He looked down at his watch, foot tapping against the ground, fingers drumming a beat on the table. Four weeks. She’d been gone four weeks and they had both left it pretty unclear as to what they were, but for right now all he could focus on was the fact that he would get to talk to her, finally. Last time he’d had to cancel because he had to go accept his new scholarship, and the time before that she’d accidentally fallen asleep at her screen.
“So is it time yet?” Ted asked from the couch as he looked up from whatever Ki was doing on her tablet. Brian tried not to be annoyed, he really did, but it so obviously was not time yet and all he wanted to do was hit something to release his energy. Maybe he could go kick a trash can around…
“Still no,” he replied, having just logged back on to his Skype account. Maybe something was faulty with the software, maybe it just wasn’t showing that Jenny was online even though she was waiting on him. What if he’d missed her? What if she’d fallen asleep again?
Brian got up and started pacing back and forth, taking stock of the fact that Ted was watching him with a big smile on his face. “Alright, I can’t work like this,” Ki said, getting up and moving towards the door. “You’re both too distracting.” And she left without as much as a backward glance, which Brian didn’t really mind since he was receiving an incoming call. He shooed Ted out of the room and closed the door, running his hands through his hair to try to relieve some of his nerves.
After a few moments, he sat down in front of the computer with his headphones and answered the call. There was something about Jenny that he found incredibly adorable, especially lately, which might just be due to the fact that he missed her so much. And the way she smiled at him made his brain melt. It took him a few moments to notice that she had said hello and he was staring at the screen.
“Earth to dork,” she said, waving her hand across the screen. He jumped.
“Sorry I was just—“
“Staring creepily?” she finished for him, smirk on her face. Brian did his best to give her a look that said “don’t try to mess with me,” which didn’t really work since Jenny started laughing at him. He didn’t mind though; she was intimidating enough for the two of them anyway. When he asked her about her day, he knew that she had been waiting for it. She had finally gotten to play in an actual game with the Panthers; the first string sniper missed a routine shot, so the captain put her in.
Of course Brian had watched the whole thing – he’d even woken up at 5 that morning to make sure he didn’t miss it. Even if she didn’t play, he still made an effort to watch the Panther’s games. He listened to Jenny talk with a big goofy smile on his face, completely enraptured by how expressive she was with her hands when she was excited and just so completely proud of her. Sometimes he would chime in, but he was fine with her dominating the conversation.
“It was just… it was a dream come true,” she concluded with a soft smile. For one quick moment he felt a sharp pain in his chest, something that happened occasionally since she left. But he wanted to keep things light; he didn’t want her to know.
“I thought your dream was being a Panther?” he joked, smirking.
“Yeah, well,” she looked down for a moment and when her face came back up, she looked vulnerable. “I can have new ones, can’t I?”
He felt another stab of pain and hoped that it didn’t show on his face. “So first,” he started, not really sure what he wanted to get out of this and thinking that maybe he might regret it. “Your dream was being a Panther. Then it was actually playing, which, come on, was gonna happen. Do you have a new one already?” Brian couldn’t help feeling like he’d strayed into dangerous territory.
“Yeah,” she answered, but didn’t elaborate further.
“Um,” he cleared his throat, “want to share?” There was so much hope in his voice and he couldn’t really help it. And then she smiled at him with so much warmth and so much caring that he didn’t even need to know the answer. He kind of didn’t want to know in case he was wrong.
Before Jenny could say anything, Ted walked in trying and failing to play paddle ball. “Hey dude are you done yet? Ki’s busy and I’m bored.” Ted flopped down onto the couch, having given up on the paddle and looked at Brian, completely oblivious to the moment he had just ruined. He sighed and turned to Ted, trying to communicate nonverbally that, no, he most definitely was not done, and could really use some privacy.
Instead of leaving like Brian hoped, Ted told him he would wait and turned on the TV. With another sigh, Brian turned back to the computer. “Sorry, Jenny, I don’t—“
“Its fine,” she said, cutting him off. She gave him a tight smile that made him want to throw Ted out of the room, but all he did was smile in return. “I should probably get going anyway, I’ve got this interview in the morning…”
“Right, yeah. Well congratulations again. I’m really proud of you.” There were some other things he wanted to say, but he didn’t know how well they would be received. He wanted to tell her he loved her, that he missed her, that she was beautiful and wonderful and great. But he didn’t.
She signed off saying that they would talk again soon with him thinking that it would never be soon enough. Ted kept him occupied for the majority of the day after that, so it was easy to push Jenny to the back of his mind and not miss her quite so much. But sometimes he couldn’t help himself from thinking that they had missed a pretty huge opportunity. It wasn’t until a couple of hours later when he went to log out of his Skype that he saw a message from a couple minutes after they ended the call.
My new dream? Seeing you again, Brian. :)
Something took off and soared inside his chest. Whatever insecurities he had had before were gone. At least for now. And for the rest of the night and much of the following days, he couldn’t help but smile. Ki and Ted asked him about it, but there were some things between him and Jenny that he just wanted to keep to himself, and this was one of them.