ThoughtlessBy: S.C. Stephens
Kellan looked across the table at me, his head tilted. "So, Ohio huh? Buckeyes and fireflies right?"
I smiled and mentally rolled my eyes at his limited knowledge of my home State. I didn't press him though. "Yep, that's about it."
He looked at me quizzically. "Do you miss it?"
I paused for a moment before answering him. "Well, I miss my parents and my sister, of course." I paused again and sighed a little. "But I don't know...a place is just a place. Besides, it's not like I won't ever see it again," I finished, smiling.
He frowned slightly at me. "Don't take this the wrong way, but why did you come all the way out here?"
I was a little annoyed at the question, but I tried to ignore it. I didn't know Kellan well enough to judge him. "Denny," I stated, as if that was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Huh." He didn't elaborate, just sipped his coffee.
Needing to switch subjects, I blurted out the first thing that popped into my head. "Why do you sing like that?" I instantly regretted saying it, realizing how horribly offensive it must sound. I didn't intend it that way. I was just curious why he was so...flirtatious on stage.
His blue eyes narrowed at me. "What do you mean?" he slowly asked. I got the feeling that his singing was something people usually didn't question him about. I couldn't tell if he was angry, but I didn't want to steer him that way. This was not how to make a good impression on the person I now shared a home with.
Pausing for time, I took a slow sip of coffee. Knowing I would have to explain my horribly embarrassing question, I started blushing slightly. "You were great," I started, hoping to mollify him. "But sometimes you were just so..." I cringed mentally, but knew I needed to just be a grown-up and say it, "...sexual," I whispered.
His expression softened and then he laughed for what felt like five minutes.
Irritation flared in me full force. I wasn't trying to be funny and I was getting really embarrassed, not to mention uncomfortable. Why did I have to open my big mouth? I stared down into my coffee cup, wanting to crawl inside it and disappear.
He finally noticed my expression had changed and worked at regaining his composure. "Sorry....It's just, that's not what I thought you were going to say." I wondered for a moment what he had expected me to say and looked back up at him. Still slightly chuckling, he thought for a moment. "I don't know. People just tend to respond to it." He shrugged his shoulders.
By "people," I inferred that he meant women.
"Did I offend you?" he asked with a twinkle in his eye.
Great, now he thought I was this prudish person who couldn't handle him. "Nooo." I overly stressed the word and glared at him a little. "It just seemed excessive. Besides, you don't need it...your songs are great."
He seemed a little taken aback by that. He sat back in his chair and watched me in a way that was making my heart beat quicker. Seriously, he was just absurdly good-looking. I looked down at the table uncomfortably.
"Thank you. I'll try to keep that in mind." I looked back up at him again. He was smiling softly at me and he did seem to genuinely mean it. Changing topics, he asked me, "How did you and Denny meet?"
I smiled as I remembered it. "College. He was a T.A. in one of my classes. It was my first year, his third. I thought he was the most beautiful person I had ever seen." I blushed a little bit over calling him beautiful out loud, and, to a guy. I generally tried to not use that word in everyday conversation. People tended to look at me funny. Kellan was just smiling peacefully at me however. I suppose he was used to hearing a wide variety of glowing adjectives.
"Anyway, we just hit it off and have been together ever since." I couldn't help but smile at the flood of memories we had together. "What about you? How did you meet Denny?" I knew the basics of the story, but not much more.
He thought a moment, a smile on his lips that matched mine. "Well, my parents thought it would be good idea to host an exchange student. I think their friends were impressed with that..." His smile faded a bit before instantly returning. "But, Denny and I hit it off right away too. He's a cool guy."
He turned his face away and a look passed over him that I couldn't comprehend...almost grief. "I owe him a lot," he said softly. He turned back to me, his charming grin back in place, and shrugged. "Anyway, I'd do anything for the guy, so when he called and said he needed a place to stay, it was the least I could do."
"Oh." I was curious about his sudden sadness, but he seemed back to normal now and I didn't want to press him. Anyway, Denny came back into the kitchen at that point.
He looked very apologetic. "Sorry, all I could find were these." He held up a bag of Cheetos and a bag of pretzels.
Kellan laughed softly while I held my hand out and gave Denny a sweet smile. "Cheetos, please." Denny frowned, but gave them to me and Kellan laughed harder.
We finished our "nutritious" breakfast and then I called my parents (collect, no less) to let them know we were here and we were safe. Denny and Kellan caught up on their years apart while I chatted with my family. The only phone in the house was an olive-green, corded, seventies-looking contraption in the kitchen, and Denny and Kellan's stories were getting louder and funnier as they sat at the table and reminisced. I had to glare over at them a couple of times, non-verbally asking them to be quiet so I could hear my parents. Of course, they thought that was hilarious, and it only seemed to make them laugh even louder, so eventually, I turned my back on them and ignored their happy conversation. It wasn't as if my mom and dad were saying anything other than, "Ready to come home now?" anyway.
After my too-long conversation, Denny and I headed back upstairs. He quickly showered while I rummaged through his bag for some clothes. Choosing his favorite, faded blue jeans and a light beige Henley shirt for him, I started setting out the rest of our things on the bed.
The person who had rented this room before us had been kind enough, that they had left the bed (sheets and all), a dresser, a small television and a nightstand, complete with an alarm clock. I wasn't sure why, but I was extremely grateful, since Denny and I had absolutely no furniture. In Athens, we had lived with our relatives to save on cash. I had tried on numerous occasions to get Denny into an apartment of our own, but, ever the money-savvy one, he hadn't seen the logic in wasting all that cash when our families were only a few minutes from school. In my head, I had a very long list of reasons why...most involving a bed, sheets and all.
And of course my parents, although they adored him, weren't keen on him moving into my bedroom. They hadn't even been okay with me moving into his Aunt's place, and since they were paying for my pricey education, I hadn't pressed the issue too far. But now we sort of had to live together to save on money, so I guess, in the end, I had won the argument. I smiled at that thought as I began putting our clothes into the small, double dresser - his on one side, mine on the other. We didn't have a whole lot of clothes, and I was done by the time Denny came back from his shower.
Seeing him wrapped only in a towel, pleased me greatly, and I sat on the bed with my arms around my legs, head resting on my knees, to watch him get dressed. He laughed at my rapt attention, but was comfortable enough that he had no problems dropping his towel and dressing. I would have made him turn around, or close his eyes or something, if our roles had been reversed.
Once finished, he sat on the bed beside me. I couldn't resist running my fingers through his damp hair, rustling it around a little bit, and styling chunky pieces. He waited patiently, a warm glow in his eyes, a soft smile on his lips.
When it appeared that I was contently finished, he kissed me on the forehead and we made our way back downstairs to get the rest of our boxes from the car. It only took two trips - we really didn't have a whole lot of stuff. We were however, apparently completely out of food. We put the boxes on our bed and decided to brave our way through the city streets in a quest for sustenance. Denny had lived here for an entire year, but that had been several years ago, and he hadn't been driving then, so we got some directions from Kellan and made our attempt.