Authors: Ashley Wilcox
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #Young Adult
I almost choke on my beer, completely shocked by Collin’s words. I plant my heels flat on the ground, and even take a step back away from Matt. Although I’ve been wishing and praying for something bigger and better to happen between Matt and I, the word love in context to Matt is like receiving a blow to the gut–not what I was expecting at all. By no means is it a bad thing–how I’d love for Matt to have feelings for me that run as deep as love! But hearing it sends a rush of nerves throughout my body that I was not expecting to happen, especially tonight.
I can see the look of confusion on Matt’s face by my sudden blank, so I replace the straight face I’m wearing with a smile, hoping he doesn’t think that the reference Collin made freaked me out. Honestly, I’m just confused as hell. Nothing between Matt and I has ever been established and up until recently we’ve only talked online. This week has been a cluster-fuck of crazy and I have
clue where it all came from. I’m definitely not complaining. I’m just a little lost.
Letting the alcohol take the wheel, I chug down the rest of my beer and loop my arm with Matt’s. “We’re ready.”
Since Matt is the only one sober, he has been nominated as the designated driver. Apparently the beat up truck in the driveway is Matt’s so Collin offers his car which is totally different than Matt’s–a brand new Ford Mustang. I’m guessing Collin isn’t lacking in the money department which kind of goes with his
perfect look that he has going, so I’m not really shocked by what he drives.
I’d be lying if I said that I’m not jealous of him, with Summer, all curled up and snuggling in the back seat. Although the
moment back at the house is now a distant memory, having the middle console separating Matt and I right now is definitely eating at my brain. Would I even have the guts to do anything if it was us in the back and not them? I don’t know, but I’d like to think that we’d have very little space between us. I’ve never been a big drinker,
Oh yeah–I’ve never drank anything with alcohol in it
, but I definitely can’t complain about the liquid courage it’s giving me.
“What’s going on in that crazy head of yours?” Matt asks, placing his hand on my thigh and giving me a questionable grin.
Feeling my heart beat a little faster from his hand touching my leg, I respond, “What do you mean?”
“You look lost in thought,” he smiles, leaving his hand where it is.
Holy shit, I can’t even think straight with his hand on me!
“Nothing in particular,” I smile back at him.
Although my answer is vague, he must have enjoyed it because I get a little leg squeeze and he shoots me another smile before returning his eyes to the road.
Breathe, Leah. Breathe!
“Are ya stickin’ with beer, Leah? Or do ya want somethin’ else?” Collin asks after we get our cute bowling shoes on.
Even though I’m enjoying the buzz, I feel bad drinking in front of Matt so I give him a questionable look to see if he minds.
“Hell, no. I’m lovin’ drunk Leah!” Matt practically shouts with a huge grin on his face.
Is it that noticeable? Oh well. Apparently I’m a good time tonight!
I wink at Collin. “I guess I’ll have another beer then.”
After picking out the perfect bowling ball, I stand next to Matt who is typing our names on the scoreboard.
“Girls against guys, huh?” I say with a smirk, seeing Summer and I on one screen and Collin and Matt on the other.
“Oh crap. Sorry, Leah. I suck really bad,” Summer chimes in from behind us.
“Eh, no worries. We’ve got this!” I joke, looking back at her with a grin.
“Someone’s a little confident, don’tcha think?” Matt says, leaning in closer to my ear.
“I told ya, skills,” I flirt back, lifting my eyebrows for extra emphasis.
Moving in even closer, his breath caressing my face, he says in a deep, sexy voice, “You’re killin’ me, Sweetheart.”
Confused, and completely numb from my head down to my toes, I look at him puzzled.
He laughs, obviously picking up on the effect he has over me.
“Nothin’,” he answers with his heart-throbbing grin.
By the time Collin returns with our drinks, Matt has everything set up for us to start. Collin hands me my beer and I’m pleasantly surprised with the taste. Much better than the ones at Matt’s house. Maybe because this is my fourth. Wait no, my fifth.
Ugh, I’ve lost count.
“Way better then beast, huh?” Collin says, interrupting my internal conversation.
“Beast?” I ask, confused.
“Yeah, the shit we had at Matt’s house.”
So, apparently it wasn’t just me who thought it was disgusting. Maybe I’m not that drunk after all.
“Much better!” I smile, avoiding the fact that I have no clue what he is talking about.
The name of the beer was Beast?
“Whatever–that shit costs half the price of that,” Matt chimes in, pointing to the beers in our hands.
“I’d never be able to tell,” I joke sarcastically.
“Don’t you worry, Babe. I’ll make sure you’ve got your own special stash of the more expensive stuff at my house from now on,” Matt responds with a wink.
Babe? Trust me, I didn’t miss the sweetheart from earlier. It was enough to make me a swoon worthy mess, but now babe? I think I may have just died and gone to heaven.
There’s no denying the boundaries of friendship that we’re pushing at this point, and I’m hoping that the direction we’re heading in has a no return policy. The way Matt makes me feel and the way he is acting towards me tonight...I don’t think I could ever go back to just online buddies. I’ve been waiting for what feels like forever to have Matt look at me the way he is, and I think I’d be heartbroken and destroyed if it all came to a sudden halt.
Lost for words, I just give him an appreciative smile instead. Very seldom do I not have something to say, but right now is definitely one of those rare moments. I’m tongue-tide and in total awe of Matt. He does things that brings out parts of me that I never even knew existed. To say that I’m falling for him, is not even a question. I think I’ve been falling for Matt since day one, but now I’m realizing that I may stand a chance. For so long I didn’t think there was a chance in hell that Matthew Jacobs would ever go for someone like me, but I’m starting to believe that it may be possible. How? I have no frickin clue, but that’s not something I’m going to dwell on. Matthew Jacobs is showing interest in me and I’m going with it.
Although my heart is pounding and the butterflies are alive and crazy, I ignore the need to do cartwheels at my new revelation and put on a cocky smirk as I walk past Matt to pick up my ball. Time to show him how girls like me can kick guys ass in bowling. Little does he know I was in a youth bowling league until I was twelve. Obviously, it’s not something I go bragging to just anyone about, but my father was–and still is–a huge bowler and almost demanded that I at least try it out at a very young age. I was actually pretty good, and since I didn’t really have anything better to do, I stuck with it. However, when the most popular girl in my school, Holly, started dating one of my father’s friend’s son and saw me there, she made me sound like the biggest loser to the whole school because I did something as awful and dorky as participate in a bowling league.
I’m guessing you are probably noticing when my hate for stuck up bitches commenced and when I got my first detention for it. Yup, Holly Richardson learned from that day on that I don’t take shit from anyone, including popular stuck up bitches like her.
Although it’s been years since I’ve picked up a bowling ball, it’s kind of like riding a bike–something you’d never forget how to do. Holding the ball up near my face, I line my feet up on the correct markings and take my first few steps towards the pins. Releasing the ball feels as smooth as it did years ago and before I know it, all ten pins fall down.
“You’ve got to be shittin’ me?” Matt blurts out with a surprised look on his face as I turn around with a huge grin, making my way back towards them.
“You thought I was joking?” I respond with a smirk as I arrogantly walk past him, taking a seat next to Summer.
“I love it!” Summer shouts, giving me a high five. “Watch out, boys. My partner’s awesome!”
Collin looks at Matt surprised, warranting a laugh from me at how shocked they really are, but Matt just looks at him with a grin and shrugs his shoulders.
This is going to be fun!
Nine frames and two beers later, I have yet to miss a pin. Even though I’ve had a couple of perfect games in my day I’m shocked that I’m doing this well, especially under the circumstances. To say that I’m nervous walking up to grab my ball getting ready for the tenth and final frame is an understatement. At this point it’s not about kicking the boy’s asses anymore because I’ve already clearly done that. It’s the anxiety of bowling a perfect game again. Regardless of how old I am, or how nerdy bowling is, bowling a perfect game is pretty damn exciting whichever way you look at it.
“Go get ‘em, Babe,” Matt whispers in my ear, gently tapping my butt.
Nothing like breaking my concentration.
Throughout the whole game, Matt has continued to make my blood boil with desire and my heart throb with emotion. We’ve come so close to kissing a handful of times that I’m actually surprised it hasn’t happened yet.
“Thanks,” I smile back, feeling my cheeks warm from either the alcohol or having him that close to me. I’m going to go with both.
After grabbing my ball and lining up my feet, I take a deep breath and make my way towards the pins. Letting the ball fall freely from my hand, I watch it glide down the middle of the lane, just slightly to the right of the head pin and exactly where it needs to be. Low and behold, soon after making contact, all ten pins fall down.
Not being able to hold back, I jump up and down, clapping my hands with excitement. I laugh, seeing the expression on all three of their faces–they’re sitting on the same pins and needles that I am.
Walking back toward the ball return, I hover my hand over the fan to cool it down from any perspiration forming on it. Being the tenth frame, I still have two more attempts before declaring a perfect game so my nerves are flowing as I stand there and wait for my ball.
Matt comes up behind me and places his hands on my shoulders. My body instantly relaxes under his touch as I close my eyes and take in how wonderful it feels having him this close to me. I’m expecting him to say some encouraging words before I go back up to the line, but instead he just stands behind me gently massaging my shoulders.
Seeing my ball shoot up from the return, I glance back at Matt and give him a quick smile over my shoulder before stepping out of his embrace and picking up my ball. He gives me the same gentle tap on my butt as before and whispers “you got this,” before I walk up to the markings. Using my same form as before, I release the ball and I’m awarded with another strike.