Natalie thought she fainted. She didn't want to make a big deal out of seeing Sammi. She'd taken her time going over to Smed's, anyhow. Now all she could hear was her heartbeat. Smed's mouth was moving, but she didn't hear a word he said.
Yet, she felt calmer. He put his arm around her neck. He was so close. Like this wall that could cover her from anything bad happening to her. She blinked, looking at Sammi.
A part of her, thought she would have gotten in some kind of yelling match with her. But there were no words to even breath. She felt as if she might fall if Smed didn't keep holding her up.
"Come on, lets go upstairs." They went the back way. She felt her feet clunk against the steps and the sound he made with his heavy black shoes almost sounded like music. Finally she breathed easy once they got there.
"See, it wasn't so bad, now was it?" He grinned and she felt his fingertips touch hers. It was a good feeling. She was shaking a little. "You were fine." He promised. Natalie just nodded.
What did all this mean, she wondered. Being here. His room. She looked around. It wasn't exactly his room, either. There were Megan's things. Were they really broken up?
"I know Caitlin thinks we'll get back together. Megan and me. But I don't see how." He told her about moving to the basement. "That's the right thing to do."
He was probably right.
"Its just, I've got to find a bed. Zeke has an air mattress." He told her as he finally sat on the bed, but Natalie didn't. It just wouldn't be right. That was where he'd been with Megan. Her throat was starting to parch. Maybe she shouldn't be here. She could barely hear herself think.
"You'll want more than an air mattress." She told him air mattresses were just for show when you were window shopping or show casing a house. "Have you really thought this through?"
"See, this is why I need you around." He smiled. "You always know what to ask."
Finally she sat next to him. He grinned a little more. She smiled back, but then bit her bottom lip as she watched him. He took her hand in his.
"You're such a good friend, you know." He sighed. "I don't even know..if..if I should even do this."
Natalie's eyes opened wide. What was he saying? She didn't know if she was ready to hear this.
"Look, I've never actually, dated anyone." Smed shook his head. "Not really. Not the way I wanted." He kissed her hand. It was sweet. She felt herself laughing inside. "Would you go out with me?"
Natalie felt her face flush. She nodded.
"Great!" His kiss was a little lopsided on the corner of her mouth, but that was OK. "Lets go somewhere then."
"But..but I didn't really..know.." She looked down at her old green T-shirt from band camp back in high school.
"Oh." He sounded like it was new to him too. He looked at her in her sneakers and jeans. "Bowling. How about bowling?"
"Sure." His hand was stuck to hers. It was a good start. She liked how his hand felt in hers. Warm and cozy. She imagined them still holding hands while bowling. She wondered if anyone had ever done that before at the bowling ally.