Silence. It was only filled with the music of The Fray and the sound of the car's engine. Even the sound of my fingers tapping softly on the wheel was audible despite the music. I really don't think I could be best friends with silence, soundless, quiet. It has always made me uneasy. Just thinking that it would be like this for the whole of today was already killing me. Just why won't she speak?
It has already been twenty minutes since we left her house and during the entire drive, there has been no exchange of words. That was not cool. Am I that boring to be with? Usually girls would break the ice and talk non-stop about anything under the sun. I didn't even have to get so worked up about it. This was a first again.
I don't hate silence. I knew how to appreciate it at certain times. Though the only constant twenty minutes and more that I have been quite was during my classes or when I'm writing. I needed great amount of concentration at those times. I'm just not used to being kept silent. I could blame it on the environment that I grew up in. There has always been someone who would keep bothering me and I couldn't help but to talk and to respond, which was just proper manners.
The quietness between us was a comfortable kind, though a bit awkward. People who knew nothing about each other would definitely have a lot of things to talk about right? Like interests, schools since seemed to be the same age as me, food, music, bands, and lots of other things. But that was the complete opposite of what we were doing now. Instead of getting to know each other, we were getting comfortable in being at peace with each other. So, just what is wrong?
Maybe she was not happy? I already apologized for waking her up early, so that couldn't be the reason. Unless she had a grudge about it, which was possible. The girl couldn't wake up in the morning for damn life. I could bet that she wouldn't even bother waking up to check the war that has been going on just outside her door.
Could it be the food I brought? I may not be the best cook out there but I know that my cooking was above average. And it was only a simple American breakfast with bacon, sausage, eg- Oh, shit! Was she not happy that she was obliged to eat cholesterol-filled breakfast? That should be it right? Girls and their weird diet.
"So Angel, did you like the breakfast I brought?" I glanced at the passenger's where I forced her to seat. The girl doesn't like to seat shotgun for some reason and I have to force her to do so, just like last night. Who in the world wouldn't want to seat beside the driver? Her, apparently. I need to make sure that she heard me because she had only been looking outside the windows or windshield during the entire drive. Not even a single sneaky glance in my direction. And to think that I even bothered trying to look a little better than normal..
"It was good. I usually don't eat breakfast, but it sure is nice once in a while. Where did you bought it anyway?" Her angelic voice filled the car. I also liked her voice over the phone, especially that morning voice of hers. I can see in the corner of my eye that she shifted in her seat to face me. Time to show off my smooth driving skills.
Thankfully the road was mostly empty since it was a weekend morning and all. I revved the engine for a while before speeding forward. She slumped on her seat as I did, not expecting the change in driving speed. Her hand gripped the armrest of the seat tight and her eyes slightly widened. She made a wary but surreptitious glance in my direction, her gaze travelling from me to the wheel I was holding firmly. Then she kept her eyes on the road as she bit her lower lip. Was she afraid that we would hit someone at how fast we were going?
"I cooked it." I said just to break the silence and tried to slowed down the speed a little. She eyed me like she did not believed what I just said.
"You cooked those?" She asked skeptically. I only nodded in response, feeling smug about my cooking ability. Some girls say that they find guys who can cook handsome. "A guy who watches Disney films and cooks."
So that’s where this was going. So much for my manhood. "A guy who can cook is awesome. A guy who watches Disney films with his girl is sweet." I stated matter-of-factly.
"Really now? So, where is your girl?" She asked teasingly. I side glanced at her. She was looking at me with keen interest about my girl. What kind of guy would actually talk about his girl in front of another girl during their date? Girls just love this kind of topic way too much.
"At home." I simply answered. I can see that she was pursing her lips so as not to smile. I was fighting back my own smile too. Teasing her would be a little fun. And making her cry? Definitely not.
"You're living together?" She asked again, obviously interested to know about my supposedly cohabiting story.
"Yep. It was difficult, believe me." I answered vaguely. Her lips formed into an 'o'. She's seriously buying it!
"Aren't you like nineteen or twenty? Living together at such a young age, really? Wait, how old is she?" She asked skeptically. I was silent for a while increasing her suspense. "How old is she?" She repeated when I did not answer. I was trying hard to fight back my laughter.
"Tw..." I purposely trailed off, trying to look hesitant as I glanced at her. Thankfully, the lights just turned red. "Twe....elve." I continued with a straight face, my eyes locked with hers.
She blinked once then stared at me as if waiting for me to clarify it. When I did not say anything, she furrowed her eyebrows as if she was still processing my answer. Then her eyes widened in shock. It was cute and pretty funny how her reactions were completely shown on her face. But I held back the laughter until she said what I wanted her to say.
"You're a ped-"
I did not let her finish the word. One because I did not actually wanted to be called as such. It just sounded awful. Two, and the main reason, was because I couldn't hold back my laughter any longer. I knew that that was what she would be thinking. Her reactions were just too hilarious.
When the lights turned green, I dashed off without a word, sending her slumping back in her seat again and giving me death glares. It only made her look sexier though, and not a bit threatening. "So you really are joking. I couldn't believe I almost bought it."
"First, I'm eighteen. Second, it was my sister, twelve years old. She's cute and annoying." I said when my laughter died down. I smiled when I imagined my sister pouting, just like she always did every time I call her annoying, which was one hundred percent true. My passenger crossed her arms over her chest and puffed her cheeks, which just made her look cute.
"But seriously, don't you have a girlfriend? Because if you do, I don't really feel like being hunted down by some girl I don't even know." She asked, rubbing an elbow with one hand.
"I wouldn't be here if I do." I answered glancing at her direction for a second.
"You know that I could doubt that." She looked solemn for a moment but she tried to hide it by curbing a fake smile. The ex. The thought of the asshole affecting her so much was annoying. I opened my mouth to say something but closed it immediately when she spoke.
"Or maybe...a boyfriend?" She asked eyeing me warily. Her eyes were twinkling with interest. I suddenly stepped on the break, making us stumble towards the dashboard a little bit. The wheels produce a screeching sound in the process. Good thing the seat belts were invented, because she would have hit her head in the dashboard if not for it.
"Danica..." I grunted. "For heaven's sake! I'm not gay." I looked at her sternly, but she just gave me an innocent smile. I groaned, frustrated that I couldn't keep a reprimanding look on my face as I looked at her. I resumed driving, eyes fixed on the road.
"Defensive, aren't we? A handsome guy who doesn't have a girlfriend could only have a boyfriend. Just FYI." She reasoned, shifting in her seat to face me again. She was planning to keep the teasing on.
"So, you think I'm handsome?" I asked cockily, a smile tugging at the corner of my lips. I've ignored her gay remarks, which was almost immediately forgotten. It just really irked me. For one, I am not gay of any sort, no being defensive whatsoever crap here. Two, it just crushes my ego to be thought of as a gay by a hot babe.
I watched her from the corner of my eye, capturing her blushing cheeks in my memory. She looked cute when she blushes. "I didn't say that." She defended quickly. Way too quickly.
"You so did." I shot back, eyes fixed on the road.
"Where are we going anyway?" She asked in an annoyed tone, looking away and into the road. She sounded desperate to change the subject and I wouldn't risk the chance of this date being cancelled again. Who knew when I could get the chance to take her out again? If not for the whole killer thing, I probably wouldn't be driving her right now. I should try to find even the tiniest bit of chance to ask her out again. It doesn't seem like she was used to being approach by guys. So being casual about it was out of the question.
Me: Hey, are you free tomorrow? I have these movie tickets that will be expired the day after, so how about we go and make use of it?
Her: Oh, really? Why don't you go ask your sister then? I heard a new Disney movie was out.
Surely, that is how it would go. A five-year steady relationship could make her so stuck up. Look at what happened. She was cheated on. Maybe I could turn her into a player like me. And we could both have a good time while she forgets her cheater of an ex.
I am fully aware that it was not easy to get over a broken heart. Taking her out of her nutshell, where she could think of God-knows-what horrible things, was probably the safe way to play it. I wouldn't want Little Miss Hot Angel turning suicidal. Yeah, right. Like I really care. Okay, a little.
I had decided last night that those thoughts of wanting her were just because of the suspension bridge effect. The first girl I ever saw cry, besides my sister of course, and I didn't know how to deal with the situation. Result, I thought of wanting to protect her and to keep her for myself. It was all because she was all broken and fragile and vulnerable. Still, I wouldn't deny that I was interested in her. But only that. Nothing else.
"Some place interesting." I simply answered, smiling as I think of how she would be reacting on my choice of venue. The place definitely was not one she would be expecting. It was probably not in the first-date-places list, or the normal date places for that matter. Restaurants and movies are too overrated and I liked to be different. I just hope she enjoys it.
The rest of the drive was normal. And by normal, I mean it was not silent. I tried my best to keep the conversation going. I told her all about myself and a little of Max, since she already met my old buddy. I also mentioned about my three best friends and she seemed to be interested in the twins for being 'too funny'. The thing is, it was only me trying to keep the conversation alive. Sure, she would ask about what I'm telling her every now and then but it was only me doing all the talking.
She wouldn't tell me anything about herself unless it was an answer to my question. Like her age, school, siblings and stuff about her. There was no initiative from her to introduce anything about her. It felt like she was avoiding making too much contact with me, which I wasn't used to. I mean, come on, girl always offer themselves to me, and in silver platter too. But this chick, no. It was like there was a boulder she built between us with huge letters saying 'stay behind the line'. Why doesn't she just keep quiet altogether instead of trying to entertain my nosiness? Right, like I would actually allow that.
The little chat that I was trying to contain was interrupted when Maroon 5's Moves Like Jagger suddenly played out of nowhere. It took me a while of internally complaining as to where that damn sound came from, before I realized that it was Chris calling me. He set the ringtone without my permission. My best friends and I were close like that. They can enter the house and my room and leave without even me knowing. At least Mark was decent enough to let me know he's coming over my place just before he actually opened the door to my room. The twins would not even bother knock. I sometimes wonder how I've been buddies with the guys for such a long time.
"Dude, where are you?" Chris voice greeted me, just right after I swipe the phone screen to answer the call. I had forgotten that I was using a Bluetooth ear piece. It was a habit of wearing it when driving. I find it very convenient and safe.
"Obviously not in my room." I answered flatly. For all I knew, the three were already making a mess out of my room right then.
"Yeah. We thought you'd be hiding in the closet, but as it turned out, you wouldn't even fit in those tiny spaces." He answered chuckling. I could here people talking in the background. From the sound of it, the other two were teasing the hell out of my sister.
"Tell Nate and Mark to leave the kid alone." I told him sternly. Even if we always tease my sister a lot, I didn't like it when I'm not the one doing it. Chris shouted over the phone to the guys. Disadvantage of the Bluetooth earphone device? You couldn't take it off immediately since you're not holding it. And when you’re driving too. So, Chris's loud voice made me cringe.
"Siscom, is what they said." He told me chuckling. "Anyway, we wanna know if you're in tomorrow night? There was a gig at Ryan's."
"Fuck, yeah! Of course, dude. I wouldn't miss that for dear life." I immediately answered. Ryan was a good friend of ours that we met in college. His family owns a pretty popular bar and we were usually being called to fill in for bands who made last minute cancellation. We never passed up on that. I mean, a live performance was a big deal for the four of us. It's something that we actually really like to do.
"Then, I'll tell Ryan to put us in." He informed me at the same time that she called my name loudly. I immediately snapped my attention back to her. Damn, I almost forgot that I was with her. Band and music was just my life and it certainly makes me forget the rest of the world. It makes me forget everything.
"Eyes on the road! Focus on driving!" She scolded, her eyes narrowing at me. Chris was telling something but I had already tuned him out, even if his voice was actually just by my ear.
"Yes, ma'am." When I returned my gaze to the road, I immediately stepped on the break just in time when the traffic light turned from orange to red. That was so damned close. Luckily there was no pedestrian in the road, otherwise I could have hit someone.
"Dude, you're with a girl?" He asked incredulously. I heard shuffling sounds and Chris groaning in pain. I could just imagine how the other two crushed him when they heard what he said.
"Was it the same girl from last night?" Mark’s voice asked.
"Seriously, the freak?" Nate’s voice followed.
If it was about my date, my friends would scramble from the ends of the world just to hear about it. But if it was the other way around, they wouldn't let me into it too much. Unfair, right? Worst, they wouldn't tell me why.
"Yes I am, yes it was, and no...just no, not." I hesitated on the last part, aware of the pair of curious eyes on me. I glanced at the passenger seat a bit, her eyes fixed on me.
"So, you're not going tonight?" Chris asked, sounding slightly dejected. Maybe he didn't like the idea of me choosing a girl over him. He doesn’t like cancellations in appointments. Despite being an idiot all the time, he was actually a timely kind of person. If you arranged a meet up with him first but had to cancel, you could expect a World War III. Okay, that was too grand. Maybe just Poseidon swallowing up an entire island in the Pacific Ocean.
"I never said anything about that. I'll go of course. Expect me there."
"Alright, then. See you tonight. Oh, and enjoy your little date." He said in a teasing tone before he hung up. And once again, silence filled the car. I should start another chit-chat.
"Bluetooth?" I heard her say while I was thinking of what to tell her next. It pretty surprised me that she actually initiated a conversation. Sure it was only a one-word question but initiation nonetheless.
"Yep." I answered taking the device from my ear and handing it to her.
She inspected it like a test subject. "This looks cool. I always thought that people using these looked like creeps, walking around and talking to themselves." She giggled to herself.
"I used to think like that too. But it was pretty convenient for driving." I answered.
"I wouldn't know. I don't drive." She informed me.
"Nope. Don't like it. Too much hassle." She answered quickly.
"It's great though. I mean you can go anywhere and everywhere, as long as you have a car and gas and you know how to drive."
"And you own a driver's license." I nodded in agreement. "Still, I don't like driving. I always get my cousin to drive me to anywhere and everywhere I want. We even have a contract for that.” So her cousin was her personal driver huh? I feel sorry for the girl.
"I can teach you to drive." I offered, taking the opportunity to see her again.
"I wanna live longer, thank you. And if you also do, I suggest you keep me out of the wheel." I chuckled at her response and she just shifted on her seat again to face the front, fixing her eyes on nothing in the road.
"Then, can I also have that contract of driving you anywhere?" I teased. I noticed her cheeks turned a light hue of pink, which was cute on her. What could have made her blush? Realizing my offer of being her personal driver? So she was not as hard as a rock like I thought.
"N-no way. It was one and only, and I don't have vacancies." She defended quickly, not even meeting my eyes.
"Too bad then. Should I send you my resume so you can call me up once the position was free?" I asked.
"No need. It will never be vacant anyway." She shook her head.
"You'll never know, Angel."
"Are we there yet?" She tried to change the subject yet again.
"Yep." I answered as I pulled into a parking space of the venue I had chosen. She looked outside and tried to study the surroundings and I just smiled to myself.
I got out of the car and quickly made my way to her side, opening the door for her. She mumbled a thank you as if she didn't expect me to do that. I may not look like it but I could always act like a gentleman. I studied her face as she took in her surroundings. Fenced field, a simple brick house, lots of trees, a lake and just a few cars. She furrowed her eyebrows. I know she wouldn't know where we were from studying the place. She probably wouldn't even think of it. She could think of being in an eco park or something. But that was completely wrong.
I held her had in mine and pulled her gently towards the brick house. Just before we could get there, a middle-aged man came out from the house. He beamed upon seeing me and jogged to my direction.
"Jacob, boy! How long has it been?" He greeted me tapping me on the shoulder with a wide grin on his face.
"Just a few months Phil. Been busy with school." I answered grinning at the old guy. "How are things here? Been peaceful lately?"
"Yeah. But since you showed up, it will surely be one heck of trouble." He answered me, chuckling. "It's rare to see you here without your three musketeers. But I can see someone else." I noticed the teasing tone in his voice. He looked at her who was a little behind me.
"Yeah, by the way. This is Danica." I gestured to her and she managed to say a polite greeting and a courteous smile. "Danica, this is Philip. He owns the place." Phil held his hand to her which she took in for a shake.
"So Danica, I believe this is your first time here. Have you tried it before?” Phil asked her. She looked at me first before shifting back her gaze to my old friend.
“I’m sorry but no, I don’t think so.” She answered hesitantly, her polite smile still on her face. She looked like she was having an internal debate. I would bet that it was how she would push me off the lake when she got the chance.
“Oh, a first timer, I see. By the way, welcome to my Rifle Club!" Phil greeted her brightly and I watched as her reactions became one of confusion.
"Ri...fle Club?" She asked as her brows furrowed. I was feeling smug inside but I didn't let it show in my face. I noticed Phil looked at me but I just shrugged when I glanced at him for a brief moment.
"Yeah. This is a shooting range with guns and bullets and everything."
At Phil's words, her eyes almost bulged out of her sockets. She was very surprised to learn where I had actually brought her. Did she think I had brought her to a rest house or something? Maybe another time if she wanted to and when there was nothing or no one she would be thinking of.
I couldn't hold my laughter any longer and so I laughed aloud. Phil looked at me like I was crazy and she, well, I was satisfied with her shocked face. Surprising her was really fun. She was so easy to read like an open book. This was only part one. I couldn't wait for the main event today.