Chapter Four- The Day Before…

"Did you cook dees waffles too, Heaver?"

I smirked into my orange juice while she laughed out loud. She'd changed into a cute pink and black outfit; she was wearing a pink tank-top under a black spaghetti strap top, and a hot pink skirt with matching flip flops. Her earrings and other jewelry matched the rest of the outfit cutely.

"No, sweetie," She walked over to the bar and set down a small glass of milk for him. "I got these from the store."

"Oh…" He seemed a little disappointed with that answer.

I stood up and walked over to her to set the dishes in the sink.

"I don't want to leave you tonight…" I muttered in her ear.

"Then don't," She slipped her hands under my arms and cupped my shoulders.

"I have to," I rested my hands on her hips. I grinned when a dirty thought came to my mind and I squeezed her round bottom.

"Daniel," She slapped my arm playfully while stepping back from me and giggling.

"Don't leave me!" I skipped over to her and pulled her close, burying my face in her neck. "I don't wanna let you go!"

"You're planning on leaving me, not the other way around, mister!"

"Hey…" I turned her around so that I could see her pretty face. "I wanna talk to you."

"Then talk," She turned to reach for her drink on the counter. "What's it about?"

I glance at Logan once before stepping closer to her. Why did it feel like she was running away from me?

"I want you to know that even if this morning hadn't happened, I'd still be saying this to you," I tried to reassure her.

"Alright. What are you saying to me?" She sipped her drink before asking.

I licked my lips. Man, I don't think anyone's ever made me this nervous before; or at least not about this.

"I…I wanted to know if you…if you wanted to be my girlfriend," I help one of her hands in both of mine while I spoke.

I was looking down while I asked, too, and vaguely I realized how quietly I was speaking. After I stopped speaking I heard her musical laughter.

"After everything that's happened these last few days do you really think I'd tell you 'no'?" She placed both her hands on my cheeks and kissed me sweetly. "Of course I wouldn't!"

I smiled into her kisses now. I was elated, giddy, and any other word that I could come up with to express my joy. She was finally mine, and I wouldn't be letting her go.

"Daniel," She half-purred my name. God, she was amazing.

"Heather," My voice was husky, and I was already leaning in to kiss her again.

"I love you," She spoke against my lips.

"I love you more," I answered playfully.

"Nope, I do," She giggled.

"Uh-uh!" I replied childishly.

We went back and forth like that until Logan cut in.

"Why are you kissing her, big bruder? Girls are so yucky!" He sounded annoyed.

We both laughed and pulled away slightly.

"Well, I 'm kissing him because I think he's cute," Heather answered for me. Logan shriveled his nose and took a bite of his waffle. "You know, Logan, you're pretty cute too!"

"No!" He put one of her small hands up. "Don't give me any kisses, Heaver!'

"But you're such a cute little boy!" She ducked around the counter and wrapped him up in her arms. "I'm gonna give you BIG kisses!"

"No! Heaver, no!" I laughed when he started trying to fend her off uselessly."

"Finish your breakfast, lil bro," I walked around to Heather and gently picked her off of my brother.

"Do you want more kisses now, Daniel?"

"I didn't want you to stop kissing me, but then you left me all alone!" I pouted at her cutely.

"Oh… I'm sorry," She pressed her lips against mine gently. "Is this better?"

I leaned into her lips.

"I want to take you somewhere today," I decided.

"Where to?" She giggled again.

I didn't know, I just wanted to take her out; to show her off. But after this morning I was tired again. Scratch that, I was exhausted.

"Anywhere," I pressed her against me again, cradling her head against my shoulder. "Where should I take you?"

She laid her hands on my arms and rubbed them gently.

"You've already taken me out, let me take you out this time," I could practically feel her wide grin.

I sighed deeply.

"Alright, just this once. But I'm paying you back this Friday!" I said somewhat triumphantly.

"Is something special going on this Friday?" She adjusted her head on my shoulder so that she could see my face.

"Payday," I answered simply.

"Pft! I don't get paid 'till next Tuesday!" She honestly sounded jealous.

I laughed at her loudly, not sure why I thought that her reaction was so funny.

"What?" She looked up and asked me. I could hear her own voice trembling with held-back laughter.

I couldn't even answer, I just stood and held her and laughed.

"Daniel, what's so funny?" She asked again.

I just kissed her and kissed her and kissed her until I couldn't laugh anymore.

"Okay then," She eyed me strangely before reaching out for Logan's empty plate.

I watched her walk into the kitchen; her skirt swayed with her hips with each step she took.

"You're siwy big bruder," Logan said to me.

"I'm silly? Uh-uh!" I retorted.

"Uh-huh! You waughed at Heaver for no reason!" I had to stop myself from laughing again.

"I guess that's why you're still laughing then, huh?" I teased.

"I'm not even waughing!" He argued back at me.

"Yes you are!" I tackled him and started tickling his ribs mercilessly.

"No! Stop! Big bruder stop!" He giggled loudly and tried to fend me off.

Heather popped her head over the counter to watch the show.

"Dan! He's turning purple!" She chuckled.

"Alright, alright," I stopped tickling him only to have him jump on me and return the favor.

I'd never admit it out loud, but Logan was really hard to fight off. He wasn't as clumsy as most other little kids were; he was fast and, unfortunately, he knew my ticklish spots as well as I knew his.

"Alright, fine," Heather laughed while walking away. "Let me know when you two are done killing each other so we can leave."

"One, Two, Fwee!!!" Logan yelled loudly while sitting on my chest. "I win!"

He jumped off of me and started celebrating. I chuckled at him, realizing for probably the first time just how deep my voice had gotten.

"Go find your shoes," I told him. Heather stepped over to her and kissed me sweetly once.

"I need to go grab some things in my room. I'll be right back down," She danced up the staircase and I was left to help Logan search for his missing footwear.

"Big bruder! I found my shoos!" Logan announced proudly. He was wearing his shoes on his hands while he strutted towards me. I helped him up to the countertop and helped him slip them on and tie them; he couldn't quite do it on his own just yet, but it was something we were working on.

We only had to wait a minute or two before Heather came back down the stairs with her purse. She was just hanging up her phone and was shoving it in her purse.

"Ready?" She asked.

"Ready," I handed Logan one of his cars and led him out the door by the hand.

She walked over to her enormous garage and punched in the security code.

"Hang on," I told her as the door was sliding open. "I need to get Logan's seat."

It was kind of sad in a way that Logan's seat was always in my car, but Leroy wouldn't take him without the seat; Logan refused to get in the car without it, and I'd rather that he be left home alone than in a car with a drunk behind the wheel.

"There you go, lil' bro!" I ruffled his hair after I had him and his booster seat buckled in.

Heather backed out carefully despite the width of her driveway. In a way I liked this set up better, with her driving and me sitting back and enjoying her beauty. Barely, I reached out to stroke her arm; I was already so used to being able to touch her.

"Please don't," She requested suddenly. "Not while I'm driving, 'kay?"

I hesitated before I set my hand back on my leg. That was extremely disheartening.

Before long I found myself dozing off while she drove; she wasn't the fastest driver but she was extremely careful. I looked back at Logan to see that he was doing the same.

"Can we listen to some music?" I asked her while holding back a yawn.

"Um…my iPod is in my purse if you want to listen to it," She answered.

"'Kay, thanks," I reached for her purse. My lips twitched into a smirk when I realized how hard she much have had to work to get a black and pink purse just to match one outfit.

As I groped through her purse I realized two things: girls carry waaaay too much stuff around with them, and that men's hands were simply too big for the damned things. I guess she carried around the usual girl stuff though; her phone, her iPod (although I still couldn't find it!), makeup, tampons (eww), birth control pills, those big wallet-things…stuff like that. Wait… birth control pills? I checked again and sure enough there they were in a flat, round pill holder labeled 'contraceptive.'

"Do you need help finding it?" she asked, tearing me out of my shock.

"Um...I, wh... no," I said finally, pulling the small red iPod out of her purse. "I-I've got it."

Numb, I slipped the black ear buds into my ears and searched for a song I liked. It was hard and easy at the same time; hard because she had so much music in her library, but easy because I liked most of the same bands as her. Even sitting and listening to my favorite band I couldn't stop thinking. She was on birth control.

Then a thought popped into my head. Maybe she was on them before we met; just in case? Not all girls took birth control because of sex either; most just didn't like having cramps. I could feel myself relax as I convinced myself that she wasn't lying, she was just having girl problems. No biggie, right? I sure hoped so…

"Where are we going?" Logan asked bordly.

"My friends are at the mall, we're going to meet up with them there," Heather explained. "Don't worry, we're almost there."

"Is it the Southtown Mall?" I asked.

"Yeah, why? You're not banned are you?" She teased.

"Ha ha… I've got some friends that work there," I pulled the other ear bud out of my ear and turned her iPod off. "At Zumiez and Hot Topic. Maybe we'll see them."

"Maybe we will." Everything she said now sounded fake, and I felt low and dirty for thinking of her like that.

The last few minutes of the drive were silent. She parked by the front entrance to the mall where there were rows of trees planted between the aisles; she was lucky enough to find a space under one of the trees so we wouldn't be roasting when we came back out to her car.

The mall itself was, well, huge. There were strip malls and car dealerships all around it, which made it look bigger than it was.

I rented one of those mall strollers for Logan since he was half-sleeping anyway. It was early so there weren't lots of people there yet, but I expected we'd be there a while and I'd get plenty of time to show off my new price. She checked her phone while I was loading Logan in the cart and then reported to me where we were to meet her friends at.

"Can I touch you now?" I asked her, reaching out to stroke her arm again.

"We're in public, Danny!" She smirked.

"Too bad," I squeezed her ass again.

"Dan! Keep it clean!"

I sighed heavily.

"Alright, I can try I guess," I dropped my head down and stuck my lip out to pout at her.

"You know…" She stroked my lips thoughtfully, "you'd look really cute with a lip ring."

I reached my hand up to poke the side of her nose gently.

"And you," I leaned down to kiss just under her earlobe. "You would look adorable with a nose ring."

"Come on, you," She tugged on the sleeve of my Disturbed T-shirt. "Let's go find my peeps!"

With her cute smile and sexy smirk, and the way she looked in the skirt all working against me at once I couldn't bear to be upset at her. At all. There wasn't a single cell in my brain that doubted her, and I was glad for it; it was easier that way. For now.

"Got'cha!" I felt someone tickling me from behind and I started violently.

As I turned I heard a familiar laugh and I saw my best friend, Patrick, rolling on the floor laughing. Literally.

"Man, you are so easy!" He clutched his stomach as he stood. He was about half a foot shorter than me, but he had broader shoulders and a slimmer waist so he looked wider then he really was.

I rolled my eyes at him. He knew I was going to get him back; my got'chas were always better than his. Sneaking up on me at the mall? Really?

"When you're done laughing like the maniac you are let me know," I said as he pretended to wipe away a tear, "so I can introduce you to my girlfriend."

"You've finally got one?! Man! I never thought you'd move on after April!" I glared at him and he started giggling again.

"Heather," I pulled her over closer to the two of us, "This is my friend, Patrick. Pat, this is Heather," I introduced them casually.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, madam!" He kissed her hand.

"Pat, man, get over yoself!" I shoved him playfully.

Heather laughed at us both.

"It's nice to meet you too, Patrick," She shook him hand slightly awkwardly.

"So," Pat started walking with us, "Where y'all headed to?" He was originally from Mississippi, but his family moved up here about eight or nine years ago; he still had just a little bit of his accent.

"Heather's got some friends we're meetin' up with," I answered, "and I was thinkin' about going to see if Alex and Dev were at work. I can see you're not."

"Shut up man! You know we can't fucking leave the store when we're workin!"

"Yeah, yeah," I couldn't count the number of rants he'd gone on about being trapped in his store.

"I know how you feel," Heather spoke up, "I work at the restaurant down by the bookstore, and its so annoying that we have to just sit there and wait for customers whenever we're having a really slow day."

"Finally!" Here we go… "No one else ever agrees with me!" That was it?

"No, trust me; I know how you feel," She reassured him.

That was all? Pat had to be sick, he was never that calm about his oh-so-boring job at the mall. Then I looked over at him and saw how he was eyeing Heather, who was on her phone again, and suddenly I was extremely jealous of her. I wrapped my arm around her waist, and pushed the stroller with my other hand.

"Heather!"

She looked up and smiled, and when I followed her eyes I saw her friends from breakfast at the top of one of the escalators. Fun fun!

"I can't get the stroller up there," I told her before she could run up to them.

"Oh…" She chewed her lip for a minute while she thought. "The elevator is right over there," She pointed at a clear-doored elevator squished between two stores. I'll meet you up there, 'kay?" She was running up the escalator before I could respond.

"Let's go, man!" Patrick slapped my arm, "we don't wanna let those hotties get away!"

I rolled my eyes at him and then followed him over to the elevator. When I looked up Heather and her friends were still waiting for us, and I tried to keep my eyes on her the whole time.

"Damn!" Patrick interrupted my concentration. "You are a lucky dick, you know that man?"

"Shut the fuck up Patrick," I snapped at him.

"Jesus! Calm down, Daniel, it ain't like I'm gonna try to steal her or nothing!"

"I don't give a fuck. Don't talk about her like she's some kinda animal cause she's not!" I didn't know why I was being so defensive; he was my best friend and I trusted him with my life, so why not my girl? Maybe... maybe she was more important to me than that? Maybe because she was my life now and I wanted to protect her with everything I had…

"I know man, I know! Okay? Calm down!" He gave me a strange look and raised his hands defensively.

I knew that my outburst was unnecessary, but I couldn't help it, I couldn't take the chance that I'd loose her, not even for a second. I simply couldn't see her with someone else, even in my own head.

We both acted like nothing had happened; Pat even cracked a joke on the way off the elevator and I lightened up enough to pretend I'd heard it.

"So you finally asked her? What took you so long?!" Angie (I think) said more than loudly enough. I thought she might tackle me.

"Um…yeah," I wasn't sure if I liked her or not just yet.

"I always thought you two would be cute together," I could settle for cute. For now.

A few of Heather's other friends, or at least her guy friends' girlfriends, started walking down the mall, towards the usually crowded Clothes District. They didn't seem to care if the rest of us followed, so I waited back to see if we were sticking together. We were.

"So when'd it happen? I want to know everything," She said; I think to Heather, I'm not sure. It's hard to tell with her.

"Calm down, Ang," Woot! I was right, "It's not that big of a deal!"

"Not that big? When was the last time you dated a good guy? Like never!" Angie exploded excitedly.

"First of all, that isn't true, and second you don't know if Dan is a "good guy" just yet," She raised her hands and did those air-quotation things.

"Hang on now," I wanted to get a few words in on this debate. It was me they were discussing after all. "I can assure you both that I have only the absolute best intentions with my dear sweet Heather here," I smiled while I spoke, looking over at her.

"See?" Angie spoke excitedly. "He's a good guy. I win Heather!!"

"You're just going to take his word for it?" Heather asked; it hurt a little to hear her doubt me like that.

"Do you think that I'm not?" I asked.

"I didn't say that," She seemed to doubt the words as they came out of her mouth.

"I'll prove it to both of you then," I vowed. "You'll see."

"I know you will, Daniel," She pecked me on the cheek before Angie started pestering her for details, details, details.

As I listened to them talk Heather exaggerated a lot of what had actually happened. Romantically, that is. Logan wasn't there; he was sleeping. The tickle fight happened when he refused to get out of bed. It was cute, she'd said. I was an amazing older brother. That much was true at least, I'd thought in a cocky sort of way. I was protecting him everyday of his life after all.

"Zumiez is just around the corner, do you wanna see if your friends are working, Danny?" Heather asked. The other couples had gone to some lingerie store. I would have liked to go too, but I didn't want to beg or embarrass her around her friends. I wasn't sure how open she was about her… desires.

"Sure, if you all want to go," I shrugged at them.

"Let's go then," Angie cut in. "I wanna get a coat there. It's super adorable!"

Heather laughed and we walked with her and a few other people.

"Hey," Pat nudged me with his elbow. "Can I go after her friends?"

"Why do I care?" I answered him.

"Cool, 'cause that quest one over there is givin' me…"

"There's a four-year-old here," I cut him off.

"Sorry. So you're cool with me checkin' her out?" He verified.

"As long as Heather is neither hurt nor scouted, you can do whatever the fuck you want," I muttered to him, low enough that Heather and Angie couldn't hear.

"Thanks, man," He patted my shoulder and licked his lips. I could tell he was deciding which one to pick, the horny bastard.

"No one is at Zumiez today, you guys," Jolene said shrewdly. "It's Sunday, remember? The owner there is a Jesus freak."

"Oh, sorry Dan," Heather looked over at me. "I forgot about that…"

"It's already, baby," I smiled at her. "It's not like I won't see 'em at school, right?"

"So," Jolene half-shoved Angie out of her way so she could walk next to Heather. "How long have you known him?" She nodded her head at me.

"Um… we met at the club on Friday, after our set," She looked nervous.

"And you're dating him already?"

"He's a good guy, Jolene," Angie tried to defend her.

"Shut up, Angie," Jolene snapped. "This is none of your damn business!"

"Jolene," Heather looked halfway between scared and pissed. "Please don't do this? Not today."

"Why shouldn't I?" She turned her attention back to Heather. "So you can go and get yourself hurt again?"

"Dan isn't going to hurt me," She said firmly.

"How much did you tell him?" Jolene started interrogating her.

"That's none of your business," Heather was getting upset now. "He's my boyfriend. I can tell him whatever I want to!"

"You told him everything then? God you're stupid Heather," Jolene rolled her yes and stalked off.

Heather stepped walking and started after her.

"Heather… you know none of that is true," I tried to wrap an arm around her. "You're not stupid, and I'm not going to hurt you…"

"I don't know why I hang out with her," Her eyes were watering now.

"Sweetie," I pulled her close to me, trying to think of something to say.

Angie smiled at me sadly and walked away quietly. At least she understood.

"I can't do anything right can I?"

"That's not true," I kissed her head.

"She's right though. I haven't known you long enough to…to know," She sounded horrible.

"I'm going to prove it to you," I vowed in her ear. "You'll see. And so will they."

I just hoped I could prove it to them before it was too late.

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Hey guys! Sorry it took so long for the update. I've been both busy and lazy this summer :/ But the good news is that I'm back to writing and a lot of what was setting me back on writing has passed with the holidays, so hopefully I'll get at least 4 or 5 more posts up before school starts back up!! I've been writing on all my stories though, including some that I've yet to publish, so please be patient on each of them. I have my eggs in several different baskets at the moment. Thanks for reading!! Please review!!! I want to know what you're thinking!!

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