Author's Note: Thanks for those who read and favorited! Hope you keep on enjoying it! Happy reading! Also... this a slow burn story. No sex for a few chapters.
The next Wednesday Brody picked Michelle up at her house for their trip to the mall. She got into the car and said, "Thanks for picking me up. It wasn't necessary, though."
"You were on my way," Brody replied. "Besides aren't we all supposed to be reducing our carbon footprint or whatever?"
"I guess so. Do you still live with your parents?"
"Oh," Michelle smiled to herself. She had been to Stephanie's parent's house before she moved out, and since Brody lived across the street, she knew where he lived. He definitely had to go out of his way to pick her up.
"I made you something," Brody said as he handed her a jewel case.
"A mixed CD?"
"Yeah. We were talking about music, so... I wanted to make you a tape, but I figured you didn't have a player."
"Why did you want to make me a tape?"
"When you make a mix tape you actually have to be there to man the player, and you actually have to listen to the songs in order to make it. With a CD you can just make the playlist and walk away. But, when you get a mixed tape, you know they spent at least an hour making it for you. They listened to all the songs right before they gave it to you. It's just more personal, I guess."
Michelle looked at him for a moment and smiled. "Oh. That's sweet. Can we listen to it now?" she asked, reaching over to put the CD in.
"No!" Brody yelled. "No. Not while I'm here."
"Whoa," Michelle said. She smiled at him and put her hands up. "It's okay. We don't have to listen to it."
"Well... you can't get an honest reaction to the music if I'm sitting here with you. If you hate a song, you can't say you do, because I'm here. I'll be talking about the song. And... I don't know. It might be a little embarrassing."
"Why would it be embarrassing?"
"No reason? That doesn't make any sense."
"It makes sense."
"No," Michelle shook her head. "It doesn't."
"Yes, it does."
"No. I hate it when people say that. If there was no reason, then you wouldn't find it embarrassing."
"Okay, so maybe I would find it slightly embarrassing, and I guess there is a reason... I just..." Brody trailed off, then frowned.
Michelle could tell that Brody was feeling uncomfortable. She didn't know why, exactly. He was oddly sensitive, this one. "It's fine, Brody. I'll listen to it when I get home. Thank you. I'm excited to listen to it."
"Of course. A guy's never made me a mixed CD before. You'll be my first."
"So you're like a mixed CD virgin?"
"If that makes you happy, then yes."
"It does make me happy."
Michelle smiled. "Okay, then."
Although Michelle originally wanted to go to the mall to buy some clothes, she decided that she would rather not buy clothes with a guy she barely knew. Besides, they were having more fun at the novelty stores, and judging candle and lotion scents on a scale of one to ten. "Warm Apple Pie" got the highest rating, while "Meadow at Sunset" got the lowest. To be honest, neither of them really understood what scent "Meadow at Sunset" was even meant to evoke. Most candles had a title where you had a set scent in mind. "Pine Forest," "Lavender," "Cinnamon"... they all made sense. "Meadow at Sunset" threw them for a loop. Then Brody said, "It smells the way I think Sarah Palin's breath would smell." Michelle immediately concurred.
Brody then suggested that they get a snack. He got in line at Auntie Anne's. "I never go to the mall without getting a giant pretzel. Do you want one?"
"No, thanks. I feel bloated. I ate before I came, and I'm trying to stay away from salt."
"Why do you think you're bloated?"
"Well, my mom saw me this morning and said, 'Honey, you look a little bloated. You should cut back on salt.'"
Brody narrowed his eyes. Michelle didn't seem like the type of person who would let her mother get to her that way. "Hmm... your mother sounds lovely..."
Michelle chuckled. "She's not that bad."
"Are you sure you don't want a pretzel?"
"Yes. I guess I wouldn't mind a soda, though."
"So no salt, but copious amounts of sugar is fine?" he asked teasingly.
Michelle's face dropped, and she looked contemplative. "I guess you're right. I'll have some water."
"No, Michelle. I was kidding. I'm buying you a soda. And you're having a bite of my pretzel."
Michelle smiled, "Okay."
Brody shook his head. "You... bloated... ridiculous."
Brody ordered, and they both got their respective treats, then sat down at a table. Michelle took a
sip of her soda.
"How's your pop?"
"Pretty good. It's the first time I've had soda in... six months?"
"Really?" Brody couldn't remember a time in his life when Mountain Dew wasn't a dietary staple.
"Yeah. This stuff is horrible for you. You are a bad influence, sir."
"Wow. You take this nutrition stuff seriously, don't you?"
"Well, yeah. I'm studying to be a nutritionist."
"Oh, my gosh. How boring."
Michelle laughed. "Thanks. What are you doing?"
"I'm majoring in film."
Michelle chuckled. He trumped her. "Oh. That is exciting."
"I love Horror movies. I want to be the next Sam Raimi."
"I never really understood the Horror movie's appeal."
"I have so much to teach you, Michelle."
"And I you." She pointed at his pretzel and large soda. "Do you have any idea what you are doing to your body?"
Brody waved his hand. "I don't care."
"You don't care? You should."
"No... It doesn't matter right now. What are you doing Saturday night?"
"Umm..." Michelle had to think for a second. "I work until eight. Why?"
"Do you want to do something with me Saturday night?"
"Gore Fest. It's an annual thing my school does. They get a screen, put it out in the common area outside. It's like a picnic. It can be the beginning of your Horror Movie education."
"Can I bring the food?"
"Okay, then, Brody. I'll go."
The next day Michelle listened to the mixed CD that Brody made for her. Afterwards, keeping the promise that she would call him immediately when she was finished, she dialed Brody's phone number.
"Hey," Brody said. Michelle could tell he was smiling at the other end of the line.
"How are you?"
"I'm fine. I liked that CD you made for me a whole lot."
"Really?" Brody asked bashfully.
"Yeah. We have very similar taste in music. I was surprised."
"You don't really give off the singer-songwriter vibe. I pegged you for more of a hard rock guy."
"And that reason would be...?"
"I don't know. The fascination with horror movies... the 'Linda Blair barfing up green slime' t-shirt you own."
"Actually, it was pea soup."
"Did you have a favorite song?" Brody asked changing the subject back to the CD.
"I knew a lot of them already, but I really liked 'Sweet Pea.' It was cute."
Brody chuckled and said, "I was listening to that song on my mP3 player before I made you that
CD, and, while listening to it, you popped into my head."
"Yeah! You're like a cute, little pea or something. I think you would look adorable eating an ice cream cone while that song played in the background. Then, maybe some would get on your nose, and I would have to reach over to wipe it off or something..." he trailed off.
'Okay,' thought Michelle. 'He's easily given to bouts sentimentality and tends to over share.' She smiled to herself. 'But I already knew that last part.' Worried that if she didn't say something soon Brody would become self-conscious, she replied, "That was a very strange, yet sweet, compliment. I have a feeling that I will be receiving a lot of those from you."
"Do I get a strange, yet sweet, compliment from you?"
Michelle thought for a second. "You remind me of a Hobbit."
Brody didn't respond right away. "How is that a compliment?"
"Hobbits are adorable! They are, by far, the best race in Middle Earth."
"Wow. You're a 'Lord of the Rings' nerd. Interesting."
"Well," Michelle said teasingly, "it is the greatest story ever told."
Brody chuckled. "I like this."
"Umm... talking to you, I guess. That you like 'Lord of the Rings.' I don't know... all of it..."
"I like it, too, Brody."
There was a short silence before Michelle asked, "What are you up to tonight?"
"Well, actually, you interrupted my 'Nightmare on Elm Street' marathon."
"Oh. I can go so you can get back to that," Michelle teased.
"No. It's okay. What about you?"
"Nothing. I'm about to head for bed."
"It's only 9:30."
"Well, I'm going to read for awhile once I crawl in."
Brody smiled on the other end of the line, thinking about Michelle cuddled underneath her covers, reading a book by one of his favorite authors. It was a pleasantly domestic picture. "Oh, yeah? Do you have a good book?"
"Well... It's just a romance novel."
That statement put a dent in Brody's earlier vision. "A romance novel?" Brody didn't hide the disdain in his voice.
"You read that smut?"
"Smut?" Michelle asked, amused.
"Yeah. Aren't romance novels just porn for women?"
"No. Porn is porn for women."
"You watch porn?"
"Well... Not usually. It can be too graphic, and... the people just... When I do watch it, it's usually just me staring at it with morbid fascination. Like it's a bad car crash or something."
"A mangled corpse?" Brody suggested.
"Yeah! Just... it's... I don't know how people can get so turned on by that stuff."
"So... do you read porn, then?"
"Yeah. I like that a lot more."
"Because..." Michelle then trailed off. 'What am I doing?' she thought to herself. 'This is just a tad bit inappropriate.' "You know, maybe we should save this discussion for later. This is only our fourth conversation."
"Some people have sex before their first."
Michelle didn't exactly know what he meant by that. Was it an odd way to complain or an odd
way to compliment her? "Umm... I'm not some people, Brody."
"I know. That's why I like you."
Michelle smiled. "So... I'm still seeing you on Saturday, right?"
"Yeah. Of course."
"Did you want to meet there, or...?"
"No. I'm picking you up," he said, decidedly.
"Oh," Michelle then chuckled. "Do I have any say in this?"
"Okay. I'll be home around 8:30. Is that enough time to get there and everything?"
"Okay, then. I'll see you on Saturday."
"See you later, Brody."
Saturday rolled around, and Brody pulled up to Michelle's house at 8:35. He was anxious to see her again. He got out of his car, walked up to her front door, and rang the doorbell. She answered the door only seconds after he rang it. He hoped that maybe she was just as excited to see him, as he was to see to see her. When she stepped out onto the porch she was wearing a smile and holding a picnic basket.
Brody looked at the picnic basket, then looked at Michelle. "Is that a picnic basket?"
"Yeah. I found it in one of our closets. Isn't it cute? People don't use picnic baskets enough, in my opinion."
Her smile got wider. "You're pretty cute yourself."
Brody blushed and looked down at the ground. "Thanks..." he mumbled.
Michelle tilted her head to the side and looked at his red cheeks. A boy who blushed. Odd. "Ready to get going?" Michelle asked.
They got into Brody's car, and Michelle took a CD out of the picnic basket.
"Can I put this in?" she asked.
"Yeah. Go ahead," he replied.
Michelle put the disc in the player. "I made it for you. But I don't mind if you listen to it when I'm here."
"Thank you. I have had a girl make me a mixed CD, though, so... I'm not virgin. I hope that's okay."
"It's fine. This isn't high school. I can't expect you to be some wide-eyed innocent."
Brody laughed. "But if I was in high school, you'd be upset?"
"I guess not. Only if it was Freshman year."
"Yeah. That's little too soon," Brody agreed.
"Have you ever heard of Brett Dennen?"
"Really? That's weird. I just assumed you had, because of the CD you made me."
"Well, I haven't. Why? Do you think I would like him?"
"Yeah. I put a couple of his songs on here."
"Oh, yeah? Which ones?"
"Uhh... I don't remember the numbers."
Brody glanced over at her and gave her contemplative look. "You don't remember? Didn't you
just make it?"
"Well, what about the playlist? Didn't you print it out for me?"
Michelle looked over at him and smiled. "Was I supposed to?"
Brody's eyes then widened, and Michelle saw an emotion on his face that she could only describe as shock. "Of course!"
Michelle chuckled. "Sorry. I didn't think to do it. I'm a virgin at making mixed CDs, remember? Let me ease into it. Next time it will be better. I swear."
"Yeah. You just have to give me some practice. I'll make it better for you. You'll see."
Brody caught her eyes and smiled. "Are you trying to make this conversation sound dirty?"
"Yeah," she replied a little sheepishly.
"Well, next time I'll give you some directions. Tell you how I like it. I'm sure it will help."
Brody and Michelle pulled into the parking lot of Brody's college, parked the car, and then got out. Brody walked over to Michelle and, deciding to be gallant, offered to carry the picnic basket for the short walk over to where the makeshift outdoor movie theatre was located. Michelle let him, even though she wanted to carry the picnic basket herself. Holding it made her feel whimsical, like she was in some book she used to read when she was a child. It was also just an adorable basket, and she wanted to carry it, because who doesn't love carrying around something adorable? If you think about it, baskets were just the older version of handbags.
While scanning the area for a good seat, they heard someone calling Brody's name. They turned around to see three guys sitting on a huge blanket waving at Brody and motioning for him to come over and join them.
"Hey, man!" called one of the guys. "Come over here!"
Brody and Michelle heeded the command and walked over.
"Hey, guys," Brody greeted.
"Hey," they all responded back.
Then the one who was the tallest, and the most attractive, asked, "Who's this?" while pointing over at Michelle.
"This is Michelle," Brody replied. Starting with the tall, attractive one, then moving on the red-headed kid, and the kind of chubby one, Brody introduced them all. "Michelle, this is Dylan, Scott, and Drew."
"Andrew or 'And Drew'?" asked Michelle.
"I go by Drew, but you can call me Andrew, if you want to," Drew replied. "I'm not picky."
"Does that mean I could call you Tiffany if I wanted?" she asked.
The guys all chuckled lightly, and Drew said, "Like I said, you can call me whatever you want."
Michelle laughed. "Okay. I'll just call you Drew."
"But I'm going to start calling you Tiffany," retorted Scott.
"Anyway," interrupted Brody, "we were just looking for a place to sit, so..."
"Dude, just sit with us," said Drew.
"No. It's cool. We were just-" Brody started.
"Seriously. Just sit down."
Dylan then chimed in, "Did you even bring a blanket or chairs so Michelle doesn't have to sit on the grass?"
Brody shot a death glare at Dylan's feet before reluctantly admitting, "No."
Michelle lightly touched Brody's arm before saying, "It's not a big deal. I can sit on the grass. I mean, I'm not some dainty... you know, lass or something."
"Still. The ground gets colder at night and sometimes can get dewy. The blanket is huge. We can all fit on it," Dylan explained.
"Besides, all four of us watched Gore Fest together last year. We can make it a tradition!" Drew said, sounding a little too excited at the prospect.
"Well, I guess I wouldn't want to break a nonexistent tradition..."
Drew laughed, "That's the spirit!"
Michelle sat down next to Scott, and Brody sat down next to her. Scott then shot an apologetic look towards Brody, knowing he really had no desire to be sitting with three other guys while on a psuedo-date. Especially when one of those guys was Dylan, who tended to get pretty much any girl he wanted. Brody smiled back at Scott, and just shrugged his shoulders. "It's not a big deal," he quietly assured Scott.
"Is everything okay?" whispered Michelle, seeing the little look between the two friends.
"Of course. I'm starting your Horror movie education tonight. It's going to be great."
"Horror movie education?" repeated Scott.
"This one told me the other day, and I quote, 'I never really understood the Horror movie's appeal.'"
"What is wrong with you?" Scott asked. "Horror movies are the best!"
Michelle gave Brody a glare, and he grinned back at her. "Really? You're saying that out loud in this crowd? You're not even giving me a fighting chance!"
"Maybe you should just try to explain yourself and your erroneous opinions," Brody shot back.
"Yes, lady. Explain yourself!" exclaimed Drew.
"I just never got into them. But I'm here, aren't I? I'm willing to learn. Or give it a chance, so... you know. Back off," Michelle laughed.
"It's cool. Not everything is for everyone," Dylan said.
"But tonight they are showing the first 'Evil Dead,' which is the kick-off to the best Horror movie trilogy ever. You picked a good time to try it out."
Michelle smiled. "Okay." She then looked over at Brody. "How many movies are they showing?"
"Three," he replied.
"I need to get up kind of early tomorrow. Is it at all possible to leave after the second one?"
"Oh," Brody said, a little disappointed. "Yeah. It sucks, but it's fine."
"I'm sorry. I wouldn't have come if I had realized I couldn't stay for the whole thing."
"No. I'm glad you're here. It's fine. I've seen all of the movies they're showing tonight, anyways. And I've seen them multiple times."
"Okay," Michelle smiled.
"Although, it's called Gore Fest, you think you'd assume it'd be more than one movie..." Brody teased.
"I'm sorry to interrupt this cute, little scene, but what's in that picnic basket?" asked Drew.
Michelle perked up. "I brought snacks! Healthy snacks." She then started taking out the goodies from inside her basket. "Chips and salsa, ants on a log, which actually aren't the healthiest, unsalted nuts, hummus, assorted fruits..."
"Wow. How much stuff did you bring?" asked Brody.
"I wanted to show you all the options you had. You're teaching me about movies with ghosts in them or whatever, and I'm teaching you how to not die at forty."
Scott then looked at the buffet all laid out in front of them, and asked, "But what about portion control?"
"Oh. Right. I guess I just subconsciously knew I was going to have to feed three more people."
"Is that your picnic basket, Brody?" asked Dylan.
"It's mine," said Michelle.
"Thanks. I thought so, too. Brody and I were talking about how no one uses them anymore."
"It's kind of a shame."
"It is!" Michelle agreed.
Gore Fest started out with "The Evil Dead." Brody spent most of the time watching Michelle watch the movie. She laughed and gasped at the appropriate parts. She even murmured a few "Oh, my goshes" under her breath during the more... well, gory scenes. Unfortunately for Brody, Michelle never seemed overly scared or even startled. For some reason, he was hoping to comfort her when she got scared. A chance to hold her hand or put his arm around her. In retrospect, it was a kind of dumb assumption, considering Michelle didn't seem like the type of person who became easily scared or ever acted without reason. As she said earlier, she was no "dainty lass." Although, he was a little disappointed about it, he was still having a good time being with her, and occasionally whispering little facts about the behind-the-scenes to her while the movie played.
When the first movie ended, Michelle looked over at Brody and smiled. "I actually liked that one more than I thought I would."
"Good. I don't know if I could ever speak to you again if you didn't."
"That's awfully fickle of you."
Brody shrugged. "What can I say?"
"What movie is playing next?"
"' The People Under the Stairs,'" answered Scott. "It's an interesting one."
"Good interesting?" asked Michelle
"I think so."
"Hmm... Well, let's hope so."
The second movie started, and, sadly, Michelle seemed a fair deal less interested in it. Mostly, she just looked annoyed or confused. Halfway through she whispered to Brody, "I'm going to go to the bathroom. I'll be right back."
"You're going to go in the middle of the movie?" he asked.
"Yeah. I know it's probably some sort of blasphemous act, but I really have to go."
Brody sighed. "Okay. There are Porta-Potties over there."
"Oh, joy..." Michelle mumbled as she got up to go over to where the portable bathrooms were
Brody then looked over at Scott and quietly said, "Why they are playing this movie after 'The Evil
Dead' is beyond me."
Scott scooted a little closer to Brody before saying, "I know. I think you might be losing her with this one a bit."
"And I was doing so well."
"She's nice, though. I didn't even know you met anyone recently."
"She is nice, isn't she? I don't know. I really like her."
"I've only known her a couple weeks, and this is only the fourth time we've even hung out, so..."
"Hmm. Just... don't put all your eggs in one basket. You tend to do that."
Brody rolled his eyes. "Thanks for the advice, mom, but this is different."
Then Brody heard something behind him, and he saw Michelle walking up to the blanket. She looked over in Brody's direction, her eyebrows narrowing, and then looked down at the empty spot next to Dylan. With a hesitant look on her face she sat down next to Dylan.
"Ohh..." said Scott, looking over at Brody cautiously.
Brody remained silent and inwardly fumed. Why was she sitting next to Dylan? He couldn't believe it was happening. She seemed genuinely interested in him. He looked over at Dylan, who was whispering something to Michelle. She smiled, nodded, then whispered something back. She looked over at Brody, to see him staring at her. She smiled and waved at him. He just shot her a look of confusion, then turned straight ahead to watch the rest of the movie.
When the second movie ended, Michelle started packing up her picnic basket. "It was nice meeting all of you," she said to the three guys. "I had a pretty good time."
"It was nice meeting you, too," they replied.
She looked over at Brody, who was just standing there staring at her almost distantly. "I'm sorry again about asking to leave early. I hope it's okay."
"It's fine. I mean, it kind of sucks, but it's not a big deal."
Feeling guilty, she said, "I mean... I can call my dad or brother to come pick me up if you want to stay. I don't want to pull you away from your friends or anything."
"I could take you home," Dylan volunteered.
"No," Brody said, a little too quickly. "I said that it wasn't a big deal. I'll take her home." He promptly turned around and started walking towards the parking lot.
"Okay. I guess we're leaving now," Michelle giggled awkwardly. "See you guys around." She had to almost jog to catch up to Brody, and when she did, he didn't even slow down. In fact, he remained a good few feet in front of her the whole walk to the car.
They both got into Brody's car, and Michelle was feeling awkward, but she didn't know why. Brody was acting strange. "Are you really sure you don't want to stay? Because it's fine if you do. I can call my dad-"
"It's fine, okay? Why do you keep bringing it up?"
"I don't know. You seem upset or something. I thought maybe it was because you wanted to
Brody kept his eyes on the steering wheel. "It's fine. Don't worry about it." He turned on the car and pulled out of the parking space.
"Okay. I won't. But, hey, I really like 'The Evil Dead.' I didn't exactly like the second movie we watched."
"But I saw the director of 'The Evil Dead' was Sam Raimi. Isn't that who you said was your biggest influence?"
Annoyed by his lack of response when she was the one trying to engage him in talk of one his interests, Michelle narrowed her eyes and said, "So... it's good that I liked that one, considering it's what you would want to do as a director yourself..."
"I guess so."
"You guess so?"
There was a slight, awkward pause before Brody asked, "Do you want to listen to some music?"
"Sure." Michelle reached over to play her CD. "We can listen to the rest of the CD I made for you."
"Oh. I was thinking we could just listen to the radio."
Michelle then sat back, crossed her arms, and looked over at him. "You want to listen to music, but you don't want to listen to the CD I made for you? I lost my mixed CD virginity to you, and you don't even want to listen to it?" she teased, even though she was about seventy-eight percent serious.
Brody glanced over at her, and saw just a slight twinge of hurt in her eyes. His gaze quickly softened, and he said, "Or we can listen to the CD. It's cool."
"No. If you want to listen to the radio, then we can."
"No. I'm sorry. I want to listen to your CD. Can we listen to it? Please?"
"Okay." They listened to the CD the rest of the way to Michelle's house, neither of them saying a word.
While in Michelle's driveway, Brody put the car into park and said goodnight.
Michelle grabbed her picnic basket, she opened the door and said goodnight as well. She looked over at Brody, then, with resolve, closed the car door. He was startled and gave her an incredulous look. "What's wrong?" she asked.
"What do you mean?"
"You've been acting weird the whole car ride home. I mean, the night started off great, right? You called me cute, then we talked and listened to music. We had fun watching 'The Evil Dead' together... Then the moment we left, you were ignoring me. You were ignoring me while I was trying to talk to you about Sam Raimi, who is your personal hero. Your words, not mine. Is something wrong?"
Brody just sat there uncomfortably.
"Brody, what's going on?"
His answer was a shrug.
"Did you not have fun tonight with me? Is that it? You can tell me..."
"No," he said adamantly. "It's nothing like that."
"Then what is it?"
"Oh, my god. I'm going to sound like such an idiot..."
"You can tell me."
"You sat next to Dylan."
Michelle paused. "What?"
"When you came back from the bathroom, you sat next to Dylan instead of sitting next to me."
"Well, yeah. Scott and Drew kind of scooted into my seat, and I didn't want to be rude and ask them to move. It was just easier to sit next to Dylan. Which I didn't want to, by the way, because he was hitting on me all night."
"Yeah. I noticed."
"So... you really were treating me like a dick because I sat down next to a different guy?"
"Yeah. But... he's good with girls. I'm not. I've... he's taken girls I like before, and... I really didn't want it to happen with you."
"Brody, I've told you that I like you. I don't know what else..." Michelle trailed off.
"It's fine. Just... that can never happen again. You can't treat me like that. I can tell you're a little insecure, for whatever reason, but... you just can't. If something's bothering you, you have to promise to just tell me about it. Okay?"
Brody nodded, again staring at his steering wheel.
Michelle reached over and grabbed one of his hands that was sitting in his lap. He looked up at her, and she gave him a sweet smile. "I really did have a good time tonight."
"Call me after five on Monday. I want to see you again soon."
"I just got done saying I like you."
"Yeah, yeah. Sorry." His thumb started stroking her hand. "I like you, too."
Michelle just smiled back at him.
"So Monday after five, huh? You like mini-golf?"
"No one important."
"Okay. We'll mini-golf, then."
"Sounds like a plan," she said, pulling up Brody's hand and kissing it quickly before letting go.
"Hey!" he exclaimed while grabbing her hand back in his. "Aren't I supposed to do that?"
"I don't know. I think if anyone's the dainty lass in this, it's you."
He rolled his eyes, gave her hand a kiss, and said, "Until Monday, my lady?"
"Until Monday, kind sir."
May 20, 2018 in romance