I must have looked ridiculous. Wrapped around my wrist was a unicorn charm necklace. In one hand was a can of Diet Pepsi, in the other was a bunched up blanket. My father sat on one side of me, looking uncomfortable, and Lucas sat on the other, looking twice as uncomfortable as him. The room was dimly lit, accompanied by the flashing from the window, red and blue, and the only sound was the muffled yelling of my mother outside on the porch.
It was a deadly mixture, even worse then nitrogen monoxide with carbon disulfide.
I’m pretty sure you’re wondering Hey Nat, how the heck did you end up here?. Or maybe not. Maybe you’re just wondering Hey Nat, what the heck is carbon disulfide?.
Suffice it to say, answering either of these questions is complex. Let’s rewind a bit, shall we?
Across from me stood Lucas, eyes shining brighter than the moon streaming in through the window. I clamped my mouth shut, shocked at the words that had just crossed my lips.
“Lucas…. I love you too.”
My mind was racing faster then my heart, but I didn’t care. The balloon in my stomach had popped, leaving warm helium in its place. I wanted to sing, or cry, or maybe just implode. Luckily, I didn’t have to do any of these things, seeing as I was too busy being swept into a warm hug. It was the kind of made-for-movies hug, where Lucas wrapped his arms around my small frame and buried his nose in my hair. I laughed, because really, there was nothing left to say. Lucas joined me, then sniffed.
Holy crap. He’d been crying.
When he pulled back, it proved my hypothesis was true. In the corners of his eyes were silver tear drops, balancing on the tip of his eyelid, not quite full enough to fall yet; and he brushed them away hastily as if I wouldn’t notice. He smiled.
“Took you long enough to admit it, princess,” he said in a shaky voice. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes before giving him a long, sweet kiss.
It was a beautiful kiss, almost better then our first one. His arms lowered themselves to my waist, warm fingers gently pressed against my clothed skin. Our lips melded together perfectly, and it took everything not to sigh in pure comfort. Slowly but deliberately, he raised a hand, letting it run through my hair before resting on the nape of my neck. Unlike our first kiss, this one was more familiar. It was like watching a fire instead of dancing through one.
It ended all too soon, but as soon as I pulled back Lucas rested his forehead against mine and looked deep into my eyes.
“Natalie, you’re so beautiful,” he whispered. I closed my eyes. This was all too close to sounding like a Disney princess romance, and I would have none of it. Lucas chuckled at my reaction, and then, as if reading my mind, said: “Accept it sweetie. Your life is turning into a ninety-nine cents romance novel.” I groaned, and he gently rubbed my shoulder.
“It’s okay. When they make the movie version you might be played by Dakota Fanning,” he said. I couldn’t help but laugh and shove his shoulder.
“Dakota Fanning? Really?” I replied. We basked in the comfortable warmth of shared laughter for a while, but when it faded we went right back to kissing. It was wonderful. Murmuring a few sweet nothings, he led me to the couch, where we laid down to sleep. He wrapped his arm around my waist, planting a sweet kiss on my cheek.
“Nat, you want to hear a bedtime story?” he whispered. I could already feel the softness of sleep digging it’s fingers into my body, so I let out a tiny hum. Beside me, Lucas nudged himself up on one elbow, careful not to jostle me.
“Once upon a time, there was a lonely boy who was ever so awesome at video games. He was super cool in just about every way and dashingly handsome. Sound familiar?” he teased. I smiled in the darkness, letting a breathy snicker.
“I’d say he was about twelve years old when the most amazing thing ever happened to him. And that amazing thing was a moving to a small town and meeting the most beautiful twelve year old girl that ever lived,” Lucas paused to let his lips brush over my ear for a moment. “Her name was Natalie.” I shivered. The way he whispered my name was church like, as if my name was super important. It was surreal to hear such a thing. “She wasn’t like the other girls and she didn’t talk to most of anybody, but she was brilliantly smart and beat him in the school spelling bee that year with the word ‘equanimity.’” We both chuckled at this. I remember the day clear as fresh spring water, the victorious feeling I got from the look on his face and the argument we had afterward in the hallway, my medal still around my neck. I remembered going home and scribbling some nonsense in my diary about him. “Now this boy, well, he was mean to this girl. He used to put gum in her hair, as cliché as it is, and told everyone in middle school she was a lesbian. Which, might I add, she is obviously not.” Another soft kiss. My blood boiled a little at this, but with more tenderness in my heart. Middle school had been rough, and because of Lucas’s rumor none of the girls would get dressed near me at gym. But in retrospect, I was lucky, because that same year a group of girls who dressed opposite the room of me had their pictures taken by a camera phone and posted on Facebook. If I had been near them, my awkward teenage body would be all over the internet.
|Caleb Landry Jones||as Lucas|
|Mindy Sterling||as Natalie's Mother|
|Dennis Quaid||as Natalie's Father|