‘Moments in Life’ by Jen Kent

PART 2. To read the original first, click HERE.

Wrapped in his arms, we sit on the beach until the sun has completely sunk below the waterline.  The only light coming from the moon shining off the water.  In a former life this is where panic would start to rise but I feel completely at ease with Landon.  We’re comfortable sitting in silence, something I have never had before.  When I first saw him at the coffee shop I had a feeling it would be this way.  I mean, how could you not be intrigued by a guy who smiled so easily, knew all the baristas by name and ran after a young mother who’s baby dropped their blanket.  But, as intrigued as I was, I was still terrified to open myself up to someone again.

“So, may I ask where you were before you walked into my favorite coffee shop three months ago.” Landon asked, effectively pulling me out of my musings.  I could feel his smile against my hair.

For a split second I could feel the panic trying to rise but I beat it back.  Not every guy is like him.  From what I can tell, Landon definitely isn’t.  I am determined to stick to my promise and I will work at letting people in again.  “I just moved here.”

“Oh yeah? Where are you from?”

My knee jerk reaction is to lie but, thinking better of it, I decide that honesty is my best course of action and way easier than having to explain away anything later.  Besides, that’s an innocent enough question.  I can do this, I can talk to him without freaking out.  I have a good feeling about Landon and I want to give this a chance.  “From a small town in Massachusetts. My grandmother lives here and I got a job at the University while I finish my Master’s degree.” I say, inwardly cringing at the words that just flew out of my mouth. Hopefully he doesn’t think I’m a spaz for answering questions he never even asked. And I pray he doesn’t ask what small town.

Seemingly not put off at all, he asks, “Master’s degree, huh? I figured you for a brain when I saw you reading all the time.” If James had made a comment like that to me, it would’ve been meant as an insult.  His form of abuse was more mental than physical but he was not above the occasional backhand to get his point across.  At least that’s how it was in the beginning.

Pushing the rising memories out of my mind I turn in his arms just enough to meet his eyes, laugh and say, “I doubt that. All you have ever seen me read is Romance novels.”

“True. But you’re always writing too.” After he says this I feel a little flutter of unease start to rise. I didn’t realize he paid that much attention to me. Then again I was always watching him too.  

Letting it slide I answer, “I’m getting my Master’s in English and Creative Writing. So I will unapologetically say that I’m a complete nerd.” Hopefully that came off as breezy as I meant it to.

He scrutinized me for a minute before smiling and saying, “I’ll forgive your nerdy tendencies if you’ll overlook mine.”

Laughing again, a little surprised he can make me laugh so easily, I ask, “What nerdy tendencies could you possibly have?”

“I like to lure sweet woman away from public places and…” he trails off while bobbing his eyebrows, but probably after noticing the look of fear in my eyes rushes on to say, “I’m only kidding. I collect comic books. I have a vintage, mint collection.”

Letting out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding I try for a smile and say, “You made me nervous for a second there.” Sitting up and clearing my throat I add, “But comic books, that’s so cute.”

Clearly trying to save the conversation he smiles as he brushes my hair over my left shoulder and says, “Cute and you can say it, a little nerdy. But, also awesome.”

“Definitely nerdy.” I tease, feeling relieved the awkwardness didn’t last.

Smiling he asks, “Ready to get going?” I nod and smile back.  He stands up and brushes the sand from his pants then offers a hand to help me up.  

Silently we walk back across the street to his car and he offers to drive me home.  When we pull up to my house he gets out and walks me to the door.  “I’d like to ask you on a proper date.”

Laughing at how nervous he looks I say, “I’d like that.”

“Great. How about Tomorrow night? There’s an amazing Italian restaurant I’d like to take you to.” And then with a sheepish smile he adds, “That is, if you like Italian.”

“I love Italian.” I say with a smile.  After we exchange cell phone numbers he says good night and turns to walk back to his car.

As he steps off the porch, I turn to unlock my door when I hear him jog back up the stairs.  

Turning around, we come face to face and he simply says, “I had a really nice time today. Until tomorrow.” With that he kisses me on the cheek and jogs back to his car.  Opening the door he sends me a wink before sliding behind the wheel.

Slipping into the house I lean back against the door and think; until tomorrow.

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