My first kiss. And let me say, it was amazing.
All those ditzy love songs, all those sappy romance movies–all of it. They were right. This was… amazing. The most amazing feeling I had ever felt before. I felt so stupid not to have realized how much I wanted him before this but at least I did before it was too late. And at least was forgiving me for my stupid, stupid error.
“It’s getting late,” Kellen whispered, pulling his arm back. I looked up at him, having forgot about the time completely. “I–I have work in the morning.”
I nodded, remembering what Jay had said earlier that day. It felt like a lifetime ago. “Thank you for covering for me,” I said as we got off the couch and headed over to the door.
“Anytime,” he laughed. “I hope it worked. If they’re… like you said… I guess it’d be bad if they knew who you really were.”
I gulped slightly, feeling a bit guilty when I realized I still needed to tell him about the fact I’d be working with him. “There’s more to the story,” I said and he glanced back up at me. “It’s nothing bad. Maybe you can come over tomorrow night?”
He shook his head. “If Dr. Dearg wants me to work tomorrow, I’ll be working late. If I can come over, I’ll let you know. But maybe we can go on a date? Tuesday night?”
“Okay,” I whispered, feeling my heart beating heavily once more.
I didn’t want him to go. I wanted to ask him to stay the night. But that wouldn’t be the best idea. I knew if he stayed here, with all these new feelings–I’d be tempted into doing something I’d regret later. Something he’d probably regret later. I wanted things to be slow. All this love stuff was new to me, plus the fact I was sure he was still hurt from what I said, and the difficulty of explaining to him I was working at Acinert… It would be best if I ignored the wild sensation of keeping him in my arms all night.
“Goodnight, Luna,” he said, stroking my cheek and making it more difficult to let him walk out that door. Oh jeez.
“Goodnight,” I said, touching his hand and smiling. “I will see you Tuesday night, then?”
“I’ll let you know what time,” he promised and then pulled my hand closer to his mouth, kissing the back of it which sent a delicious shiver down my spine. “Sleep well.”
“You too,” I said, leaning against the door frame and watching him walk away from my house. He got into his car, gave one last wave that I couldn’t see very well, and then took off.
It took a long time to get to sleep that night and when I did, I had strange dreams. Nightmares about Jay, about Acinert. But mixed in were really happy dreams about Kellen. When I woke up in the morning I felt so mixed up inside that I spent the entire day at my work table, pounding at the metal and trying to get the frustration out.
I knew I needed to call Milla but I just didn’t feel much like talking about everything. It felt as though yesterday I had stepped into the ocean and the tide had washed up around me, filling me with a thrilling, excited feeling. Now the tide was going and sucking me out into the dark sea. I had agreed to work with the Reddings. So suddenly, too. Why hadn’t I come home and thought about it? Why did I just… agree?
I was caught up in everything, I thought, gripping a piece of scrap so hard that my hands ached. But I still wanted to work there so I had to just trust myself.
On Monday, things were so weird at work. It almost felt like an out-of-body experience, only my body went with me. Some of my co-workers were annoyed that I was leaving, others were suspicious. My bosses all seemed to take it in stride. But only one person really asked me about it.
“Luna, you are harder to corner than smoke.” I hadn’t heard her come into the small lunchroom so when she just started speaking, I jumped slightly. “Are you mad at me or something?” she pressed. “You’ve been avoiding my calls, hardly answering texts… what happened this weekend?”
I shut the microwave and pressed the buttons for my meal to be heated up. “I’m not mad at you,” I mumbled. “I’ve just been… busy. Distracted.”
I could feel her glaring at me so I didn’t dare turn around. “Busy? Distracted?” she echoed. “Too busy to text your worried friend to let her know everything is okay? Or not okay?”
A slight blush crept up my neck and I quickly pulled my hot meal from the appliance. “I’m sorry! I just have been so…” I stared down at the food and sighed. “Things are just crazy. And–” I turned slightly and gave her a wide-eyed look. “I think I have a boyfriend.”
Now her eyes went wider than mine and she just gaped as I went past her to the table. “What?” she demanded, quickly going to the chair across from where I was sitting. “Back up. Tell me what happened! Is it Mr. Wright?” When I began blushing more, she smacked the table. “I knew it! I knew you two had the hots for each other!”
“I do not have the hots for him!” I protested.
“Yeah, you just never shut up about him,” Milla giggled. “Tell me what happened. Wait, does this have anything to do with you quitting?”
“Yes and no,” I said, poking at the carrots on my tray. “I found out Kellen was working for someone I didn’t like, we had a bit of a… confrontation.” She was staring at me, wanting more so I sighed, stabbing one of the carrots. “I punched him, he told me he loved me. Okay?”
Milla snorted, covering her mouth. “Sounds kinky. So he likes pain then?”
“Milllllaaaa!” I shrieked, rather appalled at… at… at what she said.. “Not like that! I accused him of lying to me and then I punched him. He told me he’d never lie to me because he loved me. It wasn’t like–like anything perverted or anything.”
Milla was still giggling. “Okay, sorry. Just the way you made it sound made me wonder. Okay, so you call him a liar, punch him, he says he loves you–then what?”
“Then his boss shows up and makes him go back to work,” I said, bowing my head close over the tray. “We have a little… talk. His boss and I. And she offers me a job there. At–at Acinert.”
“Acinert…?” Milla blinked several times as she worked out what I meant. But before I could explain, she began nodding. “Oh yeah that, uh, research place just outside town that’s pretty much out of sight, out of mind. Yeah, I’ve heard of it. It’s a little… lowbrow for you, isn’t it? I mean, what on earth can they possibly be discovering there? New ways to eat corn?”
I snickered slightly at that and shook my head. “It’s a legitimate research facility. They’re making all sorts of–interesting… um, well, uh… ideas…” I faltered with my words, realizing I shouldn’t be talking about what they were doing to someone who didn’t work there. “It looks to be a nice place to work and Kellen works there so it should be fine.”
“If you insist,” she sighed, leaning against the table. “So is that it? I mean, Kellen tells you he loves you–that’s wonderful. But why does that make him your possible boyfriend?”
I felt like I was going to go bright red. “We kissed,” I admitted and Milla gasped out. “He came by later that night to find out why I had hit him and–and he told me again how he felt and he kissed me. We’re going on a sort of date tomorrow night. And, well, this is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me. So I was a bit out of sorts yesterday.”
“Oooh, I forgive you,” she breathed out. “Something like that? It is totally understandable why you were distracted. So tell me, tell me! What are you going to wear? Please tell me you’re gonna wear some makeup finally!”
I shot her a glare. “I don’t know. I’ll figure out something and what’s the point in makeup anyway? I’ve always found it silly. Er, no offense.”
Milla pushed her chair back and sighed very loudly. “Look, how about tonight I take you out shopping. You can get a nice outfit to wear. And tomorrow… let me fix your hair and give you a bit of a makeover. You are a gorgeous girl, Luna!”
“If I’m gorgeous, why do I need a makeover?” I asked simply and then I grinned when Milla couldn’t really answer that. “Okay, a new outfit. I’ll wear my hair differently and no makeup. I don’t see the point in it.”
“Okay, okay!” she said, holding up her hands. “Sounds like a good compromise to me!”
After I threw my empty tray away, Milla pulled me into a tight hug. “Congratulations,” she said warmly. “On Kellen, on the new job–everything.” She pulled back, holding onto my arms and beaming at me. “You are really on a roll!”
I smiled back, though couldn’t quite agree with her. I knew that when I told my family about my new job or rather–my new boss, that it would equate to someone sticking something out under my ‘roll’ and I’d go flying into nothing.