Chapter 4: Footlongs and Surprises

“Aden?” I thought before smiling and shaking my head. Of course not, it couldn’t be that Aden. Our teacher nodded at him and pointed to a desk a few rows behind me and to the left, and said he could sit there. Aden smiled at all of us as he made his way to the back of the class. Even the quad of girls had put down their makeup mirrors to look at him, before lightly shifting in their seats to try and make their bodies look more attractive. I felt my phone buzz once more and secretly looked down.
Is that your Aden? wiggles eyebrows –C
He fits the description he gave of himself, but he had said that he was going to Westview. He’s not MY Aden anyway. –S
Whatever you say buttercup ;) –C
I huffed and focused my attention back on the lecture, or at least tried to. The idea that the Aden who had written me letters all summer might be in my school, let alone my class, got me excited and a little off track. By the time the bell rang, I had already gone through an entire relationship with him in my head. I gathered my stuff as everyone bolted out of the classroom to get to their next class. I had my head down picking up my pen that had fallen on the floor when a pair of black shoes appeared next to me. I slowly pulled myself up and saw Aden looking down at me smiling. He scratched the back of his head before handing me a piece of paper.

“Can you help me find my next class? Since you were so nice showing me how to get here, I thought maybe you could help me again?” He asked and gestured to the paper.
“Sure! You have math next, which is right down this hallway,” I had already begun to walk out of the classroom—trying to hide the fact I was slightly flustered at his request. He walked calmly beside me, not having to maneuver out of the way of students, they just parted for him. I was so intent on finding his classroom and not trying to ogle at his attractiveness, that I hadn’t seen the ‘Wet Floor’ sign. My feet slipped right out from underneath me and my arms flew up, smacking him in the arm, before I ungracefully fell on to the wet floor. My cheeks flared at the embarrassment, not only from falling, but from hitting him in the process.
“Are you okay?” I asked looking up at him as I attempted to stand up. He nodded and stifled a laugh as I fell back down. “Laugh all you want,” I said rolling my eyes while smiling, so he let out a small chuckle and held out his hand. I grasped it, but not before realizing how nice his hands were.
Calm down, Shirley. You just met the man, give him some space.
Once I was safely off the ground and on dry land, I quickly let go of his hand and cleared my throat, “Right, math class.” I led him to the room and handed him back his schedule, before I turned to go to my class, he touched my shoulder.
“Do you think you could come back after class, and show me to my next one?” Aden asked, and I nodded, before turning to leave again. And I heard him call after me, “And you might want to get some paper towels, your butt is soaked.” He let out a joking laugh as I touched the back of my skirt and realized he was right.
And for the second time that day, Aden had me red in the face.
I led him to two more classes before inviting him to come to lunch with me. Carry and Joshua had already gotten lunch during a free hour, so I thought I’d go with someone else. As we walked out into the parking lot, Aden lightly grasped my arm and pulled me away from my car.
“Hey, my car is that way.”
“I know, I just thought I could repay you for helping me by driving you to lunch,” he grinned at me and I smiled back, happy to oblige. We got in his car, and as he turned it on, a CD started playing, which I recognized as the Disney soundtrack. He quickly changed it to the radio before blushing as I giggled, but didn’t mention anything.
“So, I realized in my last class I hadn’t asked for your name,” he said as he pulled out of the parking lot. This was the part I was dreading. A part of me wanted it to be the Aden in my letters, but of course, the other part of me didn’t.
“My name is Shirley,” I said quietly and he chuckled.
“Speak up, girly, I can’t hear you.”
“It’s Shirley.” He slammed on the brakes and swerved off the road before slamming on the brakes again and putting the car in park. I was gripping my seat belt so tight my knuckles had turned white.
He threw off his seat belt and turned to face me, a huge smile on his face, “Shirley, Shirley? Like the girl from the letters?” I nodded slowly, scared of what he would do next, and he whooped in joy before attacking me with a hug, as much as he could inside his car. I was shocked at his reaction, before getting excited too. I finally met him! And he was excited about meeting me!
After a good minute of him squeezing me, he leaned back in his seat before smoothing his shirt and going, “I mean, cool, great to meet you.” I laughed outright at this and he struggled at keeping his ‘cool’ face. He finally cracked a smile before pulling back on the road and finishing our drive to Subway.
“I’ve thought about us meeting before, and what I would say, and well, that wasn’t how I planned it in my head.” Aden ran a hand through his hair before blowing out a breath.
“You’ve thought about it? Imagine me when you walked into class! I wasn’t sure it was you, and I definitely wasn’t going to embarrass myself by asking you directly.” I threw my hands into the air and he smirked.
“Well you did a good job embarrassing yourself with the wet floor.” I hit his arm and he howled in fake pain, even wiping imaginary tears out of his eyes and sniffling.
“Even though we just met, I know you’re faking,” I rolled my eyes and poked him again.
“I wouldn’t say we just met,” he winked and parked the car, coming around to open the door for me before flinging an arm over my shoulders and leading us into Subway.

After we ordered and paid for our sandwiches, we sat down in a corner booth. We had both ordered footlongs, and Aden had seemed surprised at my choice. I surprised him again when I finished the sandwich before him and began nibbling on my cookie, “What? Haven’t seen a girl eat a footlong before?” He shook his head and took his finishing bite, getting a glob of mayo on his face. I laughed and grabbed my napkin and wiped it off before realizing what I was doing. He was smirking at me when I pulled my napkin away and placed my hand in my lap, my face heating up again.
“Soooooo,” I started to change the subject. “Do you really want to be an astronaut?” He nodded and proceeded to unwrap his own cookies.
“Yeah, I didn’t really think I’d meet you, so please don’t tell anyone,” he asked shyly and I giggled and nodded. “Do you think I have good taste in clothes?” He gestured to his outfit in fake seriousness.
“Oh yes, perfectly put together,” I answered in a posh voice. I gestured to my own outfit and asked if I was doing alright.
“Ehhhhhh,” he shook his hand in the universal sign for “not really”. I pouted and slouched in my seat, finishing off my cookie. He laughed at me before realizing I wasn’t cracking a smile, even though I was trying really hard to stay pouting. He stopped laughing and started poking me with his foot. I huffed and turned away, cracking a smile when I knew he couldn’t see. Suddenly he was beside me, tickling my sides, and boy was I glad the only people there were the workers, because my laughter seemed to shake the windows.
“St…st….stop!” I gasped out before realizing we were in a very compromising position—he was practically laying on top of me, his face a little too close for comfort. He smirked and stopped tickling me, before glancing down at the bottom of my face. I gulped slightly thinking he was staring at my lips, before he swiftly pulled me up out of the booth so I was standing and wiped some crumbs off my face.
“You had some crumbs there,” he smirked again and I rolled my eyes to cover up the fact I was momentarily stunned. He handed me my purse and I dumbly followed him out to his car, mulling over what might’ve just happened.
But a kiss from my pen pal?
Not now, anyway.

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