Hi!  It’s me!  Lily! 

I wrote another version of this post for older readers!  To view it, subscribe to my Patreon!  This one is for younger readers!  As always, though, parents please read first!

Oh Florida is soo much fun!!!!  I’m so glad that Liz and her parents brought me along!  Even if some things are sooo confusing!

So this morning I put on my exercise clothes and went to the exercise room to run, because I don’t know the area here.  They have a great exercise room!  And there was Jack!  He was running too!  He had no shirt on and… and…  omg!  I avoided looking at him and found a running machine and started my exercise.

I forgot about him for a while and started running and zoning out like I usually do, it was just me and my music and my headphones, when I felt a tap on my shoulder.  I turned and looked, and it was him!  I took out a earbud and was still running.  He was watching me with what I can only describe as an enraptured look.  I’ve seen that look before.  It’s the same look I got when I lost my top at the waterpark.  Except this was more… personal, somehow.

“Yes?,” I said, trying to sound nonchalant.  Hard to do when you’re being stared at like a particularly fluffy piece of chocolate cake.

“Want to get breakfast?,” he said.  “They have a buffet.”

“Give me a half hour,” I said.  “I need to finish my run and cool down.”

He nodded.  “We’ll be in the dining area in half an hour.  Grace wants to say hi to her ‘auntie Lily’,” he said bemusedly.

“Why does she call me that?”

He shrugged.  “Ask her.  She’s four.  I don’t know why she does half the things she does.”

I nodded and put my earbud in, mentally dismissing him.  Or trying to, anyway.

A half hour or so later, after finishing my run and having a quick shower, I headed over to the dining area.  Everyone else was waiting for me, and Grace a little impatiently, and now that I was there, we went in and ordered the buffet.  So much food!  I know at some cheaper hotels they have free breakfast, but this one didn’t.  But it was soooo delicious!  They had such great food!  I was so happy, they had chocolate waffles and chocolate syrup and hot chocolate!!!  I sat down with my heaping plate, and Jack smirked at me.

“Like the chocolate, huh?”

I laughed.  “Don’t get between me and chocolate.  You might get whatever is in my way bitten off!”

“Noted,” he said, with a smirk.  Everyone laughed.  They think I was kidding.

Grace had a small plate of stuff, and she was wearing her mouse ears and a princess outfit, but with a towel over it so she didn’t get food everywhere.  She didn’t quite have using the fork down but she was good enough to get the food into her little mouth.  She was soooo excited. 

Jack asked me about myself, and I told him I didn’t have any memories past a year or so ago.

He frowned.  “No memories at all?”

“I know, I’m a freak,” I said quietly.  Where did that come from?

“No,” he said.  “I kind of envy you.”

I took a bite of chocolate waffle.  “You envy me?”, I said.

He nodded.  “The thing about memories is the good ones are really good and you want to keep them, but the bad ones you just want to get rid of and never think of again.  Like…  like getting rejected by girls,” he looked at me meaningfully.  “Or other things.  We all get the good ones and the bad ones, and we like the good ones and hate the bad ones.  But you…  you don’t get either.  You don’t get the good ones, but the bad ones are gone too.”  He frowned, and sipped on his orange juice.  “Maybe you got the better end of the deal.”

I frowned.  That was a really good way of thinking about it.  “Maybe I did,” I said quietly.  “But I still think I’d rather have them all.”

He nodded.  “I don’t think I’d want to give mine up,” he said.  “No matter how bad some of them are.  The good ones are better.”  He frowned.  “Like meeting you.”

“What do you mean?”

He looked shy.  “That’s a good memory.”  I blushed.

I asked him about himself.  He told me he lives up north, in Ohio or some place like that.  Where it’s getting cold and snows a lot.  He likes it there, but…  I don’t know.  When he talks about it, he seems a little sad.  Or lonely.  Or something.  He doesn’t seem poorly adjusted or anything like that, just…  just lonely.  I wonder what his story is.

I asked Grace what her favorite thing is.

“Choc’late,” she said, without even hesitating.  “I love choc’late.  Choc’late candy an’ choc’late milkthakes an’ choc’late thyrup an’ choc’late ithe cream an’ choc’late everything!” she said proudly.  She was so little she still had trouble pronouncing some words, and it was terribly cute.

“Me too!,” I said, beaming.  “I love chocolate too!!!”

She beamed.  “I like you auntie Lily.  You’re nithe”

“I’m not your auntie,” I said gently.

“No,” she said, “but you’re old an’ you’re nithe an’ I like you an’ I want to call you auntie.”  She declared it like it was truth and I was just along for the ride.  “Tho you’re auntie Lily.”

Jack spoke up.  “She doesn’t like everyone,” he said softly.  “I’ve learned to trust her judgement.  If she likes you, you’re worth liking.”  He turned a little red.  “That’s what I meant last night.”

“Well, then,” I said, “I’m honored to be your auntie Lily.”  My eyes were just a little moist.  What was happening to me?  “I think we’ll be good friends.”

“Friendth!”, she said, with a wide grin that showed a smile with most of her baby teeth.  She went back to attacking her waffle like it had insulted her and taken her teddy bear.

After breakfast we all packed up and took the shuttle to Disney World.  Grace was so excited she was bouncing around and chattering nonstop about how she wanted to meet Mickey and Minnie and Pluto and all her favorite princesses and other characters.  The thing was, to her, all those characters were real.  Utterly, completely real.  When she met them, she’d be meeting the actual characters, and it’d never even occur to her that they weren’t what they claimed to me.

That’s really the innocence of childhood.  It’s not just being trusting, it’s not being able to tell the difference between fantasy and reality.  I sniffled a bit thinking about it.  That’s where magic comes from.

After we got there, and got through the ticket area, we made sure all of us had each other’s contact information, so we could call or text if needed.  Then we split up.  Liz, Jack and I went off to do our thing, Grace and her parents went off to make sure Grace got to see all the things (and characters) she wanted, and Liz’s parents just wanted to stroll around and see the sights.  I kind of wanted to hang out with Grace, but I guess I’d deal with hanging around with Liz and Jack.  Yes, hanging out with my best friend and a hot boy who was clearly into me would be such a horrible fate.

Oh no.  Oh NO.

So we spent the day just walking around and seeing the sights and chatting amongst ourselves.  I rode a couple of roller coasters but the lines were sooooo long.  Early afternoon we all got together for lunch, and while it was a bit overpriced, it was pretty good.  After that we wandered around a little more, until the sun started to go down.  I’d heard there were fireworks and wanted to see them, and we found a good place to sit.  Liz looked at me and Jack, said she had to go to the bathroom, and left.

We were sitting close.  What was happening to me?  I caught him sneaking glances at me.  I called him out on it.

“Why do you keep sneaking glances at me?”

He turned red.  “Same reason you keep sneaking glances at me.”  Even through his blush, he smirked a little.

“Oh.”

He was quiet for a bit.  “I just met you.  But you’re really pretty.  And nice.  And Grace likes you.”

“Me?,” I said, “with the freakishly long legs and the round face and…”  I trailed off as the first flashes of fireworks appeared in the sky. “Oh, that’s beautiful,” I said, having forgotten all about my long legs and round face.

“It is,” he said.  But I looked at him.  He wasn’t looking at the fireworks.  I found myself turning red and stammering.  “I – I…”

He tentatively put his arm around my waist.  I jumped at his touch  It felt soooo good and soooo awkward and…  and I just leaned my head against his shoulder and sighed.  It was perfect.  Absolutely perfect.  Oh no..

“What was I saying?,” I murmured.  I heard his laugh rumble through his body, and it made me shiver.  And so warm inside.  It was like there was this part of me that was missing and it was right there, where he touched me.

We watched the fireworks together, his arm around my waist, my head on his shoulder.  I could feel him breathing, smell him…  I couldn’t help it.  I melted.  It was the best feeling I’d ever experienced, just being with him like that.  I barely knew him!  But…

Oh no.  Is this what Sabby was talking about?  Is this what she meant about…  my heart betraying me?  I didn’t want it to end.  I’d only met him yesterday and it was so fast and…  I didn’t want it to ever end.

But like everything, it had to.  Right when the show ended, Liz showed up with a smirk on her face.

“Getting to know each other?”, she said, with a giggle in her voice.

We both blushed, and I quickly but very reluctantly pulled my head off his shoulder.  We both stood up and we went to find the rest of the group for our shuttle ride back.  He took my hand.  I didn’t resist.  Grace was tired, and had fallen asleep in her mother’s arms.  It was sooo cute.  The adults noticed us holding hands.  Liz’s father’s eyebrow went up, but they didn’t say anything.

We got back to the hotel, and our goodnight was soooo awkward.  He didn’t know what to do any more than I did.  Finally he just gave my cheek a light peck and went up to his room.  I just touched my cheek, my eyes wide.

I ran back to my room and flopped down on the bed. I heard a knock on the door.  When I opened it, there was Liz’s mother.

“Can I come in?,” she said.  She was fidgeting.  I nodded.  She sat primly on one of the chairs at the fancy desk we had.

“Jack’s father is talking with him as well,” she said.  “I’m not your mother… or Sabby,” she said quickly, “But we’re kind of in loco parentis right now… that means acting like your parents.”

I turned red and nodded.

She fidgeted.  “I thought I’d be having this talk with Zhi Ruo first,” she said.

I saw my chance to get Liz back. “You might want to anyway, there’s this guy at the front desk…”

She looked surprised.  “Really now?  I’ll have to keep that in mind.  But…  about Jack.  We saw the two of you holding hands.  Be careful, okay?”

I nodded.  “I will.  Sabby already made me promise.”

She blew out a breath.  “Good.  I don’t need to say anything more.  As long as you just hold hands and make googy eyes at each other, there’s nothing wrong with a little vacation romance.  Now -“

I fell over laughing.

“What?”, she said, looking puzzled.

“That’s exactly what Liz said.”

Her mother grinned.  “Yes, I imagine so.  Now, as I was saying, and doubly so now,  if you’ll pardon me, I need to talk to Zhi Ruo.”  She left with no further comment.

A half hour later, Liz came in, beet red.  She stomped over to me and punched my arm.

“Ow!,” I exclaimed.  I didn’t need to ask her what that was for.

“Why did you tell my mother about the guy at the front desk?  She just spent fifteen minutes giving me a refresher course on being careful with boys.  I could have just died!”

“You had it coming for Jack,” I said, rubbing my arm.  Girl packed a punch.  “I love you, Liz, but you can be pretty awful sometimes.”

She deflated.  “I guess.”  She flopped onto her bed.  “Did she give you a talk too?”

“Yeah.”  I didn’t say anything else.

“You got it bad, don’t you?”

I flopped back on the bed.  “Let me put it this way.  If he wants to kiss me, I won’t stop him.  Not even the littlest tiniest bit.”

Liz squeeed but then her face turned somber  “Just be careful,” she said quietly.

“I will,” I said.  “I promised.”

I called Sabby a little later.  She’d read my post from yesterday.  She told me to have fun, to be careful, and to remember what we talked about.  I understand now.  I didn’t understand before, but I understand now.  It’s not love.  I don’t love him.  It’s too soon to love him.  But if she hadn’t been so insistent, if she hadn’t told me… I would think it was.  And then what?  I told her not to worry.  I also told her about my conversation with Liz’s mother and she seemed grateful.  Both of them had some good advice, and I appreciated it.

On her end, she and Beth were having a smashing time, they had gone to the Galleria, eaten quite a bit, shopped till they dropped, Beth got her makeover, and Sabby was really glad they’d done it.  No word on how many fish Dave and David had caught, but their trip was still early.

Oh no.  Oh no oh no oh no.

Love you all!!!  ❤️

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