Omg. Did you know what I just realized? I last updated this story, exactly ONE YEAR ago. :O I'm so sorry! GAH. I hadn't gotten around to write an update for this and every time I would fail. DX
Chapter dedication: Contestshippingurl4eva for sending me all of those ideas. :) I used little snippets from each of them and it made me get some inspiration. Here is your dedication as I promised. :) Hope you enjoy the chapter!
Special thanks to Samia and Adam for beta-reading. You both are amazing. :]
[ The Perfect Summer ]
After Drew had given me his bracelet, it seemed only a few minutes until the movie ended and the lights in the football field flickered on, one by one. It seemed to glow even more brilliantly than I had first noticed, washing over the entire atmosphere with a golden ray. I blinked several times to get used to the sudden brightness and I noticed that there were empty seats everywhere. All the couples had dashed out. Only some that were making out behind the shadow of the projector remained. But I didn't mind. I never would have thought that I would enjoy a John Quincy Adams movie. And it wasn't at all because of John Quincy Adams.
"Well, Drew." I heard Mr. Degenkalb say, cutting into my thoughts. He grinned at us in a devilish sort of way. "It was a pretty good movie, wasn't it?"
Dreamily, I wondered how Drew would answer. But all he did was laugh casually—that laugh that made my insides melt—before saying: "Yeah, especially the parts played by the moths." Then he took me by the hand—something which he had never done before. It was needless to say that I was screaming inside. His larger, tanner hand fitted so perfectly with mine. "Come on, May. Let's get out of here." And then he pulled me through the field to where his car was parked in front of the high school.
And finally after hours—no, days—of waiting, I was alone with Drew. I climbed into the passenger seat and looked at my watch by the moonlight. My heart sank from what I saw. "Drew." I wailed, when I saw the time. "It's twenty-five minutes past ten. I have to go home." Only five more minutes to be with Drew. This was the way things always turned out for me. Although I didn't realize, that John Quincy Adams movie sure took a lot of time.
Drew started the car, completely ignoring my grief. He pulled off of the parking space and we drove away from the school, heading down Blossom Street, towards the beach. The road was completely clear except for a few cars that were leaving from the steak bake. I was drawn away from gazing at the road when Drew suddenly called my name. "May." His voice was urgent, above the sound of the model-A motor. "Do you know what it means to wear a guy's bracelet?"
My heart started to boom against my rib-cage. I had been kind of expecting him to mention something about the bracelet. "Yes." I answered breathlessly.
"It means that you're going steady."
"You really want to?"
"Yes, Drew. I really want to."
Drew turned to look at me as the car stopped at a red light. His green eyes were sparkling under the moonlight like two emeralds. And I had a strange feeling of wanting to reach out and kiss him. But I suppressed myself. "Even if summer is ending?"
"Even if summer's ending." I murmured and touched the bracelet, my fingers running across the carved name. Andrew Hayden. I looked up at smiled gently. "This thing—what we had—wasn't just a summer fling for me. Was it for you?"
The traffic light flickered green, and he started to drive down the road again. But before the sound of the motor drowned out his voice, I heard one thing that I needed to hear: "No. It wasn't."
The rest of the ride back to my aunt's place was in silence. A content silence. I knew we were getting closer and closer back to the beach as palm trees started to pop into view. I didn't want the night to be over. But before I knew it, the car was stopped in front of the familiar white beach house. "I wish it wasn't so late." He was saying as he ran around the car to open the door for me. He took my hand in his as we went up the walk together. Halfway to the house, Drew stopped and turned, placing his hands on my shoulders and turned me around towards him. "I'm glad we're going steady. Even if you're leaving to Petalburg tomorrow."
"Me too." And in spite of everything that we had encountered, I suddenly felt shy.
"When is your flight?"
"Six in the evening."
"Care to join me for one last date? Anywhere you want this time."
I smiled at him and nodded. I felt so light. As light as air. Everything had turned out perfectly. "Yes. Of course. I'll call you."
"Not if I call you first." Drew smirked at me, and it seemed strange yet so right to be that close to Drew, to feel his crisp clean shirt against my cheek. To smell his scent of cologne and peppermint. I couldn't look up at him anymore. He was just too close. But gently, Drew lifted my face to his. "You're my girl now."
My fingertips started to become icy-cold and my mouth was as dry as a cotton ball. But before anything happened, of course, that moment had to be destroyed as we both heard the strange, muted cry of a neighborhood cat that had successfully stalked a gopher. I stiffened. A bright orange cat appeared from the shrubbery and tossed his catch into the air so that it landed with a thud at my feet. Crying insistently, the cat hovered over his prey.
I felt Drew start to pull away from me and my heart sank. Here was another excellent moment, getting ruined by this stupid cat. But Drew surprised me, hesitating slightly before he quickly bent his face to mine. Our noses bumped, but our lips met tenderly, clumsily, one side of his mouth against one side of mine. I hadn't known a boy's lips could be so soft. It was our first kiss—a moment to cherish.
Persistently, the cat cried over his gopher. A window flew open, and I stepped away from Drew. The beam of a flashlight played over the yard and settled on the cat and his catch. "My, that's a big one!" I heard the voice of Aunt Vicki, still pretty much half-asleep. The cat, satisfied that his good work had been recognized, silently picked up his gopher and disappeared into the bushes.
"Oh, hello Drew! And May!" Aunt Vicki sounded bewildered. "You're back already?"
"Yes, Aunt V."
"Well, I guess I better be going now." Drew said awkwardly.
"Good night, Drew." I said softly. "I had a wonderful time."
"Me too." Drew started down the slope of steps, towards his car. His chartreuse hair softly glowed in the moonlight. I heard the sound of the waves washing up against the shore. It was such a perfect and beautiful night. It was a shame that I would be leaving for boring old Petalburg the next day. But I knew that I would be telling all of my friends about Drew and how utterly perfect my summer vacation was.
"Good night, Drew!" Aunt Vicki called and he turned back as he reached his car.
"Good night." He smiled and gave a little wave as he opened the door of the blue convertible. "I'll call you, May."
Smiling to myself, I turned and walked towards the house. My aunt opened the door for me and grinned. Her blond hair was everywhere and she had on candy-cane striped PJs. Typical Aunt Vicki. She threw an arm around my shoulder after locking the front door.
"Did you have fun?"
I nodded and leaned against her body, closing my eyes for a slight moment. "Yeah." I breathed out. "It was wonderful."
She kissed my head and led me up the stairs. The little house was dark, except for the stair-light that my aunt switched on. She pulled me close to her so that I could smell her scent of lavender. "He's going to miss you more, kiddo."
I looked up at her and smiled, not saying anything. But after I was in my room, I lit a candle and headed towards the open window. The moon was shining bright and stars filled the midnight-dark sky. The same sky that looked down on Drew and I at the little stream where we chewed tough steaks. A part of me wished the night could have gone on forever. But I well knew that it was wonderful and I didn't dare hope for more than my one perfect kiss. Reaching for more would have been like trying to keep a snowflake from melting, a soap bubble from popping.
I breathed in the heavy, sweet air of the ocean and wiped away a single tear. One last look was all that I wanted. For it was there, in the heavens, that I'd be able to recapture that very same feeling I had on my aunt's front porch. I quickly removed my headband and earrings, set them onto the dressing table and blew out the candle. And when I saw a trace of a glowing star falling across the sky, I closed my eyes and made my wish. I wished that what my aunt had said was true. I wished that Drew would miss me more than I would miss him.
And when I opened my eyes, there was only night, and stars, and the memory of love.
"May Maple, I will miss you to death. I swear. Why are you leaving? Stay in Sea City with me, Steve and Drew."
I smiled at Chelsea as I was packing things up. She sat cross-legged on my bed, looking at me with her huge eyes in this way that made me feel guilty for returning back to Petalburg. "I really wish I could, Chels. I seriously do. I love it here!" I returned to carefully folding my clothes and stuffing them into my duffel bags, only leaving a dress for the date with Drew that afternoon and a sweatshirt and jeans for the plane ride back home. My heart tugged as I gathered all of my stuff. It seemed like only yesterday that I unpacked.
"Promise to write me emails and tell me everything that's going on in your life?"
I smiled at my dark-haired friend as she wore a pout on her face. "I promise. You update me about starting school and how things are with Steve and keep an eye out for Drew, all right?" I was only kidding, of course. I knew that Drew wasn't going to be cheating on me. And even though it was a long-distance relationship, we both were determined to make it work out.
That made Chelsea laugh as she played with strands of her black hair. "Definitely."
We shared a smile, and I knew that I was really going to miss Chelsea's company. I was going to miss everything about Sea City. Although I spent only about two months, it felt like home. And while I was kind of excited about seeing my parents, Max and my friends again, I was leaving my new friends and boyfriend behind. Thinking about Drew made me smile as I wondered what Dad would be like if he found out that not only did I talk to boys but I had a steady boyfriend.
"Let's start getting ready for the date." I told Chelsea, leaving the piles of clothes and walking up to sit beside her on the bed. Drew and I thought that it would be good to have a double date because I wanted to see all of us before I left. Of course, it was going to be nothing like that Chinese dinner we had almost a month back. We were going to meet them at Hercules' Hot Dogs at three and then walk down the boardwalk. And afterwards, I would go back to the house, change, get my stuff and then head off to the airport together with my friends, Aunt Vicki and Uncle Bryan.
I could not believe how fast two months had passed.
"Sure." Chelsea hopped up and gave me a smile. "But this time, I'm not going to borrow your clothes. I have the perfect thing to wear. Just wait here."
I laughed. "Okay." And Chelsea winked at me before running out of my room to get her "perfect" date wear. As I waited for Chelsea, I smoothed out what I was going to be wearing. It was a very simple red cotton dress, sleeveless, with a flower pattern on the hem. I didn't want to over-do anything. And if this date—like any other of the dates we had—was going to go all wrong, I couldn't care less. I had what I wanted. And regardless of anything else, I was going to remember this summer forever.
"Here we are! What do you think?"
I was brought back into reality by Chelsea's voice, sounding enthusiastic. She was standing at my door, holding out a violet dress with a little copper coat over it. I gasped, raising my eyebrows. "That's so gorgeous! Steve is going to die when he sees it."
"Hopefully not." Chelsea laughed. Her pretty hazel eyes were full of life and happiness. I could tell that she really liked Steve. And although that guy might be a bastard at times, I knew that he cared a lot for her too.
Chelsea and I spent almost an hour—from two until quarter to three—getting ready to see Drew and Steve. We both were satisfied with our clothes, but we kept on thinking of other 'important' things to do.
"I better file my nails." Chelsea was saying. "They're all ragged."
"I better put on nail-polish." I replied, looking at my nails in disgust. "I've got pink sparkles and yellow sparkles. You wanna borrow the yellow?"
"Sure! Oh shoot. I should put on hand lotion."
"My perfume!" I cried. "Did I pack it already? Where is it?"
"Don't ask me. Do you have any lip gloss?"
"Sure. Here . . . Ew! Oh my God. Look at my hair!"
"Yours? Look at mine!"
And somehow though, we were on our way to the boardwalk at two-forty-five and standing in front of Hercules' at five minutes to three. The boys showed up promptly at three and Chelsea elbowed me when she saw them heading towards us. "Doesn't Steve look great?" she whispered excitedly.
He did look great, with his blond hair all spiked up and looking completely clean-shaven. But I thought Drew looked even better. I didn't say so, of course. Drew was wearing an olive green polo shirt (which matched his hair) and board shorts. Totally cool.
"Hey, you." He smirked at me, taking my hand.
"Hi." I answered and smiled. "Hi, Steve. I'm glad you could come tonight."
"Wouldn't miss it for the world." Steve answered with a grin. "I can't believe you're leaving, May! Man, seems like only yesterday that I met you at the beach."
I laughed as we entered the restaurant. It wasn't really that crowded, as it was between lunch and dinner time but there was still a fair amount of people. "Yeah, I was thinking the exact same thing. Are you guys hungry?"
"Starved." Steve answered. "Let's eat!"
Hercules' main feature was hot dogs that really were an entire foot long. We sat at the counter and gave our orders to a waitress. Chelsea and I ate about two thirds of our food. They boys actually finished their hot dogs. Then they finished our food. Then they ordered another dog. Chelsea began to look a little green just by watching them eat. They kept slathering the dogs up with mustard, and dumping spoonfuls of sauerkraut on them, while Steve told the longest joke in the history of comedy.
In order to get Chelsea's eyes off the hot dogs, I nudged her and murmured. "Chels?"
"Yeah?" she whispered.
"Would it be okay with you if Drew and I went off by ourselves for a while? I mean—would you feel okay about being alone with Steve?"
Chelsea shrugged her shoulders. "Yeah, of course. Have fun."
I grinned. If we hadn't been sitting in the middle of Hercules' Hot Dogs, in front of Drew and Steve scarfing down the hot dogs, I would have hugged her. At last, the boys finished the last bite of the foot-long hot dog and we left Hercules'.
"What do you want to do now?" Steve asked, running a hand through his hair. We were back onto the boardwalk where people were gradually starting to fill. I could smell popcorn and cotton-candy. The music of a merry-go-round blared out from across the pier. A couple of kids burst out giggling as they tried to throw darts to the balloons. I smiled a little. It reminded me of my first 'date' with Drew when he won me that teddy bear.
"Let's look around the stores." Chelsea replied with a smile. She flashed me a little look and I knew what it meant.
"I want to go to the arcade." I said, and so we split up just like I was hoping.
Drew and I played the dart-throwing game again. This time I won a baseball cap for him. It was green and white and had a picture of a dolphin printed in the center. Drew told me that it looked tacky, but nonetheless he wore it. And he won a couple plastic beaded necklaces which he gave me. They were pretty and shiny. And it must have been beginner's luck (or maybe beginner's love), because after that we played three other games and didn't win anything.
"Let's walk around," I suggested. I liked just looking at the lights and listening to the boardwalk sounds and smelling the boardwalk smells.
Before long, we stopped in front of a shell shop and peered in. "Come on." Drew pulled at my hand and led me inside the shop. Inside, there were shelves and bins full of nothing but seashells. I was pouring through a box of tiny conch shells when Drew suddenly handed me a paper bag.
"What's this?" I asked and he shrugged his shoulders.
"A little something. Open it."
And so I did. Inside, there was a shiny pale pink shell. I took it out and held it in my palms, the shell fitting perfectly onto my hand. I took a sharp intake of air as I realized that there were no dents, no broken pieces, nothing but perfection.
"It's to remember me by." Drew said with a little smirk. "Not that anybody forgets Drew."
I shriveled my nose at him but for some reason I couldn't smile. I felt like crying instead. Maybe Drew sensed it, because he squeezed at my hand. "No crying." He looked into my eyes and winked. "You don't look pretty when you cry."
I was about to hit him with something when he suddenly tugged my hand and pointed at something. "Hey, there's the Tunnel of Luv! Let's buy tickets for it."
The Tunnel of Luv was like no ride I had ever been on. It wasn't noisy, it didn't jerk you around corners and nothing jumped out at you. Drew and I sat side by side in this boat that was shaped like a swan and floated lazily through a dark tunnel in which soft music was playing. I didn't think that Drew Hayden would have thought that the ride was romantic, but just before we left the tunnel; he leaned over and kissed me gently.
And I smiled to myself as the ride ended. I knew that I would never forget Sea City or the boardwalk or the Tunnel of Luv.
I would never, ever forget Drew.