Dedication: To anyone who has freaked out about a first date. Gotta love that adrenaline.
"I don't know what she sees in me,
But I'm happy that she's happy now that she's with me;
And I'm freaking out because I'm just so lucky...
'Cause she's everything I ask for-
Everything I ask for,
And just a little bit more.
Everything I ask for-
Everything I ask for and so much more."
-The Maine 'Everything I Ask For'
Part the Twenty-Third: Everything I Ask For
A few days passed by before anything happened again. Things were normal, or as normal as they could be when one is kinda-dating her teacher.
On Wednesday, we were doing work together in his office. I could tell he was still not-completely-okay, but maybe I was just looking at him too hard. Maybe I was looking for his pain and his restlessness. Maybe it was nothing at all.
He looked up at me from a paper and smiled. I smiled back at him and cocked my head to the side, waiting for him to speak.
"We said a while ago… that we would go somewhere?" he began and I blinked, vaguely remembering us agreeing to go out together but then Megan's mother died… "And I know that we were supposed to go before… well, what are you doing this weekend?"
My heart was pounding and I couldn't help but smile. He still wanted to go on a date. With me. On a date with me. He wanted to go on a date with me!
But now he was staring at me and I hadn't responded so I hurriedly breathed, "Yes."
He smiled back at me from his desk. "Where would you like to go?"
My mind was racing, and I smiled back at him openly. "How far are you willing to go?" I asked.
"Well, we need to make sure that we aren't recognized by anyone that might go to school here, or anyone even linked to the school in any way. I was thinking about it, and there is a place about an hour and a half away from here… It's just outside of Reading, if you don't mind the drive there."
He had thought about this. Of course he had thought about it. He already had a place picked out and everything. I could barely hide my delight. "I don't mind at all," I smiled, "What place were you thinking?"
He looked up at me again with a smirk, "What do you think of Vietnamese?"
I could barely wait for the weekend. We decided we were going to go on Saturday, since I had off on Friday and didn't work until 8pm that day. We would go out for lunch and be back by the early evening. I couldn't stop smiling, so, of course, Ash figured out something was going on by the next day.
"Why are you so… smile-y?" she asked, eyes narrowed and finger jabbing in my direction. I tried to hide my smile but I couldn't. I looked at her and laughed before covering my mouth with my hand.
"Did you just giggle?" she asked, staring at me as if I had suddenly grown two heads. "Now I know something is up… and I have a guess for who it concerns." A Cheshire smile grew on her lips. "Tell me!"
"It's a secret!" I told her, curling into myself on my bed.
She nodded solemnly and sat beside me. "I understand, Air…" she looked at me, "It's okay if you can't… Tell me!" Her last two words were punctuated with a shout as she jumped on me and began to tickle me.
I gasped for air between laughs, "I can't! I can't tell you!" She was relentless, "It's a secret!"
I could hardly breathe from all the laughing. My sides ached and all I could do was gasp for air while still smiling, "I relent! I'll tell you! I'll tell you!" I yelled, my voice unusually high. She sat back immediately, smiling patiently and waiting. I sat up and straightened my clothes out before breathing deeply.
"We are going out this weekend." I said as calmly as I could.
"You're going on a DATE?" Ash screamed in shock. I slapped a hand over her mouth with a smile that managed to escape.
"Yes," I breathed, "but shut up about it. You're not supposed to know."
She licked my hand and I yanked it away, disgusted. "I'm so happy for you!" She squealed before smothering me with a hug. We fell back onto my bed together from the force of it and we both laughed with joy. By the time we sat up, though, my expression was serious.
"You have to help me though, Ash," I started. "What am I supposed to wear?"
Her Cheshire grin came out again before she raced out of my room into her own, and I prayed she wasn't going to make me try on anything too ridiculous.
Another day passed and it was Friday. We were going out tomorrow. I couldn't believe it. I was freaking out. Ash and I had picked out two outfit's the night before -one for a more casual date, and the other for a more classier look. I just needed to ask him today what type of date this would be.
If he was nervous about our date, he didn't show it -at least, not in class. He was the image of poised and collected while I couldn't stop shaking. I could barely hide a smile throughout the day, just thinking of what tomorrow would bring.
As usual, I ran up to his office during my free period.
He greeted me with a smile and I could do nothing but smile back. "Are you excited?" I breathed. He chuckled back at me.
"Of course I am. And I know you are -you could barely sit still in class today."
I ducked my head down, but I kept smiling anyway. He took my hand and led me to one of the chairs in his office before shutting the door. He sat back down in his chair.
"Can I ask a question?" I asked him.
"What… what should I wear?" He laughed then, and I had to stop myself from blushing. "It's a valid question!" I pouted.
"That it is," He said, still chuckling while looking at me. "I guess since it is our first time going out together, we can dress up a bit."
"So, classy, then?" I asked.
He smiled back, "Classy would be fine, I think."
"And what time?"
"Well," he leaned back and looked up, thinking, "It takes about an hour and a half to get there… so if we leave by ten thirty, we will be there in time for lunch at noon. Does that sounds good to you?"
"Yes," I breathed. That would give me more than enough time to take a shower, straighten my hair, do my makeup and get dressed -I could even sleep in a little bit.
Of course, I also had to factor in time for Ash. I knew that she would be up with me as soon as I relayed the time to her, and I knew she would distract me a bit. Of course she could also help me too which would then decrease the amount of time spent-
I looked up at James. He was staring at me with a small smirk at the corner of his mouth, "Are you back with me?" he asked.
"Sorry," I breathed a laugh, "I just got caught up in my own thoughts for a second." I waved my hand in front of me, as if waving away my own thoughts.
He walked over and sat in the seat next to me and took my hand in his own. My breath caught in my throat and my heart raced. I looked at him, waiting.
"Don't be so nervous," he told me softly, "No matter what, we will be together and it will be a wonderful day, I'm sure." He kissed my hand and smiled again, "And you will look wonderful."
I couldn't help but smile more and kiss him from sheer joy. God, this man was amazing.
Later that night, I checked my e-mail and saw I had one from him. I was slightly confused, and was torn between being terrified that he was cancelling our date, or simply being curious. I opened it with a mix of anticipation and dread.
I just wanted to tell you one more time how truly happy I am. I feel like I didn't convey that enough in my office earlier.
I had to walk away and squeal into my pillow before returning to the computer to read it again and again and again and again.
Of course, I could barely sleep that night. Every time I woke up I would check the time with my heart racing. The adrenaline was enough to keep me up all night, and I had no trouble getting out of bed early the next day.
By the time I was out of the shower, Ash was awake and ready to help me. She dried and straightened my hair as I did my makeup. The hair took longer than expected, because really, it's quite long -down to my lower back. Ash complained about it for most of the morning, but didn't stop until it was shiny and straight.
"Should we do something with your hair?" she asked, "I mean, I usually only ever see it completely down or completely up when you're working. Maybe we could do a half-and-half thing?"
"Well, we do have time to spare," I said, glancing at the clock. It was only nine forty-five and all I had left to do was get dressed. "Let's try it."
We fussed with my hair a bit more. It fought back hard and never looked quite right when it was half-up. I debated just cutting it all off to save the trouble but Ash called me delusional and stared into the mirror that was in front of us. I had thirty minutes until I had to be at James' house.
"Wait a second," She started, "I got it!"
With that, she started brushing my hair out carefully and separated it into three chunks. She began to braid it.
About ten minutes later, after smoothing everything out and fixing a few more minor details, my hair was finished. It was a low braid that didn't look too formal or informal, and it was perfect. I got dressed and we stared at my reflection in the mirror. I wore a knee-length white dress. It had an empire waist and a v-neck, and I never had an occasion to wear it fore besides Christmas.
"You are stunning," Ash said, holding my hand and still staring at my reflection. "I'm taking pictures for Aqua!" she ran to go get her camera before I could even say anything.
I had to leave in five minutes.
Ash snapped pictures of me even after I told her to stop because she had already taken twenty. She continued as I got into our car, and would probably wait to take more after I got back home. I sighed and tried to stop feeling so nervous. Everything was going to be fine.
I got to our meeting place -a large gas station just off the highway -three minutes early even though I was driving so slowly I was hazardous to other cars.
He was standing outside of his car, leaning against it, as I pulled up. I got out of the car and he stared at me. I looked left and right and then back to him and smiled weakly, clutching my wrist behind my back. He just stared.
"James?" I asked, "Is everything alright?"
He stepped forward then and came toward me. He placed his hand under my chin and tilted my head up, "You are so beautiful," he told me.
I could've died happily.
We kissed briefly and then got into his car together. Neither of us could contain our excitement and we chatted happily together. I could simply not stop smiling and he couldn't either, it seemed. It was the start to a beautiful day.
Okay, so it's been, what, almost a year? I'm sorry. There are never any acceptable excuses, so I'm not going to try and supply them. However, I do plan on catching up with this story over this summer. I can't promise anything for during the school year, because I will be a college senior (and, yes, that is absolutely terrifying) but I will try to get chapters out this summer. As many as possible.
As you can tell, James and Aira are slowly moving forward. I hope you guys are thrilled, cause I sure am. :)
The next chapter will be the actual date. I thought I was going to get to it for this chapter, but the characters seem to have different plans. Oh well.
I also want to use this authors note to shout out to all of my reviewers, especially the one who reviewed a significant number of the chapters in the past day or so. Seriously, you guys have no idea how much you help me (especially you, Miss TawnyTigers. Thank you. I loved your review after you finally read the chapter with the kiss -best. review. ever.) And to answer a few questions:
-Yes, I mentioned in another authors note that this story did come from a similar experience in my own life. I had a crush on a former teacher of mine, however, nothing came of it. This story, while borne out of those experiences, have no actual relation to that time in my life. These are different people and different situations -nothing in this story is something that actually happened to me besides the initial crush.
-And, yes, I love DCI. Seriously, it's awesome. My favorite corps is probably Phantom Regiment or The Cavaliers, usually. I also love the Bridgemen, which are an alumni corps.
-Also, just for shits and giggles -I am now 20 years old (21 in July!) and I'm a rising senior in college. I'm studying Sociology and Religious Studies and, before anyone asks, no, I will never go into seminary training.
Anyway, again, I'm sorry for the long wait on the chapters. I am hoping that I will have some more out by the end of the summer. Please review, because it makes my day so much better in general and also because I love to hear what you guys think.