Right. So it's been about a week since I said I'd post this. I expected to get it out sooner, but I didn't get a chance. Sorry for the wait.
Thanks to all of you guys who reviewed :D You've got no idea how happy it made me!
Alright. Here goes. Last part.
My feet were shaking like crazy on the light-colored wood, making my knees bounce. I folded my hands nervously on top of my lap.
Standing with his hands in the pockets of his cargo shorts, Ryan was behind one other person at the register. That was the entire line at the bagel shop. The place was pretty much deserted, since no one I knew considered 3:23 PM to be the ideal time to go out and eat bagels.
Ryan's back was facing me as he absentmindedly read the black marker board behind the counter. The food and drink selections were scribbled across the board in bright pink and green writing.
He had insisted that I find a table (as if I had to search for one; the place looked like a ghost town) while he ordered for us. Ryan had asked me what I wanted, so I handed him two dollars and asked for a small tea. Ryan laughed and took the two dollars with a sarcastic, "Yeah, okay." I had a feeling he wouldn't be using it.
I looked up as Ryan approached the small table, holding one foam cup in each hand. He put both down on the table, eyeing the surface skeptically. Then he glanced underneath at my feet.
"You're shaking the table like nuts," he laughed. "You cold or something?"
Using all my force, I put my hands on my knees to make them stop bouncing. "Nope. I'm fine. Sorry."
Ryan shrugged it off and fished my two dollars out of his pocket, sliding it across the table before he sat down.
"No… Ryan, C'mon. Take it," I said, sliding the money back towards him.
He pushed it back. "Yeah, right. You're hysterical."
"Dude, seriously. Take it. I don't expect you to pay for me," I replied.
Ryan picked up my hand and gently uncurled my fingers so that my palm was facing up. "C'mon, Brooke. You're worth way more than two dollars," he said, closing my hand around the dollar bills.
My eyes went wide. My gaze went from his face, to our still-connected hands, back up to his face.
Suddenly, my leg involuntarily kicked forward because of my nerves. It collided with Ryan's shin underneath the table.
"Oh my God! I'm so sorry!" I exclaimed.
Ryan dropped my hand. "Jeez, Brooke… If you didn't want me to touch you, you could've just said so."
"No! I really didn't mean to… My leg just… and I-"
"Relax," Ryan cut me off. He grinned at me. "I'm just kidding."
I mentally slapped myself. First you stick an awkward post-it note to his back, then you kick the kid, and then you spaz out over a simple joke. Smooth, Brooke.
Wrapping both hands around the Styrofoam cup, I started down at it to avoid making eye-contact with Ryan. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself and get the anxiety out of my body. I told myself I wasn't going to lose my cool again. Not that I ever really had "a cool" to begin with, but that was beside the point.
Ryan and I sat in silence for a while and sipped our drinks, neither of us knowing what to say. After all, we barely knew each other at all. He still hadn't walked out on me yet, though, even after I had nearly maimed the guy. I took that as a pretty good sign.
"How'd you know my name?" I asked, taking the opportunity to ask what had been on my mind this entire time.
Ryan shrugged. "I dunno… We're in the same grade, right?"
I nodded. We were both juniors, but I had never been in any of his classes or anything before.
"Guess I just heard it before. One of those things I just knew, you know?" He paused for a second as his expression turned pensive. "That didn't make much sense," he decided.
It did, though. It made perfect sense. There were some just some people that you had never been formally introduced to, but you just knew who they were. You couldn't remember how you'd learned their name, but the point is you just had.
I smiled slightly and shook my head. "No; don't worry. It made sense."
We fell into another silence. This one lasted longer than the first, but it was less uncomfortable. Every once in a while, I'd steal a glance at Ryan. It was hard to believe that I was sitting here with him, especially after I'd convinced myself that the guy would be more than creeped out once he knew. But he wasn't. He seemed just fine with it, which surprised me and comforted me all at the same time.
For the past two months, though, I had wanted to get to know him better; to see what his interests were (besides hacky sack, of course). I figured that now was my chance, so I'd better swallow my doubt and just talk to the guy.
"Pepsi or Coke?" I asked suddenly.
Ryan didn't inquire why I had asked such a random question, like anyone else would have. He didn't even give me a strange look. He just furrowed his eyebrows in thought for a second. "Pepsi, I think."
"Me too. Everyone likes Coke better, and I really don't get why."
"Pepsi's sweeter, I think," Ryan said, nodding.
"It is," I agreed. I took a sip of tea as I thought of another one. "Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter?"
"Lord of the Rings. No question," he told me. "You're a Harry Potter fan, I'm guessing?"
I shook my head. "Nope. Lord of the Rings fan. Huge one, actually. It's probably my favorite movie."
Ryan raised his eyebrow in shock. "No way. You're a chick, though."
I laughed. "Yeah, I'm sort of aware. So what about it?"
"So…" He shrugged. "So, I dunno… I just wouldn't expect you to like it. It's kind of a battle-fantasy-fiction kind of movie."
"Hah. Yeah, well, that's why it was so difficult to get any of my girl friends to come see it with me in theaters."
He laughed. "Alright… I've got one. The Beatles or the Stones?" Ryan asked.
The "this-or-that" questions continued from there. We took turns asking everything from "hotdogs or hamburgers" to "Yankees or Mets" to "summer or winter." We agreed on most and disagreed on some, but it kept the conversation flowing comfortably for a long time.
Most importantly, I learned a lot of small things about Ryan that I never would have guessed. Stuff like the fact that he preferred apples over oranges, because as a little kid his mom used to make him drink gallons of orange-juice whenever he came down with a cold. Or that he would rather swim in a pool than the ocean because the feeling of seaweed against his legs creeped him out. I learned that Ryan would pick Family Guy over South Park any day, because, in his opinion, "Stewie" was the greatest character ever created.
Midway through one of our conversations, my phone started to ring in my bag. I fished it out to see that the caller ID read, "Mom."
"Sorry… Two seconds," I told Ryan, flipping the phone open. "Hello?"
"Brooke! Are you alright?" My mother sounded nervous on the other end of the call.
"I'm fine," I told her. "Why?"
"It's getting late, and you never called me to come pick you up. I was starting to get worried."
I glanced up at the large analog clock above the back wall. "4:46." Ryan and I had been talking for over an hour, and I hadn't even noticed that the sun was creeping down lower in the sky through the bagel-shop window.
"Sorry, Mom… I didn't mean to make you worry or anything. I was just getting a drink at the bagel place with my friend. But I'll be home soon, okay?"
"Alright, Sweetie. Want me to come pick you up?" my mother asked.
"Nah. It's fine, I'll just walk."
"Okay," she said. "Be careful," my mom reminded me.
We both said goodbye and hung up. I put my phone back into my bag.
"I gotta go," I told Ryan, reluctantly gathering my stuff.
He nodded and gave me another crooked smile. "Yeah, I figured."
I slung my bag over my shoulder and we picked up the cups that had been empty for a quite a while now. On our way out the door, we tossed them in the trash.
I stood in front of the bagel shop, facing Ryan but looking down at my shoes once again. His house was in one direction and mine was in the other.
"Thanks. That was a lot of fun," I told him sincerely.
Ryan nodded. "It was. You're really easy to talk to, you know that?"
I found myself blushing again. "So are you," I replied. "But seriously… I wish you'd take the two dollars. I feel really bad that you paid for mine."
A smirk started to pull at Ryan's mouth. "I've got an idea," he said. "Really quick before you leave… Let's make a bet."
I laughed and shook my head. "I don't think so. That's what got me into this whole mess in the first place."
Ryan looked offended. "You saying that you considered our hour-and-a-half conversation to be 'a mess'?"
"No!" I exclaimed. "I just meant that-"
"Relax, Brooke. I'm kidding," he told me, placing his hand on my arm and giving it a gentle squeeze. "So you're just gonna say no? Even though you haven't heard the rules yet?"
I playfully rolled my eyes. "Fine. I'll humor you. What're the rules?"
Ryan grinned contentedly and took out a penny from his pocket. "We'll flip a coin. You call heads or tails while it's in the air. If you win, I'll accept the two dollars."
I nodded. "Alright. And what if you win?"
"If I win, then…" Ryan averted his gaze. I'm pretty sure I saw his face turning slightly pink, but then again, it could've just been the cool autumn air against his skin. "then I get to kiss you," he finished.
My eyes went wide as I stared at him. I waited for the, "Relax, Brooke, I'm kidding," which seemed to be one of his favorite phrases today, but it never came. He looked genuinely honest as he snuck quick glances at me with his grayish blue eyes.
"So you agree, or what?"
He held his arm out. Hesitantly, I placed my hand in his. Ryan and I shook on it.
Ryan balanced the coin on the tip of his thumb and flicked it into the air. It spun around at a rapid speed, looking almost like a perfect sphere.
"Heads," I called.
He caught the penny in his hand and smacked it over onto his wrist. Ryan hesitated for a second before he uncovered it. The nervous butterflies were starting to force their way into my stomach again.
Finally, he took his hand away and stared down at the coin balanced on his arm.
"Tails," he whispered, looking up at me. We locked gazes.
For what seemed like a really long time, neither of us moved. We just stared at each other, waiting for the other person to do something.
Timidly, I took an extremely small step towards Ryan.
"I win," he murmured, moving a little closer to me.
I nodded. "I've gotta stop making bets," I replied, inching closer to Ryan.
He shook his head. "No, you've just got to stop losing them." Now we were only inches away. I could feel my heart jump back into my throat.
Ryan wound his arm around my back and I felt him place his hand on my shoulder blade. I put my hands on his shoulders.
Then he leaned in and pressed his lips to mine. It was nothing more than a small, gentle kiss, but it made my heart skip all the same.
He pulled away shortly after, but his arms wrap around my frame and he pulled me into a hug. His chin rested on top of my head. I pressed my forehead into Ryan's warm sweat-jacket, taking in his sweet boyish scent.
"Not really," I mumbled. "Losing isn't all that bad."
He put his hands on my shoulders and took a step back, holding me at arms length. Ryan smiled.
I shook my head free of the daze I was in and looked away. "I'd better get going… My mom's gonna flip if I'm walking home in the dark."
Ryan nodded and took another step backwards. "Alright," he said, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck with his hand. "So… I, uh… I guess I'll see you in school tomorrow, then."
Neither of us was exactly sure what else to say.
"Okay…Yeah," I agreed. "See you tomorrow."
I turned and started heading in the direction of my house. I had barely walked fifteen feet before I heard Ryan call my name.
I turned around to face him. "Yeah?" I called back.
An adorable smirk crept its way onto his face. "Check your back."
Raising an eyebrow, I craned my neck to look over my shoulder. I caught a glimpse of neon-green.
I struggled to reach the piece of paper, but I finally got it. Holding it in my hand, I looked down at it.
In what I guessed was Ryan's boyish handwriting, a phone number along with a note was scribbled across the neon-green post-it note.
"You're cute, too."
So that's the end of yet another not-so-one-shot-one-shot. Thanks so much to everyone who read and reviewed. If you get a chance, I'd love to hear what you thought of this last part.
I've got a few more in progress, but I kind of stopped writing them because I feel they're a bit too repetitive. There's a different plot for all of them, yeah, but they basically all end the same. I'm not sure if I'm going to finish any of them, but I've got a lot of time off for spring break now, so I'll see if I can get anything else posted.