When Sidney woke up the next morning he was alone in bed. He looked around but didn’t see Misty anywhere. His thoughts went back to last night and everything she’d said to him. He was still in a bit of a state of shock at it all. He just couldn’t believe that anyone would ever have to go through something like that. Who in their right mind would treat a girl that way?
He wished more than anything that Misty had never had to experience that kind of pain. Even so, he knew where she was coming from now. He understood why she’d run away to Cole Harbour to get away from everyone and be on her own. She needed to prove to herself that she was strong enough on her own and didn’t have to depend on anyone else.
He admired that. He admired that she could go through something so horrible and come out like she had. She may not currently believe it, but she was the strongest person he knew. And he was grateful that she’d trusted him enough to tell him all that. It just made their bond even stronger knowing that he was the only person she’d ever trusted enough to divulge that to.
Just like he couldn’t forget what she’d told him last night, he couldn’t forget how she’d felt in his arms. He was stunned when she’d asked him to hold her while she fell asleep, but he didn’t mind. In fact, he found he enjoyed it far more than he should have. He’d held her long after she’d fallen asleep, unwilling to let her go. It was probably the only chance he was going to have to do that, and he hadn’t wanted to let go.
Obviously at some point he had, because she was no longer lying next to him. He wondered where she was and got out of bed. He walked out of the bedroom and felt a breeze. He noticed that she was sitting out on the balcony and had left the door open. He walked towards her and saw her looking out over the lake with a cup of coffee in her hands.
“Morning,” he greeted her. She jumped a little at the sound of his voice. He expected her to look disheveled and exhausted, but when she turned to him she had a large smile on her face and her eyes had never been so alive.
“Morning,” she returned.
“How are you feeling?” he asked, taking the seat next to her.
“Great. That was the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had,” she told him. He looked at her in surprise and disbelief. Was that possible?
“Seriously?” he questioned skeptically.
“You wouldn’t believe how much better I feel after getting all of that out. It no longer weighs on my shoulders, ya know?” He nodded, but remained surprised.
Misty was one of a kind. No one in their right mind could relive those kinds of things for the first time and wake up the next morning feeling ‘great.’ He considered calling her bluff, but he knew just by the look in her eyes that she was telling the truth. He smiled back at her when he realized that without knowing it, he may very well have helped her overcome something no one else could.
“So what’s the plan for today?” he asked. She shrugged.
“We should go to my parents for a bit. I’ve gotta get Bauer anyway. We can figure it out from there,” she suggested. He agreed and they took turns showering and getting ready.
When they were both set to go he started to drive to her parents’ house. Partway there she told him to take a detour. He did as she asked and found himself driving into a school parking lot. She showed him the elementary, middle, and high school she had gone to, which were all located on the same campus. Then she showed him the fields where she’d played softball and the track where she’d ran.
It was nice to see where she’d spent all her younger years and he laughed at some of the stories she told. He’d parked and they’d gotten out to walk around a bit. She jokingly started running the bases on her old softball field. He couldn’t believe his eyes when she slid into home. She got up laughing, and he was laughing at her.
He couldn’t help but think again how amazed he was with her bounce back after last night. This was the same old Misty only he felt something different. He’d never noticed it before, but now that he knew about her past he could blatantly see it. Now she was carefree. This was truly who Misty really was.
They got back into the car and finished the trip to her parents’. When they pulled up her mom opened the door and Bauer came bounding down the front steps. He jumped up on Misty and she knelt down to pet him. Then they made their way inside where they had lunch and hung out for a bit.
Then her mother told them about the county fair. Misty’s eyes lit up and a smile spread across her face at the news. She practically jumped up from her seat on the couch and jumped around the living room in excitement. Then she looked at him and told him he was in for a cultural experience. After getting her parents to agree on babysitting Bauer another night, which wasn’t hard to do, they were back in the car and she was giving him directions.
We pulled into the large field that served as a parking lot for the fair. Sidney parked the car where the attendant motioned for us to and we got out. I watched where I was stepping out, but I didn’t warn Sidney in time. The groan told me I was too late to warn him about the puddles in the field. Even if it hadn’t rained in weeks, there always seemed to be puddles in the tire tracks left in the field.
We walked up to the front gate and paid our admission before walking in. I grinned as I looked around at the people at the fair. We were in the country here. While my hometown was decently populated, you didn’t have to go far to reach farm country. Here we were standing right in the middle of it.
I led Sidney in the direction of the barns where we walked through looking at the prize winning cows farmers were showing off. I’m not sure Sidney had ever seen anything like that before in his life and I simply laughed at the expression on his face. After looking at the cows we moved on the horses, then to the pigs, and finally to the chickens.
“You’re kidding me with this, right?” he asked as we looked at the roosters and geese wandering around the barn.
“You think this is bad?” I led him away from the barns to the arena for the tractor pull. He covered his face with his hands and sighed.
“Where have you brought me?” he asked, a hint of a smile playing on his lips.
“I told you that you were in for a cultural experience. Come on, it’s fun!” I exclaimed, linking my arm with his and pulling him to where all the food was.
We walked through the building housing all the homemade maple syrup and similar products, testing samples and buying maple candy. Usually I didn’t like maple anything very much, but for some reason when you got it at the county fair it tasted like heaven. After we were through with that we grabbed some corn dogs and sat and watched the pig races.
We jokingly bet with each other which pig would win the race and cheer them on. I’m not exactly sure how Sidney picked his favorites, but I simply went with which pig in the heat was the cutest. After we had our fill of the racing we made our way back to where the food was. We had a little time to kill before they opened the amusement rides so I sat down at a table.
“I can’t believe you convinced me to come here,” Sidney joked. I gave him a light slap on the arm.
“You’re having a blast. Admit it,” I pressed.
“Never,” he said defiantly. Then I spotted my favorite part of the fair.
“Pickles on a stick! You have to get us pickles on a stick!” I exclaimed pointing over to the stand.
“Pickles on a stick? Really, Misty?” I gave him an annoyed look and he put his hands up in surrender. “You are a human garbage disposal.” Then he walked over to the stand to get us pickles on a stick. There was a line, so I knew he’d be a few minutes.
“Now what’s a pretty girl like you doing sitting by yourself?” a male voice asked. I looked to my left to see a guy standing there smiling down at me. He was wearing overalls and a white t-shirt and was a little bit overweight.
“I’m just waiting on some food,” I told him. He sat down across from me at the picnic table. Oh boy.
“I can’t believe anyone would want to leave you by yourself. If you were my girl I’d never let you out of my sight.” I smiled at him and decided to entertain him for a bit.
“I’m sure anyone who could claim to be your girl is lucky,” I responded. His grin grew.
“How would you like to be that lucky lady?” he asked.
“Aw, see, now I don’t even know your name,” I told him. He held his hand out to me.
“I’m Cal,” he introduced himself. I took his hand and shook it.
“What do you say, Misty. Care to escort me around the fair for a bit?” Before I could respond Sidney appeared with two pickles on a stick.
“I’d love to Cal, but I’m not sure how my boyfriend would feel about that,” I said glancing up at Sidney. Cal looked at Sidney who was now sitting down beside me.
“You’re her boyfriend?” Cal asked, sizing him up. Thankfully Sidney had picked up on what was going on.
“Sidney,” Sidney introduced himself holding his hand out. Cal simply looked at his hand and then back to me.
“Sid, this is Cal,” I introduced them. He gave Cal a wary smile and handed me my pickle on a stick. “Thanks for this, puddinpop.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were spoken for. I’ll let you two be. It was nice to meet you, Misty.” Cal got up and walked away.
“Puddinpop? Misty, what the hell?” he asked with a roll of his eyes.
“You think that’s bad? I’ve got more where that came from. Honeybunny.” Sidney groaned and got up from the table.
“Okay, enough,” he commanded.
“Aw, too soft for ya, Sugarbuns?” I asked.
“Would you stop? It’s embarrassing.” I laughed and took a bite out of my pickle. God, they were good.
“Don’t you want to eat your pickle on a stick, muffinface?” I asked, raising my voice.
“Are you going to do this all night?”
“Not all night. Schnookiekins.”
“I’m walking away now.” He turned from me and started to walk away.
“But, sweetiebear!” I called after him.
“You’re unbelievable!” I shrugged and laughed.
“I’m out. I promise.”
I linked my arm with his and we ate our pickles on sticks as we continued to walk around the fair. Not long after, the rides started going as the sun began to fall. I talked Sidney into going on some of the rides with me. After getting off one I noticed Cal standing there staring at us.
I was a little creeped out, but I wanted him to really think Sid and I were a couple so he’d leave us alone. Our arms were linked like they had been most of the day as I dragged Sidney from place to place and I went up on tip toe to place a kiss on his cheek. Just as I did he turned his head and my lips connected with his.
We were both stunned and pulled away immediately. All thoughts of Cal were gone as my lips tingled from touching Sidney’s. He looked down at me in surprise and I realized I had to explain what had just happened. Even so, it took a moment for my brain to move from thinking about the feel of Sidney’s lips on mine to what I had to say.
“I…I’m sorry…I was just trying to kiss you on the cheek. Cal was watching us. You just turned,” I stuttered out. Sidney nodded but didn’t say anything for a moment. I bit my lip nervously and I watched his gaze move from my eyes to my mouth.
“It’s fine,” he finally said. Desperate to avoid the awkwardness now surrounding us, I made a joke.
“I bet Cal doesn’t believe we’re dating anymore after that,” I said with a nervous laugh. It was true. The second our lips had touched we’d basically repelled away from each other. In response to my half-hearted attempt of a joke Sidney slid his arm around my waist and placed a kiss sweetly on my forehead and smiled.
When we’d had our fill of the rides we made our way back out to the car. We’d managed to move past the accidental kiss quickly and continue to enjoy our night. Now as we were driving home in silence I couldn’t help but think about it. I was reliving it over and over as my stomach flipped and flopped at the memory.
We got back to the hotel and watched some TV before getting into bed for the night. Before falling asleep I noted that we were almost as far away from each other in the bed as we could possibly be. I woke up at some point in the middle of the night to see that that was no longer the case. I was facing Sidney and his arm was around my waist. Our faces were only inches from each other. When had that happened?
The memory of his lips on mine flooded my brain again. His mouth was just a few inches from mine and I wanted so badly to feel it on mine once more, only this time for longer than a fraction of a second. Just as I was thinking I needed to move away from him, he pulled me in tighter. My forehead bumped his and it woke him up.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized when he realized that he’d literally pulled me into him.
“It’s okay,” I assured him. I noticed that he hadn’t let me go.
“Misty, about earlier tonight,” he began.
I waited for him to continue, but he didn’t. He just stared into my eyes. After a moment I was practically squirming from being held onto so tightly by him with his mouth just inches from me and his eyes staring so intently into mine. I’m not sure if it happened because one of us initiated it, or because it just did, but his lips were suddenly on mine.
I half expected him to pull away when he realized what was going on, but he didn’t. Instead he deepened the kiss, and I let him. I wrapped an arm around him as the kiss became more intense. Soon he’d shifted so that I was partially underneath him. I couldn’t think of anything but his touch and how good he tasted.
The kiss became more desperate as we continued and Sidney shifted completely on top of me. His hands made their way down to the hem of my shirt and I shuddered when I felt his fingers trail across my stomach. As I felt him start to lift my shirt off I suddenly panicked.
“Sid, wait,” I whispered. He paused and pulled back a little to look at me. “This doesn’t…I just want-“
“I know. We’re just friends, that’s it,” he said cutting me off.
That wasn’t what I was going to say and to be honest, I was a little hurt. He didn’t have any feelings for me at all. He just wanted to be friends. I’d actually wanted to tell him that I didn’t sleep around and with the exception of that one night on Canada day I’d never slept with anyone I hadn’t been dating.
“Yeah, right. Just friends,” I agreed, holding back what I was really feeling about the meaning behind those words. Even if I hadn’t been exactly ready for a relationship at that exact moment, I would have loved to have known that maybe someday when I was ready something could happen between Sidney and I.
“Do you want to stop?” he asked. I was conflicted. I really really didn’t want to at all. I wanted to feel him, but I didn’t want to screw this friendship up.
“I don’t sleep with people I’m not in a relationship with,” I replied. I wasn’t outright denying him, but God did I want him.
“You’ve always said you have exceptions to your rules,” he whispered.
He was right, I did, and I was going to make this exception. I lifted my head and pressed my lips to his, telling him to continue. If he didn’t have feelings for me, I at least wanted to know what it was like to be with him just this once.