The Boyfriend Games

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12- From Putt-Putt to Pictures on a Beach

“So you play soccer, eh?” I asked Duke on the car ride back from putt-putt.

“Yep,” he said as a smile lit up his face. “I’ve been training since I could walk. My dad says when I learned, the first thing I walked to was my mama, and the second: a soccer ball.”

I laughed as images of a chubby blue-eyed toddler chasing a ball as big as he was around a room filled my mind.

“What are you laughing about? I’m sharing my memories, my heart!” Though his words were scolding he was laughing along with me.

“I’m imagining a little toddler chasing this big ball. You must’ve been so cute.”

“Been?” Duke gasped as he faked hurt, looking at me for a moment before returning his eyes to the road. “But I still am cute, aren’t I? Please Thera, tell me I’m pretty!”

“As pretty as a son of Aphrodite,” I confirmed.

“I’m not big on Roman mythology, but thanks!” This however, stopped my smile.

“It’s Greek, I’m sorry (not really) but there is a difference.”

Duke frowned. “I’m not so great at school, I hate studying. I’d rather be playing my sport.”

“And that works for some people,” I said. He pulled his car up to the curb by my house. “Well, here’s my stop.”

“So it seems. I had fun today.”

“Me too,” I agreed.

“Until next time, dear Thera.”

“See ya someday soon, Duke.” With a wave, and he was gone.

It was as I ate my breakfast the next morning that the jingle on my phone alerted me of today’s message.

Thera- Oscar

Really, who were these people? I’ve never even heard of most of them bef—wait. I have heard of Oscar. Oh, if I cared about relationships, he’d be the one I would have strived for. But I don’t, so cute mister photography boy is just another boy. Secretly, I’d actually be excited today though.

However, no amount of secret excitement would allow me to break one of my rules with myself in The Boyfriend Games; he was going to have to text me first. So I waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

I had been through 17 positions on my bed, 3 on the floor and even 8 more in my bean bag chair. I checked my phone, but no such luck.

It wasn’t until much later, after lunch with my parents, that an unknown number texted.

~Is this Thera?

•Yes, who’s asking?

~Oh hi! It’s Oscar. We seem to have plans for today. And sorry I didn’t answer sooner, I was at church.

My heart sputtered. He was at church, that’s why. Of course there was a plausible reason why he wouldn’t have contacted beforehand.

•Okay cool. So where are we going this fine Sunday?

~You down with the beach? I’ve been dying to go sometime before winter really kicks in.

The beach was actually a really good idea. Seeing as temperatures would be getting too cold very quickly, it would be nice to have one last outage before it was shut down for a season.

•The beach sounds like a great idea! When and where?

~Sandilon, South entrance, 3:00?

•See ya then Oscar.

“Oh come on! One smile, pretty please?”

I laid back down with my shades on, a ghost of a smile across my lips.

“That’ll do,” he spoke to himself. “Now don’t move a single muscle.”

After finding out that the sea was disappointingly already too cold for swimming, we decided to hang out on our blankets in the sand. Oscar, being the natural photography lover that he was, had brought along his camera and was set on capturing me in his images. I hated pictures of myself, so I had been giving him a hard time anytime the lens drifted my way.

“Alright, I’m all done,” he told me, but when I lifted my glasses to peek at him, he snapped a few more. “Score! Those pictures came out pretty good.”

“As if,” I grumbled. “Your model is a class A potato from the land of ugly potatoes. She won all of their non-beauty contests that say Special is better than pretty!”

Oscar laughed. “Would you feel better if I took pictures of boring birds?”

“I will feel exactly the same no matter what you do, I just think your camera might be breaking a little more each time it’s pointed this way. Have you been taking pictures on all of your dates?”

“Uh...” Oscar’s easy-going demeanor shrunk a little. “Yeah?”

His statement came out sounding more like a question. “It’s not a bad thing, I was just wondering.”

“Well it’s bad if you know why.”

“What, are you putting me up for auction? Oo, aim for France. My dream is to go to France.” He gave a nervous chuckle, scratching the back of his neck.

“Hope paid me to take pictures of what I did on each date. You know, for the videos she and Amanda are making? She knew I loved photography and paid me a little to give the pictures I took to her.”

A frown was evident on my face now. “Ew, I don’t want pictures of me in those things.”

“Well that’s the purpose of the videos, to have the participants in them.” Oscar was trying, but my good mood was running out faster than ice cream selling on a hot day. This was always the result of discussing The Boyfriend Games, Hope and nowadays even Amanda.

“I don’t plan on being a participant for long. I agreed to one week, no more.”

“What?” Oscar looked flabbergasted. “Why? How? Is that really a thing?”

“Yeah,” I said, “it’s really a thing. I didn’t want to do this, but Amanda had already signed me up. I agreed to one week. Seven days. No more.”

We changed subjects after that, but it wasn’t as smooth in the conversations. Later, as we were walking back to the parking lot, Oscar pulled me into a hug.

“I know you didn’t want to be here, but I hope I didn’t make it too bad of torture.” I stifled a laugh thinking back to Giovanni.

“Oh believe me, I’ve had much, much worse. Today was pretty great except for when you tried to get pictures of me.”

“Can’t blame a guy for trying to get some eye candy memorabilia.” Oscar winked and walked away.

I was happy on the way home until I remembered the inevitable, I had school tomorrow. Gross. But a quick tally made me a little more excited. I only had two dates left!

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