Summer Bucket List
He took a tentative step toward me and I remained fixed in place. Curiosity would not let me walk away, though that was exactly what I wanted to do. He stood across from me, the annoyance and disgust erased from his face. Milo shoved his hands into his pockets and when he looked up at me, he looked—uncertain.
“I didn’t know how to talk to you,” he finally said.
“You don’t seem to have a problem now,” I snapped. “In fact, I sort of wish you’d go back to ignoring me.”
“If that’s what you want…”
“No, Milo, that’s not what I want. I want to understand.”
“You’re not really that naïve, are you?”
“Forget it,” I said, turning around to walk back to my car.
“I never talked to you because I didn’t know how to,” he said, but I kept walking. “Because I liked you.”
That was the thing he said that got me to stop moving. In fact, I was pretty sure that I heard him wrong, so I slowly turned around to give him my attention. I didn’t know what to say.
“I didn’t know how to talk to you without sounding like a moron, so I just…didn’t…talk. You really didn’t know?”
“You said it yourself: you didn’t talk to me. So your silence spoke volumes for you.”
“I wasn’t trying to be a jerk the other night. I just didn’t know what to say to you.”
“I didn’t know what to say to you either. Every time I’ve tried to talk to you, it’s like talking to a brick wall. No matter how hard I try or how nice I am to you, you just ignore me.”
“That was never my intention,” he said apologetically. “I really just didn’t know what to say.”
We stood in silence, each really hearing the other. His confession began to ring in my ears, and I was thankful for the darkness so he would not see my flushed cheeks.
“Did you mean what you said?”
“That you liked me?”
He shifted his stance before facing me again. “Yeah. I did…I do.”
Milo was completely opposite of Blake, or anyone else I had dated. He was not the center of attention, and he was not cocky. He was shy and unassuming, and for so long I had wanted to get him to open up and let me be his friend. I never expected him to open up so much that he would reveal that he had feelings for me.
“If you aren’t busy, do you want to go get something to eat? Maybe we could actually talk or something?”
“Are you asking me out on a date?” I asked.
He looked away for a moment, and when his gaze connected with mine, his smile grew. “Yeah. I guess I am.”
I felt nervous and excited at the same time, and then complete disappointment.
“I can’t. Not tonight,” I said.
“No. It’s fine. Short notice and all. Hell, you might be dating someone anyway.”
“I’m not,” I said a little more eagerly than I realized.
“Maybe another time,” he said, taking a few steps backward. “Have a good night, Holland.”
As he turned around, I slowly did the same, but then my feet stopped moving.
“Do you want to come with me?” I asked hopefully. “To Meg’s?”