The buses were fueling up, and it was my day to interview Darren. I always look forward to spending time with each of the guys one on one and getting to know them better, but since Darren and Belle are getting closer, I wanted to push a bit further with him today and see what I could find out.
“I miss you,” I heard him say as I stepped onto the bus. He was out of my eyeline, and I wasn’t sure if I should interrupt him or not.
“I miss you, too,” Belle replied, and it brought a smile to my face. For someone who avoids feelings for men like the plague, Belle sure lays them all out for Darren to see.
I decided I better make my presence known before they decided to get sexual. “Hey!” I called out, “Are you ready for your interview?”
“Sure, one second Mel,” Darren answered while I made myself comfortable in one of the plush leather chairs. “I gotta go, babe; I’ll talk to you later. We’re still on for tonight right?”
“I wouldn’t miss it. Don’t keep my girl waiting. Mwah.” Did she just blow him a kiss? That is so sweet and so unlike Belle.
Darren plops down in the chair across from me with a goofy smile on his face. “Everything good?”
“Yeah,” he answers, still smiling. “Everything is great. I was talking to your girl.”
“Don’t you mean your girl?” I counter, hopping into the very discussion I was hoping to have with him.
“We’re cool.” He’s suddenly aloof.
“Is that all you want to be? I’m pretty sure I just heard Belle blow you a kiss.”
A slight blush creeps into his cheeks. “That doesn’t mean anything… wait does it?”
I’m amused and decide to let this play out. “That depends, do you want it to? You’ve got to give me something to work with here Darren. I’m not going to out Belle’s secrets without some reciprocation.”
“Come on Mel, you already know I like her.”
“True,” I reply, watching as he taps his fingers against the table next to him. I’ve noticed it’s a nervous habit of his. “But what I want to know is could you love her?”
When he looks up at me, there’s a definite shift in the room. He sits up straighter, and his eyes are suddenly brighter. “Have you ever made plans for your life and then realized they don’t make sense anymore? No, that’s not right…it’s more like they’re suddenly incomplete.”
He’s lost me completely. “I’m not sure – explain.”
“My dream trip is to see the seven wonders of the world. It always has been. It’s the one thing I’m looking forward to most once we’re done touring. I’ve always thought I would bum around the world, and finally be able to truly enjoy all the cities, landmarks, and history I’ve never been able to appreciate while we’re touring.”
“That sounds fun.”
He stops tapping and crosses his leg over his knee. “Yeah, I thought so too. But ever since I met Belle, I can’t think about the trip anymore without her being a part of it. When I imagine myself going alone, I almost don’t even want to do it. Suddenly, it only sounds appealing if she’s there with me. What does that mean?”
I reach over and pat his hand. “I think you know and I think she feels the same way.”
“You think I love her? I’ve never… I’ve never been in love before.” He hangs his head like it’s something he should be ashamed of.
“Hey, Darren, look at me please.” When he does I flash what I hope is a reassuring smile. “That’s not a bad thing. I’ve only been in love once, and I was a teenager then. I imagine loving someone now would feel even better.”
He grumbles, “Or worse.”
“Because we’re on the road and she’s back in California. Even if it is love, or could be love, how are we supposed to explore it when she’s there, and I’m everywhere?”
He’s got it bad. I’d almost laugh if he weren’t so serious.
“You do live in a technological dream era. Keep doing what you’re doing. Belle may not be here for you to touch physically but you see her every day, you talk all the time, I don’t even want to know how often you sext and have video sex. Think of all the war veteran’s who had just met their wives before shipping out and fell in love. They only kept in contact through letters, and it was probably months in between them. If those couples could manage, you and Belle can find your way.”
“You’ve got a point.”
“Of course I do, and I’ll give you some inside information as well. Belle is love shy; she doesn’t like to make declarations until she knows. But she’s showing you signs I haven’t seen her show, anyone, maybe ever.”
“Really?” he asks, smiling again.
“Really. You don’t have to define anything yet; love is a marathon, not a race.”
“Good point. Thanks, Mel. I owe you one.”
“You don’t owe me anything, just make Belle happy.”
“There’s nothing more I’d rather do.”