What Doesn't Kill You

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Chapter 12

Scout went back to work after her physio appointment, relieving Chris of his duties. “Oh, and I know,” she told him.

“You know?” he asked confused.

“I know Lucky is your son.”

Chris let a smile come to his featured and gave a shrug. “My children are adults. I promised to stop getting involved in their lives though it’s been a while since I’ve seen my son as fond of someone as he is of you.”

The comment made Scout blush. Maybe Ava had a point. Maybe Lucky was in the same boat as she was.

“Well, I’m pretty fond of him too,” Scout admitted.

“He should count himself Lucky.”

Scout smiled at Chris as he left the shop and pulled out the things she’d been working on for the window display from behind the counter. She’d picked up some books from the charity shop and ripped out the pages to make roses.

“What are you working on?” The bell announced Lucky’s arrival before his voice.

Scout’s breath caught. She hadn’t expected him to be in today. She thought she’d have some time to collect her thoughts and practice what she wanted to say before being faced with Lucky.

“Just some stuff for the window.” She looked at the roses in her hand.

“Let me help.”

“You know you don’t get paid to do this shit, right?”

Lucky shrugged and joined her behind the counter where he tore out a page from a book but it ripped diagonally instead of clean down the inside edge.

“Gentle,” Scout told him.

“I tried.”

“Try again.”

He ripped out another page, this time taking it slower and it came out clean.

“I wonder if I’m ever going to meet the owner of this place,” Scout pondered. Lucky shrugged and copied her hands and she started a new rose. “I bet he’s one of those stuffy, corporate types that doesn’t care about the people that work for him.”

“I doubt it. He probably cares a lot about this business.”

“No, I don’t think so. Bet he’s some boring, middle aged man.”

“What would make you think that?”

“It’s just a feeling I get. This is just a piece in his puzzle. He probably wouldn’t even give a shit if it went under.”

That was what did it. Lucky put the paper down on the counter and looked at her. “I would care a hell of a lot if this place went under!” Scout arched an eyebrow and his eyes widened. “Shit. How did you figure it out?”

“Ava told me after she told me about your dinner last night.”

“Are you mad at me?”

“Why would I be mad at you? But why didn’t you tell me?”

“I thought you might be mad at me because I didn’t tell you and I didn’t tell you because people always feel weird with their boss.” He played with one of the finished roses, looking down at it and Scout couldn’t help but think how adorable he looked when he was unsure of himself.

“You never told me Ava was your sister,” Scout said.

“That’s because she’s a pain in the ass.”

“She says the same thing about you.”

He looked up from the paper rose. “So, you’ve talked about me.”

“Very briefly.” Lucky nodded his head and Scout took in a deep breath. This was it. “Actually, we were talking today at my physio appointment—”

“How did it go?”

“I’m getting there.”

“Ava really does know her stuff. If anyone is going to get you back on your feet it’ll be her.”

“I know. Anyway, we were talking about me and dating.” Scout was struggling with how to word it.

“I’ve been thinking the same thing.”

“Oh?” The blood thundered in her ears. Her heart was banging against her rib cage and her mouth ran dry.

“Yeah, I was thinking that we need to get you back on the horse. I know you think it’s just for hooking up but I think you should try out Tinder.”

Everything stopped for a minute. Her heart. Her breath. The world on its axis.

“Or Bumble or Hinge,” Lucky continued. “But something to get you back out there.”

Scout thought they might be on the same page. For a second she thought that Lucky was going to tell her that he had been feeling the same way but instead, he wanted to get her back out there. He wanted her to find someone that wasn’t him.

“What do you think, Scout?”

“I—”

“It would be good for you.”

“…Yeah.” There was a lump in her throat.

“Give me your phone.”

It was almost robotic the way she handed her phone over to him. She focused on the pages on the counter and started to fold paper cranes. She flipped and folded the paper, thumbing down the creases. Scout had learned how to make them when she was sixteen and avoiding revision and it was what she did when she was stressed.

“We need to work on your bio,” Lucky told her.

“I’ve never really been good at that stuff.”

“Lucky you have me then, isn’t it?”

“Super lucky.” Her voice didn’t match her words. She felt deflated and defeated.

“Scout. Twenty four. Dancer.” Lucky talked to himself as he typed on her phone. “Bubbly, bright, big city lover. Dogs greater than cats. Netflix greater than Prime. Donuts greater than ice cream.”

He could sum her up in a few sentences. She wasn’t even sure Scott would have been able to do that. They’d jumped into a relationship feet first and stayed like that for six years. Scout wasn’t entirely sure there was ever a friendship between them. Not like the way she and Lucky had one.

“If you could listen to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?” Lucky asked.

“It’s not living by The 1975,” she answered him.

Lucky looked up and laughed. “I wasn’t asking you. It was for your bio but I haven’t heard that one.” Her cheeks burned with embarrassment. Lucky held the phone out to her. “All set.”

“How does this work?” she asked taking her phone from him. Having been in a committed relationship for years, she hadn’t exactly been active in knowing what dating apps were like.

Lucky grabbed her arm and pulled her closer to him. “So, you can look through the guys profile and you swipe right if you like them and see if you match. If you match then you can chat and meet up. What about this guy?”

Scout looked through his profile. He was local but from Scotland. He was into fitness but all his pictures were of him flexing in the gym. She shook her head.

Lucky swiped left and said, “Alright. This one?”

The next guy on the app was more nerdy looking. Bonus points because he had a dog. Lost points because he was a teacher and Scout didn’t think she could deal with chat about lesson planning.

“This one?” Lucky asked.

Handsome. Not nearly as handsome as Lucky. A year older than Scout and also a dancer. Her finger hovered over the screen but she swiped left at the last moment.

“Scout,” Lucky whined. “This only works if you’re actually trying.”

“I’ll find someone I like eventually.”

He huffed out a sigh and his phone pinged. Pulling it out, he looked at the message before getting up from his seat. “I’m late for a meeting. Take the app seriously. I want to hear you’ve swiped right on someone by the next time I see you.”

“Sure,” she said. “Good luck with the meeting.”

“Thanks, babe.” He left the shop with the tinkle of the bell.

Lucky wanted her to swipe right on someone by the next time she saw him. Was he that done with her that he was trying to palm her off on someone else? There was a sharp pain in her hand as she crushed the paper crane she was making. Scout grumbled and threw it in the recycling bin.

She didn’t need Lucky to help her find a guy. If she wanted a date she could get one. She wasn’t a charity case or a project he could work on.

She spent some time searching through the app but there wasn’t a single guy that caught her attention. Scout could find a reason for every one as to why she shouldn’t swipe right. What was wrong with her? Just as she swiped left on yet another muscle bound, gym bunny who was flexing in the mirror a message cropped up on her screen.

How’s the knee?

She smiled to herself. Chrissy and Scout had been chatting a bit more. Despite the face that he was usually wiped out after training so they hadn’t seen each other, they had managed to keep messaging.

Doing good. How’s training?

Killing me as usual.

Scout walked over to the window and started to place some of the roses into the display. It was starting to look better but she had a whole Pinterest board dedicated to ideas and she worked through them slowly.

When she got back to the counter and her phone, she saw that Chrissy had sent her a new message.

Do you fancy going out to dinner sometime? Just the two of us.

Was the universe playing games with her? She started to type out a response and then deleted it. She repeated that at least eight times before she put her phone away.

Did she want to go to dinner with Chrissy? When she was sixteen this would have been a dream come true. Even now, it felt surreal that Chrissy Smith, professional football player had asked her out for dinner.

The rest of the day was uneventful and by the time she shut up shop, Scout had made her decision. Walking home, she pulled out her phone and responded to Chrissy.

Sure. Name the time and place.

Chrissy must have been waiting for her message because the response was instant.

Tomorrow night. 7? Castellamare. I’ll pick you up.

Her eyebrows rose into her hairline. Castellamare was an Italian restairand that sat at the top of Bracelet Bay, overlooking the sea. It was known as one of those places in Swansea that you went to for big occasions or if you had a pile of money. She was surprised he’d picked there.

Sounds great.

Scout text her address so he could pick her up. Looked like she actually had a date.

“Try looking up once in a while, babe.”

Scout looked up towards the voice. Lucky was sitting on the steps outside her flat and she managed to walk straight past the door. She backtracked, shaking her head. “How was your meeting?”

“Great! I secured the loan I needed.”

“Congratulations!”

Lucky stood up from the step and Scout hugged him, wrapping her arms around his neck. She took in a deep breath and let his scent fill her nostrils. He smelled like lavender and leather. Calmness and danger all rolled into one.

“Thanks, sunshine.” Lucky gave her a squeeze before letting go of her and she opened the door. “What got you so caught up?”

“Chrissy messaged me.”

“Oh?” It was short and sharp and made Scout look over her shoulder. “What did he want?” Lucky dropped himself on her couch and turned on the TV before he cast Netflix onto the screen.

“Um…”

“Drag race?”

“Yes, please.” She grabbed two cans of lemonade from the fridge and walked to the sofa. She handed Lucky one and took a seat next to him.

“Chrissy?” he asked as a way to get her to continue.

“He was asking how my knee was.”

Lucky gave a small snort as he loaded up the last episode of Drag Race and she didn’t know why but it irritated her.

“And he asked me out to dinner tomorrow night.”

That made Lucky stop, lemonade can half way to his lips. He placed it down as Scout cracked hers open and took a sip.

“What did you say?” Lucky asked.

“I said yes.”

“I really don’t see the appeal of heading out with a bunch of footballers.”

She placed her can on the table. “It’s not with the team. It’s just him and me. Like a date.”

Lucky stared straight ahead as he hit play. “Why would you agree to a date with him?”

“Why wouldn’t I? He’s hot. And I know him so it’s more comfortable than going on a date with a stranger.”

“Yeah, but he’s a footballer and is going to have a bunch of girls after him. Can you trust him?”

“It’s just a date, Lucky. It’s not like I’m marrying the guy.”

“I just don’t want you getting hurt.”

“No offence, Lucky but you don’t know Chrissy.”

A muscle in his jaw twitched. “Whatever. It’s your life.”

“Yeah. It is.”

That seemed to be the end of the conversation as they settled down awkwardly to watch the show. The entire night there felt like a horrible tension was between them and Scout wanted to reach across and ask him if everything was okay but the words died in her throat.

Scout thought Lucky would be happy that she got herself a date so why was it that he was angry at her?

It was like she just couldn’t win.

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