I looked away. I felt like a book being read out loud. How did he know such things about me in a short period of time? Was I that easy to read?

Dwayne’s hand gently lifted up my chin, making me look at him. We stayed like that for a few seconds before he spoke.

“There’s nothing wrong with being cheerful, Dakota,” he said quietly.

My knees turned wobbly. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I couldn’t believe that he was the one who said it. Those words were exactly what I wanted to hear, but not from Dwayne. Honestly, I wanted to hear them from Aaron.

“Well, there’s really nothing to be cheerful about, is there?” I replied, with a raised eyebrow.

“There is now . . .” he trailed off as he leaned closer, his lips just inches away from mine.

I closed my eyes. In any second, I would get my first kiss. I wondered if there would be sparks. I don’t really believe in those, but who knows? I wouldn’t know until I experienced it. Besides, what could I possibly lose?

I couldn’t wait for Aaron. I already accepted the fact that we weren't meant to be. I had to move on. I had to –

“Okay, sure, I’ll tell mom. Good night, Mrs. E!”

My eyes shot open. I turned my head towards the door, and at the guy who just came out closing the door behind him. He froze when he saw Dwayne and me. At our position, it was obvious that we were about to kiss. But he quickly composed himself.

Dwayne followed my gaze. He slowly put down his hand. Then, he turned his body toward the door.

“Good evening, Aaron,” said Dwayne politely.

To my surprise, Aaron smiled crookedly.

“It is a beautiful evening, isn’t it?” agreed Aaron brightly.

I could swear I saw his lips twitch. Ha. I caught him. He was just pretending. Why didn’t that surprise me?

“Not as beautiful as Dakota,” said Dwayne, glancing sideways at me.

I blushed. I wasn't really used to this kind of cheesiness.

“I don’t know,” shrugged Aaron, his eyes scanning my whole body and stopping at my eyes. “She’s prettier when she’s not trying to look beautiful.”

If it was possible, my face turned redder than before. I tried to keep my eyes away from Aaron but they just kept on coming back to his bluish green ones. That was when I noticed that there was something about him that was different. But I didn’t know what it was. And I was dead curious to know what.

“As the saying goes, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’” said Dwayne lightly. “We just have a different view on things.”

“Thank God on that,” muttered Aaron under his breath.

There was silence as they stared at each other.

“Well,” began Dwayne, turning to me, “this is good night.” He took my hand to his lips and tenderly gave it a peck.

Whoa. He was like an old-fashioned gentleman.

After that, he gave Aaron a nod and went to his car. I watched him drive away. When he turned on the corner, I sighed. I turned around and found Aaron watching me.

“What?” I asked, annoyed at how that stare was making me feel.

“You look really different,” he answered, as though disapprovingly.

“Last time I check, there’s nothing wrong with looking different.”

“There is when you’re trying to be what you’re not. This” (he gestured to my whole body) “is not you.”

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