I can be pretty competitive. It depends on what it is, who’s around and if there’s a prize at the end, but even a friendly soccer game between my brothers and my friends can get a little.. Out of hand at times.. But, hopefully today, we can keep it together and avoid a fight at the end. The fights, if any, are usually between August and someone else, but I’m hoping that he can keep his cool today.
This is the first time we’ve hung out ever since I went over to his place last week, but so far he hasn’t mentioned anything about it, so neither have I. Even if I wanted to help him out of the situation he was in with Dad, I still had no idea how to do it, so for now, I think I’ll try to mind my own business like Tavish told me I should do from the beginning.. At least just until it gets out of hand, if it ever does. But, enough about that.. Today was about having a friendly game of soccer and that’s exactly what I intended this game to be. Friendly.
Our games tended to draw in a small crowd sometimes and even though it was mostly made up of our girlfriends or friends, there were some strangers that would see the game and stop by just to watch for a little while, but for now, the stands were empty. Our games tend to be pretty entertaining, though. Not only did all of our competitive natures come out during these games, but also our athletic abilities and the games can get pretty rough at times. I got kicked in the face once, if you can believe that. We tend to pull off some pretty risky moves that could cause a sprain or even a broken bone, but that’s what made them so fun. Of course, we tried to avoid these things, but.. Accidents do happen.
I was one of the strongest players, so was August, Pia and Tavish, but everyone else in the game was pretty good, too. Pia could definitely hang with the boys, but she was best at being a goalie and could block any shot that came to her. Tavish was usually always my backup to make goals, and I, his. Anthony and Ian were friends of mine and they attended the games religiously. Then there was Jiro, the one that was the baby of the game and was able to play only because he was my little brother, and mostly because he talked to Dad and Pop about it.. Even though I’ve told him to buzz off, our parents were able to convince me to be nice and let him play.
Niko was back in town solely for the game, which most of the time he can’t make because of school, but since it was the weekend and he didn’t have class or any assignments to turn in for a few days, him and AnneMarie drove out here. I loved seeing Niko and I wished I could see him more often, but the seldom times I did get to see him were that much more enjoyable. I was actually pretty fortunate to be able to see him twice in the past two weeks.
“Are we playing football rules this time, or no?” Ian asked in the circle we had made, discussing the rules. Sometimes we played tackle rules where anyone that’s on your side of the field with the ball on the opposing team can get tackled by whoever is closest to them, so you gotta be fast if you want to score that goal.
“Nah, we did that last time. And Jiro almost got his elbow broken because Anthony tackled him so hard,” I replied with a smirk and Jiro rolled his eyes.
“It wasn’t that bad,” Jiro tried to brush off and Anthony laughed as he punched Jiro’s arm playfully.
“You almost cried, little dude!”
“No I didn’t!” Jiro defended himself, but we all knew that he really did almost cry and he tried his absolute hardest not to let a single tear fall from his eye so he wouldn’t get made fun of.
“The next time that rule is in play, though, and we’re on opposite teams, you better watch out, kid,” Anthony poked fun at him and the group gave mixed laughs and chuckles as Jiro stood there a pouted.
“All right,” I added, bringing the conversation back to the game, “So, no football rules, just normal play. Everyone know their teams?” I asked and everyone nodded, “Cool. Well, let’s do this, and try to avoid being dicks to each other so we can avoid a fight.. August,” I singled him out and he mockingly gave a fake laugh before we all separated and went to our designated spots.
So far in the stands were only AnneMarie and Lien.. Dad and Pop sometimes came by to watch the games, but they weren’t here yet and I wasn’t sure if they were coming or not. I hoped they would. It was always nice seeing them on the sidelines whenever we were on a team of some sort in school when we were all little, so seeing them still come to our games now, even just-for-fun games, meant a lot.. But, then again, it was the weekend and all the kids were out of the house, which usually meant they enjoyed their alone time to do things that I didn’t dare even try to waste my time thinking about. They deserve these short breaks with one another after raising six kids, so I could safely assume they weren’t going to show up.
I started the game off with August, AnneMarie coming to the middle of the field to drop the ball in to begin it all.
“I want a clean game, boys. No rough housin’ and be nice to one another. Ya’ll seem to forget sometimes that it’s a game just for fun and ya’ll are friends,” she instructed and I chuckled.
“You got it, sweetheart,” I replied.
“Can’t make any promises, but I’ll try,” August added and AnneMarie readied herself, holding the ball out and ready to drop it, though also standing in a way where she was ready to run, knowing August and I are rough players and she needed to get out of the way as fast as she could.
“..Okay, ready? Andddd… Go!” She called out, dropping the ball and running as fast as she could off of the field.
August and I fought only a second for the ball, but I quickly got it from him and kicked it to Tavish who was already heading for their goal. Anthony was trying his best to get it from him and he eventually did before Niko could get close enough to take a shot, using a powerful kick of his to get it across the field and away from our goal. Tavish jumped to use his chest to stop it and he brought it back to the middle, more than ready to be the first team to get a point and I was right there with him. Even with only four people on a team, our games were still played at a very quick pace and taken just as seriously as a professional team, though I guess there was a little more leniency when it came to ours since we were all friends and family. Either way, it was still a blast every time because everyone always put in their best effort, aggressive or not.
I ran towards their goal and Tavish managed to launch the ball straight at me, jumping up to chest the ball like he had done to gain control of it and the second that it hit the ground, I kicked it hard into the goal straight passed Anthony and Ian and my team cheered.
“Fuck yeah, Luca!” Tavish called out.
“Woo! Already off to a good start!” Pia added from our goal and I went back to my side of the field, more than ready to do that again.
“Nice job, man,” Niko complimented and I grinned.
“Why, thank you. Why don’t you take this next one, try and impress your lady?” I implied and he smiled.
“I’ll try.. I’m not as good as you three, though,” he said modestly, but he was just as competitive as the rest of us, just way less aggressive and the only one that actually tried to avoid hurting anyone the most out of all of us. If he could be goalie every game, he would, but one of the rules was that if you were goalie the last half of the last game, you couldn’t be the goalie again in the first half of the next. It was just to keep things interesting and to mix up the game a little.. Keep things fair, for the most part.
A quarter of the way through the game, the score was already three to two and our team was winning thanks to those two goals being mine and one to Tav, and although August’s team was sticking close with us and it was hard to keep ahead of them in score for very long, we still managed to keep our team ahead. Every game, we played until one team got to ten goals and even though that seemed like a lot, if we made the score any lower, our games wouldn’t last long and we all wanted to make these monthly games worth it. We all liked making a day out of them and some of us even treated them like a vacation day because some of us had to work all the time or be at school all the time, so these games were a nice get away.
Half way through the game, I switched out with Pia, standing in front of the goal and watching the game play out in front of me, but when I noticed a head full of shiny, eye catching silver hair, I lost my focus on the ball and stared.
Damn.. AnneMarie must’ve invited her..
As she scanned the field, I looked back towards the game to make it seem as if I hadn’t noticed her yet, but out of the corner of my eye, I could tell she noticed me. When she assumed I hadn’t seen her yet and I refused to look directly at her, she then stepped over towards AnneMarie and they hugged, then sat down together to watch the game. I don’t usually get nervous about this kind of stuff and even though I didn’t think there was anything between us anymore, I hated that I still had a strong urge to impress her.
“Luca, heads up!” I heard Niko yell and I looked to the field to see Jiro coming in and kicking the ball straight at the goal, but right before it was too late to catch it, I stopped it from going in by catching it before it devastated my face.
“Ha-HA!” I said cheerfully.
“Aww, man!” Jiro whined.
“You almost made it, it was a good try, bro,” I reassured him, but he still pouted.
“Why are you the goalie? Why can’t Pia still be the goalie?” He asked and I tossed the ball at his chest roughly, Jiro letting out a sound of mild pain and the ball bounced off of him and I caught it again.
“Ow! What the fuck?!” He let out as he tried to catch his breath.
“She would’ve been able to stop that and not have taken it like a bitch, so you wouldn’t have scored, anyways.. Plus, you know our rules, we switch out half way through, so deal with it or don’t play,” I pointed out with a smirk.
“Whatever,” he replied as he rubbed his chest.
“Stop complaining and go away. We still got a game to play and the goal isn’t to bitch and moan all the time,” I instructed and he grimaced at me before jogging away from the goal and I kicked the ball back into play, launching it across the field.
The rest of the game was rough.. With me taking over as goalie for the last half of the game, I wasn’t even doing a good job at it since I couldn’t stop thinking about Riley and glancing over towards her.
Goal. Goal. Goal.
I don’t know how they were getting passed me, but they were, and I could tell everyone was getting a little frustrated with me. But, Riley was so distracting, especially in the outfit she wore. It was a simple outfit, not even all that revealing, but the memory of what she wore around me last weekend was still engraved into my mind and I knew a lot of what the clothes she wore now were hiding. I haven’t been with anyone in the week I haven’t seen her, which is something that was even surprising to me, but the build up without any release was starting to kill me inside and even a gentle breeze that would blow passed me and up my shorts made me hard.
Fuck, I need to get laid.
“Time out!” Pia yelled and I snapped back into the game instead of daydreaming about Riley.
“Why a time out?” I asked as Pia, Tavish and Niko came over to me.
“Luca, where the fuck is your head right now?” Tavish asked, ” It’s nine to six. They’re ahead by three points and it’s because you keep letting them score. They only need one more goal to win.”
“I think that’s the reason,” Niko pointed out, nodding his head over towards Riley. Tavish and Pia looked towards where he had gestured and slowly, they both smirked and looked to me.
“Oooooh, that explains it. Now I’m going to be distracted, too.. She’s super hot,” Pia replied and Tavish chuckled.
“Makes a lot more sense now,” he teased and I scoffed.
“What? I didn’t even know she was here,” I tried to defend myself and Niko laughed.
“You’ve been looking at her ever since she got here,” he continued to call out exactly what I’ve been doing, but I ignored it.
“What are you doing watching me and not the game, huh? You’re as much of the reason why we’re losing as I am. Let’s just finish this game so I can get out of here,” I expressed in annoyance.
“And where do you have to be?” Pia asked defensively, as if she knew I had nothing to do, and since she was right, I stuttered for a split second.
“N-None of your business,” I replied with a rather childish tone and Pia laughed at me as they all went back to their places on the field.
This time, I was focusing, or at least I was focusing a little better than I was a few seconds ago. I still glanced over at Riley a few times, but I didn’t nearly stare as long as I had been and I gave equal attention to her and the ball. Tavish was fighting August for the ball, but August soon prevailed and came straight for me and the goal. Pia and Niko tried to stop him, but Ian and Anthony helped clear him a path by blocking them off and when August was about twenty feet from the goal, he completely psyched me out. He acted as if he was going left and so did I, but when I noticed he was faking me out and going right instead, it was too late. I slipped on the grass trying to fix my error and the ball flew passed me, brushing against the tip of my middle finger and straight into the goal.
“Dammit..” I let out in defeat as I continued to lie on the ground and August cheered for himself and his team and their victory.
Tavish, Pia and Niko came over to me and looked down at me on the ground.
“I’m sorry,” I said with a large sigh.
“It’s no big deal, you were really close at stopping it. Augie’s really good at those fake out’s, that’s all,” Niko said with a warm smile.
“Yeah, I know. I noticed what he was doing too late and I fucked up,” I continued.
“Well, now that the game’s over, you can go and do whatever it is that was so important,” Pia teased and I chuckled, Niko holding out his hand, wanting to help me up from the ground and I accepted it, standing to my feet.
“Good game, guys. Next month I’ll do better,” I replied, grabbing the ball from the goal and walking over to the bench I had left my bag on.
As I packed up a few of my things, Niko and AnneMarie came over to me to say goodbye.
“Well, we’re headed out,” Niko began and I zipped up my bag before looking to him.
“Always good seeing you, bro. Until next month, yeah?”
“Yup, until then.”
“And don’t forget about me. You can call me from time to time, you know.. We still have to discuss when you kids are getting married so I know when to plan the bachelor party,” I said with a grin and Niko smiled.
“Don’t worry, I’ll call you soon to keep in touch. And AnneMarie and I still have to talk about a date, so I’ll get back to you on the whole bachelor party thing,” he answered and I nodded.
“AnneMarie.. Always good to see you,” I added and she came in for a hug.
“Likewise, Luca,” she replied, but hesitated a moment after our hug ended, “You know.. Riley said that your guys’ date went well, but she hasn’t heard from you since. Is she wrong in thinkin’ it went okay?” She asked and I sighed softly.
“N-No, it, uh.. It did go good, I just haven’t had a chance to call her again,” I lied, “I had a few appointments during the week and I’ve been a little exhausted, that’s all.”
“Oh, well, you should tell her that, because she’s gettin’ that feelin’ again like you’re not interested,” she pointed out.
“She still is?” I asked and she nodded.
“Of course she is! I talked to her the day after and she said she had a great time and couldn’t wait for another date,” she explained and I was surprised.
“..She said that?”
“Yeah! What, did ya think she wasn’t interested anymore after that date?” She asked and eventually, I admitted it.
“Well, yeah, kind of..”
“You two really need to learn to communicate better,” she said jokingly, “Both of you are feelin’ the same thing when both of you couldn’t be more wrong.. Talk to her, you’ll see,” she advised and I nodded in agreement.
“I will.. Thanks.”
“See ya, Luca,” Niko said with a smile and AnneMarie gave me a smile, as well, before they both walked away to the parking lot.
Tavish and Pia came over to me after everyone else had gone, though Riley was still sitting on the bleachers not too far from me, waiting for me, no doubt.
“Hey, we’re gunna go grab some drinks. Do you and your sexy lady friend wanna come with?” Pia teased and I smirked.
“Not now. I’m going to sit here for a bit and talk with her. Maybe we’ll meet you guys there later, just text me and let me know where you two end up,” I replied and she nodded.
“Want me to take your stuff home so you don’t have to worry about it?” Tavish offered and I smiled.
“Thanks, man, but I got it.”
“All right. I hope you meet up with us later,” he answered.
“You better come out, it’ll be fun!” Pia added and Tavish wasn’t expecting her to jump onto his back for a piggy back ride, but he caught her after a second of catching on.
“I’ll see what she wants to do. Maybe I’ll see you guys later,” I answered and Tavish carried Pia back to his car.
Well, the moment I was nervous about was finally here, but, what made me a little less nervous about talking to Riley was what AnneMarie had told me. I shouldn’t have assumed everything went to shit after I had left Riley’s house and I shouldn’t have avoided talking to her and just found out for myself what she thought of the date.. I need to get it through my thick skull that it was a date, not something that was only meant to last a night and getting turned down for something as serious as sex on the first date really wasn’t out of the ordinary.
I threw on a clean backup shirt I pulled out of my bag and left my stuff on the bench, taking a deep breath as I looked over at Riley and finally walked over to her.
“Hey,” I began and she looked up at me.
“Hi,” she said softly, a smile on her lips.
“Can I sit?” I gestured towards the seat and she nodded.
“Of course,” she answered and I smirked nervously as I then sat down next to her.
“How’d you like the game?” I started the conversation with something less interesting than what we should really be talking about.. Us.
“Well, from what I saw, it was pretty excitin’. Your brothers and friends are all pretty competitive. I thought you’d be just the same, but you seemed pretty laid back standin’ in front of the goal,” she pointed out and I assumed she only saw the second half of the game where I was too distracted by her to do good anymore.. I usually always aimed to impress when I had the chance to, but my performance in the last half was anything but impressive.
“Yeah, well.. I wasn’t really into playing this one, I guess. I don’t like being goalie, so I don’t try as hard as I should,” I made up an excuse and she nodded in understanding.
“I never knew you had such a big tattoo, as well. I only noticed the one on your arm last weekend, but you had your chest hidden. I was a bit surprised when I saw it. Didn’t know it was you at first,” she brought up, still holding a smile on her lips.
“You don’t like chest pieces?”
“No, no, I’m ain’t sayin’ that. I’m just sayin’ that I was surprised, that’s all. It seemed interestin’, but you were too far away on the field, I couldn’t tell what it was of..”
“Well, maybe I’ll give you a close up of it someday,” I couldn’t help but flirt, seeing her cheeks flush a soft pink and her view went to the grass in front of her. I’ve heard that remark from a lot of different women already, it was a good ‘in’ for them to flirt with me, but in my reply, I’d usually switch the word ‘someday’ with the word ‘tonight’. The reply I gave to Riley was out of my control and it just rolled off of my tongue, I don’t think I could’ve held it back even if I wanted to.
“So.. AnneMarie tells me that you had fun on our date,” I began and she nodded as she continued to look down at the grass.
“I did, yes.. But, by how I hadn’t heard from you, I didn’t think you did.. Am I wrong?” She asked, looking up from the grass over to me.
“Yeah.. I had fun, too,” I replied, seeing her smile grow warmer and I couldn’t help but smile, as well, by how pleased she seemed to hear me say that.. But, I felt as if I should tell her the truth on why I hadn’t called her sooner.
“Look, I, uh.. I’ll be honest. I didn’t think you were interested because I might’ve been too aggressive and I wanted to apologize for that,” I said truthfully and her cheeks went a slight pink again as her eyes went right back to the ground.
“Oh, Luca, you don’t need to apologize-”
“-No, I do.. I don’t really date, like, at all, and it’s been a really, really long time since I ever even considered dating again. I’m used to, uhm, different company that doesn’t involve anything serious later on, so.. I, uhm.. Well, the truth is.. I was really bummed getting turned down that night. So much to the point where I overthought everything and assumed you didn’t like me as much as I thought you did.. Usually my behavior is welcomed, but when you told me to stop, it just.. Caught me off guard, I guess,” I explained.
“So, you worked hard with no reward.. You ain’t used to bein’ turned down, is that what you’re sayin’?”
“More or less.. Yeah,” I admitted in slight embarrassment.
“Well, thank you for tellin’ me that and I appreciate the honesty, but just because I turn you down doesn’t mean I don’t like you, and just because you told me that, doesn’t mean I won’t turn you down in the future, too, if you try anythin’ again that I ain’t ready for. I’m not goin’ to pity you just because you’re sad you didn’t get laid and I don’t feel guilt when turnin’ a man down,” she said with a grin and I chuckled. I actually admired that and it make me like her more.
“And, since we’re bein’ honest.. I thought that you weren’t interested anymore because I turned you down. When AnneMarie invited me to the game today, I had already convinced myself you were just some kinda pig, but I decided to come anyways and when I saw you on the field, I didn’t think that was the truth anymore. I was nervous to see you and a little angry, but, I figured I owed it to myself to talk to you and see where things might’ve gone wrong before tryin’ to get you outta my head, so I came.. You actually played well in the first half,” she admitted and I loved everything that she had said, warmed by her words, even the insults.. It told me that even though she had some bad thoughts about me, I was still on her mind.
“..So, you did see the first half of the game?” I asked and she nodded.
“I did,” she said with a sly smirk as she looked at me, “Please, tell me if I’m wrong, but I wasn’t the one that made you laid back during the second half, was I?” She put emphasis on her words, knowing that what she really meant was to say ‘distracted’ and I chuckled.
“And if I said you were?” I asked with my own sly grin and she giggled softly.
“Then I’d be awfully flattered, although I’d feel bad, too, since I’m pretty much the reason why your team lost today,” she replied and I shook my head, disagreeing with her.
“Well, you were right. I was distracted by you, but no, I’m the reason we lost today, not you. I’m even a little surprised the game didn’t come to an overall standstill when you walked up,” I complimented, my eyes traveling down her body as she faced towards the ground again with pink cheeks and a smile on her lips.
“I’ve thought about you every day since last Saturday, you know,” I spoke quietly only to her even though there was no one else around to hear me.
“What about me?” She challenged and I snickered.
“I don’t think you’d like me anymore if I told you,” I replied and she laughed softly.
“And just what does that mean, huh?” She asked.
“Only good things, don’t worry.. And you can’t act so surprised, I was laying it on you pretty hard that night and you looked so gorgeous.. How could I not think of you?” I added and she let out a slightly nervous laugh, “And you can’t even act like you haven’t thought about me every day since, too, right?” I asked back with words abundant in self esteem and she smiled.
“And what if I say I hadn’t?” She wondered and I put my hand over my heart.
“Damn, babe.. That hurts,” I said with a fake, pained expression and she giggled again.
“Fine. Maybe I had thought of you every day, but with each day you went without talking to me, the thoughts got meaner,” she admitted and I laughed.
“I guess I deserve that.. But, the phone goes both ways, you know,” I pointed out and she slowly began to nod.
“..You’re right. Let’s just both admit we messed up and leave it at that,” she concluded, looking over at me with a sweet smile.
“Sounds fair,” I answered, observing her prepossessing skin of her legs that shined in the sun, her alluring hair and enchanting green eyes that shined just the same, and I noticed all over again how completely beautiful she was.
“My roommates are going out for a drink.. They invited me along and want me to bring you.. You interested?” I asked and she nodded almost immediately.
“I’d love to.. Are your roommates the ones that were playin’ soccer with earlier?”
“Yeah, Tavish and Pia,” I replied and she seemed a little confused at first.
“Oh.. From your team? I assumed one of the boys from the other team, but.. You live with a woman?” She seemed a little concerned, but I didn’t blame her since she didn’t know Pia.
“Don’t worry, we’ve been best friends since freshman year of high school and she’s like a sister to me. Even if she wasn’t, I don’t have the right stuff between my legs. I guarantee she finds you way more attractive than she finds me,” I pointed out and she gave a rather surprised smile.
“Oh. Well, that’s a little relief then,” she answered and we both stood from the bleachers to walk back to my car.
“..Isn’t it a little too early into this for you to be getting jealous already?” I asked with a sly grin, nudging her playfully and she scoffed.
“I am not jealous. And why would I be? This is only our second time hanging out.. We aren’t even that serious yet,” she pointed out and I kind of liked how she used the word ‘yet’.
“So, you’re dating other people while trying things out with me?” I asked and she looked at me as if I had insulted her.
“Oh my Lord, of course not! Didn’t AnneMarie already tell you that I don’t know anyone ’round here? I only know you, her, your family and a few clients from the salon, that’s it.. I’m there so much during the week that I don’t have time to go out, and when I do, it’s on the weekends and I usually just stay home.”
“Or go out with me,” I added with another grin and a proud nudge and she smiled.
“..For the past two weekends, yes.”
“Well, then hopefully we can have as much fun tonight as we did before so I can see you again next weekend. And of course, if you can’t wait until then, just call me and I’ll come right over. I’m sure we can think of something fun to do,” I teased and she giggled.
“I think our ideas of fun, at the moment, are wildly different,” Riley joked back, stopping at the passengers side of my car and I stopped with her.
“All right, then give me some examples,” I requested and she thought for a moment.
“Hmm.. Mini golfin’, goin’ to the beach and swimmin’.. Snorkelin’ and maybe even fishin’,” she named a few things.
“That’s all you got? What are we doing, going on a vacation with our parents?” I teased again and she smiled as she shoved my arm playfully, “Hey! What’s that for?”
“Don’t you be makin’ fun of the things I like! Besides, I’m almost afraid to ask what your kind of fun is,” she said humorously and I stepped closer to her.
“I’d be more than happy to show you,” I spoke smoothly, looking down at her lips briefly before looking back up to her eyes.
“I think I’d let the suspense kill me before I’d agree to that,” she replied, not going for any of my flirting or advances and she really did seem to have her do’s and don’t in order. This ‘hard to get’ game she was playing was killing me, but.. For some reason, I really liked it.
“Mind if we stop at my place so I can take a quick shower? I feel like I smell and should change,” I wondered with a soft laugh, “And I won’t even joke and ask if you want to join me.. Of course, unless you want to, then feel free,” I continued and she looked at me with smirk, though her eyes were scolding me.
“You can shower, but I’m definitely not joinin’ you,” she replied and I laughed, Riley putting her hand to my chest and giving me a gentle push so she could open the passenger side door to get in my car. A smile was cemented on my lips as I walked around my car and tossed my bag in the back, getting in, revving up the engine and driving us back to my place.
When we got to my house, Riley and I got out of my car and walked up the steps.
“You live here?” She seemed skeptical.
“It’s huge..?” She added with surprise and I chuckled.
“Well, it wasn’t always a house. It used to be a law firm or something run by this guy and his two sons, but when they left, we all pitched in and bought it from them ’cause it was pretty cheap. We fixed it up a little and with a lot of help from my savings, it turned into this,” I explained as we approached the door, taking out my keys and unlocking it.
“It looks amazin’. You guys did a great job,” she complimented as she looked around after we came inside.
“Thanks.. Tavish and I added a few walls to help separate the place, although this is mostly Pia’s work as far as decorating. A woman’s touch is one of the best things in this world, wouldn’t you say?” I asked, shooting her a quick grin and she rolled her eyes with a smile.
“Go take your shower,” she brushed off my comment and I chuckled as I began walking upstairs.
“Fine, I’m goin’.. Make yourself at home, I’ll be back in ten minutes,” I answered and she gave me a quick smile before giving herself a tour of the place as I went up to the bathroom.
I quickly rid myself of my clothes, cleaning my hair and my body hastily under the water so I had time for some relief after today. No matter how much or how little I flirted with Riley and got nothing in return, not being able to have her was beginning to build up and although I’ve taken care of myself during the week without seeing her, seeing her today made it build up all over again. Normally by now I would’ve gotten off with a handful of women, but I couldn’t do that when Riley was the only one that clouded my mind and no one else would do. Instead of seeking relief with someone else while thinking of her, I started taking care of things myself. It just seemed easier that way.
Getting hard was no problem since all day today I’ve been trying to fight it back and the warm water with the help of Riley’s lips and body on my mind instantly got me there. I shut my eyes and took a hold of myself, stroking slowly at first as I thought about Riley lying on my bed completely naked, starting at her mouth and imagining her biting her bottom lip in anticipation to my touch. Begging for it. Her neck, her bare shoulders, her clavicle, her breasts that lay so perfectly as I knelt on my bed before her. Her tight, lean, soft stomach. Long, smooth legs that I spread open myself to reveal her tight, moist warmth that I can barely wait to dive into. I imagine myself falling over her, my lips going straight to hers and I kiss her hard as I guide myself into her using only my hips’ sense of direction and there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I knew exactly where I’m going and how to get there. I’ve had too much practice to not know exactly what my hips needed to do and I didn’t need guidance by anything else.
How I imagine what she might feel like inside makes me breathe harder, makes me stroke faster. I plant my hand on the shower wall for leverage as I continue to shut my eyes tightly and think of Riley and how hard and fast I wanted to thrust into her. She’s panting. Moaning. Saying my name. Clenching the bed sheet under her. The warm water from the shower with the help of my clenched hand painted me a perfect picture in my mind of what she might feel like and the harder I went in my mind, the closer and closer I got to coming against the tile wall.
“Ahh, fuck, just a little more,” I told myself just above a whisper in a slightly desperate tone, now going full force at my thoughts and fucking Riley silly until I imagined her telling me she was close to coming. I squeezed myself a little harder to imitate the feel of her insides tightening from reaching her climax and with a few more rough strokes, I came against the tile wall of the shower and I hummed a long moan at the intense feeling of my own release.
God damn, did I need that. Knowing she was here in the house, too, made it a little more exciting.
I panted heavily as I stood in the shower, finally opening my eyes as I now put both of my hands against the wall to hold myself up and I watched as the evidence of my release was slowly washed away from the hot water that continued to pour over me. After it was all gone, I finally was able to stand normally and support myself on my own two legs without the need of the wall, reaching up to pull my hair back and let the water wash over me for one last minute before turning the faucet off and stepping out.
After rubbing down my hair a little and drying some of my body, I wrapped the towel around me and walked out of the bathroom, but I stopped in the hallway when I noticed my door was open. Riley was brave enough to venture into my room without asking? She better be wearing next to nothing and lying on my bed if she thinks she can just barge into my room like that.. I know I told her to make herself at home, but.. Really? She went as far as my bedroom?
I stepped up to the open door and looked in, seeing her looking out my window closest to my bed and I leaned against the frame of the door as I watched her.
“You really took ‘make yourself at home’ pretty literally, I see,” I spoke and she turned around quickly.
“Oh, I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to invade your space or anythin’.. I was just kind of curious about what your room looked like,” she replied, seeing her eyeing my body for a moment before turning her attention to the ground.
“How’d you know this was my room?”
“It smelled like your cologne,” she replied and I was a little flattered by the fact that she had memorized it already.
“You got a good nose,” I complimented with a smile and she looked back up to me with a smirk on her lips.
“How was your shower?” She wondered and I stepped up to my dresser.
“Very relaxing,” I put simply, undoing my towel and letting it drop to the floor.
“Ah! Luca! Why did you do that?!” She exclaimed in a panic and I looked over my shoulder to see her covering her eyes.
“Drop the towel!”
“Hey, this is my room. If you’re going to invade my space, you best be ready for what I like to do in it, and what I like, is to get comfortable enough after my shower to change into my clothes. I can’t get dressed with my towel still on, now can I?” I put simply and she still seemed rattled.
“You couldn’t have asked me to leave?!”
“Where’s the fun in that?”
“J-Just.. Just put some clothes on, please!” She requested and I simply turned around and leaned against my dresser.
“All right, all right.. There.. You can look now,” I replied and she dropped her hands, but instead of seeing what she expected to, I gave her a full frontal and she gasped.
“Oh, my God! LUCA!” She exclaimed again and I laughed as she put her hands back over her eyes and turned around as fast as she could, “What the hell?!” She asked and I continued to laugh.
“Hey, I warned you.. My space, sweetheart. Don’t be surprised by anything I do, you asked for it by coming in here,” I continued to justify my actions.
“So this is what you do in your ‘space’? You flash women your genitals?”
“That’s usually what happens if there’s a woman in my room, yeah,” I agreed with a slight attitude, “But, most of the time the lack of clothes I have on is more expected and welcomed rather than shocking.. Although, no, some women have been pretty shocked, actually, when I drop my pants.. It’s a compliment, really, so I guess I should thank you for your reaction,” I said with a grin, turning back to my dresser and picking out some clothes to wear for real this time.
“You’re unbelievable.. I can’t believe you just did that..”
“Did you like what you saw?” I asked with an ego that my room could barely contain and she scoffed.
“You’re a jerk, you know that?” She expressed with a little annoyance in her tone.
“What? How?” I asked, perplexed by her words as I slid a pair of underwear up my legs and secured them around my hips.
“Just because,” she answered and I chuckled as I slid a pair of pants on next, then threw a plain shirt.
I stepped over towards her and stopped an arms length away, “You can look now, no more surprises,” I assured her, but she didn’t budge.
“I don’t believe you,” she replied with a stern tone.
“I promise.. You can even kick me in the nuts if I’m lying. Free shot,” I offered and I heard the tiniest giggle from her that I assumed she probably didn’t want or expect me to hear.
“I wouldn’t do that.. I’d leave and never come back, that’s what I’d do,” she threatened, but I knew she was bluffing.
“Okay, fine, do whatever you want. Just turn around, please?” I answered.
Riley ever-so-slowly looking over her shoulder, removing her hands from over her eyes and she looked me up and down quickly, seeing that I was telling the truth.
“See? I don’t break promises,” I added and I wasn’t sure if she was acting angry despite hearing her giggle a little just moments ago, or if she was actually a little angry with me now.
I stepped closer to her, closing the gap between us and I reached to touch her hips, expecting to be pushed away, but surprisingly, I wasn’t.
“Hey.. I’m sorry, okay? A lot of the time, I don’t think before I do things,” I apologized with a slight smirk, slowly wrapping my arms around her.
“Well, maybe you should start usin’ that brain a’yours a little more often when I’m around,” she scolded and even her angry face couldn’t get me to stop smiling.
“I kinda like when you’re angry.. You pucker up your lips a little like you just ate something sour,” I pointed out and her cheeks turned a light pink.
“I do not,” she defended and I laughed softly.
“Yes, you do, and it’s adorable,” I complimented, pulling her in a little more and pressing my lips against her cheek that lasted only a few seconds, “You ready to go?” I wondered and she nodded with a smile, pulling herself from my grasp and I followed her out of my bedroom and back outside to my car.
As I drove Riley and myself to meet up with Pia and Tavish, I kept glancing over towards Riley, seeing how relaxed she was in my car like she was already used to it. Legs crossed, arms and hands limp, her face relaxed as her eyes scanned both things close and far away, as if not wanting to miss a single inch of anything. My favorite, however, was watching her hair be tousled around by the wind that blew into the car and there wasn’t a single inhale I took in that didn’t have her scent all over it. I enjoyed how she looked at the world with such a sense of wonder and amazement and not as if she were bored seeing palm trees over and over again.
“The trees and the ocean are my favorite,” she spoke softly, turning her head towards me and giving me a quick smirk before looking back out the window.
“You’ve never see a palm tree or the water?” I somewhat joked and she looked back over to me.
“Well, I saw the water when I was a little girl. My mom once drove me down to Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico, so I saw the water, but palm trees don’t grow down there. So, I guess, yeah, I’ve never seen a palm tree before I moved here, and I absolutely love them,” she continued, keeping the smirk on her face the entire time she talked and it was easy to see that she really did genuinely enjoy her choice in moving here.
Suddenly, I didn’t want to go to the party anymore. For the first time in a long, long while, I actually wanted to, well.. Just talk.
“Change of plans,” I announced, taking a turn down a different road when I was meant to keep going straight.
“Where are we goin’?” She asked with the same smirk on her lips, curiosity evident in her brows.
“It’s a surprise.. Do you want me to tell you where, or can you trust me?” I asked, giving her a quick grin and she gave me a suspicious smile.
“If it’s anything like the surprise you gave me in your bedroom, then no,” she replied and I laughed.
“No, no, nothing like that.”
“Well, all right then,” she agreed, putting her view back out the window and I kept my excited grin as I continued down the road of changed plans.
Before taking Riley to the surprise location, I stopped at a liquor store and grabbed a nice bottle of wine for us to share. She gave me another suspicious smile as I gave it to her to hold onto, but I didn’t say a word as I continued on our way to where I wanted to take her, as well as a place I knew she wanted to go.
When we were finally there, I pulled into a small dirt path meant for a single car to park and Riley looked to me with a rather happy face.
“Is this the dock?” She asked and I nodded.
“Yup.. You still wanted to come here sometime, right?” I asked and she nodded with a strong sense of enthusiasm, “Well, let’s go,” I added, shutting my car off and getting out as she opened her own door and did the same.
“I should warn you that it’s a lot more boring here without a huge group of people to get drunk with, but it’s still nice,” I pointed out as we walked up to the dock and she shook her head, disagreeing with me.
“I think it’s beautiful and romantic and I like it better without a lot of people. It’s quiet, you can listen to the ocean and relax, and we don’t need a ton of people to get drunk with. I don’t mind spending the night alone with you, anyhow,” she replied and I gave her a rather mischievous brow with an accompanied grin on my lips and she suddenly changed her expression, “Don’t you look at me like that. You know exactly what I meant, so.. Whatever you’re thinkin’, stop thinkin’ it,” she disciplined me and I couldn’t help but give a quick chuckle.
“Yes, ma’am,” I replied as I bit my bottom lip and checked her out without her noticing.
When we reached the edge of the dock, we stopped and looked out onto the water, standing there and listening to the ocean for a moment together.
“Thanks for takin’ me here. I already think this is a lot more fun than a party where I won’t know a single soul,” she expressed and I nodded.
“Sure thing.. Besides, I’d just be introducing you to people and I doubt you’d remember every single person’s name. Who knows if you’d even get any drinking in or even have any fun at all. Plus, the moment Pia met you, I bet she’d drag you away from me somewhere and that just won’t do,” I replied with a coy smoulder and even now, I could see her cheeks turn a soft rose hue. Riley then peaked over the edge of the dock and a gentle gasp came from her.
“My gosh.. This is the dock you were talkin’ about where you were drunk and fell off with Niko, right?” She asked and I nodded again.
“Yup. Long fall, huh?” I asked rhetorically, seeing her continue to look over the edge and I grinned as a playful prank came to my mind.
I took a strong hold of her hips and pushed her forward a little, “Don’t fall!” I said, but quickly pulled her back so she wouldn’t and she let out a quick, quiet, panicked scream before whipping her body around and clinging to me. I couldn’t help but laugh as she held me, knowing she was trying to figure out what the hell just happened, and when she finally did, she released me and hit my chest.
“You really are a jerk! You know that!?” She expressed in both anger and relief.
“I’m.. I’m sorry,” I tried to speak through my continued laughter, “I just saw the opening and couldn’t pass it up,” I continued and she hit my chest again before I managed to put my hands up to try and block the blows.
“My heart’s beatin’ so fast right now! Good lord,” she continued and I finally managed to die down my laughing enough to speak clearly.
“Okay, okay, stop hitting me, I’m sorry! I’ll never do that again, I promise, it was just a joke!” I said with a apologetic smile, trying to get her to not be mad at me and when I noticed a gentle twitch of a smirk on the edge of her lips, I held out my hands to invite her into my arms.
“Come here,” I invited and she slowly stepped over towards me.
“You ain’t gunna try to push me again, right?” She stopped to ask just before she was within my reach and I chuckled.
“No, never again,” I assured her as I leaned forward so then she was within my reach and I grabbed her hips, pulling her the rest of the way into me and securing my arms around her. Riley put her arms around me, as well, although her lips puckered a little like I’ve noticed they do when she was a little angry.
“Aww, are you still mad at me?” I asked as I observed her face, though she shook her head.
“..Just tryin’ to get my heart to stop racin’, that’s all,” she expressed with a slightly embarrassed smirk and now I was genuinely starting to feel bad.
“I’m sorry.. I didn’t think it would scare you that much, but it was a stupid joke and I shouldn’t have done it,” I apologized again, but she shook her head as she looked down to my chest.
“It’s all right, it just startled me, is all.. How about I get the wine from the car? You still seem to like makin’ me a little nervous, so.. Maybe that’ll help me loosen up a bit,” she admitted, her eyes coming back up to meet mine and I nodded.
“Yeah, sure. I actually forgot about it.. I left my car open,” I replied and let her go, watching as she smiled and let go of me, too, then walked back down the dock and back to my car.
I liked how she admitted she was still nervous around me, because I was still a little nervous around her, too, even though I never really seemed like it. Her being nervous made me feel like she still liked me a decent amount and was still willing to put up with my stupid jokes, and really, overall stupidity, which was nice.
Although I liked that she was getting the wine so she could loosen up to be on my level of apparent relaxation, I suppose I should do some compromising, too, and not be so loosened up to the point where it seems like I don’t care. I needed to try and stop playing it this cool because it reminded me of how I was with other girls, ones that I would only know for a single night, and I constantly needed to remind myself that she wasn’t one of them.. At least I didn’t want her to be.
When I noticed Riley coming back, a smile grew on my lips as I watched her trying to figure out how to open the bottle, but it was no use.
Riley handed it off when she reached me, “You got a cork screw?” She asked and I thought for a quick moment, then patted my legs looking for my keys, knowing I had a mini pocket knife attached to them that had a mini cork screw on it and I took the bottle as I pulled my keys out of my pocket. Flipping out the cork screw with my thumbnail, I began twisting it in and when it couldn’t go anymore, I put the bottle between my knees and pulled. A loud ‘pop!’ came from the bottle once I’d opened it and I handed it back to Riley as I tossed out the cork and returned my keys to my pocket.
“We’re just drinkin’ outta the bottle since we don’t have any cups, right?” She asked and I chuckled.
“Yup.. I guess I forgot to pick up some plastic ones while I was at the store,” I replied and she shrugged, not caring at all.
“What should we toast to?” She wondered as she observed the bottle and I thought for a short moment.
“Hmm.. To avoiding a potentially awkward and crowded party.. And having a second first-date that isn’t a blind one, instead,” I offered up and a warm smile came to her lips as she looked to me.
“I like that.. Cheers,” she replied, taking a quick swig of the bottle and handing it off to me as I then took a quick chug, as well.
I stepped over to the edge of the dock and sat down, letting one leg hang off the edge and the other lying comfortably on the dock and Riley came to the edge, too, and joined me in sitting. She hung both legs off, staring off into the ocean and I figured I should think of something to talk about since I was the one that decided to suddenly change our plans and choose to be alone.
“Do you remember any more of that day your mom took you to Mobile Bay?” I asked, bringing up the subject she was talking about in the car and Riley took another sip of the wine before setting it down.
“Yeah, I do.. I was about eight years old and my daddy had just passed about six months prier,” she began and I already felt bad for bringing it up again.
“Oh.. I’m sorry to hear that,” I added before she continued and she looked at me with a genuine smile.
“It’s all right, I’ve come to peace with it. He was very sick, so it was only a matter of time,” she looked back to the ocean, “But, that trip with my momma helped me recover from the loss, in a way.. My momma did everythin’ to distract me from grievin’ and she did a good job. The months after he died were rough, but, eventually my momma was thinkin’ that we need to move on and experience the world a little more like my daddy loved doin’ instead of bein’ sad all the time.. She’d cry alone by herself sometimes, like she didn’t want me to see it. I knew she was havin’ a hard time, we both were, but I think she mostly put it behind her for my sake. She wanted me to be strong, so she had to set an example..”
“My parents first date was at Mobile Bay, actually, and she even took me to the seafood place that they had gone to on the shore that made the best crayfish dinners and pecan pies.. I absolutely loved goin’ there and eatin’ the same meal they fell in love over,” a bigger smile came to Riley’s lips and it was contagious, a smile spreading on my lips, as well. Her voice and the way she described things made me think I was listening to a narrator in the first opening scenes of an old, southern love story, or something like the opening to the movie Fried Green Tomatoes that Pia forced me to watch with her. It was actually quite soothing listening to Riley talk and I didn’t mind listening to her one bit.
“What did your dad do? If you don’t mind me asking,” I wondered and she looked over to me.
“He was a butcher, a farmer, a fisherman, a tractor and heavy machinery mechanic.. Pretty much anythin’ that had to do with farm work, he did it. When I mentioned him experiencin’ the world, I meant that he would catch his own fish and crayfish, butcher his own born and raised cows, chickens, pigs, and what-have-ya and go around to so many different towns, cities and states and try to get them to buy their product from him. Everything he did was clean and natural, no added anythin’ to the feed of the animals or in the water he used to grow his crops. He was a kind, gentle, but very persistent man and he had an amazin’ way of talkin’. You ever heard of the sayin’ a good businessman can sell a ketchup popcycle to a woman in white gloves?” She asked and I shook my head, though it did paint a pretty good picture at how good he was, “Well, that’s exactly what he could do.. Every place he’d visit, too, he’d always bring me home a souvenir. My momma then took over the business after he passed and has kept it goin’ ever since. He built it up so good for us that whatever you find in a grocery store in the southeast is probably from our farm,” Riley finished and I took a quick sip of the wine before addressing her words.
“Damn.. With all that on his back, he must’ve been working twenty-four-seven,” I pointed out and she giggled softly.
“Dawn to dusk. Momma and I would help, of course, but it was hard work. She had to hire a few people for help after he was gone because he did so much around there that her and I combined couldn’t even do half of what he did.. But, luckily we could afford it thanks to him bein’ the good businessman he was and gettin’ the farm some buyers for our products before he was gone,” she answered.
“Well, he sounds like he was an amazing man,” I complimented and she smiled with a nod.
“Thank you.. He was,” she answered, grabbing the bottle of wine and taking a generous sip of it.
“So, then.. What made you want to become a beautician? You didn’t want to work on the farm anymore?”
“Well, I’d always loved hair and nails and fashion and all that stuff ever since I was a little girl. There wasn’t much of a fashion scene in Maycomb, so when I saw stuff like beautiful celebrities in magazines and on TV with these perfect nails, perfect hair, perfect makeup, I kind of became obsessed with it because it was just so different from what I was raised ’round.. I used to always take tiny paintbrushes and paint my Barbie dolls’ nails, or take scissors and try to cut and style their hair,” she laughed at herself in such a cute way that it made me smile more, “I even cut our dogs hair, put bows in it, and painted their nails when daddy wasn’t lookin’. Man, they would be so pretty, though, running around all dolled up chasin’ the sheep,” she continued her laugh and I joined in with a genuine chuckle from picturing it. Seeing her this happy talking about where she came from and looking back on her past made my heart race a little. Every smile, every laugh, every look she gave me when talking about it was so pure and honest and if she talked about it for hours and hours more, I don’t think I’d mind.
“What’s the craziest thing you’ve done? By yourself, with AnneMarie, anything,” I asked next and she thought for a moment before answering me.
“You know what a longhorn is?” She asked and already I was a little weary.
“Well.. We had this one named Pinky, but don’t be fooled by the name. He was huge, and so were his horns. My daddy let me name him when I was real young and he was all black with a bright pink snout, so that’s why, but.. We pretty much grew up together and one day, I wanted to try to ride him,” she explained and my eyes widened.
“Holy shit.. Were you able to?”
“Oh my Lord, of course not!” She said with a gentle laugh, “He was big and mean and hated everyone but my daddy. I don’t know what I was thinkin’.. But, when we were dumpin’ the feed off the back of the pick-up we had, he was walkin’ along the side of the truck and when my daddy wasn’t lookin’, I climbed over and jumped on his back. Huuuu-wee, did Pinky get mad.. He let my daddy pet him, so at first, for a split second, he didn’t notice because he was eatin’.. He probably just thought it was my daddy pettin’ him, but when he turned his head a little, he suddenly noticed me and the very second that Pinky made a fuss, my daddy saw me, too, and dropped the feed and grabbed me off of his back before he could lash about to get me off. Pinky sliced some pretty good gashes into the side of the truck from his horns, and the idea to ever try that again was far, far from my mind. I was terrified of him after that, but it was my own fault,” she finished and I sat there in slight awe.
“Jesus.. I definitely need a drink after just hearing that story,” I replied and she laughed a little as I picked up the bottle of wine and helped myself.
“Enough about me now, tell me more about you.. Like, where’d you get that scar on your face, if it ain’t too much to ask?” She asked, taking the bottle from my hand when I was done with it and taking a sip, as well, then setting it back down.
“It happened about a year ago. I was hanging out with Pia and Tavish at a bar and we were pretty drunk, but Pia was completely wasted.. There was this guy that wouldn’t leave her alone and one minute she was there, the next she was gone and we knew he had something to do with it. Tavish and I caught up to him pretty quick, though, because she said she was going to the bathroom, but she was gone longer than we thought she’d be.. He had taken her behind the bar and of course we had to intervene. Dude had a knife, though, so he pulled it out and he managed to catch my face with it before Tavish got the knife away from him and knocked the guy out. It’s a boring story and I wish I could say that I saved the day, but I was useless and all credit goes to Tav,” I summed it up quickly, not really justifying it with any details because I believed it was more of a story that Tavish told best, not myself.
“You were anythin’ but useless. Doesn’t matter who knocked the guy out, you both stepped in and helped her. Who knows what would’ve happened if you hadn’t.. You’re a good friend, Luca, and the thing that matters most is how selfless you were in that moment.. Don’t sell yourself so short,” she replied with a smile and I had lost count on how many times I’ve heard that before.. Not from her, but from everyone else, too.. Especially Niko.
“Besides.. The mystery of it before was hot, but the story behind it makes it sexier somehow,” she complimented and my left brow perked up curiously as a grin slowly crept over my lips.
“Yup,” she replied casually, gazing back at me as she blindly lifted the wine bottle to her lips and took a quick sip before offering it up to me. I took it without question and took a generous sip before setting it aside and scooting a bit closer to Riley, one tiny scoot after another in a rather too-excited manner and she couldn’t help but laugh as I made it obviously how much I loved her words.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have said anythin’,” she joked.
“Nope, too late. Can’t take it back now,” I replied with the same grin on my lips and she giggled as she faced back towards the water.
“Your stories are so short and I feel as if I’ve been talkin’ the most tonight.. Talk about somethin’ else now,” Riley brought up, leaning back and getting comfortable as my left hand came over to her leg and my fingers slid slowly up and down her thigh. But, Riley soon couldn’t contain a soft laugh and she stopped my hand.
“Stop doin’ that, it’s only ticklin’ me and makin’ my leg twitch,” she said with a smile and I chuckled softly.
“Can I just leave it here then?” I asked, pausing my hand in its place and gently gripping her left leg before then caressing her skin with my thumb.
Riley smiled and nodded, “I guess that’s all right,” she confirmed and I was happy that she seemed relaxed enough to let me get a little touchy with her.
“So.. What do you wanna know? Ask me whatever you want,” I offered and her view momentarily went to her lap before looking back up to me.
“You’d mentioned before that you haven’t dated in a long while before you met me, so.. Mind if I ask why?” She wondered and my expression fell blank very quickly.
Fuck.. Ask me anything else but that..
Riley seemed to notice my reluctance, “I’m sorry, you don’t need to tell me if you don’t wanna.. I shouldn’t have asked, anyways,” she apologized, but I smirked softly and brushed it off like it was nothing.
“No, no, it’s fine.. It’s just kind of an annoying subject because everyone else but me seems to want to talk about it,” I let out a quiet chuckle and my view went down to her thigh that my thumb still continued to rub gently. I sat there silently thinking to myself about what I should and shouldn’t say, but, I suppose honesty was the best way to go about this, not to mention that I thought I might score some points with her if I opened up a little more, but.. Opening up to a woman like this was still a little difficult. It was a pretty foreign need of mine.
“Well, uhh.. Fuck, I don’t even know where to start,” I took another quick moment to gather my thoughts and Riley took that short time to drink from the wine bottle, “It was a long, long time ago.. I met this girl when I was sixteen and it was kind of an unhealthy infatuation straight out of the gate.. We were inseparable for the entire year we were going out and a few days after my seventeenth birthday, she kind of just.. Disappeared,” I explained and her expression went remorseful.
“That’s awful.. Did you ever find out what happened to her?” She asked and I shook my head.
“Nope.. Never heard from her again. No call, no letter.. She wasn’t even at school the next day, or ever again. The only thing that I managed to find out was that she left school without dropping out, so her mom must’ve took her out with the right paperwork or maybe made her transfer, I don’t know, exactly..”
“..Did you love her?” Riley asked next and the question made me a little uncomfortable, but I let out a soft laugh to cover it up.
“I don’t know.. Can you even be in love that young?”
“I believe so. Look at Nikolai and AnneMarie.. They’ve loved one another since they were preteens,” she gave an example and I scoffed.
“Yeah, well.. They’re both freaks of nature,” I replied and she giggled softly as I took the bottle of wine and had myself a hefty chug before putting it back to the side of her right leg.
I cleared my throat before I continued the conversation, but finally decided that maybe taking a leap into the unknown might be good for me. I do it a lot anyways, just not really in these particular circumstances.
“I was,” Riley looked to me, “In love with her, I mean,” I finally admitted, “It seems stupid now looking back and knowing I was, though. I even told her I did on my birthday and she said it back, but I didn’t realize just how much I was until she left a few days later.. Made me wonder if she was lying to me and just saying what she thought I wanted to hear, or maybe she just said it as a birthday gift or something and I actually scared her off.. I was young and dumb and obsessed with the ‘first love’ blinders I had on. But, I was just a kid.. I didn’t know any better yet,” I explained.
“..Do you still love her?” She asked, and although I only hesitated for a second, it still seemed like too long of a pause.
“No.. Haven’t for a long time.. I struggled a lot after that, acted out and was a huge pain in the ass.. I’m sure my parents hated me for a while, but eventually I got out of the angry-rebelling or whatever the hell I was doing to deal with her leaving and started to get my life back on track.. Tried to forget her and stuff..”
“So, you’ve been avoidin’ daitin’ seriously because you don’t wanna get hurt again, right?” She asked and I nodded.
“Yeah, I guess.. To be honest, I was soooo not looking forward to being set up on that blind date with you and I mostly didn’t want to go because I hated knowing that Niko and AnneMarie and probably everyone else thought I was lonely or some bullshit, and I agreed to it to kind of prove them all wrong.. But.. Turns out that the blind date was fun and I was fixed up with the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” I explained and I could tell how flattered Riley was just by the look in her eyes and how she shied away her gaze down to her lap to hopefully avoid me noticing how pink her cheeks were.
“She was real stupid,” Riley said softly with a slight sense of anger as she stared down at her lap.
“Your ex.. I bet that leavin’ you was and will always be, by far, the biggest mistake she’s ever made,” she replied, my heart beating a little louder for a split second from her words and she finally lifted her gaze to look at me again, “You’re sweet and funny and outgoin’ and easy to talk to and fun.. So many great things in one package that any woman would be lucky to have,” she went on, but the more that she said, the less I believed it. I’m no prince charming, no knight in shining armor, and I’m not too good for her or anyone else, which is what she’s making it sound like. I just never saw myself that way.
“You don’t have to say those things to make me feel better about myself or to feel better about what happened or anything like that..”
“And I’m not. I’m sayin’ it ’cause it’s true.. All that you did was love her and look what she did in return. Forgive me if I’m comin’ off as rude or anythin’, but by how it sounds and how you describe it, I can tell you blame yourself for why she left and you have no reason to do that.. Maybe you should start thinkin’ that she was the mistake, not you,” she explained and I didn’t know what to say. Every person I talked to about my ex would just call her a dumbass or a bitch for leaving me. It would make me laugh and it did help, but only for a short time.. I’d never heard it put in the way that Riley said, though, and it actually did make me feel better about it all.. More at peace with it.. I hated admitting that the subject still bothered me, but it did, and I knew it always will, but hearing Riley’s view was what I needed to hear in order to truly realize that it really isn’t my fault.. It never has been.
“Thank you for saying that.. I think it’s something I always wanted to believe, just never could.. It’s hard not to blame yourself for things going wrong when you get no explanation for why they really did,” I spoke quietly, my fingers idly fiddling with the fabric of my pants.
“I’m sorry it took this long for you to see that,” she replied and I couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Heh, yeah.. Knowing it a lot sooner would’ve been nice and would’ve saved me a lot of time beating myself up, but, had I realized it sooner, I might’ve already been dating someone and I wouldn’t have been introduced to you,” I answered, giving her a soft smirk and she gave a bashful smile.
There was a long pause after my words, watching as Riley picked up the wine bottle we seemed to have ignored for a short while and taking a few generous sips from it before handing it off to me, and I did the same before setting it back down.
“..I like you, Luca,” she admitted with a hushed voice, staring down at her lap as she spoke and a smile slowly crept over my lips.
“Then you’re even crazier than I am,” I replied and she looked up to me as if she couldn’t believe that I had just said that.
“It’s really not all that strange for someone to like you,” she pointed out and I looked away from her and out towards the water.
“Yeah, well.. Didn’t go too well last time, so you can understand my skepticism..”
“Hey,” Riley grabbed my hand that I still had on her thigh and she held it tightly, “Look at me,” and I did, “I promise that if there’s anythin’ wrong or if there’s ever a problem, I’ll tell you. You know that I’m honest, I really do try to be, and I’m not goin’ to hide anythin’ just to spare your feelin’s. If for whatever reason this doesn’t work out, I won’t abandon you, I’ll tell you why it didn’t, but for now, there ain’t anythin’ wrong with you, or me, or us. I understand you not likin’ the idea of it and you don’t wanna get hurt again and I do understand your hesitation, but I wouldn’t have said it if I hadn’t meant it. I do like you, Luca, and I wanna keep seein’ you.. If you wanna keep seein’ me, too,” she answered, her last sentence sounding almost like a question and oddly enough, I felt a sense of relief.
“..I do want to keep seeing you,” I finally replied, making up my mind and deciding that maybe this could be worth it. Maybe, despite my reluctance and uncertainty, I wanted to see where all of this would go with her. I was still going to be careful, I was still going to just try this out instead of putting both feet in at once, and I hoped it wouldn’t turn out like last time.
Riley has made me feel things that I never thought I’d feel again. The need to kiss and show affection, the need to share and be shared with, so many things that I couldn’t put into words just yet, but it felt good. It even scared me a little to admit it to myself because part of me, most of me, didn’t want to believe that someone like her could have the ability to put up with someone like me, but the affectionate side of me that only my close friends and family saw was something that I wanted to start showing her.. Riley was easy to talk to and she understood things without all that much explanation needed, and I thought that came in handy since it’s a little difficult for me to share, especially with a woman I just met, but..
I liked her, too, and that scared the hell out of me.
I noticed Riley gently bite her bottom lip and I assumed she wanted me to kiss her, but even though I don’t much care for that kind of thing, I felt a strong want to do it with her. A need to. I leaned in rather quickly, but she wasn’t surprised by it, and the moment my lips touched hers, I was brought back to last weekend when we were standing outside her home on her doorstep, but this time was different. This time it felt less like a goodbye kiss and more like the start of something exciting, the start of something new and terrifying, but, fuck it. I was sick of living in the past and constantly being reminded of it, and I was sick of people looking at me as if I needed to be pitied or coddled because they thought I was alone and lonely.
Our kiss was electric and I felt a tingling down my spine as she made the kiss deeper by letting go of holding my hand and bring it up to grip the back of my head. She pulled at a chunk of my hair, her nails gently raking against my scalp, her mouth opening more for exploration and my hand that still remained on her thigh gripped at her a little roughly. She was so damn sexy and all I could think about now was touching her, pleasing her, making her feel the best that she possibly could and I wanted her to feel it with me.. I wanted to be the one that she’d remember and the first one that would come to her mind when she would think about a time she felt the best she ever had.
We were breathing a little harder than normal, every now and then she’d even moan against my lips and it made me melt just knowing that a kiss between us made her feel this good. Riley brought her other hand up to touch my neck and she gripped another chunk of my hair that made my loins quiver in excitement. She didn’t strike me as the rough type, but with everything she was doing, pulling my hair, quietly moaning, her thigh tensing up every time my hand gripped it roughly which told me she was just as turned on as I was.. It drove me wild. I could even feel through her leg every single time her hips would gently flex as if she wanted to grind on something, my something, and I couldn’t control myself anymore.
I brought my hand away from her thigh and it traveled straight up to the warmth between her legs. I rubbed her over the thin fabric of her shorts, giving her hips something to grind against until I could get her back to my car and have her grind in my lap instead, but what came next was something I should’ve known would happen..
Riley gasped softly against my lips and immediately pulled back, “No, please don’t-!” She let out in a panic and the second I heard the ‘no’, I had already jerked my hand as far away from her as I could.
“Shit! I.. I-I’m so sorry, Riley, I’m sorry!”
“N-No, it’s-” she stopped to take a deep breath, “It’s okay, I’m just-”
“-No, it’s not okay and I’m so sorry, I’m such a fucking dumbass,” I said with disappointment and embarrassment.
“Luca, really, you just startled me, is all.. It’s-”
“-I just thought that-” I couldn’t believe how stupid I was, “I.. I don’t know what I thought.. I’m sorry, Riley, I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with me,” I said in complete disbelief, as if I had no clue what the hell my hands were thinking.. What the hell was I even thinking?
“Luca, don’t.. It’s really not you, I’m just.. I’m not ready, is all, all right? It’s completely all me, I swear. I’m sorry I panicked like that and scared you, I don’t know why I did that,” she continued to try to put the blame on herself, but her apologizing to me for what my stupid, idiot self did make me sick to my stomach. I don’t understand why I can’t keep my damn hands to myself.
“Don’t apologize to me for stopping me, please don’t.. You’ve already made it completely clear that you’re not looking to move that quick and I don’t know what I was thinking.. I.. I don’t know what I was thinking,” I kept repeating, sitting there with a storm cloud over my head, gloomy and disgusted with myself.
“..I’ll take you home,” I assumed she wanted to leave, about to get up to my feet, but Riley stopped me.
“No, I don’t wanna leave like this,” she urged, reaching out to touch my face and she made me look at her, “Listen to me. It’s o-kay. I’m sorry I reacted like that. I-” she paused for a moment, “It’s been a while for me and you just startled me, all right? I ain’t used so movin’ fast, but I do want to do things with you, just not yet.. Okay?” She tried to make me feel less bad about it, but that wasn’t going to happen. I was so disappointed in myself that even if she didn’t want to go home yet, now I wanted to..
“..I’m still sorry,” I replied and she gave me a warm smile.
“I know, and I forgive you.. Believe me, when I’m ready, you’ll definitely know,” she encouraged and I nodded in understanding, giving her a fake smirk and Riley leaned back in again to briefly kiss my lips, “Have you stopped punishin’ yourself yet?” She asked and I nodded.
“Yeah,” I lied.
“Good.. Then now you can take me home,” she said with another smile, standing up and I stood up with her, leaving behind our empty bottle of wine and walking off the dock back to my car.
Driving Riley home was agonizing. She tried her best to lighten the mood, trying to talk to me or make me laugh or whatever else, but all that I could really give her back were one-word answers and half-assed laughs that I forced myself to muster up to not make her feel bad. No matter what she tried to do, I still couldn’t get my mind off of what I did at the dock. God, I’m seriously such a fucking idiot! I’m used to getting what I want, but this was something else. This was me trying to get what I wanted without permission and I couldn’t get my stomach to stop turni