Loriot: Hmm, well, I usually will never have two things posted in this short amount of time, but the idea came to me and I had to write it down. It has more dialogue than my other stories, so it flows differently. I apologize for grammatical errors that I did not catch. As noticed, I will correct them. I really hope you enjoy this! Let me know if you do!
Never As Planned
"Where exactly are we going, Neutron?"
"Keep your eyes closed." Jimmy warned as he led the blonde carefully through the empty field. The couple was just outside of town on a cool June evening. Jimmy had parked his car by the side of the road, insisting that Cindy close her eyes until they reached their final destination.
"I swear, Nerd-tron, if you have me trip over something –"
"We've been dating for a year, and you still don't trust me? Ouch, Vortex, that cuts me deep." Jimmy teased her. "Don't worry, we're nearly there." Cindy rolled her eyes, but continued to follow him, her hand in his. "Alright, you can open them."
"I don't see why you felt the desire to drag me out here in the middle of the night right before – oh . . . oh, Jimmy, it's gorgeous!" Jimmy grinned smugly, pleased with himself. The field itself was vast and grassy, long because it hadn't been cut in a while. Up above them, thousands upon thousands of stars twinkled brightly in the cool night.
"I found this place the other night when I had to make an emergency landing. I thought you'd like to stargaze. You know, just to get your mind of tests and other school stuff." He paused to laugh. "Goodness knows I needed to."
"You're too sweet sometimes, Neutron." Grinning pleasantly, Cindy laid down on the grass, chilly against her bare shoulders. Jimmy sat down beside her, propping himself up with his arms, one of his hands lightly resting on hers. With a tug, Cindy pulled him down beside her. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders as she curled up against him.
"You see that star?" Jimmy pointed to a star to their left. "That's Hydra, the water serpent. And that one over there is Leo, with Leo Minor off to the side. They're the lion of the zodiac and the cub. Hevelius added the cub in the 1600s."
"Heh, I can do better – look! The Big Dipper. Otherwise known as Ursa Major, the Greater Bear." Cindy gently mocked her boyfriend before kissing him on the cheek. Jimmy stuck his tongue out at her before returning to his lecture on the constellations.
"Over there is the Sextans, the Sextant, and instrument which measures distance."
"I know what a sextant is, Neutron."
"Hmm," Jimmy pulled Cindy a bit closer. "That one is The Crater, the Cup, and there's Chamaeleon, the Chameleon." Jimmy's voice had gotten a bit brighter with excitement, a happy smile on his face. "It was named by Johann Bayer. And to the left of it slightly – that bright one right there, you see? Almost directly above us–"
"Yes, I see it." Cindy laughed slightly, amused. Jimmy continued on with enthusiasm.
"That one is Cynthia Aurora, which was named by James Neutron just today."
"Cynthia Aur . . ." Cindy trailed off, eyes wide. "You named a star after me?"
"Do you like your gift?" Jimmy laid his cheek against Cindy's head, her hair soft and smooth.
"I . . . why?" Cindy breathed.
"I dunno, just felt like doing something for you. And I remember you mentioning how you like stars, so . . ." Shifting, Jimmy propped himself up on his elbows.
"Oh, Jimmy, I don't know what to say." She touched his arm gently.
"Do you like it?"
"I love it."
"Good enough for me." Cindy looked up into his eyes, wrinkled at the corners in a caring smile. "I love –" She gazed at him with an expression mixed with joy and fear. Was he finally going to say it? She'd been longing to hear him say it for so long. She held her breath; the world around her seemed to freeze. "I love stargazing with you, Vortex." He finished quietly.
Set into motion again, the world seemed a bit dimmer than before. Letdown and a bit put out, Cindy smiled weakly. "The feeling is mutual, Neutron."
"Puh-leese. Last time we went on a coaster, you could barely keep your lunch down, Neutron! This new one is supposed to be worse than watching the Blair Witch Project while eating any form of food." Cindy, sitting on a bench, laughed; her arms were around Jimmy's neck. He was sitting on the ground in front of her, an uncharacteristically childlike pout marring his features. She kissed him on the cheek.
"That was only because Sheen had challenged me to a burger eating contest right before hand. I couldn't decline the challenge!"
"Just because Sheen thought it was a good idea, doesn't make it one. Haven't you learned anything from the past? Sheen was the one who thought it'd be intelligent to learn how to drive a car backwards before learning how to drive it forwards." Jimmy rolled his eyes.
"Let's just go stand in line, all right? I haven't eaten, and I guarantee I won't puke on you."
"Or my new shoes; they're designer –"
"Fine, I won't puke on your shoes . . . or your short pants." Jimmy smirked, poking her bare calf for emphasis. "Seriously, I still don't think that those pants fit correctly." Though it had been nearly eight years since their body swap, Cindy's capris were a staple in her wardrobe. Of course, they were updated, Misses instead of Girls, and in denim instead of khaki. Cindy thwaped her boyfriend over the head with the oversized stuffed frog she had won earlier.
"Let's just go."
It took nearly an hour long wait in line, but the pair finally made it to the front of the coaster. Strapped in, Cindy held on tight to the harness; Jimmy took a deep breath as the coaster slowly made its way up its first hill. Five loops, three corkscrews and countless hills later, the pair left the coaster, windswept and breathless with laughed.
"That was the least manly scream I have ever heard from you, Neutron! From any guy for that matter . . . except for Nick, perhaps." Cindy gasped between bouts of laughter. Jimmy was no better, leaning against the nearby fence.
"What about you, Vortex? Screaming for help right in my ear? I swear you were hearing things, because your harness was securely fastened at the time we finished."
Cindy snorted. "Taking a stab at my pride will do nothing to redeem you any macho points for screaming like that. You and Nick ought to have a scream off sometime. A challenge similar to Sheen's with none of the puking."
"Haha, Vortex. You and your short pants ought to leave me alone." Looping an arm around Cindy's waist, he pulled her securely to him, kissing her briefly. "You know something, Vortex?"
"I know a bunch of things, but what specifically?"
"I love –" Cindy froze, eyes wide, her already flushed cheeks darkened. Why here of all places? It wasn't her perfect scenario. Not the scene she'd played over and over again in her mind for nearly ten years. She would have thought her boyfriend would have more sense than to say it here, at a busy, hot, humid amusement park. "I love laughing with you, Vortex."
Cindy smiled ruefully. "The feeling is mutual, Neutron."
Cindy gazed at the flickering candle. "Well, this isn't exactly how I pictured my first candlelight dinner would be." Outside the Neutron home, lighting flashed. The power had gone out nearly an hour before that, and without access to a generator, the pair was stuck in the darkness. Jimmy's parents had gone out to dinner with another married couple from the neighborhood, leaving the younger couple to themselves. Jimmy and Cindy had decided to eat it, experimenting with cooking. Halfway into making pasta, the lights had flickered and died, leaving the two teens in the dark.
Jimmy lit the last candle. "Goddard can provide a small amount of energy, potentially lighting the kitchen for a good few hours if you really want light."
"No! I don't mind the candles; I was just trying to point out the bizarreness of the situation. Usually candlelight dinners are over fancy food and wine, not frozen waffles toasted by a robotic dog and Purple Flurp." Cindy laughed as she set out two plates, pausing to pet Goddard on her way to grab some cutlery. A large batch of thin waffles, syrup, and glasses of soda were put on the table last.
Cindy sat down at the table; Jimmy slid into the seat next to her, taking four of the waffles for himself. Thunder rumbled outside and lighting forked across the sky. Rain began to pelt the roof.
A sudden sharp crack caused both Jimmy and Cindy to jump. The bit of waffle that had been on Cindy's fork went flying, landing on Jimmy's hair. Cindy's plate tilted, making a mess of her pink shirt. She gasped and jumped up, swearing under her breath. Jimmy followed, or at least tried. His knee collided sharply the table, spilling both glasses of soda, the bright purple liquid soaking the table, dousing all of the candles that Jimmy had painstakingly lit earlier.
"Mmmhf! Helium! Hydrogen! Lithium! Beryllium!" Jimmy continued to rattle off the elements, hopping on one leg, holding his sore knee.
"My shirt! I'll never get the syrup out!" Cindy wailed, plucking at the fabric already sticking to her skin. Another clap of thunder resonated; a flash of lightning illuminated the dim kitchen. Cindy calmed down, sniffing. She glanced over at Jimmy who'd just finished the elements. He was still rubbing his knee, most of his jeans were coated in Purple Flurp.
"You okay, Neutron?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. You?"
"In need of a change of clothing." Cindy glanced at the ceiling; the rain pounded harder. "Going home isn't exactly an option at this point in time."
"You can borrow something of mine. It'll be big, but it's better than nothing." Jimmy paused, considering what he had just said. "Unless –"
"Don't even think it, Neutron!"
"Fine. Do you want something to change into?"
Cindy crossed her arms, frowning as the sticky fabric came in contact with her arms. "Please."
The pair went upstairs; Jimmy rooted through his drawers, tossing an old t-shirt to her – Retroville Middle School Science Bowl – and a pair of pajama bottoms. Grabbing a pair for himself, he left the room to give Cindy privacy.
Changed and comfortable, Cindy settled down on the couch, curling up with one of the cushions. Jimmy appeared moments later, carrying two mugs of hot cocoa.
"Well, the kitchen's clean so my mom won't be upset." Jimmy sat down next to her, handing her one of the steaming mugs. She thanked him. "Sorry about all this."
Cindy laughed. "You can't tell me you weren't expecting it. Nothing we plan ever goes correctly." Jimmy grinned. "Besides, I like this better – hot cocoa, comfy clothes, you. I'm perfectly happy right here."
Curled up together, they drank their hot cocoa, occasionally saying something, sometimes laughing, mostly enjoying each other's company. Hot cocoa finished, they sat back and relax.
"You know," Jimmy murmured into her hair, "I love –" Cindy closed her eyes, trying not to hope. If she didn't hope, she wouldn't be disappointed, right? "I love spending time with you, Vortex."
Cindy chuckled and sighed. "The feeling is mutual, Neutron."
Later that night, the storm had passed. The power hadn't yet been restored and the night looked as humid as the day had been. The Neutrons had yet to return home, and Cindy was in no hurry to go back across the street. There was no doubt in her mind that once she returned her mother would be ready and waiting to interrogate her about the night's 'activities.'
Yawning, she shifted slightly. Somehow in the course of an hour she and Jimmy had curled up together on the couch. She was lying on her side, an arm under her head serving as a pillow, the other hanging limply off the couch. Jimmy was behind her, one arm serving as the secong part of her pillow, their fingers loosely entwined, his other was holding her securely around the waist to make sure she didn't fall off the couch. His chin was resting on her shoulder. Goddard was curled up on the floor next to their feet.
The house was absolutely silent except for the sound of the young couple breathing, deep and even. Each believed the other was asleep, drowsy and too tired to move themselves. They were comfortable. Somewhere in the back of Jimmy's mind, it registered that his parents would probably be home soon, but the thought didn't fully take. He was content where he was -- Cindy's petit body against his, the scent of her raspberry shampoo clouding his senses.
Cindy was comfortable. She felt cared for, wrapped in her boyfriend's arms thusly. "Nothing better," she thought, her mind hazy, vaguely aware of the added pressure of Jimmy's hand on hers. She gave a soft sigh as Jimmy lightly kissed her jaw.
"I love you, Cindy," his voice murmured in her ear. Cindy smiled. Better than she had pictured it.
Cindy felt him give a startled jolt when she replied, "The feeling is mutual, Jimmy."