|Love, Hate, and Ale8
Author: CassandraRose526 PM
She hates him. He can’t stand her. They both love Asbury’s Alcohol, Ale-8-One. Four years of college don’t change those facts. So when she moves, why does he mail her cases of Ale-8 every month? A One-Shot in Four Parts.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor - Chapters: 4 - Words: 26,439 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 35 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 09-05-09 - Published: 09-01-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2716315
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: So . . . I'm sorry this is a day late. But I went to upload it and the uploader isn't working. Wasn't working for me last night. And it still isn't working for me. Is that happening to anybody else?? But then I got smart and decided to copy and paste the story into an old file. So yes . . . I'm a genius. Or something. FINAL CHAPTER!!!
Present Day – Cont.
Jubilee still didn't know why she had said those words to Adam the other day. She guessed she wanted him to have a chance to back out of his impulsive kiss. She just didn't expect him to take that chance. His words hurt and every time she was around him, she felt awkward and unsure—like she did those first few days her freshman year—she wished she had an excuse, any excuse to argue with him.
"Why did you not let your best friend know that you and Adam were dating?" Jubilee remembered Bekkah's demand when she had come home after the meeting about senior chapel. News certainly travelled fast in small towns.
"We're not," she had said woodenly, putting her purse on the counter and slipping her shoes off. "Turns out, the entire class has been rooting for us to date since freshman year. So we decided to humor them. There hasn't been any class sponsors who've gotten together, so why not now?"
Bekkah groaned. "Why bother fake dating when you can really date, Lee? I mean, don't you wonder why so many people think you should be together—"
"Because they live in the clichéd land of enemies who are secretly madly in love. But it's not like that with us!"
"How can you know if you don't try?" Bekkah had asked and the words struck a certain chord in Jubilee. "Be careful, Lee. Lies are dangerous, particularly in matters of the heart."
Sometimes Jubilee missed the Bekkah she had first roomed with her freshman year. That Bekkah was a flirt whose sole purpose of college was finding the man she wanted to marry. Husbands were expensive at the 'Bury—30 thousand dollars a year—but Asbury stuck with its motto, because Bekkah certainly left different. She left with a new perspective and a talent of discernment. The advice she gave now was so different than the advice she gave then. Bekkah no longer told Jubilee to drink away her pain with Ale-8-Ones; instead her advice was far too close for comfort.
Jubilee and Adam continued their playact-dating right up until senior graduation. When on campus they held hands and he would often lean down and kiss her on the cheek when she least expected it. Every time it happened, she couldn't help but to jump, surprised at the tender motion. Her jumping may be the reason Adam had refrained from kissing her full on the mouth since their kiss in the SLC's conference room. Either way, she was thankful he didn't. Not because she didn't want him to, but because she wanted him to do it too much. Jubilee didn't know how she would react if he were to kiss her again.
As it was, she was growing too attached to the idea of her and Adam's fake dating turning into something real. Every time she was around him, Jubilee had to remind herself that his motions weren't real. That he was just performing for the crowd.
Yet sometimes, when they were alone, he would do something that would completely shock her: like pull gently on her curls, before running a hand down her arm, or placing one of his hands on top of hers. But those were things that friends did to each other, right?! Now that they weren't fighting, their relationship must have finally evolved into something akin to friendship. After all, she wouldn't tell somebody she hated or disliked about the reservations she had in L.A. or how she never felt as if she could call that city home.
She was set to leave the next evening, most of her things were already packed, and stowed away in her rental car, so that she could have the entire next day to spend with Bekkah, Michael, and Adam. Many of the seniors were leaving campus that evening; Wilmore was becoming fast deserted. There was always something a little sad about the quietness of Asbury in the summertime.
"You look beautiful, by the way." Adam had come up behind her without warning and placed his hands on her shoulders. His hands burned hot on her skin.
"Thank you," she murmured, looking straight ahead. She was having a hard time concentrating with Adam so close to her. He suddenly spun her around and Jubilee stumbled slightly on her heels; his hands were there to steady her though.
"I just wanted to let you know I didn't say that for the benefit of those around us."
Jubilee felt her face heat. She had the sudden urge to flee but Adam's hands were still on her arms. "You look beautiful, um handsome, too." She knew that she had to look like a beet right now.
He chuckled lowly before releasing her arms. Jubilee was free to leave now, but instead she stood, rooted, to the spot. "Can I take you out tonight?"
"Where to?" She asked, ignoring the sudden pounding of her heart. It was natural for friends to do something together in the evening. Particularly single friends of the opposite sex; and since Jubilee had decided that she and Adam were friends now, it would make sense that she would spend her last night in Wilmore with him.
"It's a surprise." He gave her a familiar smirk that used to infuriate her so much in the past. Actually it still infuriated her.
"I don't know . . ." she placed both hands on her hips and looked him up and down with raised eyebrows. "Will there be heights involved?"
"Maybe . . . Yeah." He suddenly looked sheepish. "But I promise there will be no crossing old, rusty bridges."
"What should I wear?"
His eyes looked her up and down, and she felt her body heating all over again. "You look perfect just as you are."
It was after dark when Adam came to pick her up. She was surprised to see that he had not brought his car. "Our destination is close," he said, before wrapping his arm around her shoulders confidently and walking towards the campus.
Jubilee wondered what on campus could be considered 'heights' and vowed to refuse all offers of climbing the ladder on the old Phy. Plant tower. "Here we are," Adam said. They were at the door of Johnson, the boys' dorm that he had stayed in when he was a student.
"What exactly are we doing?" She asked. He grinned before pulling a student card from his pocket—Jubilee didn't even want to know how he had gotten it—and swiping it, stepping into the practically abandoned dorm. "Where are we going?"
"Fire escape," he finally said. And then it hit her. Their destination wasn't Johnson dorm rooms, but the roof of Johnson. She looked up at the ladder that she was supposed to climb.
"I don't think you thought this through very well," she said, looking down at her dress and three-inch heels.
"Why not?" He gave her a surprisingly droopy face.
"Oh, I don't know," she said, slightly exasperated. "I guess I find it a bit difficult to climb ladders when I'm wearing heels." Jubilee shook her head before bending down and taking off her shoes.
"Let me take those off your hands," Adam said before swiping them out of her hands and putting a heel in each pocket. "You can go first, just in case you slip."
Again, Jubilee shook her head. "That's a no-go, Casanova. I'm not going to let you look up my skirt."
Adam's face turned surprisingly red as he scratched the back of his neck. "I wasn't planning on looking up your skirt, Cheer. I hold you in more regard than that—"
Jubilee couldn't help but to laugh at the ever-smirking Adam stumbling over his words. "Either way, I wouldn't want you to battle with the temptation. You can climb up first and when you get to the top, you can help pull me to safety."
And so they began their ascent to the top of the roof. As she was climbing the rungs, she felt a small residue of her old fear of heights hit her, but she shook those fears away. Heights could actually be quite nice, when she wasn't, you know, climbing them.
Finally, they reached the top and Adam pulled her through the trapdoor. What was awaiting her took her breath away. Jubilee saw candlelight and white table cloth and a vase full of roses. There was also something that smelled quite delicious. Adam had really gone all out for this. She was silently pleased at the effort he had exerted for their friendship.
He helped her sit down on the tablecloth before serving her one of the plates he had hidden under a tray. Ironically enough, he had served the meal on plastic plates. Jubilee laughed at the fond memory—okay, maybe the memory wasn't so fond, but him remembering it—and finally buying the plastic plates, was.
"And no fine meal is complete without Ale-8." He took a green, glass bottle and poured a little in each of the wine glasses he had set out.
"What should we toast to?" She asked.
He looked at her for a few moments, before finally whispering, "To New Beginnings."
"New Beginnings," she repeated back softly before bringing her glass up to meet his. The clink echoed in the wind before she took a careful sip of her Ale-8. Perfection . . .
Adam prayed over their meal and when the prayer was over, she did not want him to let go of her hands. She held on for a second longer before focusing her attention on the grilled chicken in front of her.
"So the roof of Johnson," she finally said after a long while. "What made you think of this place?"
"It was one thing I never did when I was a student here. Being up here equates a no-question expelling, you know."
"It does!?" She gasped. "Why do you always drag me into trouble? What if they take away my diploma?!"
"Calm down, Cheer," he said with a chuckle. "You've had it for three years. I doubt they can take it away now." Her heart rate slowed down, as she shook her head, a bit ruefully. If it wasn't Highbridge, of course it would be the roof of Johnson.
"But as I was saying, I have wanted to have a picnic date on the roof of Johnson since my freshman year."
"Then why didn't you?" Jubilee asked. "It wasn't as if you didn't have your pick of girls in college—" Had she really just said that out loud. Her face began to heat.
"Because I wanted to save this particular date for a woman who was special." Jubilee's fork stopped at his words; she was too afraid to breath. Slowly, she lifted her eyes to meet his. He was giving her an intent stare. Not the kind of stare that one friend would give to another.
When she thought she could not bear his gaze for a moment longer—and the implications behind it—Adam turned his gaze to the stars. "I always feel so small against the night sky," he said. Her food forgotten, Jubilee stared at Adam's profile, wondering what his statement and his eyes had meant.
"The sky always reminds me of how great God is," she confessed. He smiled at her words before softly taking her hand in his. They sat like that for a long while, holding hands and looking up at the sky. Jubilee felt her eyes grow heavy as she leaned against Adam's shoulder.
"Are you asleep?" he asked, his voice sounded rusty from disuse.
"No," she said, blinking blurrily and raising her head, in order to look into his eyes. They grew darker and Jubilee wondered if he was about to kiss her. She could feel her entire body leaning in closer, her eyes fluttering shut. But the kiss did not come.
She opened her eyes. He was still staring at her. His hand came up to frame her face, his fingers buried deep into her curls. Adam licked his lips once before speaking quite deliberately and slowly. "Cheer . . . Jubilee . . . I love you."
Jubilee felt her mouth run dry as her heartbeat tripled. She had hoped to hear or to feel many things this evening. But certainly not that. Was this man she once hated—the feeling happily reciprocated—now confessing his love to her?! How was she supposed to react?
When she finally opened her mouth, she was surprised at the words that tumbled from her mouth. "Please say you're not going to propose to me now!" Both hands clapped over her lips as she stared at him in horror.
"Actually . . ." he said slowly, reaching his hand into his sports jacket. She turned bright red as dread filled her body. Then he laughed. "Only kidding, Cheer. I just realized I had these feelings for you. I want to take this slow." She was silent. He turned sober again, lifting her chin. "I was serious, though, when I said I loved you."
She swallowed deeply before asking, "What do you expect me to say?"
"Nothing," he said. "I don't expect anything. I just want you to know how I feel." She nodded slowly, surprised at the rush of tears that filled her eyes. Jubilee tried to smile, but failed miserably. The truth was, she was terrified of the implication of his words.
Adam tilted her head up gently and wiped the tears away from her eyes. "Dance with me?" He asked.
"It doesn't count if there's not music," she said with a helpless chuckle. He helped her to her feet and she wrapped her arms around Adam's neck. Together, they swayed to the beat of their hearts. This time she didn't run away.
Their evening was cut short by a bright flashlight. "I thought I saw something up here," a male's voice said. "Do you realize that gallivanting on the roof equates an instant suspension, whether college is out or not?"
"What if you graduated three years ago?" Adam asked, smiling at the security guard who had busted them.
"Adam Hurst." He smiled. "Jubilee Duncan. I've heard you two were finally together, after all those years of useless fighting, but to see it with my own eyes. I never . . ." He chuckled and Jubilee couldn't help but to gasp.
Did even the security guard want them to be together? How did she go through all four years of college and not realize all the insane matchmaking that must have gone on for them?
"Sorry, for causing you trouble, sir," Adam said. "I just wanted Cheer's last night here to be special."
"No problem," he said with a wink before continuing seriously. "But you really do need to get down from here. I'll let it slide this time, just find a more legal place to make your next special moment." The security guard's head disappeared and Jubilee helped Adam gather the rest of the food and supplies into a large basket.
The couple walked slowly back to Bekkah's house, hand-in-hand. Their walk ended too soon and Jubilee was tempted to ask Adam if he wanted to take another walk around the block. But it was already after three a.m. and she had a long day ahead of her tomorrow. Her last day in Wilmore. She swallowed back the sudden sadness she felt.
"Goodnight," Adam whispered before burying his hands in her hair and looking down at her deeply as if in deep contemplation.
"Night," she murmured back.
Adam leaned down and pressed his lips against her forehead gently. He stood there like that for several moments before pulling away, running his hands down her face, her arms, and finally her hands. He squeezed them both softly before letting them go and turning to leave.
"Adam!" Jubilee called out. He stopped and turned, looking up at her with questioning hope in his eyes. It was her turn to say something or maybe to close the distance between them and kiss him like she had wanted to do all night. But instead, she just stood there, mute. The tension between them grew as he waited. Finally, Jubilee licked her lips and whispered, "You'll be here tomorrow?"
He nodded slowly, "Of course," he said. "I'd never miss seeing my Cheer off."
Adam hadn't been able to sleep after his night with Cheer. And now he was staring at his watch, wondering if 7 A.M. was too early to go see her. She was probably still asleep. She was definitely still asleep. He had kept her out until after three. But then again, Cheer was always an early riser and she did love her breakfast.
He walked the half-block to Bekkah and Michael's house and rang the doorbell. This was ridiculous, he never rang the doorbell. He stood on the porch, like an idiot, for a few seconds before walking inside. Just then, he saw Bekkah padding towards the door in her pajama bottoms and one of Michael's shirts. "Was that you ringing the doorbell?" she asked.
"Yes," he said, tugging on his ear. "Is, um, Jubilee up yet?"
Bekkah smiled deeply. "I don't know," she said with a small laugh. "You did keep her up half the night."
As if the mere mention of her name could conjure her presence, Cheer came to the head of the staircase. She did not see him at first, which gave Adam a chance to study her. Her wild curls were sticking up all over the place. The shorts that she had slept in showed off her toned legs and the oversized button-up flannel shirt seemed to swallow her up completely.
How had it taken him this long to realize how much he loved her?
Suddenly, Cheer looked up and saw him. Her face turned bright pink. "I'll get ready," she mumbled rapidly, "and meet you down here in a few minutes." She spun around on the spot and rushed back into her room.
Bekkah began to grill him on the happenings of last night. Apparently, Cheer had been quiet the night before. Well, if she wanted to keep quiet, than so could he. "We just had dinner," he said calmly, although on the inside, he felt anything but calm.
"Then why are you here at 7:30 in the morning acting like a moronic little schoolboy with his first love." Adam turned red at the mention of love and Bekkah shrieked. "You two are in love," she hissed lowly. "Is that what happened last night? Did you propose?"
"I did not propose, Bekkah," he said. "You don't rush into marriages like that. You, being a married woman, should understand a commitment like that."
"But this is a love over seven years in the making!" Adam was silent, knowing it was no use trying to argue with Bekkah. She was just as stubborn as Cheer was—after all she pursued his roommate, Michael for four years before he finally gave in—she just to hide her stubbornness behind a pleasant smile. "Wait a minute . . ." Bekkah smiled slowly. "You denied proposing her, but you didn't deny being in love."
Adam shook his head. "I told her how I felt," he confessed. "I told her that I loved her, but she didn't say anything in return."
"Oh Adam . . ." Bekkah said.
"Don't feel sorry for me, Bekkah," he said, grabbing both her forearms before she could start the cooing. "I didn't expect her to say anything back. I know that it must have come as a big shock. I count myself lucky that she didn't run away on the spot."
Just then, Michael walked in. "Got your hands on my wife again?" he said with a small laugh, before coming over and giving Adam their usual mug. "I can only imagine a certain curly-haired woman has got you ringing doorbells at unheard of hours."
"She's upstairs, getting ready," Bekkah said. "Adam, if you would like, we can make ourselves invisible today."
He shook his head. "This is your last day with her too," he said. "I had last night; I am more than willing to share her."
"Isn't he so sweet?" Bekkah patted Adam's cheek, before wrapping her arms around her husband. "You know, if you would just propose to her, we wouldn't have to worry about her leaving—"
"Don't you dare propose to her!" Michael interrupted. "You'll scare her away in a heartbeat."
"I'm not proposing!" he said to Bekkah before turning to his best friend. "You really don't think I'm that idiotic."
"I just know the rush of new love can make you do things a normally sane person wouldn't dare think of doing."
"Like propose on the middle of Highbridge," Bekkah said. "And then proceed to drop the ring because your hand is shaking so badly." The three of them laughed in memory of Michael's botched proposal. Luckily for him, Bekkah still said yes, despite the absence of the diamond ring.
"What's so funny?" Adam heard Cheer ask. He turned to look up at her, his breath completely gone. She stood there in a pale pink sun dress and strappy white sandals. She was so beautiful.
"Michael was just reminding me of how he dropped a two-thousand dollar ring into a river when he proposed," Bekkah said with a smile. "And now we better get ready for the day!" She grabbed Michael's hand and pulled him out of the living room.
So much for sharing Cheer.
"Would you like to go grab some breakfast at Solomon's Porch?" He asked, referring to the sandwich and coffee shop on Main Street.
"Sure," she said, "Let me just grab my purse." She turned to head back up the steps, but Adam rushed forward and grabbed her elbow.
"Don't worry about it," he whispered. "I'll pay."
"It's your last day here in Wilmore." Adam swallowed back the bile that came from the thought. "It's the least I could do." She nodded slowly and Adam placed one hand on her back, opening the door for her as he led her out of the house.
Breakfast was easy. They fell into easy conversation as they ate their food. It was so much easier to be casual with her when others were around, and right now, Solomon's Porch was bustling with morning eaters and coffee drinkers.
Adam took Cheer back to Bekkah and Michael's once they finished eating; about half-way there, she reached out and grabbed his hand. He was shocked, but made sure not to show it, instead, giving her a reassuring squeeze as he laced his fingers through hers.
The rest of the day was a blur for him. The four of them took one last walk around the campus together and exchanged funny stories and watched The Princess Bride in memory of the first movie they had all watched together, outside on the green during Freshman Orientation. During the movie, Cheer had rested her head against his chest as they shared a bowl of popcorn and a bottle of Ale-8-One. When their hands would brush against one another, their eyes would meet and Cheer's cheeks would turn pink.
Despite the audience, Adam desperately wanted to kiss her. This was her last day here and he had no clue why he was holding back.
Except he did know. He had told her that he loved her. She had not said it back. And while he hadn't expected her to say the words and his mind told him it was too soon, his heart still felt the sting of the unintended rejection. Adam did not know how he would react if she were to reject his kiss as well.
Too soon, their time was up, and Cheer had to leave for Lexington to catch her flight. Bekkah and Michael said their good-byes with big hugs and kisses. Adam followed Jubilee outside to her car. She put her laptop case in the front seat before turning and looking up at his face. This was it. His last moment with her before she left for the other side of the country.
"So you're really leaving?" He asked softly, already knowing the answer. Without meaning to, he took a small step closer.
"Yes." Her back was up against her car and she was already biting on her bottom lip. Adam was not ready for this to be their last moment.
"Can I follow you to the airport?"
She shook her head. "I think it'll be easier if I do this alone." Adam nodded with a deep swallow. He understood, of course. Besides, if he went with her, he might get down on his knees in the middle of the terminal and beg her not to go. While that may be romantic on the big screen, he didn't think it would bode over well in the real world. "Write to me?" she asked.
"All the time." Adam rubbed one of her smooth curls, pulling it softly and watching as it went straight momentarily before springing back to its original position. He loved her hair. He loved her. "Won't you miss the Ale-8?" He asked. It wasn't until the words had left his mouth that he realized he wasn't talking about Ale-8. Cheer knew it as well.
She placed a hand on his cheek and whispered, "Every day." Adam longed to take her in his arms and tell her just how much he loved her. But he had promised himself that he would give her time to get used to the words. She had been frightened enough when he said the words last night.
Terrified enough to cry. So he held back and just stared down at her, silently wishing that she would say the words that would make this departure more beautiful, yet all the more impossible. Her eyes were filling with tears again, but Adam was trapped within her gaze. Finally, she reached up and placed a light kiss against his mouth. He returned the gift, carefully, not wanting to take more than she was offering.
Then she was gone, leaving him alone.
Three weeks later
Adam stared down at the stationary in front of him, trying to come up with the words he wanted to say next. He had started dozens of letters over the past few weeks, but all of them sounded contrived and forced. Not at all what he wanted to say to her. He knew he should just start by asking her how her work had been going in L.A. and perhaps even making a small mention as to how Wilmore just wasn't the same when she's not around. Move onto telling her the job he got as an assistant pastor.
He knew how to be casual, right? Apparently not, because all Adam wanted to say was: I love you. I need you. Come home.
He wrote those words on the page, signing it: A Helpless Man. Yet another letter he could never send. He sighed deeply before ripping up the letter and pulling out a new sheet. He just had to find the words. Dear Cheer . . .
Why did you leave me?
That would never do either. Adam was thankful when he heard his doorbell ring. Anything to stop the torture he was putting himself through. He opened the door and saw her there. Surely he was dreaming. "Cheer . . ." he whispered. She did not reply. "I was just writing you a letter," he added lamely, wishing she would open her mouth.
He watched her as she stood there, shuffling from foot-to-foot. "Would you like to come in?" He finally asked. She nodded.
"Hi," she breathed, almost as an afterthought when she stepped into the foyer.
"Hi," he repeated, wishing he could find the words to say. They stood there in awkward silence for a long time. He needed to do something. Anything. "Would you like an Ale-8?" He asked. She shook her head. She said no to Ale-8?! He tried to steady his heartbeat as he looked down at her face. She was biting her lip and her face was turning pink.
Finally, she looked up and met his eyes. "I quit my job in Los Angeles," she said softly. "I'm moving back."
Joy filled Adam in every pore of his soul. He longed to grab her right then and wrap his arms around her, showering grateful kisses all over her face. Instead, he held back, waiting. "Why?" he asked.
She hesitated. Her face grew darker and he saw her studying the painting of Aslan and Lucy before she looked up at him with a small, slightly mischievous smile. "I just love the Ale-8 too much to leave it again."
That was all the confirmation he needed. Adam gathered Cheer in his arms, burying his hands in her hair, pulling her closer to him. "I love you too," he said before dragging her head to meet his and leaning down for a kiss. She responded eagerly, a smile on her lips, as her arms flung around his neck. And as they stood there, embracing, the same thought reverberated through both of their minds:
a/n: A confession . . . . since before I came to Asbury, I have wanted to have a secret picnic on one of the roofs. (Although probably not Kresge--one of the girl's dorms--because their roof is open anyways.) I have no clue how plausible that is or even how nice the roofs are. But that's just one of those secret dream dates.
I hope you enjoyed this story. I know that I lovd writing it. Thank you so much for y'all's support!!!