Chapter Twenty Eight - Exchanging of the L-word
In complete and utter honesty, I don't think my heart has never beated so fast. I just needed to hold my breath so I could catch it. But this drive, this motivation to finally get it off my chest was the only thing keeping me going. We slipped out of my house, we were safe from being caught out. I lead him to my car where I took the drivers seat, despite his arguments.
"I said I was taking you on a date Brooks, how could you possibly know where I was going to take you?" I rebutted and he smirked whilst taking the passenger seat.
"The movies." He stated as though it were obvious.
"Have a little faith Brooks," I pretended to be insulted, "for I have you know that this will not be the regular dinner and movie. Please, that's too ordinary for us." I said, smiling extravagantly at him.
"I liked how you said that." He smirked, nestling his hands in between his knees as I started the car.
"Said what?" I asked, pulling out of my driveway.
Then he blushed and it felt as though tonight we had swapped roles, "Us." He smiled and the smile on my own lips remained yet grew wider.
Finally it was his chance to control the radio. Every time I'm in the passenger seat I make it very clear that I work the stations so he was not reluctant to scroll through his options. This was the moment my breathing got heavier and I felt like I was suffocating in my own car, I was showing symptoms of claustrophobia. This was not a good sign.
I turned down my window and began breathing through my mouth. It felt as though my throat was closing up as my brain went to a dark place, spiralling in the self pity of 'what ifs'. Things running along the lines of what if he doesn't say it back?, what if he doesn't feel the same?, what if he dumps me then and there because I'm too clingy? You get the point. I was not in a good place.
It got to the point where headlights were just blinding balls of gas and I needed to pull over. Breathe, just breathe Alex. My arm rested of the window sill and my hand propped my head up. I felt a warm hand on my knee which made me avert my gaze to Brooks.
"Are you alright, Al?" His voice was instantly soothing. That's the thing about Brooks, he never failed to calm me down. His words dripped with concern as he looked upon me as I was experiencing a nervous breakdown.
"I-I'm fine." I stammered out unconvincingly.
"Are you sure? We can always go-" I cut his words off by kissing him. To recover from a nervous breakdown sometimes all I need to do was hold my breath so it seemed logical. It was the moment his hand cupped my cheek and it began caressing it with such affection that I came to my senses, knowing that I was about to do the right thing.
"Or we could just do this?" He said breathlessly as he smirked.
"All better." I admitted before kissing his cheek and placing my hands on the wheel again.
As I pulled out from the side of the road and headed towards the woods I noticed that Brooks was oddly silent. "What's wrong Brooks? Cat got your tongue?" I teased, observing the fact of his state because of my actions of silencing.
"No, just you." I kept my eyes on the road but I could easily tell that he was smirking and his comment made me laugh.
"But I'll have to admit, it's sexy when you make the first move." My heart jolted and I smiled.
"Well get used to it." I said in a low voice as I bit my lip.
I manoeuvred the car into an accessible position near the woods. Brooks got out of the car first and surveyed the premises while I got the candle and lighter out of my glove box. I got out of the car where I spun around and locked it before advancing to the fence. Effortlessly, I jumped it before I looked at Brooks through the bar wired fence.
"What's wrong?" I asked him with curiosity.
"Should we be doing this?" He asked and I almost scoffed.
"Is the Bad Boy scared?" I asked and he smirked.
"No," He drawled, "I just needed to know if I should be pulling out the cape anytime soon, you know, to protect you from being scared and all." He said and I raised my eyebrow.
"Just jump the fence Brooks." I said, turning as I began to walk.
"A little bossy are we?" I heard a thump when his feet safely hit the ground and soon I felt his arm being wrapped around my waist.
"So Al, where are we going?" He asked skeptically.
I didn't say anything as I simply pointed to the clump of trees up ahead. It was dark but my pupils adjusted. I was just worried that there would be some type of animal scurrying around as I tried to make this as perfect as possible. I know technically we haven't been on a second date before. Oh no. Was I rushing this? I was getting caught up and way too ahead of myself. I mean it was only our second date, now actually. And what? I've only known him a term. I mean, is three months really enough to know some body or to even love some body?
Was I just way too caught up in the idea of Brooks? I mean, I'm only a teenager, how do I even know what love is? What it feels like? Is this really love or is this just a false reality, his spell that I've fallen into? With all these questions I was sure to pass out soon so it surprised me when my knee didn't buckle in and my soles kept crunching along the old grass and fallen leaves.
"You aren't going to rape me in the woods are you Al? Come on, I thought you'd have a bit of class." He joked and I felt myself elbowing him in the ribs. Once again he didn't flinch, all he did was pull me closer and once again I was intoxicated by him, wrapped up in his warmth.
"Shut up and enjoy this." I said as we passed the threshold into the woods. We were now surrounded by tall, dark, looming trees above our heads.
"What the fact that my girlfriend has brought me to dark woods, claiming this as a date," He opened my plastic bag and his eyes widened, "where she has brought with her candles, a lighter and a map?" Just the way he described it made me think that if I didn't actually know what I was doing, I would be creeped out.
"Are you going to perform an exorcism? Are you going on a treasure hunt?" He was now gripping onto my shoulders, holding me firm in place. His eyes were unreadable as he shook me gently. "Al, what the hell is going on? You're freaking me out." He admitted and I noticed the night was taking a spin for the horribly wrong.
"S-So the Bad Boy is f-freaked out." I said silently. I was now scaring myself.
"Enough," He said loudly, causing me to blink several times. "Enough with the riddles or the half answers and the observing me. Teddy, what the hell is going on and I want a real answer. What are we doing in the woods?" He asked. His bottom lip was quivering, I didn't know if it was for the fact that it was slightly cold or for the fact that he was worried, anxious, stressed, the list could go on.
I'm so stupid. Here I was, thinking that it would be a nice, romantic idea but who am I kidding? It was creepy, strange and out on a long limb. I mean, it looked like I was taking him out here to show him a dead body, or worse, make his body a dead one. But I couldn't spoil it. When we were to arrive maybe he would just understand. I have faith.
"Please, just trust me." I begged as my heart raced continuously.
"Okay." He let out a long breath. "I trust you." He offered me a weak, reassuring smile before we headed back to walking.
I slipped my hand in his which he reluctantly tightened a grip on. I squeezed his hand and he turned to look at me. I smiled warmly and the one sentence screamed inside my head, I hope to God that I can pull this off.
I briefly glanced at the map my mum quickly drew out and I smiled when I noticed that we had arrived. There was the big flat rock just as she described it would be. There, I placed the plastic bags which I opened and set out the candles in which I lit. Just as she said, it illuminated the empty circle in the forest and it was gorgeous. The leaves looked ripe and the grape vines hung low. I just imagined paper lanterns hanging from them and it would truly be perfect.
I looked over at Luke who was just looking up in awe. He did a couple of 'rounds just looking around before he spoke. "Did you bring food?" He asked which took me by surprise.
"Typical boy." I commented which made him laugh.
He walked over to me and pulled me in close. To say his body was at a close proximity would be an understatement. "I mean, what you've done here, it's gorgeous. What I meant was that it would just be amazing if we looked up at the stars and ate cheesecake." He shrugged with a smile tugged.
I placed a single finger to his lips, "Na-Uh, this is my date and it goes how I planned." I whispered.
"And how exactly did you plan for it to go?" He asked with his signature smirk.
"A little something like this." I smile sweetly before leaning forward and pressing my lips to his. I put my whole anxious and whole hearted emotions into the kiss as I pushed my body closer to his. This boy was so amazing, so absolutely perfect. He has always been there for me, always on my side. He performs such selfless acts for me and I knew it was time. By kissing him the way I just did in that moment it sure taught me something. Something that I should have done a long time ago.
Why hadn't I done it before? Every ounce of my body wanted to me to jump onto the tallest skyscraper or crane, screaming at the top of my lungs and announcing it to the whole world my true feelings. I feel so silly for being so afraid before, I needed to admit it to him and myself before I could become anymore consumed in him.
I kissed him slowly, admiring and being completely soaked as I appreciated the feeling of his lips against my own. My arms traced along his back before they attached themselves behind his neck. His grip was still soft and gentle as his arms tightened around my body as he held me closer. Eradicating anything imaginable from coming between us. When I inhaled, I breathed him in which made me smile immensely.
It is then that I had to go against every feeling in my body and I push myself back. I realized now that even though my feet were pressing onto his, I'm was still not as tall as he was. So I pushed myself onto the tip of my toes where I acknowledged that I'm never going to be eye level to Brooks. My hands skimmed across his neck as they cupped his jaw. My thumbs traced along his jaw line and I squeezed my eyes shut as I inhaled.
It's now or never, right? What have I got to lose? Nothing. After my little pep talk I decide it is time. I look back into his eyes and he looks into mine, a smile tugged on his lips as he noticed our heights. My eyes flick to his lips and I have to bite down on my own so I don't flake out and end up kissing him over again.
With one last deep breath, I take my chances.
"I love you."
Nothing. I received nothing. It's as though I just admitted my feelings to an inadament object. Boy, I was perspiring for nothing, I mean, I was so worried about hearing the wrong thing yet here I was, hearing nothing in response. I knew it, he was probably racking his brain now to find some sort of excuse to break it to me lightly. Well I'm a big girl and all I want is the truth not this unbearable silence of nothing that I'm surrounded by.
I knew in the car when I was having second thoughts that I was wrong and now look what I've done, I've managed to single-handedly completely screw everything up and now its ruined because he doesn't return the same feelings. Dammit. How could I have been so blind and stupid? It took all the willpower I could muster not to cry at that moment.
As I was mentally cursing I felt myself being pulled in. Soon, Brooks' lips met mine and I was in a whole other world. I felt him smile within the kiss, as crazy or as cliché as it sounds, I would feel lips lips curled into a smile as he kissed me and it gave me reassurance that maybe things were not as bad as I thought. Maybe, just maybe I didn't ruin everything and he actually reciprocated the feelings back towards me. At least, that's what it felt like.
It is then that Brooks pulls away and he smiles, his smile is genuine and greedy which made me smirk unintentionally. My chest was rising and falling heavily as I stared at him. He sweetly places a kiss on my cheek, his head hovers around mine for a nanosecond before he pulls back.
"I love you, too."
Who knew that four simple worlds could make thousands of thoughts and questions disappear in an instant. It was obvious in the kiss that I just received but I needed him to spell it out. My breath was caught in my throat and my heart was jolting, in a good manner. I had always pictured this moment, when I finally said it to the person who deserved it most and I pictured it who I'd be looking at when I had it said to me.
It felt so unbelievably incredible to have Brooks staring back at me. It was him. It had always been him. I was in love with him and he loved me back. I could tell, as the hormonal teenager I am that I was on the boarder line of crying even though this was a horrible time to cry, even for happy purposes.
I found myself latching onto him. I jumped slightly and he caught me as my legs wrapped around his waist. The way he said it was what made me so hung up, he said it with such purity, such confidence, such honesty and it was overwhelming. He held my body firmly as I kissed his cheek, over and over and over again, in the same spot.
I wanted to hear him say it again, I wanted him to record it so I could play it back- too far? But it didn't matter, this feeling that I was so grateful to be receiving was mind-blowing. To know that I love and was loved back is incredible. Nothing could possible ruining this moment, it was so perfect.
I pinched myself and poked him just to see if this was a dream and if he was real. "What was that for?" He chuckled as he removed one hand from my back and he rubbed the spot where I had previously poked.
"Just checking if this was a dream or not." I admitted sheepishly.
"Al, I know that you dream about me profusely so it was only logical that you had to check this time 'round. I mean, I'm actually glowing and I look something more or so like Greek God, or so I've been told." He winked at me and I blushed.
"Boy, you aren't modest at all, are you?" I commented.
"Isn't that why you so evidently love me." I thought it would be awkward after this moment but clearly we were on joking terms which was great because it was us. Us; was that we were moderately teasing and joking but we could also be serious when the time came.
"Yeah, evidently, I just boosted your ego." I smirked as I laughed.
"I must say Teddy, you pulled it off." Brooks stated.
We were now on the roof of my car, looking up at the stars. We lost track of time but I believe it was around 11, maybe later. I snuggled into Brooks, his arm draped around my body as though it were a blanket. I was savouring this moment, cherishing every ounce of it.
"I know, told you I could." I said, smiling as I stared up at the constellation before my eyes. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that I was looking up at the big dipper.
"I mean, this was the best day I've ever had." My heart pounded at his words which were so sincere.
"Can't say that I've learned from the best." I joked which earned me a few tickles to the stomach before we entered a comfortable silence.
"Brooks." I whispered after a while.
"Hm?" He asked. My head was now rested on top of his chest as I plainly stared at his legs which were propped up.
"Can you say it again?" I asked in fear that I sounded so lame.
He paused before silently chuckling, I could feel the vibrations on my cheeks as they made my teeth chatter for only a moment. "I love you Al, I love you a lot." That was enough to make my heart soar as I heard his voice repeating that single line over and over again.
"I can feel your heart beat, you know." I stated after I whispered him a thank you.
"Yeah?" He asked and I nodded.
"That's neat." He said and I jolted up, looking at him some what astonished.
"What?" He asked, lifting himself up.
"You said neat." My eyes were widened as he chuckled from beside me.
"Looks like I have a bit of nerd in me after all." This scored him a punch in the arm.
"We should get back." I said, sliding off the hood.
"Yeah, it's late. Tara's going to kill me." This made me laugh, evidently.
"Come on dead man, let's go." I told him, tugging slightly on his shirt.
He won the battle on who was going to drive us home. Each time it came to rebutting him simply silenced me with a kiss, a trick he obviously learned from the best (me). When we slipped inside luckily the house didn't creak or we would have been goners. We approached the couch where Brooks pulled me down beside him. I moulded into his form and we exchanged kisses. The underlying fact was that once we overcame the scary word of love, we both knew it would be harder for us to you know, prevent ourselves from going any further.
"Okay Bad Boy, we need to get some sleep." I said, pulling away and reluctantly getting up off the couch.
"One more kiss?" He asked and I rolled my eyes before lightly kissing him.
"Good night Brooks." I said, turning on my heel.
"Good Night Teddy." He whispered as I reached the stairs which I army crawled up in fear of getting caught.
When my head hit the pillow I entered deep thought. Who knew that I, Alex Binks could change the Player's game. I tought the Player how to love. So this was it. This was what love felt like. To have your heart hurting because you have to sleep a part with his arms not around you. To feel suffocated by such an overpowering feeling which was overwhelming. But to be in love with Brooks is so surreal, so incredible. There was no other way to put it.
Being in love with Luke was awesome.