Ceiling of Stars

This is the story of Quinn and Charlie’s first date together.

 

When I look over at her, she is staring at the ceiling of stars above us. Once again, I am reminded why I love her so much, it’s the curiosity she possessed. It wasn’t outward, she never really asked what she was wondering about. It was in her brilliant eyes. The way she looked at everything, and I could tell by her silence, that this was what she was doing now. 

It’s silent except for the chirping frogs and insects, who share this sky with us. Then, a rustling as Quinn turns to face me. She smiles her quirky smile, and places a cool hand on my face. In the darkness of the night I almost missed it, but she was crying. I open my mouth to ask what is wrong, but I stop myself. Her silent tears tell me she doesn’t want to be asked, and her eyes tell me I already know, because I feel the same thing she does…It’s the beauty and feathery feeling the night gave her. And I close my eyes to replay what had happened in the hours leading to this moment.

*******

My palms are shaky, and I feel my stomach knotting from nervousness. Oh why, why did I do this? But I know why. Because, Quinn Piper is the most gorgeous girl I’ve ever laid my eyes on. And, I’m terrible at keeping myself together when cute girls ask me out. Considering how it never ever happens to a girl like me. Ever. So I jumped at the chance. And here I was, waiting by the window for her, ready to open the door the second there was a knock.

And here, five minutes later was the knock. I open the door and there she is, I can feel the heat rise to my face. I don’t want to do this. I wish I had just said no. I didn’t, and here I am. A nervous wreck in front of the girl of my dreams. 

I walk outside, closing the door behind me. She grabs my hand and she walks me to her car. When we get in she turns the music off and looks at me smiling. God, I love her smile, just seeing it calms me down, I’m not so shaky anymore and I relax a little into the seat. “So, any ideas on where we should go?” And just like that I’m nervous again. I say the first thing that pops into my head, “well, there is this really nice place I go to at the park, but…um, it’s really out of the way…” I trail off and look down at my hands, I painted my nails just for tonight. Which contrasts horrendously with the jeans and flannel I’m wearing. 

“Sounds perfect. Lead the way!” So I tell her the way to get there and when we park she sighs and stares out the window for a little bit. Then, movement. She soars out of the car faster than I thought one could get out of a car, and runs into the forest.

I stare at where she was sitting just a second ago, stunned, then throw off my seatbelt and run after her.

I’m not in any shape to run, and get winded fast. I don’t go on many dates, but I don’t think this is how they are supposed to go. Once I catch my breath, I start after her again.

When I get to a clearing there she is. Sprawled out on a picnic blanket, looking expectantly at me. I crawl into the blanket trying to calm my rapid heartbeat. “How do you…run…so fast?” I’m wheezing, which isn’t very flattering, but she is still here, so I’ll take that as a good sign.

“I just do a lot of running in my free time.” Well of course she does. I mean how could perfect get any better? “What did you have for lunch?” I wasn’t expecting that, but what could it hurt?

“Turkey and cheese sandwich with a bag of chips. You?” And here it was, the awkward silence, and not the peaceful kind. The extraordinarily awkward kind. I look at her and then my feet, then back at her. She is holding out her hand, but more to the sky than to me.

Then I notice it. Rain drops. Almost invisible they are so small, land on my arm. What a way to end a night. I pull off my jacket and give it to her, she takes it but holds it first, before putting it on. “Should we go? I mean, we can stay if you want to, I don’t mind.” She doesn’t answer, but she does stand up and holds my hand, pulling me with her. 

By the time we get to the car, it’s pouring and we’re soaking wet. She stops, still holding my hand as we stand there. Then she turns. She closes her eyes, and moves up closer to my face. She stops. An inch away from my face, and looks at me. She lets go if my hand and we get into the car. “So, what next?” I didn’t know after a failed kiss in the rain scene she wanted to continue this disastrous date. But I had an idea. 

“Back to my house, please.” 

“Will do.” And we head to my house, and I hope I had the right thing on my mind because I really don’t want to mess this up.

*******

When we get to my house we run inside and I show her where the guest shower is, and bring her some of my clothes, which I know will hang loosely on her. When I hear the water running I head to my bathroom, where I strip out of my soaking clothes and slip into the shower to warm up.

I turn off the water and step out. I wrap the towel around me and look for my change of clothes. They aren’t where I left them, so I open the door and run to my closet, but my only clean pajamas aren’t there. I face my bed and see Quinn laying there, with my change of clothes in her hands. I walk over and she smiles innocently at me, as I grab my clothes. 

I quickly change, then tell her to stay on the bed while I get the stuff for my made-up-on-the-spot-idea. 

I come back with two grilled cheeses, a blanket, my iPod, and my sister’s dream light. I lay the blanket on the floor then search for the “nature’s song” soundtrack on my iPod. I finally find it, turn out the lights, turn on the dream light, and press play as we lie there eating our sandwiches.  

Quinn looks up, as if looking at real stars. Then she turns to me. Eyes glistening with tears, smiling her quirky smile, and whispers, “ this is the most beautiful moment anyone has ever given me.” She closes her eyes and I lean in, I gently lay a kiss on her soft lips, covered in crumbs and tasting like butter. It is quick but I think it’s all we need.

 

Time passes and she is asleep, cradled in my arms. And soon, I fall asleep too.

 

 

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