The Moment You've Been Waiting For
"So, like, what're you really doing up here, Caldwell?"
"I—" she hesitated, trying to come up with another excuse.
Whatever. She was already there. No point in playing hard to get now.
"I was trying to decide which door to knock on first."
After a slight pause, Teddy stepped toward her again. Except this time, he reached out and slipped a hand around her lower back.
"So ... You were coming to see me?" He smirked, tugging her against him. Somehow, Bennett's hands ended up on his biceps, and she was suddenly very aware of the way his belt buckle was pressing into her stomach.
She scoffed casually, leaning back to get a better look at him (and to give herself time to come up with something witty to say back). He apparently took that as her trying to wiggle away, because he snuck his other hand out of his pocket and got a possessive grip on the fabric of her dress.
He grinned. "You definitely were."
Bennett had to redirect her gaze to anywhere but at him. She couldn't handle the look he was giving her — one that was basically screaming "GAME OVER."
"Yeah, so?" she challenged.
He raised his eyebrows, looking absolutely delighted. "I would have bet a million dollars that you were going to say, 'Don't flatter yourself, kid.'"
"I figured I'd maxed that one out by now."
His grin slowly faded and was replaced by something a little more serious.
"I was coming to see you too," he said.
He nodded and eyed her for a moment.
"Why?" she asked, thrilled and a little uncomfortable with the intensity in his expression.
"Nothing, I just—" He shook his head, looking like he was trying to decide on something. "I just really wanted to do this."
Slowly, cautiously, he leaned down.
Bennett tensed at first, not quite sure of what he was doing.
"I'm giving you a hug; calm down," he murmured.
Tightening his grip, he pulled her all the way against him and Bennett was a complete goner after that. It was, without a doubt, the sweetest gesture that she didn't realize how much she needed until that exact moment. The warmth and sincerity behind it was so overwhelming that she automatically arched into him, wrapping her arms around his neck.
"Oh, man," he sighed after she wasn't even sure how long, picking her up for a second. "You have no idea how much I've been wanting to do that lately."
Bennett wasn't quite ready for the hug to be over but her shoulders were starting to burn from reaching up so high. He made a slight noise in protest when she unwound her arms from his neck, then he gave another satisfied sigh when she wrapped them back around his ribcage. Her ear was pressed to his chest and she noted with a touch of self-regard that his heart was beating as fast as hers was.
"Well, I mean, this and a few other things," he added. "Eight months is a long-ass time, Caldwell."
She smiled into his sweater, completely overindulging in the way he was rubbing absentminded circles into her back. A million different clichés were running through her mind: how her heart felt like it was bursting; how she'd probably float away if he wasn't holding her down; how head-over-heels in lo—
And then her eyes snapped open and every emotion she was feeling was upstaged by the monumental amount of anxiety that plowed into her.
Jesus, she really was a spaz. There she was, ruining one of the sweetest moments ever with all the drama and bullshit of being emotionally inept.
"Caldwell," Teddy said after she accidentally let out frustrated sigh.
"I can literally hear your brain freaking out right now."
Bennett snorted at how accurate that was, but she didn't want to ruin the fragility behind this little moment by talking about what was going on inside her head. So she decided to tell him how good he smelled in hopes of distracting him.
"As long as you're overanalyzing what type of laundry detergent I use, instead of some ridiculous conclusion you might have just jumped to, then I'm cool with that," he said, like he'd had that entire response planned and ready to use whenever needed.
"Why are you assuming that I just jumped to some ridiculous conclusion?"
"Because I've watched you overanalyze pretty much every single detail about ... everything ... since January."
"I have not—"
"Don't even try me," he cut her off, and Bennett could picture the triumphant smirk that was probably on his face.
"You're ridiculous," she pouted.
"Uh, no," he said playfully. "You, Mary Bennett Caldwell, are the most ridiculous human being I've ever met. And stubborn as fuck. And completely oblivious by choice sometimes."
The amount of disapproval behind the last part of that little accusation made Bennett want to laugh.
"Yeah, by choice," Teddy said. "Because I know damn well that with all that overanalyzing that goes on in your brain, there's no way you don't notice all the things you pretend not to."
Bennett leaned back and scowled up at him for being so on point. That didn't mean she was going down without a fight though.
"Yeah, like what?"
"Like how you know damn well that after spending Fourth of July weekend together, there's way more to the story than what you saw at the airport that day."
Well, damn. He was getting right into it.
As much as she'd tried to fight it, she knew he was right to a certain degree. Somewhere in the back of her mind she always hoped that there was more to the story. But she refused to acknowledge the possibilities because that would have been a step toward addressing how much it hurt to see him with some other girl after that weekend.
"Well, do you want to have this conversation now or wait until we're not completely exhausted from crazy fans and Liz McGeary?" she asked.
"Are you too tired to talk now?" he asked.
"Not even close."
He pulled away from her instantly, grabbing her hand.
"Now it is, then." And he started tugging her back down the hallway toward his room.
This was good, right? This needed to happen.
Bennett was still absolutely terrified of how this conversation was going to go though. Teddy dropped her hand when they got to his door to fumble with his card key. Bennett tried not to smile at the rosy splotches that were starting to appear on his cheeks.
"You sure?" he asked, swinging open the door and holding it so she could walk in first. She nodded and stepped into the dark room, waiting for him to turn on the lights.
Bennett really did have every intention of sitting down with him to talk. She wanted the eight months' worth of emotional turmoil between them to be put out in the open to clear the air. But then she heard the door click shut behind her and the lights still weren't on, and she realized that maybe talking wasn't much of a priority right now.
She turned around and smirked up at him.
"That was a cheeky little move, Teddy. Maybe you actually do have some game."
He came in close, a matching grin on his face.
"Now you know how it feels," he murmured, and he had her pressed back against the bathroom door before she could come up with a response.
(The post originally appeared at Cosmopolitan.com and has not been edited by Team Kamuklife)