Disclaimer: This fanfiction is completely made up and imaginative. I own nothing. This is completely AU. This has been created solely for the purposes of reader enjoyment and author creativity.
For Joey, the Alek for my Carina. Love you, bb. c:
The sun was bright as I stepped out of the grocery store, but I couldn't block its rays with my hand, as both of my arms were occupied by two large brown bags filled nearly to the brim. I squinted my eyes and gripped the bag tightly with my fingertips, walking out past the small parking lot and onto the narrow sidewalk. I mostly kept my head down, watching my feet to make sure I didn't step on anything that would send me sprawling out onto the cement; I'd always been a bit clumsy. However, I felt my front pocket vibrate and so I walked a bit slower, shuffling the bags into a firmer hold as I fished my cell phone out of my pocket. Carefully, I held the phone between my thumb and my forefinger, squinting down at the dark screen. One letter at a time, glancing up every now and again, I began typing in a response. But being the accident prone human that I am, I felt the bag that was gripped in my right arm slowly slide out of my grasp. Too late, I winced as I heard the crash of TV dinners and macaroni and cheese boxes hit the ground.
I watched as a loaf of bread tumbled almost four feet away from me. I set the other bag quickly down on the ground, getting down on my hands and knees, my palms pressing into the hot cement. I felt my cheeks burning furiously as I began to gather up the food closest to me. A box of raisins, two TV dinners, bananas.. I piled them all into the empty bag, keeping my head ducked to the passersby. Ashamedly, I reached out for the loaf of bread, but brought my arm back immediately once I saw another hand holding the bag gingerly, careful not to press to hard. I bit the inside of my cheek, looking up from where I was for a split second. I only processed a couple of things in that first glance. Messy, golden blonde hair and a set of shining blue-green eyes.
My cheeks were still hot as I used my arms to push myself off from the ground, picking up the bags on my way up. I smiled shyly as my eyes locked on the most beautiful features I had ever seen on a man. His jaw, looking like it was chiseled by Michelangelo, his chin dimpling only slightly. Perfect, soft looking lips were spread over a small, almost embarrassed smile. His golden hair drooped on his forehead slightly. But I was constantly pulled back to his eyes. They were the same shade as the ocean, the blues and greens and grays blending perfectly to create a color that couldn't be described by any human words.
I blinked, rushing back to the real world. My cheeks flushed, embarrassed. He ducked his head a little, running his hand through the soft looking hair that hung in front of his eyes. I suddenly wished I could do the same. I bit my lip instead as he looked up again. His eyes flashed wide for a moment.
"Oh! Right!" He reached over and gently placed the loaf of bread in one of the bags. I smiled, laughing a little. He joined in, a soft chuckle emanating from his chest. "I'm Rob, by the way." His arm shifted up slightly, as if he was going to hold out his hand for me to shake, but then he lowered it, tucking his hand in his pocket. His smile was soft, welcoming.
"Kristen." My voice sounded rough compared to his, and I'd instantly wished that I hadn't said anything, that I'd simply ducked my head and walked away. But rethinking, there would have been no way I could have just left. Not with that perfect set of eyes pulling me in.
"Well, Kristen." I noticed his accent. He sounded British..but maybe it was Australian? How do you tell the difference? "Could I..erm, help you with that?" My eyes flicked down to his hands, which were motioning to the bags in my arms. I opened my mouth, but couldn't find any words. I snapped it shut quickly, nodding with a small smile. His smile brightened. He helped me shuffle one of the bags into his arms. At that point, I had no idea why I was leading someone to my house, taking a stranger to the place where I lived. But for some reason, I couldn't turn him down.
He was charming, witty, sarcastic. He flirted in an almost non-chalant way, but as I hadn't experienced much in my past relationships, he wasn't pushy about it. After a particularly humorous banter about the quality of the Harry Potter movies versus the books, his eyes changed demeanor. Serious now, only a trace of shimmering comedy left.
"Okay. If you were given one day to do anything you ever wanted, what would you do?" I wanted to say something funny, something clever. But sadly, humor had never quite been my forte. So I stuck to my strength: being honest. I rubbed my neck, looking up at the sky contemplatively.
"Hmm..well I would probably spend most of my day dancing," I smiled shyly over at him, watching as his eyes grew wide again.
"Dancing? Like..this kind of dancing?" He demonstrated, pursing his lips and fist pumping with his free arm, Jersey Shore style.
I laughed, shaking my head. "No..but that was cute." I nudged him softly with my shoulder, smiling at him. He shrugged up his shoulders, that adorable embarrassed smile spreading across his lips again.
"Hm. Cute. Because that's what I was going for." He grinned, nudging me back. I liked this playful thing that we all ready had with each other. It was different than any relationship I had had in the past, it was..fun. Easy. He furrowed his eyebrows a bit now. "But seriously, what kind of dancing?"
I raised one arm above my head, lifting my chin proudly, and stood on demi-pointe (on tip-toes). "Ballet." I smiled shyly, lowering my arm quickly, ducking my head and running my fingers through my hair again. I glanced over at him, peeking through the thin veil that hung between us that was my hair. He was grinning in the most adorable way possible, his smile just crooked enough to break my heart a bit.
"Now that," he said, pointing to me, "was cute."
I blushed, avoiding his gaze again. How could someone I had just met make me so unsure of myself, give me so many butterflies? I had always been known as the girl with a quiet confidence about her, the girl that made people question how well they knew themselves. I had made people think again and again about what it meant to be an individual, to be confident and beautiful. And here I was, walking side by side with a person that made me want to both hide away forever yet never leave his presence. "Oh, shush. It wasn't that cute.." I bit my lip and looked over at him again, controlling the smile that seemed permanently masked on my lips. "What about you? What would you do if you could do anything you wanted for a whole day?" I smiled innocently at him, maybe a little flirtatiously.
"Paint. Anything and everything." He spoke matter-of-factly, but with just enough humility to get me interested. I lifted my eyebrows, intrigued.
"You paint?" He nodded, running his hand through his golden hair again. I suddenly had an insatiable urge to put my hand through his hair too, to feel it's almost curly texture in between my fingers. I pressed the urge down until it was nearly nonexistent, biting the inside of my cheek. I was chastising myself in my head, telling myself how ridiculous my desire was. How foolish. He probably didn't even like me that way, why would he? I'm a plain girl, the only thing interesting about me was my dancing. You could pick up a million girls like me off the street. I turned my attention back to him, pushing away my self-degrading thoughts.
"It's sort of my..passion," he smiled shyly, "I could do it all day." I nodded approvingly.
"Let me guess.." I thought for a moment, and the silence seemed to catch his interest, "It's like..when you paint, there's nothing else in the world, like..it's just you and your paint. Nothing else..matters." I looked over at him and smiled knowingly, watching as realization washed over his features. He furrowed his eyebrows, but not in a confused way. It was an incredulous look. He laughed a little, nodding.
"Yeah. Exactly. How did you-," he stopped mid sentence and smiled, "Ah. Your dance."
I had to look away. His smile was too much, it was making my heart speed. I nodded once, closing my eyes for a moment. "When I'm on stage, I'm the happiest I've ever been. The warm spot light shining on me, just me, as I dance across the stage.."I took a deep breath and looked over at him quickly. He still seemed interested, and so I continued, "I love it. Nothing makes me happier." I grinned. "It's silly, but I guess it's sort of an out of body experience." I tucked a piece of my hair behind my ear, looking over at him again, smiling timidly.
He nodded, slowly. A small smile appeared on his lips. He spoke carefully. "You know..I think we have more in common than you think."
I smiled at him coyly. "You think?"
"Yeah," his smile was gentle, "I do." I bit my lip, looking down at my feet, my smile turning quiet. What else could he do to make the butterflies in my stomach dance even more? I looked up at him, but he was all ready looking away, looking straight ahead, his face blank, unreadable. I bit the inside of my cheek, afraid that I'd lost his interest. Noticing that we were closing in on the location of my house, I coughed softly, trying to get his attention. His focus was stationary, his gaze unmoved.
"Uh, Rob?" My voice was soft, weak. He seemed to snap out of his trance. He looked down at me, a funny sort of smile on his lips.
"Yes, Kristen?" His tone was slightly mocking, playful. But even so, I couldn't help the happiness that bubbled in the pit of my stomach as his gentle voice spoke my name. My cheeks flushed again as I pointed to a house not more than ten yards away.
"That's my house." He blinked and then looked up quickly. He nodded.
I watched as my house loomed closer. Yes, loomed. The closer I got to the building, the closer I got to leaving Rob. It made my heart hurt, even just a little bit, to think that I might never see him again. After all, it was by pure happenstance that I had run into him that day. I was usually quite reserved around people that I knew, let alone strangers that I had met not even thirty minutes ago. But this felt..special. Different. Amazing.
We were at the doorstep, and I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed by the loose shingles that hung from the roof, the dirty windows, the chipping gold paint on the door knob. We had never been rich, my dad and I. He worked more than one job for as long as I could remember, always working hard. We'd lived in the same house all my life, my dad was unable to tear himself from the small, rugged building after my mom died when I was three. But as I inserted the key into the rusty lock, I avoided Rob's gaze, trying to hide my embarrassment. I struggled opening the door, the door knob sticking. I sighed loudly, frustrated.
"Hey.." his voice was soft, hushed. I looked up, my eyes meeting his immediately. He smiled gently then reached for the knob, turning it with a little effort, then pressing the door opening slightly. I smiled gratefully, stepping up onto the threshold.
"Thanks." I held out my arm for the bag, which he slid into my grasp with ease. I opened the door a bit more, just wide enough for me to slip through but not enough that he could see inside. I ducked my head after giving him a small smile, taking a step inside.
"Wait—" I turned back to him, back to those perfect eyes, that crooked smile, back to the the hair that I wanted to touch so badly. He licked his lips quickly, looking like he was struggling to put words together. "When..when will I see you again?" He looked sincere, like he would do anything to make that happen. I started to shake my head slowly, unsure. "Tomorrow." My timid eyes met his pleading ones. I couldn't say no, not for anything in the world. So I nodded, biting my lip. His face took on a new demeanor, one of quiet excitement. He tried to mask the fact that he was genuinely happy; but his eyes gave him away. His blue-green eyes shone, brighter than they had the entire time they had been together. I made him happy. I made him happy. And who was I kidding? He made me happy too. Foolishly happy, really. I had just met him, yet I had a feeling that every thought I would have after that point would have something to do with him. One single, irrational, silly thought made me grin. Maybe he would be thinking about me, too.
He brought me out of my fantasy world again. "I'll be here at seven?" He looked expectantly at me. I nodded again, timidly.
"I'll be here." A piece of my auburn hair drooped in front of my eyes, but again, my arms were full. And I looked silly. But before I knew it, Rob's hand was outstretched, lifting the hair gently and tucking it behind my ear. The action was slow, careful, affectionate. His hand lingered on my cheek. He gave me another charming, crooked smile and then turned around and walked away, the place where he touched me still burning.