Jamie and Patience went to the movies one evening despite Jamie's earlier concerns about not being able to talk much there. He also tried not to think about Elsa's recommendations about where he sat and where he placed his arm.
"Do you miss high school?" Patience asked as they sat in their seats waiting for the movie to start (Jamie did sit on her left).
"I'll always have fond memories," Jamie replied. "But it wasn't the best experience of my life."
"Because you felt shy and like you didn't fit in," Patience said with understanding.
"That and my mother beat into my head all sorts of hysteria like active school shooters, bomb threats, sex offender teachers, bullies, and every other paranoia she could think of," Jamie revealed.
"I never got into the mindset of most of my peers," Patience said. "Roaming the halls with attitude and swagger. Joining cliques and peer groups. Being all cool and being afraid of not fitting in. Making fun of others and worrying about image."
"Most people just didn't get it," Jamie agreed.
"That grandmothers die and kids get ridiculed for being fat," Patience said.
"At least our biggest secrets weren't exposed," Jamie said. "Once they forgot who you used to be, anyway."
"I'm glad I re-found you," Patience said, rubbing his thigh, sending shivers down his leg.
She took his hand in hers and Jamie felt his heart pound. They stayed like that throughout the coming attractions and the main feature which did not include any awkward scenes.
A few nights later, on a sweltering summer evening, Jamie took Patience to Red's Tastee Freeze in Hillsboro for a cone. They sat on a bench under a tree with their treats smiling at each other as they licked their cones, the humid air sticking their clothes to their bodies.
"It's the kind of night you wouldn't even care if you bared your body just for some relief," Patience said lightly, wiping perspiration from her brow.
"Baring our souls is good enough," Jamie said.
In recent times, the two had been more open and honest about their feelings for one another, kissing each other good bye now whenever the parted.
Jamie drove Patience home from Red's and he gave her a hug as they said their goodnights under the moon in her backyard. Patience leaned in and kissed him in response.
"We're having a great summer," she said happily. "I think we've connected on a meaningful level, don't you?"
"Yes," he said truthfully.
"All of our past challenges and disappointments don't matter anymore now that we're together."
"I agree," Jamie said. "We found our own peaceful heaven."
It was a Thursday afternoon in August. Jamie was just finishing cleaning the last car at Toyota of Greenville thinking about the immediate future – community college would be starting soon for him while Patience would be beginning at Green College. Surely their relationship would continue.
Jamie heard his phone buzz. He dug it out of his pocket and saw that it was a call from Patience. He sucked in his breath because he was always afraid that there could be bad news on the other end and answered the call.
"Where are you?" Patience asked.
"Just leaving Toyota," he replied.
"I'm just leaving Step Up!" Patience reported. "Why don't you stop by the house?"
"I'm kind of sweaty."
"Me too," she laughed. "Why don't you stop by anyway?"
"Okay," he agreed. "I'll meet you there."
Jamie punched out, talked to his Dad for a minute, telling him he was stopping by Patience's house and headed for the car. He was wearing jeans and a sweaty red Toyota of Greenville tee shirt.
He nervously drove to Ivy Lane, never quite sure of what to expect when he and Patience got together. The paranoia part of him was convinced that she was going to dump him because bad things always happens to those who have their grandmother die on them, leaving them alone for an entire weekend.
He arrived at Ivy Lane just as Patience was pulling into the Ryan driveway. Jamie parked behind her. She was wearing a tank top and shorts and that was about it as she got out of the car.
"Hey," she said. "Come on in."
Jamie followed her into the house. It was hot outside but cool inside.
"Anybody home?" He asked.
"Nope," she reported as she walked him into the living room. "They went to the game at Fenway. They won't be back until late."
"Why didn't you go?" Jamie wondered.
"I didn't want to," Patience replied as she pulled the tank top off over her head and threw it aside, standing topless before him.
"What are you doing?" A shocked Jamie asked with a hard swallow.
"If we've already bared our souls, I'm ready to bare my body," Patience giggled as she peeled her shorts down her legs and kicked them off her feet, standing before him totally naked now.
"Holy Toledo," Jamie said with shock and awe. "Do you realize what you're doing?"
"I was going to take a shower," she explained. "Care to join me?" She motioned with her chin toward his jeans with a smile on her face.
"You know I'm shy," he blushed. "I'm surprised you're not."
"Oh, I am," Patience assured him. "But I've dressed in enough Track and Cross Country locker rooms and Dance dressing rooms not to be so hung up about my body, especially now," she said. "I wanted you to see me and I'd be much obliged if you'd let me see you too after everything we've been through together."
"This feels incredibly awkward," he admitted.
"I know," she replied. "So don't leave me standing here alone like this. I feel like I weigh 250 pounds all of a sudden."
Jamie peeled off his tee shirt, kicked off his sneakers, and removed his jeans and now he was naked too.
"I wouldn't want you to feel that way," he said.
"And I wouldn't want you feeling like you were in a house with a dead grandmother," Patience replied.
Jamie's heart was racing and he felt himself stiffen but that was to be expected as he admired Patience's firm breasts and hairy muff. "I promise I'm not afraid," he said.
"Is this naughty of us?" Patience asked.
"No," Jamie replied.
"Come on," Patience said.
Jamie followed her up the stairs and into the bathroom.
"I'm totally in control of my desires," she assured him as she turned the shower on. "I'm not embarrassed or ashamed or humiliated."
"It's much better to be home alone naked with a beautiful girl than it is to be home alone with a dead grandmother," Jamie said.
"And it's much better to be home alone naked with a wonderful guy who would never think to shame me or hurt me," Patience replied, taking him by the hand and leading him into the shower. "Thank you for your patience."
"Thank you for your patience," Jamie replied.