Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 8

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Hey guys–I know some of this may be a bit much for Manny at this age, but I am reluctant to SORAS them too quickly and this is a conversation I felt they needed to have at this point. So Please bare with me.

Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 8

Standing in the shadows hidden from the view of the party goers, Danny watches as Lucky and Michelle dance to some corny pop song by one of those boy bands Michelle and Pilar liked to listen to. The unmistakable sound of Michelle’s infectious laughter floats through the air and a wave of jealousy comes over Danny. As the song ends, he thinks he sees her eyes look to the door, was she looking for him? He quickly dismisses the thought, ever since the kiss in Pilar’s room she acted like it never happened, but did she really? She was a lot shyer around him, that’s for sure, but maybe, like him she wasn’t sure what the next step is supposed to be. She knew he liked her a lot, but did she know his feelings were much deeper than that? Did she feel the same way? The sound of giggling interrupts his thoughts, he looks up to see Lucky and Michelle walking towards a table with snacks on it, now or never he thinks as he walks towards them.

Her eyes positively light up when she sees him, making it hard for him to hide the goofy grin that came over his face whenever he was around her.

“Hey, when did you get here?” she asks smiling at him.

“A little while ago, hope you saved a dance for me,” he half jokes, his eyes boring holes into the lanky ninth grader standing next to his Michelle.

Understanding dawns on her and suddenly she seems uneasy standing there between two guys who are shooting daggers at each other.

“Um, Lucky I think, I’ll skip that snack,” she says politely.

The teenager nods. “You still owe me a dance, you promised,” he reminded as he walked away, the words were aimed at her but it was Danny he was looking at when he said them.

“Not if I have anything to say about it,” Danny mutters under his breath.

The volume of the music made it hard to have a conversation without shouting. “Can we go somewhere and talk?” she asks.

“Follow me.”

She follows him down a brightly lit rocky path not to far away from the party the sound of water catches her attention causing her to give him a curious look.

“It’s a stream,” he replies to her unasked question. “I come here a lot when I need to think,” he adds.

Making his way closer to the stream with her following closely behind he finally settles on a huge rock, making room for her to sit next to him.

“It’s beautiful,” she sighs, taking in the scenery around her and quiet.

They both sit in comfortable silence, Danny aimlessly throwing pebbles into the stream.

“It was no big deal you know,” she says breaking the silence

“What wasn’t? Our kiss or you dancing with him and enjoying it?”

The first part of the question catches her off guard, but she chooses to focus on the easier question first. “My dancing with him. I was waiting for you to get here, but when you didn’t show up after an hour and a half I didn’t think you’d come. I was not having fun, Lucky wanted to cheer me up so he asked me to dance. He was just being nice, Danny.
Where were you anyway?” she inquires.

“Here, thinking about us.”

Surprised by his revelation, words escape her, so she waits for him to continue.

This is it he thinks now or never, he is deathly afraid of what he is about to say to her but he has to know. Taking a deep breath he fights the fear that threatens to envelope him and looks into her eyes.

“What are we to each other, Michelle? I know that you like me a lot and I,… well I um, I.. lov..I like you a lot, and I liked kissing you that day, but ever since that kiss you seem distant, was it a mistake? Kissing you that is, because if it was then I’m sorry and I assure you , it..it won’t happen again,” he stammers..

Every nerve in her body is on edge, as a mixture of emotions consumes her. Did she hear him correctly? Did he just say he loves her? Sure, he corrected himself and said like, but who makes a mistake like that? How does he know that he loves her? He is only 15 and she 13, do you know you love someone at that age? She knew what she felt for him was more than friendship but love? She didn’t know what to do she felt like running away from him and his questions, but there was another part of her that wanted to jump up and down in glee over his almost revelation. Deciding against both impulses she gazes absently at the stream and speaks quietly. “Danny, I honestly don’t know what we are to each other and what this thing that’s between us is. I don’t know why I look forward to your calls or seeing you, or thinking about you every minute. I don’t know why I liked that kiss and I…I’m not sure if I want to know.” She finishes, looking to him for a reaction but none is forth coming. He is tossing the pebbles more forcefully into the stream now, his eyes unreadable. It seems like an eternity before he speaks to her again but in actuality it was only 3 minutes.

“I’m not sure if I want to know either, and all of this is very overwhelming, I mean we are teenagers, how many people our age do you know that are having this conversation?”

The question is rhetorical, but she feels the need to answer. “If anyone else was I’d be surprised,” she laughs nervously.

“I guess what I am trying to say is, until we are sure about what we have here or if we want it at all, we should go back to what we know?”

“What we know?” she asks

“You know, you are Pilar’s friend, I’m her brother, I annoy you and tease you mercilessly, you have a huge crush on me…..” the last item on his list invokes laughter from both.

“Why do I have to be the only one with the crush, you were the one who can never keep his eyes off me whenever I come to visit Pilar, mister,” she jokes, poking his side playfully with her index finger.

“Oh I couldn’t keep my eyes off you? How do you know that, if it wasn’t just as hard for you to keep your eyes off of me,” he teased.

“Pilar told me,” she replied smugly.

“Sure she did, and I have a desert in Alaska to sell you….”

Laughing uncontrollably, the tension of just a scant few minutes ago begins to dissipate. A stray curl hangs loosely on Michelle’s face and he reaches over to brush it out of her eyes. He softly brushes the curl back in place and gingerly traces his finger along the side of her face, finally resting it on her chin, she tilts her head up and gazes into his eyes. He hesitates briefly and then leans in and kisses her softly on her lips, pulling away almost immediately, their eyes still locked she takes the initiative this time and kisses him softly, it’s nothing more that a feathery graze that didn’t last past 20 seconds, but it is the most satisfying kiss he has ever shared.

Smiling shyly she stands, “I think…..I think I should go home now,” she says softly almost apologetically and he immediately regrets kissing her not because he didn’t like it but because it made her uncomfortable.

“I’ll walk you,” he offers.

The party is dying down once they get back there, until now neither noticed they had been seating by the stream for over an hour. Michelle said her good-byes to Pilar and apologized for missing the gift opening, avoiding Pilar’s questioning gaze she follows Danny out the door and both walk the short distance to the Bauer house in silence. Reaching the top of the long driveway Danny whispers a quick good-bye and turns around to leave.

“Danny,” the sound of his name is barely over a whisper.

“Yeah?”

“I don’t want to be just Pilar’s annoying friend and I don’t want you to be just her dorky brother,” she smiles.

He returns her smile “We’ll talk.”

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