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Polka-Dots In My Head
“You wouldn’t dare.” He smirked before placing a firm grasp on my hips, and putting his face close to mine for a moment and leaning down…before chucking me into the ice-cold water.
I plunged under, holding my breath. When I came up, Nick was bending over laughing so hard, that his tan cheeks had a light but noticeable pink in them. I slowly rose and walked towards the shore.
“Ha-ha. You’re so hilarious.”
He was still red from laughing but only chuckled as he said, “You should’ve seen your face.”
I crossed my arms over my chest and stomped past him.
“Hey,” all humor gone from his voice, “Where are you going?”
“Where am I going? I’m going home.” I wasn’t really that mad, but truth be told, I finally cared enough about my appearance to spend more than fifteen minutes on it and all for him. I really just didn’t want look like a mess right now.
A hand gently pulled me back as Nick made my body to face his.
“Hey,” he said quietly, “I’m sorry.”
I kept my gaze on the ground, knowing that if I looked up I would look at his convincing small pout, his hazel eyes staring deeply into mine—I would give in, and right now, I just wanted to be mad. I wanted him to care, to notice me, to finally realize how I felt about him, so every second we’re together, I wouldn’t have to shout in my head, “I like you, Nick! I really, really like you!”
He placed his hand on my cheek and pulled me closer. I tried to ignore how good it felt, how warm his hand was on my skin. “Please look at me, Cas. Please don’t be mad at me…I hate it when you’re mad at me.”
I looked up at him, and he let out a sigh of relief.
“I really am sorry. I honestly thought you would laugh,” he added with a small smile.
I raised an eyebrow, and his expression turned serious.
“You’re forgiven; you’re my best friend, you know I can’t stay mad at you…You do a lot of stuff so I’ll laugh, don’t you?” I asked with a grin.
“Yeah. And you usually do. I was surprised when you didn’t this time. Anything you want me to tell Cassie?”
“Are you sure?”
No “Yeah. I’m sure.”
Nick sighed again and pressed my forehead against his, and I couldn’t help but feel like this wasn’t something a friend would do to another friend and the excitement it gave me, but tried to push it away.
“Cassie Melanie Molt,” he said sternly, “We’ve been friends for six years,” (It only took me two to fall in love with you, I thought hopelessly); “I can read you like a book. Tell me what’s wrong.”
I sighed and pulled away from him, frustrated at how our closeness was making me feel, shielded my eyes as I looked up at the falling sun, and said, “It’s not important and it’s getting late anyway. We should get home.”
Nick frowned as I pulled away, but nodded anyway as we started walking away from the beach and to the neighborhood that was near. Tourist families crowded the seafood restaurants and ice cream shops that were on the pier. I smiled remembering when Nick and I were kids, racing along the pier with ice cream cones the first summer our families decided to vacation together, a tradition that continued for six years.
Nick’s eyes trailed to follow to where mine were staring, and he smirked, “I’m going to miss this.”
I nodded as he slung his arm across my shoulders. Subconsciously, I leaned into him and held onto the hand that was across my back. It was only summer now, but in the fall, Nick would be off studying Economics at Brown and I would be studying Comparative Literature at Cornell. This would probably be the last time Nick and I would spend the summer together, and I had to ruin it by falling in love him. Stupid Stupid Stupid
We arrived at our families’ summer beach house in no time at all. The door opened before we reached the porch and Amy, Nick’s younger sister ran out, yelling, “Nick! Cassie! You’re back!” She hopped on Nick’s back and put her arms around his neck, “I missed you so much!” Nick just chuckled removing his arm from my shoulder and using both to support Amy’s legs which were wrapped around his waist.
I ruffled her hair with a smile, “We missed you, too, Ames.”
She grinned at me before jumping down and making us kneel at her level, then in a serious voice said, “Are you two dating yet?” Amy asked Nick and me this question on a daily basis. And on a daily basis, Nick and I both blushed and mumbled a soft, “No.” I waited for the day when we would both kiss and say, “Yes,” but was thoroughly convinced it would never happen.
Amy furrowed her eyebrows in dismay, “Oh,” then perked right up, “Well, guess what!? Mom and Dad said we’re all going out tonight and I get to go!”
Nick’s expression turned worried, “Are you sure you’re feeling up for that, Ames?” Amy was constantly sick due to her weak immune system. She always seemed to get most infected when she went out.
She nodded her head vigorously, “Of course, Nicky!” Then she pulled my hand, “C’mon, Cassie! I need something to wear!”
I laughed, trailing behind her.
A few hours later, the sun was down and everyone was up. Nick’s and I’s parents were dressed in their fancy clothes: long dresses and suits. Apparently, we were going to some charity function downtown for people like Amy. It was funny that our parents were always invited to these things even though we all knew they had no crap to give. Yes, our parents came from lines of moderate middle-class money, but they were first-generation savers, who put all the money into accounts and worked for a living. It was like Gossip Girl without the gossip, so I was just…Girl? Ordinary, plain-Jane girl.
Our parents and Amy had already left, and there wasn’t enough room for Nick and me in car, so I was wanting on him to finish getting dressed so he could drive us there in his Mustang. I was sitting on the couch in an off-the-shoulder blue dress with my long, black hair and long bangs down. The dress wasn’t exactly my style, but Amy practically begged me to wear it, and her pout was exactly like her brother’s, so it wasn’t like I could say, “No.”
Nick came down just then.
“No,” I blurted.
“What?” he asked in a serious tone even though his face suggested that he was fighting a laugh. Nick always waited until the last minute to get dressed and when he did it was like he was half-sleep in the dark with the fashion sense of a lonely blind man. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fashionista myself, but I at least know not to put stripes and polka dots together, or wearing green and red except on Christmas, and especially not to do both at the same time.
Nick, on the other hand, stepped closer to the couch, his flip-flops flopping with every step. His green button-down striped shirt clung tightly across his body emphasizing his broad shoulders and muscled torso as my polka-dotted red Bermuda shorts hung loosely around his hips. To top it off, he was wearing a straw, rice-paddy hat with the string tied around his neck.
I shook my head, trying to hide my smile, but failing miserably, “What is wrong with you?”
He gasped, “Are you trying to tell me that this isn’t presentable?” he asked fake-insulted and spinning around to give me a better view.
I gave up and finally grinned, walking over to him, and took down his hat from his face, “That’s exactly what I’m saying.”
He grinned back, “Just trying to make you smile. I think this is the first time all day,” he said, placing his fingertips on my lips to make the corners go up higher.
I tried to hide the blush forming on my face by swatting his hands away and saying, “Good job…Now go get dressed…Please?”
“Fine,” he said, dropping his hands and starting to stomp up the stairs, but turned around halfway and jabbed an index finger at me, “But only because you said Please!”
He’s such a mess.
Half an hour later, Nick yelled, “Cas!!! Cassie, c’mere!”
I half-ran to his room then leaned against the open door frame. “Yeah?”
He turned around in a deep blue suit, with a white dress shirt underneath. His dark brown hair was tousled messily, but still looked absolutely perfect. My voice caught in my throat as I gulped.
He held up two neck ties: a deep blue with polka-dots and one without. What is with him and polka-dots lately? I crossed the room over to him and held up each in front of his shirt. I chose the plain tie knowing that went better with his suit and began tying it for him since I always do when we go to these things. When he did it, his tie always ended up crooked. I noticed his eyes staring at me with a concerned look at placed the silky fabric around his neck.
I looked up for second, “What?”
His gaze still intense, he whispered, “Do you ever think about us?”
I almost froze but kept looping. “What do you mean?”
“…As…more than friends?”
I was almost done when I realized my cheeks were on fire, but I refused to say anything until he did, “Do you?”
I was finished but he gently grabbed my hands and held them in his. I couldn’t help but notice how nice it felt before looking up at him. He smiled softly, “I do. A lot. You’re amazing to me, Cas.”
I looked down, blushing harder. He placed his finger underneath my chin, pulling it up to look at him, “Do you?” he repeated my words.
Biting my lip, I nodded, too shocked to say anything. His bright smile took me out of gaze long enough to smile back before he softly pressed his full lips to mine. His hands moved to my waist pulling me closer as mine ran through his soft hair with our lips starting off simple and growing more intense, more passionate, as if they’d been waiting six years for this kiss.
He pulled back and smiled again, “I love you, Cas.”
“I love you, too.”
Wrapping his arms around me, he looked at the two of us in his floor-length mirror, and for the first time, I noticed that the blue of his suit matched the blue of my dress.
“You look beautiful, Cas,” he whispered in my ear, “You always do.”
I smiled and turned to look at him, “You, do, too…Uh, not beautiful, but, uh, the male equivalent…uh, handsome!” I blurted with a stammer.
He smirked and threw his polka-dot tie on his bed, making sure his hand never left mine, “Thanks, Female Equivalent of Handsome.”
I rolled my eyes, blushing, “Oh, shush. What’s up with you and polka dots lately anyway?”
Nick scratched the back of his neck a little embarrassed, “Well…I know you like polka-dots, and I like you, so…”
I couldn’t help but smile and hug him, “Thank goodness. I thought that fashion breakdown downstairs was self-inflicted.”
He scoffed dramatically, “Of course not. I only wanted your opinion on that outfit so the tie problem would pale in comparison.”
I rolled my eyes smiling.
“And to make you laugh of course.”
“Of course,” I repeated.
He held my waist, pulling us closer, resting his chin on my head, and my face in the crook of his neck. I loved this feeling; feeling like my heart could beat right outta my chest and I could die right then and there, but still be the happiest girl alive just moments before. Nick kissed my hair so softly, before murmuring, “I’ve waited so long to do this…What will I do while you’re at Cornell next year?”
“What will I do while you’re at Brown next year?”
He pulled back with a smirk, “I’m not going to Brown, Cas.”
“What!? Nick, you have to go! You’ve always wanted to study Economics! Remember how you said you wanted to go there so you could meet Emma Watson and discuss the ending to The Deathly Hollows, remember? It’s almost as geeky as my meeting Yoda and blowing up the Death Star in my dreams. You have to go.”
“There are other places to study Economics, Cas. Places where I can discuss Harry Potter and all those other nerdy pleasures with a beautiful girl. A beautiful girl that I’ve known for years and won’t be over a state away from. I will study Economics, Cas, but at the same time, I have to be with this girl, too.”
“Nick…Are you saying…”
He grinned, “I got into Columbia. We’ll be in the same state, Cas.”
I smiled and hugged him hugely, pausing once to peck his lips before hugging him again, “That’s the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me.”
He hugged me tight, spinning me around with me laughing my head off before he looked at his watch, and muttered, “Crap! We’re late!”
We both hopped in the car and drove thirty minutes to the conference center. When we arrived, the second course had already begun. Nick pulled my chair out for me before taking his seat next to mine. Our parents greeted us but didn’t bother asking us why we were late; we were always late to these things since Nick always took so long to get ready.
“Nice tie, son,” Mr. Patruillie, Nick and Amy’s dad, said to Nick.
Nick looked down his polka-dot tie, that I put on him in the car, and smirked, “Thanks, Dad,” then winked at me. I couldn’t help but smile. It wasn’t in my head anymore.