Julie sits in Lois' car, her hand resting on the door, but she just can't seem to bring herself to open it.
"Go on!" urges Lois.
Julie summons up the strength to finally open the car door and walk up to Tim's house. She has come to apologize for everything that happened the other night. She can't believe she almost let that Riley guy get with her. She felt like such an idiot, but Tim had saved her from a potential nightmare.
She might have been drunk, but she still remembered what it was like having Tim help her home. He practically carried her all the way into her room and Julie has thought about the spark she felt ripple through her body when he laid her down on the bed. Her arms were around his neck and she was looking into those eyes. They made her think of giant fields of waving green grass. She wanted to run through them, get lost in them. She'd almost kissed him when she heard her dad come into her room. Tim tried to explain, but the silent wall of rage that flew out of Eric Taylor was something neither she nor Tim wanted to mess with right then. Tim had left without a fight. Julie told herself she would clear things up in the morning, but when her dad came in and apologized to her she just couldn't do it. She felt like such a coward. Tim deserved better and she had worked up the courage to set things right after seeing him look at her today after practice.
Oh, boy, Julie thought, this isn't going to be easy. Taking a quick glance back at Lois who was giving her the thumbs up, she raises her hand and knocks. It takes everything she has and when he opens the door she blurts out a lame "Hi."
He must hate me, Julie thinks, he's got every right to.
"Hey." Tim mutters back, taking a quick swig of the beer he is holding in his hand.
"Tim, I am so, so sorry!" Julie's apology spills out and she can't stop herself from sounding a little immature and whiny. She knows this was such a bad play on her part. Letting Tim take the blame and ruining his relationship with her dad and getting him kicked out of their house. She feels so guilty and he never sold her out. She's holding back tears. Just keep it together, Julie, she tells herself.
"It's fine, Julie."
"Really?" She asks expectantly.
"Really. Things are all good." He says with a smile while leaning on the door frame.
He looks so delicious. She is actually at a loss for words, which doesn't happen very often, when she forces out a question. "You and Billy are ok?"
Feeling like more of an idiot than when she started she figured she better wrap this up. "OK, well, I, I just wanted to let you know how sorry I was. You were great. Really. I'm so glad you were there. I, I think that was a big mistake I barely avoided, thanks to you."
"I think you are probably right and it's not a problem."
His kindness was a nice surprise. Julie expected him to give her a hard time, blame her for making his already rough life a little rougher, but he hadn't. She could see a tenderness in his gaze that unsettled her. It was almost like he had missed her or something. Like the way he had looked at her earlier today.
"Alright then, um, have a good night and I'll see you around, ya?"
With a gentle nod Tim says, "See you around."
Tim gives her a weak smile before starting to close the door. He sees Lois give him a quick wave as Julie walks to the car. Julie looks back at the closed door wishing she could be on the other side of it, with him. As she sits down and shuts the car door, Lois is all questions.
"So, what did you say? What did he say? Is he mad? Does he hate you? What, come on, Julie, spill!"
"Calm down, Lo. It was fine. I told him I was sorry and he said we were cool."
"Oh, wow. Tim Riggins is so cool. So HOT and so cool!" Lois giggles.
With an eye roll Julie asks if she can just drive her home. It has been a long day and she just wants to go to bed.
Friday morning and Julie wakes up with a start. She has to tell her dad today that he has the wrong idea about the other night. This is going to be the hardest thing she has ever done in her life. Throwing off the covers, she gets out of bed to face the wrath of Eric Taylor.
Somehow they managed to miss each other before school started and Julie knows she'll have to go the entire day feeling this awful. It probably won't be as awful as she'll feel after telling her dad, but she's tired of carrying the weight of this around and just wants to get it over with, even if that means she'll be menopausal before ever being allowed to go out again. She sees Tim in the halls and gives him a quick smile and a wave. He returns it with a head nod. Even that is just so damn sexy. Julie is confused about these feelings for him. She couldn't stand it when he first started living with them, but then he started to grow on her. Like a fungus, she chuckles to herself.
Her thoughts turn serious again when she thinks about how he had protected her during the tornado. Something changed that day. She remembers how loud everything got and then the eerie silence right before Tim pushed her down and covered her with his body. She was huddled down on the floor, scared for her life and yet she felt safe. The warmth of his body and the strength of his arms wrapped around her made her feel the most protected she had ever felt. The crashing of glass and debris flew all around them, but after the storm blew over they, thankfully, were fine. Then she screwed it all up. After an exasperated sigh Julie goes on with the rest of her day at school dreading the conversation she needed to have later.
It's just before her dad has to leave for the game and he's in talking to her mom. She knows she has to say something now or she never will. He tries to make a speedy exit, but she tells him that what she has to say is really important. Eric sees the need in her eyes so he stops.
"It was all my fault, dad." She gets out between sobs.
"What was, hun?"
"The other night. With Tim."
"I...I was drinking."
Instant rage flashes across Eric's face. Through his clenched jaw he tells her to continue.
"We were at a party and I had too much to drink. It was so stupid, I was flirting with this lame guy and Tim saved me. He brought me home and was only trying to help me into bed when you walked in. It wasn't what you thought it was."
Julie sees the disappointment in Eric's eyes. She knows she has never screwed up this bad before and is just waiting for him to let her have it. His reaction surprises her. A simple curse and he walks out the door. She knows that's not the end of it, but there is a game to win, so first things first.
The game is so close. They keep trading scores with Larabee and Julie can see the excited tension building in her dad. Tim is having a great game and she swears she's seen him look up at her in the stand a few times. This means she's been looking at him the whole time too, but she hasn't minded that in the least.
It's late in the fourth quarter and all of a sudden Tim has the ball and is running toward the end zone. They are going to win! Julie is jumping up and down screaming her head off when out of nowhere the other coach knocks Tim to the ground. A shocked silence hushes the crowd as Coach Taylor runs across the field to see what the hell was going on.
Julie turns to her Tami. "Mom, what just happened?"
Tami has a stunned look on her face. "I don't know, honey. I've never seen anything like that in all my days."
Smash's mom says she hadn't either when someone behind them says that Dillon will win the game based on interference. Julie looks back as Tim is just getting up and the coaches are busy getting the guys off the field. It looks like a major brawl could erupt at any second. Those Larabee jerks had been pulling stunts the past few weeks and this was just too crazy. Tim seemed to be fine as her dad put his arm around him and walked with him to the locker room. The announcer quickly comes over the speakers saying that the game was over and Dillon will get the win. They ask everyone to clear the stadium.
"Honey," Tami coos, "I'm going to take Gracie Belle home and get her put down. Do you want to wait here for your dad or were you wanting to go out for a bit?"
Her mom was still oblivious to what Julie had told her dad earlier so she thought she'd take advantage of the last little bit of freedom while she still had it.
"Uh, yeah. I'll just hang out and get a ride home with dad." Julie replied. She wasn't insane, she knew going out would be suicide, but maybe she could get a chance to see how Tim was doing before all hell broke loose at the Taylor house.
"Ok, well, just steer clear of the other team and I'll see you when you get home."
Julie gave the baby a quick kiss on the cheek and walked down to where her dad and the rest of the team were parked and waited. She knew the players would be done before the coaches so she had some hope that her little plan would work.
Matt Saracen came walking out of the locker room and saw Julie standing there.
"Uh, hey. How's it going, Julie?"
"I fine, Matt. How is it in there?" She asked inquisitively.
"It's pretty weird. I guess we get the win, but man, how messed up was that?"
"I know! We were all so freaked out when we saw it. Everyone was saying they'd never seen anything like that before. So...um, how, how is Tim?"
"Tim? Uh, fine I guess. Like do you mean if he is hurt or something?"
Julie instantly blushed and was so happy that it was fairly dark outside. The last thing she wanted was for Matt to figure out she had a crush on Tim. This conversation was one of the longest they'd had since they broke up and she was starting to feel uncomfortable.
"Yeah, I mean that had to be a surprise. I was just curious."
"He's cool. He's Riggins. Does anything phase that guy?" Matt chuckled.
Julie laughed in agreement. "Well, I'm sure you need to be getting back to your grandma and, um...Carlotta." It came out a little more bitchy than she intended and she saw him flinch a little.
"Uh, yeah, yeah. Ok, well, I'll, I'll see you around Jules."
Matt walked to his car and Julie shook her head at what a piece of junk it was. Then she thought that at least it was a car and based on what she knew was coming her way it would be more than she'd ever have. This humility thing was brand new for her and she wasn't quite sure she liked it.
Players kept streaming out of the locker room but it felt like forever until she saw him. His hair was still wet from the shower, she hoped it was the shower, yuck, if not. Tim saw her and stopped. She gave him a smile and she saw something soften in him. He strolled over to where she was standing.
"How are you? Are you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm good. He wasn't that big of a guy." He tried to joke.
"No, really," she asked, reaching out and placing her hand on his arm "are you ok?"
He stood there for a minute just looking at her. What was he thinking? She could see him taking her in and she hoped that he knew she was really concerned for him. This was going to be a big deal and the last thing Tim liked was a lot of attention, unless it was of the female persuasion.
"I guess some pretty serious stuff is going on with his wife. Coach talked to me and, I mean, the guy is a dick, but I feel bad for him, you know? His career is in the crapper." He sighed.
Wow. He'd actually shared something with her. Tim Riggins was talking to her like a person. That had to be the most he'd ever said to her at one time that didn't include some gross punch line.
"That's too bad. Um..."
She got quiet. Julie looked up into Tim's face and met his eyes. They were staring down at her and she felt herself step toward him. She could smell him and he had indeed showered. The thought of his naked body being pelted with hot streams of water made her flush. She could feel his pulse under her hand and it felt like it was getting faster.
"Yeah, Jules?" He asked her softly.
He called her Jules. She really liked how that sounded coming from him.
"I, uh, I told my dad."
He raised his eyebrows and let out a low whistle. "And you're out here all by yourself, unguarded? Coach going soft?"
She laughed, "No - I told him just before the game and he didn't have time to punish me, or tell my mom, so I thought I'd breathe some fresh air before the bars were installed on my windows."
They were still standing very close to each other looking into each others eyes when her dad walked out. Thank goodness she had just taken her hand down or she was sure her dad would have had an aneurism right there.
"Julie Taylor! Get in this car right now." Coach Taylor thundered.
She turned a penitent smile up to Tim and said, "Well, I guess this is it."
He gave her a grin and watched her get in the passenger seat of Coach's car. As they pulled out of the lot he raised a hand to wave and she touched the window with her fingertips to signal back to him that she saw. She didn't know if her dad was talking to her or not as all she could think about was she could still feel Tim's beating heart in the palm of her hand.
AN: This is my first attempt at writing. I'm a Tulie fan, so I don't know how much angst I'll include. Some, but not a lot! Thanks for reading and reviewing.