EARLY UPLOAD!!!!! Partly to make up for the late one last time, and partly because I'm so excited for you to read this! OH MY GOD. Okay, just read it. And leave me a comment telling me how much you love me for finally writing this.
When the shrill sound of the doorbell rung through the house, Olivia’s heart practically did a back flip in her chest (or some equally strenuous gymnastic move).
"I’ll get it!" she shouted, as she rushed to the door before her Dad had a chance to even move from the kitchen (it was safe to say Brad wouldn’t be able to hop out of bed with a huge cast on his leg). There was no way she was risking being embarrassed by him any more than was necessary.
However, this didn’t quite go to plan.
"Who is it?" her father called, as she reached the front door.
"No one!" she called back innocently, silently pulling a face and praying inwardly that he would not emerge from the kitchen.
"Hey," she breathed, as the door opened and she caught sight of Ethan – something which only made her heart repeat its favourite gymnastics routine. He was dressed casually in a white button down shirt and faded jeans, and yet he still managed to look amazing. Thank God she wasn’t overdressed.
"Hey!" Ethan greeted her, his face spreading into a genuine smile as he caught sight of her. He looked as confident as ever – his body displayed not even an inch of nervousness, and yet Olivia could barely manage breathing.
Calm down, she reminded herself furiously. We’re just hanging out.
"Who’s no one, then?" asked her father, as he entered the hallway and stopped when he saw the person standing outside the front door. "This doesn’t look like no one, Olivia."
"Aren’t you at least going to introduce me?" he said, raising his eyebrows at his daughter questioningly and then turning his attention to Ethan.
"I’m Ethan, sir," he greeted, reaching his hand out for Olivia’s father to shake. Her father accepted the gesture, smiling warmly at Ethan, his initial protective barrier seemingly melting away. "Nice to meet you, Mr Webb."
"Please, call me James," he said, before turning back to his daughter. "Are you going somewhere with this gentleman?" he asked, a smile playing on his lips.
"Dad, we’re just hanging out, okay?" Olivia said, her eyes silently pleading with him not to embarrass her any further. She could already feel her cheeks flaming. "I’ll be back in a couple of hours."
"Don’t worry, Mr Webb, I’ll take good care of her," Ethan said, as Olivia stepped outside. "And I’ll have her back by nine, I promise."
"Sorry about that – he’s so embarrassing," Olivia said anxiously, after her father had shut the door and they were walking up the path that lead from her house. Her cheeks were still flushed a pink colour and she kept stealing nervous glances to see Ethan’s reaction, but he seemed totally cool about the whole thing.
"It’s okay, he just cares about you," said Ethan, stepping back to let Olivia out of the front gate first. "You know, I think it’s cute."
"Urgh... please don’t say that, it’ll only encourage him if he hears it," Olivia rolled her eyes, trying to banish thoughts of her embarrassing father from her head. "Where are we going, anyway?" She frowned at Ethan as they turned right at the end of her street.
He grinned playfully, flashing a set of perfectly white teeth – naturally white, unlike Carter’s synthetic smile. "That would spoil the surprise, wouldn’t it? And where would be the fun in that?"
"Oh, come on," Olivia pretended to pout, widening her eyes in an innocent puppy fashion. She suddenly relaxed – what was she so nervous about before? It was only awkward when she made it awkward, and after all, she could act like her normal self without falling for him, right?
"What are you thinking about?" Ethan’s gentle voice suddenly jolted her away from her daydream.
"You’re daydreaming about something, I can tell," Ethan said, a smile playing upon his lips. "You were just staring ahead blankly, lost in your own little world. Thinking about me?"
He was joking, but this didn’t stop Olivia’s cheeks from flushing their favourite shade of pink once more. "I just... no, I was just..."