Garry pulled out of his parking spot, slow and steady. He smiled to himself as he reminded him where he was going.
"Today is Ib's special day." He thought.
Ib stood, patiently waiting by the now-empty parking lot in front of her high-school. Only about fifteen minutes ago this was concrete chaos. People rushing around to catch their ride or find their child. Ib sighed softly, the hope in her eyes dimming. She glanced at her watch.
"3:30. He's supposed to be here by 3:00... He's never late." She thought, then shook her head curtly.
"Don't go about thinking that, Ib." She told herself. "He'll come. He always does."
Just thinking of Garry brought a smile to her face. He was and has always been her best friend, ever since that dreadful day they met in the art gallery. She stood, clutching her books to her chest and rested her chin on them. Her hopes lifted as a car drove by and her heart sank as it sped past, and faded into the distance.
"He has to come." She thought, a sliver of doubt entering her mind. "He has to."
Garry slowly made his way through the congested roads. The traffic was starting to irritate him.
"It's never this busy." He grumbled to himself. "Ib is probably worried sick."
He glanced at the digital clock embedded into his car dashboard.
"4:30?" He exclaimed. "I wish I could do something about this traffic."
Ib slowly knelt down and eventually settled into a sitting position. She smoothed out her crimson skirt and peered down the road from where Garry should be coming. She focused on that spot for so long she started hallucinating a dark green car coming towards her. She shook her head and averted her eyes.
"He's not coming." She thought aloud. She hung her head to show her disappointment.
She glanced back up at the ghost car, which was now slowing to a halt in front of her. She immediately recognized the driver's wild lilac bangs.
"Garry!" She cried out in glee. A grin spread across her face. He returned the gesture with a quick smirk, before leaning over to open the passenger door for her.
"Hop in." He said, still smiling.
She jumped from her spot in the grass, grabbed her books and slid into the cream coloured passenger seat beside Garry. She slammed the door behind her and then adjusted her sitting position. She pulled the seat belt across her chest, fastened it and then smoothed out her skirt again. She glanced at Garry for a brief moment and then focused on her hands as she wrung them.
"I started to think you weren't coming." She said. "But I knew you'd come."
She looked up at him and smiled broadly.
"You always come."
Garry chuckled softly.
"I wish I could've done something about the traffic." He smiled awkwardly.
Ib laughed cheerfully. "It's quite alright."
She gave him a big hug and he wrapped his long arms around her upper back. Then he turned back to the front and started the car.
"Where to, Birthday Girl?" He said coyly.
Ib laughed again. "The usual?" She suggested.
"As you wish." Garry smiled.
The pair arrived at the café in no time.
"Ah perfect." Garry said gently. "No line up."
"Ib, Garry." The hostess beamed. "Our two best customers. Your usual table?"
Ib nodded enthusiastically. "It's my birthday." She exclaimed.
"Well, then." The hostess said with a wink. "I'm sure we'll have a special something for you. Follow me."
The trio sauntered over to a table near a window at the back. The sun shone brilliantly through the transparent opening and gave the surrounding area a warm golden glow. Ib took a seat and Garry slid into the chair opposite her.
"I'll get you a couple of macaroons." The hostess smiled. "On the house."
"Thanks." Garry replied. "You know us all too well."
As the waitress left Garry focused his attention on Ib. The golden sunlight light illuminated her face perfectly and her hair swayed gently around her shoulders due to a light draft coming in from the window. Garry quickly found himself staring and stopped himself. He'd promised himself he wouldn't admit his adoration for Ib. Not yet at least. He quickly glanced away and then back to her.
"So," Garry began awkwardly. "What's it like to be 18?"
"Well, I guess it's nice to be able to drink legally." Ib said, jokingly.
Garry put on a fake surprised face and gasped melodramatically.
"You? Drinking alcohol?" He exclaimed.
Ib smiled cheekily.
"Well, maybe not." She admitted.
The pair laughed for a moment and then stopped abruptly, staring at each other in the sunlit haze. A smile slowly spread across Ib's face as she stared at Garry. The two began to gradually close the gap between their heads. Ib slowly closed her eyes as their lips almost met until the waitress came by with their macaroons. Their focus was immediately torn away and both of them recoiled, blushing. The wide-eyed waitress said nothing after realizing what she had just intruded on and simply placed the two plates in front of the embarrassed couple. She turned and left swiftly, without a backward glance. You could've easily cut the tension with a knife. Ib directed her attention to her macaroon and began picking bits off. Garry opened his mouth to speak, but couldn't when he found that Ib had shoved a rather large hunk of macaroon in his mouth. She giggled childishly. Garry gave her a you've-got-to-be-kidding-me look as he chewed and swallowed the piece, which caused Ib to laugh yet again.
"I-I," Garry began. "I'm sorry."
Ib looked at him, confused. "Sorry for what?" She inquired.
Garry laughed nervously. "Sorry for what almost happened." A pink hue came to Garry's pale face.
Ib smiled shyly. "Don't be. It was partially my fault too. And I thought it was kinda…" She trailed off mid-sentence.
"Kinda… what?" Garry pressed.
Ib shook her head gently. "Oh never mind."
"No." Garry said, determined. "What were you going to say?"
Ib's cheeks gained a touch of red. "I thought it was kinda… cute."
She buried her face in her hands to cover the reddening in her face. Garry moved a hand and brushed Ib's bangs away from her face. She shyly peeked out over her hand-face shield at him. Garry smiled coyly as he took her hands in his and started leaning forward again.
"Let's try this again." He cooed, staring intently into Ib's scarlet eyes.
Ib, overwhelmed, could only nod and began to lean in as well. She slowly closed her eyes as their lips met. All the fond feelings she'd had for Garry bubbled up inside her. A wave of warm, euphoric thoughts flooded her mind. Who knew a kiss could be this pleasant? This was the type of kiss a couple shared that told them they'd be together forever. Like in any story, the prince and princess were meant for each other. In a way this was a perfect fairy tale. They slowly broke the kiss and Ib opened her eyes to a red-faced Garry. She jokingly punched his shoulder.
"Oh stop that." She giggled. "You don't have to blush anymore."
"But I can't do anything about it." Garry protested.
Ib waved him off. "Well, you could try."
He sighed softly and pointed to one of her mangled macaroons.
"You done with that?" He asked.
"Yeah, I suppose." She answered.
"Oh, and I got something for you." Garry said, excitedly. He fumbled around in his jacket pockets for a few minutes.
"It's not here, I… must have forgotten it at home." He said with a hint of disappointment.
"That's alright. To your place, then?" Ib suggested.
"Uh, yeah, sure. Good idea."
The pair left the café and once they were settled back into Garry's car, they were off to his apartment downtown.
Garry unlocked the door and tossed his keys onto the oaken coffee table just in front of his navy sofa.
"Make yourself at home, you know the drill." Garry said, nonchalantly.
He shrugged off his ragged coat and gingerly placed it on one of the bronze coat hooks. Ib made her way to the dining area and sat herself down in one of the chairs.
"I'll be back in a minute." Garry said and disappeared down the hallway.
Ib wondered aloud what he possibly could have gotten her. Not a minute later, Garry reappeared with a small black box in his hands. He sat down in the dining chair opposite to Ib and held out the box.
"What is it?" Ib asked, curiosity getting the best of her.
He opened the box slowly to reveal a silver chain with a small, red ribbon charm hanging from it. Ib's eyes widened and her face lit up.
"Oh, Garry." She exclaimed. "It's beautiful!"
Garry smirked. "I'm glad you like it."
"Put it on me." She said excitedly.
Garry took out the necklace and gently hooked it around Ib's neck. Once it was fastened, she looked down at it and examined the pendant in her hands.
"Thank you very much, Garry. I love it."
She flung her arms around him in a tight embrace.
He laughed. "I love you."
His eyes immediately widened and he clasped his hands over his mouth. Ib let go of him and surprise filled her eyes as her jaw dropped to the floor.
"D-d-did that just slip out?" Garry barely managed to utter, through his speechless embarrassment.
Ib, still in shock merely nodded as a pink hue came to her cheeks. Garry stood and began to pace around his apartment, desperately trying to find a way to take back what he said (not that he didn't mean it) or find a way to fix the awkwardness.
"I-I love you too." Ib said shyly after a brief moment.
Garry's abrupt stop in his pacing almost caused him to fall over forward as those four little words hit him like a ton of bricks. His cheeks turned a beet red and he laughed awkwardly to help break the tension.
Garry stammered for a few moments unintelligibly. "You… do?" He finally managed to say.
Ib's face turned redder and she could only nod as she stood from her dining chair. Garry suddenly forgot everything. He strode over to Ib, took her into a warm embrace and kissed her softly. Ib returned the embrace and buried her face into Garry's chest.
"So." Ib said. "Now that we've got that out of the way." She looked deeply into Garry's violet eyes. "What do we do now?"
"Well." Garry began. "I suppose we'll have to go out; on a date."
Ib smiled broadly. "We should go to the café tonight." She said sweetly. "Eight o'clock?"
Garry smirked. "Oh so you're planning the date, eh?"
Ib smiled impishly. "What if I am, hm? Do you have a problem with that?" She teased.
Garry shook his head and smiled broadly. "No problem at all." He lifted Ib off her feet and laid her down on his sofa. As he was laying down beside her, she pulled him down onto her, into a tender kiss. They both giggled, then Ib sighed softly.
"You have no idea how long I've wanted to do that."
She stared into Garry's eyes until he spoke.
"You have beautiful eyes."
Ib blushed slightly. "Oh why thank you."
"Hey, no problem. I'm only telling the truth."
Ib smiled warmly. She had never felt such fond emotions for anyone before. None of it could compare to the way she felt for Garry. She loved every little thing about him and having known him for half her life, she couldn't imagine living without him. Garry kissed her again and then he stood.
"I'll be right back." He said sweetly. "Would you like something to drink?"
Yes, I would." Ib replied. "Juice, if you have some."
Garry nodded and disappeared into his kitchen. Ib sat up from her laying position on the couch and waited patiently for Garry to return. Just saying his name in her head made her grin from ear to ear. The grin faded slightly as a more serious thought passed through her mind.
"What if this means you're meant for each other? What if it's meant to be?"
Ib smiled again, broader than ever. She was torn from her daydreaming as Garry entered the room carrying two glasses. He slowly made his way over to the couch, careful not to spill, until he tripped over a corner of the rug laying on the floor. The glasses clattered to the floor and Garry joined them seconds later, drenched in juice.
"Oh you fool." Ib said jokingly. "Here, let's get this off then."
She stood and strode over to Garry. She pulled him to his feet and then helped remove his olive tank top to reveal his slender and pale torso.
"I'm just a fool." Garry whispered sweetly. "A fool in love with you."
Ib giggled as Garry nibbled at her neck. She smiled cheekily. "Oh shut up and sleep with me already."