“I like that you suck at French,” I tell him.
He slides his chair closer to mine and tries to read the entire menu.
And he doesn’t do half bad.
He figures out what he wants and attempts to order. And I maybe have to correct his pronunciation a few times, but he does well.
And it is the most adorable thing ever when he orders for both of us.
As Grandpa would say, His Momma done raised him right.
Damn, did she ever.
When the waiter takes our menus away, Aiden holds my hand and gazes into my eyes.
I’ve never felt so important or like what I had to say was so important. Like, you know how lots of times you’re talking to a guy and his eyes are looking everywhere but at you? Then he will glance back at your face, to verify that you are still talking; then he’ll look down and stare at your boobs—to make sure they are still intact, I think. And then his eyes sort of get that dazed look, and he continues to stare at your boobs, and you want to scream, Uh, hello, I’m speaking with my mouth, not my cleavage; you wanna just occasionally glance up?
Aiden’s not doing that. I have his full attention.
And he sure freaking has mine.
I also realize that his pull on me is not as shocking.
Maybe it’s like when you go stay up in the mountains and get acclimated to the altitude. I’m sort of being acclimated to his magnetism. I’m not quite as tongue-tied as I usually am around him, and I’m able to think more clearly.
He flashes his smile at me. “Why are you glad I suck at French?
“It makes you more human,” I stupidly say. Oh jeez, I’m an idiot. “I mean, uh, I wouldn’t have gotten to come here for dinner if you, um, didn’t, right?”
Clearly the air is still thin here at the top and is affecting my brain.
He reaches out and pushes my hair behind my ear, like he’s done it a million times. “I just noticed your earrings. Love the feathers and how they match your shoes. ”
“Thanks. You look quite handsome tonight yourself. Whoever tailored your suit is quite talented. It fits you meticulously. ”
“I wanted to look nice for you. So, I know you and Dawson are complicated, but what about Dallas? You were kissing him in the video. ”
“Dallas and I are very not complicated. We’re friends. We smoke together sometimes and then we kiss. It’s no big deal. ”
“You don’t think kissing is a big deal? I think our kisses are a pretty big deal. ”
He runs his thumb across the palm of my hand, causing me to shiver.
The waiter interrupts our kissing conversation when he sets down our appetizers. A traditional French onion soup and sautéed escargot in a mushroom and red wine sauce.
“It’s too bad we don’t have a nice Bordeaux to go with this,” he says. “When we go to France, we’re drinking wine with every meal. ”
“Have you ever been to France?”
“Once, to Paris. Do you like to travel? I love it. ”
“Yeah, I do. I like to see the different cultures, experience the foods, see the sights, the countryside. Where all have you been?”
“Hmm. Let’s see. Basic stuff like Disney World. New York. Chicago. Then Venice. London. Hawaii. Berlin. Amelia Island. Cayman Islands, St. Kitts and St. Croix. ”
“What did you think of St. Croix?”
“It’s like paradise. I’d love to go back, but my parents are on this kick where they won’t go back to the same place until they have been everywhere on their list. I’d love to go back just to relax, though. ”
“Maybe I could arrange that. ” I can’t help it. I’m smiling big.
“And how are you going to do that?”
“Good friends of ours have a place there. They don’t go very often, so I can use it whenever I want. ”
I nod. “Okay, so, this is way out of left field . . . ”
I stop myself.
Keatyn, what are you thinking? You’re not making plans with another boy only to be let down. You’ll go to St. Croix by yourself for Thanksgiving break. You’ll have fun relaxing. You’ll work on loving yourself.
“Um, never mind. So, this week rehearsals start getting serious. I can’t believe in a few weeks we’ll be performing in front of a live audience. ”
He holds a spoonful of soup up to my mouth. I’m trying not to swoon over the fact that he’s feeding me.
“Don’t do that,” he says.
“Don’t do what?”
“What you just did. You were going to ask me something. Something that you were excited about, but then it’s like you got scared to ask me. ”
I soak an escargot in wine sauce and eat it.
“This is all really good,” I say, avoiding the subject.
“Boots . . . ”
“Can you read my mind?”
“No, but I sure wish I could. I’d love to know what you’re thinking. Tell me. ”
I bob my head around like an idiot, trying to think up a lie. But, as usual when I’m with Aiden, all that’s in my head is cotton candy.
“I’m going there for Thanksgiving break. I was going to invite you. Like, the place is big. Peyton and your family could come too. But it was a silly idea. I’m sure you have plans and stuff. ”
“We’ve always gone to my grandma’s for dinner, but she passed away last year, so I’m not sure what our plans are. Why were you hesitant to ask?”
“Um, well, it’s, like, a month away, and who knows if we’ll even still be friends then. ”
He tilts his head and gives me those green eyes. Those eyes that see straight through me. “Boots, we’re gonna be a lot more than friends by then. ”
Great. More. As in we’ll be sleeping together.
“I doubt it,” I say disappointedly.
“Yeah, I should probably take into account your track record. ”
I can’t believe he just said that!
I look down at the tablecloth, suddenly feeling like I could cry.
He leans his forehead against mine. When I look up, he bats his dark brown eyelashes at me and smiles. “You know I’m just teasing you. Come here. ”
I don’t move, so he puts his hand under my chin, pushing it up, straight to his waiting lips.
Once again, our kiss is so simple, so chaste, our lips touching, barely moving.
He kisses me for a few seconds then cruelly pulls his perfectly-formed lips away from me. “I’d really like to know what you’re thinking right now. ”
“I’m thinking no one has ever kissed me the way you do,” I answer honestly. And surprisingly. Why the hell did I just say that?!
He stares at me for a few beats of my heart, then says, “So, we have this Greek weekend coming up. You do realize that since we’re on the Social Committee we have an obligation to be together the entire weekend to make sure everything goes as planned?”
I squint my eyes at him, trying to gauge if he’s serious. “I didn’t know that. ”
“Oh, yes, I had it written into the bylaws. So Friday night after the game, you have to sit with me at the movie and sing-along. Lame. ”
“It will be fun and you know it. ”