Kneeling, Will tied the last lace. Placing his hands on Gianna's knees he gave her a gentle squeeze.
"Are you ready to do this?"
"I'm a little scared." Her voice trembled.
"Don't worry I'm going to help you. I won't let you fall."
Searching deep inside for that doze of courage, she carefully stood up with Will's assistance. Gianna wobbled over slowly and clawed her fingers into his arm; winded whenever she'd lose her balance. Once they stood out on the ice, William led her by the arm and waist.
Right then Left. Right then Left. Glide right then left. She chanted his instructions, concentrating on her foot work. It took a couple of rounds before her strides became smoother, reminding her of her first ballet classes; the more graceful the better.
William did cute things like startle her when he began to skate backwards while holding her hands. And skate in circles around her, pulling off a dance move or two to the music. Gianna was so entertained by him she didn't need to risk her own life by attempting to do his same stunts.
Luckily this time no one was bothering them. They managed to enjoy an hour of uninterrupted play. Suddenly one of his band's songs came on the speakers, an astonishing surprise. He began to sing into Gianna's ear as they skated side by side. Girls were pointing at them and smiling but the best part was . . . no paparazzi in sight.
William let go and skated a good distance to the center of the rink. Gianna froze, slowing down as she was too terrified to take another stride. There he stood like a beautiful picture, with his blue shirt contrasting from the white walls and ground. He raised his hand, with one finger motioning for her to come to him.
Knowing exactly what was on the other side of this rainbow, Gianna swallowed the lump down her throat and took stiff baby steps; skating ever so slowly. Will reached out his hand when she got close enough. Her arms caught around his waist for steadiness while he secured his around her shoulders.
Wrapped tight in each other's embrace, Gianna's face hid in his chest while his remained touching her cheek. She lifted her head, still close to him with her heart pounding through the ice, gazing at the ceiling and his soft hair that hovered over his ear. Anxious, knowing his mouth was only an inch away.
In slow motion, or so it seemed, William brushed his mouth over to meet with hers. His arms rested heavily on her shoulders, hiding her face while anchoring her down; keeping her from floating away from his kiss. Considering they were right in the public eye, they played it down enough. Still Gianna couldn't help feel humid under her sweater in this icy cold environment . . . wonder why?
He rubbed her arms after they parted, but what he didn't know was every time they kissed, it felt like the first time for Gianna. How could this 19 year old girl fight this unfamiliar force of nature? Each time, each kiss, kept unlocking doors that led down a fiery furnace deep inside her. Scared that she could even feel that way, but curious as well.
"Would you like some hot chocolate, love?"
Sighing at the first mention of her pet-name, she merely nodded and watched him skate away. Not wanting to be left alone, she carefully took after him. Aware of the speed racer passing through, mesmerized by his agility, she let him soar by before crossing. But what she didn't see was his partner behind him.
"Lady watch OUT!" The young guy shouted.
Swerving and barely missing her, Gianna panicked and lost balance. Falling on her hip against the frozen concrete, she was unable to get up from the harsh impact. A mother and her child skated towards her to ask if she was alright, followed by another man skidding to her side. It was her William.
"Gianna are you alright, can you move? What happened, love?"
"I-I just panicked, that's all." She answered, recovering from the shock.
"No, some guy almost ran her over and didn't bother to come back to help her" squealed the lady's daughter.
"Who was it?" His eyes shot around.
Gianna looked at the little girl. "It doesn't matter. It was an accident and it really was my fault."
"I still think he should have turned around to see if you were ok, dear." The mother added.
"It's okay. I just want to sit outside." Gianna said looking at William.
He helped her out of the rink, bearing her weight as he sustained her by the waist Gianna then realized that she hurt more than her hip. When she removed her skates and her socks, she noticed her ankle began to swell; she must have twisted it with the fall.
"I think we might need to put our little adventure on hold. You need to rest." Will recommended.
"I know." Gigi sulked.
"Would you like me to take you to the hospital?"
"No, I've had plenty of sprained ankles. All I need is an ice bag and bed rest."
"Okay . . . I feel awful Gianna, I shouldn't have left you."
"It was an accident Will, it's NOT your fault."
"You sure you won't tell me who it was so I can slam them." He chuckled " but seriously, can I take care of you?"
"That sounds better than me resting at home alone while Cory is at work. Even though I know she would skip work to take care of me . . . But I'd rather be with you. And it doesn't look like I'll be going to practice in the next couple of days."
"Perfect. We can be two homebodies."
On the car ride to her house, Gianna called Sasha to let her know what happened. Unmistakably happy to spend more with William, she quickly made a bag of her things to take with her for a couple of days. Carried up and down the stairs, Will scooped her in his arms effortlessly, looking a little too thrilled as well.
On the way to the hotel Gianna text her roommate Cory, hardly able to contain her excitement over the phone. Or the anticipation of more adventures, once she got better. Not mad at the guy who almost hit her, she was actually secretly thanking him.
William helped carry her to his suite while his driver carried her bag. He laid her on his comfy couch and thanked his friend. Suspiciously, Gianna began to hear the clatter of ice cubes, eventually seeing Will return with a handmade bag of ice to place on her ankle.
"You can take my bed and I'll sleep out here." He offered.
"Oh no. I'll be fine on this couch. I actually love it and prefer it better."
"As long as you're comfy. Don't hesitate to tell me if you change your mind, alright?"
"I love you." The words slipped out of her mouth unintentionally.
Her eyes widened in shock, observing William closely and his reaction. He in turn knelt down closer and held her hand. Marking a kiss on the back and then in her palm, he placed it on his cheek while looking deep into her eyes. His brows curved, in all sincerity and in undescribable cuteness, just like his smile.
"My heart fluttered for a moment there . . . know that I love you as well."
"I'm sorry I ruined our evening."
"Rubbish! I got to take you home with me. My night's far from ruined. I only hope you don't get bored or tired of me . . . Or realize the idiot I really am and limp off."
Gianna laughed as she imagined herself limping off, not getting very far. He laughed too.
"So can I get you anything before I change?"
"Do you have any more of that yummy soup left?"
"Ahh, my mum's soup. Of course! I'll heat that up for you." He smiled and gave her the TV remote. "See if there's anything good for us to watch."
Overwhelmed with complete joy, she searched the channels, not focusing on the programs as she was on his returning. Maybe we should watch a romantic movie or a scary one . . . She shifted the ice bag on her numb ankle, feeling a slight pain on her hip still. The microwave beeped, growing hungry from the spices that tickled her nose, she struggled to get up.
Carefully removing the mug onto the counter she waited a minute to allow it to cool off. Curious to see where the pain kept shooting from, she lowered the side of her jeans to observe a purple bruise.
"Oh Gianna!" Will cried out.
He rushed over to squat next to her for a closer look. The pain vanished momentarily, left with only a subtle ripple of his touch over her skin. He'd never touched her there before. Even if it was out of concern, she couldn't help breathe a little fainter. Looking down as he studied her, he had changed into a pair of soft plaid pants and a white t-shirt. With his hair intact and cologne still lingering, she had almost forgotten about the soup.
"It's a nasty bruise darling. Why don't you go change into something more loose-fitting?"
Nodding she walked away taking a deep breath. During that moment, Gianna's body had deprived her of sufficient oxygen, stunned by William's closeness. Taking her bag in the bathroom, she hurriedly began to dial Cory's number.
"Helloooo damsel in distress, how's the urgent care going?"
"Fine, nothing has happened since I last texted you, crazy." Gianna giggled quietly.
"Hey, I wish I was the one with a broken leg at some hot celebrity's hotel room. I'd heal up in no time. But that's just me. So what's up?"
"You know how you throw those sex jokes and comments around all the time?"
"Yes, but that's only because I like seeing you turn beet red! Wait, why?" Cory gasped. "Wait, you aren't thinking about . . ."
"Gosh no Coraline! Shhhh! I'm not thinking about that at ALL! It's just, when he gets close to me, or even when he kisses me . . . I feel like exploding. I can't think straight or think at all really. And when he touches me or holds my hand . . . I feel this weird dizziness and tickling in my stomach." Gianna explained.
"Oh Gigi, you've moved passed the 13 year old crush and you're now experiencing what it's like to be in love at 19. Have fun and remember this is exactly what Francine was talking about."
"Is everything alright love?" William asked outside the door.
"Umm, yeah. I'll be out in a minute." Gigi shouted back. "Cory, I have to go. I still need to change clothes."
"Oh, just ask him to help you." she laughed. "Byeee."
Leaning against the sink, she carefully changed into her yellow pajama pants and grey baby tee. Her outfit was loose-fitting but still flattered her figure. Stashing her stuff back into her bag she glanced at herself in the mirror. Biting down on her lips to redden them, her stomach wouldn't ease up, knotted from the nerves.
Just outside the bathroom, awaited an evening of unimaginable possibilities. She felt powerful, lucky and for the first time . . . brave. Opening the door she was greeted by Will who came rushing over to help her back to the sofa, soup waiting on the coffee table.
They looked adorable in their snug PJs. Will sat in the corner of the sectional with pillows and a blanket. When Gianna finished her mug, she crawled back sluggishly to where he was and laid against his stomach, forming a diagonal T.
Inside their private "Movie Theater", Gianna felt at home. Wanting to close her eyes the minute she felt his fingers massage her head. She moaned and curled into a fetus. When she looked up at him, William had the softest brown eyes embrace her, summoning her to come closer. Climbing further up to sit beside him, he put his arm around her as they watched the tube.
"I wish I wasn't hurt, we could be doing something fun right now." She shrugged.
"We are doing something fun love, every time we're together."
"Don't you miss your home?"
"A little, but honestly I've been too busy enjoying my time with you . . . it's been so long since I've had a girlfriend."
"Were you lonely? I mean even with the hundreds of girls screaming how much they love you." She asked curiously.
"They love the image and fame. They don't know me, my dislikes, my flaws and bad habits."
"Oh I think they wouldn't care." She smiled.
"That's just the thing. I want you to care. I want you to tell me when I'm doing something you don't like, or when I'm annoying you. I want you to get frustrated when I act stupid. I want to bicker and find a way to make it up to you. Not have someone that agrees with everything I say and do."
Gianna's smile grew even wider at the sight of William's own frustrations. He wanted a real relationship just like she did. And to hear that they were officially a couple was the delight of the night. If things worked out for her to join his tour, then who knew how far their relationship would go.
"I can do that. I'm a fairly quite person but I can still tell you if I disagree. I can be honest."
"That's all I need love." He snuck a kiss behind ear and giggled against her neck.