XOXO, I Hate You
By Elena Lane
Date: May 15, 2019
Ch. 66

That December, Gordon convinced Beverly to go with him to the ballet. In all reality, it hadn’t taken much convincing because Beverly had always loved The Nutcracker and any guy who was willing to go to the ballet just to impress a girl was very attractive to Beverly because unfortunately, most guys erroneously thought ballets were too girly to go to.
Clearly, Gordon had been taken hints from Beverly’s brother, who she had dragged along to the ballet every Christmas since they were kids. She supposed that Bradley needed a break from their tradition; so, he had passed the torch to a worthy successor. Well played, Bradley, well played.
Before the show, they went to a restaurant. This was their only real date since their first date, but they had been texting, talking, and hanging out for months. Beverly had tried to keep her distance, but it was becoming harder and harder for her to keep herself away. Gordon was just perfect in every way! Beverly could hardly stand it. The worst part was that every time they came home from outings together, Beverly’s parents looked like excited little children. They thought that they had forced their daughter together with Gordon and that continued to irk Beverly, but Beverly had gone despite this because Gordon was a really cool guy and even if she refused to let their budding romance bloom, they could still be friends.
Though, the restaurant that Gordon took Beverly too certainly wasn’t a place that was meant for friends. The single red rose in the center of the table and the candlelit ambience felt too much like a date to Beverly, but Gordon didn’t seem to care or notice that fact.
After they had ordered their meals, Beverly spoke up, “You know that this isn’t a date, right?”
“Yes, it is, Beverly, don’t try to deny it,” Gordon said with a chuckle.
“No, it’s not. We’re just two friends going to see the ballet.”
“Beverly, I wouldn’t be going to the ballet if I wasn’t on a date with a girl that I really liked.”
Beverly crossed her arms over her chest, “There’s nothing wrong with the ballet, Gordon.”
“No, but it’s not really my cup of tea,”
“Then, why did you decide to come?”
“Because I wanted to spend time with you and The Nutcracker won’t be so bad since I’m going with you. I just never had such a pretty date to go with before.”
“I told you this isn’t a date.”
“Come on, Beverly, you can deny what’s between us to your parents, but when it’s just us, you can be honest. I understand why you’re being so difficult about this, but we are good together and we laugh and conversation just flows. Things between us are good and you can’t deny the sparks you feel between us. I know that I can’t.”
Beverly was silent so Gordon spoke again, “I’m not even asking that we officially become a couple. You’re still free to see other people for now, but can’t you at least admit that this is, in fact, a date.”
Beverly sighed, “Fine this is a date, but don’t expect anything from me because I have a lot of things that I need to sort through and I just need time.”
“Time is something that I can definitely give you.”
“Good,” Beverly said with a nod.
The rest of the dinner progressed smoothly. Like always, things were easy between the two. They were like two parts of a whole and that was very frightening to Bev. They just fit so well together and things seemed so perfect, but at the same time, Beverly couldn’t give her parents the satisfaction of being right, she just couldn’t.
“Beverly,” Gordon said after he had paid the bill, “I think that we should start seeing more of each other. I’m not putting pressure on you or anything, but I think that it would be nice if we could get to know each other a little better before I go back to school in January.”
Beverly bit her lip to keep the smile from appearing on her face. She was hesitant about taking her relationship with Gordon any farther. She wasn’t sure letting herself getting any closer to him was a good idea. They had a good relationship, but Beverly didn’t want to let things go too far. And of course, Greg was still in the picture. But despite all this, Beverly took a chance, letting out a little smile. “Yes, I think that’s an excellent idea.” Maybe it was a stupid thing to do, but maybe it was a risk worth taking.
Then, Beverly took hold of Gordon’s arm and they walked together down the street to watch the show. At the end of the show, Beverly smiled in delight. The dinner had been beautiful, the ballet had been beautiful and Beverly couldn’t deny it, everything about Gordon was beautiful too. It was certainly a date that Bev never would forget, but she kind of wished that she could. Things would be easier that way, but that didn’t mean that the easy choice was the best choice.
For New Year’s Eve, Gordon took Beverly to a party, but to Beverly’s relief, it wasn’t the kind of party that she was used to. Normally, the events that Bev went to were up tight and boring, but this party wasn’t something that young socialites went to simply because their parents expected it. Rather, the party was an escape from those aforementioned parents. So, there was music, dancing and drinking. For once, the young people could let go instead of trying to be little plastic robots, raised by nannies and forced to stick to the status quo.
Christmas was a nice holiday, but in Beverly’s family, it was far from relaxing. The Christmas season consisted of a round of family visits and social events. So, after Christmas and a hectic semester at school, Beverly embraced the much needed time of relative quiet. Of course, the party itself was anything but quiet. However, there were no expectations or demands. For a while, Beverly could pretend that it was just her and Gordon.
She could forget that her parents had arranged for her to marry him and that she was falling in love with him. She pushed those things aside for when the new year came; those thoughts could wait. She and Gordon had fun, laughing and talking. It felt like they were a real couple rather than two people forced together by their families. It was beautiful and magical. Gordon was more spirited than ever and Beverly couldn’t blame him because as strange as it was to her, Beverly was ecstatically happy too. Somehow, the handsome, nerdy Gordon had swept away her heart.
Beverly had never been in love before. She had boyfriends in the past, but none of them completed her like Gordon did, but none of them had posed to threaten Beverly’s own beliefs either, but besides being chosen by her parents, Gordon was perfect, but Beverly just wasn’t sure that she could reconcile that one flaw. She sighed and turned to Gordon, “You’re crazy, you know that?” she asked for no real reason.

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