Giddiness? No. Anxiety? Perhaps. Love…..?
That couldn’t be it though, butterflies maybe, but love? No, Jean quickly pushed all thoughts of what it could be aside, as she finished up the fruit salad - which she was sure they’d both enjoy. What she did know was that she was ardently, insanely - beyond any shadow of a doubt - crazy about one Sam Salamander. To know that she had never felt that way about anyone before, despite the many men she let into her life, was astonishing and made their rough start all the more worth it.
As she finished up the fruit salad, she leaned against the counter and took a moment for herself. She gathered up all of the thoughts that threatened to escape and hid them into the abyss of her mind. There was a small chance that these thoughts would be verbalized to Sam; which was something Jean knew she just couldn’t risk yet, no matter how many times she practiced saying them out loud. It was a step she wasn’t exactly sure how to take and didn’t want to sound foolish incase he was to not feel the same way.
However, despite the thoughts that plagued her, like an incurable disease, there was still that smile that she was unable to shake away. It seemed to always keep it’s place, never wavering, never doubting, it was always just there.
She realized quickly that Sam had became that missing jigsaw puzzle piece of her life; since everything just seemed to be complete with him in it. She tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear, she took a much needed deep breath and began to gather up the rest of what she was to take to Sam’s: a small quilt, the bag of chips and the freshly made fruit salad, which she then packed inside a large beach tote. She wrote a quick note to Brooke, letting her know not to wait up for her and to feed Shakespeare.
As she drove the not so long distance to Sam’s house, she tapped her fingers clumsily on the steering wheel, as she watched the street signs pass rapidly outside of her car. She bit down on her bottom lip, letting different scenarios run through her head of what was to be expected at this picnic she and Sam had planned. She was sure I’d be full of quiet, longing stares and fits of uninhibited laughter; which had become a sort of routine for them both. But, with no time to think any further - something she found herself doing a lot of lately - Jean was parked in front of Sam’s house and was at his doorstep. Giving two short knocks, she waited for him.
A huge smile broke across Sam’s face when he heard a knock at the door. Olaf woofed and got up from his dog bed, pacing by the door. He seemed to know something was going on because his tail was wagging—he’d always liked Jean, so Sam knew he’d be pleased to see her.
Opening the door, Sam barely let Jean in before he wrapped an arm around her waist, mindful of the items she carried, and swung her in a small circle, only setting her down after planting a quick kiss on her lips.
“And by that I mean hello,” he said, laughing. “How are ya?” He tried to make his smile less ridiculous but failed miserably, ending up laughing more instead. Olaf circled around them, clearly excited by Sam’s actions, and attempted to sniff at what Jean was carrying, but Sam swatted him away before he could get truly interested.
“What did you bring?” He headed toward the kitchen, reluctant to let go of her but raring to go outside and bask in the sun with the only person he really wanted to be around. “I made some sandwiches and some vegetables and stuff, you know. Oh, and I got lemonade. Thought it proper seein’ as it’s summer and all.” He tapped the side of the lemonade pitcher, rubbing his fingers together to dry the condensation on the tip of his finger.
He turned to face her again, still smiling because he just couldn’t help it. “I hope you know that we’re gonna act like children out there. Makin’ shapes outta clouds, runnin’ around, layin’ in the grass, that sorta thing. Maybe we can dip our toes in the pool.” Did Jean like that sort of thing? He assumed so—they’d opened up to eachother a bit and he’d learned she wasn’t always as mature as she acted—but still, she struck him as the more mature of the two of them. What if a picnic was too juvenile? What if she wanted a dinner, a fancy dinner, with wine and expensive food and snooty customers? Suddenly anxiety struck him, a deep fear that perhaps he was going about this all wrong. She wasn’t just pretending to have a good time with him, right? Part of him knew that was completely irrational, that she’d dump him if she was bored, but that sort of insecurity was something that came with being in—
Sam cut off that train of thought quickly. He didn’t need things like that floating around in his mind, not now. Not with the resurgence of Eleanor in his mind. Not with the fear that he just couldn’t get rid of, not all the way. That was just too much. He had to focus on one thing at a time or he’d end up hurting Jean, the one thing he’d vowed never, ever to do. That unspoken word was too confusing to think about, so he’d just have to push it away.
He wondered how long he could keep avoiding it.