As Reggie got ready that morning, she wasn't certain on what to wear. She knew it was just Twister and he saw her all the time, so it shouldn't be that big of a deal, but she wanted to look nice. He hadn't told her exactly what they were doing, he wanted it to be a surprise. However, from the information he did give her (wear a bathing suit and bring a surfboard), she could conclude that they were going surfing. She shook her head and smiled. He thought he was being so secretive, so she didn't want to break it to him that she obviously knew he was taking her surfing. However, she was still stumped on which bathing suit to wear. She picked a black halter-top style bathing suit that would look flattering and still stay secure through the waves. She paired it with some black swim shorts and tried to figure out whether or not she should add any jewelry. A necklace wouldn't look good with the halter-top and earrings would be too risky for surfing. She settled on a simple anklet. She wanted to do something with her hair so she wouldn't just look the same as always, but she knew most anything she did would get ruined in the waves. She did a french braid that would likely hold through the waves. She also put on a little bit of water-proof mascara and some lipgloss, even though she felt ridiculous putting on makeup to go surfing.
"Reggie," she heard Raymundo call from downstairs. "You have a gentlemen caller beckoning down here."
"Be down in a minute!" She looked again at herself in the mirror, checking her hair and making sure she didn't have any mascara marks on her eyes. She grabbed a bag that she had already filled with dry clothes (just in case), a towel, her wallet, a water, her phone, and her keys. She threw a gray t-shirt on over her bathing suit and made her way to the door, eying a bottle of perfume, rolling her eyes, and squirting it once on her neck.
"Hey," she said smiling at Twister as she made her way downstairs.
"Hey," he smiled back at her, "ready?"
"Yep! Bye dad!"
"Have fun, you two!" Raymundo called after them.
"You look great," Twister said as they shut the front door. Reggie blushed, surprised that the small touches she added had apparently made a difference, despite the fact that she was still just in a t-shirt and shorts. "I like your hair like that."
"Thanks," she smiled at the ground.
They grabbed their surfboards and put them on their bikes. She noticed he had brought a picnic basket and noticed some cups peaking out from the unzipped part of his backpack. She was surprised when he turned a different direction from their usual beach.
"Where are we going?" she asked.
"I told you; it's a surprise."
As they kept biking, she noticed the road looked a little familiar. She wondered if they were going where she thought they were going. She hadn't been there in years. As the kids got older, it had been harder to get everyone together for surfing trips. It had been especially hard in the past few years because money had been tighter and her dad and Tito weren't able to close down as often anymore. As they rounded a corner, she knew.
"You're taking me to the secret spot," she said with a big grin on her face. Twister looked at her and smiled. She let out a squeal of excitement. "I can't believe you're taking me to the secret spot! Twister! I haven't been here in forever!" They hopped off their bikes upon arrival and looked around to see that the beach was deserted. It was all theirs.
"So, you like the surprise?" Twister asked. Reggie threw her arms around his neck, giving him a hug.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and leaned his head over her shoulder. "Mmm, you smell good," he said, breathing in her perfume.
Reggie blushed. Unsure of what to say, she released the hug and grabbed her surfboard. "Come on, let's hit the waves!"
They ran to the ocean and paddled out, catching some great waves throughout their time in the water. A few other surfers came along at one point, but they didn't stay long, so the two felt like they had the beach all to themselves. They surfed for a few hours before getting hungry and deciding to come in for lunch. They propped their boards up in the sand and Reggie was about to take a seat when Twister stopped her.
"Wait," he said, pulling a blanket out from under the basket. "I have another surprise for you."
He held up the basket and she smiled. They spread the blanket out across the sand and he set the basket down. They sat down and Twister started pulling things out that he had packed; two sandwiches, a bag of chips, some Twizzlers, and some Oreos. He also pulled out a bottle of coke from his backpack along with two plastic cups.
"And," he said, reaching into his backpack and grabbing a candle and a lighter.
"Oo, ambiance," Reggie said, a little impressed.
"Ambi- what?" he asked, but was too distracted for an explanation. He kept trying to light the candle, but the beach breeze wouldn't allow it. After the sixth time, he gave up, clearly disappointed. "This stupid candle won't even stay lit."
"It's okay, we don't need it." Reggie put her hand on his arm reassuringly. "But it was really sweet of you to bring it."
Once they had eaten their food, they sat and talked for awhile. They laughed and talked about their lives. They reminisced on old memories. They had talked about sports and the different things they had won, like the big hockey championship of 2001. They talked about all the different times Otto had gotten them into trouble, or had freaked out about competitions.
"Remember when Otto tried to go up against you in that triathlon and you totally kicked his butt? He was bitter about that for so long."
Reggie laughed, "I think he still is."
"I think it was the running that got him. He hated that part. I bet I could've beaten both of you in that part," Twister joked.
"Is that a challenge?" she replied with a smirk.
"Race you to that flag?" he asked.
They raced for about half a mile, Twister taking the lead once they got close to the finish line and barely winning. They caught their breaths for a minute and sat down next to each other. Reggie was exhausted and laid down in the sand. Twister leaned over her and propped himself up with his hands on each side of the ground by her body. Both of their breathing steadying as they looked at one another, but their hearts continued racing. He bent down and his lips met hers, sending a rush throughout her body. She reached her arms around his back, pulling him closer so his chest was pressed against her. She wanted to take in everything, from the warmth of the skin on his back to the strength in his lips, but before she could, it was over. She opened her eyes, looking up at him and running her hand through his hair as she smiled. He shifted his body, laying down beside her and folding his arms behind his head.
"That cloud kind of looks like a moose, doesn't it?"
Reggie scooted closer to him, propping her head against his side. "Which one?"
He pointed up to the sky. "See? It's right there. There's the legs and its head, and nose, and there are the horns."
Reggie giggled. "You mean the antlers?"
"Exactly," he said, wrapping his arm around her shoulder.
"Twister?" she moved her head looking up at him. He looked back at her in anticipation. "I'm really happy."
"Me too," he said with a smile. "It's hard to believe this is all really happening."
She felt the same way. She wondered how she had gone on for such a long time without seeing him like this. It was weird how easily they shifted out of friendship. It didn't feel gradual like she had expected. No, it felt more like fireworks, sudden and bright. Like this thing had always been there, but it was just sitting, waiting for the match to be lit. For a moment, she studied his face. It was the same face she had seen every day for her whole life, but now she almost felt a need to memorize it, every detail, so she would never forget. She still couldn't wrap her mind around the fact that they were laying there together. Or that they had just kissed and it had been the best kiss she'd ever had. Before last week, she had never even thought about kissing Twister; she was very surprised at how good he was at it. She wondered if he had thought about kissing her before. She knew that logically, he probably had, but it was hard for her to picture him thinking about her like that when it was all still so new to her. She supposed it hadn't been knew for him though since he said he had liked her all this time.
"Why did you never ask me out before?" she asked.
She continued looking at him, awaiting his answer, while he looked back up at the sky, laughing to himself, "I guess I just never thought you would have said yes. Or worse, that you would say yes but it would only be because you felt sorry for me or something."
She sat up, "Why didn't you think I'd be interested.
He sat up too, looking at the water as he ran a hand through his hair. "I don't know, maybe because you're like," he sighed and smiled sheepishly, "way, way out of my league. You're, you know, beautiful and smart and athletic and confident. You're just, like, this amazing person. I still don't really even get why you like me. I mean, I'm really not that good at anything. I'm pretty average at most sports; nowhere near the level of you or Otto. I know I'm better at that stuff than the Squid, but he's still crazy smart and I'm really dumb, so he's still better than me in everything else anyway."
Reggie frowned. She had no idea Twister was so insecure about all of that. He had always seemed so carefree, just going with everything. Even as he said it, he didn't seem bothered, he just ran sand through his fingers and watched the waves crashing on the shore. He didn't look upset about it, but she could also tell by his facial expression that wasn't something he ever talked about.
"Twister," she said, putting a hand on his arm. "You're so incredible at so much. You name it, surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, you're like a million times better than most anyone in Ocean Shores. And you are not dumb. Actually, you're pretty smart."
"Don't stretch it," he said with an incredulous smile.
"It's true," Reggie insisted.
"Try telling that to the guys. Or my teachers or family or pretty much anyone who's ever met me," he said as he allowed the grains of sand to slide through his fingers. Reggie was perplexed at how his expression still remained the same as always, even when she could tell from his words that this was clearly something he struggled with.
"It really bothers you, doesn't it? When the guys give you a hard time about it?"
"It's fine. It's really not a big deal. They're just telling me what I already know." He stood up, putting his hand out to pull her up. He laced his fingers through hers as they started walking. She wasn't sure if this was supposed to be some sort of sign to switch the topic. She had appreciated that he had told her about it at all. Her thoughts stopped for a moment as she noticed how nice it felt to be holding his hand, but she was still bothered. She didn't want him to keep on acting as though this was just a fact that he had accepted.
"You are smart though. You just have a different set of things that you know a lot about."
"Uh-huh," Twister gave her a doubtful smile.
"I'm serious! You know more about videography that anyone I've ever met. And you're self-taught. And you're bilingual. After taking Spanish for three years, I still cannot imagine how anyone can know multiple languages. I barely got by in that class. And I know you struggle with school sometimes, but it's just because you have a different learning style. Once something clicks for you, you do really well with it. School just doesn't usually present the information in a way that connects for you. And you still don't let that stop you. That stuff comes naturally to some people, but I think it's much more impressive that you work hard to try to learn it. I've always admired that about you. Just because it doesn't come as easily to you doesn't mean you're not smart."
Twister smiled down at Reggie, moving his arm around Reggie's shoulder. "I see," he joked, "you're only with me for my brains."
"Yep. That's the only reason. It has absolutely nothing to do with your dashing good looks or our history or your hilarious, easygoing, thoughtful, and all-around spectacular personality. None of that," she smiled up at him, wrapping her arms around his waist.
"Good," he replied, kissing her head.