• The air was thick, hard to breath. People were walking, crowding the passages of the airport. The big windows let one look out onto the air strip, the massive bodies of the flying contraptions shined brightly in the sun. Blinding, so blinding.

    Evan sat at one of the benches near the window, fingers tapping nervously against the warming metal. His feet kicked at the air. Worried. He had never done anything like this, ever. A bag sat to his right, occupying the rest of the bench. His hand clutched at his cell phone. His heart was racing. There was fear…. Did I do something bad?

    “You look lost, little boy,” the voice was soft, sweet. Evan stared down at the persons feet. Black combat boots. He slowly raised up his eyes, following the length of the woman’s body. Black jeans, a loose fitted tank top, a small bag over one shoulder, and a pink cat collar. He stopped at her neck. She was here.

    “I’m not little,” he replied, finally raising his eyes to meet hers. Hayls was five foot seven, taller than himself and older by a year and a few months. He felt shy at their first actual meeting, though they have been talking for quite some time. A smile lit up her face; he blushed. “So now what?” he asked, slowly getting to his feet. He tried to hide his embarrassment, shyness by acting cool, calm, bored. He grabbed his bag and stood before her. He had finished school, just graduated a few weeks ago, to be exact… Then, he got some money and hopped on a plane to Washington from Georgia- almost all the way to the other corner of the US. His hand tightened on the bags strap at the thought. What have I done?

    Hayls smiled wider. She could feel his discomfort, his questioning actions. She did the only thing she could think of. She slid her arms around him, hugging him tight. His body went stiff, arms straight against his side. His heart started to race. She whispered in his ear what she had been saying for the past two years, “You are so kawaii, Evan.” A red blush washed up his neck to his cheeks, he dropped his bag to the floor, still in her embrace, and finally hugged her back.

    “I hate it when you make me blush, Hayls.” he hissed, eyes dropping. She only laughed, gave him another squeeze, and stepped back.

    “But, I’m sorry, it’s true.” She glanced at his bag, “That is all you brought?”

    He reached for the bag, lifting it slowly off the floor. Some girl I met off the internet shouldn’t be able to make my heart beat like that, he thought. He sighed and let a smile hit his lips, “Yes. This is all I brought?’

    As if an investigator, Hayls got lower to the ground, becoming almost eye level with the bag. She poked it, as if it would react in some way, “Only one? Why only one? You didn’t bring more of your stuff?”

    “I’m not sure how long I’m staying…”

    “You mean, you don’t know if we will get along well enough,” Hayls smiled up at him brightly, still poking the bag.

    “Yes… that is what I mean.” he switched his weight from foot to foot, eyes staring off around the airport. There were people glancing at them. He sighed, it was only right that people stare. Hayls wasn‘t acting like the other people, she was putting on a small, interesting show. Drawing attention. “You are rather embarrassing, you know.”

    “I know…” she got back up on her feet and glanced around. She smiled at a little kid who had been staring. The tot ran and hid behind what must of have been his grandfather. “Does that bother you?” her eyes slowly moved from the people and back to Evan’s.

    Does that bother me? He glanced at the people again. The normal, everyday people who weren’t permanently in his life. Then, he looked back at Hayls, a girl who was straight forward, blunt and a ‘bucket of fun’. Did it bother him? “Of course not… now if you don’t mind… I’d like to take a shower. Where to?”

    The smile that was on her lips made her eyes shine. “This way, follow me!” she exclaimed, grabbing his free hand. Just that small touch made his heart skip. What has she done to me? he asked himself, following her out into the hot air of Bellingham’s summer.

    They stopped and let their eyes adjust to the bright, dazzling sea of cars. Row after row of shiny car window’s greeted them. “I thought you didn’t drive,” Evan stated, staring at the mass collection of metal.

    “Eh, I do when needed.” Hayls laughed, giving his hand a small squeeze. She slowly lead him farther out of the parking lot.

    The heat closed in around them as they moved. Evan watched Hayls’s body, her black boots, black pants, and gray tank top. How was she wearing that in this weather. She had long legs, and a nice, curvy frame. Her arms looked tan, shoulders as well. Short brown here was styled in a messy, spiky display. A small side of bangs covered some of her forehead and one eye. Silver hoops glinted on her right ear. Her left ear showed a silver chain. In all, Hayls was rather cute, pretty… Though, she wasn’t really Evan’s usual choice, type. The word ‘wacky’, came to mind when he glanced at her. Crazy, out there. He couldn’t help but smile as he watched her.

    Hayls glanced behind her as she made it toward a little yellow bug she drove. She caught sight of his smile, and gave a small one of her own. Evan…

    She stopped beside the yellow bug and leaned against it, releasing his hand. “Tada, I am your knight and here is my… stud?” she tapped the yellow painted frame.

    “You mean ‘trusty steed’?” Evan tapped the tires with his foot, “It looks like a piece of junk.”

    She couldn’t help but raise on eyebrow to that, “This car has almost killed me multiple times. But yet, I love it.” Her eyes turned to slits as she stared at the younger man, “I wouldn’t insult Berta. She will hear you.”


    “The bugs name is Berta.”

    “You named your vehicle?!”

    “We name all our vehicles,” Hayls grinned at his expression. Why was she picking him up at the airport? Oh yeah.

    She moved fast and grabbed Evan’s arms. Turning and pinning him against the car, she pushed her body against his, trapping him against the small bug. His eyes should shock. She leaned her mouth down over his, lips not touching, their eyes locked. “I haven’t told you something in a while,” she breathed softly. Her breath smelt like mints.

    “Oh really, and what’s that?” Nervous, he was so nervous! He could feel his heart pounding. He tried to play it cool.

    “I like you,” she smiled, stepping back from him. “And your door is already unlocked… this car doesn’t lock at all.”

    He stayed pressed against the car as she moved to her own door. His pulse was racing so bad, it felt like it could break through his skin. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, trying to calm himself down. “Damn her,” he whispered.

    “Are you getting in or are you going to stay there, swooning against the side of my car?” Hayls asked teasingly, stretching her frame in the drivers seat. Evan opened the passenger door.

    “What do you mean this car doesn’t lock? And I wasn’t ‘swooning’. I was just stunned.” he shut the door as he wiggled in the seat, his bag on the floor between his legs. It was like an oven in the small cab.

    “The locks don’t work on the car,” she stuck the keys into the ignition and turned it on. The car moaned and groaned. “And, for the record…” she leaned over toward him, “You were swooning.” She stuck her tongue out before setting the gears and backing out. Evan just watched her. Why was she so special to him?

    As they drove, the only sound that could be heard was the huffing of the car, and the other cars on the road. The two of them barely said anything. Evan watched out the window, amazed by the view. Cars, trees, houses, stores. They drove past them all, the mall, fast food joints, adult shops. It was so weird not being with his family, in Georgia. Here he was, all the way across the US, with a girl he’d never really met, going to her house. It all seemed like a dream.

    They finally had a conversation going by the time they pulled into her driveway. The house Hayls was renting was a three story, if you counted the basement. It had three bedrooms with two having their own full separate bathrooms, a bathroom in the basement, a bathroom on the main floor, a kitchen, living room, backyard and a garage. It was a cozy little place that she was able to snag. She was lucky.

    She climbed out of her car, her bag slung over one shoulder. She watched Evan with kind eyes as he got out of the old vehicle, his bag in his hand. He stared up at the pale gray house, his new place until he decided otherwise. She was amused.

    “Home sweet home,” she sang as she made her way to the front door. Evan followed behind her, eyes still taking in the house.

    She opened the front door and held it as Evan walked inside. He stopped to take off his shoes. “There is no need, you don’t need to take your shoes off.” Hayls said, shutting and locking the door. She walked into the house, boots still on. They made almost no noise on the hardwood floor.

    The house smelt clean, fresh. Memories of a conversation that they had a while back came to Evan’s mind. Clean, she was a very clean person when it came to houses, rooms. It showed. He smiled and looked around, following her again.

    “Should I show you to your room?” she stopped at the bottom of some stairs.

    “Oh, yes please.” He held onto the bag tighter as he moved up the stairs. Sun light lit the hall
    wall. There were three doors. Two of them were open. “Your bedroom is the one with the closed door?” he asked as they walked past it.

    “Mm, yes. Okay. You have a choice…” she glanced at the two open doors. “I guess you want a room with its own bathroom?” she leaned her back against the wall, smiling at him.

    “How many bedrooms does this house have?”

    “Three, two have their own bathrooms. There is another bathroom, downstairs, and one in the basement. A kitchen, living room, garag-”

    “How can you afford this place?!” Evan asked, cutting her off.

    She blinked at him, tilting her head. “I make a good amount of money…” she dropped her eyes, “And I have connections.” Hayls pushed her body off the wall and walked into the room right across from hers. “This room is the one with the bathroom.”

    Evan, who doesn’t give up easily, walked in after her. “How much do you pay for this place a month?”

    “Don’t worry about it.”

    “You live here alone, really? You must pay at least a grand a month for this place…”

    “Evan, hon, don’t worry about it.” she stuck her hands into her pockets, a calm mask falling over her face.

    He placed his bag on the bed, taking in the spacious room. It was nice, with windows, heavy curtains, closet… a desk. “But, I have to worry about it. What kind of things must you go through with to be able to live here, alone. How do you have money to eat, buy clothing, needs like-” he fell backwards onto the bed. Hayls crawled above him, knees on either side of his waist. She held his hands against the cool, clean comforter. He stared up at her wide eyed.

    “I told you not to worry about it,” she said softly, face painfully close. He couldn’t take his eyes off hers.

    “I know… but…” the only part of their bodies that were touching was her hands on his arms, her knees on either side of his waist.

    “But what?”

    Evan closed his eyes, squirming under her. “I need to worry about you, I can’t help it.” His voice came quietly, as if he was admitting to something bad.

    Hayls collapsed her body on top of his, sliding slightly to the side so one leg was draped across his stomach, an arm across his shoulders. Her face was against the side of his head, breath playing along the skin of his neck. He closed his eyes, a shiver running through his body. His arms were still above his head though her hands did not hold them captive.

    Evan was about five foot five. He had a darker complexion thanks to a good tan. His hair was black, cut very short and spiked slightly. He had thick brown eyes that tilted upwards slightly, and full lips. A slender body with a little muscle tone, he was one of the most attractive young men Hayls had ever seen. She breathed in the scent of him. He smelt sweet, warm, almost like summer. She pressed her face closer against him.

    “People made sure I would be well off if anything happened to them,” she said softly, hand sliding down his side. He was wearing a light gray shirt and shorts that showed off his nicely tanned legs. She could feel his smooth, toned body under the fabric. “Thanks to them and my job, I can live just fine…” she pulled her hand in the direction of her body, stopping in the center of his stomach. “So, I will say again, you don’t have to worry about me.” She ran a finger up his clothed chest drawing a heart over his left pectoral. He brought his left hand down and grabbed her hand.

    “I still worry,” his voice vibrated down her spine. He interlocked their fingers together and gave her small hand a soft squeeze.

    Pushing herself up with her free hand, she kissed his cheek. “I’ll go get something to eat Why don’t you go take that shower you wanted,” she pulled her hand free of his and carefully got up off him and the bed. He grabbed her wrist before she could walk away.

    “Wait,” he was sitting up, one hand behind him as he leaned back on it, the other on her slender wrist. She met his eyes.

    “Pizza sounds good, yeah? And what’s your drink choice?” she smiled, ignoring his hand.

    Unsure of what to do, he let go of her wrist, eyes falling to his lap. “Anything you drink, I’ll drink…”

    Hayls just nodded. “There are towels in the bathroom… complete with shampoo and soap and whatever else bathrooms hold. Er… later we can go to the store if you need anything or if you want a different type of shampoo… or..” she waved her hands, “whatever. Something like that.”

    “Oh, okay…” he watched her walk toward the door, “Wait, Hayls?”

    She stopped in the doorway, one hand on the doorknob. Glancing at him over her shoulder, she watched his face, “Mm?”

    “Er… thank you.”



    Hayls laughed, “I have done nothing that you should thank me for. I should be the one thanking you.”

    “Why?” Confusion crossed his face.

    “You left your home, you left your state to come here… all the way across the US, to stay with me, some girl you’ve never met. You have no reason to thank me. I should actually apologize…” she turned and faced the hallway, “You might not even like me once you’ve hung out with me for a while. If that is the case, I will buy you a plane ticket to wherever you wish to leave to…” she sighed, “Now please, go and enjoy your shower, hon. I’ll go order some pizza. Pepperoni okay?”

    Stunned by her words, Evan just nodded. He watched, wordless, as she smiled and closed the door. “But… I do like you…” he said quietly to the empty room. The words seemed to echo back to him. “Damn it…” He picked himself off the bed and moved to the bathroom. It was shower time.

    Evan wiped the steam off the mirror. He stared at his reflection. Only two hours ago did he step off the plane from Georgia. Only two hours ago he met a girl he has been talking to for two years. He was five months off from being nineteen. He was now going to be staying at the house of a girl who was almost twenty. He let out a sigh, hands on either side of the counter, “Is this real?”

    A knock at the room’s door cut his concentration. “Pizza time,” her voice came loud from the hallway. He smiled at the sound of her.

    He threw on a pair of running shorts and a red tank top. He grabbed his old clothes and the towel and stepped out of the bathroom. “Come on in,” he called toward Hayls. The door opened slowly and the smell of the pizza floated toward him. It smelt so good, his mouth watered. He hadn’t eaten in hours.

    Hayls walked into the room in white socks, her black pants, and a tank top. She hand two boxes of pizza and two bottles of soda. She turned around and shut the door with her foot. Her back pocket held napkins. Evan smiled.

    “Let me help,” he rushed over and grabbed the bottles of soda. Unsure of what to do with them, he stood there and watched as Hayls placed the boxes on the bed.

    “You look so tired,” she teased. Moving to sit on the floor, she propped her back against the bed, the two pizza boxers now beside her. Evan moved to sit next to her.

    “I am pretty tired,” he answered, handing her a bottle. “If it’s okay, I’d like to take a nap after eating…”

    “Of course it is okay. I was actually going to head to bed, as well. I’m sleepy myself.” she opened the top box. Huge slices of pepperoni pizza greeting them. Hayls grabbed one piece as she handed Evan a napkin. “You don’t have to ask permission. You’re staying here now until you decide otherwise.” She smiled and took a bite of pizza. Evan grabbed another slice of pizza and eyed it. “Not that bad of pizza, I promise. Though, homemade pizza is the best.” she nudged him playfully as he took a bite

    “It isn’t bad…” cracking open the soda, he took a small swig and smiled, “Homemade pizza? You cook?”

    “No, no, no. My parents make the best pizza… I make popcorn stuff.” she licked her fingers, smiling. “I’m a baker, though my cakes never turn out that good.”

    “A baker, mm? Why do I have a feeling that if I stay here, I’m going to get fat?”

    Hayls laughed, she couldn’t help it. “I like food. No, no, I love food. Of course you will get fat.” She grabbed another piece and started eating.

    Evan grinned, “Just great, just what I need. I get to be a fat boy.” He stretched his back, his arms above his head.

    “I like my men fat,” she joked playfully, drinking half her soda in one swig. Evan stared, mouth open. “What?”

    “You just… the bottle… full…” he grabbed another piece of pizza, “Never mind.”

    “I like soda.” she cleaned her hands on a napkin, eyes on his face, “Oh, hey. You’ve got some sauce on your chin. Right here.” She chuckled softly as she wiped it off with her thumb and licked it off. “Haha, so cute. Mm.. Time?” taking a sip of her soda, she glanced at the clock. It was almost eight and she was tired, so tired.

    The first pizza box was empty, the second was missing two pieces. She grinned, “Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m full.” She stuck out her tongue and stood slowly, grabbing the pizza and her empty pop bottle.

    “There is water and food downstairs if you get hungry or thirsty in the middle of the night… er, if you need anything or help with anything, just knock on my door, I’ll wake up.” She smiled brightly as Evan stood, “Thanks for coming here… I know it isn’t the best but, hey, this could end up being fun.” she averted her eyes for a second and smiled nervously, “Goodnight, and sweet dreams. Remember, if you need anything or want anything, just help yourself or wake me up.”

    Hayls walked downstairs. She heard Evan’s door shut behind her. She sighed, face falling. She wasn’t sure what to do. How to react.

    She decided to clean up so she placed the empty bottle in the recycle along with the empty pizza box and she placed the remainder of pizza into the fridge. She stared at the sad contents of the refrigerator. “I’m going to have to go shopping soon..” with that, she headed to her room.

    She glanced out the window as she moved. The sky outside was still light. The sun was setting. The harsh pink and orange color was hard on the eyes.

    Hayls dragged herself upstairs. Her eyes shifted to Evan’s door. The room looked dark. A sad look crossed her face as she opened her own door.

    Getting ready for bed was simple. She threw on a sports bra and some comfortable underwear, brushed her teeth, washed her face, and bingo! She was ready for bed. After turning off the light, she crawled into bed. Her cell phone was on the small desk beside her, lights blinking every now and then. She groaned and pulled the blanket over her head, curling into a ball around one of the oversized pillows. Rollaeve, the stuffed panther that she has had for years, was hugged to her chest. She laid like this, unable to sleep.

    Hours passed and still sleep would not greet her. She closed her eyes tight, murmuring to herself “sleep, sleep, sleep”. Nothing happened.

    A soft knock came from her door, her name followed it. “Hayls?”

    She opened her eyes slowly, “Mm?”

    Silence then a quiet, “May I come in?” Evan sounded sad.

    She sat up, and watched the door, “Yes, of course. Come on in.”

    Evan opened the door slowly and walked into the room. The door shut quietly behind him. He stood there and looked uncomfortable. Even in the pitch black of her room, Hayls could make out his body, his expression. He was wearing boxers, nothing more. “Is something wrong?” she asked softly, knees pulled up to her chest.

    “I can’t sleep…” he rubbed his arms, head tilted downward.

    Hayls pursed her lips; what could she do? “Want to come and lay down in here?” she shrugged her shoulders whilst asking, as if to say she couldn’t think of anything else.

    “Could I?”

    “Come on over, the bed is big enough for two. The floor isn’t comfortable, trust me.” Hayls laid back down as the sound of Evan’s bare feet moved closer to the bed.

    “Are you sure you wouldn’t mind?” he asked quietly, unsure of what to do.

    Hayls rolled over closer to him and grabbed his hand. She pulled him down onto the bed. “It’s fine. Don’t worry so much.” she smiled as he crawled the rest of the way onto the bed. He stayed there for a second longer before laying down. Hayls rolled over onto her side, facing away from him. She could feel him, laying there stiff, as if he was afraid to make any moves. She laughed. “Get comfortable, hon. I promise I won’t bite.”

    Evan smiled and rolled closer to Hayls. He placed his mouth above her ear, his breath slightly going down her neck. She froze.

    Evan took a breath in, she smelt like vanilla and something sweet and smooth. The scent was wonderful. “I haven’t told you something in a while, babe,” his voice was low, deep, “I like you.” With the words, he set a soft kiss against her cheek before rolling back to the other side of the bed.

    Hayls wasn’t sure what to do, or of what to say. She wasn’t use to having someone in her bed, definitely of the male species. She rolled onto her other side and moved closer to his body, wrapping one of her arms around his stomach. She cuddled against his back, hugging him closer to her body. Slowly, Evan relaxed against her, his hand grabbing hers. They slowly drifted off to sleep, curled together.

    Evan woke first. He was on his back. Hayls’s face was resting against his neck and shoulder. His arm was clasped around her waist, her own arm was resting on his stomach and chest. The blanket had been pushed down so it covered her lower body and some of his legs. He couldn’t help but chuckle as she snuggled closer against his warm body. At this moment in time, he felt lucky, at peace. For a strange reason, it felt right. Hayls, he thought quietly, I really do like you. I really, really do.

    Hayls gave a small yawn. Evan laid still, afraid to wake her. Her arm tightened against his chest, as if afraid to let him go. Dreamily, she said something aloud, something that put a warming smile on Evan’s lips. “Evan… I like you….” her face pressed closer against his neck, lips brushing his skin, “And I’m glad you’re here with me.” Evan hugged her tighter. He was eighteen, almost nineteen. He had just graduated and now he was at the house of nineteen year old girl he had met off an online game. And, if he wanted, this could be his new home, too. Life was starting good.

    [Kawaii means "cute" in Japanese.]