From that day forward, I started taking daily “bathroom” trips during the lunch hour, and each time the trek got easier and easier. Unfortunately to keep things looking like bathroom visits, I had to keep the time spent away from the group much briefer than I would have preferred.
But those 10 minutes were the highlight of my day… hands down.
The more we talked the more Granite started to open up. I learned more about his home life among many other things. His foster mother sounded like a pretty nice lady, just incredibly busy. He said he was surprised she was even allowed to take in a foster child with all the time she spent away from home. He was grateful for her willingness to share her home with an orphan boy, but at the same time he really did not know her very well, nor did they spend much time together as a family. A shame really, the more I talked to him, the more I really liked him, I’m sure his foster mother would have felt the same if she took the time. In fact, I think the same would go for most of the people that floated through his life…
We didn’t always spend our time talking though, sometimes we would share our music with one another. I would play some of my recital pieces on the electric keyboard and he would strum his little heart out on his guitar. I even tried my hands a few time at playing his guitar…ya definitely not my specialty for sure, but oh what fun! I’d slap on my twangiest country accent and sing my heart out.
“I got freeeeends in looooow plaices weeeere the whiskay drowwwn and the juice chases my bluuuuuues awaiy!”
I could tell with each visit we were becoming closer. Something that only caused the excited fluttebies to fly even more violently around my stomach when I made my way to the auditorium each day. I think within the first few visits, maybe even the first, I had fallen. Not even sure how it was possible, but it didn’t change the feelings I was experiencing. There was no doubt in mind, if he asked me I would be his.
“Ok now this time I want you try it like me.”
“How do I do that?”
“Just close your eyes and listen.”
“Are they closed?”
Not believing him fully, I reached my hand for his face, he quickly grabbed at my wrist as I came close to what I assumed was his eyes.
“Liar.” I teased sticking out my tongue.
“OK OK. They are closed for real this time.”
I started to run through the Berry Concerto #27 a second time. I really wanted him to feel the music on the second go around. Once I had finished playing, I rested my hands as I always did in my lap, it was the easiest way for me to keep track of where I would be going next…and no not like that. Consider it like my resting position or neutral. Ya.
“So what did you feel?”
“I felt sadness…but not all sad. There was an underlying happiness but it seemed hidden, almost locked away. Wow. You’re right music really is…alive”
“You sure do surprise me Miss Tranquil.”
“Why thank you Sir Granite.”
I was about to delve a little more deeply into our playful banter, when my internal “its time to go” clock went off.
“I better be going.”
I stood from the keyboard and in my usual fashion waited near the end of the stage for his helpful hand to guide me back down to the floor. Instead he pulled me in for a hug. His warm body pressed against mine and I felt my cheeks heat up to the point, the heat radiated around my eyes. I quickly returned the gesture and squeezed him back just as tight.
“Thanks for coming to see me today.” He whispered softly.
I felt my heart melt.
Now I wish I could say, I pulled from our embrace and I kissed his cheek. That is certainly what I wanted to do, but in the very last moment I lost my nerve.
I pulled away slowly and took a step back. “I like coming to see you. Its my favorite time of day.” I confided my cheeks still aflame.
“Will I see you tomorrow?”
“Goodbye Miss Tranquil.”
“Bye Sir. Granite.”
With that I followed the line of chairs to the far exit. I giggled to myself as I pondered about the fact no one had ever questioned why I left for the bathroom using one door and returned from a whole new direction. Oh well that was definitely a plus for the Tranquil side.
“Oh goodie you’re back! I have good news!”
“It seems like you always have good news.” I teased.
“Yes but this is super good news! So I know how you haven’t been to keen on this whole thing with Fir, but-”
“AWWWW Tranquil come on! Its just one date. Please! I think you two would be so cute together!”
Blush had been trying for months to get me to go on a date with Fir Everglade, and for months I had been turning her down. I tried on several occasions to explain that I liked someone else, even a couple times I mentioned who, but Blush and the rest of the crew immediately squashed the idea as soon as his name was uttered. Frustrating? Oh you don’t even know the half of it.
But just as frustrating as the continued ignorance to my feelings towards Granite, was the incessant need to hook me up with Fir. I had expended all possible options, which left me with only one thing left to try. A tactic from Granite’s book.
“Ok I will go.”
“BUT!!! On one condition…You will not try to set me up on any more dates ever again. Deal?”
“Deal! Oh I have to go find Rose! She is gonna freak! Oh Oh!”
The night of the date arrived and I was a little less than thrilled. I had honestly banked on my mother saying no, but due to all of our talks in recent months, she was starting to realize my independence and had decided this would be a perfect opportunity to let me fly. Great…
Blush stopped by a couple hours before to help me with my hair and makeup. According to her I looked amazing, to me it felt like an itchy uncomfortable heaviness all over my face.
“Bleh do I have to wear all this?”
“Oh Pish. You look fantastic! Fir is going fall in love with you instantly.”
Right on time, Fir arrived at our loft. I felt my stomach turn in disgust. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him, I just didn’t like him like a boyfriend or someone I wanted to date. Just go and come back and no one will bother you again. I affirmed to my self. I straightened out my dress a little and then opened the door.
“Hi Fir. Come on in.”
The moment he stepped in the door it was like the circus was in town. Dad even grabbed the camera to take some keepsake photos.
“Ok say Berry!!”
Everyone was gushing like I was a new born baby making her family debut…
“Awwwww sweetheart you look so beautiful. Livi doesn’t she look amazing.”
“Yes. *sniff* She looks drop dead gorgeous.” Poor mom was crying, I could tell by her sniffling and huffing she was trying to keep it together, but was failing miserably. “Blush dear you did a lovely job on her makeup.”
“I didn’t have to do much Mrs. C. She is just naturally gorgeous!”
Just as I went to head for the door with Fir, Mom stopped us. “Oh hang on just another second love. One more thing.”
Great there was more?
“I know you think I am smothering you all the time and that I don’t give you enough space. So for tonight, you don’t have a curfew. Now I don’t want you to stay out all night, but when ever you feel like coming home is fine. Your daddy and I are going to respect your privacy, so when you come home tonight, no spying, so peeping.”
“Wow Mom. That really isn’t necessary. Really.”
“No No. You were right. You are a young lady now and you deserve a little bit a privacy. Consider this a test run for me…more than you.”
“I don’t know what to say…” Other than gag me with a spoon that is.
“Now you two run along and have fun!”
“Bye Tranquil! Have fun!”
“Take care of her boy.”
To say the date was awkward would be putting it mildly. I could see the tension that’s how bad it was. All through dinner neither of really said anything except for a couple passing comments on how nice the weather was and the really fancy fireplace that “oh ya, you can’t see.”
When dessert came I was consumed with relief. Dessert in my mind, signified this nightmare was almost over and I could go home again.
I was almost in the clear when he went there.
“This isn’t working out too well is it?”
I wanted to swallow my fork. Oh why did he have to ask. Couldn’t we have just continued the awkward silence and keep eating our pie and parfait. I swallowed the slightly over sized chunk of pie(not easy to moderate bite sizes when you cant see them)I had in my mouth and then wiped my face with my napkin.
“I would have to say no.” I finally answered.
“Ya I didn’t think so either.” His tone was low and slightly disappointed. Oh Berry now what do I do?
“It has nothing to do with you though.” I added trying to ease his embarrassment or disappoint, it was hard to differentiate which it actually was. “Its just…”
“There is someone else?”
“Yes. Well…I think there is. I hope there is.”
“Do they share the same feelings?”
“I think so, but Blush and the others don’t understand. They have tried everything in their power to keep up apart.”
“Its Granite. Isn’t it?”
I almost choked on my pie. “No. I never said it was…him.”
“Hah unlike your dear friends I have noticed where you go at lunch. Its OK though, I won’t tell.”
“Thanks. No one seems to get it or care. They would die a hundred deaths if they ever found out. I hate it.”
“Well I totally get it. I am kind of in the same boat. I fell in love once but sadly I don’t think I will ever see her again. Feels like two worlds are keeping us apart.”
“Does she go to school with us?”
Again the silence rolled in between us.
“I have to say that surprises me. He doesn’t seem to like anybody…except you.”
“He’s not as bad as you think he is.”
“Oh I know first hand how bad he is. He lives upstairs from aunts house and it never fails when I go to visit her, he is in the hall ready to harass me. I have no clue what I did, but what ever it was, I don’t think he will ever-
“You know where he lives?”
“Ya. Above my aunts place. Why?”
“Take me there. Please?”
“What? No way! He would probably bite my head off the second he answered the door.”
NOOOOO I was getting frantic. Think Mira think! Then it hit me. “Fir please. From one separated heart to another, I am begging you.”
There was a more than dramatic pause before finally…
*Sigh* “Fine, but you can’t tell anybody I did this.”
“Are you kidding, if anyone found out I would be just as dead. My lips are sealed.”
“Why do I feel I am going regret this.”