Maybe Just One More

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Chapter 10. Good Luck

Stormie

It’s one of those things that permanently embeds itself into your brain. I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened. What worried me was that I tried calling and texting Avery, but he wouldn’t answer. Is he angry with me?

My fingers trailed along the fence that divided our houses. My white skirt was split up the middle and layered, and my crop top matched it. The skirt and my blond hair blew out behind me as I walked. I looked back at my house then back to his. If you want to know what happened, you have to talk to him, you coward–I thought to myself.

I couldn’t let myself fall until I knew he was going to be at the bottom of the cliff to catch me. I was tired of catching myself. My legs swung over the fence.

Rachel, Avery’s mother, answered the door. “Oh, hello, Stormie,” she said, surprised. “Mason isn’t here.”

“Actually, is Avery here?” I asked.

“Yes, he’s upstairs,” she said. She tilted her head toward the ceiling as loud music started to play from somewhere upstairs. “As you can tell,” she gave me a warning look.

“Thanks,” I said and headed up the stairs.

“God, would you please go tell that boy to knock that shit off!” Jay yelled.

“Tell him yourself,” Rachel snapped.

I knew Rachel well enough to know that she was kind, and she never spoke to Corey, Avery’s father, like that.

The closer I got to Avery’s door, the louder the music was. Maybe, now isn’t the time for this. I kept my hand on the doorknob as I debated it.

“Stormie?”

I turned at the sound of my name.

It was Austin, Avery’s six-year-old brother.

“Hey, Austin,” I said and smiled.

“I wouldn’t go in there if I was you,” Austin warned.

“How come?” I asked.

“He’s been playing those all day. I can’t remember the last time he played them for this long,” Austin said.

“Thanks, bud, but I think I’ll take my chances,” I said.

“Whatever, don’t say I didn’t warn you,” he said.

A giggle escaped me, but I nodded. I couldn’t help but watch Austin descend down the hallway. Austin was exactly like Avery, looks, and personality. I opened the door.

Avery was in the corner of his bedroom behind an electric drumset. There were two amplifiers behind him. One blared music, and the other was plugged into his drums. He was playing along to a song. Avery was an amazing drummer, but he liked football more, and that is what he chose to pursue.

My legs wobbled slightly as I closed the door. He hadn’t noticed me yet. I grabbed his desk chair and slid it across his hardwood floor until I was right in front of him. He still hadn’t looked at me. I hugged my knees to my chest and rested my chin on my knees. I hadn’t heard him play in so long that I didn’t want to interrupt. I liked the song that he was playing, but I didn’t think that he did. I started to sing along with the song.

He looked straight ahead as he started to do a drum fill, but he stopped and dropped the drumsticks. He stared at me for a long moment before he stood up and flipped the amplifier off and turned back to me.

“What are you doing here?”

“Why did you stop? I was enjoying that,” I said.

He started rotating his wrists. “I’ve been playing all day. I needed a break anyway.”

“So does Jay,” I warned.

“Jay can suck my fucking dick,” he spat. He grabbed a blunt out of his ashtray and an extra chair that was beside his desk. He spun the chair around, so the back of the chair was facing me. He sat down on it, so he was facing me. He was close enough to touch. He rested both arms on the chair straight out toward me. He offered me the blunt.

After hitting the blunt and exhaling the smoke, I spoke. “Is Jay the reason you decided to suddenly play, or is it me?” I asked. “You’re mad at one of us.”

“What makes you think that I’m mad?” he asked.

“The only time you play those,” I pointed at the drums. “Is usually when you’re mad, or at least that’s how it is now. You used to play them for fun, but now you do it to relieve stress.”

“How do you even know that?” he asked.

“Probably the same way you knew that I wrinkle my nose when I lie. I don’t even think that Mason has ever noticed that about me,” I said. “You know things about me that most people don’t.” I offered the blunt back to him.

“I’m angry at myself,” he murmured. He put the blunt to his lips and hit it.

“For?”

“I shouldn’t have kissed you,” he said.

“Wow, that is like the shittiest thing you could say to someone after kissing them,” I said and scoffed.

He rolled his eyes. “It’s not that I didn’t want to, I-I don’t know. Nothing about us even makes sense. You tried telling me that we got closer, and we did, but I didn’t let myself see that right away. When you went out to California, I kind of missed you. I wanted to come to get you that day. I was planning to go with Mason to get you, but then he got hurt, and I had to come after you myself. It seemed to have started with that day. Maybe it was before that,” he said. He stood up and ran his hands through his hair.

“I don’t understand,” I said honestly. “You never said anything about feeling that way for me.”

“Right, why the hell would I? Come on, Storm. You’re my best friend’s little sister. There are just certain lines that you don’t cross with your best friend, and this is one of them,” he said. “At first, I told myself that it was okay, and it was normal because we’re friends, but that wasn’t ever true.”

“So, what are we?” I asked.

“I don’t even know anymore,” he said. “The last couple of months, I have spent more time with you than I have with your brother. I’ve made up excuses to go hang out with your brother just so I could see you. But this...” he trailed off. “This can’t happen. I don’t want to hurt you or him. There is a fucking reason why I don’t have girlfriends; I fucking suck at this shit.”

I got to my feet. “So...” I trailed off and swallowed hard. “So you kissed me last night and then ran out so you wouldn’t hurt me? You’re right, Avery, you do suck at this type of shit.” I spun around and dashed for the door.

“Stormie, wait!” he called after me.

Every part of my brain wanted to hate him. Every part of my heart laughed at my brain. I knew I couldn’t stay angry with him. He was right; there was no possible way we could work out. Mason would flip out if he knew that Avery and I kissed. How could I let this happen?

***

“God, you’re such a disease,” Susie spat at me.

I had accidentally bumped into her, and she spilled her cold coffee all over her shirt. “Sorry,” I said. “It was an accident. You know, unlike what you did to me.”

She narrowed her eyes. “I wished you had broke your freakin’ neck. You got us kicked off the team permanently.”

“Boohoo, bitch,” I said and stalked past her.

“Hey, Stormie,” Ryder said as he walked past me. Ryder was a friend of Avery and Mason.

“Hey, Ryder,” I said.

“Coming to the after-party tonight?” he asked.

“That’s the plan,” I said and smiled.

“See you,” he said.

“See you,” I said.

I stuffed my homework in my bag and slung the strap over my shoulder.

“Someone is sweet on you.” Jade stood behind me.

A chuckle escaped me. “I doubt it. Besides, Mason would never let me date one of his friends.”

“You mean like Avery?” Peyton smirked.

“What?” I breathed.

“Oh, come on like we haven’t noticed. What happened anyway? You two suddenly stopped talking,” Jade said.

“Were we that obvious? Or are you two just a couple of stalkers?” I arched a brow.

They both laughed.

“We weren’t sure, but thanks for confirming our suspicion,” Jade said.

“So, you two were secretly dating and broke up?” Peyton asked.

“No,” I said. “Look, I’ll tell you guys later, but you have to swear that it’s between us.”

“Sure, but I’m team, Avery. Ryder looks like a douchebag,” Jade said and waved.

“Same,” Peyton agreed.

My eyes rolled. “I’m team single, okay?” I headed for the locker room to get changed.

Mrs. Wilx droned on about teamwork and other things that I couldn’t pay attention to. If I didn’t push Avery out of my head, I was sure to fall on my face. Why did he have to be so distracting? Annoyingly cute but distracting?

We did several exercises out on the field before the game, which didn’t start until seven o’clock. It was getting close to time, though. During practice, I caught Avery watching me, and so was Ryder.

On my way back to the field, I was grabbed and pulled under the bleachers from going to the bathroom.

“Avery!” I hissed under my breath and smacked him in the chest. “You scared me.” The thought that we were in public occurred to me, and I looked around worriedly. “What are you doing?”

“What did Ryder say to you earlier?” he asked.

“W-what? Nothing,” I said and shook my head.

“He said something,” Avery insisted. His eyes darkened with pure rage.

“He asked me if I was going to the party; that’s it,” I said.

“Why would that matter to him?”

“God, Avery, I don’t know. Why don’t you go ask him?” I snapped. “What business is it of yours, anyway? You don’t want anything to do with me, remember?”

“I never said that,” he muttered. “I do-I–”

“I don’t think you know what you want,” I said.

“Stay away from him,” he insisted.

“Why?” I asked and placed my hands on my hips. “If I want to get drunk and sleep with him, I can. I’m single.” I rolled my eyes and stormed past him.

***

“Damn, Avery isn’t playing worth a shit,” Alyssa said. “We’re going to lose.”

“I have to use the bathroom,” I said. It was half-time, and we were losing. Some part of me felt bad. Maybe what I said upset him too much. I didn’t need a bathroom; I needed to find Avery.

Several guys came out of the locker room. Avery was the last one out, and he was a ways behind the others. I quickly grabbed his hand. He turned around, surprised, and his eyes widened when he realized it was me.

I’d give a motive if I had one or knew why the hell I did it, but I was clueless. I threw my arms around his neck, gripped a fist full of his hair, and brought his lips down to mine, praying like hell the whole while that nobody would see us.

My body curved easily into his like a piece to a puzzle. I was the butter on the hot frying pan again. The only difference this time was the kiss was my doing.

He wrapped one arm around my waist and knotted one into my hair. His lips moved impatiently against mine. The kiss became hotter than I meant for it to, but I couldn’t push him away. He owned me no matter how angry I was with him; I just wasn’t sure that I had him, which scared me. He spun us to the side and pressed me against a wall.

My heart, lips, and stomach were on fire. I was sure of it. Avery caused a flame inside of me that nobody else did. I wasn’t sure where it was going or if it would last, but I wanted him no matter how short of a time I had with him.

He broke the kiss. His chest rose and fell against mine as mine rose and fell against his. “What the fuck was that for?” he murmured.

“Um, good luck, I guess? You seemed like you needed it,” I said. I looked up into his eyes.

“Maybe, a little,” he admitted. “I can’t focus on the game. I’m worried about you and...” he trailed off and shook his head. I could see the regret in his eyes. He didn’t have to say it out loud.

“Yeah, I know,” I murmured. “You don’t have to worry about Ryder. I can hardly handle one guy, let alone two.”

He chuckled. “Go before someone sees us.”

“Kick some ass,” I told him.

“Yes, ma’am,” he said.

I pecked him on the lips. As I walked past him, he smacked me on the ass.

“Ow, what was that for?” I huffed and turned to face him.

He smirked, making my irritation dissipate. “For good luck. I’m going to need it,” he teased.

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