Who: Sarah and Toby What: First meeting When: Forward dated to Saturday night Where: At a concert Rating: PG Status: Complete
Sarah still did not entirely understand how she had been entrusted with valuable school equipment. Sure, she was responsible; it wasn’t as if she’d lose the thing, but anyone who knew Sarah knew that she was more accident-prone than most anyone in the entire school. She might not lose the camera, but it didn’t do much good to know where one hundred tiny pieces were.
Still, she’d made it this far without any traumatic incidents.The camera was still intact after nearly an entire school year, and she only had a few more weeks to last. Maybe she’d be shed of her title of class klutz. Yeah!
Sarah was, at present, trying to take a few solid photographs for the music section of the school paper. One of the staff had mentioned how fond they were of one of the local bands, so she’d headed off to one of their shows and was surprised to find a pretty decent crowd. Maybe they were more popular than she realized.
Determined to keep her camera safe, she left it safely in its bag until she managed her way through the crowd and to the front. Once she had her stable footing, she dragged the camera out, took of the lens cap-
And was slammed into by a group of people from behind. “Bobby Kennedy!” she exclaimed (in her usual curse-free way that consisted of politicians and the occasional celebrity name drop). She hadn’t yet put the strap around her neck, and the camera came loose from her grip. With a squeak of horror, she tried to save it, fumbling around uselessly for a moment, before it finally flew out of her hands completely.
Once the equipment was set up properly, there was not much else for Toby to do but sit back and watch the show until it came time to break it all down again. Occasionally something would break and he would have to step in and help fix it, or some one would be sick and he would fumble through playing their part, but for the most part helping out with his friends' shows was a nice way for him to get out of the house and not into too much trouble. He didn't mind taking a backstage role. It wasn't that he had no musical skills, but he couldn’t really offer a practice space. That wasn’t totally true. He hadn’t actually asked, but he knew the things that his mother disapproved of, and loud music was one of them.
Anyway, it gave him a small window of time to socialize with people he didn’t go to school with necessarily. He didn’t like to say it outloud, but he was definitely feeling cramped at home. Not cramped like the room he was in right now, where it was physically crowded, but cramped in a different way. An emotional/mental way. This sort of cramped was nice. It made him feel like a real teenager. A real teenager about to get hit with a camera.
“Ow! What--” Toby glanced down at the camera. Its strap had miraculously snagged itself on the music stand he was leaning against. But how had it gotten there? Who throws cameras? It was still teetering towards its own destruction when he snatched it up and scanned the people nearest to him for someone who might have just chucked it at him. “Uh... Somebody throw a camera this way or something?”
Oh yeah. It wasn’t enough to drop her expensive school camera. She had to smack an innocent bystander in the process. Sarah couldn’t even bring herself to be surprised as she rushed forward.
“I am so sorry,” she groaned, wasting no time in stuffing her camera quickly back into its bag, too quickly perhaps as it was being exceptionally stubborn about going back into its case. Her brows furrowed as she rambled on, most of her attention on the camera/bag issue. “I don’t even know what happened. It was fine one minute, and the next it was flying, and-” The camera finally admitted defeat and slid into its rightful place, and Sarah looked up at who she was talking to.
He was kind of cute, wasn’t he? Heh. Focus!
“And uh- I hope it didn’t hit you too hard. You’re alright, aren’t you?”
It wasn't every day that a cute girl threw a camera at him. Definitely not the worst thing that had ever happened to him, that was for sure. Maybe his arm was a little sore, but it wasn’t anything he couldn’t handle. Toby grinned and bit back a laugh as she fumbled with the camera. He would have offered to help, but she seemed to have a handle on it. Sort of. Alright, not really, but she was cute and it was funny.
“Yeah, I’m alright,” he affirmed with a nod, “I don’t think your camera likes you much, though.” If he was going to be honest...
Sarah could feel her cheeks warming as she let out a soft laugh at herself. “I can’t exactly say I blame it. It’s probably in search of a real photographer who actually knows what they’re doing.” And isn’t five seconds away from breaking it at all times. Perhaps her camera had simply wanted to die on its own terms.
“I’m Sarah, by the way.” She sneakily wiped her hand on the back of her jeans- no sweaty palms here, thankyouverymuch- before extending it out for him.
“Nah, I bet you’re a pretty good photographer,” he grinned reassuringly. Not that he would know, but it sounded like a nice thing to say. “It’s probably just suicidal.” Either way, it worked out well for him. The more he spoke with her, the more he was sure that she was probably the prettiest girl he’d ever met. Which probably meant his mother would hate her. Not because she was pretty, but because if he hadn’t met her before now, she was probably “off limits”. Toby wasn’t usually a big rule breaker, but in this case? Well, it couldn’t hurt to at least talk some more.
“Tobias--well, Toby.” He replied as he took her hand to shake. No sweaty hands for him. And a good thing too! Imagine setting up all that equipment with sweaty hands! Disaster zone!
“Well, I’m really glad that you managed to save it. It belongs to my school, and I’d feel pretty terrible if I broke it. I think that kinda make you my hero.” She wasn’t entirely sure they’d be able to get another one before she had to turn in all the year book stuff, and who wanted crummy quality photos in the year book? But she was letting her thought process run away with her.
She felt a tell-tale tingle in her fingers when he took her hand, and had to grin at herself. A cute boy smiles and she turned to mush. Heaven help her.
Still, she managed to withdraw her hand after an appropriate time interval rather than doing the awkward linger. “Tobias? That’s a strong name.” What? Where had that come from? A strong name? Seriously? That was the best she had? Subject change immediately. “Nice to meet you. Are you a fan of the band or...?”
Now it was Toby’s turn to blush. How often did a boy get called a hero? And for simply being at the right place at the right time. Truthfully, it had only bounced off of him to land safely. Or semi-safely, as it had still been teetering towards death when he grabbed it. “Well um... Uh, you’re welcome.” Smooth.
Sarah’s hand was warm and soft and that tiny insignificant handshake sent a warm rush up his arm, deepening the blush in his face. Oy vey! He cleared his throat, “Uh, I guess? I think it’s probably a really old family name or something.” It was something he probably had learned somewhere along the line, but he had chosen not to remember. It was probably too long of a story to share anyway, “Nice to meet you too. And your camera.” He grinned, trying to shake off the warmth in his face, “I guess you could say that. I’m kind of the designated roadie. I put the stuff up and then I take it down.” He shrugged. It was a thankless job but someone had to do it.
She let out a soft giggle at his joke. He was funny! Sarah liked funny. Anyone who could manage not to take himself so seriously was her kind of guy.
“Oh, really? That’s cool! You’re friends with them, I guess?” She didn’t know that high school bands had roadies, but she supposed if she had a friend in a band, she’d help them set up their stuff, too. It was an awful lot of equipment to carry around. “Are they photogenic? Because that’s what I’m supposed to be taking pictures of. For the school paper.”
Toby couldn’t help but smile when she laughed. She had a nice laugh. It was warm and inviting, and made him grin goofily. It was definitely a good thing. He wanted to hear it again.
“Yeah, we’re friends,” he agreed, “They can be pretty photogenic. Especially that one, right there.” He pointed to Jack Patel (his best friend), “He loves the camera.” Jack wanted to be a rock star, and school paper exposure was better than none, right? “If you can get his attention he’ll pose all night. It might mess up his playing, but...” Toby shrugged, “It works out for you.”
Sarah followed his gaze to the boy he was talking about. “Likes being in the spotlight, huh?” she asked. She could believe it, looking at him now. She had never really been that kind of person. The only time she really enjoyed being the center of attention was when she was on the soccer field, and even then, there was a big group of girls she was sharing with.
“I’m a little scared to get my camera out again after last time,” she admitted with another chuckle. “Then again, with you here to save the day, maybe it’s safer now.”
Toby grinned and shook his head, “You have no idea.” Jack could stand a little joke at his expense here and there. What were best friends for, anyway?
Toby scratched the back of his neck sheepishly. He wasn’t about to tell her that the first time he saved the camera was just a fluke, so he just laughed and nodded, “Sure. I’ll spot you.” Although, in this crowd, spotting her probably wouldn’t be enough. He would probably have to play bodyguard to keep anyone from bumping into her. “Let’s go find a good spot.” Which probably meant front and center. The moshers weren’t going to like it, but he wasn’t too worried about it. They could go knock each other over someplace else.
“Really?” Her face brightened at the notion, and she nodded enthusiastically. Getting up close and personal pictures would definitely earn her points with the newspaper staff who had no doubt been considering the ramifications of sending someone like Sarah to a concert full of things to trip over and smash into.
“Lead the way!” She attached her hand to his shoulder so that she wouldn’t lose him in the crowd and ignored the familiar tingle that returned in doing so. Nope. No Tingling. Definitely not.
Nope, no tingling here either. Okay, that was a lie. There totally was. But he lead her through the crowd as if there wasn't. Now for the tricky part. Toby wasn't by any means a large or intimidating kid, but he was built well enough and loud enough to get people to listen to him if need be. "Alright, make some room!" He waved the crowd nearest to the band away to form a small pocket of safety. At least he hoped it would be enough. He turned to look at her, "Can you see well enough from here?"
Sarah was blushing again as he shooed people away for her, partly because of the looks people were giving her and partly because this boy didn’t even know her and was willing to help so much.
Her fingers dropped from his shoulder as she reached for her bag once more. “It’s perfect, thank you.” It was probably the best seat in the house, really, as she snapped a few rapid-fire pictures, tinkered with the camera’s settings a bit, and went snap crazy again. And when she was done with all of that, she returned her camera’s zoom to normal, turned around and snapped a picture of Toby. “Can’t forget the roadie.”
Toby could feel his face flushing again. It wasn’t normal for him, but not entirely unwelcome, “You’re welcome.” He replied, and then stepped back to watch her/make sure no one knocked her over. For someone who had almost lost the camera to a fate worse than death, she certainly seemed to have a pretty good handle on it. Once she went into photographer mode, he couldn’t help but watch with fascination. She seemed so professional and confident. It was intimidating in the best way.
He was so caught up watching her snap photos that he didn’t even notice she’d turned the camera on him until the remnants of the flash were dancing behind his eyes. He blinked it away, and blushed deeper at her comment, “Aw, we’re not so important.” He reached behind his head to ruffle his hair bashfully.
“Well, if they’re not going to stick you in the article, maybe I’ll just keep this one for myself.” And she snapped another picture, right as he made the adorably sheepish gesture. That one was a winner.
She tossed him a sheepish smile of her own, before she moved to return her camera to its case. Sometimes she had no idea where the words that came out of her mouth came from.
If Toby's face wasn't red enough before, it certainly was now. He looked shyly down at the floor and scuffed his sneaker on the floor in a flustered sort of way. She wanted a picture of him? Well... Gee.. Hey wait! "Well that isn't fair," he glanced back up at her with a crooked grin, "How come you get a picture of me, but I don't get one of you?"
it was a little--or a lot--more forward than he was used to being, but it couldn't hurt right? Plus, come on, it really wasn't fair, right?
Uh oh. Had she gone too far? Sometimes Sarah had this issue with word vomit and boundaries, and she felt a brief moment of panic as he looked down at his shoes. Was it weird to say she wanted a picture of him? Had she accidentally stepped right into total stalker territory? Hillary freaking Clinton, she was dumb sometimes. Maybe she should just melt into the crowd, and then they could forget it ever happened and-
Oh, hey. She was getting a little carried away, huh?
“Well, you don’t really look like you have a camera,” she pointed out with a grin.
Well, she had a point there. He definitely didn't. "True," he agreed. What could they do about that? "I could use your camera?" He probably wasn't as good at snapping photos as her, though. He shrugged, "Or we could take a picture together, you could send it to me!" Toby grinned, thinking he had figured out the best possible solution, and then had a better idea, "Or, you know, you could bring it to me. Sometime. And we could hang out or something?" That wasn't too weird right?
Sarah found herself biting her lip as he suggested her sending it to him (which would require an exchange of personal information in which they could totally keep in touch!) and then unable to bite back a smile as he suggested hanging out. Hanging out. Her and him. Aloooone. Okay, maybe not necessarily alone, but whatever.
“Are you asking me out?” she asked, her tone lightly teasing. Her head tilted ever so slightly to the side.
It was only after she’d said it that she realize he could 100% not have meant to ask her out and that her question could backfire, but there was no need to panic! He was flirting, right? He was definitely flirting! She wasn’t crazy! ...Was she?
Oh no! She was on to him! Wait, that was a good thing! Toby grinned and nodded as she tilted her head to the side. Gosh she was pretty. "Maaaaybe." He replied finally, "I mean, if you want to." She did want to, right? She was the one taking pictures of him after all. He knew he definitely wanted to see her again, he just hoped the feeling was mutual.
“Yeah, okay,” she agreed. She eyed him for a minute, before letting out a soft, nervous laugh and reaching for her bag. She dug around for a pen and happened upon a (purple) sharpie. She reached for his hand and jotted her number down on his palm. “Don’t smear it,” she teased.
No, really. She hoped he didn’t smear it because the odds of them running into each other again were slim, and though she knew next to nothing about him, she... liked him. He was nice- had helped her out when he certainly didn’t have to- and he was funny, a definite plus. Oh, right, and he was cute.
The tingle returned once more when she grabbed his hand. Once she was finished writing, he shook his hand to speed up the drying process. He definitely was not going to smear it. "I promise," he affirmed with a nod and a big grin. So maybe he wasn't in the band, but he'd managed to get out of the house for the night, and act like a teenager. Plus he met a cute girl. And gotten her number. If he had been on stage it never would have happened. It was fate, obviously. "I'll call you soon."
"We still have to take that picture, you know."
Okay, so what did ‘soon’ translate to? Guys had like a three day rule or something, right? She certainly shouldn’t be eyeing her phone all night, and definitely not ogling at it all day tomorrow...
But she would. She knew she would, and she let out a small laugh at herself for it.
“Oh, right. Maybe we should move out of the uh, moshpit first. Before they get upset.” Not that she didn’t think angry concert-goers in the background wouldn’t be a nice touch and all.
Nah, Toby wasn't that way. He planned on calling her as soon as possible. Who made up that three day rule anyway? It was pretty dumb. If you liked a girl, you should call her as soon as possible.
"Oh, right." He had forgotten where they were for a moment. Silly him. He couldn't hold off the mosh pit forever. Hoping it wasn't too weird or anything, he grabbed her hand and gave it a tug to lead her back through the crowd and to the slightly quieter spot where they had met.
Trying not to let herself get too giddy that Toby apparently now found it completely acceptable to hold her hand, she followed him through the mob until they managed to escape the crowd. Sarah was glad for the breathing room, and although reluctant to do so, she released his hand to retrieve her camera.
“Alright. Don’t make a squinty face,” she said with a giggle. She extended the camera out in front of them and counted down. “3.2.1.” The camera took a few quick shots, and she turned it around to examine them, letting Toby take a peek, too. “Not bad, sir.”
He was surprising himself all over the place tonight. It was just very easy to talk to Sarah, and grabbing her hand just felt like the natural thing to do. It didn't make holding her hand any less warm and tingly, but it did make letting go a little harder to do. But he managed. "No promises," Toby grimmed that crooked half smile at her again before she held up the camera and snapped a few pics.
"Not bad yourself," he agreed. If he was going to be honest, they looked pretty darn cute. Was he going to voice that opinion out loud? Maybe later. He didn't want to come on too strong. He really was starting to like her.
“Thanks,” she answered, before putting her camera away again for the last time. She eyed him for a moment, before a glance at a clock on the wall had her dragging herself back to reality. She let out a soft sigh. “I promised my mom I’d be home early.” You know, like ten minutes ago. “Um.” Her hands slid into her back pockets as she suddenly found herself nervous. “It was nice meeting you, Toby.”
Well, the moment had to come eventually.But he did have her number, so that was a plus. Saying good bye was awkward though. Was that why she seemed so nevous? "It was nice meeting you too, Sarah," he agreed. With a small smile, he held up his palm with the phone number on it, "I'll call you soon, I promise."
“Good,” she answered, matching his smile. “Then I’ll see you soon. Hopefully.” She hesitated for a moment, considering a hug and deciding (thankfully) against it.. “Bye, Toby.” Sarah moved past him and out the back doors to her car.