Balcony Boy Episode 21

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I sat next to Jake with my arms folded as the rectangular glass bottomed boat rocks beneath me.

Jake has the same smile that he did at Katmandu as he looks at me, excitement basically radiating from him. “This is so cool, do you know how cool this is?”

“I hate you.”

“We’re on a boat, in a tank, with 11 sharks. That’s pretty awesome, right?”

“I hate you.”

“C’mon, this is amazing!”

“I still hate you.”

He sighs, turning more towards me. “What are you scared of?”

“Oh, I don’t know Jake, maybe it’s the fact thatvwe’re in a tank with 11 freaking sharks and I don’t fancy getting eaten by one.”

“They won’t eat you. I can promise you that.”

“Why would I trust you?”

“Because I would never risk you getting hurt.” He places his hand on my knee and I take a deep breath in an attempt to slow down my racing heart. Whether that’s from the sharks or Jake’s hand, I don’t know.

Jake notices the slight shaking of my hands and covers them with his own. “Trust me, you’ll be fine.”

I nod slightly, taking another deep breath. Everyone’s eyes are glued to the bottom of the boat as they look out for sharks and it’s not long before I felt Jake nudge me slightly. “Look.” He whispers, pointing below us. All I can do is watch as a shark swims right below us.

I press closer to Jake, my heart beat increasing immediately and he places his arm around me, pulling me into his side. “I’m sorry, if I would have known it would freak you out this much I wouldn’t have even suggested it.”

“It’s fine, I’m just being stupid.”

“No you’re not.” He pauses for a moment. “You have to admit it’s at least a little bit cool.”

I smile and punch him in the arm. “Fine. It’s a little bit cool.”

Jake smiles and leans in, giving me a quick kiss on the lips. “Good, because this is like, my dream come true and for it to be perfect I need you to be happy too.”

“You’re such a dork.” I say, rolling my eyes.

“But you love me.”

“But I like you.”

“Aw, you like me?”

“Shut up.”

“I like you too, Amber Bloom.” He says, his lazy smile driving the butterflies in my stomach mad.

I blush and lean my head on his shoulder. “Stop looking so smug.”

He just laughs and turns his attention to the bottom of the boat just in time to see another shark swim past. A little boy sat with his parents opposite us begins to cry and I can’t help but relate a little.

When it’s time to get off the boat, Jake steps off first, turning back to help me. I put my arm out, just expecting him to hold my hand while I step off, but when his hands come around my waist; my breath catches in my throat. +

He lifts me off the boat with ease and sets me down on the floor, kissing me in the nose. “Glad you’re off that boat, Bloom?” He says with a lopsided smirk.

“So, so glad.” I sigh.

Jake laughs and grabs my hand, pulling me away from the shark tank, and back into the main aquarium.

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“I love aquariums.” I say to Jake as we wonder through the dark halls, surrounded by glass tanks.

“I’ve never given them much thought to be honest.” He responds, looking up as a manta ray swims over us. “But now that I’m here, it is quite cool.”

It’s just us stood in the corridor of glass, and Jake suddenly stops walking, turning to face me and reaching for both of my hands. I look at his face closely, taking in the way the water reflects on his features and how the blue tint of his skin from the light enhances his eyes. “Amber-” He stops short as if he’s forgotten what he was going to say.

“Jake.” I respond, laughing slightly.

He drops one of my hands as he reaches back to scratch his neck, a nervous look plaguing his features. “Um, I don’t know how to…Well I just wanted to say- I mean you and me have obviously…” He pauses and looks down at the floor, looking at it as if it will tell him what to say.

I’ve never seen him anything other than sure of himself and his sudden flustered nature startles me.

“Jake?” His eyes snap to mine, his lips parted slightly until he smiles sheepishly. “Spit it out.” I say, nudging him slightly with a smile.

He takes a deep breath before letting it go in a sigh. “I just really like you. A lot more than I ever thought I would. Especially in such a short amount of time.” He pauses, his adam’s apple bobbing as he swallows, “It’s stupid. Like…really stupid, but I got you this.”

His hand reaches into his pocket and my eyes widen as he pulls out a ring. As I look closer, I realise it’s the exact ring I was looking at the evening our family’s went out for a meal together. “Wait, you’re not proposing are you?” I say, smirking slightly.

He laughs, “You wish, Bloom, don’t get too ahead of yourself.” He shakes his head slightly, handing me the ring.

I take it from him and slip it on the ring finger of my right hand, putting my hand up to my face, I smile,

“How’d I look?”

“Beautiful.” I’d meant the question as a bit of a joke, but the deep tone of Jake’s reply sends shivers down my spine, his eyes full of an emotion I don’t recognise.

He takes a step closer to me, his hands moving around to clasp behind my back and I lower my hand to rest it on the back of his neck, bringing my other hand up to join it. I run my thumb over his cheek as he rests his forehead on mine. He kisses me, hesitant at first, but soon tightens his hold on my waist, drawing me closer.

When I pull away, slightly breathless, I smile, meeting his eyes before turning and pulling him along behind me.

After walking all around the aquarium hand in hand, Jake and me make our way back to his parents. All 5 of us head to the exit, stopping in the gift shop before we leave.

Maddy immediately picks up a stuffed turtle and begs her parents to let her have it. I’m looking at some beaded bracelets when I feel a pinch on my arse. I jump with a yelp and turn around; ready to hit whoever touched me. But I find Jake stood holding a long plastic stick with a turtle head on the end. He squeezes the handle in his fist and the turtle’s mouth opens before snapping shut again.

“That is definitely not what they were made for.” I hiss, punching his shoulder.

He shrugs innocently, “What else would you use it for?”

“Maybe pulling your head out of your arse.”

He laughs and places an arm around my shoulders, kissing my head. “You’re cute when you try to be mad.”

I shove his arm from my shoulders and glare at him, but he crosses his eyes and I crack, smiling slightly. I just push him away, “Idiot.”

TBC