"Hey Carter?" Ed asks nervously taking a step closer to her retreating form. She stops in her tracks and turns to face him.
"Yes Ed?" Carter says craning her neck to more clearly meet his eyes.
"Oh nothing, I just wanted to show you that I know your name even when you're not wearing a pretty dress." He says dipping into an until recently untapped source of confidence. He watches Carter's face take on an expression of confusion.
"Uh okay Ed." He waits a few moments to see if she can make the connection in his words. She doesn't. The school bell rings and he is forced to leave a confused Carter Mason behind.
He avoids her all day even going as far as to switch seats with someone in their only shared class. 'French III' He thinks he's home free when dismal rolls around and she looks to have forgotten his cryptic words earlier.
He's on the bus first and picks his ideal seat before the rest of the masses crowd their way into the yellow vehicle. She spots him before he does her. She takes her usual seat next to him and begins the conversation by complaining about what Chelsea tried doing to her today in gym.
"I swear it's like she'll never learn that I don't care about what she has to say anymore." She finishes her rant. He takes this as a cue to breathe a sigh of relief and act as if he didn't almost spill his guts to her mere hours prior. The next 15 minutes goes by smoothly. They fall into their regular rhythm and all is okay.
The Mason residence starts to come into view as the bus rolls to a stop in front of the driveway. The squeak of the doors opening is drowned out by the dull roar of the teen passengers.
"I guess this is your stop," He smiles at her. "I'll see you tomorrow."
Carter has another idea in mind. She grabs him by the hand and with a little effort is able to draw him out of the seat. She drags him with her as she walks down the aisle and past Helen. She smiles a knowing smile at the two teens as she says her goodbyes.
Carter searches the yard quickly noticing the absence of her father's car. Her usual plan of action would be to worry but today she is glad for the privacy.
"Carter what are you doing?" Ed finally asks as he is still being pulled towards the dock. She doesn't answer. "Carter!" No answer. He gives up. She sits on the end of the dock and instructs him to do the same. They sit in silence for a good 5 minutes before the ice is broken.
"What did you say to me this morning before the bell rang?" She asks quickly. Panic sets in. Ed is now stuttering as he tries to form an explanation for his cryptic words. "Because when I was in gym and Chelsea was bragging to the new student about how she was queen and about her crown and all that crap it reminded me of something." She purposely avoided his eyes as she asked him to repeat his earlier sentiment.
"I said that I wanted to let you know that I uh knew your name before you um put on a… pretty…dress." He draws out the last few words as his earlier courage found its way into his voice. He watches her reaction and can tell that she has picked up its intended meaning.
"You know you're basically my best friend right Ed?" He nods cautiously at the f word. In the back of his mind the words "friend zone" are now playing like a broken record. "And I'd never want to do anything that would jeopardize that." The broken record now screaming in his mind. "But I'd be lying if I said that I'd never imagined it before." She smiles up at him shyly.
"Wha-at?" He stammers out unsure of what he had heard over his own mind's words.
"You know before I even knew Donny I had a crush on you. But then in third grade he kissed me and I think that that was what led me to like him for so long. The kiss was basically him putting on a pretty dress I guess you could say." His heart soared at her words.
"You've thought about us together before?" She nods. "When?"
"A few times I guess. I used to dream that we'd grow up and get married when I was younger. You were a famous director and I was an author. We had three children; Edwin junior, and the twins Emma and Elizabeth." She went on rambling nervously. She didn't see the big smile that permanently glued itself to Ed's face.
"You seem to remember a lot of the details." He teased her. She blushed like crazy.
"Well I'd be lying if I said that I hadn't thought about it recently. I blame Rosie though. She just wouldn't stop bugging me until I admitted to her that I like you." She explains embarrassedly because now she has put herself out there and he still has yet to say the actual words. She chances a glance at him; she melts a little at his smile.
Their eyes finally meet and he's leaning toward her. His eyes linger on her lips a moment signaling his intentions. She meets him halfway in their first kiss. Her mind goes blank as her last thought washes away. She's smiling into his lips and he can't help but wonder what she's thinking about. The sound of gravel under 4 wheels catches them off guard and they quickly separate.
The two teens sit in silence as the listen for the tell tale signs of Major Mason's approach. The car door slams shut and the soft crunch of feet meeting gravel slowly getting louder. "Hey kids, how was school today?" He asks them seemingly oblivious. "Okay." They answer in unison. He takes their answer as is and begins his next "So what do you think for dinner tonight pal? You're welcome to stay Ed." "Thanks Mr. Mason." "Italian?" Carter answers. "Sounds like a plan"
Mr. Mason smiles and begins walking away. "Oh and Ed, can I talk to you over here; in private." He adds nonchalantly. Carter can't help but laugh at Ed's terrified expression as he slowly gets up.