"So, can I see your room?" Ace asked Kristen as they walked back from the dining hall together. They had just had their first dinner as real university students.
Kristen shrugged as they walked down the sidewalk. Stars were beginning to emerge overhead, and the last of the summer heat fading. "It's far from here. Let's just go back to yours."
"Yeah, but you already saw it," he said. "I want to see yours."
"Why?" she asked, looking at him.
"Because I want to see it," he said simply.
"It's not very exciting," she said. And honestly it wasn't, especially when compared to his, which she'd seen earlier. He had a bright green bedspread, posters of movies and pictures of friends and a calendar of dogs on the wall.
All she had was like, one picture taped crookedly on the wall.
"Well, I still want to see it," Ace said. He reached over and grabbed her hand and squeezed it. "But you know," he added in a lower voice, glancing at her. "If you really don't think it's much to look at, we could always turn off the lights, and, well, admire other things instead…"
"Oh my gosh, Ace," said Kristen, unable to help the laugh that escaped her lips. "You're so bad at being seductive." She bumped his shoulder with his, pushing him away but keeping her hand in his. Her heart raced slightly.
"Yeah, but it always seems to work, doesn't it," he said, raising an eyebrow at her.
"Shut up," she said, pulling him back against her side. He bumped into her playfully.
Ace grinned. "So can I see your room?"
She rolled her eyes. "Yes, fine."
He smiled at her again. God, he needed to stop that.
"I was serious, you know," Kristen said as she fumbled in her pocket for her key. "It's really nothing very exciting."
"A person's first dorm room is always exciting," Ace said as she slid the key into the lock.
"Yeah, not really," Kristen said, turning the doorknob.
She flicked the light as they walked in, echoing in the slight emptiness of the room. She glanced at Ace as he looked around. There truly wasn't much to see. Her bed spread was a faint purple color, her laptop lay buzzing quietly on her desk, her closet was closed and she had a small blue rug on the floor.
She glanced at him again. "See, told you it was nothing exciting."
He shook his head as he looked around. "No, I like it."
"Oh please," she said, mildly amused at his attempt to humor her.
"No, I really-" He paused, his eyes catching on something on the wall above her bed. "What's that?"
"Hm?" she said, following his gaze. She crossed her arms when she saw what he was looking at. "It's a picture, obviously."
"Wait," he said, walking over to it. He looked at it for a moment, then turned around to face her again with a curious expression on his face. "The only picture you put on your wall is a picture of me?"
She suddenly felt slightly stupid. Everyone else had colorful posters of bands and TV shows, collages and bulletin boards filled with pictures of friends and Christmas lights hanging around the ceiling. And all she had was a small picture of her boyfriend that she randomly threw in with her stuff as she was packing. Kristen felt her face redden slightly and tightened her arms. "Yeah, well, we all can't have supreme decorating skills."
He glanced at it again, then back at her. It felt slightly petty all of the sudden, to have a single picture of your boyfriend on the wall. She did like other things. His face, however, turned into a sweet grin, just like the one in the photo.
"Well maybe I'm biased," he said, walking back over to her. "But I think your decorating skills are great."
She felt herself blush again. "I just…like that one."
It had been taken a few months ago, shortly before they had finally started dating. Ace's face filled the frame. His hair was on the longer side, but he'd been too lazy to go out and get it cut.
"You need to get it cut. My uncle's wedding is in a week, you have to look nice," Kristen had told him. They were lying around in the grass at Hyde Park, enjoying the warm spring sun and each other's company. Ace had brought his camera along and was lying on his back, taking pictures of the clouds in the otherwise clear blue sky.
He tilted his head and looked over at her. "Are you implying that I don't look nice already?"
She stared right back at him and raised an eyebrow. "What if I was?"
He shrugged and looked back at sky. "You'd be lying."
"I do not lie."
"Sure you do," he said, snapping another picture of the same cloud. "You think I'm handsome."
Kristen felt her cheeks color slightly, but she rolled her eyes. "You're humoring yourself."
He shrugged and looked back at her. "Maybe," he said lightly. "But I still don't feel like getting my hair cut."
She sighed. He looked back at the sky. She glanced at him and inched a bit closer, then reached out and snatched his camera out of his hands.
"Hey!" he said, stretched to grab it back. He rolled over on to his stomach and his hair fell in front of his eyes.
"Look at that, you can't even see," she said, smirking. "I could run away with this and you wouldn't even know where I'd gone." She held up his camera.
He shook his head to clear his hair from his eyes, but it only fell back. He blinked beneath his unkempt bangs. Kristen smiled. God, she was a filthy liar. He looked positively adorable.
She reached forward and brushed the fringe out of his eyes, and it stayed. He looked back at her and grinned with all his teeth. Something inside of her pulsed and she held the camera up and snapped a picture of his smiling face and brown eyes and swept back hair.
Ace smiled at her now in a similar way, and her heart sped just like it did that day. She stood in the middle of her room, and he stepped in front of her and wrapped his arms around her waist. She looked into his eyes, perfectly clear. He'd gotten a haircut just last week so he'd be nice and fresh and ready for school. She reached up and ran a hand through his bangs anyway.
"I think you're really sweet," he said, smiling at her.
She felt her cheeks redden slightly, but smiled back. She dropped her hand and let it rest against his chest.
"See, I knew I'd like your room," he said. He leaned in and kissed her on the tip of her nose.
She glanced away and smiled again. "Yeah," she said. She looked back at him. "I guess it's not so bad."
Ace just gazed back at her. She leaned forward and gave him a very gentle kiss on the lips. His hands flattened against the small of her back and she slid hers up to his shoulders. He kissed her again.
"Wait," he said, pulling away. Without letting her go, he shuffled over to the light switch and flicked it off. She grinned.
"I thought you said we'd only turn the lights off if there wasn't anything to see," she said, her voice lowering to a whisper in the darkness.
"Well, we saw," he whispered back. "Now, we act."
"You're so smooth," she said, slightly teasing.
"You love it." He leaned forward and captured her lips again, smiling against each other in the darkness.