I shook my arm as the tingling numbness threatened to spread up towards my chest. I'd never been so nervous in my life. A year ago, I had been a nobody from a nowhere town. Somehow in the last year I had become a teen sensation. That'll happen when you get a recurring guest role on one of the most popular musical high school dramas on television.
But, that wasn't what was making me nervous. It was the boy behind the door I was staring at. It seemed like an innocuous door - standard issue hotel fare with a card swiper and the black painted number in the center of it. But behind that door was Sean. Sean, who I'd known since we'd shared a look and decided peeing in the sandbox in kindergarten was the way to go. Sean, who I'm pretty sure I'd been in love with for the past two years. Sean, who had flown to visit me while I was filming over his spring break. He'd been here for two days already and it was amazing. I hadn't realized how much I had truly missed him.
I squeezed my eyes shut, took a deep breath, and knocked on the door. It opened a mere seconds later – like he had been waiting next to the door. A smile spread across his face like the sun rising over the desert. My heart stuttered as I did my best to return his smile.
I must have done a pretty poor job of it because Sean's smile faltered. He reached a hand out to grab my shoulder and pull me into the room.
"Hey, Bri. What's wrong?"
I had decided honesty was the only way to go with this thing so I picked a spot on the wall and stared at it as I spoke. There was no way I was going to get through this while looking at him.
"Um, so, you know I have to do some filming tomorrow." I offered a small smile and darted my eyes to his face before focusing back on the wall over his shoulder. "You'll be happy to know that all the Stephton shippers will be happy. Stephanie and Barton are sharing their first kiss. But, um, I've never kissed anyone before." I paused.
Sean took that as an indication that I was done. "It's okay. I'm sure you'll do fine."
I shook my head. That wasn't really what I was here to say. It was just the background. "No. I'm not worried about that. I mean, I am, but that's not why I'm here."
Sean looked worried and stepped towards me. He was close enough that I couldn't keep eye contact with the wall anymore. I turned towards him and finally, really looked him in the eyes. They were fierce with something I'd never seen there before. His words were almost a whisper between us. "Then, why are you here?"
I couldn't look away. "I always wanted my first kiss to be special, with someone I cared about – not on television with a colleague."
"Yeah? Anyone in particular?" He leaned in closer and heat bloomed across my skin.
I let my forehead rest against his and threaded my fingers through his hair. It was now or never. "You, Sean. I've always wanted it to be you."
I'd barely finished speaking before he pressed his lips against mine. My chest tightened and goose bumps followed in the wake of his hands as he pulled me closer. I melted into him and he held me tight. It was perfect.
Sean eventually broke the kiss and just held me close. His whisper barely touched air as it traveled to my ear. "God, Brian. I've wanted to do that for so long."
I was stunned and all I could do was whisper back, "Me too."
Much too soon, Sean pulled away. All of the sudden, he looked nervous like he never had in the lead up to our kiss. He ran his hand through his already mussed hair and glanced towards his bag then back at me.
"I've got something of a surprise too." He smiled a bit sheepishly.
I watched curiously as he walked over to his bag, dug around a bit and finally pulled out an envelope. I could feel the nerves rolling off him as he walked over and handed it to me.
I opened it and looked at the paper it had contained.
Dear Mr. Sean Anskar,
We are pleased to accept you for admissions to the University of California, Los Angeles. You have been awarded a full academic scholarship…
I stopped reading as the paper fell from my hands. "But, Sean, you're going to UT. You've always been gonna go to UT – just like your Dad and your uncles and your grandpa."
"Yeah, but," he paused and shrugged his shoulders, "you're here. Even it was going to be just as friends, I couldn't bear the thought of being away from you four years. These past few months have been terrible. I've missed you like nothing else in my life. Besides, Dad kind of figured out that I was in love with you." Sean took a deep breath. "He asked me what you were worth to me and I said everything. So he said he would kick my ass if I didn't do something about. You just beat me to the punch by a bit."
My brain had stuck on the "Dad kind of figured out that I was in love with you" line and happiness burst in my chest like a cold water balloon on a hot day. My cheeks hurt from the smile I couldn't make leave my face.
I pulled him back into my arms. A laugh of pure joy bubbled up from my chest and made it hard to speak but managed, "I love you, too," before I kissed him again.