Driving around the town, I listen closely to everything Arden points out to me. He shows me all of the places to go to meet people, points out where the only club is in town, and also shows me some nice spots to go to when I want to be left alone. I watch him talk and drink with all of his features. Admiring the way his lips move to show off his amazingly white teeth. How his eyes glide from one side of the road to the other and his hands grip the steering wheel when he concentrates on turning or the people crossing the road.
I know I told Cassy that I wouldn’t date him until she moves on, but I have a feeling it will be harder than I thought originally. I was so focused on him I didn’t realize that we have turned onto a dirt road and had been driving along it for the last ten minutes. Shaking my head to focus, I turn to look out the window and watch the trees go by. After another minute, Arden turns into a little makeshift pull-off area. Parking the truck, he jumps out and rounds the truck to help me out.
Looking into my eyes, he locks his fingers with mine, tugging gently indicating for me to follow him. I didn’t really have a choice with his fingers looped through mine, but I followed wordlessly. We walk through the woods until we come to a little trail, the sound of trickling water growing closer. I wonder where he is taking me, I hope he isn’t leading me to kill myself. That would suck and it would also make me feel pretty awkward for having these feelings about him. At least I wouldn’t have to deal with them if he kills me.
We finally come to a break in the trees and stand on the edge of a huge clearing. The clearing is littered with blue and purple flowers that I’ve never seen before, and directly across the clearing was a magnificent waterfall that descends into a small little pond. I was standing there, jaw slacked with amazement. It took Arden squeezing my hand for me to wiggle it out of his grasp and walk to the center of the meadow. Spinning in a circle as a butterfly took flight around me.
I let out a giggle as I turn to look at Arden, standing there with a smile on his face. “Arden, this place is amazing! How in the world did you find this?” He walks over to me, sitting down and laying back with his arms folded behind his head. I mimic his movements, laying back but propping myself up with my elbow so I’m facing him.
“I found this place a few years ago. I wanted to get away, to disappear for a while. So, I was walking through the woods and I stumbled into this clearing. I’ve been coming here ever since, to have some time to think, to be by myself. It’s calming, but I’ve never shown anyone. I’m not sure why I even brought you here, maybe because you don’t look at me like the rest of the town. They all stare at me with pity or worry. Anyways, enough about that, I have a feeling you could make use of this spot too.” His eyes were boring into mine and I could feel the weird connection between up grow.
Licking my lips, I notice his eyes bounce down to the action before meeting my gaze again. “Well, it is absolutely gorgeous.” I sigh before leaning back, staring up at the sky that looked like it belongs in a Vincent Van Gogh museum. The blues and pinks blend together in swirls as the sun sinks down over the horizon.
In the corner of my eye, I watch Arden turn to me. “You know, I know we don’t know each other that well, but if you ever need to talk, or vent or just need company...” He let his sentence trail off, letting me fill in the rest. Facing him, I could tell he was being genuine.
Smiling softly up at him, I make sure to keep our eye contact. “Same to you. I don’t know why you needed to disappear when you found this place, but if you ever need to talk about it, I’m here for you, Arden. I promise not to pity you if you ever tell me more if you promise to not judge me if and when you find out about my past.” His eyes search my face for any sign that I was bluffing or being dishonest. When he didn’t see any, he lifts the corners of his mouth, in appreciation, and nods in agreement to my last statement.
He stands suddenly, reaching down to pull me up. I dust off the back of my dress, making sure there was no grass or dirt stuck to it before I look up at him. Arden opens his mouth to speak but was cut off by my growling stomach.
The blush flutters onto my cheeks before I could even try to hide it. Arden chuckles before tilting his head back to the trail that leads to the truck. Wrapping his fingers through mine and guiding me back to where we came from.
Hopping into his truck, I let him buckle me again before he moves swiftly around to the driver's side. Sliding in, he buckles himself and starts the truck, sending a smirk my way. “Let’s go get you something to eat before your stomach decides to eat itself.”
I laugh at that, pushing on his arm to get him to shut up. He laughs along with me before we head into town to a restaurant he pointed out earlier. We ate dinner and got to know a bit more about each other. Our likes and dislikes, it was one of the best non-dates I’ve ever had. Hell, who am I kidding, it was the best date I’ve ever had, too.