Chapter 4: Forgetting to Breathe

I sighed, and adjusted my hair in the mirror again. My hair was gently curling on its own, but I still wasn’t happy with it.

“Maybe I should just stay home,” I sighed.

“Andy,” My mother reasoned. “You need to go out and have a social life…”

“I can do that when Lily is a little older. What if she wakes up and I’m not here?” I asked, dreading the thought.

“She won’t. And I’ll distract her.” My mother promised. “She won’t even know you’re gone.”

I sighed again and turned back to the mirror. I had chosen a simple blue dress with a pretty white bow around the waist. It stood out perfectly on my pale skin. “I haven’t been on a date in like four years!” I sighed.

“It’s not like you forget. I never forgot.” My mother reasoned.

I raised my eyebrows questionably at my mother. “Please tell me you haven’t been dating.”

She smiled and shrugged. “There have been a couple of suitors over the years…”

The doorbell rang suddenly, the noise erupting through the house.

“I’ll get it!” I said a little too eagerly. “And by the way, this conversation is far from over!” I shouted over my shoulder.

I nearly tripped heading down the stairs in my heels. I pulled open the door a little too eagerly, like a teenager too prepared for her first date.

“Hi!” I breathed quickly, trying to mask the fact that I was a little out of breath.

Isaac stood in front of me, looking incredibly handsome in a pinstriped suit, a bright blue tie and the faintest amount of hair gel to tame his curls. He grinned seeing me, “Hey, you look lovely.” He bent and softly kissed my cheek.

I felt a hot blush rise in my cheeks, I smiled. “Where are we going?” I asked desperate to hide my blush.

“Wait a second, don’t I get to come in and meet your parents?” He teased. He lifted his hand in a wave to my mother. “Hi, Mrs. Davenport!”

My mother clicked her tongue and I turned to see her standing at the railing at the top of the stairs. “I never could break you kids out of that habit, could I? Please, call me Elaine!”

Isaac grinned at that.

I faked a laugh. “Okay, let’s go.”

I practically pushed him out the door and closed the door behind me.

Isaac laughed. “That was easier than I thought it would be. I imagined I would get the third degree or something from your mom.”

“I think she’s just happy to see me get out of the house.” I walked along side him toward his black SUV, which was parked on the side of the street. I sighed. “I haven’t been on a date in…. well, a while.”

He smiled and opened the passenger-side door for me, a gesture I wasn’t expecting from such an old friend. “Me either.”

I buckled my seat belt and balanced my white clutch on my lap, gently toying with a curled lock of my blonde hair as he climbed into the driver’s seat.

I waited silently until he started the car, and drove off onto the road before asking casually, “So, where are we going?”

“I made reservations at the Garden Palace…” He shot several quick glances in my direction, no doubt noticing my shocked expression. “What?” He asked with a smile.

“That place is really….” I paused to avoid using the word ‘expensive’, “Umm… fancy.”

He chuckled softly, “I know, but neither of us have been out in a while, so we might as well make it worth it.”

I returned his smile, coming to the swift realization that this wasn’t quite the ‘dinner date between friends’ that I had imagined.

~*~*~*~*~

Dinner had gone flawlessly. I had such a wonderful time with Isaac, I nearly forgot everything. All of the worries about money and finding a job seemed to gradually leave me, and I began to relax and have fun.

It was hard not to smile, as Isaac made jokes and easy conversation. I felt completely at ease with him, and I felt like he was truly paying attention to what I had to say.

When dinner was finished, I could sense that neither of us were ready to end the evening. I followed him outside the restaurant, and noticed the park across the street.

“Let’s go for a walk.” I urged. I took his arm and pulled him across the street, running to make it across the street between passing cars. He walked past me, through the wooden fence post to keep out motorists, and extended his arms to help me down a narrow slope of grass.

I worried about slipping in the wet dew, but the worry soon faded when he lifted me easily by the waist like I weighed nothing and placed me gently on the foot path.

I smiled in appreciation, shocked by his gentlemanly nature.

We walked in silence for a little while before he spoke again. “You know, I have to admit, I was a little worried about tonight.”

“Worried I might accidentally kill you and eat you or something?” I teased with a smile.

He laughed, “Well, there’s that… and well…” He chuckled nervously, rubbing the back of his neck, “I never told you—or anyone—this but… I’ve always… kind of had a crush on you. I mean, ever since we were kids…”

I smiled broadly, finding this unequivocally sweet. I had always spent so much time crushing on Taylor that I hadn’t noticed.

“I’m glad you came back, Andy.” He admitted.

Unable to find the right words to reply, I simply reached out and took his hand, interlacing his fingers with mine.

This brought a smile to his lips, as he raised my hand in his and gently brushed his lips across my knuckles.

I smiled up at him as we walked.

As we turned a corner on the dark foot path, I noticed the large pond in front of us.

The silver dollar shape of the moon reflected brilliantly in the dark waters of the pond. “Wow,” I breathed.

It had been a long time since I had witnessed something so inherently beautiful. I released his hand slowly and walked from the foot path, making my way toward the pond for a closer look.

The heels of my shoes sunk into the wet grass, making walking nearly impossible. I bent and quickly removed my shoes, walking barefoot toward the pond. I ignored the brisk wind that swept from the water to chill my flesh and send my skin rippling into goose bumps.

This night had been so perfect, it bordered on magical.

Isaac appeared behind me, I hadn’t heard him coming until I felt his suit jacket slip around my shoulders. I smiled, touched by another act of chivalry on his behalf, hugging his jacket around my shoulders tightly. It was warm and smelled of him, something that felt soothing and affectionate.

“God, isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?” I breathed.

“Yeah,” He replied softly. I could feel his eyes on me, and not on the moon.

I turned to him and smiled up at him. “This night has been so…” I couldn’t find the right words to complete the sentence. Nothing could have possibly explained how I felt. My heart was fluttering in my chest, and I was sure he could hear my heartbeat if he listened.

I reached for his arms and slowly pulled them around me, waiting in anticipation for him to kiss me.

He appeared to take the hint and leaned toward me. It seemed to take ages before I could feel his breath warm against mine.

I had forgotten to breathe entirely, but jumped in surprise as a large clap of thunder startled us both into casting our eyes upward. Lightening flashed around us, and in an instant the rain came down heavily upon us.

Still in his arms, I tossed my head backward and laughed.

His arms tightened around me, “Well, if that isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is…” He teased.

“So we’re a little wet?” I laughed. “No big deal.”

“You’ll ruin that pretty dress of yours,” He smirked.

Not normally one to worry over material goods, I nearly shrugged it off in the prospect of being kissed by Isaac. Then I remembered that the dress was in fact my mothers.

“You’re right,” I shouted over the falling rain. “Maybe we should call it a night.”

“Okay, come on!” He took my hand and together we ran toward the entrance through which we came.

Barefoot, my feet slid beneath me, causing me to stumble and laugh at his side.

When we reached the street, I paused to put my shoes on, already drenched with rain water. I glanced up at Isaac, his dress shirt was soaked through, his skin showing brightly through the white. His hair was loose, and hung sopping in his eyes. I couldn’t resist laughing at him. He was adorable.

“Hey!” He cried in mock disbelief. “Come on, there’s no time for your shoes!” In one swift motion, he swept me off my feet and carried me across the street to his car.

I was laughing hysterically by the time he opened the passenger’s side door and slid me inside. While he jogged around to the driver’s side, I slipped my wet feet back into my shoes.

“God, it’s really coming down!” He grinned, pushing the car into drive and turning off onto the busy street.

I laughed. “I’m soaked!”

“You look like a drowned rat!” He teased, reaching across me and opening the glove compartment. “There are some Kleenex in there…”

I grinned and reached for the Kleenex. “I do not look like a drowned rat!”

“Yes you do.” He smirked. “A very cute rat, actually.”

I laughed, and with a dry wad of Kleenex, reached across and gently pat his forehead dry, pushing his wet curls aside to do so. “Better?” I asked, my fingers gently brushing the smooth skin of his forehead.

“Much.” He smiled at me.

I sat back in my seat with a heavy sigh. After all of the time I had invested in someone who never truly loved me back, it felt so surreal to be with someone who could potentially love me. I wasn’t entirely sure if I could love him, or if I was ready to love him just yet. But it was worth a try.

“What are you thinking about?” He asked gently, drawing my attention back to the car. We were already approaching my mother’s house, I could see her car in the driveway.

“I’m just thinking about tonight…. And how perfect it was.”

He smiled. “Well, I don’t know if it was perfect…”

“Name one thing that wasn’t perfect about it.” I challenged as he pulled the car to a gentle stop.

“The weather.” He supplied quickly.

I laughed. “Okay, I’ll give you that one…”

“Come on, I’ll walk you to your door.” He climbed out of the car. I opened the passenger side door before he had a chance to, and followed him toward the door.

I wrapped my arms around myself and remembered his suit jacket.

“Oh, here.” I replied, slipping it from my shoulders and giving it back.

“Thanks.” He chuckled, draping it over his arm.

I paused briefly, “You know, I meant what I said before… I haven’t had this much fun in… god, I can’t even remember.”

Isaac smiled. “You mean chasing after a rambunctious two year old isn’t fun?”

I laughed. “Well, in a different way…”

“Can… can I call you tomorrow?” He asked, almost shyly.

“I’d like that.”

“Me too.” He smiled.

I suddenly wished the night wouldn’t end. But it was getting late, and I had to be up with Lily at whatever ungodly hour she chose to wake at.

Isaac leaned closer to me, and on instinct my eyes fluttered closed. His warm fingers brushed my cheek softly and drift into my hair.

I felt his lips against mine, and I stepped toward him for more.

His kiss was soft and assured, but not desperate to lead to more. He was tender and gentle, and felt right. Unlike his brother who’s kisses usually led to one thing, I felt comfortable and at ease in Isaac’s arms.

“I should let you get inside.” He whispered softly, his voice close to my ear. “I’ll call tomorrow.”

“Okay,” I breathed, still stunned. “Good night.”

“Night.” He smiled.

I opened the door and slipped inside, closing the door tightly behind me. I gasped for breath, having forgotten to breath a moment before and leaned against the door with the biggest smile on my face.

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