Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chapter 25: Wishes

Nora and Tristan completed their final tour of the day, happy smiles on their faces. The air between them was much clearer, and everyone assumed it was because they had been great friends for a long time. The truth was, they had been great enemies for a short time, but no one seemed to know that.

Nora finished the tour, as usual, by directing people into the gift shop. However, on the final tour today, she decided not to follow the tourists. Instead, she stayed behind and watched the blanket octopus swim back and forth in its tank. Tristan began walking towards the gift shop but stopped when he noticed that Nora was no longer with him. He turned back and meandered over to her once again. She didn’t seem to notice him approaching; her eyes were fixed on the blanket octopus.

“So, do you still want to be a diver?” Tristan asked softly. Nora smiled a little.

“Yeah…” she replied slowly. The two of them stood there for a moment in silence.

“You’ve really never been diving before?” Tristan asked. Nora shook her head.

“I really have never been diving before.” She replied, a small smile still on her face. Tristan thought for a moment. He slowly leaned in a little closer to Nora.

“How does your weekend look?” he asked in a whisper. Nora’s eyes flashed up at him. Tristan wasn’t sure if it was the poor lighting that made him think this, but he was sure that her eyes were sparkling.

“Busy, actually.” She replied with a teasing smile. Tristan’s heart dropped.

“Oh…” he mumbled. There was a moment of silence between them again. Finally, Tristan took a deep breath. He turned to face Nora full on. “Nora, I have something I need to tell you, or a certain friend of mine is never going to get off my back about it.” Tristan said quickly. Nora turned to him, confused.

“When I first came to the park, my only intention was to gather a lot of incriminating evidence that would get the park shut down or something. I was totally against this place and…well, you, when I first met you.” Tristan paused to take a deep breath. “But, then I started to get to know you. I mean, I don’t really know you that well now, I guess, but…there’s just something about you. Something that’s different from anyone else I’ve ever met. I don’t know if it’s the passion you have for this place or just the look of determination in your eyes, but you’re definitely not like other girls I’ve met.

“At first, I just wanted to annoy you and make your life here miserable. But…then something changed… I guess it was the robbery attempt. After that, there was just something that felt different inside of me. I guess it was…” Tristan paused, glancing down at his hands. He hadn’t realized it, but Nora’s hands were now in his. “The look in your eyes after the fight. You looked so…scared…so real. I hadn’t seen you like that before, and it made me think about you differently. Instead of being some big, tough monster I had to take down, you were just…human.

“And then, when those guys tried to kill me, they mentioned your name. They said they were going to come after you, and I knew I couldn’t let that happen. What they said lit some kind of fire inside of me that made me want to kill them before they could kill you. I didn’t think about me anymore, and to be honest, that’s probably the first time something like that has happened to me. I’ve never thought about someone the same way I think about you. I get all protective and…insecure, I guess. I mean, I didn’t think that I liked you or anything, but when I saw you with that Nathaniel guy I just wanted to lean over and punch him in the nose. I…I guess I wished that you liked me as much as you liked him. But…you didn’t…so I couldn’t do anything…


“Then you met David.” Nora finished for Tristan. He looked up at her, surprised. She was smiling.

“How did you…?” Tristan asked, a confused expression on his face.

“I’m not an idiot, Tristan. I know that you two talked about me and that he’s the only reason you started being nice to me.” Nora said, still smiling.

“Well, not the only reason… He was just the thing that prompted me to be nice, I guess.” Tristan mumbled, looking down at his feet bashfully. He stood there silently for a moment, waiting for Nora to reply. She didn’t speak. Finally, Tristan glanced up at her timidly. “You think I’m a moron, don’t you?” he said. He moaned. “I knew that was dumb. I shouldn’t have said all of that. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to--” Just then, Nora put her finger up to Tristan’s lips, silencing him.

“I don’t think you’re a moron, Tristan. To tell you the truth, when I first met you, I totally hated you. You said bad things about my second home, and it made me really mad. After the robbery attempt, I thought you were being nicer. But then I took you on that tour of the park and you got all mean again, so I got defensive and decided that you didn’t like me and you never would, so I kept my distance. Then you started acting nice, and it really confused me, and I’m still confused, but…” Nora paused, looking down at her hands, which were still holding Tristan’s. “But I’m pretty sure that…that I like you too.” She said softly. She looked back up at him, and they stared at each other, neither one knowing what to do.

“I feel like we’re supposed to kiss or something…” Tristan muttered, looking away out of embarrassment. Nora threw her head back and laughed.

“How about we take it slow?” she suggested, calming down her giggles. Tristan was blushing furiously, but he nodded. “How about…this Saturday, you, me, and a diving instructor. Does that sound all right?” Nora asked.

“I thought you said you were busy this weekend…” Tristan said, a little confused. Nora smiled mischievously.

“My weekend just cleared up.” She said softly. Tristan grinned and Nora giggled a little.

“What time do you want to meet?” Tristan asked, still beaming. Nora thought for a moment.

“Two-thirty is good for me.” She replied. Tristan frowned. He thought for a moment then sighed.

“All right, two-thirty it is.” He said with a nod.

“Does that time not work for you?” Nora asked, a puzzled expression on her face. Tristan shook his head a little.

“No…it’s just that…” he paused, looking up at Nora again. “Two-thirty is a long time to wait.” He finished with a small smile. Nora laughed, squeezing Tristan’s hands tighter. He chuckled a little, feeling lighter than air.

“All right, then,” Nora began, trying not to laugh anymore. “How does your two o’clock look?” she asked, smiling. Tristan returned the smile.

“Perfect.” He replied softly. Just then, Nora slowly stood up on her tiptoes. Tristan leaned down a little, closing his eyes. The two of them were just about to meet for a kiss when the sound of small running feet caught their attention. They immediately straightened up as a little boy ran into the room to look at the blanket octopus. Nora glanced up at Tristan from the corner of her eye and giggled. Tristan smiled back. He took her hand and the two of them walked out of the gift shop together.

Tristan’s wish had come true—Nora liked him, too.

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