ourteen

"Are you going to be alright?" Dastan whispers into my ear.

I sniffle and nod my head slightly.

"Okay then," He says gently and leans back in his seat.

My eyes, red and swollen, look up to him and I silently mouth Thank you.

Dastan drives farther and farther without a word being said by either of us. I watch him silently and note how careful he is. His hands firmly grasp the wheel and his alert eyes look both ways to make sure nothing is coming our way, dispite the fact that doesn't have to.

Some may call this obsessive. But I don't.

Dastan is nothing like Austin.

Nothing at all.

He finally says, "I'm sorry I made you cry," and it takes me a while to respond.

"You didn't," I whisper, "It was..." I try to explain, but trail off, not sure if I really want to open up to him or not.

"You don't have to," he says warmly and I smile.

When we reach the Animal Kingdom he clears his throat. "I was going to take you somewhere else," he says softly, "but I think you've had enough Mickey for one day." He says.

I rub my eyes. "Mickey as in Mouse or Mickey as in,"

"You." He clarifies.

I nod. "Yeah, I've had a good enough share of her today," I say shortly.

He smiles weakly. "If you want," he adds, "I think I know how to make you feel better."

I roll my eyes. "Dastan, it's a hundred and one dergrees outside, for once I don't want hot chocolate."

He laughs. "I wasn't thinking about that," He says.

"Then what?"

He sighs. "I've heard before that fears and problems have been likened to mountains,"

I nod and think of where he might be going with this.

"You become so afraid of what might happen that you forget to keep climbing."

He looks deep into my eyes, and for a moment it's like he's actually talking to me through them.

"So what are you saying?" I ask, although I think I already know the answer.

"I'm saying it's time to move on."

A twinkle in his eyes tells me that he means Austin. I think of all the people I've shut out because of him; because of fear. For the first time since that night, I actually start to believe I can move forward. Or at, least I can try.

This sinks in for a while, and neither of us say a word until finally I laugh.

"What?

"You took speech in high school, didn't you?" I ask.

He smirks. "I did actually."

I punch him lightly on the arm and bite my lip.

He looks at me questionably but I shrug him off.

He shrugs back and says, "Ready?"

"For what?"

"To climb."

I look at him curiously and shutter when he points behind me.

Mount Everest.

"You know," I say, my heart pounding, "When you said it's 'time to climb', I didn't think that you actually meant I had to climb a real mountain."

He smirks. "Technically it isn't a real mountain."

"Ha ha," I laugh and soon after stop.

We're walking inside the Park now and most park guests are gone, but Cast Members still wonder around closely. Some even wave.

"Technically I don't have to climb anything." I tell him, waving at a woman who usually works on the Rafiki's River Rapids attraction.

"Yeah you do."

"No, I don't."

"Yeah you do," He says again.

I begin to argue, but suddenly I notice Sophia, the girl from the training center, standing beside one of the shops and stand silent. The park is closed, she shouldn't be here.

"Hey!" She waves and jogs over to me and Dastan.

"Hi Sophia," I sigh.

"Ever since I saw you this morning I just had to come and get me something from the Rainforest Cafe," She prides. I laugh fakely.

"How are you here?" I ask.

"I should ask the same of you!" She giggles. "I work here,"

I narrow my eyes. "You do?"I ask, because I have walked this park a hundred times around and have never ever seen her in it. And trust me, I would notice her beautiful, perky self.

All this time Dastan remains silent beside me.

"Where?" I inquire.

"Oh you know: around." She giggles again. "Anywhere the Mouse needs me," Then she laughs even harder. "I suppose I really will be the mouse now... you know, Minnie Mouse. Only special people would get to play Mickey, like yourself."

I blush slightly and shame myself for doing so. "I'm not special, and trust me, I'd rather not be playing Mickey in the first place."

She frowns and takes my hand. "Of course you would, you're just saying that."

I roll my eyes and look hesitantly at Dastan, pleading with my eyes to make us have to leave.

He is no help: he just looks at her.

"Is this your-" Sophia motions toward Dastan.

"No," I say dismissing the thought, "This is Dastan..." I search my mind for a last name, and frown when I find nothing.

"Ross, Dastan Ross." He says mindlessly. He shakes Sophia's hand and they stare into each others' eyes.

"Sophia," He says smiling.

And for just a moment I think of Prince Charming and Cinderella when he learns her name.

"I can't believe you're here," He says. And then a smile of recognition appears on her face.

They embrace, and it feels like I'm once again left alone to myself.

Looks like it is a small world after all.