First kisses. Candace always imagined that hers would be romantic like something out of a fairytale.
It would be with someone special; someone who understands her and likes her even though she's awfully shy. He'd be patient with her and wait until the perfect moment to kiss her. It would be magical. She'd see sparks.
That's not quite how it happened, though, life being unpredictable as it is.
The sixteen year old girl was walking home from school one day during a relentless rain shower. Luckily, she lived fairly close to the local school, and it shouldn't have been much of a journey. Shouldn't being the key word here, of course.
Her baby blue hair was sticking to her face from the rain, so she found it hard to see through the barrier of hair, and was abruptly knocked into someone.
"Whoops." Someone caught her arm mid-fall and pulled her back upright. Candace pulled away the bangs out of her eyes to get a good look at the stranger. She recognized him; it was Luke, the carpenter's son and resident goof ball of Castanet.
"Thanks," she murmured, entirely soaked now. There was no point in rushing home, was there?
He waved her off, eyes practically glowing. "Not a problem. So, you enjoying this awesome weather?"
"Awesome?" She mused aloud, eyebrows furrowing. "It's - It's pouring."
"Yeah. That's why it's AWESOME!"
Candace shook her head. It was almost impossible to hold a normal conversation with Luke, she soon learned. "I don't like the rain much."
"It's wet." And cold, and awful, and it hits the roof of the tailor shop at night in frightening ways that bring the worst nightmares.
Luke grinned, amused as ever. "Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut it's fun to play in."
She was sure that he was a little older than her, eighteen at the very least, as he wasn't in her class or even the class above her. It seemed a bit ridiculous to her and she didn't pretend to understand.
He must have noticed her skeptical look because he grabbed her by the arm, "Come on! I wanna show you something!"
Fifteen minutes later, they found themselves stuck in the middle of the minecart system, it having stopped working during their ride. Candace immediately panicked; it was in her nature. "What? Why isn't it moving?"
"Um," Luke scratched his head nervously. "It might not be working."
Her voice was dangerously low. "Why wouldn't it be working?"
Candace fell backwards in the minecart and huffed, her bangs flying out of her face in the process. "Well can you fix it?"
"I thought that was your job. To fix things."
"Wooden things. Furniture. But um. The mechanical stuff? Yeah, not so much."
"I don't want to die in a musky mine," Candace said, just as a round of thunder rolled from outside the cave they were in. Her body shivered involuntarily. She hated this weather. Hated it.
"I wasn't joking."
His laughter ceased at once.
"Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall," Luke sang cheerfully. How he was able to maintain his happy manner in the situation, Candace would never know. "Ninety-nine bottles of beer! Take one down, pass it around - " He looked at her expectantly.
She crossed her arms and turned her head away from him.
"I know I'm not the best singer but sheesh."
"I'm not really in the mood for music at the moment." Thunder boomed, Candace cringed. This time, Luke noticed.
"Are you scared of thunder?"
Candace bowed her head under his watchful gaze. "No," she lied.
"It's okay to be afraid," he said softly. At his gentle tone, she looked up. Bad idea in retrospect. Candace easily found herself lost in his eyes. Bad, bad, bad.
She cleared her throat and averted his stare. "I know. But I'm not."
"Okay," was all he offered in response.
"Truth or Dare?"
"You have to pick one," Luke whined childishly. It had been nearly an hour and it didn't seem like the storm was letting up anytime soon, and thus, the minecart was still stuck.
"I don't want to play."
"Please?" Luke chose at that moment to pull the puppy-dog eyes on her. A look that eerily reminded her of her little sister, Luna.
Candace sighed. "Fine. Truth."
"Why are you so scared of thunder?"
"You sure know how to ask all the wrong questions."
"You have to answer, it's in the rules."
Candace bit her lip, an action that did not go unnoticed by Luke, who stared unabashedly. "Does there have to be a reason? Maybe I'm just afraid."
"Maybe," he agreed reluctantly, before annoying her with his sympathetic expression. "But I can tell because you're not scared in a hideunderthebed kind of way. It's more like you're afraid of what's going to happen, rather than what's going on."
Candace is surprised at the depth that he displayed. "Are you a carpenter or a psychologist?" She inquired dryly.
"You haven't answered the question," he smirked, running a hand through his rugged hair.
Candace exhaled deeply. "I lost my parents in an accident during a storm."
Instead of expressing sorrow or condolences, Luke merely nodded knowingly. "That makes sense. My mom got really sick and died at the clinic - I hate going there, so I hardly ever do. But you can't exactly run away from weather, can you?"
It remained quiet for a long while after that.
The minecart finally picked up and both inhabitants perked up instantly. "We're moving! Yes!" Luke cheered, even Candace managed a smile. It didn't take long for them to make it to their destination in the Garmon Mine district.
"Well that was fun."
Candace ignored him and stepped out of the car, feeling the intense need to stretch her legs. Her sapphire eyes took to the sky and she noticed happily that the gray storm clouds had dissipated.
He touched her shoulder and she jumped. "Sorry," he grinned. "Didn't mean to startle you, but you looked like you were in your own little world for a second."
"The storm's over," she couldn't keep the relief from her tone even if she'd tried.
He hadn't removed his hand from her shoulder. Why hadn't he removed his hand from her shoulder? Candace felt anxiety prick in her stomach and a blush creep onto her cheeks. Was he doing this purposely?
And then she felt something wet on her lips, and it was him.
It was merely a peck on the lips and he pulled away at once, noticing her tense stature. He didn't look ashamed though, rather quite proud. "Sorry. You just looked really kissable right then. All happy and such."
"You can't just go around kissing people," she managed to say through gritted teeth. Anger. She was so angry. He had just...taken her first kiss! It wasn't supposed to be like this at all!
"No you're not."
She was exhausted. Spending almost two hours in an underground mine with only a first kiss-stealing lunatic as company could be tiring. Candace yawned, her eyes still glowering at Luke menacingly.
"Want me to walk you home?" He asked, hopefully.
"I'm pretty sure I forgot to pick up Bo from school anyway, so it wouldn't be out of my way."
Candace travelled onwards towards the bridge that connected Garmon Mines to the rest of Castanet, ignoring him. She knew he was following close behind. Irritation bubbled up inside her. "Stay back at least five feet so it doesn't look like you're walking with me."
Not mindful of her instructions, Luke trotted up to her side, blissfully ignorant to her sour mood. "Why? I thought we like, bonded or something."
"We did not."
Luke appeared wounded. "But...Our parents...We - "
"You stole my first kiss!" She accused loudly, rounding on him. The hurt expression evacuates his face, in favor of a knowledgable one. Candace flushed, embarrassed, as she didn't usually let her temper get the better of her like that.
"I'm sorry," he apoligized, geniunely this time. "I didn't realize... I'm really sorry. Oh, man. I always mess things up. Look, you're really pretty and I just ... My mind was, like, screaming 'Kiss Her!' And I was like, 'No shut up', but then it just got louder and louder and - "
"Are you done?" Candace crossed her arms. Luke nodded, looking like a child being scolded. She almost felt bad. Almost. "Good." She started walking forward again; he followed.
"Are you going to follow me the whole way?" She asked, annoyed.
"I'm not following you. I have business to tend to."
"I said you were pretty."
"Don't girls like being called pretty? Why are you ignoring me? Wait - stop walking so fast! COME BACK!"
Author's Note: Candace is pretty OOC, I know. She's not very shy in this, rather reclusive. But at least I wrote something Candace/Luke, eh? :D I didn't even realize how much I miss this couple, and I do. I had so much fun writing this~
As always, I hope you enjoyed and thank you very much for reading!