Chapter 17—Very First
It was starting to approach Thanksgiving time. It was that Monday before actually. By this time, Leah's wounds seem to be healing quite nicely. I am still reminded by the conversation that I heard with Leah and my Dad right after her unfortunate incident. My dad tried to dismiss her concerns and just said that my mother's work just have been super busy and that they really needed her assistance on things. I didn't know it at the time, but Leah didn't believe a word that he was saying and vowed to find out what was going on.
Shortly after Leah's attack, her parents did arrive here and demanded that she return home with them. They bought a house near here because she said the only way she would leave with them is if they stayed around here, her home. They somehow agreed under these terms. They had one of the best security systems installed which I knew put Leah at ease. Even though she was safe at my apartment, I knew she didn't feel safe. It took me a while to understand the difference.
I was surprised since they never really showed this much interest before. I wonder if seeing their shattered daughter had anything to do with it. Her parents hired the best lawyer around. Even though, Bradley had confessed to what he did, they still wanted to make sure he got what they deserved.
On November 7th, Andrew finally was going to take me out on our first official date. Even though we had countless dinners together and we even had shared a bed, I still couldn't believe it was actually happening. I knew before it even happened, I would always remember this date until my last breath. I just had that feeling and that feeling is hardly ever wrong.
Stephanie picked up Leah on her way over to my house. Stephanie said she had to be a part of this moment since she had been there since the very first moment. I noted that this was the first time that Stephanie and I had seriously hung out outside of work. Leah wanted to be there to help pick out my clothes.
I couldn't believe that at the age of 22 I was finally going out on my first real date with the most amazing guy I have ever met. To say that I was nervous was truly an understatement—butterflies everywhere. Stephanie brought over this dress and said that this dress would be perfect for me. I said that it was going to be too cold but she said that wearing tights would make my legs feel warm. I tried to protest, but she said that since I am doing things I have never done before, I might as well wear things I have never done before. She also added that if I tried it on and I didn't like it, she would help me find something else to wear. I told her it was a deal.
I didn't expect it, but I felt pretty and confident in wearing this light blue dress. It came down to just above my knees and that the sleeves came down to my elbows. Something about it just flowed. The way it hung just made it seem like it was made for me and for this day. The neckline was in a shape as a "v" but it didn't show too much cleavage which is what I liked. Stephanie helped me with my hair and my makeup especially since I don't get all dolled up too often. Leah couldn't help me much because she was still recovering, but it was really the first time since her attack that I saw her smile a true smile. She wasn't pretending. If I would have blinked, I would have missed how Leah got teary eyed.
Andrew said he was going to be here at 11am since we both had to work tonight. The girls shortly before he was supposed to arrive. I have spent an endless amount of time with him since I met, but yet I am unable to function as I pace back and forth waiting for a knock at the door. As if it could hear my thoughts, I heard a small knock on the door. I jumped a little because I was just so lost in my own thoughts. I was scared that maybe this would be the time that Andrew finally discovered that I wasn't all what he thought I was and that he would just leave alone on the side of the street. I promised myself that I wasn't going to allow my self-doubt get in the way tonight that I was going to try to push passed this and make this something that I was going to remember for the rest of my life. I didn't know that Andrew had the same mind set. I had to remind myself that I deserved to have a little fun and happiness of my own. It's about time that I finally took it for myself. I promised that I would not allow myself feel guilty about it.
I struggled opening the door because I was shaking kind of bad but my nerves seemed to be at ease when my eyes landed on the tall, brown eyed guy standing in front of me. He had his hair in that perfect mess again that I like to stare at to see if I can find some sort of pattern. I have not found one yet. His eyes were beaming at me. I noticed that he was wearing a pair of dress pants and a blue dress shirt with a nice jacket. I couldn't help but smile when I realized how well we complimented each other.
This was going to be a great day, I thought to myself.
I was too distracted by his beauty to notice that he was holding out flowers for me. I smiled at the flashback of him once telling me that I deserved flowers and anything else that was in his power to give me.
"For you," he said, sheepishly. I couldn't help but find his awkwardness adorable.
"No one has ever bought me flowers. That is so nice of you. Thank you." I say, reaching out and taking the flowers from him. I tried not to let him notice that I saw him tense at my comment. I don't think he expected me to let that personal comment out. The kind of personal comment I would ordinarily keep to myself, but this isn't any other day. This is the day that Andrew "Grumpy-Ace" Monroe takes me out on a date and I finally had to let down this wall that I was holding up. The wall that I realizing was getting easier to come down.
I told him that I wanted to put them in water before we left and told him he could come inside. He followed me as I did this. I could tell he was watching me. I could feel him thinking from here, but I couldn't exactly say what it was. Sometimes I noticed already that I could almost figure out what he was thinking, but this time I had no clue.
"The fact that no one has ever bought you flowers has shown me that you never met anyone truly worth your time." He said slowly, breaking the silence. I just finished putting the water in a vase when he said those words. The words seemed to stun me a little bit. He sees my worth and I am not sure anyone has ever truly has before. The feeling was unknown to me. I knew he wasn't just making stuff up. I knew he meant those words with every ounce of him.
I turned back around to face him as I put the flowers in the vase. "No, I haven't." I meant that too. I knew every break that I had experienced was to ensure that I appreciated this moment as much as I should. I feel like sometimes people throw away or waste the most precious moments. Sometimes they never truly appreciate the moment until it's gone and then they're stuck in the past while they should be focusing on today. This wasn't going to be one of those moments for me. I was going to make sure I cherished every moment of today.
I closed in the space between us and I placed my hands on his chest and then wasted no time by pressing my lips against his. It was such an easy task that I don't know why I ever wasted a moment not doing this. But then I start to think maybe it wouldn't mean so much if it was with anyone else. Some moments are not weighted by what you are doing, but by the people you are with. I never believed it so much before today.
His hands were on my hips and they pulled me into him. The kiss deepened and then he slid his hands onto my lower back and I slid my hands up to his luscious hair. It was soft and warm, but it also held desire, want, and need. This time, I was the one who broke away from the kiss. Breathless I say, "Didn't you make lunch reservations for us?"
I could tell he was not happy that I stopped the kiss, but the smile was beginning to appear.
He never told me what he had planned for us on this lovely day. All he would say was that he made reservations and that he was planning the rest. He just wanted this day to be very special. I just hoped he wouldn't be all "romantic" and have lunch reserved at Russo's. I mean that is not the fun I would picture for us. I mean I can just imagine Angelo just standing from afar staring at us, hating every second of it. I can only imagine the things he would thinking of to try and ruin this day for us. I still don't understand why anyone would ever be so mean and try to keep two people apart who so desperately wanted to be together. At least I wanted to be with him. I know he had said he wanted to be with me, but something was off with him and I just couldn't place what exactly it was. I decided it was my fear of being hurt and thought it was best if I try to put this fear inside of a box and forget about it. Nothing good was going to come from this irrational thinking of mine.
He leaned in for one more kiss before he grabbed my hand and led me to his car. He opened the car door for me and helped me get in before closing the door. He walked over to his side and got in himself.
"I must say you look beautiful, Turtles." He said, not looking at me. Smiling, I looked at him and he just roared his beautiful car to life and sped the car down the road. I couldn't respond to his comment. Even just responding with "thank you" didn't seem adequate enough for me. All I could do was there and smile at him. I also had to make sure a few times that I was sitting properly and nothing was hanging out. I am not used to wearing a dress, but this seemed worth it.
I thought for a moment that I never really told him anything about me. Yeah, he knows my family and has met my all of my friends. I mean I really only have two friends that I socialize the most with, but he still doesn't know my secrets. For some reason telling him about the last guy I had feelings for would kind of letting him know that I am all in. I am not sure if he would know that by me saying this, I was all in, but just know that I knew this fact made all the difference.
"You asked me a question the other day." I began. "Well, you said that I never told you about the last guy that I had feelings for, so I am going to tell you now."
"Sara, you don't have to." He interrupted.
"No, but I want to tell you. I want to start telling you the things that I keep inside. The things that I thought if I hid from you would keep you from running away. I was freshman in college when I first met him. We had English together and we stuck writing a debate together. The teacher said she was pretty good at matching people up so that the debates would be interesting and held meaning. I didn't know how right she was. Our teacher gave us this assignment at the beginning of the semester and it was going to be the final exam. She said she was going to help us on during the semester on how to perfect the debate and if we all paid attention and took notes, everyone would pass the debate. She says that it would become obvious which ones wanted to learn and which ones different. She had us turn in so much of our debates at certain times during the semester like what was the topic, which side you were on, and which important points you thought were the most beneficial to your part of the debate."
"This teacher was so detailed in this that I am not going to explain it all." I continued. "Long story short, the project required us to get together at least once a week outside of class. It was like we clicked after the second time we had lunch and from that point on we were hanging out at the student union and outside. One time, we even hung out in Leah's dorm. We talked a lot and before I knew it, I was falling hard for him. I felt like I could tell him anything and I did. The semester was growing to a close and he asked me to go a movie with him, I was so excited. I never really went out on a date before so I was so excited. When I arrived at the movie theatre, I saw Ryan, the guy that I liked, there and waved me over, He had bought me a ticket and before I knew it, he gave me a hug and thanked me for coming and then left me."
I paused for a second. I forgot how bad I wanted to forget this moment. "Another guy appeared next to me and explained to me that he was joining a frat and that his initiation was to get some girl that he would never date to fall for him. I don't remember much about what else he said, but I think he said something how easy I made it for him and that now I could go see a movie."
The silence filled the car. I didn't have anything really planned and I had no idea how long I was actually talking, but I knew he sat there and listened to me. I always forget how horrible that moment was for me. I remember that I did actually go see some movie. I was thankful that it was dark so nobody could see me cry. The debate was probably one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I didn't sleep for like a week before it and Ryan thought it was funny how hard I went out of my way to avoid him. I don't even remember what I said during the debate. I just remember Leah being there to give me a pep talk about not allowing this guy to destroy me. It worked, I was the winner of the debate and I never talked to Ryan again. It wasn't really my choice though. I thought that maybe once I disappeared from his life he would realize what he was missing and that he would come back, but he never did. I waited six months for him to come around. I don't even remember what happened to make me realize it was time for me to let him go.
I guess I was silent for a long time since we now arrived where he was taking me. I hadn't realized it, but Andrew placed his hand on my thigh and was rubbing it in small circles. He put the car in park before settling his eyes on me. He observed me and I wish I had prepared myself for this conversation so that the sting was here in my chest. The sting wasn't because I wasn't over what Ryan did to me. It happened like three years ago and believe me, I was over it. It's just been such a long time that I allowed myself to feel naked standing in front of them. It was scary allowing this information be known to someone who could hurt me with it. I was hoping that Andrew wasn't going be that guy. I knew he wasn't going to be and that is why it was so easy letting all of this information out.
When he spoke, he used a different kind of a tone. I have never heard him use it before, but I knew he meant his words gently. "I can't believe you thought I would run away from you upon hearing this. If anything, the only reason I would be running away from you would be to beat a hole in this guy's head which I may do at a later point in time. You'll have to show me a picture of him to reference to."
His comment made me smile and even laugh a little. He leaned in and kissed me on the cheek.
I looked up at him and saw he was wearing a pensive look on his face. "What are you thinking about?" I asked, puzzled.
He paused as if he was trying to see if it was worth saying. "You said that was the last guy that you had feelings for and that a date that thought was real, wasn't. So does this make your very first date?"
I had no control what happened next. I immediately put my head down in shame. This is usually the part where guys mock me and/or tell me that I am making it up. This is usually the part that I lose the guy. But little did I know that a tide was turning and for once it wasn't going to wash me away, but it was going to free me.
Andrew put his fingers along my jaw line so that I would look at him.
"I have never had such an honor that I appreciated more. I am honored to show you how a true gentleman should treat you. I am just hoping everything I have planned is good enough."
He stroked my jawline one more time before he moved to get out of the car. I grabbed his hand to stop him. He looked at me while I said, "It already has." He leaned in and kissed me once.
I couldn't have imagined a perfect date. Somehow Andrew found a heated gazebo that was close to town and he hired a chef that made Chicken Alfredo. I think he used Russo's recipe. It tasted that good. We never stopped talking for a beat. We moved on to lighter topics like what our favorite colors are and some of the stupidest things we have ever done. I never smiled so much in my life. The muscles in my face were beginning to hurt. I still remember it to this day. After we ate, we just strolled around, holding hands. Talking about everything and nothing at the same time. The sun was shining and I felt like a light was shining on this moment because nothing was going to be this perfect for a long time. It was approaching faster than I ever could have imagined. It wasn't going to happen today, but sometime in the near future. Things were going to be turned upside down and everything that I knew and thought to be true was going to be destroyed. The sad part is in these moments, I never saw it coming. I just thought that whatever was coming next, I would never be the same. At least I was half right.
Back before things fell apart, I was having the time of my life. I fell into a nice routine with Andrew. I was just a ball of fire, happy to be with the people I had surrounding me. Leah was around a lot and the weather began to grow colder as we headed towards the end of November. I was watching a movie with Leah when I received a text from Grumpy. It was asking me if it would be okay if we could have both of our families over for Thanksgiving…
There was no way that was ever going to work.
A/n: Please let me know what you think, I am dying to know. I have to keep reminding myself that this story takes place in 2009. I can't believe after all of this time this story still inspires me to keep writing. I keep forgetting how much I put myself in Sara Belle. I truly think that's why I keep coming back for more.
Thoughts, good and bad, are very much appreciated.