The movie outing came sooner than I expected. I had been expecting the days to drag on till weekend but it was nothing of that sort.
Mostly because I was spending every minute of the day with Rogue. I know, even I couldn't believe it until weekend arrived, which meant we have spent one whole week together. We did all sorts of things like milking the cow, cleaning poop and pigging out with the pigs. Okay, we did other nice things like walking on fields which were permissible, horse-riding, making Oscar-winning sculptures of hay together, sitting by the lake and chatting, more horse-riding, etc., etc. We wouldn't even realize how evening would fall and we would part, to meet again at sunrise.
After his apology and working together for the swing, we just seemed to click together. Everything became calm and comfortable between us. (Except the moments when it felt like my heart would burst).
I discovered many things about Rogue, like how he was very particular about everything, how he loved reading books in a quiet place, how his eyes would slightly close which he smiled, how he was an amazing painter. That's a story worth sharing. The tree near the lake had a tree house, which Rogue built on his own. It was a lovely little box, built really well for an amateur. I had stumbled upon it by mistake when I climbed the tree (please don't mistake me for a monkey…) to get a better view of the lake when Rogue was off to run some errand.
It was built a bit higher, and was hidden well due to the dense foliage of leaves. I could feel that it was certainly meant to be hidden. The door opened to a cozy little room with a desk and a stool. The desk was strewn with paper, sketchbooks, paints, brushes and pencils. There were several canvases in the room. I inspected each of them with utmost awe and fascination. There were paintings of sceneries, like that of the lake which was visible from the small window of the tree house, animals in the barn like Gabriel and Rose as well. There were some sketches of Frosch put up on the walls and some people I couldn't recognize, probably his family. There was a canvas stand with a canvas hidden by a cloth. I was just about to take it off when a sudden bang of the door stopped me, and there was Rogue, panting a bit, as if he'd run a mile.
"What are you doing here?" he asked. He looked very bewildered.
"I discovered this tree house when I climbed up for a better view of the lake. I was just looking about. I suppose this is your turf." I said, feeling as a trespasser.
He simply nodded.
"I didn't know you could paint. You're amazing," I gave a small smile. I really meant it, but suddenly I was feeling eager to get out.
"Thanks." He replied plainly, as expected. Then with unexpected eagerness he asked, "You didn't see that one did you?"
He was pointing at the canvas stand covered with the cloth, the one I was just about to unveil, "No I didn't." I assured.
"Okay." Rogue seemed to relax. "Come on, I've brought some cookies." And we headed down.
I never mentioned the tree house again, and neither did he (mostly because I forgot about it). I suppose that canvas was not meant to be seen by anyone. Or me. I wondered what it could be, but I didn't ponder much.
We planned to go to the town by early afternoon through the forest route he showed me. After that we could grab some lunch and then head back the same way. Rogue told me that he would handle all the work in the barn in the morning, so that let me to get ready decently and wear clothes other than dungarees, jeans, and shorts. But I couldn't wear clothes that made it look like we were going on a date because it wasn't a date.
I laid out two dresses, a plain blue one with embroidery and a green one with printed patterns. I was about to do inky, pinky, ponky, when I heard a knock on the door. I turned to see Gray's head poking into the room.
"You busy?" he asked. "I just needed some help with starting the washing machine. Ur asked me to do the laundry today." He explained.
"No problem, I'll do it before leaving." I said and then bit my tongue. I didn't want to tell anyone about today's outing.
"Oh? You are going somewhere today?" Gray raised his brow and then immediately proceeded to enter my room shamelessly. On top of that he was shirtless.
"Hey! Don't enter a girl's room like that! And why aren't you wearing a shirt!? Have some delicacy, will you?" I protested.
Gray ignored me and surveyed the room until his eyes landed on the clothes I had laid out on the bed.
"Looks like my sister has been invited to a date! Let me guess who the lucky guy is…Rogue?" he feigned innocence.
I blushed, "Gray, shut up it's not a date okay?"
"Look at how she's blushing! It's definitely a date!" he wooted and whistled like how kids would in school when a girl and a boy would be paired for some activity. I proceeded to push him out of my room.
"Out of my room, right now!"
"Don't you have any other options? I think a nice light shade of pink would suit you." He said seriously.
"No, and thanks, it does suit me." I pushed him towards the door.
Then he pointed at the blue one and said, "That one's nice, wear that."
"Okay, thanks for your advice, goodbye." And I shut the door.
"Don't forget lip gloss and breathe mints!" he said from other side.
"Shut up!" I yelled and I could hear him snicker all the way down. Stupid Gray was now making me feeling flustered and embarrassed for no reason at all. I was definitely not wearing the blue one. Lip gloss and breathe mints? I would have smacked him if he had said that to my face.
I ended up wearing the blue dress, because it really suited me better than the green one. I guess I should thank Gray on this one. Not.
I was waiting at the driveway for Rogue. He arrived after a few minutes and apologized for being late, like the gentleman he is. Rogue was very chivalrous. It was evident from the very fact that he came to help me from my awkward situation at Clover Club, and besides that, he would always give me a hand when I need it (sometimes, literally), he would wait and hold the door for me sometimes when I lag behind him, and help me down the horse and stuff like that. It warmed my heart whenever I recalled it.
We walked from the forest, this time not feeling as indifferent I was last time he led me through this place. We had a light chat, mostly focusing on walking, but I couldn't help but focus on how we were going out together. It was making me feel stupidly happy even though we've hung out before in the farm. Stupid brain of mine.
This time I got to climb those stairs on the beautiful waterfalls. It was the kind of beauty you could only feel when you are seeing it. I almost had the urge to take a dip in the water, but then I remembered that I can't swim. Yeah, you can go ahead and laugh, but I don't think there would be a Titanic movie once again.
Soon enough, we reached the town. Clover was a lively little town. It had changed a lot since my childhood. There were very few cars, and being a town, there was a lot of hustling and bustling of people. We passed the market place which had many stalls as well as shops. The shops sold some really trendy stuff and I decided to go shopping one of the days, probably on my own. The food stalls were making fresh fried food stuffs which were making my mouth water. We entered a building called 'Clover Cinema' with the same logo as the club.
"It's Clover again…" I muttered.
"What?" Rogue tipped his head towards me. I was surprised he caught it since I almost whispered it.
"Nothing! I just thought how everything is named 'Clover'. Like Clover Club, Clover Cinema." He really had some super-hearing powers there.
He thought for a moment and then nodded, "Oh yes, you're right. The town is called Clover, after all." He agreed.
We still had fifteen minutes till the show began so Rogue asked me, "Do you want to buy popcorn?" Upon agreeing, we stood in the line for the food counter. When it was our turn, we both said together, "Two popcorn, please."
The lady on the counter smiled, "Would you like anything else with it?"
And once again, we said together, "One Fanta," I felt myself blush as we looked at each other in surprise.
The counter lady laughed, "Oh my, synchronization and same choices! Two popcorn and two Fanta. There is a special discount for couples; would you like to avail of it?"
Our immediate answer was, "No!"
Ugh, why do the counter-ladies assume things like that? We divided the money and took off from the counter. I couldn't look at Rogue in the face after that for some reason. I sneaked a glance at him, and even Rogue, seemed a bit hazed about the whole thing. I suddenly noticed that the place was full of couples, and that was probably why the counter-lady asked us that question. That just made everything more awkward. Was today some Valentine's day in Clover?
We proceeded to sit inside the theatre. We were in the central row and the seat was pretty comfortable. However, my thoughts were creating so much discomfort that I almost considered screaming at the top of my lungs and running out right now like a banshee. I could openly blame it all on Gray and the counter lady.
Lip gloss, breathe mints, couple.
My thoughts precisely included that and being overly-conscious about small facts like how my hand bumped with Rogue's, how close we were sitting and how close our faces would be if we were to face each other.
I really, really hate myself. I smacked myself mentally but I still couldn't get the thoughts out of my head. So I chewed on my popcorn and prayed to all the Gods and spirits in the world that I can concentrate on the movie.
My prayers were answered when the movie started and I was able to relax and forget about my thoughts. I enjoyed the movie and the content expression on Rogue's face, once the movie was over, told me that he felt the same.
"I really think one of my favorites will always be the whole cycle rush scene!" I laughed. "Especially when Suzanne pulled Philp on the backseat of the cycle and just dashed forward with Philip screaming behind!" I just couldn't stop gushing over the film. It was my favorite one after all.
"Yes, it was amusing." Rogue smiled, recalling the scene.
"The first three parts are so amusing and light-hearted…I can't believe how the theme got dark around the third part." I sighed.
"I didn't expect that either." Rogue said.
"But still, it has retained its good elements and the story is just becoming more and more interesting!" I smacked my hands together in excitement. I could only discuss my favorite books and movies with Levy, my best friend since probably kindergarten. I wish she could come along with me, but right now, she's probably enjoying on the beaches of Paradise Island resort.
"That's true." He replied in his minimal way. I then noticed that we were already on the streets walking.
"Oh. Where are we heading to now?" I asked, feeling stupid for noticing that now.
"8Island. It's a good restaurant, don't worry." Rogue assured.
I continued talking as we made our way to the restaurant. It was a nice old diner which had maintained its old retro style, but the menu was filled with all types of food ranging from pizza, pasta, soup, noodles, smoothies and many more. The owner was this old man called Yajima. He was a kind man who was of Rogue's acquaintance. He also knew my parents, as he almost mistook me for Layla, my mother. I did resemble my mother in many ways. Mr. Yajima told me that Layla was always a regular here, and she even helped him by working at the diner sometimes. He said that the meal was on the house, but I insisted to pay.
I continued talking in an animated sort of fashion, and Rogue continued to hold his patience and hear me out. Now that I think about it, I think I got too carried away. After we ate delicious food to our hearts content, "Thank you so much for taking me for the movie! I had tons of fun. I am sorry if I sort of bored you with my non-stop blabbering." I said a bit apologetically in the end.
"Please, don't apologize." Rogue said, sipping the last of his lime soda. "Besides, it's fun to hear you talk." He said with a straight face.
"Okay." I suddenly felt flustered and embarrassed. I didn't expect him to say something like that. He just threw me off track and I stopped talking for a while. We divided the money once again and I promised Mr. Yajima that I would come back again.
Once we were out, the mid-afternoon sun was still glaring, forcing everybody to remember that it was summer time and keep their umbrellas open, and sunblock on.
"I'm full." I said unintelligently.
"Me too." Rogue said.
"So, shall we head home then?" I said tilting my head.
"Okay." He simply replied. In my gut, I could feel an impeding disappointment as our 'outing' was soon coming to an end. I was starting to wish if we could spend more time together, but I was feeling selfish now.
We were walking when I noticed Rogue lag behind. I turned to see him standing behind, his fists clenched. "Rogue?" I called. His eyes seemed to have a new shine in it.
"Lucy," I couldn't get over the feeling that fell over me when he called my name. "Do you have any plans for this evening?"
"Nothing in particular, I guess." Whom was I kidding? I literally have nothing to do.
"Then, do you want to hang out a bit more?" Rogue asked.
And that was the actual beginning of our fun day out. The day before us seemed to be renewed with excitement and freshness, loaded with a lot of time to enjoy. 'A bit more' was a bit of an understatement as Rogue led me through the town, basically giving me a tour, even better than the official tour guides out there. He took me to Kardia Cathedral which was a building made of glass and had a breath-taking view of the city from the terrace, the Clover Lake was a tranquil refuge with the delighting sight of swans, the Clover University campus where Rogue was studying where there were big fields of grass, making it look like more of a park and I learned that Rogue was studying a grade above me, making him the same age as Gray.
We headed to Clover Library, with Rogue telling me about the subjects he had taken. In turn, I explained him what I studied back in my place.
While we were walking on the streets, I noticed a bakery, or probably a cafè, since there were a couple of tables lined up with cute parasols over it.
I thought of buying something for Gray, since he had helped me a bit.
"Do you think we could stop by the bakery for a moment?" I asked Rogue.
Strangely, Rogue's expression turned a bit surprised, "Why?"
"I wanted to buy some cake for my cousin." I said pointing at the cafe cum bakery. "Don't worry, I won't take much time," I said as I hurried ahead.
It seemed to me that he was a bit reluctant for some reason. The board read, 'Cherry on the top'. I pushed the door, and a bell rang, as it would it the old-style stores.
It was a cute little place. I took an instant liking to the ambience. There were tables arranged and couples, youngsters as well as some working people were huddled against their tables, creating the steady sound of talking along with soothing music being played in the background. The walls of the café were strewn with paintings of flowers and occasionally some random comics. I walked to the counter and took a long glance at the cakes displayed.
Rogue, who was acting very suspiciously, kept his hands in the pockets of his waistcoat and kept his back to me, almost like he was hiding behind me. Though, I doubted he was much covered, because I was a foot shorter than him.
After I decided on the cake, I rang the bell on the counter, since no one was present.
A lady with short black hair and bright green eyes appeared shortly, a beautiful smile adorned on her face, "Yes, how can I help you young lady?"
"I would like two pieces of Fresh Cream Hazelnut cake, please," I said, pointing at from the glass.
"Would you like to have it here or parcel?" She asked.
"Anything else to go with the cakes? We just baked fresh cookies," she said excitedly. "The rainbow cream cake is our speciality!"
I could smell the unmistakable aroma of cocoa and even though my stomach was full, I had the temptation to try some of them. I could take them parcel or maybe share them with Rogue later. Everything looked delicious here.
"Okay, I'll have some cookies as well." I decided.
"Alright!" she typed a few buttons on the cash machine. "That would be 200 Jewels, please," the tray of the machine slid open and coins dropped out of it, falling all over the place.
"Ugh, this thing needs to be repaired soon," The lady groaned. I bent down to pick up the coins, and so did Rogue. While doing this, our foreheads bumped. He murmured an apology and handed me the coins and I proceeded to give it to the lady. She instantly beamed at me, "Thank you so much, young lady!"
"Oh, no problem," I waved my hand. For some reason, Rogue was still crouched on the ground. I was just about to ask him what was wrong when the bell of the shop rang and I saw a group of friends enter in noisily. They stopped on seeing me. Or rather, on seeing Rogue.
"Rogue! What are you doing there? I thought you had a date!" A blonde haired dude asked grinning. Rogue's face reddened. Wait; did he just say a date?
"Rogue?" The lady on the counter called suspiciously. Rogue jumped up straight.
"There you are!" The lady said disapprovingly. "I've been waiting all afternoon!"
Rogue finally turned, a he looked a bit flustered and nervous. I could only think how adorable he looked.
"Well, I did text you." Rogue said hesitantly.
"Well, I didn't see it. You promised to give me a hand this afternoon! You know that this is festival time and so many people pour in! And our Wendy is on a holiday today!" The lady spread out her arms.
"Aw, don't worry Mrs. Cheney! We're all ready to give a hand!" The blonde guy said cheerfully. All the others in the group made sounds in affirmative.
"Why, thank you, Sting, but you all are Rogue's friends, and I simply cannot make you all work for free!"
"Don't sweat it! Just give Rogue a break today, because he is on a date with-" Sting's eyes landed on me, but before he could say more, Rogue literally pounced on the guy and slapped his hand across his mouth.
Rogue glared at his friend, "Don't. Say. Another. Word." The others seemed to be restraining a laugh.
The lady on the counter looked confused for a minute, "A date?" then she looked at me and realization dawned on her face, "Of course! You must be the girl!" her eyes sparkled as she pounced on me. She took my hands in hers and said, "What is your name, dear?"
All throughout the conversation, I was looking at them as if I were watching a tennis match. I simply mumbled, "I'm Lucy,"
"Oh what a pretty name for a beautiful girl! Lucy, you have gorgeous eyes! I'm Ella Cheney, Rogue's mother. Welcome to our sweet little café!" She said. "I am delighted to meet you! You see, Rogue rarely brings any of his girls here. Or for that matter any friend." I found myself feeling hot in the neck. I glanced at the corner of my eye and saw Rogue's cheeks turn red.
"Except us!" A big shirtless dude with green spiked hair bellowed proudly.
Mrs. Cheney nodded, "Yes, of course!"
"I don't bring them! They turn up!" Rogue defended like a child.
Mrs. Cheney ignored him, "Now, dear, I hope you wouldn't mind, if I borrowed your date for a while. You see I needed some help back in the bakery." She said sweetly.
I nodded my head, "I understand. No problem,"
She beamed at me, "Thank you so much, Lucy!"
"In the meantime, we'll look after our little guest!" A girl stepped forward from the group. She was a little shorter than me and had whitish blond hair, and pretty coco eyes.
"Thank you, Yukino. Now Rogue, if you will," Mrs. Cheney stepped aside and opened a little door on the counter. Rogue frowned like a kid whose lollipop had been snatched away. He glanced at me apologetically. He looked so cute, I couldn't help but smile. I nodded and gave him a thumbs up as an assurance.
After that I was immediately dragged over to a table near a full-glass window, overlooking the street outside. There were five of Rogue's friends who debated before three of the guys crammed themselves into one sofa while two of the girls sat on the other side, having more space and comfort compared to the boys. Awkwardly enough, I was made to sit on a high stool. As soon as they were seated, they turned to look at me.
"Well, let's get started! Hello, Lucy, I'm Sting. Sting Eucliffe," the blond guy said as if he were some local celebrity, flashing me a toothy grin. So he was the guy who was dared to dance with the bartender! He reminded me of one of my close friends back in school.
"I am Rufus Lore." He looked like he had popped out from a history textbook or had just walked out from a play. He had long golden hair tied up with a ribbon and wore strange clothes of your local historical merchant.
"Orga," the buff green-haired dude gave me a salute. For unknown reasons, he was shirtless and looked like he was ready to jump into a pool.
"I'm Yukino!" the girl with the whitish blonde hair introduced. She looked the most normal out of all of them.
And the last one was the girl I recognized from Clover Club, the one who had dragged Rogue off, "I'm Minerva Orland," she smiled. They all looked at me expectantly for some reason.
I smiled nervously, "H-Hello, I'm Lucy."
"Yes, we already know," Yukino laughed.
"Ah, I'm sorry," I scratched my head nervously. I really don't know why I was feeling nervous. Is it because I was being watched? I have no clue. I decided that was enough of stupidness from me and cracked a joke, "I come from Magnolia. Do not worry; I come in peace. Peace be with you."
They just continued staring at me. Crap, I actually said something stupider. Or maybe I offended them and now they were judging me. I was surprised as they suddenly burst out into fits of laughter.
"That was a good one!" Orga laughed the loudest.
"Did you see the look on her face?!" Sting clutched his stomach.
"It shall be recorded in my memory," Rufus chuckled.
"She's really cute!" both Yukino and Minerva said in unison. I figured that I was being the brunt of the joke, but I laughed anyway, because I must admit, that was lame.
Soon enough, we launched into a discussion of our own, asking each other's likes and dislikes, talking about college, sharing experiences, like we were old friends meeting after a long time. I noticed that we were attracting a lot of attention, but I couldn't care less. The bell of the store went on chiming, as people kept entering in for snacks, a parcel or a cup of tea.
They bombarded me with a lot of questions about the city, but after having seen both, I said there aren't many differences.
"So I just told him, 'Stop being such a coward and get on with it!'" Sting was narrating a tale when somebody cleared their throat. There was Rogue, standing there in an apron, and holy peperoni; he looked hot. As much hot a guy could look in an apron, showing off his strong arms and hair tied up and sweaty forehead. I tried did my best to avoid staring, and hid behind the menu.
He pulled out a notepad, bent slightly and said, "May I take your order?"
I could swear that I was most probably looking like a tomato by now.
"Nah, send Wendy, she's sweeter." Sting waved his arm dismissively.
A tick appeared on the usually cool and composed face of Rogue, "She's not here, so deal with it,"
"Fine." Sting scanned absently through the menu, "One vanilla and butterscotch mini sundae."
"One golden lemonade sparkles," Rufus said, making me wonder about the unusual name.
"One heavy metal ice-cream bowl," Orga said as if it were his daily thing.
"I'll have one Orange soda," Yukino announced.
"I'll have a mixed choco-almond jumbo sundae." Minerva said, smacking her lips, ready to gorge on her treat before it came on the table.
"And you madam?" Rogue asked fixing his eyes to mine.
"…strawberry smoothie, please." I said.
He wrote it down, his eyes still holding my gaze for a moment. "Right away," and with that he walked away. I let out a breath which I didn't know I was holding. I threw the menu aside, Sting continued with the previous conversation when I felt somebody tap my shoulder.
"Lucy," A shiver ran down my spine as Rogue whispered into my ear. "Can I have you for a moment?"
I nodded and told the others that I would be right back. I followed Rogue to a secluded corner of the café.
"Are you okay?" Rogue asked, fixing his gaze to my level.
He was making sure if I was comfortable with his friends. If that isn't the sweetest thing, then I don't know anymore. I pretended to frown and crossed my arms, "I'm disappointed,"
His face immediately contorted to a worried expression, he was about to say something before I interrupted him, "I'm disappointed that you didn't introduce me to them earlier! They are so friendly to me, I almost feel like we've been friends forever!"
Rogue wasn't convinced, "Are you sure?"
"Yes, Rogue." I touched his shoulder, and for a change he seemed to be surprised, "Don't worry. I'm having fun."
He threw me an easy and award-winning smile, "That's great,"
We held each other's gaze, before there was a flash of the camera to which we both jumped back. "Oh my god, you both are so cute!" squealed Mrs. Cheney.
"Mom!" Rogue hissed a blush evident on his face.
"Finally, Rogue is dating someone!" she said in an exasperated voice. "I was starting to think my son my gay." She sighed, while Rogue protested. I couldn't help but laugh, and Rogue gave me a look of disbelief.
Mrs. Cheney placed her hands on my shoulder, "Lucy, dear, you must join our family for dinner sometime after the festival ends."
"I would be glad to," I smiled.
A customer called, "Excuse me!" Mrs. Cheney and Rogue's attention was diverted.
"Yes, coming!" Mrs. Cheney replied. "Have a good time," she smiled and then parted.
"I'm right here," Rogue said to me. I nodded and made my way back to the liveliest table in the café.
As I seated myself, Minerva seemed most eager to know what Rogue had wanted to tell me.
"He wanted to know if I'm having fun," I smiled.
"Of course, you would have fun with us!" Sting grinned, which almost disappeared when he asked next, "You are, right?"
"Yes I am! You all are so nice and friendly to a complete stranger such as me," I said bowing my head slightly. "I hope you all don't think I'm a bother,"
Minerva, who was the closest to me slapped my back, "Of course not!"
"Lucy-sama is really sweet!" Yukino said. Rufus nodded his head heavily while Orga said, "Absolutely! I could compose a song over new friendships!" He stood up from his seat, his elbow hitting Rufus in the eye and making Sting almost fall off his seat.
"Sit down, you dolt! You'll drive away all the customers!" he yelled, and we all laughed heartily.
Soon enough, our orders were delivered on the table, by Mrs. Cheney this time. She had a cheerful personality and was quite talkative. If it weren't for the increasing flow of customers, she would have seated herself at our table, joining our measly conversation and having fun. While I was drinking the very delicious smoothie, I felt my back hurt a bit, since the stool did not have support. Rogue came up with a more comfortable chair for me, without me complaining or asking for it. Minerva pointed out that I had some smoothie on the corner of my mouth. There were no tissue papers on the table. Instantly, Rogue was beside me, handing me a tissue paper. Sting had his ice-cream all over his face. When Rogue, was passing by our table, Sting called loudly, "Hey chocolate boy! Get me a tissue too!" which effectively made me choke on my smoothie and the whole café silent.
Sting laughed, "Looks like I was a bit too loud," To this, Rogue threw a rag cloth with landed perfectly on Sting's face. Everyone on the table burst out laughing at Sting's gagging face.
The thing was; Rogue was looking out for me.
The others on the table could only see all this with awe and amusement.
"It's surprising that Rogue brought Lucy to the café." Minerva said suddenly. Mrs. Cheney had said something similar to that. Even though it wasn't true, it caught my interest.
"Why is that so?" I asked, taking a sip of my smoothie.
"Rogue doesn't like it when girls ogle at him in the café." Minerva explained. I almost spit my drink out. "He finds it awkward and annoying." Crap. I hope he didn't find me staring at him.
"So…chocolate boy?" I raised a brow.
"As per my memory, Rogue hates anyone who calls him that," Rufus looked pointedly at Sting. "Another reason he hates bringing anyone here."
I could only think of how adorable it was that the tough and expressionless Rogue owned a bakery. I laughed inwardly.
"That doesn't make sense." Sting played with his spoon. "I'd love the attention,"
"Well, not everybody's like you, Sting," Rufus smirked.
"I would hold a rock concert for my fans," Orga slammed the table.
"If you had any," Minerva said rolling her eyes but laughed anyway.
"But, I'm sure he'll make an exception," Yukino whispered to me, and smiled knowingly, effectively eliciting and jaw drop from me.
Finally, when Rogue's work was done, he was shooed away by his mother, stating that she'll handle the rest. My new friends were but most reluctant to part with us, and insisted on meeting and hanging out more. The sun was slowly dipping westwards bringing the long day to an end.
We were back to heading to Clover Library when I noticed a bicycle parked on the curb, and nobody was around. I recalled the movie scene of the cycle rush, and I had the irrational urge to try it since I was so elated. Being the impulsive girl I am, I declared, "I am going to ride that cycle."
"What?" Rogue raised his eyebrows and looked around and then understood what I was implying. "Oh no. You're not serious, are you?" He asked in disbelief.
"I'm hundred percent serious." I said eyeing the cycle like a hawk.
"I won't let you." Rogue crossed his arms.
"Oh yeah? Watch me," I made a mad dash to the cycle and immediately got over it before Rogue could catch me. I paddled around in circles as he protested, "This is equal to robbery!"
"No its not! I'm just borrowing it for a while!" I defended.
"Oh really? With whose permission?" Rogue asked.
"Gosh, Rogue! Are you getting on or what?" I asked, grinning madly. When Rogue hesitated, I said the movie line, "Hey, you gonna hitch this ride or do I drag you by the collar and leave you chasing behind?"
That washed any hesitation from Rogue as he climbed on the seat behind me. My excitement was unbearable. I cycled around on the empty road and soon I was speeding at an alarming rate.
"You're going too fast!" Rogue said.
"Hold on!" I yelled, still feeling the adrenaline rush. Then everything happened simultaneously. Rogue placed his hands on my shoulders, his touch eliciting an electric shock through my body. I heard somebody yell behind, "Oi! What are you two doing on my cycle?!" I turned to see a buff, bald man shaking his fists in an angry manner. He did not look pleased. Both of this distracted me so much, that I lost track of where the cycle was going. I screamed my head off as the cycle rolled downhill at the speed of a rollercoaster. Well, it was unexpected okay? Can you blame me? I guess you can.
Rogue immediately put his hands on the brakes of the cycle, but he couldn't get a proper grip, so we crash landed. We were thrown off as the cycle fell on one side of the road, and I landed right on top of Rogue. He held me in his arms, covering me from the fall. Or rather, protecting me by taking the impact of the fall.
I recovered my senses immediately, as worry and guilt filled me, "Rogue? Rogue, are you alright?"
"I'm fine," he said with a bit of an effort.
The bald man came storming, and for a moment I considered running away, because if it were to turn into a fist fight, we wouldn't stand a chance. Not that I was underestimating my beginner's level Karate skill or Rogue's muscular strength.
"You two! Just what do you think you were doing?" the man yelled. "Who gave you the permission to use my cycle? Huh? And look at its condition!" One of the cycle's wheels had popped out and some of its parts had fallen apart.
I was feeling completely ashamed by now. It was entirely my fault. I built up an apology, "I'm really sorry, sir, it was my-"
"If you two think you are going to get away with this easily, then you are mistaken, you hear me! You don't know who I am!" he bellowed, making me flinch at his tone. Fear filled me as I realized the depth of the situation. I had destroyed someone's property as a legal adult. I was about to own up when Rogue stepped in front of me and said, "It is my fault, sir. I duly apologize to the inconvenience caused. It was my idea to use your cycle,"
"And may I know why exactly?" he asked furiously.
"No it was-!" I was cut off again by Rogue, "I just thought it would be fun." Rogue said with his calm expression.
"You little!" I watched in horror as the man came forward and grabbed Rogue by his collar and punched him square in the face.
I gasped, "Stop! Please sir!" I begged.
"I am truly sorry, sir. I am willing to pay for your losses." Rogue said sincerely.
"Well you better as hell be!" the man yelled and released Rogue roughly, and he wobbled a little.
He took almost all of Rogue's money and left with his broken cycle. I couldn't bare it. It was all my idea, my mistake, my clumsiness. And Rogue had taken the consequences for something I did.
"Are you okay?" Rogue asked me, looking unfazed. How could he ask me that? He had been punched in the face. That should be my question. His teeth had almost been knocked out. Such a wonderful day was turning into an ugly nightmare, and it was my fault. I couldn't look at him. "Lucy?" Rogue asked tentatively.
"Why?" my voice came out as a whisper. "Why did you do it?" When he didn't reply, I clenched my fists and my voice gained volume, "It was clearly my fault! You warned me, but I was just stubborn and idiotic! Why didn't you let me fall and break a leg? Why didn't you let me get punched? Why aren't you angry at me? Why? Answer me!" I yelled.
"Because I don't want you to get hurt." Rogue said.
Tears filled my eyes, and I was choking back sobs, emotions taking control of me. His words touched my heart, because he was being so kind, I couldn't bare it any longer. I felt arms wrap around me gently. Rogue was hugging me.
"I'm sorry, Rogue," I said through my sobs. "I'm so stupid,"
"Lucy, please don't cry." He whispered softly, so tenderly, it made me cry even more. He continued to hold me.
"Rogue, do you think I'm an idiot?" I asked, still looking at my feet. "Don't hesitate to tell me! Do you…Do you hate me?" I asked miserably.
Rogue pulled back and lifted my chin, making me face him. He held a smile on his face, "I don't think you are an idiot. And I have never, and will never hate you."
I could never doubt the truth of those words, for it filled me with a feeling of warmth and undoubtedly, a feeling of love.
After I had smeared off my eyeliner, we decided that we would go to the Clover Library some other day, since it was getting late anyway. The summer sun was already gone, leaving behind a half moon. The street lights had already flickered on, lighting the path before us. Like the gentleman Rogue is, he was adamant on dropping me home. I insisted that I would manage going home safely, and that he should go home immediately, but he just wouldn't settle.
"Rogue, I memorized the way, I'll reach home within a few minutes." I said. "You should go home and rest!"
"If it takes just a few minutes then there's no problem for me to come along." Rogue said stubbornly.
"Your cheek is beginning to swell!" I cried and sure enough, a swelling was developing on his cheek, just below his eye, where he had been punched.
"This is nothing," Rogue waved it off like it was a scratch.
I stood rooted to my place. "I'm not moving unless you go home the other way,"
Rogue sighed. "Fine."
I smiled with satisfaction, "Good. Now go home and-"Without any warning, Rogue lifted me off my feet and began jogging down the lane.
"Wh-What are you doing?!" I shrieked.
"Since you won't listen, this was the only way," Rogue reasoned. The people on the street gave us looks of surprise.
My ears felt hot, "P-Put me down! You're hurt and people are looking!"
"Don't worry. Besides, this way it'll be faster." Rogue continued and pulled me closer.
My heart rate was increasing by each passing moment. "I can walk, you idiot!" I yelled.
He stopped and put me down. "T-Thanks…and sorry for yelling," I said nervously. To my surprise, he laughed, leaving my jaw drooping on the floor. In spite of his bruised face, he looked handsome when he laughed.
"Shall we go, your highness?" he said mockingly. He left me jaw dropped and blushing.
"Geez, you're so stubborn!" I pouted, still blushing.
"What can I say? I guess you are rubbing off on me," Rogue showed me his brilliant white teeth. I couldn't believe that he had it in him to be cheeky after he had been punched because of me.
"Sh-Shut up. If you haven't had enough, I'll punch you again," I said playfully.
"I'd like to see you try," Rogue laughed.
We walked in silence through the forest, and to be honest, I was glad he was with me because it was dark in the forest, and the snapping of the branches was unnerving. Finally, after we crossed the wooden stairs and the sound of flowing water, the trees parted to the barn and the mansion.
The porch light was off but the lights in the other rooms were on. Upon coming closer, I could hear loud sounds from the TV. We stopped at the porch steps and stood in silence, neither of us saying anything.
"A date, huh." I mumbled.
"Everyone went on assuming. I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. I should I explained it better." Rogue told me.
"I don't mind." I said silently.
"Don't mind what?" Rogue asked.
I lowered my head slightly, "I don't mind it to be called a date." There was silence, which was starting to make me feel awkward about saying anything at all.
"I don't mind either." Rogue replied. There was a warm breeze, to which my hair sailed. I found myself smiling like a dork.
"There's a festival coming up in town…" Rogue started. "Would you like to go with me?"
"I'd love to." I replied, already dancing in excitement in my head.
"Because it's a date?" he asked.
"Because I like to spend time with you." I grinned.
Rogue smiled his sweet, calm smile, "Okay."
Maybe it was the darkness which gave me the confidence as I stood on my toes and kissed Rogue's wounded cheek and I had the satisfaction of seeing his flustered face. "I hope it gets better soon."
I climbed the porch and before opening the door, I turned to Rogue who stood planted on the same spot, "Thank you. I will never forget this day."
I walked in, climbed the stairs to my room and closed the door only to melt into a puddle on the floor, reflecting on everything that had happened today.
A/N: an update from hell. because that's where I am
WILD FOUR! here's chapter 4! Let me know what you think (: