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Shooting Stars; Beating Hearts

 
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Penny Escobar
Knight of the Wyld
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 07 Feb 2017
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:09 pm    Post subject: Shooting Stars; Beating Hearts Reply with quote

June 27, in the afternoon

My cheeks were starting to ache from smiling so much, but I couldn't help myself. As I continued down the street, I skipped over a cracked section of the walkway, then spun around to avoid bumping into someone passing me by and continued with a bit of a laugh. A stranger's glance my way was met with what I assumed was a crazy grin by their expression, so I slowed my pace to check my reflection in a storefront window.

I lifted a hand to poke at the muscles of my face, attempting to smooth out the features and hide my smile, but I just couldn't. I fought to hold back a giggle, but it came out anyway, and I shook my head to myself as I cleared my throat and continued for the Inn. Maybe I needed a beer and some grass to mellow out and relax, or one of those drinks with the umbrella and cherries floating in them.

I just knew that every fiber of my being was buzzing and jittery and it made me feel more alive than I'd felt in a very long time. I could hardly believe my morning. Who would have thought Patrick Richie of all people would have showed up at my doorstep to remind me the joys of having dessert for breakfast? With a slow lick of my lips, I could still taste cookies and cream on them.

Speaking of, I spotted that same connoisseur of sugar finishing up a run and landing on the porch's steps. I enjoyed the view and my timing, but the buzzing thrum in my veins couldn't stop me from closing in on him as he caught his breath. Stars and Stones Penny, don't throw yourself at him again so soon. Let him catch his breath. I sat down next to him on the steps and hoped my voice didn't come out too high and sing-songy, I really hated that.

"Working off a bunch of excess energy?" I asked.

I stopped myself from touching him, but only when I realized that I felt jittery and even a bit nervous. Play it cool Penny, he's not going run away from you. This isn't going to be awkward just because you two slept together. It was just a bit of much needed fun and –Oh he's talking, you should be listening.

"--- It's hot out here. Should have gone for my run when it was fifteen degrees cooler."

He smiled, and I tried to not let the memory of this morning play out on my face. I hoped it was working.

"How's it going?" I thought I heard him ask.

"I mean you obviously had better things to do," I nearly giggled again. "I'm impressed by your stamina though, a part of me didn't want to do anything after this morning. But then, I don't know, I feel like I have so much energy too at the same time. Maybe it was all that sugar." I was prattling on, which I felt was a sure sign that I could blame the anxious fluttering of my stomach and heart on eating gods know how much ice cream. Least you spent a fair amount of time working it off, amiright Penny? STOP. Is he staring at me like I'm a fool? This is why you're single Penny.

"Don't tell me Sunglasses Guy beat me to the punch," I heard him tease as he gestured towards my neck. "You've got …um."

A giggle almost slipped out past my fist as my knuckles pressed against my lips. "I know, I was surprised by it too. But then there was something said about no rules saying you couldn't have dessert for breakfast, and I just couldn't argue with that logic." Hard to argue with the guy who shows up to give you breakfast in bed. And the way he tried to lead me out the door with a spoon that was the proverbial carrot.

When he pointed out that I still had some on my neck, I felt sheepish and ducked my head as I blindly reached for where I hoped the spot was. "Oh, really? Man, it really got everywhere. Which I guess isn't really that much of a surprise considering…" When I giggled audible this time, I immediately tried to change the subject while trying to clean my neck with my hand. "How'd you manage? Or did the run help?"

There was a sudden crack in his expression, the boyish charm that made me forget who and where I was wrinkled as he started to look confused. "How'd I manage what?" Trick asked.

Maybe he was in the makings of a sugar coma, and his brain was working through a fog I decided. "To avoid getting sticky or not find random bits of Oreo crushed into your skin. I mean, I probably haven't ever had that much fun in my whole life, but stars and stones was it messy. Or maybe you have some still on you too?" I leaned into his personal bubble of space, with a small voice in the back of my head reminding me Peninnah don't jump him on the front porch of the Inn for the whole world to see!

Then it became my turn to be confused. It was brief, but I saw it plan as day, I hurt him somehow. Was it something I said? This was too fast? You should reel it in Penny, you're in public, that's obviously what—

"I… have no idea what you're talking about. Uhm." He scratched at the back of his head and continued, "I haven't seen you since last week."

"Good messy, fun messy. Not bad—" I stammered as I tried to fix this and fast, only to suddenly stare at him in complete and total confusion. I could feel my eyes widening the longer I looked at him and there was now a very loud rattling of my heart in my ribs. This is a bad time to have a panic attack.

"What?" I managed to get out of my mouth while inching away from him. Shaking my head, I tried to make sense of this, did he not remember? "No…. You showed up to my place, this morning. With a blow up pool full of cookies and cream ice cream." Which was ridiculously over the top and adorable and for some reason seemed so perfect and magical…

"Right?" I asked.

Please, please remember this. Don't tell me that I've now added sexual delusions to my hallucinations.

"Well ****," he said. "Not quite sure how I'll top a blow-up pool full of ice cream."

No. No no no no no. I can't breathe. I can't. I can't.

After a brief pause he asked, "You thought it was me?"

"Ice cream in giant scoops the size of basketballs just like I had dreamed it…." I heard myself murmur until I couldn't say anything more. The nervous buzz of energy that I'd walked up with sizzled out and left me feeling cold and almost numb. While that might have been better than the panicked rattle of my pulse or being unable to breathe seconds ago, I immediately drew into myself as the complete and total mortification washed over me.

It wasn't real.

Belatedly I found my voice and could hear it come out meek and lighter than I was known for. "Well….yeah? I know it wasn't a glamour but…" I thought it was really you and not a dream. My cheeks felt hotter the longer he stared at me. "I believed it was you. Just…. a little more forward than you've been." Maybe I should just throw up a veil and run home now. Or run to the bathroom because I'm certain that I'm about to hurl all that imagined ice cream in ten seconds.

I don't remember him moving closer, but he drew in with a hand on my knee and made me forget any desire to run away. I think my new favorite color is blue-grey, the shade of his eyes.

"Does it bother you that I'm not forward?" I heard him ask.

"No," I shook my head and kept my voice lowered while I tried to relax just a little. "No, no not at all. I like when you're confident and sure of yourself. Which to me, is different than that. Being forward. Is that different than being bold you think? I don't know." I had no idea what I was saying, I was still trying to shake the embarrassment that I had convinced myself that a dream was real and was starting to question all of reality. Even if I should have known better. "I don't know what I was trying to say." And I wouldn't mind going to go find a hole to crawl into right about now.

I changed my mind when he squeezed my knee, smiled and brushed a bit of hair over my shoulder. His fingertips felt both feather light and like small jolts of electricity, and I hoped he didn't notice the way my flesh prickled with goose skin.

"I'm not forward," he reminded me. "I probably never will be. It's not my style. But I am sure I'm pretty damn jealous someone other than me got to have dessert for breakfast this morning…"

"I know," I started to interject. "And it's--

" …and that if I don't kiss you know, I'd be an idiot."

His hand lifted from my knee to my chin, and my brain was still processing what he was saying before I realized that he (or at least I was pretty sure this was real, maybe) was kissing me.

And all I could think of was that he tasted so sweet.

You're about to get so many cavities here girl.

Which soon caused me to laugh while our fingers tangled and then rested back on my knee.

He laughed with me though I was pretty sure I hadn't said that out loud, thankfully. "Okay, but seriously, I don't think I can top an ice cream pool."

Still laughing, I bowed my head to mildly hid the embarrassment which was starting to slowly fade away. "No, and I don't know that you really should. I don't know that I could stomach ice cream in general for a while. It was a bit over the top." I was pretty sure I would turn green at the sight of ice cream for a while now to be honest. "Something smaller I think. Maybe not even fist sized." Because you'll give me a tooth ache just being you.

"Maybe dinner first. Something savory to balance out all the sugar?" He glanced down at himself, and I helped myself to a look too. "I need a shower first. This isn't exactly dinner date attire."

"Yeah, I'd like that." Nodding as I forced myself to tear my eyes off him and remembered where we were and what day it was. Damn favors and Wizard promises. "But if you're asking me to dinner tonight, I'm going to have to reschedule. Mai's calling in a favor and we're going out of town. Just a day or two though," so I hoped. Maybe it'll be enough time to overcome my embarrassment though. I stretched my legs, hoping I wouldn't wobble when I finally stood. I was mildly certain that they were on their way to jello and I hadn't even been running. "Dinner when I get back though?" Hopeful as I looked over to him.

"When you get back," he agreed, smiling. "Text me when you're free and we'll go anywhere you want. By then your sweet tooth should be back and we can try a more low-key celebration." He laughed and offered me a hand, which I was more than happy to take.

"Anywhere I want huh?" Ready to toss out some sort of tease, but instead when I got to my feet I lingered in his personal space, taking in the scent of him, listening for his heartbeat over mine. "This happened right?" I wasn't hallucinating right? Because I'm aware that I do that, but don't mention that to him yet Penny. Just pinch yourself and ---

"Ow, fff…. yeah okay. Real." That was going to leave a bruise on my forearm for a day or two.

"I could always kiss you again to be positive."

Whoa ho ohhhh. Smooth there Mister Richie. But I have to leave you wanting more, even when I want to stay.

Shaking out my arm, I stepped backwards and away from him. "Ah, no see that makes me think it is a dream." Winking while I was sure my grin was wide enough to show most of my teeth, "I'll let you know when I get back in town." Or maybe as soon as Mai starts driving us back and I can figure out how to text without her assistance or telling me what to send.

I started off, but heard him behind me, "Sounds like a nice dream to me. See you soon."

Yeah, I thought to myself as my fingers touched at my lips. It is a nice dream.
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Penny Escobar
Knight of the Wyld
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 07 Feb 2017
Posts: 32
See this user's pet
Jobs: Body Guard
Can Be Found: Battlefield Park Area
1637.70 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

June 29th, afternoon

Stars and Stones is it ****ing hot. Maybe I'll pop down to Seaside and take a quick dip to cool off. No, with my luck I'll run into something that's trying to cross the barrier that one of Vael's sentries hasn't caught, so that's a big fat nope. I'll stick to the shade where its all of 3 degrees cooler.

I plucked at the tank top I was wearing, and it peeled off my skin and the damp sweat that no doubt created unknown shapes on my back. While my hair was still damp from the third cold shower I'd taken today, the drip-dry method wasn't cooling off my neck as much as I'd like. A drink in a relatively cooler location was looking more and more like heaven, so I continued my route to the Inn.

That nagging feeling that I should probably try to message Patrick to let him know I was back in town crept up in the back of my mind, so I reached into my front pocket for the device. The motion was just a reminder that all of me was soaked in sweat, as my jeans started to slip down against my hips. Ugh I feel so gross. A quick hitch of my jeans back up as I looked to the blank screen. Why isn't this working? I must have pressed something. Does this ---I look back up to ensure I wasn't going to walk right into something and opt to simply carry the phone for the rest of the way to the porch.

The sound of rustling plastic and the familiar scent of a soap, Patrick's, pull my attention over my shoulder to spot him in his own approach to the Inn. I'm quick to move around and walk backwards the rest of the way to the steps so I can reassure myself that my ass crack or underwear isn't peaking up from the waistband of my jeans. I can't dry off the sweat on my shirt without an obvious burst of wind as if from nowhere, but maybe I can distract him with a smile so he won't realize that I am two thirds of the way drenched in sweat. Somewhere in the back of my head I'm grateful that I probably smell more like a hardware store than anything else, or at least that's what I try to convince myself.

"Hey, I was about to message you." I greet him with.

Its right about then that I realize he's wearing a hat of all things in this heat and I'm too distracted with the mild disappointment that I can't see that rakish curl of his hair, the way it bounces when turns his head to look in the opposite direction. I could easily see all of that when it was longer. It's almost there. Long enough to slip my fingers through it and just quietly stroke it in a repetitive soothing motion and -- wait, what's he saying?

"-- now you don't have to," he was quick to throw out a smile.

Did he have a bag with him? Was he telling me about that? Why is he wearing a hat, isn't he hot? Well obviously he is Penny, but start paying attention before you and then I backed up into the front door. So smooth. I lower the phone and try to keep up with the conversation, "Which is good because I don't think this is working." Good, he has no idea that you're distracted.

"How was your trip with Mai?" Patrick asked.

You mean the trip where I tried to fight off a demon in the forest with carbohydrates while hoping that they had a gluten intolerance? The trip where I'm pretty sure I met a goddess of some type because of how Mai reacted and I was gifted with a rabbit before freeing it and it left a pair of pearls, one black and one white? That trip?

"It was..." what's the word for how these things go? I'm not sure if I can explain it all when I barely knew what was happening as I was going through it, "eventful." I say with an almost laugh before I find myself blurting out "Aren't you hot?"

There was a smug smirk and wink coming from him then. "Why yes. Yes I am. How kind of you to notice."

The open flirtatious nature gave me the boost of confidence to laugh in response as I shook my head and opened the door to head inside. I mirrored the smirk over my shoulder to him and followed it up with my own poor version of a compliment. "I like your hair, is why I was asking."

"And it's so warm," I started saying as my gaze drifted from him to check and see who else, if anyone, was inside the common room. Don't tell him that you're so coated in sweat that you wish you could take all your clothes off, that's a little further than the shameless flirting you want to keep up. "That my clothes feel like I've been running in them." Not the best save there mija, but it'll have to do.

"Did you die a little when I had to cut it?"

No, I missed you before I realized your hair was shorter I found myself realizing.

"Because I did. I think my sister did, too."

"Hair grows back," I admit with a shrug and hope my answer doesn't sound rehearsed or as though I've regularly thought about him while he was away at Basic. In route to the bar I was already removing my bag from my shoulder and let it dangle to the ground before I discarded it between a pair of stools. "But I did lament on not getting a chance to toy with it sooner," I boldly confess while starting to look his way with a smile.

As he follows me further inside to the counter, he stops hiding whatever bag he was carrying and offers an explanation. "I'm, uh, having technical difficulties with my hair right now I'm afraid."

Mild confusion washes over me before I think I understand, "Technical diff—oh a bad hair day? We all have them." I try to reassure him, hoping that he doesn't feel like he needs to hide things from me. Hypocritical much Peninnah? "The downside to having wonderful full-bodied hair with curls. I understand."

"Your hair is beautiful. Mine on the other hand..." He starts to slowly pull the knit cap off his head.

I'd believe you Patrick, but that one guy still likes to describe me as being the one with frizzy hair and it makes me want to ---

Whoa. That is some blonde hair. I'm looking at a young Billy Idol right now. Or that Timberlake guy Joey always said I should like to be a normal girl.

"I did not do this. I woke up this way."

My eyes widen so much that I thought I could feel them stretching and ready to pop out as I look from his hair to his face and back again a few times.

Whoa. Just. It's blonde. Like really really blonde. So blonde it's white.

"That is... I mean... Are you..." I clear my throat and hope I don't start to say something offensive.

I wonder if it glows in the dark.

Like that, don't say that.

"Is it a prank someone is playing on you?" Maybe this something siblings do to each other.

"Pretty sure I woke up the guy in the next room with my loud 'what the ****' moment this morning when I saw it. I have no idea! I had a dream that I joined this band called TRASH. It was a cool dream until the girls attacked me with a makeover against my will. I don't remember how it ended, but this... this is what I woke up to."

"It is an unexpected look," I admit while looking for the threads of a glamour or spell that I could pull at to help him remove it, but I couldn't see anything. Did he say dream? "I --wait you said you had a dream about this?" Focusing my gaze on his face less I get distracted by the blinding blonde of his hair. I bet it's still soft though... "Because I've had a couple of surprising turns the past couple of days too," Like that sex dream I had of you that we're both going to keep pretending I didn't have and having to fight that thing in the forest with a loaf of bread. "And they have been related to a couple dreams I've had."

"Yeah. Though I'd classify this as more of a nightmare than a dream."

Like how my discovery that the other day was just a dream was my own personal nightmare? I wonder, but I don't' bring this up.

"I mean, it wouldn't surprise me. Think about where we live. Weird **** happens all the time." He continues on.

His casual attitude about this is what breaks my temptation to reach out and touch his hair and I turn to head for the break in the bar while hiding a smile. For a split second there I'm harboring the joy that he rolls well with the punches and doesn't have a mental break down at the words weird and magic. We might not run in the same circles, but I don't have to tell him white lies about what I do for a living for him to function comfortably. I love that.

"Yeah, well there's a murky area where we think we want and dream about one thing and it gets twisted somehow. I was hungry on the trip with Mai and later when we were fighting this bound spirit in the forest? I go to pull my ax out of my bag there," giving a pointed look in the direction of where I knew it was on the ground beyond the bar, "and it's a yard long baguette."

Cracking open the cooler to look inside, I daydream about being able to jump straight into it before asking, "Want something?"

"Water, please."

I hear his bag drop and him moving to get onto a stool while I fish out a pair of water bottles.
"So did you make the forest spirit a sandwich to achieve peace?"

If only, I think. "I distracted her with some dongo and took a couple of pot shots while Mai took her sweet time sneaking up on her to throw out a charm." I tell him while eagerly moving away from the cooler before another hissing blow up can happen. I realize that this whole place usually fixes itself when something goes awry, but I don't like actively breaking things and still can barely tell when it is going to unintentionally happen.

"Thanks," I hear him say as I brush off a spark of tension that darts up from my fingertips against his as I pass off a bottle to him and sit down, continuing the short version of my adventures the previous night.

"When my battle ax was more fit for garlic bread, I went for my throwing hatchets, discovered them to be two dongo skewers."

The ice-cold bottle felt amazing against my neck and I lower my attention down to my lap, wondering if a record number four cold shower was going to happen before the day was through.

"Man, I wish I could have seen that. Epic food fight."

For some reason, this catches me off guard, "You'd want to see me in an actual fight?" I sit up straight with a look over to him and let the bottle roll down the length of my arm in attempts to keep cooling off before opening the bottle for a quick drink.

"Nnn, maybe. The idea of it, as I see it in my head, is attractive. All right?" There was another smirk before he drank from his own bottle.

"Is it?" Why? is all that I can come up with before I'm letting out a laugh and shaking my head. "I think that might be something that wouldn't live up to your expectations of me being a badass. Work is usually messy, and I don't mean from just insides becoming outsides, but the terrain, plans not working out, timing is imperfect, more panic and chaos with a bit of luck thrown in. Not so much grace." Soon I have memories of all the times things never went according to plan, or the countless times I fall flat on my face, often right into a pile of fluids that you never want to ever be near. I have a gift for stepping in **** Joey always said.

But of course I'm not going to tell him any of this I realize after another cooling swallow of water. "But at the same time, it would be foolish of me to deny you the imagery of me being Wonder Woman. So you're welcome to fantasize about that all you'd like." He reads comics right? He'll know who Wonder Woman is, I hope this isn't a pop culture reference I should have avoided. He's bound to know who Diana is over Rosie the Riveter. And I don't mind being thought of as a Super Hero.

It wasn't until his jaw drops and his cheeks warm that I realize I've said something suggestive, "Okay. Fine by me. Speaking of scandalous fantasies..." I could see the color spreading and darkening in sync with the heat now warming up my own cheeks. I didn't say anything about fantasies -- "I'm kind of curious to hear more about the pool, and the ice cream."

Now I'm embarrassed and don't know what the sounds are that tumble out of my mouth, but I hope its something like a laugh while my hand reaches up to half cover my lips, "What do you want to hear about that again for?" Isn't it too early to discuss things like this? Is there an order for how things should go?

"I don't know! You just seemed really... happy. Vibrant. Buoyant -- that's a better word." He said while turning his attention on me.

"I thought I had gotten laid and was seriously hopped up on sugar. Or at least I thought I was, but considering it was all just a very crazy dream..." I trail off as I lose confidence in admitting all of this, along with assuming his brain might pause somewhere in there, so I desperately try to make it seem more casual. "You can't tell me that you haven't had a crazy dream like that before." Telling him to admit to having a sex dream about you Penny isn't the direction you were trying to steer this conversation, this is probably way too soon for that kind of talk right now. "I just mean in general. We have crazy dreams sometimes. You dreamed you were in a band? What did you play?" I'm rambling now and reaching for any other bits of conversation we can jump to instead. Please let's talk about anything else besides how I've fantasized about the both of us licking ice cream off each-others naked bodies.

The way his smile spread and lingered indicated that I at least didn't scare him off, and I count my lucky stars when he allows the change in subject. "I don't think I was playing any instruments. Just singing. Pretty sure they made me wear eyeliner, too."

"You can carry a tune from what I've heard, that would be fitting. Well, I'm not certain that eyeliner is your style, is it?" My eyes go up to his hair again briefly, reminded of the blonde which I wasn't certain fit. It still seemed shockingly out of place.

"Probably not. Though I'll admit eyeliner isn't the most ridiculous thing I've worn. I'm positive there's photographic evidence floating around there of me at a party, wearing someone's bra. I don't know whose." He replies.

"They're a goth, punk rock band or something, right? I think you've mentioned them before. Local." I wrecked my brain for any other details I could remember from him saying in passing when my gaze went back to his face once more. Yes, talk about the band instead of asking if that was the only time he'd wear a woman's underwear.

"Goth punk rock sounds about right. Maybe toss in a pinch of grunge. My interests are wide and varying. Clearly."

"Seems similar to your interest in books," I add on as I twist on the stool to face him, finally feeling cool enough that I don't feel as though I'm dripping sweat anymore. "A few things actually now that I think of it. You seem interested and find appeal to a fair amount of variety in contrast with... well your own style I guess. It seems simple. A few classics that are tried and true. Befitting."

I want to tell him that I like this about him, that I see it as attractive that he likes variety and new experiences, that he's never boring, has good taste and list off other varying details I've noticed after the months of knowing him, but this isn't the time. Instead I wonder if my eyes can relate all of this wordlessly as I listen to him.

"I don't know if this is really a style so much as... habit. Mal and I spent the majority of our incomes on food and stuff that helped us not, you know die. Saving up what I get is so ingrained in my psyche that even now, when I have more money than I know what to do with, I don't think to spend it. Everything I own fits in one duffel bag and a box," I hear him say.

"But you take great care of things you do spend your money on. Your shoes are not flashy," or at least they look simple enough to me. "But you clean them regularly," I add on as my eyes drop down to the pristine pair of sneakers he's wearing. "And I don't necessarily mean what you're wearing now. But I have seen you dressed up, looking particularly sharp." I'm reminded of a time last late fall when he wore a fitted grey jacket and a blue buttoned-down shirt. It was when I realized his eyes were blue grey.

Pulling his sunglasses from my hair, I folded them up and set them carefully on the counter. I'm supposed to give these back, aren't I? "These are classic, right?" I ask, hoping he doesn't realize that I know absolutely nothing about fashion or style as I buy most of my clothes from the nearest thrift store and will wear pieces until they are literally falling apart.

But I nod in understanding about the limited possessions. "Mmm. Pretty much the same here. I moved with three trunks and that was it." Granted, one of them is enchanted to hold who knows how much, but I'm really only a pack rat when It comes to inventory for my laboratory.

He twists more in my direction and rests his foot on the rung of my stool, "I've had those for a few years. I think I won them in a game of pool," he tells me regarding the sunglasses and then smiling at me. "Some poor schmuck was unfortunate enough to bet against me."

"Patrick Richie, were you being a pool shark?" I ask before I mirror his posture, using any excuse to get a little bit closer, even subtly so. "And charmed your way out of a potential beat down should any loser try to take it out on you?" There's a teasing humor in my tone that I hope he gets.

"Me? A pool shark?" He's pretending to deny it and I'm fighting back a grin. "Okay yeah, I kind of am. It's amusing. I have to get my kicks somewhere."

Then it hits me. Not just his leg against mine, which sends no small thrill up to my core, but something else.

I should ask him out.

"What is something that you're not good at? Something that is usually fun," I try to clarify in hopes that my question isn't too vague. While I wouldn't mind going to play pool with him and watching him show off, I'm reminded of our first date where we both knew nothing about boat making and were on an even playing field.

"Something I'm bad at? Uhh. Putt-putt golf. The green is uneven and there's moving parts that throw off my game."

"Then -- and this is presumptuous on my part -- I am asking you to go play putt putt with me sometime. Pool time can happen afterwards or something, but we can be on even ground on the uneven green." Was that too cheesy? It was cheesy. "If you're interested in going on a date with me before Sunglasses Guy shows up again that is."

"Of course I'm interested! Sunglasses Guy is gonna have to get in line." I watch the way his smile grows wider, thrilled that he's said yes even after my corny line. "It sounds like fun. I hope you still think it's fun after I smoke you."

He sounds confident and I'm fighting back a smirk while I shake my head. "I don't know about that, you've already given me your tell. I may have a plan on how to exploit that and win the whole thing. And then the crowds will flock to me shouting 'Penny's so amazing! She is literally Wonder Woman.'" I can make the ground ripple and shake, you won't know what hit you Sunglasses Guy.

He was flushing then leans in closer with a narrowed eye look. "Two can play at that game. It's on." I almost kiss him. I want to, but he straightens up and the moment leaves. "When would you like to go?" He asked.

Laughing at what I can only assume what he was thinking, I feel the need to inform him, "I have a natural affinity for earth magic, is what I had meant. But I can flirt enough to try and throw you off your game too." I'm not above cheating to ensure I come out on top, and this'll prove to be the best kind.

"Oh magic? It's gonna be like that? All right, all right." Oh you sweet sweet man, you have no idea the things I am capable of.

I try to remember if I have another favor or job hanging over my head in the immediate future, but I can't think of anything. "I don't have a job lined up at the moment, so I'm pretty free for when you are actually." Unable to hide the smile that's forming, I make eye contact with him to solidify my interest. "That almost seems surprising actually considering the way the last couple of weeks have been going for me." Basically they've been a collective whirlwind of near disasters except for the times I get to see you.

"I'd say now, but I'm not sure I want you to be seen in public with me like that." He admits while gesturing to his hair. "I have to fix this. That's where I went earlier." He points to the bag on the ground next to mine on the floor. "I bought some hair dye that I need to figure out."

I speak before I've thought through the consequences of my words, "Too forward to offer to help with that?" I realize my eagerness in my tone, but its more out of a desire to help him with something simple. Realizing that it would involve a certain level of intimacy that I don't want to rush into yet, I even lean subtly away from him and answer my own question. "Mmm. Maybe so. I think the directions are usually pretty straight forward though. Maybe wipe your ears or your forehead with some Vaseline to help against staining." Trying to be helpful through just advice instead.

I do my best to ignore the disappointment I can hear in his voice "Maybe. I'm sure I can figure it out. Tomorrow then? A real date, one I'm not going to cut short like an idiot."

"We have all kinds of time," I say in hopes of reminding him that we don't need to rush. "Tomorrow is good," I agree before the memory of our date last fall creeps into my mind. I wonder if he holds it against me that I said it would have been selfish to ask me on another date knowing he wasn't ready for anything. There was so much said that afternoon, and so much that I left unsaid.

"Worth the wait for when the both of us are ready," I say with a wink and nudge of my knee against the inside of his leg. I slide off my stool shortly afterwards in effort to stop myself from touching him again. "Hopefully it won't be face meltingly hot tomorrow."

Now he's got me caged between his legs and I'm not complaining. "Oh, before you go... Your phone. I remember you said it wasn't working."

"Yeah it won't turn back ---" I interject as I look over to the device on the counter.

"Did you remember it has to charge?"

"Oh?" I don't blink my surprise, but I make sure to reach for the phone to take with me. "It's not a one-time deal where you take out the battery then? Or have to get a jump start?" My limited understanding is showing, and I hope that I don't sounds too foolish.

"Nope. The cord that came with it, in the box. Use that. It plugs into the bottom. You've got to charge it every couple of days, depending on how much you use it. Then if you charge it, I can actually call you."

Plug it into what? I don't have electricity in the Tower. I'll just hand it over to Tim, he'll know what to do. "Oh it's lasted pretty good then, because I don't remember ever charging it." Unless maybe that's what Mai was doing when she asked to borrow my phone.

"Thanks," I add on as I drop the phone into my bag and finally take a step or two back before I'm drawn back in via his charms. "I'll have it charged soon enough then." Slipping my messenger bag onto my shoulder, I give him nod and glance up to his hair. "Good luck with your makeover."

"Thanks," I hear him say as he stands. For a split second it looks as though he wants to follow me out, but he stays at the counter. "I'll see you tomorrow then. Looking forward to it."

"See ya," I bid a quick farewell, inwardly scolding myself for not having something clever to say and unknowingly rock my hips back and forth on the way to the door while realizing that I would be making it four cold showers today as soon as I got back home.
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