When he opened it, he was holding a big, fluffy black cat in his arms.

My eyes widened with excitement. “Oh, my gosh, who is this?”

“This is Meow, my best friend,” Greyson explained, allowing me to pet him. “He’s an old fart, but he’s the coolest dude out there.”

I smiled at the feline. “Hey there, Meow. I’m Ellie.”

Meow meowed before leaping out of Greyson’s arms and walking back into the house, completely uninterested in me. I couldn’t help but laugh.

“He’s sweet,” I said.

“Yeah, he is. So, are you ready to go?” Greyson asked, grabbing a hoodie from his foyer.

“I am, but where exactly are we going?”

“I figured I learned about something you like by reading those books, so I wanted to show you something I like. We’re going to the movies.”

“Oh? Which one?” I asked as we walked down the porch steps.

“Well, on Tuesdays they play old kung fu movies at Cameron Theater. This week they’re playing King Boxer.”

“You go watch old kung fu movies?”

“Yeah. I used to watch them with my grandpa before he passed away. Then, I just kept going.” He shifted around in his shoes and did his I’m uncomfortable so I’m fiddling with my fingers thing. “If you hate the idea of going to the movie, we can do something else, like go get ice cream or something. I just thought…”

My heart…

I smiled and gently shook my head, rubbing my left hand up and down my right arm. “I think this is perfect.”

He smiled back.

“More of that, Grey,” I said with a grin as I used his words.

We walked to the theater, and he ordered popcorn and candy. I couldn’t really eat any of that due to my braces, but it was fine. I had enough butterflies in my stomach to keep me full.

His favorite candy was red licorice, and he said he’d learned to love it from his grandpa.

The butterflies in my stomach didn’t fade as we sat in the theater. If anything, they just grew in size. I swore his arm moved closer to mine, and mine inched closer to his throughout the movie. My heart stopped beating completely as his pinky brushed against mine.

When the nerves became too much, I placed my hands in my lap and tried my best not to overthink the small touch. I kicked myself for moving my hand, though, because what if I had left it? Would he have linked our pinkies together? Would we have held hands? Would he have felt my pulse racing throughout my body?

Every time Greyson laughed at the movie, I laughed, too, because he had the kind of laugh that made you think you’d just met the happiest person alive. The movie was great, but the best part was watching how much Greyson enjoyed it. His eyes stayed wide on the screen, and he’d toss his head back at the parts that tickled him while stuffing handfuls of popcorn into his mouth.

It was wild to me that I had thought I knew who the popular boy in the hallways was whenever we saw each other at school, but clearly I was wrong. There was more to Greyson than his basketball skills, and his Nike shoes, and his good looks.

He had a personality that wasn’t seen at school, from his love of his cat to his love of kung fu movies, from the way he missed his grandpa to the way his eyes sometimes looked so lonely.

I felt silly for having judged him before really knowing anything about him.

Everything I learned was making my crush grow more and more. Greyson had so many layers to him, and each time he revealed one, I felt like I was being let in on a big secret.

“Did you like it?” he asked me, sounding uncertain.

“It was amazing! I’ve never seen a kung fu movie before.”

He sighed, relieved as he rested a hand on his chest. “Good. I was really worried. Most girls think it’s weird that I watch them, but I love it.”

“I love that you love it.”

“So, now what? Do you want to go get some food or something?”

“I could always eat,” I agreed.

We headed to an ice cream parlor, where I found something else we both had in common: vanilla ice cream with chocolate fudge. We weren’t shy about stuffing our faces, either. As we ate, I couldn’t help but wonder about something, though.

“What made you want to hang out with me?” I blurted out, feeling my face heat up a bit after the words left my lips.

He held his spoon filled with ice cream midair and cocked an eyebrow at me. “What do you mean?”

“It just seemed a little random, that’s all.”

“Oh.” He ate the bite he’d scooped up and then spoke with his mouth full. “You didn’t seem impressed with me at the party.”

“And that made you want to hang out with me?”