Ethan cursed as he realized that he was running late for the bus back to Brindleton Bay.
He had met up with his friends, who now continued on to a theme park, while he wanted to get back home, since he had promised Esmée to go over all the test questions with her again. Both were about to take their driver license tests – finally!
In record speed he said his goodbyes, then started running, hoping to make it to the bus stop in time, even though he knew the odds weren’t good.
Hurrying around a corner it happened.
He noticed the person right in front of him, a girl, but it already was too late to stop.
Both struggled, arms flailing, trying to avoid the unavoidable and stay upright, in vain, as both tumbled down.
He landed atop her and could only stare into some bright green eyes.
“Umm … ouch!” she remarked.
“Oh … so sorry, I didn’t see you.” Ethan stuttered.
“No problem, but mind getting off of me now?”
“Oh, right, sorry! Again!”
Ethan scrambled up awkwardly.
Once standing he offered his hand to her and pulled her up.
It felt like slow motion, she rose up, her eyes never leaving his.
Then they stood facing each other.
“I am so sorry! I hope I didn’t hurt you!” Ethan felt horrible while still staring into her eyes.
“I was told I was hard headed. We’ll see how true that is.” she smiled.
“Ethan. I am Ethan.”
“Amy. I’d say nice to meet you but I have to admit this was not my most favorite way to meet new people.”
“Yeah, sorry again. I was gonna catch a bus … which I now missed.”
“Sorry?” she shrugged.
“Not your fault. Hey wanna get something to eat?” Ethan had no idea where that came from.
“Eat? How about a coffee? I am not hungry and – no offense but you are a lot heavier than you look. For the sake of all the people around all the corners in this town, I am not going to support you eating more.” she giggled.
“Wow – thanks. I have known you for a few minutes and already you’re raining insults on me. So now you owe me the coffee.”
“It’s not an insult, but an observation. Lead the way. I am actually totally lost. I thought I was on a hot track to some place familiar, but neither from down there nor up here does this look like any place I have seen before.”
“Where are you trying to go?”
“Okay, which line, where to?”
“Newcrest. I have not the foggiest which line that would be.”
“Ok, you can take the same bus as me. Mine goes through Newcrest so … you have at least an hour. And this way to the cafe.”
They walked the short distance to a cafe while making small talk.
Once they had ordered and been seated the conversation continued avidly.
“So you from around here?” Ethan wanted to know.
“Oh no. We just moved here. To Newcrest. Starting at Briddletown High after summer break.”
“Ha ha ha – it’s Brindleton Bay High. I go there too. Live there too. Well, in the Bay, not the school.”
“Oh cool. At least one familiar face. Phew. Let me tell you, it’s stressful. Dad just retired from the military, and chose Newcrest as the place where we would stay for a long time. I think the longest we’ve lived anywhere was two years in a row.”
By the time they left for the bus stop and during the long bus ride they had updated each other on practically their entire life story, exchanged phone numbers and addresses.
And were gonna meet again the next day.
Ethan was still on cloud 9 when he walked in at home.
“Finally! You have some nerve! You PROMISED we would study together!” Ezzy pounced at him right away, their parents in the background preparing dinner.
“I am in love!” he told her.
“What?! Did you have a heatstroke? I am your sister!” Ezzy was confused.
“Not you. But she has green eyes too … so pretty and big.” his eyes glazed over.
“Oh my gawd. MOOOOOOM – Ethan is broken! I think his head got too hot!”
“Oh no, baby, you okay?!” Evey came over trying to feel his forehead but he moved away.
“I am fine! Ezzy is just being dumb. I met someone! A girl. We literally ran into each other. And we’ll do that again tomorrow!”
“What? Run into each other?”
“No, meet! I’ll bring her home soon too. You have to meet her. HAVE to. And dad too. She is so pretty, and funny, and not arrogant … Her name is Amy.”
Ethan began telling the story, KC had joined and was trading knowing glances with Evey, both trying to hide a smile, while Esmée just listened, surprised.
“Hang on, so you literally just met her and you are in love? You are definitely sick.”
“When you know, you know. And I KNOW.”
“I didn’t think you were over Brylee yet.”
“I wasn’t. But now I am.”
Ethan met Amy for ice cream, which they shared. It was pretty obvious and hard to deny that both had fallen fast and hard.
Ethan didn’t even try at all to hide it or stop it. He was ready for a girl by his side, someone in the stands to cheer for him – and just to be in love again.
He knew there were a few girls from school interested in him, but they were linked to Brylee and he was just not going to go there.
After ice cream they went to stroll through town, then decided to sit by a lake.
They spoke, about this and that, at this point, there was really not much left they hadn’t already covered.
His heart was beating fast, he thought it had to be visible under his shirt.
He steadied himself by placing one hand on the old pier they were sitting on, then noticed her hand was next to his.
Gathering every last bit of courage, Ethan placed his hand on hers.
She looked a little surprised, but did not pull away, so he folded his hand around hers, Amy looked up and smiled at him.
His heart was racing even harder now.
To his surprise she leaned over and kissed him.
Ethan wanted to do somersaults.
“Wow. I never have done anything like this before.”
“Kiss on a first date. If this even counts as a date.”
“Oh, it counts. And I haven’t either. I was never gonna date again. At least not for months.”
“Yeah? How is that working out for ya?”
“Not worth a damn, but not complaining. You know what? Get up. Come with me.” without waiting for an answer he already pulled her up and along with him, she followed surprised.
“Where are we going?”
“Home. I want you to meet my parents.”
“What? Ethan, I am not dressed for that, my hair is a mess, my lipstick probably gone and I probably have a green butt from sitting on that mossy pier!”
“You’re perfect! Come on….”
They made it to his home, entered and found his family on the patio.
“This is my mom, dad and my twin sister Esmée. Guys, this is Amy. My …. girlfriend.”
Amy glanced quickly at him, but smiled as she shook hands.
“So nice to meet you! We heard all about you.”
“Several times over even. The same story.” KC smirked at his son.
“KC! Sit with us, honey. Want something to drink? A soda?” Evey offered.
About a week later Forrest came over, he and his family just returned from their vacation together.
“Damn dude! Can’t leave you alone for one week and you go and come back with a new girlfriend?! Good thing I came back now, another week and you may have been married with kids!” Forrest laughed.
“Just shut up and be happy for me.” Ethan told him.
“I am fucking thrilled, but also shocked. Just a few weeks ago you sounded like you were gonna go celibate on me and now this.”
“Well, we haven’t … done anything … other than kiss.” Ethan said.
“Yeah, TMI. Please spare me. No details needed.”
“So what is your flavor of the week?” Ethan asked Forrest.
“None. Put myself on a love diet for a while. Need a break from all the estrogen. Your sister is more than enough for me to deal with. Where is she, anyway?”
“Over at grandma and grandpa’s – again.” Ethan didn’t even notice the disappointment reflecting in Forrest’s face or the fact that his smile faded away.
“Has she met your future Mrs. Ethan Cameron yet?”
“Hilarious dude! But yes, she has. So have my parents. I have met her dad.”
“What does Ezzy think of her?”
“She likes her. My parents do too. What kinda weird question is that? Why are you asking?”
“No reason. Just wondering. Your sister is famous for a short-ish fuse and your odd love story may not be something she’d digest well.”
“Ezzy wants me to be happy, I AM happy now and she is happy for me. This lame summer became a heck of a lot better. Dude, Amy is seriously special.”
“Makes two of you.”
“Funny, that’s what your sister keeps telling me. Must be a Cameron greeting. Well, she used to tell me that. Back when she at least spoke to me.”
“Well, she’ll come around. She’s had a few good days, so I am hopeful. But I cannot wait for you to meet Amy.” Ethan’s eyes glazed over yet again.
“MY GIRLFRIEND, you moron! Were you not listening?!” Ethan was appalled.
“Right, sorry. I usually don’t start remembering names until the third date or so.”
“Well, remember this one’s, cos I am gonna marry that girl one day.”
“WHOA! Slow your roll, dude! Are you on something?” Forrest’s eyes got big. This did NOT sound like Ethan.
“Just love. You should try it sometime, when you are done using girls for sport.”
Ethan was done with the conversation, turned and jumped into the pool.
“Just need to right girl to be interested and I will.” Forrest mumbled to himself and followed his friend into the refreshing water.
Like Forrest before her, Amy became a fixture at the Cameron household, often over for dinner and to hang out by the pool or watch movies with the other teens.
She only had her dad, her mother had died in childbirth, there were no other relatives, and her dad worked a lot.
One afternoon, it was just the boys this time, Ethan sat outside on the Camerons’ patio by the pool with Forrest as many times this summer when he told him sincerely
“I am going to go for the big one with Amy after the Dance.” he told him.
“Like propose and shit?” Forrest’s looked befuddled.
“NO! We are frigging 16! No, but … you know … do the … thing….” Ethan danced around the subject.
“HUH?! Do you have that in English, too?” Forrest looked lost.
“Sex, dude!” Ethan blushed.
“Oh. Right. Well, enjoy.” Forrest chuckled, while Ethan was still dead-serious.
“Have you … done it before?” he asked unimpressed.
“What?!” Forrest looked amused and appalled all at once.
“Have you or not?!”
“We’re not going there, man! Do I look like your dad? You don’t need me to have the birds and bees talk witcha now, right?”
“No, just wondering about … techniques …. and stuff.”
“BWAHAHAHA – sorry man, I am out! You’re gonna have to figure that one out on your own. I have faith in ya.”
“You’re an asshole!”
“So I have been told.” Forrest’s laughter seized when he realized he missed being told that by a certain person.
“Umm, so what about Ezzy?” he asked.
“What about her?”
“Is she going to the Dance?”
“You are kidding, right? She barely goes to our own mailbox these days because we are not related to it.” Ethan snorted a laugh.
“Are you going?”
“Nah, Dances are not my thing.”