“Are you sure this is a good idea?” I hit my flashlight against my palm irritably. The light flickered briefly back on, and then we were plunged once again into blackness.
“Of course I’m sure!” Bo exclaimed with a laugh. “Just trust me, Tani! I’ve never steered you wrong before, have I?”
“You don’t want me to answer that,” I replied flatly. I couldn’t see where I was going, yet he seemed to have no trouble at all guiding me through the mess of collapsed tunnels, rock piles and underground streams. I wondered how much time he spent down here. I wondered if he had taken any other girl here, and what was going to happen when we reached our destination. The longing in my heart made me blush.
“I suppose not.” He stopped abruptly, threw back his head and laughed. “Remember that time in eighth grade when I told you Mr. Perfect- Jock liked you? You went over to him and flirted like there was no tomorrow. Remember?”
“That wasn’t funny, Bo! You shouldn’t laugh- I still haven’t forgiven you for tricking me like that.” I cried out as my toe slammed into something hard. I pitched forward, throwing my hands out in front of me to catch my fall. “Ouch.” Embarrassed to have blundered in front of Bo, I slowly picked myself up off of the ground and struggled to my feet, sucking in a quick breath as pain shot up my leg.
“Are you alright Tani?” Bo grasped my shoulders, leaning in close to my face, studying me with a look of true concern on his face. Despite my pain, I was still acutely aware that we were only inches apart. I wished he’d close the distance. “Hold on.” He drew back abruptly and fumbled with the zipper of his bag. I scowled. He shouldn’t have pulled away.
“Oohhh…” I moaned.
“One second,” Bo mumbled. “Ah!” There was a sharp click, and the area around us lit up from the bulb of a 25 watt flashlight. “There now. That’s better.” In the beam of the flashlight, I could clearly see how his white teeth glinted as he smiled, his bright eyes sparkling.
“You had a flashlight?” I yelled. “You idiot! Why didn’t you take it out? I could have killed myself!” Gooey feelings or not, I couldn’t believe he would have held out on me like that! He knew I wasn’t a fan of the dark, and he knew I was having a hard time!
“Well…” Bo shrugged, the smile slipping from his face. “I thought… Well, darkness is more- romantic, you know?” he shrugged. “Where are you hurt?”
“Um.” I stared at him, my mouth hanging open. Did I hear him right? He had left off the flashlight because he thought it would be more romantic? A happy blush crept up my cheeks, and a warm fuzziness filled my stomach. I smiled and wrapped my arms around myself.
“Tani? Ta- Tanesha!” Bo snapped his perfectly formed fingers in front of my plain green eyes. “Where does it hurt?” He asked, taking my hand. Slowly, he moved his hand up my arm, searching for breaks.
Anywhere you’re hand leaves burns, I thought. I stared at his hands for a second, savoring the touch of his skin on mine, then replied, “My leg. I think I cut it or something when I fell.”
“Let’s see,” Bo mumbled, kneeling down in front of me. He shone the flashlight on my leg. I winced. Blood dripped in great, shining red rivulets down my leg, staining my bleached white socks and brand new sneakers. I sighed heavily, leaning against the wall. “It’s a good thing neither of us is squeamish,” he commented, squeezing the skin around the cut gently.
“Yeah,” I said faintly, “Good thing.” I focused on him rather than the gash then, knowing I’d pass out if I had to watch the blood drip down my leg. His hair. I’ll focus on his hair first. It was perfect, just like the rest of him. It looked soft. Pretending to steady myself, I swept my arms out around me and gasped.
He looked up at me and frowned, his eyebrows tugging upwards with concern. “I’m sorry if it hurts… I have to clean it or it could get infected,” he apologized.
“It’s okay,” I pressed my hand against the wall and looked away, so my face was no longer in the glow of the flashlight. I grinned. His hair was even softer than it looked. It was perfect. Except that it was green. Green doesn’t really match my colors too well- purple and black. But colors aren’t that big a deal, I suppose. Personality is more important, right? And his personality is perfect as well. He’s caring to a fault- he’s a doctor, for crying out loud!- he’s patient and loyal and trustworthy, and he has a sense of humor. He’s romantic and sweet and shy and outgoing in equal parts, and-
“All fixed up,” Bo announced, straightening up. He smiled at me sheepishly. “You shouldn’t put much weight on that leg- Why don’t you lean on me while you walk?”
I smiled. “I’d love to.”