Haven gazed outside the car window spying a beach from a distance. She could smell the ocean air as she soon reached her friend's beach house. Haven along with her friends Tonya, Stacy, Ashley and Veronica were about to enjoy their first spring break on their own. The closer they got to the beach the more cars and commotion unraveled. The music and crowds of young people on the board walk made these ladies very anxious to join in.
The girls quickly unpacked their things and began to prepare for their evening out. It was a little past four o'clock; regardless they were too excited to wait.
"Hey Tonya, I'm going to head down town quickly to get the groceries while you guys get ready. I'm just going to stay with what I'm wearing." Haven stated.
So Tonya tossed her keys to the Jeep and soon she was on her way. Haven was left in charge of the food, shopping, and other expenses. If anyone was to resume these kinds of responsibilities it would surely be her; she was the voice of reason in the group.
On the ride back, Haven was distracted with a couple of surfers she spotted out in the water. So much so that she ran over a big pothole in the middle of the road that caused quite an impact on her as well as the tire. Haven managed to line up on the side of the narrow road and once she got out she quickly noticed the slashed tire.
Taking a look at what she was wearing; beach flip flops and a short, white floral dress. This wasn't the best outfit for her first time changing a tire. But Haven was determined, only to her disappointment the spare tire had a nail in it and was also flat. Now what was she to do? Frustrated, she called her girlfriends one by one but none of them answered. They probably couldn't hear the phone over the loud music they had been playing when she left.
"Wonderful…and I don't even see any businesses nearby!" She scanned.
Not like the actual cars that passed by were of any help; one was a bunch of guys whistling and the other car had an elderly lady that just nodded and continued driving. Haven leaned her head against the car door contemplating her next move. Within 5 minutes or so, a small tow truck lined up in front of her car.
"Thank heavens!" She exclaimed quickly grabbing her purse while waiting for the tower to exit his truck.
To her surprise, he wasn't the mid-forty year old man she was expecting. He was young, rugged and strong. Wearing a faded mechanic's uniform with old grease stains and holes around the knees. He had a serious glare, but then she took a glimpse of his sun kissed hair and skin, not to mention his deep blue eyes; as he got closer.
"How can I help you miss?" He asked sternly.
"I ran over the pothole back there and well it obviously slashed my friend's tire. And her spare is flat too." She explained calmly.
Squatting down he examined the tire. She noticed his arms flex as he pressed on to the tire revealing a bent rim. He then quietly walked over to see the spare. Haven tried peeking behind the car but quickly looked down when she saw him walking back to her. He on the other hand wasn't as timid to take all of her in; assuming that she wasn't from here and that she must be one of the many under aged party girls here on break. He refused the urge to smile at her, not wanting to show any sign of amusement.
"My shop is a couple of miles down the road…I can give you a lift if you'd like?" He suggested in his raspy thick voice.
"Sure." She nodded.
While he winched the Jeep to his truck she waited patiently in the passenger seat trying once again to call her friends.
"So are you here on break?" He asked with a scowl.
"Yes, we arrived today actually."
Haven began to wonder how old he could be. His face had no wrinkles but a dewy shine. His big hands on the wheel were dirty and dry. She noticed the name engraved on to his uniform read Nate. The ride was uncomfortably quiet; he didn't seem like the talking type.
"Thanks again by the way."
"It's no problem Miss." He said not taking his eyes off the road.
Once they pulled up to the garage, he told her he would return shortly. She watched as he went over to who looked like his boss. Their eyes met briefly as he looked towards his truck while talking. Haven was unsure about getting out just yet since there were so many men standing around. 10 minutes later, Nate walked back to the passenger side of his truck and waited for Haven to step out.
"I have good and bad news. We found two of the modeled tires to your friend's car." He began.
"And the bad news?"
"The bad news is we won't get them until tomorrow."
Nate saw her eyes squint as she thought hard.
"Can I give you a lift anywhere? I saw you had grocery bags in the back there."
"You don't have to do that…I can call a cab." She insisted.
"It's part of my service. I can take a short break."
Haven watched as his stare shot a little glimmer while remaining emotionless. Taking out the bags from the back seat of the Jeep, she was pleasantly surprised to find him on the other side grabbing the remaining ones. She followed him as he went in another direction away from the tow truck; opening the trunk to a 1969 Electric Blue Camaro.
"Is this yours?" Haven asked impressed.
"Yes, she is mine." He replied while removing the bags from her arms.
Shortly after, Haven was back at the house walking straight towards the kitchen.
"Where the heck have you been?" Tonya instigated.
"Well…" she began to describe the past hour and half. "But he did say he would make us a good deal on the tires. Why on earth would you have a useless spare tire?"
"Things like that never happen to me; besides daddy handles all those things. Don't worry; we weren't driving anywhere tomorrow anyways."
That night was the initiation of their vacation fiesta; while some girls drank a little too much another left with phone numbers. Haven was only worried about getting all the girls back home safely.
Midmorning the girls gathered their towels, tanning spray and beach bags. Today consisted of some much needed lying out and sobering up for tonight's second round. Stacy agreed to go with Haven to pick up the car after lunch, in a few hours. Meanwhile, Nate had finished mounting the new tires and writing out the ticket. He remembered her and was somewhat intrigued by her calmness. Unlike the many girls he had seen come in and out of this town, she was the one he was interested in seeing again.
It was a very hot day, even hotter down at the garage. It wasn't unusual to find the mechanics working shirtless but not all of them were as nice to look at. The two girls walked timidly into the small office of the shop and later were escorted to the Jeep parked in the side lot. Haven glanced around to see if she could spot the gallant young worker but was unable to find him.
"Oh I thought the ticket was on the driver's seat..." The boss thought aloud and began calling for Nate.
Nate poked his head up from under a car hood. Haven's eyes widened as she noticed that he too was one of the shirtless laboring men, only he was the only one that deserved to be. Stacy also noticed as she touched Haven's arm and held a slight grin. The girls gawked as he slowly walked over; his torso was covered with a mixture of sweat and oil smudges.
"Do you have the lady's ticket son?" asked his boss.
Nate removed his glove and reached for his back pocket pulling out a folded piece of paper. He was well aware that the only way he would get to see her again is if he held on to it, making sure not to miss her. He handed it over and gave an attempt of a cunning smile. The whole time Haven remained in full eye contact forgetting about Stacy, the boss and the ticket still in his hand. Nate knew he was good looking but to see the impression he left on her amused him even more.
"You can just pay inside." He said coolly.
His boss ended up snatching the paper from his hand and instructed the girls to follow him back to the office. Stacy was about to explode if she didn't say something fast.
"How come you didn't mention anything about how hot the mechanic was that helped you yesterday?" She whispered ecstatically.
"I don't know." Haven ignored.
"Oh so you didn't think to mention that a James Dean look- alike was the one who gave you a ride? Here I had pictured your regular average Joe."
"He does kind of look like James Dean huh?" Haven agreed.
"That will be 50 dollars." The man stated. "...seems like you got quite the discount!"
They were shocked; surely it would have been more than a hundred dollars. She happily paid and thanked the man for their great service. As she climbed in to the car she couldn't help steal one last look at the strapping shirtless man. He in turn narrowed his eyes in her direction as he wiped his hands on a towel. There was no smile or wave goodbye, but there was definitely something about the way he stared at her as she drove off.
Haven's skin was hot and not just because of the weather. She knew that although he was young he had to be in his mid-twenties while she was only 17. So of course the older mysterious guy chase was unnerving and thrilling all at once. Nate on the other hand wasn't satisfied just yet; but he had a plan or at least he knew of where he could possibly bump into her again. Tonight was the start of the many night beach festivities out on the main deck; he was sure to find her there.
5 o'clock and plenty more hours of sun light to go; the girls filed out of the house looking youthful and stunning. They marched down the trail leading to the boardwalk where they could easily spot the famous deck. Haven's wavy locks were pinned at one side with a beautiful flower clip that matched her lavender slip dress. The rest of the girls had similar simple looks but in different colors, however Tonya wore bold animal print.
There was a display of many food and drinking booths. Though the alcoholic beverages were only being served to those wearing neon bracelets; unless you could sweet talk the vendor to slip you some in the juice marked cups. Red cups had alcohol and the blue ones had none. Tonya made sure to hook up all her friends with drinks as she normally got her way. The music was loud and danceable whilst the board walk had less and less space to walk through. At the end was the larger deck that was considered the dance floor, there was the DJ and strobe lights tied to the lamp posts. With so much energy oozing from the crowd the girls hardly needed to drink to feel the effects of it all.
Haven took her time wandering around the stands that sold clothing items and jewelry. She just happened to look ahead at the next kiosk and smiled. She scoped out the now clean and combed familiar gentleman. It was Nate wearing a white t shirt that was nicely fitted to his upper body, and dark denim jeans. She casually strolled up to see the items displayed on the table before him; a collection of hand crafted key chains and woven bags.
"You interested in getting a purse?" She asked him in sarcastically.
Producing an actual smile on his shaven face he decided to play along.
"Yes but I'm afraid purple just isn't my color." He grinned yet still remained intriguingly serious.
"Ah, what color are you looking for?"
"I don't know, what's your favorite color?" He asked her.
"Hmm…my favorite color is green."
"Oh like my eyes green?" He pointed out while taking a step nearer.
"Funny I thought they were dark blue…" She took a closer look unsure what color they really were.
"I get the impression that you are quite the serious one." Haven implied.
"I am. Does that scare people off?"
"It's rather intimidating, yes."
"I appreciate people who smile all the time but you never know when they really mean it. When I smile it's because something genuinely pleases me." He clarified.
"Well you smiled when I asked you about the hand bag…so that's a good thing."
"Do you mind if I ask you how old are you?" She continued.
"Not if you tell me your name first, since you seem to already know mine."
He carried a smug look but it wasn't offensive, it only encouraged Haven to carrying on a longer conversation.
"That's an uncommon name. Is there a story behind it?" He questioned.
"Not really, my father just always liked it. So now, tell me how old are you?"
"What number would you put me?" He hesitated while taking further steps waiting for her to follow along.
"Really? Try again. And I know that wasn't a legitimate guess."
"Yes. I'm guessing I'm probably 10 years older than you."
"9 years actually."
"Am I keeping you from your friends?"
"No they're probably down there dancing."
"Wouldn't you rather be doing the same?" He hinted, really wanting her to no.
"Not really. That is unless you're trying to get rid of me?" She scowled and placed her hand on her hip.
"Now why would I want to do that?"
"I don't know…because I'm too young?"
"If you can carry an adult conversation than you're not too young."
Both Nate and Haven continued with their small talk striding further down the boardwalk. Haven liked how relaxed he seemed walking with his hands in his pockets and displaying more frequent less stiff smiles. A sudden gush of wind came out of nowhere blowing Haven's hair and her flower clip out. Nate quickly grabbed it and decided to play the smooth number of placing it back in her hair. The feel of his fingers fondling through her hair and slightly brushing her ear was enough to keep her from exhaling. He looked her straight in the eyes and then stepped back to proceed with their walk.
Haven only hoped she wasn't blushing too much. Just in case she turned her head to watch the now setting sun. With an hour left of dim light they made it to mound of big flat rocks where they sat to watch the yellow sphere disappear into the water. Haven couldn't believe that she was sitting there alone with this handsome stranger and that he assumingly wanted to be there as well. Her eyes would jump from the water to him when he wasn't looking. But little did she know he could observe her through the corner of his eye.
His arm rested upon his bent lifted knee, making him look all the more cooler. Haven just sat innocently with her hands in her lap playing with a little pebble she'd found.
"So did you grow up here?" She asked breaking the silence.
"No, I'm originally from Nevada. I moved here with my cousin 2 years ago… there were some family issues."
"Have you always liked working with cars?"
"I'm good at it… I was in the Army for 6 years. But had a hard time adjusting when I got back home, so my cousin offered me a place to stay here saying that I could work for him."
Haven understood now why he was the way he was.
"Does the beach relax you?"
"It helps…and being in a town with constant transiting strangers keeps me detached." He added.
"So you are pretty reserved. You don't like to open up to people?"
"Let's just say I do better with metal, screws and carburators." Nate smirked.
"Well, I think you are doing just fine right now." She smiled.
"Yeah well… you are an exception."
Nate agreed to take her back to the deck to find her friends, but the task was quite difficult as it was hard to go through the crammed pathway. Nate saw a rough group of guys up ahead so he grabbed on to Haven's hand and keeping her close behind him they tried to pass through. Even while they were constantly getting bumped into all Haven felt was his hard sweaty palm covering her tiny hand. At one precise moment one of the guys purposefully pushed his friend into Haven, not only separating her from Nate but also causing her to tumble to the wet ground.
That was enough to flip a switch in Nate and he immediately turned to the laughing drunk kid. With rage in his eyes as he saw the guy laugh at Haven now getting up.
"You think that's funny punk?" Nate growled as he stood a hair away from the guy's face.
"I'm fine really…"Haven tried to sound convincing.
Clearly these guys were a bit wasted; too much to know their own good. But the foolish guy picked the wrong day to tell this former soldier to piss off by pushing his shoulders. With a blink of an eye Nate bashed his nose with his forehead, knocking the guy back and almost to the floor if it weren't for his buddies who caught him half way. One of the guy's other friends started cussing at him and Nate knew straight then to carefully push Haven away. While one man attempted to hold Nate down, another tried to take a swing at him.
Haven grew terrified of what these men could do as they now huddled around him. Though to her and everyone else's disbelief, Nate held his own by pushing them away and striking mild blows to their face and chests to keep them away. But right then two guards showed up and escorted Nate off the boardwalk, to which he respectfully submitted. Haven was paralyzed. She looked back at the dance floor, unsure of which direction to take; go back and find her friends or follow Nate.
Conflicted by his violent behavior; Haven hated confrontations. However she had to appreciate the fact that he was defending her, one against four. She walked through the madness and knew she didn't want to waste time looking for her friends, not even knowing if she would even find them; except she waited too long and lost sight of him. Even though she couldn't see him at that moment she spotted his blue car parked up the street.
Her eyes focused on the car then soon enough she saw his silhouette approaching it. Now running over to catch up with him she began to call out his name but he was too ashamed to turn around. So she ran faster and tried to grab on to his arm. She could still see he was angry but his eyes held a hint of softness once they were fixed on her. She then looked at his hands; they were red, bruised and cut around the knuckles.
"Thank you" She said softly.
He just nodded and Haven could tell he felt sorry for his actions. He didn't need to say it exactly.
"I'm staying a couple of minutes away…" She suggested.
"What about your friends?"
"I'll text them later."
Nate opened the car door for her and in a couple of minutes they arrived at her friend's driveway.
"This is quite the place." He said as he walked inside and saw nothing but vast glass walls and expensive taste in furniture.
Haven found some ice packs in the freezer and went to place them gently on his hands. He twitched momentarily then quickly refocused.
"Did the military teach you to fight like that?" Haven tried to lighten the mood.
"Yes mam…" He paused. "I'm sorry I overreacted back there, you shouldn't have seen that…Are you still intimidated by me?"
Nate was worried he scared her off for good, yet he couldn't understand why she was still being so nice to him. Her touch was gentle and her gaze kind. Why did she bother following him? As if she wasn't entranced enough already, this older bad boy was now the greatest thing to ever happen to her this spring break.
"I must say I have never been defended to that degree before. If anything, I feel honored."
"I can't take seeing any violence against a woman, that's why I flipped."
"I can understand that." She looked him straight in the eyes.
It comfort him that she kept holding the ice packs on his hands, checking them every few minutes. He was sitting down while she remained standing. He watched as her smile never faded; sensing his armor and tuff exterior begin to shatter around her. He moved his fingers to touch her stomach.
Haven instantly felt his fingertips pressing down over her shirt, right beneath her ribs. She was remarkably nervous, which was so unlike her. Her parents were over protective keeping her very sheltered, it was a miracle that she was even allowed to go on this trip in the first place. Every date was chaperoned and every step carefully calculated. Surely there was no way that her parents would ever approve of her standing but 2 feet close to a man of his character. Yet she didn't care.
"You are the prettiest thing I've seen in a very long time." He said standing up, fingers still glued to the same spot.
His hand shifted so that it laid on the curve of her waist, at the same time her hand held on to his firm forearm. This time there was no calculated moves just one major interruption. There were loud voices outside of both the girls and obnoxious guys drawing nearer to the door.
"Quickly, to the guestroom." Haven whispered.
She grabbed his swollen hand and they scurried to her room. She stood behind the semi closed door laughing quietly as she watched the drunken group gathering in the living area.
"If my hand weren't numb from the ice I might have yelled just a bit. " He said chuckling as he examined his cold hand.
She was about to close the door when Ashley started walking their way. Haven jumped giddily and quickly pushed Nate towards the closet to hide, only this wasn't the biggest closet of the house; it hardly fit the both of them. Nate had to admit that although this was silly and unnecessary it was somewhat fun.
"Would your friends disapprove of you being here with a man or something?" He whispered.
She simply told him to shush as she pressed her hand over his mouth. Ashley was looking through her duffle bag for something and then left the room; leaving the door open. They faced each other but Haven was too busy peeking through the slits on the door to pay attention to Nate.
"I had no reason for hiding; it just seemed like a funny random thing to do." Haven admitted.
Before she could remove her hand from Nate's mouth she checked once more thinking she heard Ashley come back in. Nate didn't care; he slid his hand behind her waist and tugged her even closer to him. Nudging with his head right against hers he searched for her lips and made contact. His other hand held on to the wall behind her where she was now pinned against; experiencing the best kiss of her life. The closet was stuffy and he didn't make it any easier. Her arms remained down at her sides, unable to react from the pleasant shock.
His hand moved all the way up to her chin, holding her face up tenderly. Just then he was reminded of her young age and hesitantly pulled away.
"I should go." He whispered.
"No don't go, stay and hang out with us."
"I wouldn't fit in. I need to go now."
They both walked out of the room towards the doorway. The rest of the group grew quiet as they didn't even know that there were more people in the house. Haven closed the door behind them for more privacy.
"Will I see you around?"
"Maybe…I like to keep people in suspense." He grinned as he walked over to his car.
"You're smiling, that's a good sign! That means you are pleased with me." She claimed.
"I am very pleased." He responded while tapping his lips, remembering their kiss only minutes ago.
Haven sat out on the balcony sipping on a glass of orange juice and reminiscing of the night before. Tonya walked out to catch her friend in a dreamy daze.
"So are you going to tell me about the hunk you walked out of the room with or am I going to have to ask Stacy for more details?"
"He's the mechanic that helped me with your car. We hung out pretty much the whole night."
"You? No way! Are you going to see him again?"
"I want to, but I'm afraid he thinks I'm too young."
"Like that ever stops them…You should pay him a visit. I believe my car could use an oil change."
"I don't want to be a stalker Tonya."
"Listen Haven I know you're the kinda girl that likes to things slow, but this is an exception. We only have a couple of days left and then you'll never see him again."
"You're right, when will I ever have another chance to be away from my parents and be with a guy like him?"
"Hopefully after you graduate. C'mon, I have an urge to go shopping anyways; we can stop by and sign you up on his waiting list." Tonya winked.
Haven was nervous to see Nate again, especially once they pulled up to the garage. The men couldn't keep their eyes off them as they walked into the office. Haven stared outside on the lookout for him when she saw his blue car pull up; she remained frozen wanting desperately to go out but was too busy planning what she was to say. Before she knew it he walked inside, wearing a casual shirt and trunks.
He looked over at her, with an inquisitive grin. Haven articulated a hello as he scrunched up his nose wondering what she was doing there.
"Tonya wanted to get an oil change for her car."
"She's lying; she wanted to see you. And I need an oil change for my car." She winked again.
Haven darted a piercing glare at her so called friend. Nate was flattered and glad to have this visit. He walked around the counter to reach for an envelope and then came back. He stood rolling the envelope up in his hands whilst glimpsing down at Haven who was obviously very attracted to him. He turned to look at Tonya.
"I'll bring her back later," he said and grabbed her hand. "You come with me."
Haven raised her brows and gave a wide open smile to her friend Tonya as she left to his car.
"You don't have to work today?"
"No, I'm off. I came to get my check… in perfect time too."
"So where are we going?"
Haven held her hand out of the window, allowing the wind to dance around her fingers. Nate would occasionally glance over and smile at her innocence.
"Have you thought at all about last night?"
"What do you mean?" She wondered.
"I mean, do you remember at all what happened last night?"
"What happened last night?" She teased.
"I could play along to this longer than you know…but if you need me to recall a certain closet scene than I will."
"Oh, yeah… what happened last night; I remember now." Haven laughed.
"Are you serious?" He looked over at her and began to chuckle. "Okay I have a question for you…"
"How long were you planning on keeping me hostage in the closet of yours?"
"What? You weren't hostage. You were obviously very comfortable in there from what I gathered."
"Yes, but I don't think you're capable of doing that again." She said challenging him.
"That I'm not what?"
Nate quickly looked through his rear view mirror and slammed on the brakes. A loud screeching sound was heard along with the trail of smoke from the back tires. This would be reason enough to freak any person out but Haven was excited from the rush. All in a matter of seconds he had unbuckled his seat belt and grabbed her face in. Haven's plan of getting Nate to kiss her again had worked. Although aggressive by nature he was also very calm and in control. Even through his kiss he exemplified that.
He backed away grabbing the stick shift and floored the gas pedal hard to get moving before any car could have the chance to rear him. Haven was left without any feeling throughout her whole upper body; even her feet felt numb. She never felt so exhilarated and on edge with anyone before; like she was living for the first time.
"Do you like spending time with me?" He questioned, biting down on his lips.
"You are crazy …but I do." Haven glowed.
"What about your parents? I doubt they would find me suitable to be hanging out with you."
"Probably not, but they're not here… thank God!"
Twenty minutes later they arrived at an old white house further into the country. It looked abandoned with a large barn house beside it.
"What is this?"
"You can wait a couple more minutes…" He said nicely.
They walked into the barn house where he turned on bright factory lights. There were a few old machines and a lot of blow torches and iron tools.
"Wait right here…" Nate said while moving her to a safe spot.
A while later Nate appeared with a rod that had an orange tip with some burning substance. He brought it over to a long flat table in front of Haven and began to roll the tip on the metal surface. He began to blow through the hollow rod as though it was a straw and slowly Haven began to watch a bubble begin to form out of the orange end. Nate kept on blowing steadily as he carefully rotated the rod.
The bubble grew bigger and increased in different shades of orange, red and amber. After Nate got it to the desired size he stuck it in a small furnace. When he took it out he kept rotating it and began poking and breaking open the bubble. Nate concentrated hard, making lines in certain places and sculpting the moldable glass into what looked like a fancy cup. After making certain dents on the bottom he was able to swiftly break off the finished piece and place it on the table to cool.
"Wow that has got to be the most magnificent thing I've ever seen done before my very eyes." Haven cried astonished.
"It's my secret hobby. My uncle taught me how to blow glass when I was a kid and I was hooked ever since. We send each other little pieces every now and then."
"Does your cousin know?"
"I believe so, but he also knows I like to keep this to myself so he doesn't ask."
"So why did you decide to show me?" Haven beamed.
"Because… I like you. And I wanted to show you that there was another side to me, other than a guy who fights."
"I'm so impressed. Would you ever want to do this professionally?"
"There are a couple of places interested in my work. I have the numbers if I ever decide to take it further."
Minutes later Nate picked up the unique looking glass and handed it to Haven.
"Keep this…as a souvenir of your spring break. And so you don't forget about me."
"I don't think a girl could ever forget about you. You're like a scar."
"Is that a good thing?" He smirked.
"Definitely, there are certain scars that people are proud to show off."
"But to have a scar first there needs to be a wound. And I don't know how I feel about that."
"Okay maybe that was a bad example…How about a tattoo?"
"That's a little better." He laughed and went to hug her placing his heavy arms around her tiny shoulders.
"I don't want to think about going back. I know the days are going to fly by now that I don't want them to."
"Stay here with me." Nate suggested.
"I know you're crazy but something tells me you're not kidding."
Nate was dead serious. He knew when to take risks in life and when to keep things under control. This was not one of those things. He didn't care that they only knew each other for a few days and that she was much younger. He knew he could take care of her and she made him want to be a better man and less angry. The more time he spent with her, the more he knew her and the more he liked her. Only thing was he had a hard time expressing it. He hoped that by making this gift that she would perceive how fond he was of her.
"I know you have a rough past and background. But that doesn't scare me because I think you are a beautiful person. Honestly, I'm afraid of my parents. They're so controlling, they are paying for my college and in turn I have to stay under their roof; which gives them the freedom to meddle in my life."
"That sounds like a prison."
"It sort of is."
"All the more reason why you should stay here. I knew what you're answer would be, but I just wanted you to know how serious I am."
Nate dropped Haven off back at the beach house. Sitting in the car neither one wanted to leave.
"Do you live alone?" Haven asked.
"Of course, you'd have to be crazier than I am to actually live with me."
"I don't feel like dancing tonight, but it seems like I can't escape the after party at our house…"
"I'll pick you up at 7."
All the girls were relaxing to a movie in the living room. Haven felt like she was hardly around, even though they understood.
"So how's your spring fling going?" Veronica poked Haven.
"I don't like to think of it as a fling." She answered.
"So you both plan on keeping in touch?" Tonya joined in.
"We'll see. I'd like that more than anything but I'd have to keep it a secret from my parents."
"Forget your parents; he's a keeper!" Stacy added.
Haven remained quiet and sad. This was the climax, her favorite part in all romantic movies. The part that seemed most complicated but Haven would always shout the solution of what the girl ought to do. And now she wished that that same girl would tell her what to do. Was it insane to even consider the thought of staying here with the man of her wildest dreams? Perhaps, but life is about moments like these. Sometimes you are only left dreaming with this kind of chance, not ever presented with the opportunity.
"I must warn you my place isn't as fancy as your friend's." Nate cautioned as he unlocked the door to his apartment.
It was extremely plain and simple, with only the key essentials.
"I don't know how good a time you will have here as opposed to a night out but if you change your mind…" He insisted.
"This is fine; I just like talking with you. That way there are no distractions."
Nate noticed that Haven was also a bit sad tonight, which led him to believe only one thing.
"You've been thinking about it haven't you?"
"It's fun to think about but it's not something I would actually go through with."
"Just the fact that you are considering it means something."
Haven sat back against the couch's arm rest, laying her legs out next to Nate. He rested his head in his hand and studied her every blink and swallow.
"I'm glad that pothole is still there."
"Things do happen for a reason…"
"Do you trust me?" He asked in all seriousness.
"I believe I do."
"Stay the night…I'll be the perfect gentleman. I won't even touch you, but stay with me tonight."
Haven swallowed hard; nevertheless she did trust him and believed his every word. She nodded yes and tried to remain composed. Nate knew it was a bold thing to ask; still he wanted to spend as much time with her as he could. His intentions were pure and he planned on keeping his word no matter how difficult it would be.
"So tell me more about yourself, your friends and school…"
"Where do I begin? Well, you already know about my home situation. I am an only child so I cherish my friendships. Funny thing is that although I can see these girls as my sisters, I don't necessarily consider one to be a diehard best friend. Does that seem mean? I've hung out with this group all through high school and although we are all going to different colleges, I wouldn't be surprised if with time we all lost contact."
"That's just sad. Defeats the purpose of calling them friends doesn't it." He uttered.
"Don't get me wrong I do love them all, still I'm open to making new friends when I go to college."
"So what are you planning on studying? Where are you going?" Nate inquired.
"Psychology. I want to understand people and help them. Even if it just means an hour of them venting their sorrows; needing someone to simply listen to them. I will be going to the college in my home town."
"Now is this the career path you chose or was it chosen for you?"
"I chose it. Luckily the decision pleased my parents and they actually continue to encourage me."
"I must be honest in admitting that I'm not warming up to the sound of your parents."
"I don't blame you, I wouldn't either. What else can I do? They hold the cards for now."
"Maybe you can treat your parents as your first clients." Nate teased harmlessly.
Haven continued to ramble along as if she were confessing every thought to her pillow. Nate was so relaxed and enjoying every minute of her company, it didn't matter if what she said had little or no importance. Everything she shared gave him more insight to the person she was. A person he happened to be falling for.
"You don't seem like the average 17 year old girl, or at least the few I know. I wish I could keep you."
"Huh? Like hold me captive?" She spoke concerned.
"No silly. I wish I could have you… to myself."
"Oh, it just sounds weird the way you're phrasing it." She giggled.
Nate got up to sit directly beside her so that he could read her expressions better. He stared so deep into her eyes it made her feel vulnerable and trapped.
"You're not intimidated?"
"No." She smiled.
He lowered his forehead upon hers, caressing the side of her face with his nose and cheek, smelling her.
"No." she whispered.
He cupped her face swiftly with his hand and began to taste her mouth; giving slow and steady pecks while combing her hair behind her ear. He kissed her from her lips to her ear lobe and back.
"Now?" he whispered this time.
Haven just nodded as she sat a little taller and began running her fingers through his hair and over his face. His hand fell on the top of her lap and so did his head cozy upon her shoulder. She continued to massage the nape of his neck as they sat holding each other.
"I know why I adore you so much, but what I can't understand is why you like me." He confessed.
"Because I do. You make me feel alive. I know that you can protect me against anything and you are not afraid to open up or show me you can be sensitive."
"I would try my hardest to…all the time."
"Do you want to lay down with me? I'm beat."
Nate got up and gently took her hand. She followed him to his room and tried to settle in his bed. She never pictured herself doing this but she couldn't back out now; at least she didn't want to. She lay on her back with her hands resting upon her stomach. Nate lay on his side where he could see her perfectly.
At first he asked her if she was comfortable to which she shook her head yes. Then he noticed her eyes begin to close and he began to count down the minutes till she fell in a deep sleep. He observed her chest as she breathed heavily and the fluttering of her eyes as she dreamed. Nate pulled the blanket over them and tried to relax himself to sleep as well.
A couple or hours later Haven had awoken from a strange dream. She looked over at Nate peacefully sleeping with a smile. She turned to her side with her back facing him and started scooting closer to him so that they were almost spooning. She took his left hand and wrapped it over her waist hoping that her gesture would make him come closer. And it worked, although he wasn't fully aware of it.
Come Thursday morning, Nate woke up to Haven cuddled up in his arms. The first thing he saw was the backside of her bare shoulder; it needed to be kissed. Then he noticed her tangled tresses; they needed to be gently combed to the side. She slowly began to awaken after feeling the tickling sensation of individual strands of her hair being pulled.
"Did you kiss my shoulder or was that part of my dream?"
Haven rolled on to her back, greeted by Nate's soft welcoming eyes.
"They are green." She realized aloud.
"I'm going to ask you one more time before the reality of the day sets in…Stay with me? I don't have much here, but I promise to do my best to make you happy."
"But it doesn't take much to make me happy…"
"Well than you'll make it a little easier for me won't you." He grinned.
Haven caressed the tiny blonde hairs growing along his jawline, wishing she could be daring and careless enough to say yes.
"If I were another girl I'd say yes in a heartbeat, but I can't."
Nate simply smiled, figuring it was worth one more shot.
"Thank you for staying last night."
"You are not turning mushy on me are you?"
"And if I was…"
"I'd say that you look adorable; mushy and all."
Nate grunted out of playful frustration and bit her shoulder friskily. Haven giggled, triggering the urge for him to do it again.
"Would you keep in touch with me? And perhaps even visit me sometime?" Haven asked hopeful.
"If you want me to I will."
During the last days of Haven's vacation she tried to spend as much time as she could with Nate. Tonya would drop her off at his work twenty minutes before he'd get off and she'd spend the rest of the evening by his side, including the nights. And as fate would have it her last day was unbearable to withstand. Nate dreaded it as well knowing that this girl would be a couple of states away; he grew used to seeing her pretty face every day.
He had stopped by briefly to say good bye, not knowing how to deal with it exactly. He had all her information to contact her but didn't want to see her go; knowing it would be difficult with her parents.
"I love that glass you made me." She reminded him while their hands stayed clasped so tight.
They stood in her balcony looking out into the ocean.
"Agh, I'm not good with good byes and all the emotional stress it entails." He fessed up.
"I've never had to face a good bye like this before. But you must know this was the best week of my life."
Haven feared that this would truly be the last time she'd see his face and hear his voice; feel his hands.
"Ok I'm counting down. There's no sense in prolonging it. 10…" He started.
"9…" She wrapped her arms around his waist.
"8…" He stroked his fingers through her hair.
"7…" Haven recorded one last glimpse of his stare and smile.
"6…" He brushed his lips on her forehead.
"5…" Not a second longer Nate lifted her face to feel one last kiss.
Haven's lips were so familiar to him now; the taste of her grape glosslingered in his mouth. He'd miss the way her soft cheek would cushion his cheek bones and the scent along her hairline and ears. 4…3…2…
Nate broke away and stammered out the house. Momentarily she could hear the sound of his Camaro take off. Tonya rushed outside to find Haven in tears.
"Are you okay Haven?" she asked worried.
"I'm afraid I'm never going to see him again."
It was time to begin their 18 hour drive. The girls were all packed and took off. Haven's heart began to pound harder as she saw the shop come into view. To make matters worse, Nate was outside examining someone's car engine.
"Stop the car!" Haven shouted.
Having just passed the shop by a few feet, Tonya swerved to the side and hit the brakes. Haven immediately ran out. Nate had already recognized the parked car and excused himself from the customer to rush over to her. Haven ran faster and jumped right into his arms where he lifted and held her on his waist. Her arms and legs clung on to him. But before he could ask her what she was doing there she laid an intense kiss on his lips; pressing so hard that when they separated they could feel the burning and lasting sensation as though their mouths had never parted. Some of the other guys at the shop were whistling and clapping, but they didn't even waste time acknowledging them.
"What are you doing here? You're crazy too you know that?" Nate sighed happily.
"I know this means another good bye but I just had to".
He put her back down on the floor, hoping that by some miracle she had changed her mind to stay.
"Please don't forget about me Nate."
"Never." He said without a doubt.