"So Kevin, when are you going to ask Gwen out?"
Gwen held her breath unknowingly. Her eyes roamed to watch the scenery as it passed them by. Truth was, she found herself too exhausted to deal with the topic. Just that evening she had already confronted him on this topic, saved a whole bunch of people from the danger of a highway collapsing, and had her energy drained by the guy who was supposed to be taking her out to dinner. At this point she was so tired she could barely keep her eyes open, never mind acknowledge her cousin doing his normal thing and butting into everyone's affairs.
That was too bitter, and she knew it. She was simply grumpy. Her right hand slipped into the pocket of her sweater and gripped the handkerchief tightly. She had intended on returning it to him, well, at least partially intended to return it to him. Even if nothing ever happened, it was comforting to her to have something of his with her.
"Uh, Earth to Gwen? Anyone home?" Kevin asked, glancing to the red haired girl in the passenger seat.
"Huh?" She asked, whipping her head towards him.
"Well I did just ask if you wanted to go to dinner with me since your other date stood you up, but if you're not interested…" Kevin replied, clearly teasing her at the end.
"No!" Gwen answered quickly, playing into the little game. She knew her face turned red, but she could do nothing to stop it. She sat back and nervously played with her hair. "I… I'd like that." Kevin smirked at her reaction, glancing at her in between watching the road.
"So just… where exactly are you going to take her then?" Ben asked, receiving an odd look from Gwen.
The car stopped in the line of traffic at the red light. "Well," Kevin began. "There's an all night fast food joint open that's on our way home." There was a pause as he looked nervously at Gwen. It suddenly struck him that this idea of a date was not what girls wanted for their first date, so he quickly began talking again in an attempt to save himself. "I mean, I know it's not… well…"
"That sounds great," Gwen replied quickly with a smile, her right hand touching Kevin's arm. He returned the smile, watching her as if she would disappear if he turned away.
"Uh, hey," Ben interrupted. "Green light." Kevin's attention turned in front of him as Ben pointed to the front of the car. Gwen sat back in her seat watching nothing in particular through the front windshield. She continued to brush her fingers through the hair that rested over her shoulder nervously. Her heart was pounding, and despite the weariness, she couldn't believe what had just happened
Several minutes went by. Gwen hadn't even realized that her eyes had closed and she drifted off into a light sleep. Ben didn't really pay attention to anything. Kevin focused on driving, but every chance he could get he sneaked a glance at the girl sitting next to him.
The next thing she heard was "Sure, now you don't want to go out to dinner with me."
Her eyes snapped open and she realized that they were now in the parking lot of the fast food joint that Kevin had mentioned. She turned towards Kevin and saw him scowling at her with his arms folded in front of him. Before she knew it, he got out of the car, slamming the door behind him. "Kevin! Wait!" Gwen cried. Now flustered, she fumbled around for a moment to find her purse that had managed its way beneath her seat and then unbuckle her seat belt. "Oh…" she grumbled for a moment as she turned to open the door. As she did the door opened and she looked up to see Kevin leaning on the door smirking at her.
Gwen got out of the car, giving Kevin the evil eye for just a moment. "What?" He asked smugly, shrugging his shoulders as he did.
"You're a pain sometimes," she answered, hands moving to her hips.
"Yeah, and?" Gwen just smiled and shook her head. Kevin returned the smile. "Want to go eat?"
"Definitely," she replied as they began walking side by side into the restaurant. Ben trailed behind them, digging through his pockets for a couple loose dollars he hoped he had with him.
It wasn't much of a date; that much Kevin was aware of. But Ben had gone back to the car with his food to leave the two alone. Though nothing significant was talked about in their idle chat over burgers and French fries, Gwen could hardly say she had a bad time. While she rambled about how she was glad it was summer so she would normally have the extra time to be with her friends, but finding Grandpa Max was more important. Kevin just smiled and listened, commenting and teasing her where he could.
Gwen sucked down the last of her soda. "That was really good, thanks for dinner."
"Man, you really sucked that down…" Kevin chuckled while finishing his fries.
"You know," Gwen replied. "You're really not supposed to comment on how much or how fast a girl eats. It'll make them self conscious."
"Oh. Right." Gwen just laughed at him. "Hey, you can't laugh at a guy on a first date when he's not trying to be funny, either."
Gwen peeped out a meek "Sorry," now worried that she may have actually offended him. That was, until Kevin laughed. "You're awful!" She cried out before she too began laughing.
Kevin glanced at his watch. "There's still time before you have to be home, do you want to go for a walk, or something?"
Gwen watched him for a moment, finding his goofy smile positively adorable. "I'd love to."
The teenagers slid out of the booth and left the restaurant after tossing the empty paper bags and cups away. Their short walk led them down a small hill a couple minutes from the restaurant where a river flowed by. They stopped at the river's edge and stood side by side in silence.
After a few moments of watching the sky, Gwen broke the silence. "Every time I look at the sky, I expect to see a mother ship, or an alien, or Ben as an alien."
"Yeah, I know what you mean," Kevin replied. He soon found that no matter how calm and collected he may normally have been, nothing would keep his nerves still now. This was harder then he thought it would be, especially since after everything he had seen and done, expressing any sort of feelings wasn't quite his forte.
Gwen just smiled and clasped her hands behind her back. "I'm grateful you guys came for me tonight. If you hadn't, I don't know what…"
"Don't worry about it," Kevin replied confidently. "Nobody'll do anything like that to you again."
"I hope not."
"I won't let 'em. They'll have to go through me first."
Gwen looked to her left at him and smiled. "Thanks Kevin."
A few more moments passed in a silence that settled somewhere between awkward and comfortable. Gwen found herself soon hugging herself. When Kevin looked at her curiously, she explained, "I'm cold."
"Well, I got my jacket back at the car if you want to head back now," he replied, a hand gesturing back in the general direction of the restaurant.
"No, I don't want to go yet."
Kevin watched her for a few more moments. Suddenly his heart began to race when she gently wrapped her arms around his right arm and rested her head on it. He really wasn't quite sure what he was supposed to do at that point, and it certainly didn't help his nerves.
"You're warm," she explained in a soft voice that he could barely hear.
He held his breath for a moment, almost afraid that if he did something he would offend her. But as he wondered what he should to, he swore -and maybe this was just his imagination playing games with him- that she was slowly moving closer to him. It was then he decided that he would take a chance. Kevin slipped his right arm away from Gwen's grasp. She looked up at him, trying to hide her disappointed look. He nervously smiled and brought his right arm around her back, gently resting his hand on her right shoulder. He watched her as her smile returned. Her head rested against his chest with her left arm around his back and her right hand resting on his stomach.
It was a strange feeling for him, holding a girl he liked. A few years back he would have never thought that he'd have that privilege. But as he soon found this act comfortable, he brought his left arm around her, fully holding the small girl to him.
They lost track of time, lost in the embrace they were in. Soon the sky they had been watching became unimportant, as both sets of eyes closed. They were aware of their own hearts pounding in their chests and could feel the others' as well. It was a moment that neither of them wanted to end.
"I had fun with you tonight," Gwen said quietly.
Silence set upon them. While Kevin normally may have made a joke about this now being the time he should drain her energy, he found the words simply didn't want to come out. And for just this moment, he was willing to let it go.
Time continued on, and unfortunately Kevin was aware of it. "We should head back," he told her, though making no effort to move away from her. A couple moments passed. "Gwen?" He asked. After still no response, he pulled himself slightly away and realized that she had fallen asleep. "Aw man, that can't be a good sign! Girl falling asleep on the first date…"
Despite what he said, he did understand that she was exhausted since she had already fallen asleep in the car. And, there were worst things then having Gwen fall asleep next to him he figured. After a moment or two of debating on whether to wake her up, he opted just to pick her up, cradling her so his arms were underneath her knees and shoulders and her head rested on his shoulder.
All in all? He was pretty content as he carried her back to the car.