After stuffing my keys into my jacket pocket, I opened the door to find Nathan standing right in front of me. “Lauren!” He exclaimed, reaching out for a hug. “It’s so good to see you!”
“I’m so glad we could make something work today!” I replied, hugging him for a little bit longer than I probably should have. I could practically feel the demonic heat radiating from Stephanie in the kitchen.
“It’s really nice out today,” he mentioned, putting his hands in his pockets.
“Excellent,” I said, taking the initiative and exiting my apartment first, closing the door behind him. “I’ve always loved fall. It’s my favorite season.”
“Me too!” He exclaimed, and the two of us laughed together. Walking down the hallway of my apartment, I was sure that I was glowing. For the first time, I felt like I might have found a true friend, who could maybe even be a bit more.
Sitting in his car, I could feel the seat beneath me warming up as he reversed out of the parking spot. I was sitting next to Nathan Adrian. He was gorgeous. The best part was, he wasn’t just eye candy either. He was a real person.
“So tell me about your parents,” he questioned me. I rubbed my hands together.
“Well, my mom is a very controlling person,” I responded, looking out the window. “She’s a lawyer,” I looked at him, and he laughed.
“Well that’s good then, probably a good trait to have,” he laughed, taking a turn. “Are you close to your parents?”
“Not really,” I half laughed and stared at my lap. This guy was about intellectual conversation, and I liked that. I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to get into my family history. Nathan looked at me.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you or anything,” he said with a genuinely concerned look. “I have some pretty great stories about my parents when I was younger, I mean, if you want to hear them.”
This guy was great at lightening the mood.
“Shoot,” I smiled, gazing into his eyes. He smiled back. As he told me about the stories of him getting stuck in between the bars of the stairs railing, and how his Asian mom firmly believed in learning from lessons, I realized something. I felt like I might actually get over Michael someday. What I really needed was somebody who would care about me, and would ask me how my day was. Somebody who would stop to tell me stories from his childhood.
Nathan pulled into the parking spot, and I took another glance around to admire his car. “You really do have a sweet ride,” I chuckled, rubbing my hand on the leather seat. “I feel like I’ve been in your car many times already.”
“Thanks,” he laughed. “It only took me about forever to save up for it.” He looked at me in the eye. “And I don’t know, maybe we can make a point of getting together more often,” he smiled. My heart skipped a beat. That smile did it every time. I turned to look out the window, and admire the shops that lined the street. It was that point in autumn where the leaves had turned colors, and the air was colder, but not freezing. I buttoned up my jean jacket, and got out of the car. I had no idea where Nathan had heard of this place, but it was adorable. Old boutiques and small family owned gift shops stretched down the blocked off street, so pedestrians could roam around without the threat of cars coming down the road. The trees above formed a canopy over the street, and the road was sparingly covered with crunchy red and orange leaves.
“This may be my new happy place,” I grinned. At the very end of the street, there was a nice grassy area that featured the lake. I assumed that that was our final destination after browsing in and out of the shops.
“Weird question,” he said, walking over to my side as we proceeded towards the street. “But are you a fan of pumpkin coffee?”
This guy was my other half.
“I love it!” I exclaimed, taking hold of his arm. “Please tell me there’s a nice home-y coffee shop here that sells it,” I looked up at him. He was quite tall. Nathan just smiled at me once more and continued to lead me down the street.
As the day progressed, I could feel the warmth in between us. We were able to bond over pumpkin coffee and our love of British television shows. He laughed at me and caught me when I slipped on the leaves that were scattered all over the path.
“Thanks,” I grinned, looking up at his eyes as he pulled me up to my feet. This was just like a cheesy teen romantic movie. But the thing was, I didn’t quite mind. It was stereotypical, but it was nice to be living like that for once. I was so sick and tired of trying to impress Michael, or trying to simply please everybody around me. It was a nice change. It really was.
Down at the waterfront, Nathan and I sat next to each other on the grass as we looked out at the water. It was silent between us for a moment, but it wasn’t awkward. We had been able to talk about anything and everything today. Suddenly he turned towards me. “Lauren,” he murmured, looking at me. I angled myself to face him. “I had a really good time today.” I stared into his eyes for a minute before replying.
“I did, too.” I continued to pick at the grass and play with it, and he placed his arm around me. The sun was beginning to set, and the air was chilly. I placed my arm on his shoulder.
“I don’t want to get all official about this, but uh,” he stammered. “Would you consider this a date?” I laughed.
“Of course I would” I answered, rubbing his arm. He was adorable. He moved closer to me, and looked at me in the eyes. Then he kissed me. I just kissed Nathan Adrian.
And you know what?
It felt great.
As I unlocked my apartment, I entered to find the lights off and my roommate gone. I flicked on the lights to find a note on the counter, indicating that Stephanie had given up on cooking dinner, and decided to take her parents out to dinner instead. Typical. I flung my bag halfway across the room onto the couch, and sat down to replay my date with Nathan in my head. Partially through it, my phone began to buzz, and I dug it out of my pocket to look at it. It was Michael.
Oh no. I was over this. No more Michael. Somehow I found my thumb unlocking the screen and answering it. “Hey Mike what’s up?” I heard coming from my mouth. Was that really my voice?
“Hey Lauren, could you possibly come over right now?” his voice echoed through the phone. I froze. Nope. No way. “I really need to talk to you, this is kind of important,” I heard his voice shake.
“Mike is everything okay?”
“Yeah, everything’s fine,” he breathed. “Just can you come over?” I looked at the clock. It was only 8:30, so I figured I would have plenty of time to go over and comfort him and assure him that whatever was going on was okay. The voice inside my head told me to tell him no. I didn’t want to do this. I couldn’t do this to myself.
“Sure, right now?”
“Yeah,” he responded. He sounded tired and upset.
“I’ll be right over,” I hung up the phone and grabbed my bag that I had tossed across the room, and found my keys on the counter. I wasn’t quite sure what the rest of tonight was going to consist of. I had no idea what to expect. But I was over him, and I knew that.
At least I think I did.