“I don’t think those two are going to be able to work and have sex without killing each other.” Hailey crosses her legs and leans in to whisper in my ear. I turn to look at her and see the sparkle again.
“You’re beautiful when you smile.” The words slip out before I can stop them. She looks down and then up again.
“So when are you going to make me steak?” she asks as she drinks some more beer. I notice it’s her second one. Liquid courage.
“Tell you what, I’ll cook the steaks tomorrow night, but you have to come over and help me.” My hands itch to touch her as I rub my thighs.
“Hooker,” Crystal yells back, and Hailey jumps up.
The rest of the evening, we mingle and laugh. Brody ends up winning the game. Crystal beats Gabe by one point.
“The machine is broken,” he said as he looked at the score. “There has to be a glitch in the system. I had one more strike than you did.”
Crystal looks at her nails and then up again. “Yes, and then you knocked two pins down, which means you suck and I win so … I’ll text you my orders.”
The rest of the clinic people come over and discuss hitting up the bar. Crystal looks at Hailey. “You go ahead. I’m going to head home,” Hailey says as she looks around.
“Walker”—Crystal looks at me—“you going home? Can you drive her?”
“I’m not going to the bar,” Alan says with a smile.
“I got her, but thanks.” I look at him as we say bye to everyone else and walk out. I open her door for her as she giggles, and I shake my head. She is half blitzed.
I start the car, and the song “Don’t You Wanna Stay” comes on, and she buckles her seat belt. “I love this song,” she says as she sings off-key. I look out the window as I drive up to the house, the lights outside lit up. She unbuckles her seat belt. “Will you come sit with me?” she asks, and at that moment, I’m going to give her whatever she wants as long as she keeps the sparkle in her eyes.
I put the car in park, then make my way out of the car as she meets me and opens her hand. “Let’s sit by the water,” she says, and I put my hand in hers, and we walk down to the water.
We sit down in our normal spots, gazing out at the water. “Did you really mean you’re cooking for me tomorrow?” She looks over at me as she unties the braid in her hair and it now falls over her.
“I never joke about steak,” I tell her as she smiles and then looks forward.
“I had a lot of fun tonight,” she says. She turns around and faces my side, crossing her legs as her bent knees rest on top of mine. “Like a lot, a lot of fun,” she says, tucking her hair behind her ears.
“Did you? What was it that made it so much fun?” I put my hand on her knee as I ask her the question.
“Just being out there with other people and not feeling sad.” She gets up and spins. “Do you have your phone with you?” She looks down as I hand her my phone and she plays a song I don’t recognize. She holds the phone in one hand while she holds out her other hand. “Will you dance with me?”
I grab her hand as I get up. Wrapping an arm around her waist, I hold her hand with the phone with the other while she puts one hand on my shoulder. We move in a circle on the sand as the lyrics play. “Are you going to kiss me or not?” As my gaze snaps up and I look in her eyes, they sparkle even in the dark.
“How drunk are you right now?” I ask her as she stops dancing.
“Drunk enough to ask you”—she looks down and then up again—“and sober enough to hope you kiss me.” My hands drop from her, and I move her hair away from her face as the wind blows.
My hands cup her face as her smile never wavers, the song blaring from my phone that now lays in the sand. “All night I had to hide my hands from grabbing you, they itched to touch you.” I bring her face closer to mine.
“So”—she licks her lips—“are you gonna kiss me or not?” She laughs, and my lips crash into hers.
I’m free, or at least I feel free. Sitting on the cold sand, I feel my head turning a bit. My heart is fluttering, my hands are clammy, and I have a smile on my face that seems to be permanent. This whole night was so different. Sitting without a care in the world. Being embraced by people and not judged or looked at differently. It was everything.