The Football Player's Roommate

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Chapter 53.


I stare down at Amaya in all her beautiful glory. Her long, brunette hair was fanned out all around her, making this an image I’d be sure to remember for a lifetime.

But as I continue to stare down at her lovingly, I soon come to the conclusion of something I’d temporarily forgotten. As her chest rises and falls out of anticipation, I remember this will be a moment Amaya will always remember as her first. The first time she’d truly put her trust in me and the first time she’d be closer to anyone than ever before.

But as we all know, I cannot possibly do this to her. Share something so intimate with her and by tomorrow completely shatter her heart? No.

I won’t do this to Amaya. She deserves the world and more, but by doing this I wouldn’t only be proving I’m a heartless asshole, but I’d also be ruining her idea of love for the future. I want her to be happy, even if it was without me.

When I notice Mya’s eyebrows scrunch together in confusion, it becomes clear that I had been quiet for a long while, and I was beginning to look crazy.

“Is everything okay?” She questions concerned.

“Yeah. Everything’s fine.” I reassure her with a small smile, but the tilt of her head shows that she knows differently.

No matter the circumstances, Amaya’s mouth is still upturned in a sweet smile as she looks up at me through her thick lashes. She looked absolutely angelic at this moment and I knew I’d regret my next words. But I also knew it was the right thing to do.

“I’m sorry, princess. But I just don’t think I can do this.” I sighed as I watched as that sugared grin was wiped from its existence.

Her face registered nothing but befuddlement as her heavenly eyes flashed pure hurt. “Oh.”

“I’m sorry Mya. I’m just-”

“No. No that’s okay. I understand.” She hurriedly sat up in my bed as she pushed me away from her. I noticed her eyes quickly dash around the room, and I assumed she was searching for the sweater she had tossed off not too long ago. Before I could find it she did, and I watched helplessly as she shoved it over her head.

She stood up from the bed, her cheeks were flushing with a new color of red, and from knowing her so long, I knew it was from embarrassment.

I watched her hurriedly smooth out her hair and adjust her top carefully. I continue to observe all that is happening right now, with slight shock.

She sent one last look my way before averting her eyes to the ground, twisting the door knob and bolting out of my room.

I continued to stare where she had once been and was stunned. Everything had all escalated so quickly. One moment we were laying on my bed, wrapped up in a moment of love and passion, and the next she was sprinting out of my room.

What am I doing just sitting here? I need to go find her and explain myself!

I dashed out of the room as fast as I could and tried my best to hurry to her. She was halfway to her room already, but luckily she was just walking. Well, I wouldn’t classify it as walking. It was more of a slow, zombie-like shuffle.

“Mya! Wait!” I shouted after her and surprisingly she halted but still kept her back turned to me.

When I finally made it to her, we were only a few steps from her door. I stood in front of her and noticed her eyes remained glued to the floor. It was almost like she was stuck in a daze.


“Yeah?” She questioned, but her eyes remained on her feet.

“Can you please look at me?” I pleaded before grabbing ahold of her hands.

She didn’t squeeze back like she usually would, her hands were basically limp in mine. I knew she wasn’t going to look at me willingly, so I reached out and wrapped my fingers around her chin and lifted her head to look at me.

As soon as her eyes locked with mine I immediately regretted everything. There were fresh tears beginning to form in the lower lids of her eyes. Her once megawatt smile was tugged into a downcast frown.

This was all my fault, but I knew deep down I had done the right thing. Being Amaya’s first and then breaking up with her the next day would’ve destroyed her.

“Mya. I’m so sorry.”

She bit her lip and a sniffle escaped her before she slipped her hands out of mine. “It’s fine.”

“It’s fine.?” I questioned not believing her.

“Yeah. It’s fine. I understand.” She tried her best to smile but failed before bringing her sweater sleeve up to wipe her nose.

“Understand? Understand what?” I tilted my head waiting for her to explain.

“That you don’t want me like that.” She shrugged.

I let out a big sigh, not wanting to believe my ears. She couldn’t possibly think that. Could she?

“Amaya, you have to believe me. I want you like “that” more than anything. I just couldn’t today because-” I was about to tell her. I was going to tell her everything. About what my mother’s scheming ways and what she was forcing me to do, but before I could even start, she cut me off.

“No, Theo. It’s okay. You don’t have to lie. It doesn’t matter anyways. I have to start getting ready for dinner tonight, so I’ll just see you later, okay?” I could see the blush taking over her entire face and neck. She was truly embarrassed, and I had caused that for her. God, I’m such a piece of shit.

But I would make this up to her. I’d make sure of it.


“I know, guys but I’m just so embarrassed. How am I supposed to ever face him again?” I choked out. I can’t believe I was about to cry over this...again. I had been on video conference with Tucker and Annalee for the last hour, ranting and sniffling like the big baby I was.

Theo didn’t want to have sex with me. So what? No big deal!

“It’s okay, Amaya. I’m sure he has an explanation for this. Let’s just take a deep breath, okay?” Annalee tried to comfort me by being her best zen self.

“Eh. It’s his loss, honey.” Tucker sighed. “If I were straight, I’d take you up on your offer any day.”

“Tucker!” I chuckled despite the stray tears that were still left over on my cheeks from my crying fest.

“What? It’s true.” He said as I saw him shrug on the screen.

“I love you guys.” I sniffled as I wiped underneath my eyes. The makeup artist would be here any minute, and knowing her attitude, I knew she’d have something to say about my puffy eyes and reddened face.

“We love you too, girl.” Tuck smiled. I was happy to see him back to normal. Happy and upbeat, rather than solemn and sad like yesterday.

“And so does little miss Gracie.” Anna smiled as she lifted my dog from the ground and had her little paw wave to the camera.

The knock on my door made me jump in surprise, but I already knew who it was. “Alright guys, she’s here. Gotta go!”

“Ugh you’re so lucky to have your own personal makeup artist.” Annalee sighed dramatically.

“Agreed.” Tucker nodded. “We’ll talk to you later, Amaya!”

They both waved and the call ended. The room was quieter with them gone, but also a bit lonelier. I took a big inhale and tried to clear my throat to seem normal before answering the door.

When I was ready, I finally twisted the knob and the same makeup artist came tumbling in with her big suitcases full of beauty supplies.

I’d looked in the mirror just as I was about to open the door and my reflection was absolutely horrific, so I was hoping she had brought a miracle along with her.

She shuffled in and tossed her things on my big and made-up bed before turning around to face me. Before, she was too busy trying to carry all her things that she had hardly even noticed me, so when she turned and saw my face for the first time today, she gasped and clamped a hand over her mouth.

“What could you have possibly gotten into in the short time frame from yesterday to today?” She wondered aloud.

“Nothing.” I muttered. “Just the same old same old.”

I kept my eyes trained on the ground as I spoke to her. I had just gotten all my crying out and if she poked the bear that was my emotions the bear would fight back in a form of sobbing tears.

Something we just didn’t have the time for right now. Dinner was just under two hours away.

“Oh,” She tsked before she moved across the room to grab me a chair. I looked up to her, slightly confused before she patted the seat. “Sit down, darling. We’ve got time.”

I did as I was told and plopped down and brought my legs up so I they were crossed like a pretzel.

“It’s quite obvious that this is a matter of the heart.” She told me as she unzipped her suitcases and rifled through her makeup.

“How do you know?” I asked kind of amazed she was able to tell that so quickly and with no information to go on.

“I’m old, darling.”

Old? She couldn’t have been more than 50.

She chuckled as she continued to work as she talked to me. “I’ve seen everything, including heartbreak.”

I watched as she plugged in the needed curling irons and organized the makeup she’d need for my face. I noticed the palette she’d chosen form me today was a bit darker than yesterday’s.

“And I’ve learned something very important over the years when it comes to boys who have broken your heart.” She set up all her brushes before turning to me. “Doesn’t matter if it was a big break or the smallest known to man. A break is a break and that’s all that matters.”

“What is it?” I questioned, growing more curious.

She smirked noticing my anxiousness to know the answers. “You always gotta give them a little payback.”

My eyebrows immediately dove together with confusion evident on them.

“We have a little extra time tonight and I like to consider myself a charitable woman, so we’re going to go all out tonight, my darling.”

I knew in that instant, this was going to be a very long night.

The makeup woman, whose name I finally got out of her, Theresa, had spent every last second perfecting my look. From the very last curl in my hair, to the perfect winged eyeliner she had went all out.

Also over this time, I had learned she wasn’t as mean and rude as she had led me to believe that first night. She was actually very kind once you got to know her.

She was married with two kids and had been in the makeup business for twenty years, mostly catering to the beauty needs of the rich and powerful. She was one of the top cosmetic artists around and has been known for her work on well-known celebrities, as well as her appearances on a few talk shows.

Theresa was the real deal.

“There! All done! Everyone’s going to be absolutely envious of you, darling.” I watched as the one side of her lips curled up like the Grinch when he stole Christmas. “Well. Have a look for yourself!”

Theresa had insisted on me having a big reveal at the end and had even went to the trouble to cover all the mirrors so I couldn’t peek.

She handed me her own hand-held mirror and my eyes immediately bulged out of their sockets. I don’t think I’ve ever worn this much makeup in my lifetime.

Not that it looked caked on, but the dramatic smokey eye effect was definitely had a major impact. The shadows on my lids were perfectly blended and not a single lash was out of place. My liner was winged so effortlessly and beautifully that it wouldn’t surprise me if the decided to fly away. Theresa had really outdone herself. I looked stunning, and the fact that I knew that, gave me the ultimate confidence boost.

“You look amazing, darling.” Theresa told me as I admired my now curled hair in the mirror. “So let me tell you something.”

I turned to her, desperate to know what she had to say. I mean the woman was after all a miracle worker.

“Well. I always have my clients send me a picture of the outfit they’re going to be wearing before I arrive, so I have an idea of what I’m doing before I get here.” She begins to tell me.

Not knowing where she’s going with this, I urger her to continue.

“And the outfit you’re wearing tonight does NOT do this look justice. I’d advise you to wear something else...maybe something that shows a little more skin?” She tells me honestly.

I nod, letting her know I understand as I watch her continue to pack up her things. And not long after she was gone, with all traces of her taken away. I gave her my farewells and thank you’s, knowing I’d see her tomorrow.

After what Theresa had told me about this outfit, I was dying to see what it was. I go to the closet and whip open the doors. I scan through the tags, looking for the one labelled specifically to today’s date. When I finally locate it, I pull it out and set it on my bed to further examine it.

With my hands on my hips, I look at it from all angles and try to weave through the negatives and the positives of the dress.

A definite positive was that it was simple, but elegant. It was pure white with no other color than the black lace that wrapped itself around the skirt bottom. It was long sleeved and stopped at the top of my knees. It was beautiful, but Theresa was right. I needed something more. Something more...exciting, and I knew just what to wear.

Tucker had convinced me to buy it, saying I looked like an absolute queen in it. It cost no where near as much as the dress Mrs. Thompson had wanted me to wear, but for what it lacked in price it gained in the ability to catch everyone’s eye.

I reopened the closet and dug through to find the black material of the dress I had grown to love. And at the very back of the wardrobe, it stood out. Right next to a garment bag labeled specifically for tomorrow’s ball, was the dress I was looking for.

With excited hands I yanked the hanger out of the armoire and rushed to the full length mirror at the edge of my room. I laid the dress against my body to give myself an idea of what it’d look like with my hair and makeup.

The dress was just as I remembered. Form-fitting and straight. It was an extremely dress. No embellishments, no lace, nothing. It was just a long-sleeved, off-the-shoulder, black dress.

Normally, I wouldn’t wear something that clung to my body so much. The material was basically like spandex with the way it stretched around me, but I felt like this was the perfect time to wear it. Show Theo what he missed out on.

So I slipped into the dress, pulled on a pair of black pumps with glossy red bottoms, and put in a pair of gold, mesh earrings. I fluffed my hair a bit and took a look at the completed product in the mirror.

I looked different. A good kind of different but still different. My usually straight hair was done all up in soft ringlets. My normally bare face was beautifully coated in what I’m sure was the most expensive brands of makeup. I looked like a super-model about to make her way down the runway, and the fact that I had so much new confidence oozing through me seemed surreal.

I felt like I was the only girl in the world, but this time I didn’t need a man to tell me how amazing I looked. I knew that all on my own.

Unfortunately, Theo got caught up talking to the guests of honor, so I had to walk myself to dinner. He sent me a text explaining, which I briefly skimmed over.

I still wasn’t 100% over the fact that e rejected me in the last possible moment of something so personal, but I knew I’d eventually overcome it. But for tonight I was going to make Theo regret what he did.

Did that sound slightly selfish? Sure. And I’m sure he would be able to come up with a miraculous excuse, but for now all I needed was me.

I made my way down the grand staircase all on my own, without Theo holding me upright. I gripped the handrail till my knuckles turned white to ensure I wouldn’t topple over my incredibly high heels. When I finally descended the stairs I made my way to the ivory double doors, and that was when the butterflies hit me.

I was nervous. Walking into a room filled with people I barely knew and not completely humiliating myself? Yeah. Like that was possible. Amaya Dawson’s signature move was embarrassing the crap out of herself. But this was my day. It was my time to shine. My moment to be independent and look absolutely breathtaking all at once.

All it would take is a second of absolute bravery and that second was now.

I continued to stand there, staring at the door handles.

One second. That’s all it would take, but the uncertainties behind the French double doors were holding me back. What if I was the only one dressed like this? What if they judged me?

You know what? No. I know I looked amazing and that’s all the mattered. I’m going inside! Right. Now.

And with that I flung open the doors to the elaborate dining room. Just like the previous dinner, the table was set up with the finest china. Every eye in the room was on me, so I took this opportunity to not be my usually clumsy self and walk into the room without tripping over myself.

I looked around the table and noticed all the same spots as yesterday were occupied. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson remained in their thrones, looking down their noses at me. Mrs. Thompson’s slight look of disgust told me she was not approving of my outfit change. Mr. Thompson didn’t seem to care about my arrival. He just shrugged before taking another swig from his glass of scotch before looking to his watch for the time.

With the four empty seats and the bare plates, I immediately assumed the guests of honor still hadn’t arrived.

“Glad to see you’ve finally decided to show up.” Mrs Thompson acknowledged before rolling her eyes for good measure.

“Glad to be here.” I said with the most forged smile of them all.

“Hurry and sit down. They’re going to be here any second.” She gestured to the empty seats before elegantly wrapping her fingers around a wine glass.

My eyes immediately flitted to the vacant spots at the table. On one side, I had Will looking at me with a smirk, as if he was surprised I had the guts to wear something so bold. On the other side was a show of complete opposition.

Although the two brothers were both clearly surprised at my appearance, they both had separate ways of showing it. Whereas Will was laid back, Theo looked like he was suddenly very tense. His eyes looked like they were going to fall out of their sockets and his chiseled jaw was about to scratch the sophisticated marble surface beneath him.

I noticed how much my appearance had affected him and my lip immediately smugly curled up. He seemed to like this look.

I watched him stand from his seat and like it was a second nature to him, he scooted the chair beside him out and looked to me. For a second I was puzzled as to what he was doing and my precisely outlined eyebrows came together on their own to show this. And that’s when I realized he wanted me to sit beside him.

I looked from him, to the chair he had just pulled out, and back to him. I knew this was my ultimate moment for payback.

I looked to Theo, shrugged, and walked down the table to Will’s side. I pulled out my own seat and sat down beside my current nemesis’ brother.

Theo looked shocked and slightly disappointed, but Will just chuckled.

“Using me just to get back at your boyfriend, huh?” He jokingly questioned me.

“I know we just met and I want you to approve of me, but yeah...that’s about the gist of it.” I whispered back as I adjusted the top of my dress.

“Wow. You’re just using me...I’m beginning to like you even more.” He laughed again.

I smiled along with him and looked up slightly to see Theo glaring over the table at us.

“So you actually had a chance to sit beside him this time without mother causing a big scene and you totally rejected him? Brutal.” He took a polite sip of water. “Although if I know my brother at all, he probably deserved it.”

“You got that right.” I muttered as I looked at my reflection in one of my many pieces of silverware.

“You definitely picked an outfit for the occasion. I thought Theo was going to fall out of his chair.” Will and I laughed together at this comment.

“’s probably not good for our client tonight. He’s nearly 90. Hope you don’t give the poor guy a heart attack.” He chuckled.

My cheeks blushed a rosy red at Will’s bluntness, but I was unable to comment since that’s when the doors swung open.

An old man was on the arm of one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen in my life. While his hair was thin and white, her’s was lush and a beautiful platinum blonde that only she could pull off.

Her neck was decorated with the finest of jewels and her eyes were being weighed down with huge, chandelier-like earring. Without even asking, I knew they had to have been made of pure diamonds.

I watched as her tall, thin body towered over the frail and wrinkled one of the elderly gentleman’s whose arm was looped through hers.

“Mr. and Mrs. Martins. So lovely of you to join us tonight.” Mr. Thompson commented with his over-used paper white smile as he shook their hands before directing them to sit beside Theo.

The old man sat between Theo and his wife, and his eyes automatically connected with mine. Not knowing who this was or how to act, I just sent him a warm smile. It didn’t take him two seconds to send a wink my way, which honestly surprised me.

“Beautiful girl you have there, young William.” He said in a voice just as aged as himself.

“Oh she’s not my-”

“Just take a compliment where it’s due, boy.” He guffawed.

I watched Theo throw an eye roll to the old man sitting next to him making me look to my lap, letting out a chuckle.

“I completely agree with you, sir. She’s a beauty, but she’s-”

“Not his.” Theo finished his brother’s sentence, looking slightly irritated.

“Well then whose lady is she? Is she possibly single?” The old man lifted what was left of his eyebrows towards the ceilings in attempts to be striking, but it just came off awkward and slightly creepy, in my opinion. Wasn’t his wife sitting two inches to his right?

“She’s my girlfriend, sir.” Theo muttered as he started poking at the salad a butler had just laid in front of him.

“Yours? Well, what’s she doing all the way over there?”

Before Theo could even think of how to answer that the old man shook his head and laughed. “Oh! You must be in trouble. I’d know this situation more than anyone. Been through it many times...with all four of my previous wives.”

“You’re about to be through it with your fifth, if you don’t stop meddling in other people’s business, Walter.” The goddess-like woman to his right muttered just loud enough for all of us to hear.

I immediately curled my lips into my mouth to keep from letting my boisterous laugh escape from me. I knew it was ready to erupt, but I also knew that Mrs. Thompson would murder me with just one look if I released it.

The topic of conversation became lighter and more normal as time passed. Mr. Thompson was a real smooth talker and had this way of slipping business into any type of subject.

But throughout the dinner, Theo wouldn’t stop trying to make eye contact with me. I knew he wanted me to look at him and I just couldn’t give him that satisfaction.

When the dinner finally came to an end, everyone made their exits. Theo’s dad was just so smooth that he convinced old man wrinkle to finish business then and there. They didn’t even need to crack open the scotch like last night.

The wife all but dragged him out of the house, commenting how sorry she was for his behavior. But he didn’t let her take him before he told me to save him a dance tomorrow at the ball.

I had almost completely forgotten about that ever-nearing fiasco. Nervous was an understatement...I’ve never even slow-danced with anyone other than at those awful, stuffy school dances. I don’t even know if I slow dance just move back and forth, right?

I don’t know. Guess that’s a problem I’ll be dealing with tomorrow.

Will and I made our way out of the room, laughing about how the old man was so persistent in his ‘lady-killer’ ways. We climbed the million steps to the top and made our way to my room.

When we made it to my door, I decided to ask someone who was experienced in fancy shmancy dances all about them.

“So tomorrow is that ball, huh?” I asked stating the obvious. I didn’t how odd it sounded until the words were already out there and unable to take back.

“Oh, that’s tomorrow? Golly gee! I had no idea!” He used his theatrics to sound completely shocked.

“Don’t be such a sarcastic ass, William.” I said playfully slapping his arm.

He just chuckled. “It runs in my blood, Dawson.”

“Yeah yours and your brother’s.” I rolled my eyes thinking again on how scarily alike the two Thompson brothers truly were.

“Yeah. But anyways, what were saying about the ball?”

“Well I was wondering...what is it like?”

“The ball?”

“Yeah. I know you totally can’t tell this about me, but I’ve never been to a rich people dance. What’s it going to be like?” I asked genuinely interested.

Will scoffed. “Well. Basically imagine any ball in any of those stupid princess movies, that I know you’ve definitely seen.”

“Hey, they are not stupid!”

He shakes his head with a small smile on his lips. “And you put the Christmas edition on it. Everyone goes all out. Everyone wears fancy dresses and tuxes. It’s a big thing. Everyone comes out to it. Even popular magazines and newspapers have come to take pictures and interview.”

“Oh, god. This is so much. I’m going to do something stupid, and embarrass Theo. Shit. What do I need to know about it to make sure I don’t screw up?” I ask desperately.

“You want me to be completely honest?”

I nodded quickly begging him to continue.

“Since it’s a benefit ball, most of the people just come to donate money. They only come so they can keep looking ‘generous.’ But honestly, it’s just a big waste of time. Mother always makes Theo and I attend to make our family look well put together and loving, but the four of us know we are far from it.” He rolls his eyes.

“But anyways, as soon as they finish placing their donation, they find the nearest waiter with alcohol and mind their own business until the whole stupid thing is over.”

He re-adjusted his suit jacket. “So honestly just be yourself. Unless someone is extremely intrigued with you, they’ll leave you alone. Especially since no one will really know who you are...given the fact that you’re a first timer and all.”

I let out a breath I didn’t even know I was holding. When Will talked, this ball seemed a lot more laid back than I’d imagined it would be. And that made a huge weight lift off my shoulders.

“Thanks, Will.” I said with a genuine smile.

“Eh, it’s nothing.” He shrugged it off.

“It really was. I’ve been so nervous about this upcoming dance that it has been stressing me out weeks.” I sighed.

“Yeah. You’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about. Just stick with Theo. He’ll take care of you....that is if you guys have made up by then.”

I gave him a glare, knowing this was his way of prodding for secret information. Will smirked knowing he hit a soft spot. “I mean what’s going on with you crazy kids? Not even a full day ago, you two looked like lovesick puppies. What happened?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” I smirked.

No way was he getting this information out of me. It was way too embarrassing. What was I going to say?

“Oh. Nothing too serious. You’re brother basically just rejected me right as we were about to have sex. No biggie!”

Yeah I’d rather die than say that out loud.

“I can tell you’re thinking anout it. Just tell me. It’s always better to get stuff off your chest rather than bottle it up.” He told me in a faux concerned tone.

“You’re just fishing for details.” I rolled my eyes walking closer to my room.

“Yeah. You’re right.” He said behind me as I twisted open the door handle.

“Of course I am. I’m always right.” I grinned like the Grinch before swinging back around to see him.

Will’s face was devoid of the smile wrinkles around his mouth that were there not even a whole minute ago. How could someone go from all jokes to so grim so quickly?

“What’s the matter?” I ask my eyebrows naturally furrowed together.

“Remember when I said never to let him go?” He asked taking a step closer to me.

“Yeah...but you never quite explained what it meant. Are you finally going to tell me?” I asked hoping he would do so.

He looked me in the eyes and watched me before opening his mouth to speak again. “No. I don’t think it’s my place, but just know that Theo may do stupid things. But most of the time he’s just looking out for those around him. He acts before he thinks about the consequences, but just know he loves you. I think anyone can tell that.”

I nodded understanding him perfectly clear. Will’s words resonated with me all too well. The situation Theo and I were in wasn’t exactly ideal, but I did know he loved me. Earlier I was just going to block Theo out for the rest of our trip, but Will seemed to find just the right time to give me words of reason.

A little off how perfect his timing was, but nevertheless I was thankful.

“Thanks, Will. You’ve just helped me a lot actually.” I smiled genuinely.

“Anytime, Amaya. You should get to sleep. Wouldn’t want you snoozing during the big event tomorrow, now would we?” He lifted his eyebrows with a smirk.

I chuckled. “I guess not. Goodnight, Will.”

“Good night, Amaya.” He bid me a farewell before turning on his heel and making his way down the hallway to his own bedroom.

I smiled as I watched his light go out from under the door. I remember Theo telling me how much his big brother had been detached lately, but if recent events proved anything, I think Will was starting to come back round. He still cared about those around him, and his efforts to keep his brother and I together only showed that further.

William Thompson was a good guy whether anyone wanted to admit it or not. Deep below that rough all-business exterior, was the high school goofball Theo had told me so much about.

Speaking of Theo, I wonder where he was. I needed to have a talk with him, and let him know all was forgiven.

I glanced at the tall grandfather clock that stood across from my door. It was nearing midnight, and I had no idea where Theo was, but that wasn’t going to stop me from trying to find him.

I raced down the large set staircase and peeked into every room I could find, but I came up with no luck. I looked through every elegant door, and every intricately carved archway, but I still came up empty.

Where could he possibly be at this hour?

I checked the last place I could think he’s be. His bedroom. I’d kind of been avoiding it ever since the...event earlier, but this was most likely where he’d be.

I knocked twice before swinging the door open, and there he was.

Theodore Thompson. Laying on his bed with multiple alcohol bottles scattered around him.

“Theo?” I asked slightly concerned as I walked further in his room.

He turned from the screen, which was set on a sports channel, and smiled.

“Heyyyyy, youu.” He slurred with a smile.

I closed the door behind me hoping Theo’s judgemental mom wouldn’t come prancing in her with her tall, expensive heels while looking down her nose at me.

“Hi there. are you up to?” I asked as I slid onto the bed beside him.

“Oh ya know...just watching some tv.” He shrugged and took a swig from a brown beer bottle.

“Okay. Well. Why don’t you just let me take that from you?” I wince as I delicately wrap my fingers around the bottle and snatch it as quickly as possibly.

I watched as his eyebrows pull together and his face shrink into a pout. “Heyyy I wanted that.”

“I know, but I just feel like now isn’t the best time to be drunk, Theo.” I sigh before crossing my legs.

“Why not? People all across the world get drunk...every single day.” He closed his eyes as if this sentence made him think really hard.

“Yeah. I know that, but your family’s here and—”

“And what? They’ll be disappointed in me? I’m sooo terrified of that.” He said sarcastically.

I squinted my eyes but couldn’t help the small smile that appeared on my lips.

“It’s not like they care what I do anyways. Plus I’ve got enough on my plate I’m dealing with right now.” He said before flopping backwards.

“I’m really sorry for what happened earlier, Mya.” He sounded sincere. “I didn’t mean for you to think I didn’t want to have sex with you. I just don’t want to rush into anything, and I want it to be special.”

I’d spent hours upset with him, but thinking back on it I was kind of glad he stopped us. In reality, I wasn’t made with him. I was just mad at how embarrassed he’d made me.

What if I really wasn’t ready? It was definitely an “in-the-moment kind of thing,” which obviously blocked me from putting any real thought into it. Now I had more time to be ready and to get to know Theo. And for that I was grateful.

“It’s okay, Theo.” I smiled before I reached up to place a kiss on his cheek.

He instantly wrapped his arm around me and looked down at me. He smiled as he brushed a piece of hair from my eyes. I watched as he took a deep breath in and let it out. I knew deep down there was something bothering him. It had been for weeks, but he’s always shy away from telling me.

I sighed before sending him a close-lipped smile. “You know you can tell me anything. I’m here to listen,” I laid beside him and curled into his side. “So let me listen.”

“I...” My ears perked up eager to hear what he had to say. “I um...”

“I’m listening, Theo.” I encouraged him.

He sighed before clearing his throat. His face instantly lit up and he jumped off the bed. “I was wondering if you wanted to go do something with me.”

“Um, sure.” I was a bit confused. He was so serious about telling me something, and that though seemed to just vanish. “When?”

“Now!” He said with a big grin before tossing me a big warm coat.

“What are we going to do?” I asked with my curiosity of growing.

“You refused to sit beside me at dinner, so I couldn’t tell you earlier, but you look hot as hell.” His eyes raked over me from head to toe. I blushed immediately. He didn’t seem like he wanted to, but he eventually tore his eyes away and started to dig through his drawer.

He came up with a Nike hoodie and sweatpants. “But it’s freezing outside, so you should probably change out of that dress.” He smirked but I rolled my eyes since he still wouldn’t tell me what he was dragging me into.

“It’s late, Theo, and we have the ball tomorrow.”

He ignored my commentary as he tossed me some gloves, a hat, and a scarf.

“Don’t be such a baby.” He slurred as he zipped up his puffy coat. “It’s not like we’re going to be out for 12 hours.”

“Fine,” I stood from the bed and attempted to reach for my zipper but failed. “Hey, can you unzip me? I’m having some troubles.”

“Sure thing.” He winked before clomping over and standing behind me. His fingers wrapped around the zipper and slid it all the way to the bottom.

“Thank you.” I said before turning to face him. “Now get out, so I can change please.”

He crossed his arms. “Nothing I haven’t seen before.”

I gasped and noticed a playful grin on his lips.

“Theodore Thompson get out!” I yelled as I laughed and shoved him towards the door.

“Fine fine! I’ll be out here waiting.” He said before I quickly shut the door.

I chuckled as I pulled on all the clothes he had provided me. In all honesty, the coat was so padded that I felt like a big marshmallow. This better be worth it, Theo.

“Okay. I’m ready.” I said as I opened the door and rejoined Theo on our latest quest.

“Good! Now...did you pack any snow boots?” Theo’s eyebrow quirked and I instantly knew I was in for an adventure.

I felt Theo sit behind me on the sled and wrap his arms around my waist. I’d tried sitting in the back out of fear of dying, but Theo insisted I take the front. I don’t know if it was about weight contribution or the fact that he wanted me to be able to have a “front row seat,” all I knew was that I was scared to death.

In all the Christmas movies I’d seen sledding had always looked so fun, but it looked the opposite of fun since I was currently sitting on top of a hill that would measure near Mount Everest’s height.

I’d never been sled riding before, but I’m pretty sure amateurs are supposed to start out small. Like riding a bike or swimming. Little by little, right?

But apparently Theo thought completely different.

I felt my breathing pick up a bit and I wouldn’t lie...I’m so nervous!

“We’re gonna be fine. Here, hand me the string, so I can steer. You hold on to the handles on the sides.” He instructed me and I immediately did as I was told.

I was so scared, but I knew this was going to be an experience I’d always remember so I was going to suck it up and tough through it.

“Ready?” He asked me.

“Yeah just give me three more seconds.” I said as I focused on inhaling and exhaling.

“Sure thing. Here I’ll count for you.”

I gripped the the handles readying myself.

“One, two-”

My eyes immediately bulged out of my skull as our sled started its descent down the ginormous hill.

“You didn’t say three!” I shouted.

“Wanted it to be a surprise.” He yelled back like a maniac.

I faced the front and watched as we started to race down faster and faster. I eventually felt my fears absolve and I finally felt free.

“Woohooo!” I shouted as we made it further and further down the snowy bank.

I heard Theo laugh as he heard me and I could tell he was having a good time too. When we finally reached the bottom, it’s like the inertia of the ride flung us off our sleds. So we both flew through the air and landed face first in a bunch of snow.

I groaned as I flipped myself over and adjusted myself to lay comfortably.

“Sorry about that. Are you okay?” Theo questioned as he moved closer to lay beside me.

“Yeah I’m fine. Are you?”

“Yeah I’m good.” He chuckled before turning his head to look at me. “Oh, here you have something in your hair.”

He reached forward and easily picked out a small twig before tossing it to his side.

“Thanks.” I smiled to him before turning my attention back to look at the sky. “It’s so breathtaking.”

“Sure is.” He admitted as I noticed him lay on his back and folding his hands underneath his head.

We lay there in silence as we stare at the star-filled atmosphere. We even were lucky enough to have a full moon clear and brightly shining above us. It just seemed to be the perfect night.

“My dad would love this. There seems to be so many more stars here, and for some reason they just look so much clearer.” I admit as I start noticing some of the constellations that my dad had taught me so long ago.

“I’m sure he would. Stargazing with you is starting to become a favorite of mine as well.”

“Yeah. Laying underneath all these stars makes all our problems seem so small, wouldn’t you think?”

“Sure does.”

He didn’t say anything after that for awhile, and I turned to look at him. He just kept staring up at the sky. His head turned on its side to look at me.

“You know I’ll always love you, right?”

I chuckled hearing his random thoughts, but turned to look back at him. “Of course I will.”

“Good.” He said with complete simplicity. “I just want you to know that.”

His mouth spread into a big smile as if he was reminiscing. “Being with you has probably been the best time of my life. You’re so bright and such a wonderful person. I hope you know that you’ve changed me in ways I don’t think you’ll ever understand. You’ve changed my life for the better.”

He reached out and his cold and snow-covered hand made it’s way to my face and I stared at him with adoration as his thumb traced over my now toasty and rosy cheek. “I love you, Theo and you’ve changed me for the better too. Got me out of my box and made me more adventurous. Six months ago I never wouldn’ve left the house at midnight to go sledding.”

He chuckled. “Well six months ago you lived in Louisiana and it was June so I don’t think you could’ve even if you wanted to.”

I playfully smacked him on the arm and laid on my back again. “You’re such a smartass. Always ruining our moments too.”

He laughed knowing I was right. I turned back to him and held myself up with my elbow.

“But are you okay though? Your declaration was pretty random.” I chuckled.

He dropped his head down to look at the snow as he began to draw little designs on the frozen earth.

“Yeah I’m fine. You know...the holidays have got me all sentimental.” He chuckled.

“Okay just making sure.” I smiled knowing nothing serious was up.

He looked back up at me and stopped his scribbles. “Yeah, but hey! You up for another round?” He gestured to the sled.

“Of course I am! There’s nothing like a thrill-seeking near death.” I said hopping up from the cold ground.

“A bit dramatic, don’t you think?” He asked with a quirked eyebrow.

“Never.” I gasped as flung a hand over my forehead theatrically before turned away from him. I started my long journey back up the mountain with his hearty laughs and the sound of the sled scrapping behind us.

After about two hours of sledding in the icy snow, I convinced Theo to come back in the house. It was barely above freezing and I wasn’t exactly a fan of getting frostbite.

So we trudged our way back into the house and as soon as we were in the door the warmth surrounded us like dogs to a T-bone steak. By the my body immediately stopped shivering, I knew it was happy to be in an environment that wouldn’t leave us chilled to the bone.

As soon as we had changed out of our nearly stiff clothes, Theo convinced me to follow him to the kitchen. Thankfully his sobriety had caught up to us, so I sat at the bar, carefree as I watched him make us both some near-blistering hot chocolates...not that I care. I’d take anything to be a normal human temperature right now.

Theo had made us our drinks from the packets of course. I think even he knew he didn’t stand a chance making them from scratch. I didn’t mind though, from the packet or from an ancient cookbook, they had those mini marshmallows that I had always found myself to adore.

With our is in hand, he had me follow him. When we made it through, I immediately assumed it was the library. I think it was a safe bet considering the hundreds of books that were stacked on the shelves around the room.

In the direct middle of the room was a leather couch placed in front of a blazing fireplace. It immediately looked so inviting that my feet automatically drove to it.

Theo laid down first and had me cuddle into his side before he draped a blanket over the both of us. It didn’t take us long before we had a conversation started up and every few seconds we’d take slow, cautious sips from our mugs of piping cocoa.

But when the fire began to die down and our cups ran dry, we both drifted off into a peaceful, and thankfully warm sleep. Without any cares in the world, we must’ve slept there for hours upon hours.

That was until Mrs. Thompson found us.

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