A/N: Okey dokey, artichokies, lets get down to business.
Firstly, apologies major for making you wait over two weeks. I'm sorry! I had finals, and school ending, and writer's block, and all this other stuff and to top it off tomorrow I start Driver's Ed and I'm going to drive into a tree, I just know it. Anywho, I sincerely hope this chapter's worth the wait (somehow I doubt it).
Secondly, this chapter is pretty much double the length of normal chapters. I have no idea how it got that way; honest. Don't expect the following chapters to be so long, but whatever, enjoy it! ;)
Thirdly, thanks so much to all those who volunteered to help with my Quogan manifesto. I'll let you know what you can do as soon as I have things more organized!
Fourthly (I know, it's going on and on, isn't it? I just can't shut up!), thanks again times ten thousand for your guys's awesome reviews. Reviews seriously make me so happy. Ooh, and thanks also to those of you who are reading anyway, even if you're not reviewing, or if you're letting me know you like my story some other way (like PMs and on the tv . com forums). Do feel free to review! I've actually changed my settings, so now I accept anonymous reviews, which means that those of you who don't have accounts for whatever reason (like, you're under 13, although I have seen plenty of under-13 people get accounts anyway, since FF.N can't exactly verify your age) can review too! Yay! :P
Okay, I'm done now.
I looked down at my report card and grinned. Straight A's as usual. My teachers had written all sorts of things in the comments section—ranging from "Model student" to "A pleasure to have in class" to "Exemplary work." It looked like I would be graduating with a 4.0—no surprise there—and a full scholarship to the college of my choice. Life was good.
The report card was taken from my hands and I looked up to see Quinn holding it and smiling as she scanned it. She handed it back to me, still smiling that beautiful smile of hers, and I couldn't help but grin back.
"You're so cute when you're smart," she told me. "Which luckily for me is all the time." She slid her arms around my neck and leaned in to kiss me. Happy to oblige, I wrapped my arms around her and deepened the kiss…
Then I woke up.
I lay in bed staring once more at the ceiling, breathing heavily as the last silvery strands of the dream slipped out of my mind and memory, leaving behind only vague feelings of disappointment and a crushed heart. But I was almost used to the pain which accompanied those feelings by now. I'd been living with them for days, days that felt like years, like centuries.
It was the day of the date, I realized, and my heart shattered a little bit more. I didn't understand how it could do this, but every time I was sure it was broken into absolutely microscopic pieces it managed to surprise me by breaking even more. Every time I thought about Quinn, or the breakup, or her alleged date, I felt nearly literal physical pain.
The worst pain I'd ever felt about a breakup prior to this was when Bonnie Shafer pushed me into a rosebush in eighth grade. But sharp thorns had nothing on this.
It was a Tuesday, which meant I was expected to go to school. I had forgotten to set my alarm clock earlier than my roommates', so I could feel their eyes on me as they got ready for classes. They were still wondering what was wrong with me, if this had anything to do with Quinn, and why I had broken up with her in the first place. I really didn't feel up to giving them any answers, so I continued my complete silence. I got out of bed and dressed robotically, not looking Chase or Michael in the eye, trying to appear as inconspicuous as possible.
Trying to appear inconspicuous wasn't something I had much experience doing. It was harder than you would think, especially when you could feel the weighty silence and concerned stares hanging heavily in the air.
Stupid heavy air.
I walked to Math and thought about Quinn's date. Which was really just inviting the knife into my heart. But I had to consider this.
Thanks to the fact that no one had officially kicked me out of the lunch table, I was privy to all the details: the fact that they were meeting at Sushi Rox at seven, that Alex was "really looking forward to it", and that Quinn was going to wear her "new, forest green dress!" at the suggestion of Lola.
Why did I want to spy on her date? I really had no clue. It wouldn't help anything. It wouldn't fix my broken heart. I still wanted her to be happy, that selfless part of me was still there, so that part wanted her to have a good time, to be happy with Alex (or to be happy with Russian violinist boy, instead), just to be happy in general. That part of me would prevent the rest of me from ruining her date in any possible way I could. That part would regulate me to just watching, not interfering.
But the more dominant part of me was still hurting bad, didn't want her to go on this date, hated Alex, wished she would have a horrible time and that one of her experiments would go to her brain and make her believe that I was the best thing that could happen to her. That I was smart. That part of me wanted not to go to see her be happy, but to go see her slap Alex across the face and tell him she'd never love anyone but me.
That second option was impossible.
Really, me going to spy on her date could only lead to ruin. I could get caught. My heart could—and would—break further, especially since I knew there was no way she could not have a good time with smarty-pants Alex. This would definitely not help me with the healing process.
But I couldn't help it. I didn't feel I was a single step closer to being healed and I wasn't sure if I ever would be. Spying on her date would do nobody any good, sure, but it would give me something to do, a way to pine for her away from my bed…and frankly I was so depressed I just didn't care anymore if it all went to crap.
'Cause life sucks and we're all going to die. Remember that, folks. When you realize how true that is, remember that Logan Reese knew all along.
So I knew I was being downright stupid, and in more ways than one. I knew I had no right to be spying on her date. I knew that if I got caught my poor dad would be without an heir to the Reese family name. But I had to watch what happened.
I had to confirm that she really would be happier with another guy, like Alex had said. I needed this one final confirmation—especially after witnessing her reaction to our initial breakup—that this really was for the best, for Quinn's best. This one confirmation, and I swore to myself I'd leave her alone.
Sure, I'd never get over her. But that was my problem, not hers.
So, at about seven-fifteen that night I prepared to go out. No, in case you're wondering, I did not change into all-out spy gear. I did wear a black shirt, but that's beside the point.
"Where are you going?"
I spun around, my hand still on the doorknob. I had been trying to leave unnoticed, but I should have known it was a foolish hope. After spending a weekend sulking silently on your bed, your roommates are bound to ask questions when you finally get up to go out on a Tuesday night.
"Out," I said evasively, easing the door open. "Don't wait up."
"Out where?" Michael asked. He and Chase looked equal parts concerned and suspicious.
"Grab some dinner," I said. "See ya." I got a foot out the door.
"Wait." I sighed.
"Just…" They were definitely more concerned than suspicious now, which made me feel guilty. Well, sort of. "Are you sure you're all right, man? You haven't been…I mean, you…"
Before they could start talking about feelings or emotions, I gave them a quick grin as best I could. "I am fantastically glorious," I assured them, then hightailed it out of there.
Okay, fine, fantastically glorious might have been pushing it a bit, but it's not like I was about to tell them about my new philosophy. They'd probably drag me to therapy or something.
Anyway, I headed across campus to Sushi Rox at a brisk pace, keeping my head down. I barely acknowledged the people who called or nodded greetings to me. I wondered how long this would last, this depression…my whole life? I couldn't see it ending in the foreseeable future, anyway. I was actually beginning to seriously consider the amnesia-by-way-of-sledgehammer idea.
It was weird, as I walked across campus, to fully process what was happening. A week ago, I was sure Quinn and I were the happiest couple on earth, and I was the luckiest guy in the world. Then I found out how unluckyQuinn was, to have me and not someone who really deserved her, and now? Now I was pathetically depressed and on my way to spy on her date with another guy. A guy who just happened to be Shirtless Dave's little brother. Oh, the irony.
I quickly assessed the situation when I entered Sushi Rox, glancing around at the moderately-full dining area. I was pretty sure Alex and Quinn would be seated at this table sort of in the middle of the room, set for two and the most popular table in the restaurant for couples on romantic dates. Quinn and I had been there a time or two. Ignoring the now-familiar pain in my chest, I tore my eyes away from that table and saw another one: a table set for one, squished into a corner of the restaurant like an afterthought, mainly concealed by a large potted plant. I quickly took a seat there and found it was more perfect than I could have hoped for: close enough to offer a good view and good hearing-distance from Quinn and Alex, but not so close that they would notice me…as long as I kept the menu in front of my face the entire time.
I was smugly picking up said menu when it hit me full force what I was doing.
I had broken up with Quinn, the most amazing girl I had ever met, because some dork in a collared shirt had convinced me she would be happier if she was dating someone smarter. I had moped around about it for days and then, when she got a date with the smart, collared-shirt-wearing guy, had decided I would like nothing more than to spy on and eavesdrop on their date even though it would serve no purpose whatsoever. That was what my life had come to.
God. I was such an idiot.
I rested my forehead on the plastic table and thought about how absolutely miserable I was. Being selfish was so much more fun. This? This sucked.
I didn't have too much time to dwell on the suckage, though, before I jerked my head up at the sound of two familiar voices.
There was Quinn, dressed in that forest-green dress Lola had mentioned and silver high heels, her curly hair half-up and half-down and looking absolutely beautiful. And also slightly uncomfortable, maybe because of the fact that Alex had his hand on the small of her back as the waiter led them to The Table. Alex was looking just as smug as I'd felt a few moments earlier. Mostly, though, he looked almost devastatingly punchable. It would be so easy just to stand up and deck him one right in the face…
The selfless part of me pushed that thought out of my brain and I hunched down behind the menu, my eyes barely peeking over it to watch the waiter—not, I noticed, Alex—hold out a chair for Quinn and then hand them menus.
"You look great," Alex said, his voice carrying easily to where I sat. Oh, how original. Bravo! I bet no one's ever said that before! You have just confirmed your supreme intelligence to me, Quinn, and the whole freaking world!
Um…sorry. Sometimes I go a bit overboard with the sarcasm.
Anyway, I quickly checked to see if Quinn was blushing. Thankfully, there was no apparent blushage—or wait, was that thankfully? If she was blushing, that meant she liked him. But I didn't want her to like him. Or no, I did, because I wanted her to be happy. But happy with Alex? Did I want her to like the guy or not? And where did a Russian violinist come into all of this?
Ouch. My head hurt.
"Mr. Reese." I nearly jumped out of my skin at this, my eyes jerking away from what they had been so intently focused on—Quinn and Alex—to see Kazu standing next to my table, giving me a puzzled look.
"Mr. Reese, are you ready to order?" he asked. I made hurried shushing motions.
"Don't say my name out loud," I hissed.
"Er…" He was looking at me like I was crazy. Which didn't seem entirely fair—all I had done was come into Sushi Rox and sat behind a fake plant and not wanted my name said aloud…oh, and also hid behind a menu. Plus, Kazu probably didn't know that Quinn and I broke up, so the fact that I was doing this while watching Quinn apparently on a date with another guy might have seemed weird, too.
Fine, I guess I could understand his confusion.
"Are you ready to order?" he asked again. I glanced frantically at Quinn and Alex, afraid they had noticed me, or heard my name, or their attention had been drawn to the fact that out of the corners of their eyes it appeared Kazu was talking to a potted plant.
"Just water, thanks," I whispered.
"Are you sure?"
I didn't answer him, too intent on ducking down behind my menu again and straining my ears for more of Quinn and Alex's conversation. I barely registered Kazu leaving.
"Have you decided what you're going to order yet?" Alex asked conversationally.
"Not yet…" Quinn murmured absently, scanning her menu. It was hard to read on her face how she was feeling. Was she having a good time? Did she think the date was going well? Was she already hopelessly in love?
Then again, the date had only been going on for about three minutes. I guess there was a chance she didn't know the answers to those questions herself yet.
"I think I'll have the California rolls," Alex said, folding his menu and tucking it under his plate. "I remember my grandmother used to make the most amazing California rolls when I was a kid…see, she's actually Japanese."
"Oh, really?" Quinn said, sounding mildly interested. "So, are you half Japanese then?"
"A quarter, actually," said Alex. "My grandmother came to America during the Cold War. She met my American grandfather on the boat on the way over…"
As Alex continued to tell anecdotal stories about his family history, it suddenly struck me that this date had the potential to be really, really boring.
I'd never realized it before, but most first, second, and even third dates are ninety-nine percent small talk and getting-to-know-you, which might be interesting if you are one of the two parties involved but is in fact very dull if you are merely a third party ex-boyfriend spying on said first date.
Only half-listening to what was being said, I propped my menu up on the table so I was still mostly hidden and amused myself with my wooden chopsticks for a while, wondering when my water would arrive—how long did it take to pour a glass of water, anyway? Quinn and Alex ordered their food, and I forced myself to tune back into the conversation, which luckily had turned away from my-grandparents-came-over-on-the-Mayflower-during-the-Cold-War! talk.
"…didn't even know who Stephen Hawking was! Can you believe it?" Alex was saying with a chuckle. I wondered who he was talking about. Whoever it was, we probably had the potential to be very good friends: they sounded stupid, like me.
"Not really," Quinn said. She sounded a little listless and distracted. She, too, was playing with her chopsticks—it was in the little ways that Quinn and I were alike—and though it was still hard to tell, she didn't really seem that into what he was saying.
That really shouldn't have made me feel as relieved as it did, seeing as I wanted her to be happy and all…but I couldn't help it. I guess my selfless side just wasn't selfless enough to actually want her to be happy with Alex. I imagined my selflessness and selfishness as the little angel and devil you see on the shoulders of cartoon characters.
"So…" I could tell Alex was searching for something to say to his pretty unresponsive date. Ha ha, sucker. "Are you taking Advanced Multivariable Calc with Mr. Staats?"
I didn't get to hear her answer, because a face suddenly loomed over my menu and said "Mr. Reese?" loudly enough to be heard all the way in Connecticut.
Okay, fine, not quite that loud, but Quinn and Alex could have heard, anyway.
"Shh!" I hissed at the waiter, wishing Kazu had told him my request for anonymity (a word which, by the way, I have no idea how to pronounce). "Not so loud."
"I'm sorry, Mr. Reese," the waiter whispered, looking confused. "Here's your water."
"Thanks," I said, adjusting the menu with one hand to make sure it covered my face completely from the rest of the restaurant and taking the glass from him with the other hand. I took a long sip of ice-cold water and set the glass down, realizing the waiter was still hovering. I looked at him pointedly. He cleared his throat.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Reese, but water is free," he said apologetically. Personally, I didn't think that was anything to apologize over. Free stuff is good, right?
"Okay," I said, hoping he'd leave now. "That's fine."
Still, he hovered. Again, he cleared his throat.
"You see, if you sit down in this restaurant you have to be a paying customer. Water is free, so it does not count. But I'm afraid you must order something or leave, please, sir."
Oh, for the love of—I didn't want to order something I was feeling too depressed to eat, and have waiters constantly coming back and forth to my table, bringing my food and checking that it was satisfactory and taking it away and asking if I wanted to see the dessert menu. Still keeping my face covered, I dug my wallet out of my pocket and took out two twenties.
"Here," I said, handing him the bills. "I don't want anything; just take the money to pay for my table. Keep a tip, then don't come near here again or look in my direction or say my name, okay?"
I could tell there was going to be quite a lot of gossip about me in the kitchens later—probably all in Japanese, too—but the waiter took the money and walked away, leaving me finally able to concentrate completely on Quinn and Alex's date.
Things weren't going so well when I tuned back in again. Well, not for me, at least. Things seemed to be going pretty well for them. Even though she still wasn't her usual lively self, he had made her laugh.
I thought back to about a week ago, to that time when he had made her laugh in class so I had flaunted her in front of him. That hadn't worked out so well in the long run. Now I had nothing to flaunt. He did.
"You still have the scar?" Quinn was saying in a tone of amused disbelief.
"Yep." Alex grimaced. "I'd show it to you, but—"
"No, that's okay." Quinn quickly cut him off, and they both laughed.
I felt like banging my head against the wall. When had they gotten all laughy-giggly? Had it been when I was talking to the waiter? I should have been paying more attention. But then, what could I have done? I'd promised myself not to interfere.
I had my confirmation. I knew she really would be happy now. I had nothing to worry about as far as that went. I felt like just getting up and leaving and having a good cr—um, weight training session. But I could hardly just walk out of the restaurant without being noticed. I was trapped.
"Hey, you know Gerald Schlute?" Alex asked when their laughter died down. Their food had been brought out, and he was digging in with relish—though somehow managing not to talk with his mouth full—while she was picking at her salad. She did look happier than she had a few minutes earlier, but her eyes had none of the spark, none of the life they'd used to. Her eyes were dead.
Because of me? Or because the salad was bad?
"Mmhmm," she answered his question. Everyone knew Gerald the King of Dorkdom.
"Well, he's totally obsessed with learning how to time travel. Firewire told me he quit Chess Club to focus completely on his goal—and he's starting by debunking Einstein."
Quinn laughed in appreciation. "And how is that coming for him?"
"He's attempting to argue in favor of the Brans-Dicke theory, but I don't think he realizes that neither that nor general relativity makes time travel possible. Personally, I think he's just watched Back to the Future too many times."
"It's definitely an interesting concept, though," Quinn said, putting down her fork and taking a small sip of water.
"I don't think he cares about that—he probably just wants to go back in time so he can hit on his mom, like Michael J. Fox did."
"Alex! That's disgusting!" What was really disgusting, to me at least, was that Quinn was actually giggling at that.
"Anyway," Alex went on with a grin, "It shouldn't be too long before Gerald gives up and goes back to Chess Club."
"But haven't they 'temporarily postponed' all Chess Club meetings while they mourn for Bobby Fischer?"
"Oh, right—Dean Rivers is furious with them. He says it's anti-American to mourn for him."
"Well, seeing as he was pretty much exiled from the country, I can see his point."
I didn't want to listen to all this crap about stuff and people I didn't know or things I didn't understand. All I knew was that I really, really hoped Gerald would succeed in debunking Einstein so I could go back in time and kill Alex, or prevent myself from breaking up with Quinn, or do something that would get me out of this mess.
Of course, that would be selfish, but…
In an attempt to distract myself, I began to read the menu. Beneath each item in English was the same thing written in Japanese symbols. I tried to understand them. Maybe I could teach myself Japanese. That would be pretty cool.
Oh, right. I was too stupid for that.
All attempts to distract myself failed, and I only grew more miserable as the night went on. Quinn and Alex talked about everything, including lots more smart-people stuff I didn't understand. They laughed a lot. But her eyes never lost that dead look, and stupidly, that made me hope.
All the ice in my glass had melted and they were almost done with their meal when Alex leaned back in his chair and grinned at her.
"How was the salad?" he asked. She shrugged.
"It was fine." I noticed that when she wasn't caught up in conversation or laughter, she reverted back slightly to listlessness, as though talking was her distraction and the quiet brought back with it whatever it was that was making her unhappy.
Alex nodded, stuffing his napkin under the rim of his plate. I think he noticed her mood, too, which was why he tried to reverse it by saying, "Tonight was fun, wasn't it?"
Quinn nodded, looking almost surprised. "Yeah, it was," she said; and was it just me, or did she sound kind of sad while saying that?
"I'm glad we did this." Alex reached inconspicuously across the table to take her hand, and just as inconspicuously, Quinn folded both of her hands beneath the table. Alex drew his arm back. Ha.
"It's interesting how things work out sometimes, isn't it?" he said, obviously still trying to rally her into a smile, or at least something approaching interest.
"What do you mean?" she asked, twisting her hands in her lap. I think she was afraid to put them back on the table, for fear he'd try to hold them again.
"Well, you know, how we get to wherever we are by way of a bunch of seemingly insignificant choices and decisions people make," he said. Okay, I could understand this, I could… "I mean, on the small scale, we're here right now because you didn't want to see Hawking's talk and because you accepted Mr. Smith's offer to student-teach Physics, and on the larger scale we're here because we both decided to come to PCA and because both of our sets of parents decided it would be a good idea to get married at some point—or just to procreate, anyway." He let out a chuckle.
"So…are you talking about Fate, or something?" Quinn asked. She didn't look quite confused, more like a little bit puzzled about why he was saying this stuff, but I still took comfort in the fact that I wasn't the only one who thought he was off his nut.
Fine, I probably was. But she still didn't look like she was completely buying it.
"Well, not quite…after all, even Fate needs a helping hand sometimes." Alex chuckled again, as though enjoying a private joke. "Do you think Reese would have seen the light all by himself if it had just been left to Fate? It could have been many wasted years before he finally figured it out."
Quinn had started at the sound of my name, and she now looked a mixture of surprised, curious, and confused. "What do you mean?" she asked in a measured voice.
"Well, he's not that stupid, and he does care about you, so it wasn't hard to get him to realize the obvious—that you two go together like macaroni and peanut butter. He does have the capacity to understand, he just needs a helping hand sometimes. Once I'd convinced him that you really would be happier with someone…smarter, more like you, it really was just him—or Fate—that did the rest."
Wrong move, buddy.
Telling her your master plan? Not the smartest thing.
Quinn's look of confusion had slowly morphed into shock as he spoke, and now? She looked furious. I knew how much she hated it when people made decisions for her. And, I realized, that's pretty much exactly what Alex had done—made the decision to break us up. And yes, now everyone saw that he really was right, about her being happier with someone else and all that junk, but Quinn liked to figure out those sort of things on her own. Having people do it for her? Was pretty much unacceptable.
"So," she said in a strained voice, trying to make one last attempt to understand what had happened. Last chance to save yourself, Alex… "You…talked to Logan and…convinced him he was…too stupid to date me, or something?"
"Not quite in those words," Alex said, as though the fact that he hadn't come right out and said, You're dumb, Reese, made what he had said so much better. He hadn't picked up on Quinn's anger yet, and proceeded obliviously ahead. "I just said that, you know, in your best interest, he should probably let you find someone more on your level, you know?"
"No, I don't know," Quinn said, standing up abruptly. For the first time, it registered on Alex's face that she wasn't exactly a happy camper. In fact, she looked positively dangerous…I wondered what she was going to do to him. Zap watch? Ankle Laser? Slap him across the face? Ooh, maybe use those small spherical explosives of hers? I relished in the thought.
But no. She went for something a little more classic.
And that was grabbing a pitcher of ice-cube filled water from a passing waiter and dumping the full contents on Alex's head.
I had to stuff my fist in my mouth to hold back gleeful laughter.
Alex yelled and jumped to his feet, sopping wet and suddenly the laughingstock of the entire restaurant, whose occupants couldn't help but notice the straight-from-TV-moment. Quinn crossed her arms and opened her mouth to say something, but then closed it again and shook her head in disgust, as though he were simply too vile to waste her time dissing.
I was completely elated for the first time in about a week. Now that Alex was officially out of the way, maybe I could apologize, try to win her back, smarten up so I really would be the best thing for her, screw Russian violinist boy…
—I had let my menu slip down too far, and as Quinn turned to leave our eyes met and locked—
…unless, of course, she found out I was spying on her date.
Her eyes—no longer lifeless, but full of burning fire—grew first shocked, and then even more furious. Knowing it was of no use, I quickly ducked behind my menu again, only to have it snatched away from my face a moment later. I took my time looking slowly up, up, into her eyes, filled with raging fire behind her glasses.
"Uh…" I cleared my throat nervously. "…Hi?" It sounded pathetic, even to me.
She didn't answer, but grabbed my wrist and dragged me out of my seat, past a bewildered, wet, and angry Alex, and outside into the cool night air. It was amazing: I'd never noticed how strong she was before she was pulling me forcefully through the restaurant. She let go of my wrist as soon as we got a little bit away from the noise and light of Sushi Rox, as though she couldn't bear to touch me any longer.
I looked very fixedly at her shoes, afraid to meet her burning, furious eyes. Why had I come on her date? I was just proving Alex's point over and over about how stupid I was.
The moments of tension-filled silence stretched on, but far be it from me to open my parched mouth and say something else stupid. I realized this was the closest I'd been to Quinn since we broke up. It took all of my self-control—not to mention my common sense—not to reach out and just kiss her right there. I wanted to, but it was time to accept I never would again.
"Were you spying on my date?"
Her voice was calm and even, a complete contrast to her tightly crossed arms and glaring eyes. When I got really angry, I shouted and raged and sometimes threw things (though I had improved since those stupid Anger Management classes). When Quinn got really angry, she was quiet. And somehow her quietness was a thousand times scarier than if she'd yelled.
She was expecting an answer, but I didn't quite trust myself to speak, so I just nodded helplessly, still staring at her shoes.
Such a simple question, asked so calmly. Oh, how I wished she was yelling. Shouts and angry tears I could handle. This quiet disappointment and disgust was so much worse.
I wasn't sure how to respond, so I just shrugged.
"Why would you do that?" She didn't give me a chance to respond this time, but kept talking, her words coming out louder and faster and angrier as she went on. "What exactly were you trying to accomplish? Were you going to sabotage me or something? Have you ever heard of a thing called privacy? You had no right to do that, Logan! You broke up with me, remember, or did that slip your mind? I can't believe you'd do that!"
She was on a roll now, nearly yelling, her face contorted in anger and her hands balled into fists. I was afraid if I so much as opened my mouth she might sock me one, so I took a deliberate step back. I'd changed my mind—I actually preferred the quiet disappointment and disgust.
"And you know what? Alex was right. You are stupid. Stupid because you spied on my date, and because you believed whatever crap he fed you, and because you pretty much broke my heart without so much as an explanation or an 'I'm sorry'! You're stupid because you didn't come to me after he talked to you, didn't give me a chance to have a say in this, and because you freaking listened to him! I can't believe you! You are so…stupid!"
She was screaming now, and my heart was breaking again, and the next thing I knew she had taken a step forward and quite forcefully kissed me.
Well, that was certainly unexpected.
But it's not like I was complaining or anything. Rather, I kissed her back with all the passion I had, all the loss and the heartache and the lovebuilt up over the last week. I wasn't exactly sure what was going on, if she still hated me or if this would be our last kiss or what, but I didn't allow myself to think about that. I just kissed her and let all thought processes stop for a few blessed moments. And as we kissed it was like the past week had never happened, and all my unhappiness and depression just melted away.
We finally broke apart, in dire need of oxygen, and I found that somehow during the kiss my arms had found their way around her waist and one of her hands was on my shoulder, the other touching my face. I didn't know if she was still mad at me, but this was the first time I'd held her in a week, and I wasn't about to let go. I figured it would be harder for her to punch me from this position, anyway.
I searched for words to say, something that would make up for all I'd done and somehow make me worthy of her, deep important words, but my mind was addled from the kiss and all I could come up with was, "I'm sorry."
She brushed some hair off my forehead and the slightest hint of a smile came on her face. I pulled her even tighter against me. That smile gave me hope.
"Doubting yourself?" she said in a much more subdued voice than she'd been using a minute earlier. "That's not the Logan Reese I know."
"I know," I said, then again: "I'm sorry."
She looked at me solemnly, and placed both hands on either side of my face. "You promise it won't happen again?" she asked.
"I promise," I said quickly. I'd promise her the moon if I had to.
"Good," she said, then leaned forward and kissed me again.
This kiss was shorter, but sweeter than the last (argh, I'm turning into a total sap), and I enjoyed it just as much. When we pulled away I grinned. "So does this mean you'll go out with me? Again? Please?"
She smiled. "Under one condition."
"Name it," I said. "Anything."
"I will go out with you, again, if you listen to what I say right now and promise not to forget," Quinn said. I paid strict attention. "I love you, all of you, no matter how 'smart' you may be or how high your grades are or your IQ is. Not despite your intelligence, but because of it. You're a perfectly smart person, Logan Reese. Don't forget it."
I really didn't have anything to say to that, so I just kissed her.
We walked back towards her dorm hand-in-hand, and as we walked, I had to ask her something:
"Quinn?" I took a deep breath. I knew she said I was smart (and I wasn't going to forget it), but it was time to get smarter. "Who's Stephen Hawking?"
-gestures to review button-