car. He wasn't going to drive anywhere, he simply put his keys in the ignition and allowed the radio to hum a soft tune as he fell asleep.
That's what he did wrong. He left his keys in ignition. So technically he was 'driving' because the keys were in ignition and he had a few beers so he was drunk. He was unlucky to get caught and was thrown in here. I was so tempted to argue his case for him but I was in enough trouble as it is.
None of us said anything to each other. None of us acknowledged each others presence. I didn't feel comfortable here and I did not want to be here. I remembered the last time I was brought down here, around three or four years ago. Nothing serious, it wasn't placed on my record but that didn't mean I belonged here.
They confiscated my phone for the time being so I couldn't even check the time. I just feel like such a jerk because I had to wake poor Al from her sleep and I dragged her all the down here to bail me out. Do you know how selfish that is?
My head jerked up when I heard the trill sound which indicated that someone has entered the building. A soft angelic voice drifted in asking the officer at the desk, "I've come to bail out my grandfather."
I don't know if the poor old man was deaf because he was not aware of the fact that he was being bailed out. Feeling bad, I walked over to him, crouched down and rested a hand on his arm. "Sir, your granddaughter is here to collect you." I said in almost shaky voice.
The old man, fluttered his wrinkled eyelids opened, examined my face before he nodded. I stood up quickly and offered him a hand which he gratefully took. "Thank you young man." He said to me and I smiled in returned.
The officer came to the bars and unlocked the door, allowing room for the old man to leave. Immediately his young granddaughter, maybe early twenties, she jumped to his side and helped him walked towards the desk as she finished filling in the rest of the paper work.
Pressing my back on the bared door I felt back and resting my bum on the cold cement floor. "Hey cream puff." A raspy voice echoed. My knees were up and my elbows were digging into them, my hands covered my eyes.
I peeped through a crack between my fingers and noticed the cross dresser was addressing me.
"Sorry?" I asked, my voice coming out some what hoarse.
"I said hello." He answered, still sporting the worst attempt at a female voice.
"Oh, hi," I muttered.
"You looked worried over there cheese puff, it's okay, we won't eat you." If that was an attempt comfort me it did not work because I just felt more creeped out than usual.
"I'm fine, just tired." I announced. Please get me out of here.
"It's not too bad in here once you settle in." He continued.
A lower voice caught me off guard and he entered the conversation. "Soon you will realise that you one call to home is a waste of time and money because no one is coming for you." The big, bulky, scary guy stated and I nodded.
"Well I have someone on their way." I told other.
"A special someone?" The cross dresser inquired, his eyes sparkling a little.
I couldn't help but smile at the thought of Teddy being my special someone.
"Oh it is, tell us doll face, what's her name?" You can easily tell who asked I mean, you don't think the hulk would call me doll face, now would you?
"Her name is Alex," I said simply but they wanted more. Bombarding me with questions about her I did my very best to answer them which took about ten to fifteen minutes.
We stopped talking instantly when the trill sounded. Billy's (I found this to be the hulks read name) head craned up as he looked over towards the door. Mikey's (The cross dressers preferred to Michael) eyes twinkled when he saw who was at the door.
"Doll, she's so cute." He said and immediately I jumped up.
There standing with a worried and confused look on her face, was Al. She still had messy bed hair which was cute but she changed out of her pajamas and into jeans and a comfy grey t-shirt.
"Here to bail out my delinquent boyfriend, Luke Brooks." Her voice travelled and instantly I found comfort.
"Just fill out these forms, leaving the correct amount and I will bring him out," the male officer said and I exhaled thankfully.
He advanced to the cell door and unlocked it. Skeptically he watched as I stepped out and nodded in his direction. Stuffing my hands into my pockets, I walked towards Al who was stressed out.
"Hey," I said slowly, before glancing up at the big clock above us that read the time: 3:21am.
Her eyes darted from the page to me and she glared. She looked so tired and all I desperately wanted to do was curl up on a couch with her and allow her to fall asleep in my arms.
"Brooks," she said in a low voice before returning to the paper work. Scribbling down the rest of the answers, she slammed the pen down, thanked the officer before turning to me.
"Come on," she said before stalking to the door. The cold air immediately whipped my skin but I tried to act unfazed. I wanted to know what was going through her mind.
She didn't say anything as we walked towards her car. I kept silent to because I couldn't depict what emotion she was expressing. I'm not really good with these kind of things.
She unlocked her car and for once I didn't argue to drive. I slipped into the passenger seat and she sat in the drivers seat. Without the radio on, we sat in an uncomfortable silence. Her hands glued on the clutch and steering wheel and her eyes glued on the road.
"Are you hurt?" She asked softly, flicking her head lights on. Classic Al, always looking out for people.
"No," I answered and she didn't react to my response. After a long pause that lasted well over 5 minutes she asked her next question.
"What happened?" This question wasn't asked so softly, it was as if she demanded for the answer which she rightfully deserved.
"Well," I began but I didn't exactly know where to start. What was she going to think once I told her?
"Brooks," she said in a frightening low voice. I know she wanted me to get straight to the point.
"Well I kind of went to Coles and I, um slipped in back and found their control room for the surveillance tapes, I rewinded to earlier but then I got caught." I told her and her eye brows knitted into a straight line.
"Why would you be looking in Coles surveillance tapes? You aren't secretly a Russian spy are you?" That is why I like her. These crazy little cute ideas that she expresses so seriously is one of the reasons I like her so much.
"No Al, I'm not a Russian spy," I paused, this is the moment that defines her reaction. "I went the watch to see who the guy was that approached you, so I could give him a piece of my mind..." I trailed off, studying her intently.
She didn't flinch, "And a piece of your fist." She joked and I kind of let out a shaky breath because this was a good sign.
"Yeah but nothing really went to plan." I dead panned.
"Brooks, you're an idiot." She stated and I deserved it.
"I know," I told her. I gazed at her for a moment, soaking her in before noticing the once pursed lips had turned into a small, very small smile.
It was then that I knew I was off the hook.
"I will pay you back for the bail," I assured her but she shook her head.
"Don't worry about it, I kind of like the fact that you trusted me to get you." She said sweetly.
"I shouldn't have woken you, I know how much you hate being woken of a morning. I'm sorry." I told her but once again she shook her head.
"Don't be sorry Luke, don't be." She moved her hand towards my own which was resting on my lap. She curled her fingers around mine and squeezed.
"You're not mad?" I asked in a hushed tone.
"How could I be when you intended to perform such heroic acts." She teased and I chuckled slightly.
A nice comfortable silence filled the atmosphere and it was great. I wanted to tell her I loved her, over and over again but I may come across as crazy desperate. I couldn't have silent perfect moments like these with anyone else, except her.
When she pulled into the driveway I undid my seat belt and helped myself out of the car. Tomorrow I would have to retrieve my bike from Coles' car park, I thought.
I could tell that she was exhausted by her sluggish moves up the stairs. If fatigue hasn't hit me like a boulder I would have carried her up to save her efforts but I was struggling to pull myself up.
"Colton took your bed," she whispered and I mentally cursed. Of course he took my bed.
"Follow me." She instructed and I did so. I followed her into what I assumed to be her parents bedroom. Despite my rule about parents bedrooms it just seemed to not matter since I was in the room with just her and I.
She collapsed gracefully on the bed and I followed in suite. My back rested comfortably on the mattress and I noticed the smell of fresh linen. I felt warmth at my side and I noticed Al's petite frame curled up under my arm.
Lowering my head, I kissed her forehead as she tugged lightly on my shirt. "Good night Al," I whispered.
"Good night." She mumbled into my shirt.
Slowly as I listened to the sound of her steady breathing my eyes began to grow heavy. Not fighting the urge to fall asleep, I relaxed and closed my eyes.
It was then that I had to thank the female police officer, Brady for letting me off on bail. I was facing some real criminal charges. Intruding, stealing, looking over footage without a warrant. Luckily she thought my acts were romantic and I was just a kid so she let me off.
I was just lucky.
I was surprised when I was woken to the sound of complete silence. At any moment I was expecting Tara to bust down the door and kick my ass for sleeping in the same bed as her sister when we were under strict instruction not to.
But like I said, it was eerie quiet. At first I assumed everyone was killed in the still of night but then I saw Al's body squirming beside me and I relaxed because it was a Saturday morning and everyone was sleeping in.
Now I could get used to this. Being in Glenroy, that part of town isn't always the friendliest. That's why I was caught off guard to be woken to silence when generally every morning I am woken to my human alarm clock which is my neighbours, clanking the shit out of their pots and pans to wake their own son up.
Then there is all the yelling along with it, that's why I usually wake up in such a pissed off mood. My body jolted when I heard the light hum of the microwave. Someone else was awake. Lifting myself carefully not to wake Al, I slipped out of the room and trekked downstairs.
Standing in all his smugness to make me puke was Colton, without a shirt. Now this would be a great sight to see if I were Tara but no I was not, so I was just overwhelmed by how arrogant he was.
"Didn't pack a shirt Mayes?" I spat as I entered the kitchen.
In his hands was a glass of orange juice that was being pressed to his lips. "Didn't pack your tampons asshole?" He shot back and I hid the fact that I was slightly impressed with his response.
"What are you making?" I asked referring to the microwave.
"Baked beans but you're not getting any." He said clearly.
"Trust me, I wouldn't want anything made by your diseased hands, what was it again? Paronychia." Looks like two can play this game.
Colton had always been insecure about his hands especially when he came back from a holiday in America in the second grade and he found this weird pus on his fingernails. It was a bacterial disease called paronychia and everyone secluded him -except for me- as it was a pretty nasty infection.
"Dude get over that, it was the second grade," he said and I smirked smugly.
"You know what else happened in the second grade? Sally Rolland's kissed me, remember how you had the worlds biggest crush on her?" I teased and he pretended to act all mature.
"Grow up asshole." Looks like I've adopted a new name.
I parted my lips to make a witty come back but instead I was silenced by a new morning voice. "Way too much testosterone for one morning." Tara yawned, outstretching her arms.
"Morning Tara." Colton and I said in unison which made me glare at him.
"After breakfast we're swimming," Tara stated cheerfully, placing two pieces of multigrain bread in the toaster.
"Good for me." I replied and Colton nodded in agreement.
After lathering my own toast in Nutella, I made sure I made double for Al. Placing it on a tray along with a glass of orange juice, I carried it up the stairs and into the room from which she was sleeping in.
"Morning sleepy head," I greeted once I stepped inside because I noticed she was awake.
"Hey," She greeted with a morning sweet smile. I could get used to looking at her like this. Her hair was all messy which was incredibly sexy and her shirt hung low.
I placed the tray on her lap and attempted not to make it obvious that I was gawking at her. "Thanks," she rasps, biting into my creation.
"You have a bit of Nutella on your lip," I lied and she fidgeted to wipe it off.
"You're missing it," I lied again and she frowned.
"Can you just get it for me?" She asks and I smirk.
With pleasure. I lean down and press my lips to hers, at first she is shocked at my sudden movement but then she begins to move in time with my own lips. It was Al mixed with Nutella so I was kind of in heaven.
But as we do, the urge to breathe became prominent and we pulled out. "What a wake up call," she swallows.
She's so cute, oblivious to the fact that I'm so tempted to push her down and kiss her all over again. Resisting the urge, I got up off the bed and told her to eat up. I informed her about swimming and she immediately agreed.
I soon left and went to the bathroom where I completed necessary rituals before progressing to my room where I changed into my swimmers. For the fast few months I've been making more productive trips to the gym because I'm working hard for Al.
Once I'm dressed appropriately, I advance to her towel cupboard and pull out two towels. One pink one for Al and a plain white one for me. As I walk downstairs I notice Tara and Colton already out there. I wonder if they're doing it?
Closing the screen door behind me, I walk towards the expensive chairs, ones you see at five star resorts. There I placed the towels before I moved closer to the pool. Being courage I take a jump and bomb straight in. Luckily the water temperature was comfortable.
I swam around for a bit, listening to the giggles of Tara. She is so into him and she can't even admit it. I chuckled lightly to myself because that used to be Al. Speaking of the devil, I heard the sliding door close so I craned my neck up.
She was shuffling towards where I put the towels, sporting a light blue bikini. It had the top section that looked like a bra. I knew Al was fit but I didn't realise how fit. Which is crazy because she's not one to do physical activity, hiding her nose in a book is more her option.
She smiled and made a small wave in my direction which made me chuckle. She was trying to make it awkward and uncomfortable but I was rather amused at this point. She trotted lightly and sat down by the edge of the pool, allowing her feet to become immersed in the water.
Her palms pressed on the cement and I could tell that she was in deep thought because her lips were pressed in a thin line and a single blue vein showed in her forehead. I swam over to her, placing my hands either side of her legs and I just looked up.
Damn, she is so beautiful and I'm so whipped. "What are you thinking about gorgeous? Hopefully me." I teased but I was being honest. I wanted to know what she was in such deep thought about. I wanted her to be thinking about me.
That when she tuned back into reality and her blush creeped onto her symmetric cheeks. She looked down at me and smiled. "Actually, I was thinking about you." She stated and I smirked.
"Oh really? You're thinking 'how can one human being be so so so sexy', it's okay Al, I'll share it with you," I teased and she pushed my shoulder.
"In your dreams Brooks," she said throwing her head back. Her hair wasn't held up by an elastic, simply twisted up. But as she threw her head back her hair fell out of its twist and cascaded down. I would have made a gif out of that.
"Yeah, you feeling me up is definitely in my dreams." I said somewhat seriously and she had no idea how to react.
"Give me your hand," I instructed, she looked at me skeptically before holding out her hand.
Shaking the excess water drops off my hands, I then took hers and placed it in my own. Her hand was so warm and so soft. I flipped it over so her palm was facing upwards towards the sun. With my right hand, I allowed my fingers to trail along the edges of her hand.
I then traced each and every crease on her palm and phalanges. "You see this line?" I asked her, teasing the top line on her palm. I looked up at her and she nodded.
"This determines how long you will live." I said, bullshitting.
"Oh really? And how long do I live?" She asked, raising an eyebrow, knowing I was full of it.
"Well the more birthdays you have, the longer you live." I said, a smile tugging on the corner of my lips.
She through her head back and laughed. I so desperately wanted to push myself up and kiss her but I refrained from doing so. Then traced the longest line on her palm with my finger tip.
"And this line," I paused, smirking slightly, "this line means that your boyfriends genital is ten times longer than that line." She choked on her own saliva and then placed her hands on my head, pushing me down into the water.
"You're so full of it, Brooks." She laughed.
"Full of you?" I inquired.
"You wish." Oh yes I do.
I jumped out of the pool, shaking my head to get rid of the majority of the water before I dried my body off with the towel. I wasn't quite done swimming yet.
"Is that all for today Brooks?" Al approached me with a question.
"I'll go back in if you do." I told her and her nose crinkled.
"I don't know about swimming today." She excused but I was not having it.
I took her hand and smiled at her so she had no suspicions. We were at the edge of the pool and I looked at her hand. "What's that over there?" I asked, pointing at a random spot in the water.
"What? Where?" She asked, falling right into my trap.
"Over there," I pretended to squint my eyes so I could try and see it better. "Why, that looks like my girlfriend." And with that I effortlessly picked her up and threw her in the pool.
She resurfaced in seconds. "Brooks," she yelled my name and I shuddered. I couldn't tell if she was mad but I saw a glint of amusement in her eyes.
"And what's that over there, oh that's the sexiest guy alive." I shouted and jumped into the pool right in the spot I was previously pointing in.
"Where's the sexiest guy alive, I can't see him," she teased and I gathered her up and pulled her closer to me.
"Should have gone to specsavers." I joked and her smile grew.
"Brooks," she whispered, noticing out bodies proximity. "How much do you lift?" She asked and I looked at her skeptically.
"Let's just say a zillion of you, why?" I asked and she blushed.
"Wow, you're so strong." She said in an odd voice and then after a range of odd looks that she received I realised what she asserting to do.
"Al, are you trying to flirt with me?" I asked trying to hide my amusement.
"I...um...ugh..." She stammered and I bit back my smirk.
"You're so cute." I said, pinching her cheeks.
She swatted my hand away before pushing a wave of water in my direction. I flicked my hair to get it out of my eyes before I pushed a wave into her direction. Then she began to splash at me as she swam away but I continued to walk through her splashed.
I dived at her and wrapped my arms around her waist. She squirmed at my touch before she stopped fighting it. I leant down and kissed her shoulder. "Tell me to stop." I begged her, kissing across her shoulder blades I was now at the nape of her neck.
"Tell me to stop." I repeated but I didn't want her to tell me to stop.
She wriggled around and she was now facing me. Her hands were on my chest and I was waiting for her to push me away but she didn't. I kissed her cheek and then she turned her head so her lips hovered over mine. I looked into her deep hazel eyes and I watched as she smiled and then began to close her eyes.
Taking her hint I did the same and began to lean in. But, yes there is a but. An abrupt wave hit us, catching me off guard and causing us to leap away. I glared at Colton and Tara who were laughing, actually Colton just seemed mad, Tara was enjoying the interruption.
"Sorry, I just didn't want to be swimming around in aids." She excused and I saw Al roll her eyes which made me chuckle.
"Then you should get out and stop infesting the place," Al shot back and my eyes widened. So she had a bit of sass in her. I liked the fact that I was still learning stuff about Al. With each moment I spend with her I'm closer to figuring out her mystery but I think, it will take years until I reach the end.
But I'm prepared to wait to finish the story.
"Good one Alex," Tara said, clapping in response.
"You've killed it now Tara, we're going inside." She stated bluntly and I smiled.
"I like it when you're bossy," I said as I followed behind her, out of the pool.
"And why is that?" She asked, storming into the house.
I placed my hands in her shoulders, stopping her in her place. I began to massage her shoulders and I leaned in to whisper in her ear.
"Because it's sexy Al," I allowed my warm breath to linger near her skin, I felt her shudder under my touch which drove me crazy.
"T-Thanks." She stuttered, looks like we have shy, awkward Al back. I don't mind, I find her adorable this way.
"How about we watch a movie?" She suggested and I grinned.
"Perfect." I said, offering to set up. As I dried off we walked into the lounge room and examined her big array of movies. With such a selection ranging from comedy to sci-fi (They were genuinely labelled in categories. I believe an OCD from Al) I decided upon a horror. Just because.
Not bothering to research reviews on imdb, I placed the Cabin in the Woods disc into the DVD player. I called out for Al as I pulled a shirt over my head.
"Coming," she responded and soon I saw her coming through dressed in one of my jumpers which was bigger than her and fell at her thighs. I was really turned on right now.
"You think you can just allow yourself to wear my clothes," I teased as I sat down on the couch.
"Shut up, you're enjoying this." She told me and I smirked.
"Yes I am." I told her, patting the spot next to me on the couch. The movie began and we got comfortable.
As I the movie went on I began to question whether the mistakingly listed this movie under the horror genre when it clearly should be humor. A little more than half way through the movie, I felt Al leaning further into me, her hand on my knee and her body curled into my side.
"Brooks," I heard her whisper as if trying not to ruin the movie for me.
"Yeah," I said in a hushed tone.
"You have a husbands bulge." She stated and I bit back my laughter. This was a reference to the movie and I quite enjoyed how she slipped that in into our conversation.
Instead of replying I leaned further back into the couch and we silently watched the end of the movie. I chose horror because I wanted Al to get scared, wanting me to wrap my arms around her frame to protect her but the movie failed to comply to my want.
Instead we laughed at the script and commentated on the poor acting. It was alright -the movie- but the company, that was great. I outstretched my arms when it was over and Al stated that her heart didn't race any of the scenes except for when my arm draped around her.
She always had the right thing to say to make me fall further.
I glanced at the window and noticed the two were still outside, swimming by themselves. A part of me wanted to play a prank on them and another part wanted them to just nail each other already.
"So what's up with Tara and Colt?" I asked and Al seemed to freeze.
"Um, she's like goo goo ga ga over him but I think he's hung up on another." She said briefly.
"Who is he hung up on?" I asked but she shook her head.
"I don't know." Immediately I knew she lied. Al has always been a bad liar but with me it's more than obvious. I felt hurt that she didn't want to tell me and that she needed to cover it with a lie but I let it go because I didn't want her to repeat the lie again.
"Did you want to go for a walk?" I suggested and she nodded.
"Give me a sec," she said and I allowed. I watched as she frantically grabbed a pen and note pad. Scribbling a few words which I assume would be left for Tara to explain our absence.
She grabbed her phone and keys, slipping on her white converse before we exited the house. Stuffing my hands into my pockets, I made sure we were at a far distance before I would tell Al that she wasn't wearing any pants.
"Hey Teddy, aren't you forgetting something?" I asked.
"What?" She asked, tucking a hair behind her ear as she turned to me.
"You don't have any pants on." I smirked and her eyes widened.
"Brooks," she smacked my arm, "how could you let me leave the house without any pants on. I probably look like some random hoe or something." She said, embarrassment sinking in.
"You don't look like a garden tool Al, don't be silly." Turns out my jokes weren't appreciated because I got another punch to the arm.
I slipped my arm around her waist and I found her instantly relaxing. I admired that I had that effect on her. "You still look beautiful Al, with our without pants. But between you and me, I prefer you without."
She rolled her eyes, "Of course you do."
We walked towards a local fish and chip shop where I bought us some hot chips and scallops. I carried our food all the way as we walked towards the beach. Everything looked beautiful, especially since I was holding Al's hand.
"Can we stop walking now and just eat." She complained as her feet sunk into the sand.
"Typical hormonal girl," I joked and complied to sitting down.
We ate peacefully, watching the waves crash on the sand and I couldn't help but admire and appreciate how beautiful the world looked with her by my side. I found myself taking out my phone and snapping pictures of her.
"What are you doing?" She asked, placing a chip to her mouth.
"Admiring God's beauty." I told her and she rolled her eyes at my cheesiness.
"Well the camera is facing the wrong way." She said and I shook my head.
"No, I think I have the perfect view." After cropping out the people in the background I then saved Al's picture as my back ground.
"I think this is where I burst out in song, what makes you beautiful." I said, referring to the beach and her looking at the sand, drawing her name.
"I think you've had too much sun." She said, not looking up.
She stood up after a bit, wiping the sand off the bottom of my jumper and she looked down at what she had drawn. With a stick she drew a love heart and wrote our initials.
AB + LB.
I couldn't help but laugh at how cliche it was but then I notice something. "To a complete stranger this would look like incest, you know?"
Her cheeks glowed the colour of crimson as she slapped my arm. "Of course that subject would be the first one to pop into your mind as its your incest." She paused before covering her mouth.
"Interest, interest." She corrected herself multiple times.
"Yeah Al, I'm cheating on you with Lala." I joked and she smiled.
"Finally you tell me, I always knew there was another. I could never complete with her fleecy coat of pure white and-" I cut her off.
"You're so weird," I paused, "but I love you for that."
I'm as smooth as smooth peanut butter.
"Just causally slipping that in, very subtle Brooks." She teased.
"And the Oscar for the best lines goes to Luke Brooks." I chanted my name pretending that I was the crowd.
She pulled at my shirt and we began to walk again. "Can we try something?" She asked.
"Sure," I replied.
"Can you try you pick up lines on me?" She asked and I almost scoffed.
"What?" I asked.
"Pick me up with your pick up lines from back in the day." She said, her arms swinging gracefully at her side.
"Babe, I didn't need pick up lines. All I needed to say was 'Hey, I'm Luke Brooks' and bam, they were hooked." She gave me a looked like she wasn't so convinced.
"You're so conceited," she laughed and I shrugged.
"Okay, I had one." I told her but I didn't want to share it. It was slightly embarrassing because it didn't work very well in primary school. Not many year six girls where up to the stage yet. They still thought all boys had cooties.
"Try it on me." She asked and I nodded.
"Promise not to laugh?" I asked and she held her pinky out.
"I promise." She said, lacing her pinky with mine.
"Okay. If you were a mosquito I wouldn't mind getting malaria from you." I said and I watched her smile form.
"That was actually kind of clever. I really liked it." She said and I smiled smugly.
"Always works with the ladies." I lied but she didn't need to know that.
"I bet," she said as if I were transparent and she could see right through my bull shit.
We were now in the park. The sun wasn't beating down but it was making soft kisses on both our skin. The weather was actually pretty perfect to just lie on the grass under a tree with your girlfriend and be all cute.
Turns out Al had the same idea because she latched onto my hand and ran towards a big shady tree, dragging me with her. She collapsed on the grass and I followed in suite. Laying beside her, I saw a number of goosebumps arise.
I pulled her closer and she placed her head on my chest and she curled into my form. My fingers began at her shoulders, drawing strange shapes and odd symbols. I was just thinking about how great today had been even though it was only early afternoon.
As my arm rested over Al's, I held her small hands in mine and played with her fingers. Once again she was in deep thought and I didn't want to disturb her.
I did some thinking of my own. Mostly about Alex. I thought about the stages of love that my mum lectured me on before I left. She explained to me that there are two stages of love. There is the honeymoon stage and then there is the testing stage.
The honeymoon stage is basically the stage I think that Al and I are in. It's where everything is still new and great. It's when everything they say and do is just perfectly amazing and nothing can ruin it. It's the stage where you are new to the element of love but the passion is still strong.
Then there is the testing stage. This one is inevitable but apparently it's the darker stage. This is where the relationship is defined to make it or break it. This is the stage where you begin to know your partners deepest, darkest and dirtiest secrets. It's where you learn your partners quirks, habits and thoughts. That's the deadly part.
She explained that some endearing characteristics like the way Al looks when she thinks or the way she stutters awkwardly when something intimate occurs, then don't become so endearing and they become annoying.
I told her it was stupid because I could never find her annoying but she said that this is where we are tested to see if we really care. She asked me if I would be the guy to get angry at myself for changing and finding her annoying, will I be the guy who is angry at her for changing and becoming annoying or will I be the guy who is helplessly and shamelessly in love whose relationship is always keeping him on his toes and wanting more so I never get tired nor annoyed.
It was pretty obvious which guy I want to be. So when the time does come to testing, I just need to remind myself about the great impact Al has had on my life and I need to remember just how much she means to me.
"Brooks," her soft voice sounded, snapping me out of my thoughts.
"Hm?" I asked, not trusting my own voice.
"Do you ever think about the future?" She asked and immediately I knew that this conversation would be deep.
"Sometimes." I admitted.
"What do you want to do when we finish school?" She asked and I paused and actually thought about it.
"I don't know." I admitted after the pregnant pause for my response.
I knew it was my time to ask her, "What about you?" I asked. I felt so stupid that I've known her for so long and I didn't even know all her dreams, goals and aspirations.
"I want to become a history professor at the Melbourne university." She said and I smiled, typical Al.
"You're going to have to work hard." I told her but I knew she always does and she can achieve that.
"I always do." She smiled.
"Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort." I finally recited.
That quote had been constantly on the tip of my tongue ever since I came up with the nickname, Teddy. I always wanting to find the perfect moment to say it and I think I found my window chance.
"Theodore Roosevelt. An incredible man." She said, instantly recognizing the quote.
"Yes, Teddy." I teased and she jumped up from her laying position.
She sat up and looked down at me. "It all makes sense now." She whispered and I smiled.
"You." She said, pointing at me.
"Me." I said, biting back my laugh at her shock.
"You're amazing." She said and I smirked.
"I know." I said victoriously.
"That was so clever. The nickname, it all makes so much sense. I finally worked it out." She said, covering her mouth.
"Good one genius." I mocked and she hit my chest.
"Shut up," she mumbled.
After a silent moment I decided to speak again. "Theodore Roosevelt, an asset to America. And you, an asset to me. You're a jewel and just like America kept a firm grip on Roosevelt, I plan on doing the same. Never letting you go." I said.
I was never one for cheesy comments or romance but with Al it just felt so right. I felt compelled to do so.
"I love you Luke Brooks." She said seriously which made me smile.
"Kiss me like you mean it." I mocked and she rolled her eyes before complying.
She did kiss me like she meant it. I've had hot kisses before but never a kiss with so much passion, so many unspoken words.
"And for the record," I said when we pulled away, "I love you too." And that's the beauty of how I got a second round of making out right there and then in the park.
After, we returned to laying down. Al's head on my chest, listening to my head beat. I rested my arm over her body, feeling her body rise and fall as she inhaled and exhaled. It was then that I thought long and hard about the future.
What I wanted to do was still I puzzle that I needed to unjumble but laying there with her made part one of my own mystery clear. I finally understood one thing that I wanted in my future and that this is: