First Love is set in 1975. A church youth group is on a mission trip to New Mexico, helping to build a model of a Spanish torreón , or tower, with adobe bricks. Working along side them is the minister's son, Gabe. He's their age, but seems much more mature to the girls from the youth group. He's clearly interested in Maddie and, to Clayton's dismay, she seems very interested in him. This scene takes place during lunch one day. Patti is Maddie's best friend.
Clayton sat in the shade of the adobe building, hands folded, head nearly resting on his up-drawn knees. Patti settled beside him, handing him half her sandwich. She invited him to share her heap of chips. Clayton managed a half smile.
"She doesn't want him," Patti said with confidence. "She might think she does, but it's the whole tall, dark and handsome thing."
"Oh, thanks. I feel so much better."
"She has known you, literally, her entire life. Until recently, you never showed any real interest, am I right?"
"I've tried, Patti. She's never seen me as anything but a brother."
"Until last night, did you ever say, I want to be more than your friend?"
"No. I'm a schmuck, okay? I thought she'd laugh at me."
"She wasn't laughing when I found you."
Clayton chuckled, it had an earthy undertone. "No, she wasn't." He took a bite of the sandwich. "But I can't compete with—that!" He waved his hand in the general direction of the others.
"That guy is better built than Charles Atlas."
"Have you looked in a mirror lately—at all?"
"So, what do you see?"
"A scrawny guy who needs a haircut. Why?" His tone grew defensive.
"Because I don't. I see a guy who lacks confidence, but who's just as hot as the guy over there. The difference is, that guy doesn't lack confidence. That guy sees exactly what you see—a pretty girl who wants to be kissed. And you know what she sees when she looks at him?"
"Yeah, a guy who isn't like a brother. If she could see past the fact we've known each other our entire lives. . . ."
"She sees," Patti interrupted. "A guy who's got balls enough to show her what he wants. Do you have balls, Clayton?"
"Confidence, bravado, chutzpah. Do you, Clayton Ash, have chutzpah?"
"Pussy." She rolled her eyes in disgust. Rising from the ground, she took her chips and sandwich from him.
"Hey!" Clayton stood. "You're going to insult me and steal my food?"
"Take it back." Patti held it away from him, behind her back.
"That's insane. I'm not going to fight you for food. I'll go get more."
"Okay. And while you're at it, tell the woman you love—that you love her. She doesn't need some week long fling with a doomed long distance relationship to follow. She needs you, Clayton. Yeah, he's hot and sexy, but so are you!" She stamped her foot at him, nearly spilling her food.
"Okay! Okay. You talked me into it." He shuffled his feet. "Can I have my sandwich back?"
Laughing, Patti handed it to him. They walked back to the trees together.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes