Sometimes, couples will have known one another for a while before taking it to a different level. For whatever reason, they don’t see that they’re in love. Several of my couples are good friends, often involved with other people. However, the bond between them is strong. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, completely by surprise, they realize that they’ve been in love for ages, and didn’t see it.
Because I have quite a few of these books, I’ve decided to add a new category. Rather than just sharing First Meetings, I want to share that moment when they realize—they’re in love.
Introducing the Epiphany—that sudden realization that they belong together. Mixed in with the First Meetings, I’ll be adding Epiphanies.
The first one I’d like to share is from my published novel, Under the Western Sky. Libby Marshall and Bobby Menendez have been friends since they were children. Now in high school, they still hang out and do things together. However, much to Bobby’s chagrin, Libby has never taken him seriously as a boyfriend. Tonight, though, they’re going out with their best friends, Danny and Toni, who are a couple. Bobby can’t help hoping that Libby will change her mind.
They pulled up to Toni’s house. The girls were waiting on the porch. Bobby hopped out, holding the door for Toni and Libby to climb in. Toni sat up front, scooting over next to Danny. Libby reluctantly got in back, moving to the far side of the car as Bobby climbed in. Looking disappointed, he sat on his side of the wide car, staring out the window.
Once they had their tickets and popcorn, they went into the theater and found a good spot. The boys liked to sit in the back because there was more leg room, but the girls liked the middle. To compromise, they sat somewhere between the two and let Danny have the aisle seat since his legs were the longest. Toni snuggled next to him as he put his arm around her shoulders. Libby sat next to her, not really looking at Bobby, although they shared the popcorn.
“Are you mad at me or something?” he asked her quietly, not wanting to bring their friends into it.
The others were so wrapped up in one another, they didn’t hear him. Libby scooted a little closer, lowering her voice as she took a bite of popcorn.
“No, I’m not mad, Bobby. I’m just not sure I’m comfortable with this whole arrangement, that’s all.”
“We’re a couple friends going to a movie. You got a full social calendar I don’t know about?” He tried to make light of it, but his feelings were hurt.
Libby nudged him, nearly spilling the popcorn. “Don’t be a goof. Of course not.”
“I really like you, Libby. If you can’t see that, I’m sorry.”
“I thought maybe you were going out with me because of what Toni said to Danny. That she wouldn’t go if I didn’t have a date.”
“All this time you thought that’s what this was? A mercy date? Baby, I think you’re the greatest!”
“You do? For real?”
“Yeah, for real. Hey, would I make comments about your ass if I didn’t think you were cute?”
“I dunno, you’re a guy. I mean, Danny’s always drooling over my tits.”
“Danny’s a goober. He drools over any tits he can see. You have to admit, you’re killing us both with the no bra thing.”
She looked at him, raising an eyebrow. “I’ll remember you said that, Roberto.”
“What, are you my mom? You have to scold me into behaving? I want to date you, Libby. If I wanted just to jump your bones, I’d have done that already. You know, some women actually find me very attractive.”
She giggled, tossing her hair. “Yeah, I can see the appeal. You’ve got that whole Latin Lover thing going. The dark hair and bedroom eyes. You’re cute, for sure.”
“Then why won’t you let me kiss you?”
She looked at the screen as the movie started. By the set of her shoulders, he could see that she didn’t know how to respond. Taking a chance that he was right, he blundered on.
“Is it because all this time you thought I didn’t really like you? How could I not? You’re wonderful. I’ve had a thing for you like—forever,” he whispered as the cartoon started.
Libby gave him a curious stare as the lights dimmed, her popcorn halfway to her mouth. She couldn’t believe his admission was real. He didn’t really want her, did he? He was taking her out so Toni would go with his best friend. That’s what friends did for one another. Was he kidding? She was too inexperienced to tell.
Libby knew a lot of girls her age had already lost their virginity. She and Toni were among the few left in their graduating class who had never been with a guy. If Danny got his way, that was going to change and soon. He was so hot for Toni, he got a boner every time he talked to her. Bobby, on the other hand, couldn’t possibly mean it. Or did he?
Maybe she would let him kiss her. Hell, if she didn’t like it, she could always stop him and say no. There was no harm in a kiss, was there? She shifted a little closer and didn’t mind when his arm draped around her.
Bobby couldn’t believe his luck. Libby leaned against him, her head nearly on his shoulder as the movie started. Braving an arm across her shoulders, he played with a curl, wrapping it around his finger. One little flick of his thumb and she’d turn her head so he could kiss her.
Libby watched the movie, giggling every so often. Danny and Toni weren’t paying any attention at all. As soon as the lights went down, they were necking, their popcorn forgotten on the floor. Bobby was still holding theirs, taking a bite every now and then, pretending to act casual, but she could feel the tense set of his shoulders. She glanced at him, his handsome face cast into highlights and deep shadows by the movie.
Feeling her eyes on him, he turned to face her, a half smile greeting her curious gaze. Setting the popcorn on the floor, he leaned toward her, lips slightly parted.
His kiss caught her by surprise, although she knew he was going to do it. She hadn’t expected it to be so nice.
To her, Bobby was like a fixture, something that was always there. They had known one another since their dads went into the Marines, doing recon in hostile territory. Their deaths had forged a bond between her family and his, making them virtually inseparable.
His kiss felt good, warm, sexy, more than just friendly. She had thought it would be like kissing a brother, but it was anything but that. Smiling to herself, she took a breath and opened her mouth slightly, letting him kiss her more deeply. No guy had ever kissed her like that. His lips left hers as he leaned against her forehead, sighing contentedly.
“That wasn’t so bad, was it? I mean, you’re not like throwing up or anything over there are you?”
“That was nice,” she admitted. “It was more than nice, it was super.”
Bobby chuckled, kissing her playfully on the nose. “Yeah, it was. Now do you think I’m doing this just to make Toni and Danny happy?”
“Good, cause I don’t give a shit about either of them. I like you a lot, Libby.”
“I like you too, Bobby.”
They didn’t watch much of the rest of the movie, but kissed and talked quietly while the theater went crazy around them. They were in their own little world.
©2013 Dellani Oakes
To Buy Under the Western Sky