A/N: I am so sorry for the delay in updating! I had planned on posting this chapter before I went on vacation but then my dog ate a piece of bath towel and we had to take him to the ICU and didn't get home until 4:30 in the morning. Then we ended up leaving the computer all the way across the country and had to have it shipped back to us (and I swear it went all the way around the world before making it back home to me.) Anyway, I know some of you were getting impatient and I promise that I wasn't neglecting the story on purpose. I'm doing my best to finish this before the end of the year :)
"I had a really great time tonight, Christian," Luanne told her boyfriend as he walked her up the stairs to her flat.
"I did too. I always do when I'm with you," he added, smiling at her but quickly looking down at his wrist to check his watch. He had been doing that all night and Luanne had started to get annoyed about half an hour into their date.
"Do you want to come in for a minute?" She asked hopefully.
The look on her boyfriend's face shot her down before he even opened her mouth. "I really would love to, but I have to meet my mum. You know, talk about the wedding and all that boring stuff."
"Right. The wedding." Christian's brother was getting married in two months and he had been spending an incredible amount of time finishing details and coordinating the caterers. "I could go with you, if you like," she suggested.
"Oh," Christian said, looking regretful. "You know I would love that but it's really just a family thing. You'd be bored out of your mind, really."
Luanne nodded, not truly convinced of anything. "All right. I'll see you tomorrow, then?" She asked, reaching for Christian's scarf and pulling his face close to hers so she could kiss him.
"Hmmm," Christian smiled as she kissed him. "Of course."
Luanne smiled back, her face still only centimeters away from him, and kissed him again. She opened her mouth only slightly, wanting Christian to take some initiative and really kiss her. But he didn't. His lips remained closed and their kiss remained quite chaste. Frustrated, Luanne snaked a hand around his back, pulling him close, wanting him to feel her body pressed against his. Maybe that would give him some ideas. But it didn't. Her boyfriend pulled away slowly and smiled down at her.
"You're the best, Luanne. I'll call you later tonight."
All she could do was smile as she nodded her head and watched him walk away. She would never understand men. There she was, asking him to come inside, practically throwing herself at him and he was acting as if he wasn't interested at all. Frustrated, in more ways than one, Luanne let herself into her flat and immediately went to her freezer, pulled out a carton of ice cream and sat down on the couch. She flipped through the television channels until she found something sappy enough to sate her emotions and pulled a blanket over her, preparing for a long night of doing absolutely nothing.
She had just set down her half empty carton when she heard a knock on the door. Jumping off the couch, she wiped her face, knowing she probably had remnants of her frozen emotional vice all over her face. She ran to the door, hoping Christian had changed his mind, and threw it open.
"Oh," she frowned. "Hi, Gavin."
Her friend laughed but held up a paper bag. "Good to see you too. I brought take-out."
Luanne groaned. "I've already had dinner."
"More for me then," Gavin smiled. "Can I come in?"
Luanne nodded and held the door open for him. Gavin walked in and instantly made himself at home, opening cupboards to find plates and glasses, searching through drawers to find utensils. Luanne could have helped, but found it amusing that he would feel so comfortable in her flat. She liked that. She wondered if Christian would feel the same way.
"So what's up?" Gavin said, twirling some pad thai around his fork.
"Nothing," she said, knowing she was still moping and sat back down on the couch. Gavin followed bringing his food and drink.
"Please tell me you had more than ice cream for dinner tonight," he said, gesturing toward her melting carton.
"Christian took me out to dinner."
"Already?" Gavin asked, his mouth full of food. "It's only 6:30."
"He had some family thing to do tonight."
Gavin nodded, noting the look on Luanne's face. She was clearly upset and he was curious to know the reason. "Guess I lucked out then."
"Why's that?" Luanne asked, not looking at him.
"Because now I get to spend the rest of the evening with you."
Finally she smiled and glanced at him. He could tell she was angry or frustrated. The girl could never hide her emotions and was a terrible actress. But, knowing Luanne, she would tell him the truth eventually. All he had to do was wait until it became too much for her to stand.
"Can I ask you a question?" She blurted out almost instantly.
Gavin smiled. "Of course."
"Okay," Luanne started, clearly thinking about how she was going to ask this. "Let's say that you are dating this guy and you've been seeing each other for a while."
Gavin looked at her skeptically but she continued. "And, let's say that you know he really likes you but all he's done is kissed you."
"What do you mean 'all he's done?'"
Luanne blushed. "I mean, you've kissed before but he isn't picking up on your signals that you want to do more."
Gavin shifted uncomfortably. Part of him was glad that Luanne hadn't done anything more than kiss Christian. The other part was upset that she felt she could confide in him about her woes. This felt like a conversation she should be having with a girlfriend, not him.
"Let's drop the hypothetical shall we?"
Luanne opened her mouth to protest but realized it was pointless. She twisted her lips and nodded in agreement.
"You've been dating Christian for how long now?"
"About three months I guess."
"And has he's kissed you but nothing more?"
Luanne nodded and Gavin smiled. Maybe this Christian guy wasn't as bad as he thought.
"Has he ever tried anything else?"
"No!" Luanne threw up her arms in frustration. "I just don't get it!"
"Have you talked about it?"
"How am I supposed to start a conversation like that?"
Gavin smiled because his friend looked legitimately conflicted. "I don't know," he said honestly. "And I wouldn't expect you to start that conversation. You're too…pure."
Luanne moaned. "I think that's the problem. I think that Christian doesn't want to corrupt me or something. Maybe he thinks that if he tries anything, I'll freak out and dump him."
Even though Gavin had only met the guy once, he didn't think Christian was worried about that. He didn't think that someone like Christian worried about corrupting girls like Luanne. He must have some other motives.
"Have you hinted or done anything to let him think that you don't want him to…you know?"
"Well, he knows I want to wait to, you know, have sex until marriage." Luanne blushed and looked down at her lap. "But I don't want to wait until marriage for everything. I mean, I've got needs too, you know?"
Gavin laughed. He knew exactly what she meant. "Have you tried instigating anything?"
"What does that mean?"
Luanne blushed again. "Today I asked him if he wanted to come in after our date. I tried to kiss him in a way that let him know I wanted to…I don't know. This is so embarrassing."
Gavin laughed again. "We can stop talking about it, if you want."
Luanne considered this for a second and realized that Gavin was probably her best resource. "Well, what would you do if you were in my situation?"
"There's kind of a double standard when it comes to these things, isn't there? If I wanted to get more physical with a girl I was seeing, I guess I would try to be romantic about it. Bring her dinner, light some candles, that sort of thing. But it's different for guys. We have to watch for your signals and back off when we can sense you aren't comfortable with things."
Luanne nodded in understanding. What Gavin said made sense, but why hadn't Christian done any of those things?
"But with girls," Gavin continued, looking rather devilish, "you in particular, I don't think any guy would get offended if you tried to take advantage of them."
Luanne laughed and blushed. "So you think he just doesn't get it?"
"I think there is something seriously lacking in that boyfriend of yours," Gavin said honestly.
Luanne laughed again and shoved him in the shoulder. "Stop," she told him playfully.
"If I were your boyfriend, I wouldn't be able to keep my hands off of you."
Luanne was giggling almost out of control but managed to nudge him again. "Stop it, Gavin! You're making me blush!"
He grinned back and reached for her hand. "I'll stop," he promised her, playing with her fingers and admiring her soft skin.
Luanne smiled at her friend who was looking down at their hands. She didn't mind the physical contact. She actually quite enjoyed it. She was comfortable with it. She was happy with it. And from the look on Gavin's face, he felt the same way. She wondered if this was what a relationship was supposed to feel like, comfortable and happy. She didn't feel sparks when she thought about Gavin, she didn't get giddy when she knew she was going to see him. But she did feel something else, a certain stability, a strong sense of calm and comfortableness that lasted long after they had said their goodbyes.
With Christian, things were exactly the opposite. She longed for him and wanted to make him happy. She was nervous and excited around him, everything she had expected from her first love. But those feelings weren't going away. They weren't subsiding and her nerves were starting to get the better of her. Her imagination was running wild, coming up with things she didn't want to believe were possible. These early dates that Christian would take her on, they seemed rushed and he was always checking his watch as if he had somewhere else to be. She had began to worry that there was someone else, someone he could physically be with since she wasn't willing to sleep with him until they were married. She wanted to believe that this was all just her imagination, but lately she hadn't been able to shake the feeling.
She sighed and Gavin finally looked up at her. He gave her an encouraging smile and released her hand. "You'll figure it out, Luanne," he told her. "You always do."
She smiled back because she knew he was right. "Thanks, Gavin."
And with that, she stood up and put her ice cream away. She didn't need it anymore. Gavin was a better solution than empty calories and he wouldn't melt all over her coffee table.