Chapter 10:

A Date With Blake


Rayner had showered and got ready for Blake to arrive. He dressed himself up in a black T-shirt and jeans with a black choker around his neck. As he went back out into the living room, he saw that his mother had already finished cleaning up that area.

Looks inviting, Rayner thought. I feel bad for making my mom do all of this for me.

Rayner’s mother then came out of the kitchen with a plate of food and handed it to Rayner.

"I'm guessing that you haven't eaten lunch yet," stated Maddie.

"You're right," confirmed Rayner, just realizing that fact himself. "I wasn't thinking about lunch. I was too distracted by other stuff."

"Like exercising and waiting around for your friend?"

"Yeah..." Thinking back, Rayner felt a little embarrassed. 

"I haven't seen you work out ever since your father left home." Maddie said that, not thinking about the consequences of talking about Rayner’s father in front of him.

Rayner bit his lip and hid his gaze away from his mother. "Right..."

Feeling her son get uncomfortable about the topic, Maddie decided to drop the subject entirely. "Enjoy your food, Raynie." She gave him a bittersweet smile, not that he noticed since he was looking away.

He ate his lunch over a table in the living room and washed his plate right away. He noticed his mother then approach him to start a conversation but stopped herself as the doorbell rang.

"That's probably Blake," Rayner stated.

"Right," said Maddie. "Did you want me to get the door?"

"No, I can get it." Rayner wiped his hands with a towel and went over to let Blake inside.

As he opened up the door, he saw Blake standing eagerly outside his doorstep. She was wearing a frilled yellow dress with a floral pattern across the sleeves and bottom part of her dress. She also had on a pair of white boots that went up to her knees.

As she saw Rayner standing before her, Blake greeted him by saying, "Good afternoon, Rayner."

"Hey, Blake," Rayner responded. 

"I'm glad you called me to hangout today. I would've been bored having to stay at home another day."

"Right. You missed a whole week of school and stayed home the whole time, huh?"

"Yeah. Even though I was fine yesterday, my parents wanted me to stay home." Blake pouted and then let out a sigh to calm down. "But anyway, can I come in?"

"Of course." Rayner then stepped back so that Blake could enter the house. 

Blake looked around the living room for a minute. She saw the television by the front door, couches, and more interestingly to her, family portraits. She saw pictures of Rayner with his family members. She walked up to a portrait of Rayner standing next to a girl with dark purple hair that turned blonde at the tips.

Rayner noticed Blake looking at the portrait and said, "Oh, that's a picture of me and my older sister."

"I see. She's really pretty."

"I guess so," Rayner said, unsure of what else to say. He felt a bit awkward because he never brought up his sister before in any conversation. 

At that moment, Maddie came up to Blake to greet her. "Hello there," she greeted. "You must be Raynie's friend."

"Raynie?" Blake questioned, but instantly noticing who she meant by that. "Oh, yes. That would be me, ma'am. Are you Rayner’s sister in this portrait here?"

"Oh, goodness, no," she replied, bashfully. "I'm his mother, actually."

"Seriously? You look so young though, ma'am."

"You really think so? Thank you very much. I'm Maddie, can I get your name, Deary?"

"Of course. I'm Blake, Mrs. Kingsman."

"Oh please, call me Maddie. I insist."

"Yes, ma'am." Blake smiled at her. "Maddie it is."

Maddie looked at her son with a growing smile and said, "Raynie, your girlfriend is so polite and adorable."

Rayner blushed and exclaimed, "Mom, she's not my girlfriend! She's just a friend."

Maddie got startled and then said, "Oh! I'm so sorry, Sweetie! I had the wrong assumption..."

Blake then intervened with a playful tone by saying, "I might not be his girlfriend, but that's not to say that there's nothing special between us." She then latched onto Rayner’s arm.

"What are you doing?" Rayner asked, worriedly.

"Just what I always do," Blake replied with a wink.

"You're misleading my mother..."

"I don't know what you mean. I'm just trying to show Maddie how close we are to each other."

Maddie then started laughing and went, "Okay, I see that you two are really close. I'm glad. My son finally made a friend after all this time." She smiled graciously at Blake. 

"Yes, ma'am," Blake said, slightly shy. "Rayner’s been fun to talk to and a great tutor when I need help with work."

"My son is quite studious, so that makes sense." Maddie then changed the topic. "So what are you two planning on doing today?"

"Actually, we haven't decided on that yet. Your thoughts, Rayner?"

Rayner looked back at her nervously and said, "I didn't think things would get this far, to be honest. I have no clue what to do."

"I figured you'd say that," stated Blake. "Then I guess it's up to me to decide."

"What were you thinking, Blake?"

"Let's go on a stroll around town, Rayner. I was thinking I could familiarize myself with the town while spending time with my favorite person here."

"That sounds like a wonderful idea, Blake," commented Maddie. She then turned to Rayner with sparkles in her eyes and went, "Raynie, she called you her favorite person."

"I heard..." Rayner stated, flustered. 

"Alright, enjoy your time now. I'll have dinner ready for you both later tonight."

"Oh, you don't have to do all that," stated Blake. 

"I know. But it's the least I could for my son's friend."

"Please don't go through the trouble for me, Maddie."

Maddie seemed to ignore her last statement and said, "I invite you to stay for dinner, Blake. Won't you please come and stay?"

Blake sighed, understanding that Maddie wouldn't let up about this. "Alright, ma'am. Please just don't make too much. I'm a light eater."

"Alright, not a problem," Maddie said, quite cheerfully.

As the pair walked outside, Rayner turned to Blake and asked, "So what do you think of my mom?"

"She was really nice," replied Blake. "I can see the resemblance between you two."

"Right, people always comment about how my hair is just like my mother's."

"I wasn't just talking about appearances. Both of you seem like the type who go out of their way to make other people happy. Also just like you,though she spoke to me a lot, I could tell she was trying to hide how timid she really was while talking to me."

"Yeah, she's extremely shy and isn't usually a big talker. But for some reason, she's been really talkative today."

"Any idea why that is?"

Rayner did have his suspicions, but wasn't entirely sure. "Can't say for certain. How was the living room? It wasn't too messy, was it?"

"No, it was perfectly fine. I have no issues with it. Your family portraits are displayed quite nicely."

"Yeah, I noticed you staring at them for a while... You probably want to know about my family now, huh?" Rayner couldn't look Blake in the eyes and looked off to the side.

"I do," Blake commented. "But I wont force you to talk about things that make you uncomfortable."

Rayner slowly turned to face Blake as she said that. As he did, he saw Blake turn her head back at him with a soft expression. She looked him in the eyes and smiled warmly to convey how serious and understanding she was. 

As Rayner stared back at her, he began to realize his feelings toward Blake. To him, Blake had become the person he enjoyed being with the most. He yearned to be with her as much as possible and felt sad knowing that they would eventually part ways. The fact that Blake was absent from school for a whole week made Rayner realize how badly he missed Blake's company. Rayner couldn't help but fall in love Blake, who had basically always been by his side since the day they met.

Despite his feelings, Rayner thought it best to just remain friends with Blake. Especially after thinking that they would have an awkward relationship if he confessed while Blake didn't feel the same way. What was more important to Rayner was keeping Blake close, so he decided not to do anything that might push her away. 

A smile formed on Rayner's face as he then told Blake,"You're the best."

"You bet I am," Blake replied, playfully. "You're great yourself. Don't let anyone tell you or even tell yourself otherwise."

As they made their way down south, they wound up in front of Dino’s Cuisine. 

Rayner looked over his shoulder towards the restaurant and said, "This is where I work."

"Ooh," Blake reacted. "We're at your workplace?" She then looked over at the bouncer who was posted at the entrance. "So you said that's what you do, right?" She pointed to the bouncer as he was letting people inside.

"Yeah. Looks like my co-worker, Carlos, is working today."

"You know him? He looks scary."

"That's just because he's serious right now. He's a really nice guy when he's not trying to be intimidating."

Rayner then heard a voice call out to him from the side of the restaurant building. It was a male voice that called out, "Rayner! How's it going, man?"

Rayner turned to the direction he heard the voice and saw a rather familiar server waving at him. "Vinnie?" Rayner replied. 

"Come on over here, my man! What's up? You're not dressed up, so I know you didn't pick up a shift today."

"You work with him too?" Blake asked, slightly concerned.

"Yeah," Rayner replied. "He might seem a little weird but he's a good person. Just a little too friendly at times."

"Alright, I trust your judgement."

As the pair approached him, Vinnie noticed that Rayner wasn't alone. "So you did manage to go on a date today," he said, cheerfully. "Way to go, Rayner!"

"Dont misunderstand the situation," Rayner demanded. "My mom already thinks that there's something going on between me and my friend, Blake, here."

"No need to get worked up," Vinnie said, relaxed. "I just said date. I didn't mean to imply a romantic vibe to it."

"Oh, sorry..." Rayner felt embarrassed by trying to correct Vinnie when he didn't need to.

"Besides, you told me yesterday that she's a friend of yours. I'm not gonna try to read the book without seeing the cover first."

"That was quite the analogy," Blake commented. "Like Rayner said, I'm Blake."

"Good afternoon, Blake. Or evening. Whatever time it is. The name's Vinnie, and I'm Rayner’s favorite co-worker. We both started on the same day, so we keep in touch quite often."

"I see. So the two of you are friends?"

"Of course."

"Wait," Rayner said. Suddenly. "You consider me a friend, Vinnie?"

"Yeah," Vinnie stated, puzzled by Rayner’s question. "I have for a while now. Why wouldn't I?"

"Oh, it's just... I didn't know if it was alright to be friends with someone like you."

"What's that supposed to mean? Am I too old to be your friend? I'm only three years older than you." Vinnie seemed to be a little offended in that instance.

"No, that's not it. I'm just not used to  having friends, so I didn't realize. I'm sorry."

Vinnie let out a sigh and said, "I don't understand how someone like you is our most intimidating bouncer. You're always so insecure about yourself sometimes." He gave Rayner a friendly pat on his shoulder. He then looked at Blake and said, "Make this man happy, would ya?"

"Of course," Blake replied, happily.

Vinnie smiled and then shoved Rayner towards Blake. Rayner was caught off guard by that and almost fell forward. Blake quickly moved up to Rayner and caught him by putting her hands up against his chest.

"Easy there," Blake said. She looked up at Rayner from her position with a concerned look on her face.

"Right..." Rayner stared back at her, trying to remain calm and not blush due to their current positions. 

"Alright Rayner," said Vinnie. "I gotta get back to work now. I was just on my break. I'll see ya Wednesday."

Rayner then quickly regained his balance and stepped backwards. He turned to face Vinnie and said, "Right. See you later, Vinnie."

Blake stood beside Rayner as he said bye to his co-worker and said, "Well now, isn't he a joy?"

"Vinnie’s cool, but I can't seem to read him at times."

"That's fine. If you ask me, people like that make life more fun. You should be glad to have a friend like him."

Rayner couldn't help but grin and say, "Yeah, I am." Rayner then blushed as he continued. "I would say that the same goes for you. That I'm glad to have you as a friend, I mean."

Blake noticed immediately and said, "Aww, you're adorable, Rayner. You blush so easily."

"I knew you would say something weird when you saw my face." He then looked away and covered his face with one of his arms.

"There's just one thing that bothers me," Blake stated.

"What is it?"

"I'm wondering if Vinnie was technically your first friend and not me. You guys have been working together for a long time now. And he said that he's considered you a friend for a while."

Rayner then turned back to face Blake and said, "Wait, are you serious right now? That doesn't bother you, does it?"

"I'll have you know that being the first of something is a big honor. I was glad to be known as your first friend but it seems like that title wasn't true now."

"I had friends before high school, so neither of you would get that title."

"I got it," said Blake, seemingly ignoring Rayner's previous statement. "I have the honor of being your first high school friend. Vinnie can be your first work friend. Works out for everyone."

Rayner couldn't help but laugh over Blake's childish ramblings.

Blake too had laughed, as she couldn't keep a straight face anymore over her joke. "Okay, I can't keep this up," she claimed. "I don't even know what I'm saying at this point."

"Okay, so you weren't serious? You had me fooled."

"Of course. It'd just be weird if I got upset over something like that."

"You've said weird things before though."

"Partly in jest, Rayner."

"What do you mean by partly?"

Blake giggled. "Oh, don't you worry you're pretty little head over it."

"You telling me that just makes me worry about it more..."

"I know." Blake winked and stuck her tongue out. She then twirled around playfully and then continued to walk ahead of Rayner.

Despite his worries, Rayner still had a big smile on his face. Being with Blake feels so natural to me now. I'm always looking forward to seeing her at school. I should see if she wants to meet up over the weekends every now and then. Thinking like this does make me anxious though. Plus there are things that I'm keeping secret from her. If only I wasn't too afraid to tell her about the incident... No, I can't keep everything from her forever. I'll tell her everything even if I have to force myself to. I refuse to let myself be her friend without confessing everything.