Cowboy Boots and Combat Boots

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Chapter Thirty Seven

I can’t believe I’m so nervous about this. The cool night air fills the area around me where I stand. I got everything I needed to do done today and Rowan sent a text telling me they’re on their way. He and Damien have played their parts and the rest is up to me. My heart is beating like a jackhammer in my chest as I look around at my surroundings one more time. They’re finally here. I see them arrive at the top of the stands as I wait in the dressing room entrance.

I look up and see Rowan and Damien carefully leading a blindfolded Lexi down the steps of the stand towards the field. I smile brightly when I take in her appearance, they’ve dressed her exactly to my specifications. “Guys what’s going on?” I hear her ask and she’s met by a collective trust us.

“I’ve been trusting you all afternoon. I’m really not in the mood for any games.” She says sadly. I’m smiling brightly at both of the guys as I take in their appearances. “Come on guys, I just want to spend some time alone with Link. Take me home.” She says starting to get annoyed at them. They bring her to a stop when I nod.

“We’ll that’s a good thing.” Rowan says to her and rips her blindfold off. She blinks a couple of times against the bright lights of the football field as she looks around confused. Then her eyes find me ten feet away from her at the tunnel entrance to the field while she stands in the stand looking down at me.

She smiles and starts laughing as I twirl a football around in my hands. My eyes and my smile are only for her. She looks to either side of her and finds Rowan wearing his Yale bulldogs jacket and Yale colors and waving a Yale flag. She laughs then turns to her other side and sees Damien wearing Notre Dame colors and waving a Notre Dame flag smiling at her. She looks down at herself and burst out laughing when she sees herself adorned in white dress and blue cardigan in Yale colors.

“What is this?” She asks holding out her hands and gesturing to everything around us. I shrug innocently letting my Yale bulldogs jacket turn to face her as I spin the football again.

“I’m recreating our first date.” I tell her matter-of-factly. She laughs as tears well in her eyes.

“We weren’t able to get a dispersing crowd together at the last minute but we represent the crowd. And now we’ll be dispersing.” Rowan informs her with a playful smile as he and Damien run down along the stands screaming about Yale victory over Notre Dame. We both laugh at the sight of them fleeing the stands. I turn back to look at her and her look as turned coy as she takes the steps down closer to the field towards me.

“So I told my teammates I couldn’t go and celebrate with them because I have a hot date.” I tell her as she reaches the railing and leans over towards me.

“Is that so?” She asks seductively. I nod with a playful smile on my lips.

“Not just hot, the most stunning beauty I’ve ever laid eyes on.” I confirm. She looks playful.

“You’re pretty smooth buddy, are you a drama major?” She teases. I shake my head.

“No mam, I just recognize real beauty when I see it.” I affirm seriously locking my eyes on hers. She smiles brightly at me.

“So what did you have in mind?” She asks coyly. I cock an eyebrow at her.

“Well first I was hoping for the name of the goddess before my eyes.” I say seductively she blushes and smiles before extending her hand over the railing towards me. I take it in mine.

“Lexi.” She says sweetly and I bring her hand to my lips and plant a kiss on it.

“Well Lexi, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Link.” I tell her smoothly. She giggles as I play this out to the letter. “I couldn’t help but notice you wearing Yale colors, but you don’t go to my school do you?” I ask her coyly. She shrugs and sets her challenging gaze on me.

“Maybe I do go to Yale.” She challenges. I shake my head.

“Not possible, I would’ve noticed you around.” I say with absolute conviction. She smiles again.

“Okay you caught me, I go to Notre Dame. I’m wearing Yale colors to annoy my friends.” She informs me playfully and I smile at her.

“So you’re a girl who likes to challenge people?” I ask her coyly. She shrugs innocently. “Well maybe you could challenge me.” I tell her wickedly and she blushes before a smile breaks out across her lips.

“I’ll bet I can.” She insists as she springs over the railing to land on her feet directly in front of me in a smooth graceful move. I laugh and stare directly at her.

“With moves like that I’d wager you’re a dance major.” I say confidently. She nods confirming my suspicions.

“It’s not a very popular subject here, but I love it.” She confesses.

“Well that’s a shame for the school, I’ll bet you’re a magnificent dancer.” I say certainly. She smiles at me.

“So Link, now you’ve got me. What do you plan to do with me?” She asks wickedly playful.

“Have I got you already? I thought you were going to be a challenge?” I say seductively. Her blush is violent as she looks away from me. I hold out my arm for her to take as I smile brightly at her. She threads her arm through mine and I lead her towards our destination.

She laughs when she sees the picnic set up in the end zone on a thick blanket with candles all around it. Her eyes light up and she looks at me. I smile at her and hand her the ball.

“What’s this?” She asks curiously as she takes it from me.

“Why the game ball of course.” I tell her seriously. “I figured that the winning touchdown in this end zone was lucky in some way because I found you right afterwards.” Her smile is so bright now that I’m certain this was a great idea.

“Are you hoping to score again in the end zone?” She challenges me feigning annoyance.

“I could never dream of getting that lucky.” I tell her honestly. Her cheeks turn red as she bites her lip. Her eyes meet mine and the love there is incredibly powerful. We reach our spot and I gesture for her to take a seat. I take a seat beside her and I smile contently at her as we begin our picnic dinner. The entire night is perfect. We eat and laugh and drink and flirt innocently. Then we even play a little ball and I tackle her to the blanket as she goes for a touchdown.

I look down into her eyes as hers fill with desire. Then I lower my lips to hers in a gentle exploratory first kiss. Her arms reach up around my neck gently as she holds onto me. I keep my weight suspended off her and continue kissing her softly, sweetly and with the promise of first love written on my tongue. I pull back and look down at her, she’s smiling shyly at me.

“That was a perfect first kiss.” She whispers sitting up to face me. I nod.

“Do you think there is a possibility of a second kiss?” I ask feigning shyness. She smiles at me as she nods and leans closer to me. I caress her face with my hand and take her lips in a more possessive and passionate kiss. We break away from each other slightly breathless as I stand up and offer my hand to pull her up. She comes up to stand in front of me.

“I hope you don’t think I’m being too forward, but I’d really like to take you home now.” I tell her sweetly. She smiles at me then looks around us. “Don’t worry about it, it’s all taken care of.” I say reading her thoughts as I pull her towards the car park. We walk in silence and Lexi can’t stop smiling as we walk out of the local high school football stadium. I had to grease a few palms to pull that off, but it was worth it.

I open the truck door for her and I lift her up into the seat and she laughs. I close the door and run around to the driver’s side feeling like a teenager again. I pull out of the car park and the drive to her door is silent contentment. She leans her head against my shoulder as we drive. We pull up at her apartment building and I get out and run around to open her door. I hold out my hand to help her out of the truck. She jumps down with a smile.

I close the door and look at her feeling every ounce of my desire come to the surface. She bites her lip then gives me a seductive smile. “You know my parents aren’t home if you wanted to come up.” She says wickedly and I laugh softly as I take her hand in mine and let her lead me up the stairs. Oh my beautiful sweet goddess, I just want to spend the night buried inside of her. We get into her apartment and she walks in ahead of me.

She starts to undress slowly walking towards the bedroom and I follow her as I do the same. We reach the bedroom door and we’re both naked as we stand at the entrance I stand behind her as she looks at the bed. I wrap my arms around her waist and kiss her neck slowly.

“So what now?” She asks through a ragged breath.

“Now, I want to bury myself inside of you and forget the rest of the word exists.” I whisper desperately into her ear as she spins and I lift her off the ground walking towards the bed with our lips locked together securely. We drop down to the bed and I proceed to do exactly as promised.

The sound of my alarm going off causes something to seize in my chest as I quickly disarm it. I roll back over to meet a pair of tear filled hazel eyes.

“Oh darlin’.” I breathe as I gather her in my arms against my chest.

“This can’t be happening, it can’t real.” She pleads desperately through her tears. “Tell me it’s just a nightmare and I’m going to wake up.” I kiss her forehead.

“This is just a nightmare baby, and soon enough before you know it you’ll wake up.” I swear to her as her tears come hard and fast. I try to stay mine.

“We haven’t even had a chance to talk about anything, how am I supposed to know you’re okay if you’re cut off from civilian contact?” She asks urgently as she starts to panic.

“Shhh. Baby it’s okay. I’m here. I swear to nothing will stop me from getting word to you. I don’t care what you believe while I’m gone but never stop believing that I love you and I’m thinking about you no matter how long between contacts.” I tell her seriously and her breathing has calmed down. I coax her into a shower with me before we go to meet the guys at Rowan’s apartment. We make love for possibly the last time and its complete raw emotion.

We finally pull ourselves from the shower get dressed. As we exit the apartment I make an excuse to run back in for my watch. On her bed I leave the Red Baron teddy bear from my childhood with a note. To keep you company and watch over you until I return. I place it on her pillow before dashing out of the room back to her outside. Our drive to Rowan’s is silent as I suspect she’s trying to keep her tears in check.

The mood when we arrive at Rowan’s is a somber one. We all greet each other with a false bravado that unnerves me a little I don’t want our last morning together to be like this. I start talking about the success of my date with Lexi last night. We all start laughing at the memory.

“And at the end of the night she had the forwardness to tell me that her parents weren’t home and invited me in.” I exclaim in mock horror. Rowan and Damien chuckle as Lexi blushes violently. “I tell you brother, northern girls are a lot more forward.” I add still feigning my horror.

“And of course you being the perfect southern gentleman rebuffed her advances right?” Rowan challenges in mock support. I shake my head feigning regret. Rowan and Damien both tsk with mock disappointment.

“Jeez guys I’m only a mortal man. What chance did I stand against a goddess like her?” I declare looking at Lexi who is still blushing under her smile. I leave them laughing at the table satisfied about the mood shift as Lexi gives her version of our date. I enter my room and change into the army fatigues I laid out yesterday. I pull on the camouflage pants, my khaki green t-shirt then the camouflage jacket over the top.

I sit on the bed to pull on my black shined up combat boots, I lace them like I just did it yesterday. I stand and asses my appearance in the mirror. I punch out the camouflage cap before I slip it on my head. I sling my knapsack over one shoulder as I pick up my other bag with the rest of my uniforms in it. I feel something in my breast pocket and I unclip it and I pull out the picture.

It’s a photo of Lexi smiling brightly as she dances at the bar. Her face is beautiful and her hair is in the air spinning out around her. I don’t even know when this photo was taken, let alone how it got in my pocket. Rowan. It occurs to me that Rowan must’ve put it in there last night while I was at Lexi’s. I slip it back into the pocket and steal my emotions. I open the door and walk back down the hall to the kitchen.

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