Saturday, Simune 7, 2415 | Sunset Valley, Califorsimia
“I hope you don’t mind boxed macaroni and cheese,” Davis said, with a sheepish expression. “I haven’t had time to do my grocery shopping yet since I just moved in.”
“It’s fine,” Kass replied. “I like the boxed stuff.”
“It’s not a very Southern gentleman thing to serve,” Davis sighed. “I wanted to cook you a proper meal.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Kass shook her head, glancing at her surroundings.
Her grandparents really needed to spruce up the poolhouse. The concrete walls weren’t very inviting, the drab gray hardly a warm color. However, she supposed it was nice that they were renting out the place anyhow.
She wished they had told her they needed extra help. She would’ve been happy to move in and assist this summer, though perhaps that’s why they didn’t offer. She was off to college in the fall, Edgewater, and maybe they needed more long-term care. Kass frowned.
What kind of health concerns were they facing? She hoped it wasn’t EXCES, but that was ridiculous. It wasn’t contagious, and it wouldn’t jump family lines.
Kass took a deep breath, her heart beating faster than it should be. She couldn’t tell if she was sweating because of the warm evening or because she was anxious. It was a good thing she opted for cool casual attire. Davis looked suave in his red tee shirt and swim trunks, like he was going swimming. She tried to picture him shirtless. Easy on the eyes.
“I needed to help Mr. Riviera this afternoon,” Davis continued. “…or I would’ve picked up at least bread, butter, and garlic.”
“I’ll survive without garlic bread,” Kass laughed, nervously. “What do you help my nonno with?”
“Whatever he requires,” Davis replied, cryptically. “I hope you’re hungry. I made a full pot.”
“Smells delicious,” Kass said, though she was a little annoyed he didn’t give her more detail.
Maybe it’s a doctor-patient privilege thing, she surmised. Davis wasn’t a doctor yet? He was in med school. But I bet he looks good in a that white lab coat.
“Shoot! I forgot to light the candle.”
He’s too cute, Kass scrunched her nose and smiled. A candle!
“That’s okay. You got matches?”
“To the left of the stove.”
Davis cupped the white cup as she struck the match and lit the wick. Strange shadows danced across his face. Kass couldn’t help staring at the muscles in his neck, his slightly pointed nose, and the shape of his eyes. His glance met her own and she noticed his pupils appeared darker than they should. The flame nearly reached the end of its stick. She gasped, startled, as it dropped into the cup.
“Are you okay?” he asked, his tone soft and concerned.
If he noticed her nerves, he was nice enough not to say anything.
“I’m… uh… yes…” she dropped back into her chair. “Let’s eat.”
Her hand still hovered, remembering his fleeting brush against her skin as he lifted his fork and began eating. The shadows faded into the soft gray of the walls as the outside porch light flickered on. It must have been on a timer.
“Well, dig in, Kass,” he said.
Davis practically woofed down two whole bowls while Kass was still finishing her first. He didn’t say much as he ate. She rambled about the hot weather, playing spider solitaire on the computer when she was bored, watering the hydrangeas in the front yard, how her mamma wanted to plant geraniums and they needed to figure out where to give the flowers maximum sun exposure in the morning, and how she was working on bits and bobs of stories.
“Where do you get your ideas?” he asked.
“Everywhere,” she exclaimed. “When I’m waking up or going to sleep, when I’m walking the dog… you’ve met Mac, right? Macchiato? My grandparents dog? When I’m brushing my teeth or doing homework… though… I guess I’m not doing homework now that I’ve graduated high school. At least not until I’m in college in the late summer. And when I watch the news or read or book or when I’m walking barefoot down the beach… Sunset Valley has some of the most beautiful beaches,” she purred and then stopped self-consciously. “Have you been to a beach yet?”
“Yes, a few,” he said while setting his bowl in the sink. “You take such dainty bites,” he observed, resuming his seated position.
“I do?” Kass said, a hint of pink rising in her cheeks.
“It’s okay. I think it’s cute,” he smiled.
“Cute?” Kass wrinkled her nose. “Puppies and kitties are cute. Little babies are cute…”
“…but beautiful women aren’t, am I right?” he finished.
Kass smiled shyly, hoping he thought the red in her cheeks was from the glow of the candle. She dropped her gaze. Every time the light flickered, his eyes danced, almost as if they had a mind of their own. A soft slow pace. A seductive rhythm. She flushed even more.
“I’m glad you came tonight,” Davis continued. “You have a lovely effect on this place.”
“Just this place?” Kass smirked, as her fork clattered into her bowl. Oh!
Davis chuckled. “On me too, okay?”
“I’m sorry, ” Kass fumbled. “I don’t know what’s gotten into me. I’m usually more… um… well… not really….erm… I mean…”
“I’ll keep the table between us tonight if that would make you more comfortable,” he teased. “…if I’m making you nervous.”
She wanted to melt into the chair. Of course, she didn’t want the table to stay between them, but it was foolish wishful thinking. Why wouldn’t her heart stop beating so quickly? It was swelling like the crest of a two waves about to careen into one another. She wished she had worn a necklace so she would have an excuse to clutch something… close to her chest. She felt like twice the normal amount of energy was flowing through her. Was it normal to be this anxious? It was almost as if she could sense his own heartbeat.
Why is his so calm when mine is so plum erratic?
“I’m… um… glad I found you…” she swallowed hard, and tried to say something that sounded remotely normal.
“I’m glad you found me too,” he smiled, and reached for her hand.
She pulled away, awkwardly craning her neck to look at the wall. “You know. I bet my Nonna would let you paint in here.”
“She might,” Davis said, dropping his hand back into his lap nonchalantly as if he didn’t just make a romantic gesture. “I might need help deciding on a color… maybe something to…”
“Sea foam green,” Kass interjected.
Davis blinked in surprise. “I was just thinking ocean colors.”
“They’re my favorites,” she remarked as if it wasn’t so unusual.
Did I just read his mind? No, I’m projecting.
“Ocean colors… blue… green… and grey. Good colors. Might help you feel settled in here,” she continued. “Can you hear the ocean at night? When you sleep?”
Kass bit her lower lip as she made the connection to what she just said and Davis sleeping. His tall sturdy frame curling around hers in the evening would be nice. Did all girls dream of sleeping with guys? She flushed powerfully at the thought. Erm… not sleeping… sleeping… oh Kass! Quit justifying yourself to yourself.
“You’ve got a great view from here, but you might be too far up the hill to hear the waves.”
“We could go out on the porch,” he suggested.
“No, you’re fine,” Kass replied. “…erm… um… I’m fine.”
Davis smothered a smirk. “So tell me about yourself.”
“Myself?” she squeaked.
“Yes, like your interests, hobbies…”
“Besides drinking massive amounts of coffee drinking?”
They both laughed.
“And writing. You’re a writer?” he added.
“I like writing stories about the world and people. I like journaling too. It’s therapeutic,” Kass explained.
“You journal? Like a diary?” he repeated.
“Yeah, it’s nice to capture my thoughts somewhere. I process externally so I guess it’s a little like getting to know myself,” she shrugged.
“So if I want to get to know you, I should read your diary?” he grinned.
“No!” she exclaimed. “It’s private. My thoughts that is. They are. Private. No one should read someone else’s diary. I mean, it’s just not acceptable, and it’s so personal.”
“Kass, you are a puzzle,” he shook his head and laughed softly. “You tend to over-explain, don’t you?”
She winced. “Is that a problem?”
“No, it’s refreshing,” he assured.
“You mean dumb,” she sighed.
He thought for a moment, and she winced in the excruciating seconds. She was doing this date all wrong. Kass didn’t know how to be normal around someone this hot.
“Not at all,” Davis concluded. “We can change the subject if I’m making you nervous.”
“Haha!” she laughed, stiltedly. “Nervous? No.”
Her sarcasm was weak. And she was sure he knew it.
“I have a tendency to run on when I’m excited,” Kass responded, reaching absently for her non-existent necklace. “I probably just need to sit down.”
He frowned. “Oh I’m sorry. You would be more comfortable on the couch. These chairs are hard.”
Her heartbeat quickened at the thought of cozying up to Davis on the couch. If she remembered correctly, the poolhouse loveseat was just big enough for two. It sounded incredibly inviting.
Author Notes: Oh the awkwardness of those first conversations! Kass is all over the place between giddy, flirty, confident, self-conscious, nervous, and downright silly. Thanks for reading.