At around eleven that night, just as I was about to go to sleep, Elijah sent me a text, which surprised the hell out of me.
Hey, Luke, you still awake?
Yup, you almost missed me.
Oh! I don’t mean to keep you up.
We can talk tomorrow.
Nonsense! What’s up?
Definitely sure. Please?
:) So I was just wondering if…
tomorrow, maybe, you wanted
Bowling?! I mean I love
bowling but are there any
places actually open on
Sunday? This is a heavily
religious area, after all.
(We lived Hernsville, Pennsylvania)
Ohhhhh, I may just happen
to know an owner of one
that will let us go bowling.
(Well, hell, I was intrigued.).
You know what, you got me
curious as hell. Yes, that sounds
like a lot of fun. What time?
I’ll pick you up around
noon, sound good?
It’s a plan.
(I had wanted to say “date”.).
Now, GO TO BED.
(I laughed out loud at that.).
LOL! Same to you, dude.
*Groan* Ugh. Fine, DAD.
xD Goodnight, Luke.
er, I mean, Elijah.
I turned off my phone, unable to stop smiling. I had amused him once more, and he wanted to hang out some more! Whoo!! Bowling on a Sunday meant we’d be alone. At least, I hoped. I couldn’t wait.
I was ready by ten-thirty and waiting impatiently for the next hour and a half to slide by. It was already taking too long. Autumn was amused that I was ready so soon.
“Well,” I told her, “he may get here early and I don’t want to be caught off guard.”
She rolled her eyes, said something about how I truly was hooked, and went back to her room carrying a tray that contained her breakfast. I decided to get some coffee and watch reruns, on a streaming site, of a show I loved.
At eleven-thirty, a knock sounded at my door. I got up, stomach twisting with nerves which only got worse when I opened the door and revealed Elijah standing before me. He’d dressed up a little bit, making me feel massively under dressed. He wore a tee-shirt under a jacket, snug fitting jeans, and…were those cowboy boots?
All I had on were loose fitting jeans, a tee-shirt, and sneaks.
“I need to go change,” I told him.
He reached out and grabbed my arm just as I was about to head towards my room.
“No, it’s okay. These are my church clothes. I’m going to change when we get to our destination.”
I became curious. “You go to church?”
He hadn’t struck me as the religious kind.
He made a face of disgust.
“I only go because my parents make me go.”
I gestured to him to lead the way out. He did so, surprising me when he trailed his hand down my arm on his way. Had that been intentional? There was no way…
In about half an hour we arrived at a bowling alley located just outside the town limits. For a split second, I feared this was an attempt to hang out where nobody could catch us, and apparently my thoughts were obvious.
“I’m not ashamed to hang out with you, Luke.” His baby blues locked with my green eyed gaze and I believed what he said. He must’ve held doubts about that, however, because he asked if I believed him.
He smiled. “I’m glad.” He patted my hand and then got out.
I followed him into the building once he changed (no, I did not watch), and was startled that it wasn’t as empty as I’d thought it’d be; one man, looking to be in his forties at the most, stood by the front counter where one would pay for a game and get their shoes.
“You must be the owner,” I guessed.
He smiled, nodding. I realized he looked eerily a lot like Elijah. At any rate, I extended my hand because manners first.
“You must be Luke,” the man stated, grasping my hand firmly in his.
“You know my name?” I asked as we shook hands.
“My son has told me a lot about you,” the man stated as our hands separated.
I looked at Elijah.
“Son??” I echoed.
He smirked just a little bit. “Luke, this is my father, the owner of several of these bowling alleys across the state.”
My eyes went wide, and I felt utterly horrified. I was meeting his dad?! Looking like this?!
“Sir, I am so sorry for how I look. I swear to God, I usually—”
The man silenced me with a hand held up as he laughed.
“It’s quite alright, Luke. The point was to meet in an informal setting. You’re a fine young man. I don’t need you dressing fancy to see that. Now, Eli, you know the rules, right?”
“Only one lane is allowed to be open,” he recited, “and I must abide by all safety regulations, which means Luke is not allowed anywhere but out here.”
His father laid a hand on one of the boy’s shoulders and handed over some keys.
“You guys have free run of the food and drinks, just clean up after you’re done, and lock up when you want to leave. Have fun, you two.” The man walked out, leaving us alone.
I was stunned.
He smiled. “That was my father.”
“And he just…lets you…”
He nodded. “I grew up around these, and they all work the same. I’m gonna go start up the middle lane. Stay here?”
I nodded. “Mind if I find my shoe size?” I asked at his retreating back.
“Not at all; while you’re at it, could you find me a pair? Size nine.”
Was I dreaming this? There was no way I was really bowling with Elijah, just us two. I mean…I had to be dreaming this. I pinched myself to be sure and felt pain, so apparently this was real, and that meant I was going to have to work real hard to not make any moves. He and I were friendly at best. That’s all this was; just two guys, hanging out, as friends do.
He got back just as I finished putting my shoes on and reached me as I straightened again, my shoes now tied. I decided to prank him just a little bit.
“I couldn’t find your size, or the next size up, so I got you size eleven, is that okay?”
His eyes went wide for a fraction of a second before he realized that the shoes I handed him were a size nine.
“You shit-twat!” He exclaimed, hitting me gently on my arm with the shoes.
I laughed. “Shit-twat?”
“I will hit you again, Luke!” He threatened, grinning like an idiot.
I held up my hands. “Okay, I apologize. Will you forgive me, Elijah?”
“Yes, if you start calling me Eli. Everyone else does.”
I liked that, a lot.
“Eli it is, Eli.”
He rolled his eyes. “Just go get a ball, you goof.”
I headed off towards the rack near the entrance.
We played one and a half rounds before things…well…got interesting. He’d kicked my ass in the first round by over a hundred points (what? I was rusty; I hadn’t bowled in forever), but in the second round, I was doing much better. I had just rolled my third strike in a row, officially putting me in the lead, and whirled to gloat about it. Only I never got around to the actual gloating. He was much closer than I had ever expected him to be, and before I could think to comment, he had my face in his hands, leaning in. I probably should’ve stopped him in any moment leading up to his lips touching mine but instead I kissed him back because I was selfish…and it was everything I’d ever wanted.
His lips were soft, gentle. While I held my hands at his waist, his hands roamed a little bit, one sliding into my hair which felt amazing. We drew closer, lips whispering over each other. My heart was thumping so loudly I worried that he could hear it; if he could, it didn’t seem to bother him any. As an added bonus, he was amazing at this; I’d been kissed before, but never this deeply, and certainly not for this long.
That’s when insecurity started in, my brain now working overdrive on what was really just a simple, sweet, magical moment. So, being the idiot I am, I pulled away first.