I licked my lips as I walked up to the front door of Trent’s apartment, rubbing my sweaty palms against my pants as I stared at the cotton ball bunny on the door. The nervousness coursing through my system ceased as a laugh rose up my throat at the adorable and awkward caricature.
Trent opened the door with a smile. “You found it okay?”
I held up my cell phone. “GPS works miracles. Cute bunny, by the way.”
He laughed as he shut the door behind me. “You should see the creator of it; she’ll melt your heart.”
“Your sister, I’m guessing?”
He nodded, putting his hands in his back pockets as he nodded into the living room. “So this is it–it’s small, but this is our humble abode. Living room,” he pointed over the half wall; “the kitchen and dining room.” He nodded to three doors to the right. “My room, bathroom and,” he pointed to a door covered with butterfly stickers. “Allie’s room.”
“I thought that was your room,” I joked, smirking over at him. I let my eyes linger on him. He was wearing a plain black t-shirt which pulled at his shoulders, accentuating his slightly muscled arms.
“I’m more Ninja Turtles and Captain America, personally,” he shot back. “You hungry?”
My stomach growled the response. “So you can cook?”
He smiled over his shoulder as he walked into the kitchen, pulling a casserole dish out of the oven. “Cook books work wonders.”
“Did you get Fifty Shades of Italian?” I asked as he reached in again, bringing out garlic bread.
He rolled his eyes as he brought the two dishes to the kitchen table. My mouth salivated as I looked at the spaghetti and meatballs.
“First thing of cooking,” he began handing me a bottle of water; “anything with the words fifty shades in it is not going to be a good cook book. Unless you want to have meatballs smothered all over you?”
I squeezed my eyes shut as I shook my head. “No thanks.”
He laughed, and I opened one eye. “Good, because my food is much better in your belly.”
“This is amazing,” I said after taking a bite and leaning back in the chair. “I can’t remember the last time I ate anything this good. My dad isn’t much of a cook.”
“My mom wasn’t either,” Trent explained, and I watched as he carefully wrapped his spaghetti around his fork.
“How long has it been since you started taking care of your sister?”
He paused, shrugging. “From the time she was born. Mom was straight for the pregnancy, but the second she could get high she was.”
I swallowed, losing my appetite despite the amazing food in front of me. “I would say sorry, but I don’t feel like that does the situation any justice.”
He reached over, putting his hand over mine. I looked up at him and he smiled. “I love my sister more than anything in the whole world. It sucks that my mom and dad were such messes, but I have her, and I’m glad for that. I think that things happen for reasons…” his voice drifted as he watched my eyes fall. “Well, most things.”
He sighed, pulling his hand from mine to rub his forehead. “I’m sorry–that seemed insensitive.”
“No,” I replied. “I believe I’m the person I am today because of all the things I’ve been handed, as shitty as they’ve been…and I like the person I am, despite my flaws.”
“I like that person too,” Trent replied, and I couldn’t help laugh as I took another piece of garlic bread. We ate in silence, but it wasn’t an awkward silence. It was a silence that acknowledged there was nothing anyone could say to make our pasts different.
Trent cleared his throat. “You still feel like a movie?”
“Definitely,” I said, patting my stomach. “If I can move after all this food.”
Trent popped the DVD in before sitting down next to me, putting his arm over the back of the couch. I leaned my head on his shoulder and his arm fell to rest on my waist as the movie began to play. I tried my best to stay awake, but the comfort of being in his arms quickly lulled me to sleep.
“Hey,” Trent whispered as my eyes fluttered open.
“I’m sorry,” I replied, looking up at him, my hand on his chest. I could feel his heart beating beneath my touch. It began to race as he moved my bangs out of my face, his hands tracing the shape of my cheek before stopping at my chin. His thumb paused over my bottom lip as he leaned down.
“T-Trent!” Allie rushed into the room and we moved apart as she crawled up into his lap. Her wavy dirty blonde hair fell into her eyes as her lower lip quivered. “I had a bad dream.”
He pulled her tighter into his lap, wrapping his arms around her. “It’s okay.” He mouthed the words sorry, and I shook my head smiling.
Allie looked up at me through sniffles. “I’m sorry, Ellie,” she said as she rubbed her eyes.
I reached forward and rubbed her back. “No, sweetie, it’s fine. Why don’t we have Trent read you a story to get those boogy men to go away?”
“Will you stay?” she asked, pulling her teddy bear closer to her.
“If you want me to?”
She nodded, and Trent stood, carrying her into her room. He placed her on the bed, taking a book off the nightstand. Allie looked up at me, patting the other side of the bed for me to sit next to her. Trent began reading in a low voice, and I had to try to stay awake as the rumble of his voice sunk into me. When Allie finally drifted off he placed the book back on the table and kissed her forehead as we stood.
“It’s late, huh?” Trent said as he closed Allie’s bedroom door behind us.
“I’ll walk you to your car?” he said, slipping his hand into mine.
We walked in silence to my car where Trent wrapped his arms around me, kissing the top of my head. “Did you have a good time?”
“Yeah, I did.”
He pulled away, pushing my hair behind my ear. “How about a real date next time?”
“I don’t know,” I said, and I watched as his smile froze on his face. “I’m pretty fond of our impromptu dates.”
“Dinner and a concert? Friday night?” he suggested.
“Sounds good,” I said, leaning up on my toes.
His hand slipped out of mine, and my chest tightened. “Goodnight, Ellie.”
I squeezed my empty hands against my side as I looked up at him. “Night.”
“I’ll text you what time I’ll pick you up on Friday, okay?”
I nodded, slipping into my car.
I wasn’t tired any more, and my mind raced as I watched him close the door behind him before backing into the street.
Why hadn’t he kissed me?