* * *
Steven gazed at his reflection in the mirror. He delicately touched the razor burn on his cheek. This hadn’t been the first time that hour that he evaluated his appearance in the mirror. He stood in a pile of discarded clothes. The doorbell chimed, and Steven kicked the pile of unsatisfactory attire into the small closet. He winked at his reflection in the mirror and made short work of the distance from the bedroom door to the where Lindsay waited. This would be their fourth date.
Well, thought Steven as he reached for the doorknob, not a date, exactly, we’re just kinda hanging out together.
Steven filled his lungs to stay his rapid pulse and opened the door.
Lindsay’s dirty-blonde hair shone in the harsh light of the apartment corridor. It hung loosely past her shoulders and perfectly framed her soft face. Brilliant green eyes also glowed in the light, or was it mischief? Perhaps she was just happy to be there. Steven hoped that was the case.
Steven forced himself to meet her gaze, and lopsided grin. His eyes defied him and wandered down her cream short sleeve top. It was tight on her small frame, and while she wasn’t busty, the fabric did stretch and emphasize her petite bust. A black bra strap peeked out from the neckline, and the color and fit of the shirt left nothing to his imagination. Her denim miniskirt ended too far above the knee for her to adhere to the school’s dress code. The black clutch she wore over one shoulder matched her earrings and bracelets that clanked as she adjusted the strap.
Steven felt his pulse quicken, and even though they had had three dates prior, he found that he was speechless. It wasn’t that he worried what she would think of him – she showed up. Wasn’t that a sign that she liked him?
Lindsay’s soft features seemed to harden for a moment, and Steven realized he wasn’t acting like a proper gentleman. “Hey, Lindsay,” he blurted before he lost his nerve. “Please, uh,” he stuttered, “come in.”
Lindsay’s perfect cheekbones rose, and the mirth was evident in her voice. “You’re kinda in the way.”
Crimson flushed his cheeks, and he turned his body perpendicular to his door. He gripped the door with one hand and waved his hand inside.
“Thanks,” she replied. She ignored his nervous chuckle, and as she passed by him, he caught a whiff of vanilla. He wished that scent would live in his nostrils forever.
Steven gave her a tour of his spartan apartment. It didn’t take long, and she could easily see the small kitchen from the small living room, and he didn’t dare take her to the equally small bedroom. A noncommittal wave and a murmur of bedroom finished the grand tour of Chateau Steven.
They sat on a pair of beanbag chairs and talked nonstop. He told her about his earlier childhood, and the deaths of his parents when he was a small child. He told her of his brief encounter with homelessness. Her story wasn’t as grim as his. She was seventeen like he was, but unlike Steven, she was just discovering her independence. She confided that she played her recently divorced parents off of each other, and she usually got her way. The glow from Steven’s television precariously resting atop a two precisely stacked milk crates gave off a pale blue light reflected on her hair. Of the two channels he received without an antenna, this one seemed to rerun the morning news program in a continuous loop. The blue studio and graphics flickered in the reflections of Lindsay’s eyes.
They laughed. They smiled. Each made the appropriate gestures as the tales of their lives unfolded. Steven didn’t want the date ever to end. He was at a loss to how his life could be any better than it was at that precise moment in time.
When their conversation had lulled, Lindsay leaned forward and gently placed her hand on Steven’s thigh just above the knee. She gave him a small squeeze, and her hand crept up ever so slightly.
Steven felt the same flush as he did when she got there, but this wasn’t the same level of nervousness. His heart thundered in his chest, and he was aware of a roar in his ears. Those weren’t the only reactions he felt, as he was keenly mindful of the fact that her hand moved again. He met her intense stare.
“I really like you, Steven,” she whispered. He could barely hear her over the noise in his ears. “I enjoy spending time with you,” she continued. “I want to…” Her gaze flickered from his eyes down to her hand and back. “I want to do everything with you.”
Steven tried to come up with a reply. Smart aleck, debonair, or funny, was what he wanted, but none of these responses seemed to be of his repertoire at that moment. He managed a nod, and Lindsay smiled as she leaned forward. When their lips met, there was an explosion. He felt as if his lips were on fire. He would never admit his inexperience to his pals, but Lindsay immediately took over. Her free hand found the back of his neck, and she pulled him toward her.
It was as if their bodies knew exactly what to do. They simultaneously rose, their arms wrapped around each other. He gasped for air when their lips parted, and Lindsay giggled. He could feel her chest against his, and each touch radiated fire. Their eyes locked, and then their lips did again. His hands found their way to her miniskirt, and fumbling hands caressed her cheeks. Her hands were just as awkward, but they found their target as she unbuttoned his slacks. The bedroom he was embarrassed to show her earlier now became the final stop of her tour. Steven knew these feelings between them would last forever.