She was weird with him. She knew she was. She tried to play it off but it felt like the more she tried to act normal, the weirder she seemed. Thankfully Sam coming home left her a good excuse to avoid too much one-on-one with Twister. He also wanted to catch up with Sam and spend some time together as a group again. Sam teased them relentlessly, finding it more fun to do in person than over the phone. He was really happy for them to be together. Reggie, on the other hand, was kind of freaking out about it. She was really happy with Twister but ever since she realized just how strongly she felt about him, it was like she was afraid to be with him. She put a wall up that she couldn't seem to take down and she knew he could tell.
"Reggie," he started nervously as they sat in his living room. She knew it was coming. "Is everything okay? Um, with us?"
She reactively faked a smile. "Why wouldn't it be?"
Instead of looking at him, she diverted her attention to the kitchen where she could see his parents coming in and out of view from the doorframe as they cleaned up from dinner. She didn't want Twister to be worried but she didn't know how to get things back where they were either. She was the problem and she knew it. It bothered her especially because she never had a problem jumping headfirst into anything— sports, school, you name it. But this relationship was a different story and there was a lot more at stake.
"I don't know." She read his body language as he spoke, seeing that he was already trying to dismiss it as having been all in his head. "You've just seemed a little off I guess."
She shrugged one shoulder as if she were telling him the truth. "I guess I'm just kind of nervous about college."
She hated lying to him; she hated it so much. She tried to justify it as only a half-lie. She was nervous about college but more in the sense that she would be starting college with a boyfriend that she felt entirely too strongly about. What was wrong with her? People were supposed to feel strongly about their significant others. The fact that she was desperately in love with her boyfriend was a good thing.
"Oh, right! Duh!" Twister backtracked, looking guilty for not having picked up on that before. That made Reggie feel even worse. "Well, do you wanna talk about it?"
"Um, not really," she made a reluctant expression before eyeing the video camera sitting on the table. "Maybe we could watch the footage you got this week?"
"Yeah, totally," he agreed, picking up the camera.
He didn't bother to take out the tape and have them watch it on the tv. Instead, they sat close, watching it on the camera and commenting once in a while. More than once, Reggie found herself watching Twister instead of the camera— studying his jawline, taking in his scent, resisting the urge to kiss him. She didn't even notice Lars walk in until he made a snarky comment about them.
"Shut up, Lars," Twister responded, aggravated.
"Or what?" He sat down, grabbing the remote as he propped his feet up on the table. "You're gonna have your girlfriend beat me up?"
Twister looked mad but he ignored Lars' comment, turning to Reggie instead. "Wanna get out of here?"
Reggie expected to go to one of their normal spots but Twister surprised her, dragging her into the Stimpleton's back yard instead.
"What are we doing?" she laughed.
"They're out of town," he told her. "Left this morning. My mom's watering the flowers."
"You're going to get us in trouble."
"Right, like I did with the ice cream," he said sarcastically, causing her to laugh again.
As they approached the pool, Twister took off his shoes and she expected him to jump right in but he just took a seat on the side of the pool, sticking his feet in. She followed suit and sat next to him, looping her arm with his and leaning her head on her shoulder, momentarily forgetting all of the things she had been worrying about for the past week. He didn't know what was actually going through her head but she appreciated that he could tell when something was wrong. He always knew how to take her mind off of it.
"Oh, man," Twister commented, pointing over at the pool drain. "Do you remember..."
She knew what he was going to say before he could even finish. "I'm still trying to forget," she tilted her head back. "We got in so much trouble."
"Seems like that happened a lot."
"Mostly thanks to you and Otto."
"Hey!" He gave her a little shove.
She shoved him back— straight into the pool. She laughed as she watched his head come up from the water with a mischievous grin. "Oh, you're going down."
He lunged towards her. She didn't even attempt to back away, instead continuing to laugh and fighting him off as he tried to grab her. He took a hold of her hands and pulled her down into the pool with him. They played in the pool for a while, having so much fun together as they splashed, raced, and kissed in intermittently. The sky continued to get progressively darker and she had no idea how long they were out there but they couldn't bring themselves to care about curfew enough to check the time. They just wanted to continue in their time together.
Twister snuck up underwater from behind Reggie and pulled her into a bear hug. She laughed as she tried (but not really) to break free. He loosened his grip and she turned to face him, his arms still wrapped around her. Something about that moment made Reggie lose all sense of reason.
"I love you," she said without thinking. Her brain caught up with her mouth and realized what she said. When he said it back, nothing else seemed to matter. As they kissed in the moonlit pool, all she cared about was him, here and now.
She walked into her house, still in shock. Her brain was going a million miles an hour and it was hard for her to focus on simple things like walking.
"Should I even ask?"
She hadn't even registered that her dad was there. It took her a second to figure out what he was talking about but then she looked down at her wet clothes. Before she could think of a response, he came towards her.
"What's wrong?" he sounded worried.
Once again, she spoke without really intending to. "I told Twister I loved him."
Her dad immediately tensed up, going into protective-father mode. "Did he try something?" He looked like he was about to go beat him up.
"What? No," she said incredulously, her tone making it seem like an absurd question.
He relaxed. "So what happened?"
"He told me he loved me too," she said blankly, still unable to grasp the reality that it had happened.
"So what's the problem?"
Reggie poured herself a glass of water and sat down, still processing. Her dad waited patiently, not saying anything else until she was ready to talk.
She stated for a minute at the edge of the table before looking up at her dad, meeting his eyes. "I'm too young to feel this way."
Raymundo chuckled. "Is that it?" She felt slightly dismissed and it must've shown on her face because he collected himself and switched to a serious expression. "Reggie, you're eighteen. It's normal for you to have your first love."
He was trying so hard but he wasn't helping. He didn't get it. Twister wasn't just her first love. It couldn't be that way with him. She had known him her whole life. They knew each other better than anyone else. He was in her life, permanently. And she wanted him there.
"This isn't just some guy, Twister's the guy. You're not supposed to find the guy at eighteen."
"Woah, Reggie. Slow down."
She ignored him and continued spiraling. "People who get together this young end up breaking up."
"Now, that's not necessarily true."
"And what about starting school? At orientation, they were talking all about the college experience and one girl actually said not to start college with a boyfriend or girlfriend because it will prevent you from meeting new people and getting involved on campus. Which is apparently way harder for commuters anyway."
"That was just her opinion," Raymundo attempted to encourage her. "Sweetheart, I don't think Twister's going to try to hold you back from anything you want to do."
"I know he's not. He's the one wanting me to make the most out of college and make new friends. Why did we have to get together now? If we waited a few years, like once I graduated, maybe it would be easier."
He gave her a half-smile. "You can't plan for these things. Sometimes they just happen."
Reggie nodded, not feeling much better about it. Her dad wasn't going to understand. "Thanks, dad." She smiled and kissed his cheek, pretending everything was better.