Authors: Kara Leigh Miller
"Nah. I kinda screwed up my last year on the team. Blew my chance." Alex shrugged. "Time." They both did another shot.
"Shit," Donnie hissed through his teeth before chasing the shot with a swig of beer. "How'd you blow it?"
"A scout from Rygard came to one of our playoff games specifically to watch me. I didn't show up," Alex said.
"That's just plain stupid," Donnie said.
"I was trying to save my relationship with Teghan." Alex's voice was laced with defensiveness and anger.
Donnie took another drink as his mind wandered back to Teghan. He'd do anything to see her again.
"Time," Alex shouted. They did a third shot.
"So, let me get this straight." Donnie tried to point at Alex but missed. He wobbled a little then steadied himself. "You gave up the chance to play ball because of a girl?"
"She's not just any girl, man." Alex plopped down on the foot of his bed, looking heartbroken and despondent. "It's Teghan."
"I get that she's hot, but come on, dude. She dumped you. Get over it."
Alex stood up fast. The heel of his foot caught on something tucked under his bed and he fell backwards. Donnie laughed as Alex missed the bed and fell to the floor. "Time," Donnie shouted.
"Wait! I'm not ready." Alex scrambled to his feet and hastily downed his shot without taking any salt first. "Son of a bitch!" Alex gagged before he could take a bite of his lime wedge. "I need food."
Donnie looked at his watch and squinted. All the numbers were blurred. "The dining halls are closed."
"So we'll go get some pizza," Alex said.
"Alright." Donnie put his foot up on the edge of his bed and tried to tie the laces. He started to tip to one side. "Dude, I can't drive," he said after steadying himself. Wow. The alcohol was hitting him faster than he expected.
Alex doubled over in laughter. "Me either."
Donnie sat on his bed and took another small sip of his now warm beer. It tasted like shit. He couldn't remember the last time he'd drunk so much.
"Time," Alex shouted. They did a fifth shot.
"Tell me about Teghan," Donnie said, sitting on the floor, his back against his bed. He didn't really want to hear about Alex and Teghan's relationship, but he did want to know more about Teghan, so he was willing to suck it up and listen.
"I knew things were going south. I could feel it and I did everything in my power to stop it, but I just made it worse." Alex chugged another beer. "I just love her so much."
Man, Alex had it bad for this girl. He wondered what was so special about her. "Why'd you break up?"
Alex shrugged. "I don't know. She gave me a line of crap about growing up and going our separate ways. Something about wanting to have the freedom to explore her options."
"Ouch." Donnie grimaced. "What're you gonna do when she starts seeing someone?"
"I'd rather not think about that."
"She's hot, man. It's gonna happen sooner or later," Donnie said.
"Dude, show a little respect." Alex gave him a dirty look. "Time."
Donnie swallowed another shot of tequila. "What about you? There's gotta be someone you've met that you wanna hook up with." Donnie prayed that Alex hadn't been holding out for Teghan for this long.
Alex shrugged. "I always kinda had a thing for Annie." He grinned. "But that'll never happen."
"Why not?" Donnie tried to sound casual, but it was hard to do so when his only thought was trying to convince Alex to hook up with Annie so that Donnie could have a clear shot with Teghan.
"Annie would never do that to Teghan. I don't think I could either. Teghan's just too special to me."
"I'd tap that," Donnie said with a smile intended to get a rise out of Alex. And it worked too.
Alex stumbled, his face red with anger. "Teghan's not like that."
"You sure about that?"
"You're not her type anyway," Alex said, sitting on his bed.
What the hell did he mean? Donnie wondered. There wasn't a doubt in Donnie's mind that Teghan was attracted to him. She had given him 'the vibe,' and 'the vibe' was never wrong.
"Teghan isn't into smooth talking guys who only want a one-night-stand."
"And you think that's all I want?"
"What else could it be? You don't even know her," Alex said.
"Maybe I want to get to know her." Donnie folded his arms over his chest. He could feel his face getting warm, but he couldn't be sure if it was a result of the alcohol or because Alex was pissing him off. They'd just met two days ago. Who the hell did Alex think he was passing judgment on Donnie like that? They knew nothing about each other.
Alex laughed. "Good luck."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Just forget it."
Donnie glared at Alex. If Alex only knew how hard he'd been trying to forget it--to forget Teghan's face and her smile and her laugh. It was like a cat chasing its tail--fun, thrilling, and totally useless. He had it bad for Teghan, and he knew Alex did too. That made the situation extremely difficult. And the fact that Donnie had only met Teghan once made the situation completely absurd. He'd never been one to believe in love at first sight or any of that nonsense, so it really made no sense that he was bordering on infatuation with this woman already. "Why are you so determined to stay friends with her?" Donnie asked after a moment.
about her," Alex said. "Trevor is my best friend. I've known him longer than I've known Teghan or Annabelle. If I can't make amends with Teghan, I don't have a chance of keeping these friendships. And that's not an option."
"Time," Donnie said through clenched teeth. It was becoming very obvious that Alex wasn't about to let things with Teghan go easily. "You're telling me that if you and Teghan don't make nice, then Trevor and Annabelle won't be your friend?" Sounded like a bunch of high school drama to him.
"What do you care, anyway? It's not like you're ever going to see any of them again." Alex's speech was slurred.
"Thought we were gonna hang out in Hayden Falls this weekend? Isn't that where they all live?"
Alex stood up. "You really want to?"
"It's not like I've got anything better to do."
"You just want to see Teghan again," Alex accused. "I saw the way you two acted at dinner the other night. Not cool, man."
"I was just talking to her," Donnie said. He wasn't about to deny Alex's accusations. They were true. Donnie did want to see Teghan again. He wanted to hear her laugh again; to see her smile and her eyes sparkle. Oh, how he wanted to touch her and kiss her. The thought of feeling her in his arms had his dick thickening with desire. He couldn't deny that he was in lust with her. After all, he was a guy and she was a very sexy woman. It was only natural that he'd want her.
"Yeah, right." Alex rolled his eyes. "Time," he bit out.
They downed another shot. "Looks like we're out of tequila," Donnie said.
"Yup," Alex agreed. "This is lame. Let's go find something else to do."
From the corner of his eye, Donnie caught sight of the basketball tucked under Alex's bed. He walked over and picked it up. A white mailing label was affixed to it. Worn, dirty, and slightly peeling, it read: Property of Alex Anderson. If lost return to 194 Birch Lane, Hayden Falls, CA. Donnie laughed. "Seriously, dude?"
Like a petulant child, Alex grabbed the ball from Donnie's hands. "That's none of your business."
"Whoa." Donnie put his hands up in a show of surrender.
"This was the winning ball, man," Alex said, sitting on his bed, spinning the ball in his hands. "It was the first game I ever played in high school."
"It makes sense you'd want to keep it. I have the ticket stub from my last high school game. It was the only game my mom ever made it to," Donnie said.
"I had possession of the ball. Teghan was on the side lines, cheering for me." Alex looked down at the basketball. "I dribbled over to her. She told me she loved me then kissed the ball. I turned right there and from the side of half court, I took a shot."
Donnie knew he was lying. If that had really happened, it would've been called out of bounds and the other team would've gotten the ball. There was no way it could've happened like Alex said it did. But, Donnie didn't say anything about that. Instead he asked, "And you scored?"
Alex nodded. "In more ways than one." He chuckled. "That was the first night Teghan and I..." his voice trailed off.
Donnie clenched his teeth. There's no reason that information should make him feel so damn angry. But it did. The thought of another man touching Teghan had him feeling things that didn't make any sense, things he had no right to be feeling.
"I bet I could kick your ass though," Alex said, snapping out of his memory.
"I didn't realize alcohol made you delusional." Donnie laughed.
Alex stood. "I'd bet you anything, man. Name it."
A slow smile spread across Donnie's mouth. "Okay," he said slowly. "Anything, huh?"
"Yup. We'll even use my lucky ball which hasn't--"
"I'll play you for Teghan. I win, I get to take her out without any shit from you. You win, I walk away and never see her again." Donnie folded his arms over his chest. His smile faded and his heart raced as he waited for Alex to answer. He was drunk. But Alex was drunker.
"Alright," Alex said after a pause. "You're on!"
What were Alex's odds of actually winning the game? Donnie wondered as they walked toward the basketball court. He knew he
to win, because there was no way in hell he would be able to walk away from Teghan. Taking to the court on the left, they faced each other. Alex's back was to the hoop, and Donnie had the ball in his hands. He bounced it to Alex. "Here."
Alex bounced it hard back to Donnie. "I don't need any favors."
"Suit yourself." Donnie dribbled the ball a couple of times before picking it up, taking aim, and shooting. "Nothing but net," Donnie hollered.
"You have to actually hit the net for it to be nothing but net." Alex laughed.
Donnie looked over his shoulder to see the ball bouncing behind the hoop. "Shit." He jogged over and picked it up. "Your ball," he said, bouncing it to Alex. Alex took possession of the ball and made his way down the court with Donnie on his heels. He went in for the lay-up and took aim. The ball hit the backboard and bounced off the left side of the court.
"Smooth," Donnie said. He retrieved the ball and attempted another basket. It bounced off the rim, flew back toward them and hit Alex on the forehead.
"Fuck!" Alex shouted, rubbing his head.
Donnie doubled over in laughter. "I'm sorry," he gasped. "You okay?"
Alex nodded and laughed. "Where's the beer?"
"Over there." Donnie pointed toward the side of the court where he'd set the alcohol they'd brought with them.
Alex jogged over to the bottles, popped one open and took a long drink. Donnie followed Alex.
That's right, buddy. Drink up. The more you drink, the better chance I have of winning.
Donnie shook his head. What the hell was wrong with him? Why did a woman he'd only met twice have so much power over him?
"We gonna play or what?" Alex shouted.
Donnie looked around and noticed Alex was now standing on the court. Taking a drink, Donnie set the bottle down and joined Alex. "Let's do this."
~ * ~
Forty-five minutes later, the score was tied: twenty to twenty. Donnie had the ball. He was one point away, one easy shot, from getting the one thing he wanted--a date with Teghan. Yet, he hesitated taking the shot. Winning would get him Teghan. But at what cost? Sweating, panting, and fighting dehydration, Donnie knew it was time. One way or the other, it had to end. He was, after all, the one who'd made the wager and he'd live with the results. Donnie dribbled, side stepped Alex and ran down the court. Alex was behind him. Seconds later, Alex was in front of him, reaching, trying to swat the ball out of Donnie's hand. Donnie stopped, raised the ball slightly above his head and Alex jumped, knocking the ball free. Shit! If Alex made the last shot, he'd win. Donnie chased him, but it was too late. The ball was in the air one second and the next it was swishing through the netted hoop. "Fuck!" Donnie shouted. He'd just managed to lose his only chance with Teghan.
Alex doubled over and vomited on the court. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve and stood up straight. "Good game," he groaned.
"You alright, man?"
Alex shook his head as he bent over and threw up again.
"Come on." Donnie put his arm around Alex's waist and helped him stand up. "Let's get you home."
"Dude, I'm hungry."
Donnie laughed. "Food is the last thing you need. You need sleep. And maybe some coffee."
"I don't like coffee," Alex said with a chuckle.
"Okay, no coffee. But you need to sleep this off." Donnie urged Alex to walk. Alex took a few unsteady steps before he stepped on Donnie's shoelace causing Donnie to trip and fall forward. Alex went down with him. They lay on the ground, laughing uncontrollably for a few moments.