After showering and changing into my pink Betty Boop pyjama shorts and tank top, Clay knocked on my bedroom door. “Hey, Riley Bear,” he greeted, walking in as if he owned the place as usual, dumping his stuff on the chair. “Ice cream is in the freezer, as promised. I got cookies and cream and strawberry sorbet because I know you can’t ever make up your mind which you prefer.”
I smiled excitedly and placed my cell phone in his hand. “You order pizza,” I chirped, gripping his other hand and pulling him from my room and down to the kitchen while he dialled and placed our order.
After stuffing some popcorn in the microwave, I sat on the kitchen counter and he stood with his back to me, leaning against the counter in-between my legs. I wrapped my arms around his neck and rested my chin on his shoulder, pressing my chest into his back. He was rubbing my shins with his thumbs as we both watched the microwave go round. I sighed happily, this felt so right. I’d missed this.
“Hey, Clay! I missed you!” my mom cheered, coming into the kitchen and pulling him into a hug.
“Yeah you too, Sarah,” he replied, giving her his charming smile. He held out a hand to my stepfather. “Brian, how was your trip?”
Brian shook Clay’s hand with a warm smile. “Great, son, it was great. Shame to come back, but to be honest I don’t think I could have stood for anymore of Riley’s whining!” he joked, jabbing me in the ribs playfully. I just rolled my eyes, tipping our popcorn into a bowl. My mom just giggled like a school girl.
“Whining? What about?” Clay asked, obviously confused, looking at me quizzically.
Brian laughed. “You for goodness sake. ‘I miss Clay! When are we going home, I want to see Clay! Why won’t my cell phone work, I want to text Clay’,” Brian said, mimicking a girly voice, laughing. Clay just laughed too and put his arm around my shoulder.
“Shut up, Brian! I wasn’t whining. I just missed my best friend that’s all. A month is a long time you know!” I countered, throwing a bit of hot popcorn at him. He caught it and ate it, still laughing to himself. In reality I know I’d been a pain, but in my defence a month is an extremely long time to go without one of Clay’s hugs.
“Well, have a good night. We’re now off out for dinner,” Mom said, giving us both a kiss on the cheek.
Just then the doorbell rang. “Pizza’s here!” Brian shouted from the hallway. I ran towards the front door, grabbing my purse as I went past. “No need, I’ve got it,” Brian said as he passed me the pizza and kissed my forehead.
I smiled gratefully. As stepfathers went, I knew I got a great one. He loved my mom and me like crazy. I was only seven when they got together; he raised me and treated me like I was his own. Brian was the only dad I had ever known. My own father was no more than a sperm donor who wasn’t interested in being in my life and skipped town when he found out my mom was pregnant with me. My mom and Brian had tried for a baby but then they found out that Brian couldn’t have kids. He spoilt me like crazy.
As usual, Clay and I took the food and popcorn up to my room. After stuffing ourselves with pizza, we caught up on everything that we had missed for the last month. We finally put on the DVD at about nine thirty. Clay changed into his pyjamas - which basically meant that he just took off his jeans and T-shirt, he always slept in just his boxers - and jumped into the bed next to me.
The movie was scary, really scary. At one point I had my face pressed so hard against his chest that my nose was going numb. He already had his arm around me, so he brought up his other arm to hold the back of my head, tangling his fingers in my hair.
Finally, the movie was over. I looked up at him, expecting the laughter that always came after we watched a scary movie. But he didn’t laugh; instead, he just looked at me, staring at every part of my face. My breathing started to speed up because something just seemed different, I couldn’t put my finger on it but for some reason I was suddenly noticing how handsome he was. How his skin felt against mine. How his hand tightened in the back of my hair making my stomach flutter. The air seemed charged with something, getting thicker somehow, making my breathing shallower.
What the hell is wrong with me? I know I haven’t seen him for a month but jeez, this is freaking crazy!
Suddenly, he snapped out of it as if he came out of some sort of trance. “I’ll get the ice cream,” he muttered, jumping off the bed, stopping the movie before heading out of the room.
I sat up, rubbing a hand over my face, slightly dazed as to what was going on. What on earth was wrong with me today?
He smiled as he walked back into the room. “So, what’ll it be, Riley Bear?” he asked, holding out the two cartons to me. I forced a smile, deciding to ignore the confusion that seemed to be settling over me. He obviously hadn’t felt anything because he was behaving normally so maybe I was just tired or something.
“Hmm, I’ll go for the strawberry sorbet,” I chose, taking it and digging in.
He plopped down next to me, talking animatedly about his football practice. “So, I’ve got something that I wanted to ask you,” he said, suddenly looking serious. I immediately tensed up; Clay was never serious. I raised one eyebrow, waiting for him to continue. He cleared his throat. “I was wondering if… well... now that you come to my school, I thought…. well I wondered if maybe you would wear my number?” he asked, stumbling over his words as he looked at his ice cream.
“Wear your number, what are you talking about? What number?” I asked, frowning and taking my opportunity to steal some of the ice cream from his pot.
He just laughed and reached over, taking my half eaten tub of ice cream and handing me his. “I don’t know why I even make you choose, you always end up eating mine too,” he teased, chuckling again. I just smiled guiltily and dug into the cookies and cream. “So yeah, what I was saying. You know I’m running back for the football team, right? Well, now that you come to my school you’ll be expected to attend the games. Everyone goes, and there’s always a party after.” He winced, rubbing the back of his neck.
“Okay, I’d love to watch you play. I’ve never seen you play properly before, only in the park,” I replied, smiling.
He just nodded. “Yeah, so, well, the guys have this thing where you have to give your away shirt to your girlfriend to wear, to you know, show support,” he mumbled. “But I’ve never had a girlfriend. So I was wondering if you would wear it for me. You know, be my number one fan. Cheer me on?” he asked, frowning, clearly uncomfortable.
I felt the proud smile stretch across his face. “Of course I will, silly! I’m already your number one fan,” I stated, digging him in the ribs with my elbow.
He looked up at me and beamed. “Thanks.”
I yawned; I still hadn’t caught up from my lack of sleep last night. We hadn’t arrived back home until late, and even then I’d had trouble getting to sleep because of nerves about starting the new school.
“You’re tired. I’ll get the light,” Clay said, taking the almost finished ice creams and dumping them in the trashcan. I turned on the bedside light as he flicked off the ceiling lights. I watched him walk back to the bed and climb in beside me. He really was beautiful, both inside and outside. I really had missed him so much. I shifted over so he could get in and he wrapped his arms around me as usual and pulled me to his chest. We were both lying on our sides facing each other, our bodies touching. He was just staring at me again.
“What’s wrong?” I asked quietly. There was something he wanted to tell me I could tell, I knew him so well.
“About that bet earlier,” he whispered, moving his face a little closer to mine.
My heart sped up. Shit, I’d forgotten about the bet! He didn’t really want me to kiss him, did he? I could feel his warm sweet breath blowing across my face.
“Yeah?” I croaked, nervously. What was I going to do if he kissed me? It was a bet, we never back out of a bet and he won fair and square. He would have kissed whoever I chose if the outcome had been difference.
“I want to claim my prize,” he whispered, rolling forward slightly so that I was now half underneath him, his chest pressed against mine, pinning me to the bed.
“Clay, what the?” I gasped, but he was already inching his head towards me. I froze; I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing.
Gently his lips grazed across mine, so lightly that I could barely feel it. He pulled back to look at me again. “Can I kiss you?” he whispered huskily, his voice sounded so sexy I whimpered.
“For the bet?” I asked, still confused. Why would he even want to kiss me in the first place? He nodded, looking a little sad for some reason. “Umm…. okay.”
As soon as the words left my mouth, he brought his lips to mine, kissing me tenderly, passionately. And my God it felt good. His soft lips fitted mine perfectly, setting my body on fire. He traced his tongue along my bottom lip and I opened my mouth, eager for more. I felt his tongue slip in and massage mine gently and slowly. The taste of him was amazing and I couldn’t help but moan into his mouth. I’d never been kissed like this in my life. I’d kissed a few guys, but this, this was something else entirely.
I brought my arms up and wrapped them around his neck, tangling my hands into his hair, trying to get him closer to me. He made a small moaning sound in the back of his throat that made my body start to tingle. He pulled away, only to kiss along my jaw line and down my neck, making me moan this time. He made his way back to my mouth again; I kissed him hungrily, as if I could devour his soul. I felt his hand snake up my leg to rest on my hip, before gently slipping under my top to trace his fingers across my stomach and sides. My whole body was tingling with a burning desire that I barely even understood.
As his fingers bit into my hip it suddenly dawned on me what I was doing. This was Clay! I was making out with Clay! He had his hand under my top! It was Clay, my best friend. What the heck was I going? I didn’t even like him in that way, did I? I reluctantly pulled my hands out of his hair. I put them on his chest and gave him a small shove.