“Colin, dude—” Logan said as soon as he got out of the car, “You and Lauren dating? When did this happen? How come I didn’t know about it?”
His best friend arrived at the Parker Mansion just a minute before him. After they ate at The Stitz Diner, the both of them drove the others to their houses. They agreed to meet here for some ‘much needed bro time’ as Logan put it. Colin already knew what it really meant. He also knew Logan wouldn’t stop until he answered all his questions.
“That’s because you weren’t even here when it happened” Colin sighed. His eyes stared at his feet. They walked side by side, climbing up the front stairs.
Logan gazed at his best friend’s face. He scrunched his eyebrows, “And when was that?”
“It was just this weekend.”
Colin entered the house first, a calm expression on his face, “Hello, Aunt Tim.”
Tim looked up from the couch, a catalog on her lap. At the sight of him, she immediately stood up and put the catalog away. She walked up to him with a smile and her arms spread wide, “Colin! It’s been a while since you came by. Did you get yourself a girl?”
She laughed, wrapping her arms around his chest briefly.
“He did and he didn’t tell me about it until a while ago” Logan whined. He gave Tim a peck on the cheek and moved back to stand next to Colin.
Tim’s eyes brightened up instantly, “Really?”
“We’re not official” Colin explained, his attention on Aunt Tim, “We’re taking it slow but we are exclusively dating.”
“Oh, my. I give you my blessings” Tim covered her mouth with a hand and giggled. Then, she shifted her head towards Logan, “And you? No girl yet?”
Logan felt like someone hit him with a truck. Oh, he had a girl in mind but she was tricky. If he made one wrong move, he could end up losing her. She didn’t have any romantic bone in her body either. If he did too much, it might scare her instead. It didn’t mean it had been easy to hold back though.
“Ask me again in the next century” he replied and headed for the stairs, “Colin, let’s go.”
“So, you and Colin” Emily snickered, 6 cards in her hand. She sneaked a glance at Lauren who sat across from her, “I see you have been busy while we were away.”
Lauren pulled out a card from the deck on the table, “It’s not what you think.”
Alex dropped a red card on their growing pile, “Does that mean Colin was lying?”
The three of them sat around the coffee table, a deck of Uno cards at the center and a number of them in their hands. Each girl had changed into a set of pajamas. Lauren had Colin take her home. She already prepared her things. She only waited for him to leave. Since Alex was a boy in his eyes, she couldn’t let him drive her to Aunt Lilly’s house without suspicions.
“No, he wasn’t lying” Lauren rolled her eyes. She glared at her cards, “We only began dating. We’re not even a couple yet.”
“So old-fashioned” Emily commented, placing another red card on the pile, “If you clearly like each other, why not be a couple?”
Lauren shook her head, “It’s not that simple for me. I need to know how we work as a pair first before becoming an official couple.”
She glimpsed at the latest card. She sighed. She didn’t have any reds nor did she have the same number. When she picked a new one, it turned out to be blue. The wild cards also avoided her hand. It seemed like she had no luck for this round.
“That sounds reasonable,” Alex said, squinting at her cards. She found it difficult to decide. She
could still go for another red card but she also the same number in another color. She contemplated which one would make the best move.
“How did he ask you out then?” Emily asked. Her feet were up on her chair. She placed her cards near her chest while she waited for Alex’s turn to finish.
Lauren stared at the ceiling. It happened so suddenly she would unlikely forget it. She never felt more surprised even though it hadn’t been her first time to be asked. The memory played in her mind vividly. She could recall almost every detail.
Lauren paced outside the restroom. Her teeth bit into her bottom lip. Her eyebrows molded into a scowl. Her hands opened and closed out of frustration. If she tried hard enough, maybe smoke would float out of her ears.
How could I ever forgive that bastard? She fumed in her mind. He clearly doesn’t have a care for others. He practically threw dog food on the football field!
She paused for a moment and placed a hand on her hip. Closing her eyes, she took a deep breath. Nothing good would come out of anger. She squeezed the bridge of her nose. Too bad that the person in question made it difficult. She almost hit him for that PDA.
Lauren had never been okay with Max’s playboy ways. She couldn’t comprehend how someone could date multiple girls.
“Hey, you okay?” A voice asked behind her.
Lauren let her nose go and turned on her heel. She found Colin standing a few meters ahead, missing a mascot’s head. His own one seemed tiny compared to the chipmunk’s bulky body.
“Yeah, I’m fine” she sighed.
“Jae said you never really did like to see Max flirt” Colin said, his eyes sweeping up the place, “He almost thought that you had feelings for him.”
Lauren snorted humorlessly. She waved a hand, “That’s not it. I have my personal reasons.”
She leaned against the wall next to her, hands behind her back. The memories of the past flooding her mind. Both her and Max had suffered at a young age. He had been there for her when she needed someone. Yet, when it became his turn, she couldn’t do anything.
He had changed.
But that didn’t stop her from showing her objection to it.
Colin licked his lips. The girl in front of him seemed to have wandered inside her head. He waited for her patiently. When she still didn’t say anything, he mimicked her position, saying, “Can I know about them?”
Lauren shifted her head towards him, the wall digging into the side of her scalp. The corner of her lip perked up, “I don’t think we’re that close yet.”
“Then, will you tell me if you started going out with me?”
The words flew out of Colin’s mouth before he could even process them. He probably had the same bewildered expression as Lauren did. Blood rushed into her neck and gradually made its way up her ears. She whirled her head towards the other side of the wall. She attempted to laugh but it came out as awkward.
“Very funny,” Lauren replied. The look on her face said otherwise. Her eyes stared at nothing. Her lips parted and her eyebrows creased. Her ears could hear her pounding heart.
At that moment, her breath hitched. She recognized her reaction instantly.
She liked him.
“I’m serious though” Lauren heard him say.
“What?” She breathed out, slowly rolling her head until she could see him. He left his spot on the wall and stood before her.
“Yeah, this may not sound good since we’ve only known each other for a few weeks” Colin began to say, “But I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each time I spent with you—especially this week while we practice for this game. I’m just saying that I’d like more of it. I’m not creative enough to think of more ways on how to have you around without telling you my intention.”
He stepped closer until his breath could caress her skin. His hands pressed on the wall with her head in between. His eyes could only see her and her alone. His voice became nothing but a whisper, “So, here I am, just a boy… asking a girl…to give him a chance.”