Laynie was actually floored. When her dad had said bowling alley, she'd imagined a normal one, if not a dumpy one. But she found herself standing in a new, clean, pretty darn cool bowling alley.
Her dad paid for the rental shoes, then they made their way to their bowling station.
Once their shoes were secured on their feet, Walter insisted Laynie bowl first.
She bit her lip. "Age before beauty?"
He laughed. "Okay then."
He picked up the ball and threw it down the alley like a pro, knocking down all pins but one and walking away with a spare.
Laynie didn't get up. "Um, here's the thing. I haven't ever gone bowling before. Like, I wii bowl all the time..." She was brought back to wii bowling with Carter, Clint and Thor at an odd hour of the morning, cheering so to wake everyone in the city. She pushed the memories away and kept talking. "So, don't laugh okay?"
He shook his head. "No judging here. Just have fun."
Laynie awkwardly picked up the ball and made sure she was able to hold it by three fingers. As smoothly as she could, she took a few steps forward to throw the ball... And landed on her butt, ball in her lap.
Not only did the ball effectively take the air out of her, but her ankle was suddenly hurting very bad.
"Whoa," in a second Walter was right by her side kneeling next to her, "are you okay?" He asked, worry evident in his voice.
Laynie rolled the ball off of her, blinking stunned tears out of her eyes. "Ow," she responded.
Walter grabbed the offending object and moved it farther away. "What hurts?"
"Um, my ankle." She reached down and carefully ran her fingers over it, making sure nothing was broken. "Ow," she repeated.
Walter gently gripped her upper arm, "Why don't we get you to a more comfortable seat, where I can get a better look at that." He nodded to her ankle.
She nodded, bringing her good leg up and taking support from Walter. She limped to the chair and lifted her leg as Walter prompted.
"Be careful," she said quietly.
"Me? You're the one who tried to go ice skating! We're here to bowl," he said jokingly.
Laynie laughed uneasily. "Sorry."
Walter shook his head. "Nothing to be sorry about Laynie. I should've told you the lane's slippery."
"No sense in throwing around blame." Laynie winced, sucking a breath in through her teeth at a sharp pain in her ankle. "I'm just sad we won't get to bowl now. And my ball didn't even get halfway down the alley!"
Walter laughed, "But you did!"
Laynie and Walter determined her ankle was nothing more than badly sprained, but Walter held onto her firmly as they left anyway. Since they hasn't even got to play through, they got their money back.
Walter helped his daughter into the passenger seat of his car and then slid into his. "Sorry this didn't go as planned. Is there anything else you'd like to do?"
Laynie smiled to her lap. Walter really was trying, and it made her so happy. She was beginning to regret how strongly she'd felt about staying with him. "Well we could always see a movie."
Walter nodded thoughtfully. "Sounds good to me. You know, there's a drive in theater not far away. Would you like to go there once the sun goes down?"
Laynie grinned. "Sounds like a plan to me." She almost tacked Dad onto the end of that, but decided it was still too soon. He had yet to earn that title.
They went to get ice cream and then stayed home until the sun went down, where they gathered blankets, pillows, and snacks. They snuggled up in the car just as the sun set, happily watching the Disney movie set to play that evening.