After a long nap followed by begging my mother and making promises that I think we both knew I probably wouldn’t keep I was soon on my way to make a visit to my cousin Candy in Sweet Valley.
Candy was just about the only girl I could talk to in the world and perhaps my only female friend, though that was probably only because we were related. We spent quite a few summers together at our great grandmother's house while the rest of our family looked in on our eldest family member. If there was anyone to give me some insight as how to get Shiraz to change her opinion of me it was Candy, after all she was a girl so she should know these things.
The drive to her coastal town that my family had resided in for 5 generations now didn’t seem to take as long as it had when I was a child stuck in the back seat alongside of my younger brother. Today I cranked up the tunes and had the windows down letting the salty air in that let me know that I would soon be there. I was around dinner time when I finally arrived; my Aunt and Uncle had gone out for the evening for a night out on the town. So Candy and I headed to the local landmark Peppermint Pier with some food from her fridge. Luckily we didn’t have to go too far since her house was directly across the street from our destination. With in no time we had one of the fire pits going so we could roast some food over it.“So tell me about this girl Shiraz.” Candy enquired before even siting down.
“Well for one thing she is different from any other girl I have met before.” I started to explain to her before she interrupted me with a “Besides the fact that she refused your advances Cuz.” She stated with a laugh while I groaned “Yes besides that simple little fact that has absolutely nothing to do with anything. She’s got the most beautiful pair of purple eyes I ever seen.” I began to say before she interrupted me again. “Ok I don’t need to hear why you think this one is so pretty or what have you. Do you have any real feelings for her beyond you think she is pretty and she’s only held your attention for this long because she hasn’t succumbed to your charmingly good looks and your astounding wit?” She asked throwing in at the end what I thought was a bit of sarcasm.
“Maybe I would have something beyond she’s pretty if she would just let me… get to know her or something. Then I would be able to probably tell you what a great girl she is or something along those lines. I know this probably doesn’t make any sense or will sound extremely cliché but I know there is something special between us, something that makes me willing to do just about anything to get her to spend more than the few moments that she normal spends on me telling me that I am not her type.” I admitted frankly to Candy while she finally sat there silently thinking on all that I had said
She sighed and was silent for a moment before answering “Maybe you should do some sort of grand gesture sort of thing. You know where the guy does something really big to prove how much he loves or cares for her and she is so moved that accepts him back or starts going out with him like in your case. And umm…maybe you should stop dating around so much while you are trying to umm woo her. ” Candy said as she waved her burning hotdogs trying to get rid of the small flames.
“Candy that is the stupidest thing I ever heard of. Besides why should I even bother giving up some fun if she isn’t going to give me the time of day.” I replied unconvinced of her ridiculous theory. “Ok you might just find it silly. But seriously you going around still hitting on and dating other girls while you’re trying to get with her is not really helping the fact that she doesn’t want to date you because you’re known to date around a lot to say the least cuz. ” Candy pointed out to me.
“Fine I’ll try your little idea.” I grumbled under my breath as a few of her friends began to join us. It wasn’t long before a few more joined and eventually a small party was in swing at the pier. Music pulsted from a stereo while a few people danced to it. A small crowd had gathered around the foosball table as they talked to the ones that were playing while they waited for their own turns. Some random people found their way down to the beach, which was where I sat while Candy disappeared for what seemed like quite some time to find her boyfriend so that she could introduce us, when temptation in a short shorts and an even shorter shirt came knocking.
“So you’re Candy’s cousin right?” A voice asked me from behind me. Turning my head I could see that it was a completely sapphire blue girl with a cute smile who took it upon herself to sit next to me before waiting for my reply. “That is right. My name’s Roux. What’s yours?” I found myself asking her before I knew it. “It’s Cornflower Bluesy. What are you doing here all by yourself with no one to talk to?” She asked me back while trailing her fingers lightly in the sand.
“My cousin seems to have disappeared trying to find her boyfriend. But I do have someone to talk to.” I replied as she raised her eyebrow and curiously asked “Who?” Replying smoothly with a wink I said “You.” Which made her giggle adorably and for the next hour or so I forgot why I even came to Sweet Valley.Until my cousin decided to find her way back to me. “Umm Roux what do you think you are doing?” Candy asked after distinctly clearing her throat. “Having fun at a party?” Was all that I replied before turning my attention back to Cornflower.
“Does the name Shiraz ring a bell?” She asked bluntly ignoring the fact that Cornflower was right next to me. “Yeah, what about her? There is nothing I can really do until I get back to Briocheporte anyways so I might as well have some fun until then.” I said as I tried to blow her off once again but she wouldn’t let me.
Stepping forward she not so lightly tapped me on my forehead and said. “Roux think with this head and seriously stop being a jerk for a few minutes. Why do you always have to go and sabotage yourself? Or are you just perfectly content being unhappy all the time and blaming everyone else for the problems you create?” She asked before walking off in what could only be described as a huff
“Burn!” Said the guy that had been standing next to her the whole time, whom I could only assume was the boyfriend that she had wanted me to meet. “There she goes blowing everything out of proportion again.” Cornflower said as she snuggled against me again but something that Candy said struck a chord with me. “No I have to go. I have to go right now.” I said absently while I got up and left without even saying goodbye to Cornflower while she called me to come back before eventual getting angry and yelling some not so nice things to me as I kept walking.
But I didn’t go back; instead I got into my car and drove straight back to Briocheporte. Maybe Candy was right about everything; I was my own worst enemy, a self-loathing jerk that always seemed hell bent on destroying his own life. During the car trip home I thought about what I really wanted in life which was only a few things. To move away from Briocheporte to some small unknown town and Shiraz. The only girl to ever make me think about what kind of future I could have with her, even when she didn’t even want me.
The next few weeks during the weekends I normally spent out at the clubs I instead spent alone trying to study for the pregraduation exams while trying to figure out what I even wanted to do with my life after high school ended. The only subjects that I was remotely good in were political science and writing. And politics were not really my thing, they just made me want to take a nap. Which only left writing but what the fudge was I even going to write about? Not to mention I didn’t want to go work for the papers that had written some unsavory but more than often true things about social life.
One Thursday, two weeks before graduation I decided to try once again with Shiraz after the bell had rung and classes had ended. “Shiraz can I talk to you for a minute?” I asked her as she was about to walk away with her friends. “What do you want Roux?” She asked after an annoyed sigh. “Would you go out with me on a date?” I asked her for the probably only the berry knows time.
“I told you I don’t date guys like you that play girls.” Shiraz said defiantly though her eyes danced with amusement. “We’ll I guess this is your lucky day because I don’t date girls that want to grow up and be actresses. You don’t have any dreams with stars in your eyes as you envision yourself as someone famous do you?” I asked her while wondering if what her answer may be. “That does not even make sense and what are my dreams to you? What would you even care of them Roux? You’ve probably gone through life not caring about anyone but yourself.” She snipped at me as she tried to push me aside.
“I care about things Shiraz more so than you probably imagine or would even give me credit for. Why are you even being like this? I might not be the smartest kid in school but I know when I girl likes me. And I can tell that you like me and you know I like you. Why must this be so difficult?” I began to implore her but her face flushed with anger as my words reached her ears. “Why am I like this? You really want to know why Roux? Why don’t you go and ask your friend Mars.” Shiraz replied as tears began to pool in her eyes. “What about Mars?” I asked as she turned her face away and she said quietly “We dated shortly before you came to our school.”
“You mean you and Mars…” I began to ask. “Oh no it wasn’t like that, or at least we weren’t together long enough. Truthfully I don’t even think he remembers we even dated since it wasn’t really that long before he decided to dump me for my best friend that he originally had her help him in asking me out. Never mind that she knew that I had liked him since grade school and probably told him so when he had first approached her about me. But I didn’t have to deal with the two of them being together, before he decided to move on from her too.” Shiraz said darkly as she stared at the ground.
“I’m not Mars or that girl that you thought was your friend Shiraz.” I said to her as she just looked up at me. “How do I know that you are not going to be like that? How do I know you are not just going to do something similar and break my heart like he did?” She asked with a twinge of hope in her voice. “You don’t, just like I don’t know if you are going to do the same to me. But I can say two things that I never cheated on someone before and I’ve never dumped a girl because I thought someone better came along. Just take a chance with me Shiraz and I promise that I’ll try never to hurt you.” I replied as I held out my hand to her hoping that she would take it.
But she left me hanging so I tried one last idea. “Listen the school year is ending in a few weeks and we’ll probably never see each other again if that’s what you really want so I’ll make you a deal. Just go out with me on one date and I’ll stop bothering you. I’ll never pester you and nor will I try to make any sort of moves on you, it will be a strictly plutonic sort of date.” I said not believing that I had been reduced to begging and was just one step away from being on my knees.
“Fine, if I go out with you just once you’ll leave me be and not bother me again? There won’t be any more of this in between classes or after school pestering?” She asked after finally agreeing and I assured her “That is correct. You won’t even know I exist anymore afterwards if you choose not to. So tomorrow night I’ll pick you up around 6?”
I couldn’t believe that I had finally had a date with Shiraz, the rest of the night I was in high spirits and even had some nice words for Ashen when he asked me to listen to a song that he had written for Alliesort. When Friday finally came to it seemed to drag on forever as I watched the clock slowly tick by in my classes. By the time I got home time seemed to crawl by as I tried to find ways to keep busy until I could leave to pick Shiraz up for our date.
When I finally picked her up it was awkard meeting her parents at her home. It was something that I never really did before, most of the girls that I had dated before I knew of their parents before through our parents being friends or they didn’t want me to meet them. “So you are Roux. We’ve heard a lot about you! Go stand next to Shiraz and we’ll take a picture of the two of you.” Her mother directed me to do while her father got the camara ready. “Is this normal?” I asked Shiraz under my breath. “They do this everytime I have a date, so yes unfortunately it is.” She replied to me under hers while her mom said “Smile!”
There were still spots dancing in my eyes by the time we finally left her house so I walked slowly to the car. “So what are we doing tonight?” She asked while getting into my car. “Typical date stuff, after all I did promise to behave.” I replied back to her as I slyly check her out. "Wow, you're like really dressed up tonight." I said to her "Don't get too flattered it was my mom's doing." Shiraz replied without even looking back at me. "Well you do look really nice." I timidly said back to her as I started the car up and we were on our way.
Over dinner I found out more about Shiraz than I had these past months that I had been attending her school. At first she wasn’t too talkative but eventually she started to open up a little. I found out that she had lived most of her life in Briocheporte after moving here with her family when she was in kindergarten, that she worked after school at a salon in the downtown area and that she wanted to eventually have a career being a stylist there. To which I confessed to the fact that I had no clue what I wanted to do after we would graduate.
After dinner I took her over to the Plasma~Fruit Lounge, which was one of them newer vampire themed lounges that had opened up ever since that movie Taro~lite and show TruePlasma came out. It wasn’t hard to get into the V.I.P section and for a while we danced together and played a few rounds of darts while having a good time until Shiraz wanted to take a break and we stepped out on to the balcony.
“This is one of the things I hate about living in a city.” She said to me. “What’s that?” I asked with the bass of the music still ringing in my ears. “You can’t see any of the stars at night because the downtown lights are so bright.” Shiraz said as she motioned to the sky that seemed void of any stars and I found myself soon saying to her “You want to see stars? Come on I know of a place.”
“Where are we?” Shiraz asked when I had stopped the car after a short drive out of the downtown area and up past the hills. “It just a little quiet place away from everything with a nice view, here close your eyes.” I said to her as I took her hand and lead her to a spot that I might have known very well. It was a place that I had often runaway to whenever I wanted to get my mother’s attention when she was too busy being away filming movies or other things. This was also the first time I had taken anyone there. “Are you peaking?” I asked her.
“No, I’m not” Shiraz said while she stifled a giggle. “I don’t believe you let me help you.” I said while I slipped my hands over her closed eyes. “You promised to behave.” She said though she didn’t bother to remove my hands “And I’ve been keeping it right?” I whispered in her ear. “Yes, yes you have.” She replied as I stopped her. “Ok look.” I said while I removed my hands from her face and she gasped as she saw the city lights and the stars together.
“It’s beautiful Roux.” Shiraz said after a few moments. “Yeah I know I used to come here sometimes when my mother was off filming for too long and if I stayed here long enough she would eventually come home. Of course I would get into loads of trouble when I would finally come home, but they could never find me here. Oh now don’t you look at me like that Shiraz, with those pretty violet eyes of yours. I’m fine, see I’m smiling.” I said while flashing her the biggest smile I could muster up as I felt her hand suddenly find mine.
As we looked down at the city I wanted nothing more than to take her in my arms but I didn’t because I had made her a promise. Though the thought of breaking it crossed my mind more than once and just when I thought I would I heard her say. “I would like it if we went out again Roux.”
Graduation past by as quickly as a breeze while Shiraz and I became closer and closer. For the first time I talked to a girl about my dreams, hopes and fears. With an open heart it seemed like Shiraz really listened to me as I poured forth my thoughts. I told her of my dreams and hopes, that I had always wanted to write a book and move somewhere that was the opposite of our city to get a piece of the simple life that I had never known.
Though sometimes the simple life was far from my mind, especially on the weekends as time passed when I would take Shiraz out. But it would always come back to me especially when we were entering or leaving a club or restaurant and the paparazzi would take our pictures. “Roux who’s the new girl?” one of them asked me when we were leaving the BrightBlends early so I could get her home because she had to work the next day. “That is none of your business berryhole.” I said as I put my arm around her and pulled her close as she clutched me back.
“Is it always going to be like that?” Shiraz asked me as I drove her home. “Yeah I guess, it’s always been like that so far since I was little. You know they would even hang outside my school when I was little on the off chance that my mom or Fade would be picking my brother and I up.” I replied feeling annoyed while I gripped the steering wheel as I remembered a few instances that they got too close and Fade almost flipped out on them.
When we got to her house she wrapped her arms around me as we stood in front of her door and for a moment the world was forgotten as I closed my eyes while holding her tight. There were things I wanted to say to her but couldn’t find the right words and didn’t know how she would react to it since we had only been dating for a couple of months now as the weather had just finished shifting from Summer to Autumn. “Roux? I have to go in now.” She said softly to me as she begun to pull away. “Just wait a minute Shiraz I think I want to tell you something.” I said while still holding on to her hand.
“What’s up Roohoo?” Shiraz asked with an edge of nervousness to her voice as my heart started to really pound in my chest. “I know we’ve only been together for a short time but honestly since the moment I saw you I fell in love with you Shiraz and I just wanted to say that even if you don’t feel the same way it’s alright because I love you and I’ll wait patiently until someday that you do love me too.” I said feeling the words jumble out of my mouth quickly in a rush as her eyes widened.
A silent moment passed by into a minute as we just stood there looking at each other and I began to wonder if I should have kept that to myself for a little longer. “Ummm I guess I’ll go then.” I said awkwardly as I began to turn around to walk away.
But a hand on my arm stopped me and a quiet voice in almost a whisper said “I love you too Roux.”