Watching the Sunset With You
I had never really understood love until I met Griffin. Falling in love was never in my life plan until I met him. All my life, I had believed love was overrated. My parents had never had the best relationship, and if there was chemistry between them, it was long gone. I didn’t know what to expect when it came to relationships. I met Griffin the day my friends invited me to meet up at a park. It was the talk of my group for weeks.
“Aubrey,” My friend, Tessa had said. “We’re going to meet all our friends from high school. It’s going to be super fun!” I remember going to the park, excited to see my old friends, and then I saw him. Tall, with messy light brown hair, bronze skin, and the brightest eyes I’d ever seen. People weren’t allowed to be that good-looking, I had thought to myself.
“Tessa, you brought a friend!” Corey had cheered and the new boy approached us.
“Haha, very funny, Core,” I remarked, while Tessa waved at our other friends from high school.
“The name’s Griffin,” The new boy said, looking at us.
“Hmm, you’re pretty cute,” He remarked, staring at me, and my other friend, Jessica, came over and slapped his arm.
“Griffin! You can’t just say those things!” Jessica scolded, taking my arm, “Come on, Aubrey. Let’s leave this jerk alone,” Griffin grinned, winking at me before I turned away. This guy’s audacity was through the roof.
“He’s a friend of James’,” Jess informed us, as we made our way to the rest of the group. None of the girls had changed, Eliza, Jackie and Pauline were still as bright and cheerful as they had been in high school. The boys, James, Miles and Corey, were the same as well, just a lot taller than I had remembered. So, the only newcomer was Griffin.
“Tessa, Aubrey,” James nodded as a greeting. “Hope you don’t mind that I invited Griff. He lives close by, and I figured I would introduce him,”
“James,” Eliza sighed, “It was supposed to just be us,” Miles shrugged, before James could say anything.
“Chill, Liza. Griff’s cool,”
“Just to you guys,” Jackie muttered, and us girls laughed. We sat on an empty oval, picnic blankets strewn everywhere, and we talked and laughed for ages.
“Is there a bathroom around here?” I asked Tessa, at one point, and she nodded.
“Over where the Scout Hall is,”
“Thanks.” I quickly got up and walked over to the hall. I stood in line, waiting, and as I did, Griffin walked out.
“Oh, hey,” He greeted, and I gave him a dubious look, so now he was being polite?
“Sorry about how I acted earlier, that was kinda out of line,”
“Sure was,” I replied and he hung his head low.
“Yeah, sorry. When I’m around pretty girls I say stupid things,” He admitted, fixing his hair, trying not to look at me.
“Don’t worry about it. Start over?” I asked, holding my hand out, and he took it gratefully, shaking it.
“Aubrey Stanton. A pleasure to meet you,”
“Griffin Thompson. Nice to meet you too, even if we’re waiting outside a cubicle block,” I laughed, and he released his grip on my hand.
“See you back there.” He waved, and I blushed, staring at the hand that had held his.
When I got back, I refused to look at Griffin. ‘Aubrey, you’re not allowed to fall for a guy you just met.’ I had told myself, not that it helped. I had learned Griffin was in our year, and he’d been offered a scholarship at James, Miles and Corey’s school. So, he was smart AND good-looking. Much to my disappointment, I wasn’t the only one who had been looking at Mr Griffin. Pauline had always been the girl who gushed over handsome boys, and it appeared that had not changed either.
“So, Griffin, do you have a girlfriend?” She asked, not being subtle in the slightest way.
“I’m a single pringle,” He smiled, “Why? Are you offering?” Pauline blushed and stuttered out a surprised no. The rest of us laughed, and Corey crossed his legs.
“Okay everyone, time to spill. Who’s dating someone?” He asked, his eyes mischievous, yet playful.
“Me,” Miles bragged, “Her name is Jackie, and she’s the best girlfriend in the world,” Jackie flushed bright red, and James wolf-whistled.
“You got her good, Miles,” He laughed and Tessa nudged Jackie.
“Stop it, you guys!” She grinned, “I get enough of it from Eliza and Jess,” She pretended not to enjoy herself when Miles kissed her cheek, even though we all knew she did.
“Ew, you guys are so cute. Get out lovebirds,” James scoffed, and Corey grinned.
“That’s because no one likes you, Jamie,” In reply, Corey got a punch to the shoulder.
“You punched me because it’s true!” Corey cackled, and the two of them started wrestling on the grass.
“Moving on,” Miles interrupted, as the other boys continued to tackle each other.
“Tessa? Aubrey? Eliza? Boyfriends?” Pauline pouted.
“How come you didn’t ask me, Miles?” She asked, and Griffin laughed.
“I think you proved your point before, sweetheart,” Pauline frowned, but then she laughed good-naturedly.
“Okay, okay, fair. You three have to answer now,” She pointed at Eliza first.
“I’m… It’s complicated,” Eliza sighed, “We’re not dating, not officially,”
“Have you kissed him?” Tessa raised her eyebrows, smirking.
“I’m not going to answer that,” Liza answered defensively, and so I came to her rescue.
“I’m not dating anyone,” I piped up, and Corey laughed, while Eliza mouthed me a thank you.
“You? Single? That’s a lie Aubrey,”
“I’m telling the truth! Is it that hard to believe I’m single?”
“Yes, actually,” James interrupted, his t-shirt covered in grass stains. “In high school, you were desperate to find ‘the one’,” I hid my face behind my hands,
“How do you still remember that?! I’m not a little high schooler anymore,” Jessica smiled.
“You’re the youngest one here, Aubrey. You are little to all of us,” The others nodded in agreement, and I looked over to Griffin pleadingly.
“You didn’t go to high school with us, do you think I’m a desperate person?” Griffin thought about it for a moment.
“Hmm… Considering the fact that you’re asking me, I would say yes.” The others howled with laughter, and I sighed, but I still had a grin on my face.
“I hate you guys,” I shook my head, I turned to Griffin again. “Including you,”
“I’m honoured,” He replied and Pauline grinned slyly.
“Are you two…” She began, and I clamped a hand over her mouth.
“No, we’re not,” I huffed, while she giggled.
“Let’s go for a walk, Aubrey,” Eliza stood up, rescuing me this time, and she grabbed my arm and dragged me away.
“So… were you flirting with Griffin, or were you flirting with Griffin?”
“I was not!”
“He was looking at you before,”
“Not that kind of way! Come on, Aubrey, give the dude a shot!”
“I just met him, Eliza,”
“He’s a nice guy. Before you and Tess came, he talked to me,”
“Yup, and he’s decent. I suggest you ask for his number,”
“And if I don’t?”
“I’ll make you do it instead,” I laughed, Eliza’s arm still linked in mine.
“Fine, fine,” I gave in, and we strolled down the park for a little longer before returning to the group.
“You’re back!” Jessica cried, and the others said their hellos.
“What did you talk about?” Corey asked, and Eliza laughed.
“You are certainly much more curious than ever, Core.” Corey blushed, and I shared a side glance with Tessa. How interesting.
Some hours had passed, and after a while, we packed our things and started to head off.
“Hey, Griffin,” I asked him, when it was just the two of us, packing up one of the picnic rugs.
“Can I get your number?” He smiled, a grin too big for his face grew.
“Did I make that good of an impression?”
“Maybe?” I had replied vaguely, and he nodded.
“Hmm, good to know,” I handed him my cellphone and he typed in the digits.
“There you go. Text me whenever,” He finished folding up the rug, and tucked it under his arm.
“See you around, Aubrey.”
Months went by, and I did not stop thinking about Griffin. I spoke to him in person, every so often, texted him, and wrote him a letter or two, especially when I hid in my room from the fighting. I remember the night he asked me out, clear to this day. He had messaged me, asking if I wanted to meet up, at the same park we had first met. When I had arrived, he was sitting there, like a patient puppy, in a plain t-shirt and shorts.
“Hello, Miss Stanton,”
“Hello to you too, Mr Thompson,” I giggled, and he patted the ground next to him, gesturing for me to sit. I glanced at my white dress, and noticing the look on my face, he asked if I wanted to sit on his lap.
“If that’s not too weird with you,” He blurted out. Though he didn’t know it, I liked him too much not to say no.
“So, what was the reason we come out today?” I had asked, and he smiled wistfully.
“We’ve been talking for a little while now, haven’t we?”
“We have,” I didn’t know where he was going with this.
“Did you know, the first time we met, and I said you were cute, I wasn’t lying,”
“I thought you said that to every pretty girl you saw,” He chuckled, and he played with the ends of my ponytail, not that I minded. We had become quite close, after months and months of talking and meeting up.
“You’d find that I don’t. Only to the special ones,”
“I’m special? I’m honoured,” I stared at the sunset, still sitting in Griffin’s lap.
“The thing is,” He started, then cleared his throat. “We’ve gotten pretty close,”
“And… I just thought, maybe you wanted to go out with me?” He asked, and I sat up properly and turned around to face him.
“What’s your answer?” He asked hesitantly, and I smiled, loving the way he looked at me. The gentleness and caution reflected his actions, as he softly took my hands in his.
“Yes, Griffin. Yes.” He kissed me then, blocking out everything that surrounded us. Our paths joined, and I realised then, here was the person I had been looking for. He had hidden in plain sight, and now that my eyes were open, I noticed how I longed for his touch.
“Aubrey,” He breathed, and I looked at him, our hands still clutched together.
“Is this okay? I don’t want it to be sudden or-” I stopped, pressing a finger to his lips.
“No, it’s alright. It’s perfect.” We didn’t speak for the rest of the evening, he just held me tight, as the sun went down, and I breathed in the scent of his cologne.
“Mum! I’m going out with Connor tonight, we’re watching the sunset!” Jasper calls out to me, and I smile, kissing her forehead.
“Have fun, sweetheart,”
“Thanks, I will!” She hugs me, waves goodbye to Griffin, and rushes out the door.
“Do you think she got her love of sunsets because of us?” Griffin asks me, and I smile a little.
“Yeah, I think so,”
“Connor better not break her heart,”
“He won’t. He’s a good boy, he reminds me of someone,”
“Oh? Who does he remind you of?”
“I don’t know, Griff. You tell me,” My husband grins my favourite smile, before kissing me.
“I think… You’re thinking of me,”
“Yes, yes I am.” I answer, and through the window, we both see our daughter holding hands with the boy in her heart, as we watch the sunset together.