(Sorry it's been so long. Things got a little nuts. And I got a little distracted. That I'm still trying to figure out.)
It was a good game. We won, of course, and there was the proper amount of chest-thumping involved all around. It was a chest-thumping testosterone fest of manliness, come to think of it. It was quite impressive.
It was after dinner, shortly before dark, and I was curled in my chair, physics book in hand and hi-liter at the ready. And I'd been staring at the same sentence for roughly five minutes. My focus seemed to have taken a holiday. Not surprise there. It was a Saturday night.
I jumped about a foot in the air at the knock on the door. The brick of a physics book hit the floor with a solid thump. I was amazed it didn't chip the tile.
"Hold up," I called, heaving myself out of the chair. If I was expecting anything, it definitely wasn't a recently-showered Murphy, looking down at me with a shy, expectant smile. "Hi."
"Hi." He shuffled a little. "What are you doing tonight?"
Flat-out: Probably nothing. I should do homework, but, with my Focus on Holiday there was a good chance I was going to get nothing accomplished.
"Not much of anything," I said. "Why?"
He shuffled again.
Holy shit. Murph was fidgeting.
"Will you come out with me tonight?"
I gaped. He wanted me to come out with him? Out socially?
"Like, out out?" I asked stupidly. What other out could he possibly mean? Damn I was dense.
Murphy fidgeted a little more. "Well...yeah..."
There was so much potential when I looked at him, so many places this could go. It was kind of like a date. Almost. Sort of...
"So, will you?"
I was nodding before I could form the word, "Yeah."
He grinned, albeit shyly, a hint of color in his cheeks. "I'll pick you up at nine."
"Okay." The butterflies began in my belly when he turned away and I shut the door. I was going out tonight with a boy. With Murphy.
Why was I suddenly so nervous I was going to throw up?
Because I liked the boy. Really liked the boy.
A quick glance at the clock told me I needed to get moving. I only had forty-five minutes.
Forty-fives minutes to figure out what to wear, accessorize with it, do something with my hair, and generally freak out about things. So I did what any sensible girl would do - put on some danceable music and turned it up fairly loud to cover any inevitable freaking out I still had to do. And found my phone and called Sasha.
Who took her sweet-freaking-time to pick up.
"Sasha!" I practically bellowed. No doubt Cara could hear me, too. Without the phone.
"What do I wear!?" I was cradling the phone between my ear and shoulder, rifling through my closet in near-panic. Why did I have no going out clothes? Oh, wait. I'm not really the type to go out...
"What do you wear for what?"
"Going out!" My God, were my brain cells taking a vacation one by one? Along with my common sense? What the hell had I been thinking, agreeing to this?
I know I'm dense. But Sasha? Did she eat a bowl of stupid for breakfast this morning? This was ridiculous.
"Out with Murphy!" I all but yelled and realized she didn't eat breakfast. But I did.
If I could have reached through the phone and swatted her upside the head, I would have done so in an instant. I swear she was being unhelpful on purpose.
"Yeah, 'oh,'" I shot back. "What the hell do I wear?"
There was a pause. "Something cute."
I looked between the phone and the window, wondering if it would be covered by the warranty should it take a four floor fall.
I took a deep breath. Then another. Felt more like I was about to walk into a physics quiz than a probable date with a boy and there was something really wrong with that frame of mind.
"Yeah?" Somehow I was calm.
"Wear something red. It's your favorite color and you look good in it."
"You're a tease," I growled, knowing full well she knew I'd been flipping out.
"Have fun. I want details."
I could hear the grin in her voice. "Maybe." And snapped the phone shut.
Now that I was considering only red items, it narrowed down my options considerably. No joke. I only had two options, really. My shiny dark red shirt and my red plaid one. I almost chewed my bottom lip bloody as I stood there, debating my own wardrobe. Or lack thereof.
I went with the plaid. It was more down-to-earth. Possibly farm girl, but that was kind of what I was. I was a country kid...minus the twang, cowboy boots, and horses. But I preferred to see the stars at night, not buildings and streetlight haze. My favorite faded jeans and a long-sleeved white layering shirt (because if I got warm it would be easier to push the sleeves up than try to pull something down that wasn't there if I got cold) and was putting my Converse on when someone knocked on the door.
And yeah, the damn traitorous clock said nine. Which meant that my hair would stay as it was. I shut off everything I needed to shut off, grabbed my flung cellphone off the bed, and opened the door. And had to look up.
"Hi," I echoed, butterflies beating the snot out of my ribcage and my heart thumping somewhere in the vicinity of my molars.
Hell. No. "Yeah."
I was now in immediate danger of puking on him.
We headed downstairs. Kind of predictable that we'd stop at the third floor. I had no doubt that we had to get Devan but there was also no doubt as to the fact that I was with Murphy. If there was, the big, warm hand on my side was as good as a neon sign.
And looking at the common room, I realized I was no longer in danger of puking on or in front of one person. Oh no.
Now I had eight.
Murphy's hand tightened reflexively.
"Don't be nervous," he whispered in my ear.
Which was akin to asking a snowball to kindly not melt in hell.
"I'm workin' on it," I said and he chuckled. Which effectively helped calm me down.
"There they are," Devan said, and Murphy was given some good-natured ribbing which he took with good grace.
We moved like a pack, heading for the stairs. Murphy stayed by me, sliding his hand away only to brush his fingertips to mine when we hit the cool night air. I blushed and grinned. Who knew what the hell was going to happen, where this whole thing was going to go. There was, however, one thing that I was definitely certain about.
Murphy was no longer in danger of being puked on on what was probably considered our first date. And that would have been amazing, even for me.