Author's Note: Sorry for the delay in this news chapter. I kind of hit a rut with Say and needed to work it out.
This isn't a date.
That's for damn sure. Because, really, who brings their friend on a date? Especially when there isn't another guy coming along for her friend to be set up with.
Cappie likes Ashleigh, don't get him wrong. She's been on his side since day one.
Well, maybe not day one because on day one they hadn't met yet. But at least by day six she stood on his side of the line. At the time, he couldn't tell you who stood on the other side.
She had even gone as far as to find him after Casey dumped his sorry ass and tell him that, in the end, she believes that Casey will come back to him. That there really is a thing such as true love.
But he was under the distinct impression that this is a date. You know, the kind where it's just a boy and a girl.
Not a boy, a girl, and her friend serving as the awkward third wheel on a bicycle built for two.
"Daisy Bell." 1892. Harry Darce.
(He used to be a music major.)
If he had known Ashleigh was coming along, he would have grabbed Wade or Beaver or some random dude walking down the street to serve as her date.
Okay, maybe not Beaver. That would have ended the "date" right then and there.
But he certainly would not have spent forty-seven minutes deciding what to wear like some sixteen-year-old girl getting ready for her first date with the high school quarterback. Or drum major. Or equally geeky and awkward sixteen-year-old boy.
And right now, Cappie feels like a fool. He had grabbed their pool table in the back corner of the bar, ordered a pitcher of beer, and told the bartender, Alex, that he was finally getting his girl back.
"Um, Ash will you get us a couple of sodas," Casey directs towards her friend as she drops her purse on the tall, wooden table by the pool table. "Diet coke, please."
"I'll help," Cappie says, setting his glass of amber colored beer on the table by Casey's purse. "Why don't you rack them up, Case?"
With a glace over his shoulder to make sure Casey's not paying attention to them, he grabs Ashleigh's elbow and drags her around the corner towards the bar.
"What are you doing here?" He hisses.
"Nice to see you too, Cappie," Ashleigh replies and he brushes her comment off because he's serious.
Serious as a heart attack.
"Well," he prompts as he follows Ashleigh over to the bar.
"Two diet cokes, please," she tells Alex, her hand making the universal symbol for two. For peace.
"Coming right up," Alex replies with a smirk on his face that Cappie really want to rub right off. "Getting crushed by the third wheel, huh, Cappie?"
"Fuck off, Alex," Cappie growls as he takes a seat next to Ashleigh on the torn bar stool. "Ashleigh…"
"Can't tell you," she says holding her hand up like a police officer telling a driver to stop. "Sister to sister confidentiality agreement."
Is she really going to throw that in his face? Didn't he once use that against her?
Girlfriend to boyfriend confidentiality agreement?
And he tries to giver her that look. The one that Dr. McWhat'sHisName uses on that dark and twisty girl on that chick show Casey used to make him watch with her. The show he still watches, some times, when he's desperately trying to hold onto a piece of her.
But, apparently, he's not Dr. McWhat'sHisName because Ashleigh's laughing at him.
And her laughter kind of grates on him. The same way that Rebecca and Kristy and Lana and any other girl at CRU's laughter grates on him.
It's not the right sound.
It's too long, too short.
It's too low, too high.
It's not Casey's.
"Okay, okay," she tells him. "Casey's afraid that she'll do something stupid…like get drunk and wake up at the KT house without any clothes on."
And, really, Cappie doesn't see anything wrong with that idea.
Well, as long as she's naked in his bed and not just naked anywhere in the Kappa Tau house.
"She's afraid you're up to something," Ashleigh says placing her hand on his shoulder and giving him the most serious look he knows Ashleigh can muster. "Are you up to something?"
"Besides trying to get her back?"
More word vomit?
Damn word vomit.
"Listen, as long as you stick to that goal, I have no problem with you. But Casey just got over Evan. She needs some time before she goes diving back into bed with you like we both know she will," she tells him as she lets go of his shoulder and grabs the two sodas off the counter.
Standing up, she looks around and then leans in again.
"And don't worry. Calvin is going to call me and demand I come right over."
Has Cappie mentioned how much he loves Ashleigh?
Really, really loves Ashleigh?
He grabs one of the sodas out of her hand and gestures for her to lead the way.
"Are you ready to lose?" Cappie asks Casey as he hands her the glass in his hand.
"Have you forgotten I took a class over the summer?" She asks him as she leans against the table.
"Well, in that case, Ashleigh's on my team."
"No way," she exclaims and Cappie's glad to see her smiling. She doesn't smile enough these days. "She's my friend. I brought her."
"But you took a class over the summer," he mimics as he grabs a queue out of the holder on the wall and picks up his abandoned beer glass that he placed on the table when Casey, and Ashleigh, arrived.
"Nope," Ashleigh interjects holding up her latest issue of Vogue. "I've brought my own entertainment."
"Ash," Casey says a bit too quickly but she cuts herself off by biting her lip. He's a little put off by her insistence that her friend play with them because, after all, this is their date. And how is he supposed to get her to…
What does he want from her?
Drop her jeans and go at it with him right here, right now?
If he's honest with himself, really honest with himself, he knows he wants her to fall in love with him again. Give him that infectious smile that makes him feel like the only guy in the whole wide world. Make him feel like he's not the only person in this "relationship" who's feeling those feelings.
What he wants, what he really want is to wake up next to her, their legs tangled, his arm thrown over her protectively, her body molded into his.
That's what he wants.
Two weeks from now.
Ten years from now.
"I know where I want be in ten years. Do you?"
"I wanna be with you."
Honesty is supposed to be the best policy but, really, it hasn't work for him in the past. He was honest about the bribery. Honest about where he wants to be in ten years.
And it had all back fired.
Crack. Crack. Crack.
It still kind of surprises him that Casey is able to sink three with the break. Freshman year, when he had been teaching her, he had been hit where it counts with the queue quite a few times because she pulled the queue back a bit too far.
Really too far.
So the fact that she's able to do anything with a queue besides try to decapitate Little Cappie surprises him.
Really surprises him.
"Nice shot," he says as she sinks another ball in the corner pocket and she smiles at him.
"If I gambled, I would totally be the favorite to win," she tells him as she takes a swig of her soda.
Okay, so he's lost two games. It's not that big of a deal.
Really, it's not.
He's not Evan. He can lose gracefully.
To a girl.
A girl who he'd like nothing more than to take home and…
Ashleigh's phone is ringing and he watches her flip it open and talk adamantly with the person on the other end. He darts a glance at Casey as Ashleigh snaps the phone shut.
"That was Calvin. I have to go."
He watches Casey's jaw drop and she fumble for the words she needs to make Ashleigh stay, so she's not alone with him. He eyes widen as Ashleigh throws her magazine and cell phone into her purse.
"Bye guys," she says as she heads for the exit of the small room. Leaning in, she whispers into Casey's ear, "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
"Have fun," she calls as she backs out and heads for the door.
Alone at last.
"So what do you say we really get this party started?" He asks her as he leans on his queue.
"What do you have in mind?" She asks cautiously like he's going to suggest they play strip poker or something like that.
Okay, so he though about it but, really, this is a public place and this really is too early to be showing the package off before Christmas. September is early but March is way, way too early.
"How about a little wager?"
"I told you I wasn't a gambler. Last time…" she trails off because she knows he knows what happened.
"This was just a fond trip down memory lane."
"I know," he says with a nod and he leans across the table, his two hands resting on the worn, green felt. "I was thinking more of a keep-your-clothes-on kinda deal."
"Okay," she drawls out. "What do you have in mind?"
"If you win, you get a hundred bucks. If I win, I get what I want."
"This sounds oddly familiar," she says. "What is it you want?"
"Another date. This time alone."
She's contemplating his proposal. He can see it in her eyes and she's doing that thing with her lip again.
"Okay?" He asks. He can't say he isn't surprised that she takes him up on his offer. After all, she's the one that brought Ashleigh on their "date."
"Okay," she repeats.
The odds are against him.
Seven percent chance.
Really, he has no chance of getting another date with her. At least, not with this proposal, this proposition.
She only has to sink on more ball and he's done. He won't be getting that second date, so he sighs and leans on his queue wishing he had thought of a better way to ask her out again.
And she…she scratches?
And he just won?
"Did you do that on purpose?" He asks and he suddenly shivers with that déjà vu feeling.
"No," she says shaking her head yes.
There's that déjà vu feeling again.
And all of the sudden, her lips are on his lips and he finds his hand sliding across her back as she deepens the kiss.
This really is déjà vu.
Except this time, this time there's no alcohol.
On her part.
Or broken hears.
On her part.
The sudden thought that this just might be another case of using Cappie and then dumping him at first light freaks him out.
Really freaks him out.
One hand is tangled in her hair, the other hand trails down her back, pausing at the flare of her hips. Her pink shirt has risen, exposing the white skin of her hip bone and without warning, his fingers push down into her sensitive flesh and shove her away, her lips ripping away from his.
"Wh…what?" She sputters, gasping for air.
He doesn't response, just stand there, chest heaving, his tongue sliding across his lips giving him a taste of her lip gloss all over again.
"I won't…I won't do it again, Case," he says dropping his gaze from her face to his feet. "I ca…I can't."
"Cap, please," she says, her voice breaking as her tears begin to well up in her eyes.
And all of the sudden, he feels really, really bad.
Because maybe she wasn't using him. Maybe this was supposed to happen.
She had, after all, broken up with Evan and now he's just a fool who made her cry.
A really big fool.
"Case," Cappie mutters as he takes a step closer and grabs her arm. She tries to back away, tires to fight him. Yet, Cappie's stronger and he pulls her against his body, tucking her head under her chin.
"Shh, Case," he tells her as his hand caresses the small of her back. "I'm sorry."
And now she pushes him away.
"What the hell was that?" She asks him, her chest heaving up and down.
Up and down.
Which is a really big distraction.
"I'm an idiot," he mumbles.
"Yeah," she fires back. "You kinda are."
"Did I just blow it?" He asks and she drops her head, biting her lip. And he can tell she's thinking about it.
Really thinking about it.
"I don't know, Cap."
"Oh," he mumbles and the two of the stand in silence, his gaze fixated on her, hers on the floor.
"Can we play another round?" He asks and she immediately shakes her head no.
Not the response her was hoping for.
"Can I walk you home?" He asks hoping that God himself will interfere. She doesn't immediately shake her head, so maybe God has stepped in, and she's doing that thing with her lip, so he let's his hopes rise.
"Okay?" He asks. He can't say he isn't surprised that she takes him up on his offer. After all, he's the one that pushed her away.
Like the really big idiot he is.
"Okay," she repeats.
Two houses to go and they'll be at Zeta Beta Zeta and he's kicking himself for wasting his time.
Sure, they've talked.
About Rusty, how nice Ashleigh is, how the ticket lottery is coming up.
And about how the Kappa Taus and the ZBZs should party again because the Prohibition party was so much fun.
"I was thinking dinner and a movie," Casey tells him, as they past the Lambda Sig house, who, despite it being eleven forty-five at night, are playing a game of touch football on the lawn.
"Huh?" He asks because he is really confused by her statement.
"Or we could just…I don't know," she trails off as he stops to look at her.
"Are you talking about the wager? The date?"
"Uh huh," she says nodding her head. "You won fair and square."
Except he didn't.
She scratched on purpose. He knows it. She knows it. Hell, Alex the bartender probably knows it.
"Okay," he says as they continue walking. It's Tuesday night. Asking her out for tomorrow night would be too fifteen-year-old-desperate-teenage-girl, right?
"Dinner and a movie…Thursday?"
She nods her head, smiling and he can't help the giddy feeling that's yearning to bust out.
"Seven," he offers and she nods while tucking a strand of blonde hair behind her ear. Our of his peripheral vision, he realizes that they are standing on the front porch of the ZBZ house. And he's not exactly sure what he's supposed to do now but, at least, she's not running into the house and slamming the door in his face. His hands are hanging awkwardly by his side, hers doing the same. And that's when he realizes that the she doesn't know how to handle this either.
"Good night, Cappie," she says as she opens the door and slips inside.
"Night, Case," he replies.
So he has a date and he smiles with the thought as he back tracks his steps towards the KT house.
On the other side of the ZBZ front door, she's leaning back against it, her eyes closed, and this grin on her face that Frannie and Suzanne and Ashleigh haven't seen since the beginning of Casey's freshman year, one that Rebecca has never seen.