But, Ry, what if they don’t like me?” Caroline worried aloud for the millionth time. She brought her legs to her chest, as she watched the windshield wipers sweep the flurries of snowflake from Ryan’s windshield.

“Care, you can’t be serious. I don’t know how many times I need to tell you this. My parents are going to love you. You’re smart and you’re nice. My dad’s going to talk to you about home and my mom’s going to show you embarrassing pictures of me when I first got glasses. Tim will think you’re really good looking and make it awkward by asking how I got you. C’mon, Caroline, have you really ever met a person that hasn’t liked you?” he laughed, turning down a street.

“Well, not really,” she shrugged, examining her toes and cursed herself silently for not giving herself a proper pedicure. Her leather boots lay lopsided on the floor of the car in front of her. “I mean, they’re going to compare me to every other girl you’ve had them meet.“

Ryan shrugged and combed his free hand through his messy brown hair. “I guess I’ve never really had them meet a girl I’ve liked before,” he admitted awkwardly, reaching forward to fumble with the radio dial.

And there it was. That feeling again. The one she always chided herself for having. It was like the blissful warming sensation of drinking hot chocolate after coming in from sledding during the winter’s first blizzard.

Not knowing how to respond, Caroline simply smiled and reached for his free hand.

“I really like that scarf on you. It makes your eyes look pretty,” he told her, touching the soft cashmere with his fingers and then returning his hand to meet hers.

“Thank you,” Caroline smiled, rearranging the green paisley scarf on her neck. Her mother had gotten it for Christmas and it brought out the sage in the iris of her eyes.

Ryan shook his head, a faint pink creeping into his cheeks and scolded himself aloud, “That sounded really stupid.”

Caroline laughed, rolling her eyes. She knew he was never one to give out many compliments, but she had always liked when he noticed things. “I kinda like it when you’re stupid, then,” she giggled, squeezing his hand.


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