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Chapter 4

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Holly and Olivia proceeded to spend the next hour and a half watching re-runs of I Love Lucy and Gilligan’s Island. But as it was nearing evening and they were finishing dinner, the doorbell rang.

Olivia got up and walked to the front door, trying to remember if she had been expecting anyone. She pulled open the door, and standing on the other side was James. He was dressed casually, in jeans and a dark emerald sweater, but he looked great.

“What are you doing here?” she asked with surprise, smiling.

“Well, I didn’t really think ten minutes was enough time to catch up, so I decided to drop by and see if you were busy. Are you?”

“Ummm...” Olivia replied, turning her head to give Holly a questioning look.

Holly answered by mouthing “go” and shooing Olivia with her hands.

Olivia turned her back to James. “No, I’m not busy. What did you have in mind?”

“I thought we might go for a walk and talk some more. Are you up for it?”

“Definitely! I’ll go grab my jacket, I’ll be right out.”

She turned and walked into her bedroom, where the first thing she did was stare at herself for a moment in the full-length mirror.

She was wearing dark jeans, a white long-sleeve shirt, and black boots with silver, drop-shaped earrings. Her mass amounts of curly dark hair (thanks to her Spanish heritage) spilled over her shoulders in a way that she had only recently come to like.

Realizing that James was waiting. Olivia decided that she would have to be content with her appearance. She grabbed her favorite green canvas jacket and a white scarf and headed back out.

“...You know, I was once in a pub in Ireland where the men would give someone free drinks for the rest of the night for playing several choruses of ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’ on the piano...” Holly was saying with great enthusiasm as Olivia entered the living room.

“Okay, Holly, I’m sure James doesn’t want to hear any of your disturbing stories,” Olivia said, as though apologizing for an annoying child. This was followed by Holly, in perfect elementary school fashion, sticking her tongue out at Olivia.

Olivia laughed and then turned to James.

“Shall we?”

“Let’s go.”

Olivia opened the door and let James go out first, and then stepped out herself.

“You two kids have fun, now,” Holly said, winking. Olivia smiled, rolled her eyes, and then closed the door behind her.

Olivia followed James down the front steps of her house and then caught up with him until her stride fell in line with his.

It was only about seven in the evening, but the sky was a deep charcoal color, due to the increasingly short winter days. Most of the stars were obscured by layers of heavy clouds, so the only illumination was the large moon hanging in the sky.

“So what have you been up to since high school?” Olivia asked as they started off down her street.

“Well, I have sort of been all over the place. I always wanted to be a historian, if you remember, so I went to a university in Vancouver, going for a degree in history... but in my sophomore year, I started to develop an interest in photography. So I started taking photo and art classes and got a job as a real estate photographer. About a year and a half after that, I gave up photography and got into psychology, and that’s where I am now.”

“I’m impressed,” Olivia commented, “I never knew you had such a broad range of interests.”

“Neither did I,” James admitted, “but I’m happy with where I am. I moved here because I recently landed a job as a counselor at St. Cloud State University.”

“Oh that’s great!” Olivia replied. “And a happy coincidence, isn’t it?” she added with a smile.

“Absolutely.” James said, putting a friendly arm around her shoulders. “So what have you been doing with your life, then?” He dropped his arm down to his side and Olivia was surprised to feel a small twinge of sadness.

“I went to St. Olaf university, and got a degree in english lit with plans to be a teacher, but that hasn’t exactly happened yet, so I moved down here to St. Cloud and opened a little book shop a couple blocks from here called Quill and Ink Classics.”

“Well I guess I’ll have to pay you a visit sometime, then.”

“Definitely. You should.”

They walked in silence for the next few moments, simply enjoying the moonlight, the company, and the chilly evening air.

After a while, James brought up the subject of their school days, which triggered a whirlwind of laughter and reminiscing. They reminded each other of different adventures, lapses in judgment, and plain old stupid decisions that ended up making incredible stories.

They had absentmindedly made their way into the neighborhood park, and were now leaning against the jungle gym, reliving their favorite memories.

“Do you remember, in sixth grade,” Olivia gasped, her sides aching from laughing so hard, “When we shoved that hamburger into the vending machine? And then when Lucas Randal tried to get a soda, the machine shot out not only the soda, but also a piece of cheese and his money!”

James doubled over laughing and nodded as Olivia let out a ridiculous giggle.

They continued to swap stories and laughed until they were completely out of breath, and then stood, gasping for air with wide grins until they had regained their composure.

After a few more moments, Olivia broke the comfortable silence by saying “Hey James, could I ask you something?”

“Go for it.”

Olivia paused, reaching up and wrapping her hand around one of the cool metal bars above her head. “Is there anything you regret about high school?” she asked.

James looked at her for a minute, thinking. “Well there are probably a lot of things I could have done better, or maybe shouldn’t have done at all, but there is one opportunity that I passed up time and time again and it always bothered me.”

“What’s that?”

“Do you remember on your birthday in fourth grade, when I gave you that gift certificate?”

“Of course,” Olivia laughed, remembering their little romance in elementary school. “10 free kisses. I think I still have that somewhere...”

James smiled and laughed lightly. “You never used it, though.”

“True. I don’t really know why. That was pretty clever for a fourth grader, though. I gotta hand it to you.” Olivia looked up and into James’s translucent blue eyes, suddenly realizing how close he was standing to her.

James slid his hand over hers around the metal bar of the jungle gym, and before he fully knew what he was doing, pressed his lips gently to hers.

Olivia’s eyes closed and she kissed him back, but shortly thereafter the surprise caught up to her and she pulled away.

The same surprise was in James’s eyes as they searched Olivia’s, gauging her reaction. She wasn’t really sure how she looked at that point, but James didn’t seem ashamed or embarrassed at all. Just surprised at his own actions.

“Well that was one,” Olivia said with a slight smile, “I’ve got nine more.”

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This article has 5 comments. Post your own!

BrownEyedGirl said...
Mar. 3, 2010 at 6:47 pm:
I don't exactly know if you're going to maybe publish this someday, but I honestly think you should.
I think it's one of a kind wonderful.
It makes me excited and curious, and happy; and I love the way it's written.
Very well done!
I hope there's a next chapter... :) I can't wait!!
Good luck with everything! I hope it all comes along well. :)
enigma99 replied...
Mar. 3, 2010 at 7:04 pm :
Thank you so much! And I've got the next chapter in waiting to be put up, and chapter six is currently in the works :)
BrownEyedGirl replied...
Mar. 4, 2010 at 4:58 pm :
awesome!! :D ill be waiting
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writer24/7/365 said...
Feb. 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm:
Please do more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BookFreak14 replied...
May 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm :
YES PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!.... I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!
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