“Is there anything I can help with, Mrs. Taylor? I wouldn’t mind.”
“Oh, you are too sweet, Jason. How about you be our guest for tonight, and any time you come by after today, you’ll give me a hand, too, okay? And you call me Emily from now on.”
“Okay, Mrs. Tay—umm…Emily. Thank you so much for letting me stay here tonight. I’ll be in your room, then, Dylan.” His footsteps started up the stairs.
I stood still and patiently waited for the owner of those footsteps to reach me. Since Dylan wasn’t with him, I could say hi and welcome him to our neighborhood without getting into trouble.
Argh Dylan… Just because he was four years older didn’t make him the boss of me.
Would he be blond? Maybe he would have dark eyes and dark hair and be all dreamy, exactly like Kara’s big brother, Noah, who had turned eighteen just a few weeks before. My mom thought he was a little too old for me, but she had also once said a girl should always dream big. While I loved my mom dearly, clearly she wasn’t right all the time.
Anyway, since this Jason seemed to be friends with Dylan, I highly doubted he would be something to dream about.
Suddenly my stomach got all fluttery for some reason. I frowned and smoothed down my dress. Dylan’s friend or not, he would be a guest in our house and I thought I should be welcoming since he sounded very stressed out about staying with us.
Tommy, one of my best friends from school, believed that we would get married one day, but I’d never said yes to him. I’d never even gotten excited whenever we were on playdates.
First, I saw Jason’s sneakers. I still remember: they were white and very clean for a boy his age. I thought maybe he wouldn’t be that bad and make fun of me like Dylan’s other friends.
Putting on my best smile, I slowly lifted my head up to meet his eyes. His steps faltered when he saw me hiding next to the wall. I got a good look at him and my smile slowly vanished as my mouth dropped open.
Jason? Jason what?
Butterflies? Were those tiny flutters in my stomach butterflies? The ones my mom had told me about? It sure felt like it. Thousands of them. Were these the same butterflies my mom had felt when she’d met my father?
What was his last name?
I wanted—no scratch that, I needed his last name to be my last name.
Not the day after, not ten years or twenty years later. I needed it to happen that day—right at that moment to be exact.
He seemed surprised to see me for a second, but recovered faster than I did. He gave me a stupidly cute smile with a dimple showing on his left cheek.
“You have a dimple,” I breathed out, totally lost in that tiny little crevice. It was almost magical.
I closed my mouth and felt the heat rise up to my cheeks. I managed to return his smile with a wobbly one.
“Hey, little one. You must be Dylan’s little sister. I’m Jason.”
“Hi,” I greeted sheepishly as I gave him a small wave.
His smile picked up a notch, and I felt my face flush again. Tucking a loose hair behind my ear, I smiled bigger.
He was so cute.
I cleared my throat and extended my hand, just like I saw my dad do when he was meeting someone new. “I’m Olive. My friends call me Liv or Oli because they think I have a weird name.”
Quirking his brow, he looked at my hand then up to my eyes as he gave it a good shake. “Do they now?” he asked, and I nodded enthusiastically, hiding my hand behind my back again. “I think you have a good name, little Olive. It would be hard for someone to forget a name like Olive. You have very beautiful green eyes; I’d say the name suits you.”
I was never going to wash my hand again.
My smile got bigger, and I believe it was the first moment I fell in love with the mysterious boy who had an adorable dimple and was going to spend the night right across from my room.
“Are you our new neighbor?” I asked. He had to be our new neighbor. I had to see him again.
“Yes, we moved in last week.”
I nodded. That was good news—more time for us to be together.
“Since you like my name, would you like to marry me?” I asked.
His face turned red and he opened and closed his mouth a few times.
Finally he laughed and said, “What?”
I shrugged. “My dad doesn’t want me to get married for at least another thirty years, but I don’t think we should wait that long. So, can we get married sooner?”
He scratched his head and even made that look cute. “I think we are too young to get married, little one.”
Crushed, I looked down at my feet. “My dad says that, too. I’ve always thought I would marry Noah, our neighbor, but my dad is pretty set against that. Even my mom thinks he is too old for me. I think I can wait for you to get older, though.” I nodded to myself. “Make sure you wait for me too. Okay. I’m gonna go down and help mom with dinner. Dylan always screws it up. You know,” I started, clutching my hands behind my back as my eyes fell to his shoes. “I helped her bake the apple pie and the vanilla sauce earlier. I’ll make sure you’ll get the biggest slice. You’ll love it, and I’ll give it to you first.”
I knew guys cared about food because my dad had always appreciated a good home-cooked meal. My little heart had fallen in love for the first time and I was hoping Jason would fall for me, too, after he tasted the pie.
He chuckled and touched his finger to my chin. Surprised at the contact, my head flew up, my eyes huge. When I saw his smiling face, I had to bite down on my lip so I wouldn’t grin like a little girl, which would surely be a dead giveaway that I was in love with him.
“Thank you, little one. I’m sure it’s delicious if you had a hand in it. I better let you go then. I’ll look forward to seeing you at dinner.”
Passing by me, he tugged a piece of my hair, his smile still going strong on his lips as he headed for the bathroom.
I fidgeted with my hands so I wouldn’t wave him a goodbye and sigh like my friend Amanda did whenever she saw Dylan.
Inside, I was dancing on the clouds.
He had touched my hair.
He had touched my chin and looked into my eyes.
Our one-dimpled new neighbor. Had. Touched. Me.
I was pretty sure he’d fallen in love with me, too. I mean why else would he smile, look into my eyes, and touch me, if he hadn’t?