“Owen... why did you take so many pics of my face?”
I leaned to show Owen the shots that he took on my cam. He looked on as slide after slide of nothing but my face flash on the tiny screen.
Owen took a spoonful of strawberry ice cream, melting fast under the heat. It was a warm sunny day and even though fall is almost upon us, it felt like this year’s summer kept clinging on.
“Were you planning to macro my face or what?” I added, raising the volume of my voice just a bit. We were sitting by the fountain in Washington Square and the water was fizzing noisily behind us..
“Why? What’s wrong?” Owen asked, licking his lips as he peered at my camera. “They look fine to me.”
I sighed. “They’re more than fine actually. For someone who’s not a professional photographer these shots are great.” I paused at one picture in particular. A frozen image of me laughing freely, holding close a cone of melting mango ice cream. The shot was candid. And most of all, it was really beautiful.
“So what’s the problem?” he asked, his brow scrunching the way it always does when he’s confused.
“Owen, they’re perfect if this was a beauty shot. But I was asking for a fashion shot. All the cool bloggers have their bf’s taking photos of them, Rumi, Kelly... I mean, how are my followers supposed to see my outfit if you just zoom in on my face?”
Owen shrugged nonchalantly, “I like your face. Deal with it.” He turned to me with a cocky dimpled-grin as he scooped the last bit of ice cream from the bottom of his cup.
Ugh. Why is he so damn cute?
I bit my lip and smiled slowly. “Fine. But you owe me one,” I grabbed a fistful of his shirt and gently pulled him towards me.
I let out a soft sigh as our lips touched.
Damn, his kisess taste like strawberries.
Owen and I walked quietly as we crossed the street at 81st. I glanced at him for a second and darted my eyes back on the pavement. I've been meaning to tell him something all day, but the day is almost over and I have yet to tell him my news.
“You okay?” Owen asked, squeezing my hand gently.
“Eh?” I responded awkwardly.
He smiled. “You’re doing that thing where you’ll all quiet and pouty and chewing your bottom lip, which can only mean there’s something you want to say, but you don’t know how to spill it.”
Oh god, he knows me too well.
“So is there something you want to say?” he asked.
I chewed my lip one last time and nodded. “Well, I’ve been thinking about...you know, college and stuff.” I paused. “Are you sure you want to go to Verona? Don’t you want a school that’s /within/ the city?”
Owen half-smiled. “You know I am. There are other great schools out there but Verona is not only a great school, they’re also willing to give me a full scholarship. Do you know how easy that’s going to be for me and my mom? It means no student loans. No worries on whether I’ll be able to pay tuition every semester. Cee, I won’t have to be in debt for the rest of my life.”
I sighed. Owen’s decision to choose Verona came easy for him. When he got his acceptance letter, he called me right away. He was ecstatic. The only time he sounded that excited was when I told him we were going to Disney’s Star Wars weekend. Owen also got accepted into other universities. He really wanted to go to Pratt but they were not offering scholarships for furniture design. He also got into U Penn but they’re only willing to give the scholarship if he agreed to play for their football team. But Owen doesn’t want to play football anymore. He said he wanted to focus on his studies. So Verona’s offer was like answered prayers to him.
I wish deciding was that easy for me. I have put off the subject of college the whole summer, but as the days dwindle down, I knew I had no choice but to come up with an answer.
“I know I said, I’ll put off college for a year just so I can have time to explore my options but...I’ve changed my mind. I think I want to go to college.”
Owen turned to me, his bright blue eyes filled with curiosity...and a bit of worry. “You’ve decided on Saint Martins, that’s what you want to tell me, right?”
It was all I could do not to smile. Owen swallowed hard just before he asked me. It means he’s nervous no matter how calm he tried to sound. I guess he’s not the only one who has learned to pick up hints.
I shook my head meekly. “Actually, I was thinking of going to Verona.”
His eyes widened, “What?! I thought you wanted Saint Martins? That’s like, your dream school.”
“It still is. But my dad wouldn’t let me, remember? Besides, I think he’s right. It’s really far from home and I don’t know if I’m ready to leave just yet, you know.”
Owen nodded. Of course he knows. More than anyone in the world, Owen knows how much /home/ has meant so much to me these days. He and my parents have been helping me get through a lot this whole summer and my therapist has told me how well I’ve been progressing because of it. It would be such a waste if I leave for London now.
“How ‘bout Parsons? And FIT. I thought you wanted to study there as well.”
“I don’t know...” I replied, my voice slowly trailing.
Owen raised an eyebrow playfully, “Cee, I told you this before. I don’t want you to go to Verona because of me.”
“Ex-cuuuuse me!” I gasped and whacked his arm, “Get over yourself, Rushworth!”
He grinned. He threw his arm around my shoulder and pulled me closer. “Okay, fine. So what made you changed your mind? I thought you don’t want to go to a school that’s in the middle of nowhere.”
“I still have reservations about that.” My mind suddenly flew to the Verona Student Packet that showed pictures of tall trees and a large lake. God, it looks so...nature-y. I shuddered at the thought.
“But you know, forest aside, I think Verona is a decent school.” I continued. “I checked out their fashion curriculum—I didn’t even know they had one—and it is good. I heard the profs are really awesome too. Like, legit people from the fashion industry. And Verona has this really cool student condominium...I checked out the site and it looks so chic! I already called them so I can reserve a spot.”
“Really?” Owen asked, looking quite impressed. “So you’ve chosen a student housing already. This sounds pretty official.”
“It is,” I looked up at him, smiling. “I think Verona is perfect. Almost all our friends are there and you’re there—“
“Ha! I knew it!” He exclaimed, almost bumping to an old lady as he jumped.
“Shut up!” I laughed loudly. “Of course, you’re one of the reasons why I want to go to Verona. Think about it. We’ve never been in school together. Cam had been insisting all year that you move back to Monroe so it would be easier for both of us.”
“I have thought about it,” he said. “But I was happy at my old school and I know you like having the freedom to work on your blog and your fashion stuff.”
“Yeah, I know I said that, but...” I lowered my head for a moment, fidgeting the hem of my top shyly. “But there were times when I really wanted you there, you know. Like, every time Summer and Aidan would exchange meaningful glances in Lit class, I can’t help but wish I was making eye-sex with you. And when Summer and Aidan would kiss in the hallways, I can’t help but wish I was kissing you in the hallways too. And when they won Prom King and Queen, I really felt we could have had that chance if you were enrolled in Monroe.”
And if I wasn’t already feeling stupid for admitting all this to him, Owen let out a huge laugh causing my cheeks to flush even more.
“Stop laughing at me!”
“I’m not laughing at you,” he chuckled. “I just think it’s funny. If you keep using Summ and Riley as a relationship peg, then we’re both gonna end up breaking up every other month.”
“Oh my god, you’re right.” I giggled. “Those two have such a schizophrenic relationship.”
The light on the intersection turned to green as Owen took my hand, lacing his fingers with mine. We fell into this comfortable silence as we crossed. I snuggled closer to him, feeling relaxed and relieved.
“So are you happy with my decision?” I asked him as we climbed down the steps to the subway station.
He nodded, smiling. “I am. I was hoping you would choose Verona. But I didn’t want to force you to go there if you didn’t want to.”
“Your reverse psychology worked,” I grinned. “You seem so chill about this though. Are you sure you’re excited?”
Owen chuckled. “Trust me, I am. In fact, I’m so excited that I think we should start practicing the eye-sex and the kissing in the hallways thing....” Before I could even react Owen swooped for a kiss.
“Hold that thought!” I giggled, blocking his lips with my palm. “You can kiss me all you want later. But first, you have to help me pack my clothes.”
Owen lowered my hand and asked, “Why do we have to pack now? School doesn’t start in three weeks.”
I placed my hands on my hips and shot him a look, “You do know how much clothes I have, right?”
“Ah, good point.”
I was grinning so hard I’m sure my smile would rip my face into half. But I couldn’t help it. I feel like floating.
“...do you think sixty pairs of shoes will be enough?” Ceci asked, her lips pouting adorably as she thinks.
"Uh, I guess," I answered. Ceci leaned her head on my shoulder. The subway car was rattling noisily as she goes on endlessly about what clothes and shoes she’ll bring to Verona. I wasn’t really listening that much though. I kinda got lost when she started talking about Ro-dhar-tay sweaters. I don’t even know what that is. Is that a brand?! And why does she need fifteen of them?!
“Okay, you know what, I’ll just bring eighty pairs of shoes just to be safe....”
Ceci continued mentally listing down all the shoes she’s going to bring and I started zoning out again.
At this point, she could bring a thousand pair and I wouldn’t really care. I’ll even help her carry all of them to her new suite at the student condo if that’s what she wants.
The more important thing is she’s going to Verona.
My girlfriend is going to Verona.
ZOMG this story is super late. I am so behind it's not funny anymore.
Well actually it kinda is. XD!
2 more Ceci stories comin' up y'all.
God I miss writing.