After breakfast, everyone was revving with energy, so Julian suggested they all go workout together. Surprisingly enough, it was Juliette’s first time working out, and she outlasted all of them.
The workout worked, and everyone was sufficiently calm afterward. Jonathan couldn’t wait to see Skyla again and asked her to hang out later that afternoon. He decided to meet her on her side of town and was brimming with excitement all over again. He went to the town center area and sat down near the fountain to wait for her. He didn’t want to appear to be overly anxious by being super early, but at the same time, he didn’t want to be late and risk her panicking and thinking she was stood up. Finally, what felt like an hour later, she showed up.
“Hi,” he said. “You made it!”
“Of course I made it.”
He stood up, and he wanted to hug her, but he wasn’t sure if it was appropriate for them because they had just met. He didn’t even know how she felt about personal space. However, he decided against it. Even though it would only be a friendly hug, he knew he would enjoy having her in his arms very much. He’d probably linger and make her feel uncomfortable. She actually felt the same way. So, they stood there smiling at each other, both of them wishing the other would greet them with a hug.
This time, Skyla broke the gaze first. She looked around and said, “Gosh…it’s so pretty here. I don’t get out this way much.”
“The desert does have charm, huh? Hey! Do you like cloud gazing?”
“I’ve never done it!”
“You’ve got to try it,” Jonathan said excitedly. “I find it to be relaxing. It just kinda clears your mind.”
“Ok! Right here?”
They got down and stretched themselves across the soft chipped wood and cast their eyes to the heavens.
At first, they did what they intended to do and laughed about funny looking clouds and pointed out beautiful ones. But, there was something diverting their attention from the clouds. It was the joy of togetherness. They only knew each other for about 24 hours, but they were fast friends. Simply being near the other was enough. After a short while, they stopped gazing at the clouds and started listening to the thoughts that raced through their minds. What is she thinking right now? Does he really like me, or is he just a nice guy? Is it too early to tell her that I like her? What if he can’t accept me? I need to talk to my dad about this. What if I’m not what he thinks? I really like this girl!
Although Jonathan could have lain with her forever, he sat up. He looked over at her and smiled. She looked content, and he was glad. “Let me help you up.” He stood up and took her by the hands and pulled her up. He’s pretty strong for a skinny guy, she thought.
“Is that a bug on your shirt,” he asked just to get a rise out of her.
She shrieked and began to fan her hands at shirt trying to be rid of this invisible bug. Jonathan was howling. He could barely contain himself. “I was kidding,” he said in between breaths.
“JONATHAN! That’s not funny!” She shoved him.
“I don’t like insects!” She was still shoving him, and he was still laughing.
“I think there’s one in your hair now,”
“Stop! Ugh! You’re such a goofball,” she shouted, but was kinda laughing too.
“See…you’re a good sport,” he said as his laughter settled down.
“That wasn’t funny.”
“Sure it was.” He looked at her sweet pouty face, and his heart melted. “Ok, ok, I’m sorry. I won’t trick you with fake bugs anymore… I’ll try snakes next time!”
He began laughing all over again. “Your face! You should see it!” It’s even cuter when you’re freaked out.
She pretended to not appreciate his joke, but she too played her part well. I love a guy who’s not too serious to laugh. He’s a bit much though…but I still like him.
“Ok…I’m serious now. Ahem…I’m sorry, Skyla. May I buy you a juice?”
“I appreciate the offer, but no,” she said.
“Come on…it’s a peace-offering!”
“It’s not that…I just don’t drink.”
“Oh.” He was a wee bit surprised. He thought everyone drank juice. At least, everyone he knew did.
She noticed the strange look on his face and felt self-conscious. “I mean…it’s not like…[sigh]…I don’t drink because of my dad.”
“It’s ok, Skyla. A lot of parents don’t let their kids drink. I understand.”
“No, it’s not that either! My dad doesn’t drink anymore…so, I don’t in support of him.”
Skyla had just risen six points on his scale. “That’s honorable.”
“Well…scratch the drink. How about a dance?”
“That I can do!”
So, they walked over to the Rattlesnake Juice Bar and busted a few moves at the jukebox.
She has really great moves! I wonder what else she’s good at… She looks so happy right now. I wonder what’s happened in her life. How will I know when it’s ok to ask?
He doesn’t really dance well, but he looks so confident…like it doesn’t even matter to him. I wish I could be more like that! But, no, everything has to be perfect for me.
“I’m getting kinda hungry. Are you,” Jonathan asked.
She was relieved. “Yeah.” She didn’t know how to let him know without revealing that she didn’t have any money.
“Let’s go back outside and I’ll whip us up something.”
She followed him outside and watched him as he fired up a grill and put some fruit on it. She never would have thought to grill fruit. The only thing they ever grilled in her neck of the woods was hamburgers and hot dogs. It only took a few minutes, and before she knew it, he was handing her a plate and they ate together. There was a woman nearby who was eyeing the platter of fruit, and Jonathan saw her. He motioned for her to come over and partake. Skyla thought that was very generous. He rose 12 points on her scale.
The woman gobbled her food down and thanked Jonathan, and then she left. Skyla was glad.
“This is so good,” she said. “Where did you learn to cook like this?”
“It’s just grilled fruit.”
“We don’t grill fruit where I come from,” she said rather carelessly and immediately regretted it.
“Oh? And what sad world do you come from where there is no grilled fruit?”
She knew he had no idea what he had really just said to her, but some kind of way it still hurt. She definitely couldn’t tell him now. Instead, she changed the subject. “You’re a pretty impressive guy, you know?”
“You have no idea,” he said and winked at her. “What do you say? One more dance before we call it a night?”
“Sounds like fun.”
They walked back to the bar and busted a few more moves before he decided that she should have been getting home. He felt the urge to hug her again, and he didn’t suppress the feeling. “I enjoy spending time with you, Sky. Can I call you that?”
“I was hoping you would.”
“You can’t live too far from here. Let me walk you home.”
There was that panic again.
“Ummmm…,” she hesitated. “I’m…not ready.”
“I know, right? We’re having such a good time!”
“No. I mean, I’m not ready for you to walk me home yet.”
“Oh. Yeah…I guess I am kinda dangerous looking, huh?”
She smiled slightly but felt bad for not explaining. If she explained her situation to him, perhaps he wouldn’t be interested in her anymore. That was a risk she wasn’t willing to take yet, and she kept silent.