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Point of retreat, p.3

  Point of Retreat, p.3

   part  #2 of  Slammed Series

Point of Retreat

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  to ask Gavin for a favor. Lake and I haven’t had any alone time in weeks due to always having the boys. I really need alone time with her.

  “Do you think you and Eddie could take Kel and Caulder to a movie tomorrow night?”

  He doesn’t answer right away, which makes me feel guilty for even asking. Maybe they had plans already.

  “It depends,” he finally responds. “Do we have to take Kiersten, too?”

  I laugh. “That’s up to your girl. She’s her new best friend,” I say.

  Gavin rolls his eyes at the thought. “It’s fine, we had plans to watch a movie anyway. What time? How long do you want us to keep them?”

  “Doesn’t matter. We aren’t going anywhere. I just need a couple of hours alone with Lake. There’s something I need to give her.”

  “Oh… I see,” he says. “Just text me when you’re through ‘giving it to her,’ and we’ll bring the boys home.”

  I shake my head at his assumption and laugh. I like Gavin. What I hate, however, is the fact that everything that happens between me and Lake, and he and Eddie…we all seem to know about. That’s the drawback of dating best friends…there are no secrets.

  “Let’s go, Babe.” Eddie says as she pulls Gavin up off the couch. “Thanks for supper, Will. Joel wants you guys to come over next weekend. He said he’d make tamales.”

  I don’t turn down tamales. “We’re there,” I say.

  After Eddie and Gavin leave, Lake comes to the living room and sits on the couch, curling her legs up under her as she snuggles against me. I put my arm around her and pull her closer.

  “I’m bummed,” she says. “I was hoping we’d at least get the same days this semester. We never get any alone time with all these butterflying kids running around.”

  You would think with us living across the street from each other that we would have all the time in the world together. That’s not the case. Last semester she went to school Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I went all five days. Weekends we spent a lot of time doing homework, but mostly stayed busy with Kel and Caulder’s sports. When Julia passed away in September, that put even more on Lake’s plate. It’s been an adjustment, to say the least. The only place we seem to be lacking is actually getting quality alone time. It’s kind of awkward if the boys are at one house to just go to the other house to be alone. They almost always seem to follow us whenever we do.

  “We’ll get through it,” I say. “We always do.”

  She pulls my face toward hers and kisses me. I’ve been kissing her every day for over a year, and it somehow still gets better every time.

  “I better go,” she finally says. “I have to get up early and go to the college to finish registration. I also need to make sure Kel’s not outside making out with Kiersten.”

  We laugh about it now, but in a matter of years it’ll be our reality. We won’t even be twenty-five and we’ll be raising teenagers. It’s a scary thought.

  “Hold on, before you leave…what are your plans tomorrow night?”

  She rolls her eyes. “What kind of question is that? You’re my plan. You’re always my only plan.”

  “Good. Eddie and Gavin are taking the boys. Meet me at seven?”

  She perks up and smiles. “Are you asking me out on a real, live date?”

  I nod my head.

  “Well, you suck at it, you know. You always have. Sometimes girls like to be asked and not told.”

  She’s trying to play hard to get, which is pointless. I’ve already got her…but I play her game anyway. I kneel down on the floor in front of her and look into her eyes. “Lake, will you do me the honor of accompanying me on a date tomorrow night? ”

  She leans back into the couch and looks away. “I don’t know, I’m sort of busy,” she says. “I’ll check my schedule and let you know.” She tries to look put out, but a smile breaks out on her face. She leans forward and hugs me, but I lose my balance and we end up in the floor. I roll her onto her back and she stares up at me and laughs. “Fine. Pick me up at seven.”

  I brush her hair out of her eyes and run my finger along the edge of her face. “I love you, Lake.”

  “Say it again,” she says.

  I kiss her forehead and repeat what I said. “I love you, Lake.”

  “One more time.”

  “I.” I kiss her lips. “And love.” I kiss them again. “And you.”

  “I love you, too.”

  I ease my body on top of hers and interlock fingers with her. I bring her hands above her head and press them into the floor. I lean in as if I’m going to kiss her, but I don’t. I like to tease her when we're in this position. I barely touch my lips to hers until she closes her eyes, then I slowly pull away. She opens her eyes and I smile at her, then lean in again. As soon as her eyes are closed, I pull away again.

  "Dammit, Will! Butterflying kiss me already!"

  I release her hands and she grabs my face and pulls my mouth to hers. We continue kissing until we get to the ‘point of retreat,’ as Lake likes to call it. She climbs out from under me and sits up on her knees as I roll onto my back and remain in the floor. We don’t like to get carried away when we aren’t the only ones in the house. It’s so easy to do. When we catch ourselves taking things too far, one of us always calls retreat.

  Before Julia passed away, we made the mistake of taking things too far, too soon…a crucial mistake on my part. It was just two weeks after we started officially dating and Caulder was staying the night at Kel’s house. Lake and I came back to my place after a movie. We started making out on the couch and one thing led to another…neither of us willing to stop it. We weren’t having sex, but we would have eventually if Julia wouldn’t have walked in when she did. She completely flipped out. We were mortified. She grounded Lake and wouldn’t let me see her for two weeks. I probably apologized a million times in those two weeks.

  She eventually sat us down together and made us swear we would wait at least a year. She made Lake get on the pill, and made me look her in the eyes and give her my word. She wasn’t upset about the fact that her eighteen-year-old daughter almost had sex. Julia was fairly reasonable and knew it would happen eventually. What hurt her was that I was so willing to take that from Lake in such a short time frame, after only two weeks of dating. It made me feel incredibly guilty, so of course I agreed to the promise. She also wanted us to set a good example for Kel and Caulder and made us swear we wouldn’t spend the night at each other’s houses during that timeframe either. After Julia passed away, we’ve stuck to our word. More out of respect for Julia, than anything. Lord knows it’s more than difficult sometimes. A lot of times.

  We haven’t discussed it, but last week was exactly a year since we made that promise to Julia. I don’t want to rush Lake into anything. I want it to be completely up to her, so I haven’t brought it up. Neither has she. But then again, we haven’t really been alone, either.

  “Point of retreat,” she says and stands up. “I’ll see you tomorrow night. Seven o’clock. Don’t be late.”

  “Go find your phone and text me goodnight,” I tell her.

  She opens the door and faces me as she backs out of the house, slowly pulling the door shut. “One more time?” she says.

  “I love you, Lake.”

  Friday, January 6th, 2012

  I’m giving Lake her present in a little while. I’m not even sure what it is, since it’s not something I picked out. I can’t write any more right now, my hands are shaking. How the hell do these dates still make me nervous? I’m so pathetic.

  Chapter 2

  “Boys, no backwards tonight. You know Gavin can’t keep up when you guys talk backwards.” I wave goodbye and shut the door behind them.

  It’s almost seven. I go to the bathroom and brush my teeth, then grab my keys and jacket and head to my car. I can see her watching from the window. She probably doesn’t realize this, but I could always see her watching from the window. Especially in the months before we were officially dating.
Every day I would come home and I would see her shadow. It’s what gave me hope that one day we would be able to be together…the fact that she still thought about me. After our fight in the laundry room though, she never watched from the window again. I thought I’d screwed everything up for good.

  I back out of the driveway and straight into hers. I leave the car running and walk around to open the door for her. When I get back inside the car, I get a whiff of her perfume. It’s the vanilla one…my favorite.

  “Where are we going?” she asks.

  “You’ll see. It’s a surprise,” I say as I pull out of her driveway. Rather than turn onto the street, I pull up right into my own driveway. I kill the ignition and run around to her side of the car and open the door.

  “What are you doing, Will?”

  I take her hand and pull her out of the car. “We’re here.” I love the look of confusion on her face, so I spare the details.

  “You asked me out on a date to your house? I got dressed up, Will! I want to go somewhere.”

  She’s whining. I laugh and take her hand and walk her inside. “No, you made me ask you out on a date. I never said we were going anywhere. I just asked if you had plans.”

  I've already cooked supper so I walk into the kitchen and get our plates. Rather than sit at the table to eat, I take the plates to the coffee table in the living room. She pulls her jacket off and seems a little disappointed. I continue to elude her while I make our drinks, then take a seat in the floor with her.

  “I’m not trying to seem ungrateful,” she says with a mouthful of pasta. “It’s just that we never get to go anywhere anymore. I was looking forward to doing something different.”

  I take a drink and wipe my mouth. “Babe, I know what you mean. But tonight has sort of already been planned out for us.” I toss another breadstick on her plate.

  “What do you mean planned out for us? I’m not following,” she says.

  I don’t respond. I just continue eating.

  “Will, just tell me what’s going on, your evasiveness is making me nervous.”

  I grin at her and take a drink. “I’m not trying to make you nervous. I’m just doing what I was told.”

  She can tell I’m enjoying this. She gives up trying to get anything out of me and takes another bite of her food. “The pasta’s good, at least,” she says.

  “So is the view.”

  She smiles and winks at me and continues to eat.

  She's wearing her hair down tonight. I love it when she wears her hair down. I also love it when she wears it up. In fact, I don't think she's ever worn it in a way that made me not love it. She’s so incredibly beautiful…especially when she’s not trying to be. I realize I’ve been staring at her, lost in thought. I've barely eaten half my food and she's almost finished.

  “Will?” She finishes her last bite of food then wipes her mouth with her napkin. “Does this have anything to do with my mom?” she asks quietly. “You know…with our promise to her?”

  I know what she’s asking me. I immediately feel guilty that I haven’t thought about what she would think my intentions were tonight. I don’t want her to feel like I expect anything at all from her.

  “Not in that way, Babe.” I reach across and take her hand. “That’s not what tonight’s about. I’m sorry if you thought that. That’s for another time…when you’re ready.”

  She smiles at me. “Well, I wasn’t gonna object if it was,” she says.

  Her comment catches me off guard. I’ve gotten so used to the fact that one of us always calls retreat; I haven't really entertained the possibility of the alternative tonight.

  She looks embarrassed by her forwardness and diverts her attention back down to her plate. She tears off a piece of bread and dips it in the
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