Chapter 3 : By the light of the stars
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Really, I think she does it on purpose. Pushing her hair behind her ear like that, only for it to tumble back into her face. And the way she walks... She’s wearing a short, blue skirt and dark green tights today. Damn she’s got nice legs. There is something like a little bounce in her step. Like she’s resisting to urge to skip. This makes her high ponytail bob up and down.
She suddenly turn and sees me staring. Awkwardly I duck my head and pick up my notepad. She does not need to know that I fancy her. We don’t even know each other long enough for that, I think. Who falls in love with a girl they know for a week. And surely a girl like her won’t return that feeling. She seems so intense and mysterious, somehow. And for all I know she could have a boyfriend. I have not really asked her about it yet. What would she want with a simple soul like me. I can’t even cook. But we are friend, if nothing else. I should ask her number, that’s something friends do.
It’s the end of our shift and we are sitting at one of the freshly cleaned tables. Jack made us both a steaming mug of coffee, which Lily felt the need to cover with cream. I’m not complaining.
But I should really ask her for her number. I could call her some time, ask her out maybe.
- You’ll have to ask, then- says this annoying voice in the back of my head. Why can’t reason be a nice voice? Like Lily’s for instants.
“Lily?” She looks up, over her mug of coffee. There is a little cream on the tip of her nose. I feel a chuckle bubble over my lips while I wipe it away.
“Thanks!” She smiles. Laughing a little she takes another sip. Purposefully dipping her nose in the cream this time. I can’t help but laugh at her. She looks ridiculous. Even a little silly, with that goofy smile of hers.
“I don’t have cream on me, do I?” She asks innocently. She sticks out her tongue and tries to lick her creams of. In the end I wipe it of with a napkin, smiling broadly at her.
“Lily?” I try again. She looks up from her silly display, smiling too.
“Neil?” she asks, a curious look on her face.
“I was wondering.... if maybe.... you know, I could have your number?” I duck my head a little. She looks back confused.
“What number?” She asks, her brow is furrowed and her head cocked to the side.
“The number of your cell phone.” I reply, picking mine out of my pocket to demonstrate. “So I can call you.” I see understanding draw over her face slowly and then a blush spreads across it.
“Oh. But I- I don’t have... I mean, we were not raised with cell phones.” She confesses. “I don’t have one.”
“It’s hard to believe that.” I reply. “I mean everybody has a cell phone these days. How do you keep in contact with each other? How do you use the internet? How do you know where you are, if you don’t have a cell phone?”
“The internet?” she looks sincerely confused. “Oh, that this web thingy on which you all place like information and stuff, right?” Is she serious? Does she not know what the internet is? How utterly absurd!
“So, can I have your phone number?” I try again.
“Yeah, I meant it when I said I don’t have a cell phone. I really don’t!” She’s looking at me intently.
“Really? I don’t believe you.” I tell her. “Everybody has one. They give them away for free, practically.” She shakes her head and looks me in the eye.
“You’ll have to believe me, I don’t. Look...” She says and grabs her bag. What’s she doing? I watch her zip her bag open and hold it upside down. Out tumbles her flowery wallet, a small bag of (what looks like) sweets, a pink and yellow handkerchief, a pencil, a candle (for some reason), something that looks like a photo album, a boll of yarn and some kitting needles, a small notebook and a long wooden stick. I look curiously at the contents of her bag. For such small girl she carries a lot of things around. The strangest things, by far, are the candle and de wooden stick. I scan her bag’s contents again, there is indeed no cell phone.
“You’ll have to empty your pockets too, if you want me to believe you.” I say teasingly.
“I don’t have pockets on me, I’m wearing a skirt.” I shoots back. “If I had pockets I would not carry this in my bag.” She picks up the wooden stick and put is back before stowing the rest of her stuff in her bag as well. Standing up she takes off her apron she puts it in the bag too. A button on her blouse has opened, giving me a rather nice look at her cleavage. Oh my...
Hastily a turn down my eyes, I don’t want her to catch me staring. I look up after a moment, uncertain. She’s still standing, her hand on the table, looking at me. Clearly unaware of the great view she’s showing me. I look at her face. She looks a little worried. Her eyes are narrowed and her brows pulled together just a little.
“So, what do you want to do now?” She suddenly asks, straightening up. She finishes her coffee in one gulp and wraps her scarf around her neck. Then she pulls the rubber band out of her hair and it falls around her face. I look at her, dazzled. She looks amazing with her hair down. I can’t take my eyes of her while she gives her hair a tousle and pulls on her coat. But it’s not really a coat, more like a cloak. It’s midnight blue and reaches her knees.
“Come on, get up.” She commands. I can’t help but do as I’m told. Putting on my own coat and finishing my coffee with one last gulp. It burns my tongue a little.
Her brown eyes are twinkling when she looks up at me. “So, are you going to ask me out or do I have to do it myself?” She asks. There is no gleam of embarrassment in her eyes. She looks up at me confidently. What the hell?
“What... How ...?” I start, but I really don’t know what I wanted to ask. I would love to take her out on a date, but where would we go? I have not planned anything. I look at her again. She looks a little disappointed at my reaction. Her confident stare is slipping away.
“Oh, if you don’t want... I mean, I thought...” she mumbles. Then she looks up again. “You would like to go out with me, won’t you?” It sounds uncertain. I give her my biggest smile.
“Sure, I would love to. I was going to asks you just now, really.” I shrug my shoulders a little and smile at her again. She’s beaming up at me. Suddenly she grabs my hand and pulls me forward.
“I know this great place, you’ll love it. It’s not very far from here. They make the best Italian food in the world. Even better then the Italians themselves.” She pulls me along the street, her hand still in mine. From time to time she looks up at me, her eyes twinkling. They are a lovely shade of brown, her eyes.
It’s really nice to talk to Lily, she’s quite smart really. But there is something. I did not notice it before but it’s almost like she’s careful with was she says. I’ve caught her a few times tonight stopping a sentence halfway, smiling and not finishing it. It’s probably nothing. I thing I do that to, she distracts me a lot while I’m talking. Her laugh is very pretty, it sounds like a waterfall. Tinkling and fun. It’s enjoyable to listen to.
“Would you like me to walk you home?” I ask her when we’ve paid for dinner. She looks up at me and nods.
“We could make a detour through the park, it’s lovely at night.” She offers. I just let her lead me. She’s taken my hand again. Her hand feels very small in mine, almost like a child’s hand. I softly brush my thumb against the top off her hand, her skin is smooth but I can feel her bones and sinews underneath it. She softly squeezes my hand.
“The stars are lovely, aren’t they?” She says, pointing. I look up.
“There are hardly any stars visible in the city. It’s too light. You should come see them in Ireland. You can watch the entire milky way up there.” I point out. Lily lets out a small laugh, squeezing my hand again.
“I know, it was the same at my school in Scotland. I used to go out at night to watch them.” she smiles again, looking up at the stars. “I went to a boarding school, you know.” She says. “The stars and the moon reminded me of home when I felt lonely. Not that I was lonely that much. I had my brothers there. An Hugo was is the same year as me.”
“A boarding school, really?” She must be well educated then. As far as I know boarding schools are known for their high standards. But the mention of Hugo pops an other question in my head.
“Hey, I wanted to ask you; How did Hugo and Rena ever get together?” Lily lets out a tremendous laugh. Her entire body is shaking and she has to hold on to my arm to keep her up right. This must be a good story, then.
“Oh, that’s such a nice story. But it’s long. Very long.” She giggles and shakes her head. “I’ll tell you the short version. I guess it started when they first met, as little eleven year old kids. Both shy and quiet. They fit together like a puzzle and though they really barely talked they became the best friends imaginable.” She lets go of my hand to emphasize her story with her hands. “I think Hugo was about fourteen when he first showed signs that he fancied her. It was so cute, I can still see him blush when he finally admitted it to his sister. She was badgering him about it like crazy. After that he kind of made a fool of himself trying to keep it a secret. But since Rena is as shy as he is she never did anything to let him know how much she liked him, you know. She confessed to me that she was crazy about him, but never mentioned it to Hugo. He thought she just wanted to be his friend, she thought he was not interested. In the end they were both miserable and ignored each other. That’s where I came in. I had promised them separately to meet them in a pub, then I did not show up and after a few butterbeers the ended up kissing. I’m still proud off them!” She was grinning broadly.
“That is a cute story, but what on earth is butterbeer?” I have to know, it sounds dreadful.
“Only the best beer in the world, it makes you feel all warm and does not leave you with a hangover.” She answer. Maybe I should try it some time.
We’ve reached the park near Lily’s apartment. It’s small but pretty, with high trees and a clattering fountain. The water in the fountain bubbles and wrinkles. Little waves crash against the basin. It sounds like a very small version of the sea clips near my house.
I sit down on the basin and look around the park. Lily remains standing. She spreads her arms wide and twirls around, her head in her neck, watching the branches of the trees overhead. I laugh at her a little. She looks like a child when she does that.
Suddenly she stumbles and falls over, with a cry of shock.
I jump to my feet, offering a hand to help her up. She looks up, a bit embarrassed, when she takes my outstretched hand. In a fluid movement she’s back on her feet and very close to me. Her body is only a few centimetres from mine. Her head is cocked to the side and she’s looking up at me with a daring expression on her face. Should I kiss her? I would love to try. She does not pull away.
Slowly I lean in closer, looking into her beautiful brown eyes. Why would I make it complicated? I think to myself. Just do it. When I lean in to kiss her an owl hoots in a tree close by. Lily turns her head to the sound. She spins out of my arms and looks up at he night sky.
“I should really get home now. I’ll see you at work next week.” Lily says. She then waves at me an leaves the park.
A/N: Don't own those things that are not mine.
Let me know what I can do better with this story, or those things that you like so far...
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