A/N: I couldn't even tell you where this idea came from. It just kind of rambles too. I don't really know what happened here. Really, I don't. It's pointless. (Seriously, if you think it has a point, tell me what it is.) But, maybe it's fun? Set during the time between Lilly and Oliver getting together and Miley coming back from filming her movie.
Not A Bad Night
"Please tell me you're joking," Lilly said, her eyes hopeful as she stood next to Todd's car, watching Nick and Oliver looking under the hood.
Oliver ignored her to yell to Todd, "try again."
She crossed her fingers when Todd turned his key in the ignition, but nothing happened. The engine just sputtered and died.
"My mom is going to kill me," Lilly whispered to herself, glancing at her watch again, but Nick just slammed the hood of the car shut and shook his head.
"Man, I have no idea what's wrong with it," he said and wiped his hands on his jeans.
She knew this was a mistake. She should never have agreed to come with those idiots. And now she was going to have to call her mom when she wasn't even supposed to be out of the house because Nick and Todd were the dumbest friends she had. Lilly sighed.
"Hey, we'll get you home before your mom notices you're gone," Oliver told her, nudging her in the side.
"I'm just hoping she came back from her date and went right to bed. No checking on Lilly," she muttered to him. "Especially since I just realized I don't have my phone, and if I call her at two in the morning from your phone, she might borrow your mom's gun and shoot me… or you."
"Use Nick's," Oliver joked, and she had to smile at that.
She held his gaze for a minute, wishing Nick and Todd weren't here with them, and wondering just what it was Oliver was thinking when he looked at her like that.
If she had been able to read his mind, Lilly would have found this rattling around in there right now: He was still amazed that when her mom said she couldn't go tonight, she sneaked out of the house and drove out to the middle of nowhere with Todd and Nick. Lilly, who claimed she never wanted to be in a car that Todd was driving. Lilly, who for the last few weeks had been finding Nick even more annoying than usual since he had made it his mission to get under her skin. (Oliver was thinking Nick's mission might have had something to do with Lilly no longer being on speaking terms with Sophie, who was one girl Nick hadn't been able to charm yet.) Lilly, who had been his girlfriend for almost an entire month, but he still hadn't told anyone about it. There were rumors flying around, of course. But nobody knew anything for sure. (Except for maybe Sophie, but she didn't have any proof.) He was also kind of amazed that he'd been able to keep his mouth shut. Normal Oliver behavior would have him yelling at the top of his lungs to anyone that would listen that Lilly Truscott was taken, and that if he had anything to say about it, she would be for a very long time. Possibly forever. Not that he was thinking that far into the future when they hadn't even said anything about this new development to their other best friend. The one currently out of the state.
The four friends stood next to the car, and Lilly waited for someone to come up with a brilliant plan.
"Can't you call your dad, tell him we're stuck?" Nick asked Todd.
"Dude, my dad's totally surfing in Costa Rica this week," Todd informed them, tossing his car keys up in the air and catching them, repeatedly. It was starting to give Lilly a headache.
She snatched the keys in midair and asked, "what do you mean he's in Costa Rica? How are we supposed to get home?"
"Bus?" Todd offered, trying to get his keys back.
She didn't give in, instead asking Oliver, "do you know of any buses from here that go to our house? Cause I don't."
He shook his head. "We'd probably have to catch, like, five. It would take forever to get home."
"You guys share a house now?" Nick cut in sarcastically. "Movin' kind of fast, don't you think." Lilly responded by throwing Todd's keys at his head, but Nick caught them easily. "You know, maybe if somebody's band didn't get a gig so far away, this wouldn't have been a problem."
Todd nodded his head in agreement, his eyes wide, and Oliver quickly shot back, "you two didn't have to come."
"Aw, but then Lilly wouldn't have had a ride out here, and you would have been so disappointed," Nick teased.
"Just shut up and fix this," Lilly growled at him
She was over the barbs Nick had been tossing at the two of them all night, well, really all month. She knew he had always thought something was going on between them, but his quips were becoming more frequent. She had been tempted more than once tonight to knock him out, partly because he was annoying, and partly because it was kind of hard to work into a conversation that yes, something was going on between them, but they wanted to keep it quiet because they weren't sure how to tell their other best friend, when she had spent most of the night with Todd and Nick who were ogling all of the other girls around them while they were seated at a table in a small club listening to the band Oliver was currently singing with. She had been grateful when he opted to ride back with them instead of the band, because she really thought she was going to kill Nick, and Todd would have been an unreliable witness, but now she was stuck here with all of them because Todd couldn't get his car to start and Nick apparently didn't know as much about cars as he claimed.
"I'm hungry," the boy with the unresponsive automobile announced suddenly, his eyes searching the street they were on for any sign of something that served food that was still open.
"Me too," Nick agreed, clapping him on the shoulder. "And I always think better on a full stomach."
"There's a diner just up the street," Oliver responded softly, deciding that if food could get Nick to cooperate, food was where they would go, especially if that cooperation meant he wasn't going to have to call his mom to pull some strings and cover up Nick's murder.
"Boys," Lilly muttered as she walked with them. "I should've known better."
The red vinyl from the seat of the booth was sticky against the backs of her legs. She had a feeling it wasn't as clean as it should have been, but Lilly ignored it, sliding to the inside seat. Unfortunately for her, it was Nick who plopped down beside her as Todd slid in across from her. Oliver raised an eyebrow, taking the seat next to Todd, and she just rolled her eyes. Nick was really asking for it, and if he wasn't careful, the ketchup bottle on the table might be what she threw at him next.
"Hi there, my name's Cheryl, and I'll be takin' care of ya tonight. Can I get ya something to drink?"
Lilly looked up at Cheryl, seeing super long, super curly, and super bright red hair, and just as super bright red lip stick to go with the loud voice and the popping gum. She was like a waitress out of some small town movie. She even matched the décor with her black and red uniform, red hoops dangling from her ears, and bright white shoes.
"Coke," Todd and Nick chimed in unison.
The waitress nodded her head, hands in the pocket of her black apron, then looked back and forth between Lilly and Oliver expectantly.
"Diet," Oliver told her, giving her a small smile.
"Me too," Lilly added.
Cheryl nodded her head in satisfaction and pointed to the area of the table between Lilly and Todd. "There are menus right there. I'll be back in a sec."
Todd eagerly grabbed a menu, which was promptly snatched away by Nick so that he had to get another one. Lilly rolled her eyes again and handed one to Oliver before she took the last one for herself.
"You trying to lose weight or something?" Nick asked her as Todd started to carefully examine his sandwich options.
"What are you talking about?" Lilly snapped.
'Since when do you drink diet anything?"
"Since it's the middle of the night and I'm not going to want sugar keeping me awake when I manage to finally get home."
"Says the girl who's probably going to order the chocolate chip waffles," Oliver muttered in a sing-song voice, turning the menu over.
Nick raised an eyebrow and opened his mouth to make another crack about Oliver knowing Lilly so well, but Todd spoke first.
"Dude, they have a chili cheese burger with onion rings on it! How awesome is that?"
"Man, I'm so getting that," Nick agreed, searching for it on the burger list.
"So what are we going to do?" Lilly asked as she skimmed the double sided laminated page that looked as though it had seen better days.
"Food first, Lilly, remember?" Nick said.
"Fine," she sighed and went back to reading the list of things she did not think it was a good idea to be eating in the middle of the night.
Ten minutes later, and she did, in fact, inform the waitress that she wanted the chocolate chip waffles. She pretended not to notice Nick giving both her and Oliver pointed looks, especially not when Oliver ordered the strawberry waffles. She was tempted to point out that he and Todd had matching orders coming their way too, so did that mean they were dating? But she refrained.
"Dudes, why are you getting breakfast?" Todd asked after the waitress went to put their order in. "You can have that later."
"It's morning, Todd. Why wouldn't we get breakfast?" Oliver remarked.
"Oh, too true dude. It is the morning. So, how are we gonna leave?"
"Food first," Nick repeated.
"Do you want me to get grounded for the rest of my life?" Lilly questioned him, turning slightly in her seat to face him.
"No… I'm just hungry."
"It's not like you're not going to have to wait for your food."
"Lilly, your mom's not gonna ground you for life just cause you snuck out once." Nick gave her another one of his sly looks before he continued, "unless you've been sneaking out a lot lately? Maybe to visit your secret boyfriend?" He waggled his eyebrows at her, and Lilly's hand closed around the fork sitting next to her on the table.
"Dudette, you never told me you had a secret boyfriend," Todd exclaimed, his eyes wide.
"I don't," she responded through gritted teeth, glaring at Nick, her fingers still wrapped around the fork, except she wasn't entirely sure what to say next. "I don't have one because it isn't a secret?" She couldn't say that and then have one of them blab to Miley the minute she got back to Malibu.
"Okay, switch seats with me," Oliver snapped, standing up, and dragging Nick out of the booth.
"Aw, you want to be closer to her," Nick teased, knowing that he was going too far, but still really amused by how much this was annoying Lilly.
"No, I just don't want her to kill you," Oliver replied, sliding in next to Lilly. Lilly didn't say anything, just let go of the fork and started drawing pictures in the condensation from her glass of soda.
"Okay, fine, I'm done… for now," Nick conceded, switching his soda with Oliver's. "I guess I could try to call my brother, see if he can pick us up."
"Dude, I thought his driver's license got suspended cause of that thing when he was leaving that party," Todd said.
"I can try calling my dad," Oliver offered, both of his hands splayed on the table.
"He'll tell my mom," Lilly mumbled, still staring at the droplets of water on the outside of her glass.
"No he won't. I get one free pass, no questions asked."
"With three other people? One of which is the girl next door?" Nick wondered aloud.
"Hmm… Maybe not. What about your mom, Todd? If your dad's surfing, aren't you staying with your mom?"
"Uh…" Todd shot his eyes over to Lilly, who suddenly looked a little scared. "My mom's not really talking to me right now."
"She's your mom. How can she not be talking to you?" Nick looked at him like he was crazy.
"It totally wasn't my fault. I had a girl over when she wasn't there, but nothing happened. My mom totally freaked! I tried to tell her it was just my Spanish tutor, but no… And now she won't talk to me."
"You didn't get grounded? She's just giving you the silent treatment?" Nick asked incredulously. At Todd's nod, he added, "Man, your family is so weird."
"Aren't you Todd's Spanish tutor?" Oliver asked Lilly quietly, trying not to catch Nick's attention while Todd tried to convince him of his family's normalcy.
"Yep." She smiled at him, propping her head up with her hand on the table. "Apparently, my vocabulary flashcards are coded messages, didn't you know?"
"Nick's right. Todd's family is weird."
"His mom is pretty scary when she's mad though."
"Hey, you never gave me flashcards," Oliver realized, narrowing his eyes at her a little bit.
"Why would I give you flashcards? You just copy my homework," Lilly teased him.
"Oh, right," Oliver chuckled, his arms crossed on the table now, leaning closer to her.
A throat cleared across from them, and Lilly leaned back in the seat, trying not to let her face turn red. She should have just got a ride with the band. It would have made more sense. And she wouldn't have to deal with Nick acting like he was twelve.
When their food finally arrived, Lilly had come up with a solution to their problem.
"I wish we could just call Miley…"
"You mean little miss perfect? She never gets in trouble. You really think she'd be able to sneak out and give us all rides home?" Nick asked, adding hot sauce to his burger.
"You don't know Miley as well as you think," Oliver remarked, spearing a small piece of his waffle.
"Of course! We can call Jackson. Give me your phone," Lilly ordered, holding her hand out to him. He obediently handed it over, and continued eating.
Lilly dialed the number by heart, and hoped that he would wake up before his dad heard the ringing.
"Jackson?" she asked when she heard the sound of the lines connecting.
"Lilly? Why are you on Oliver's phone? It's the middle of the night."
Lilly decided not to point out that Jackson sounded way too awake. He was probably up playing a video game with a kid in Sweden or something. "I need a favor. We need a favor." She explained that they were stranded, and exactly where she thought they were.
"Oh, so since the little sister's out of town, you want me to help you… It's going to cost you."
"Jackson, come on!"
"I guess I wouldn't want you to get in trouble," Jackson pretended to think about it for a second, "Then Miley won't have someone else to torture when she gets back… It's probably going to take me close to an hour to get there..."
"I know, but you'll do it, right?" Lilly picked at her food with her free hand and rolled her eyes.
"Of course. We don't have this rope ladder just for looks you know!"
Lilly smiled and shut the phone, telling the boys, "He'll be here in about an hour."
"Yes!" Todd pumped his fists in the air as though he had just won a prize, and at the looks of the other three lowered his arms and started eating his extra onion rings.
"I guess that means your mom must not be looking for you. Miley's house is the first place she calls when she can't get a hold of you," Oliver offered, now almost done with his waffles, and sneaking glances at hers.
"True," Lilly agreed, snatching a strawberry from his plate and ignoring yet another look that Nick was now giving them. Having Oliver on her side and not on a stage half way across the room made it significantly easier to ignore their meddling friend.
"Dudes, does that mean we still have to wait that whole hour?" Todd asked, half of an onion ring hanging from his mouth.
Lilly covered her laugh with a sip from her soda while Nick informed him that, yes, they were going to be stuck in the diner for another hour.
"But… what are we gonna do? That's like, forever!" Todd shoved another onion ring in his mouth and Lilly shook her head.
"I have an idea," Oliver started, but Lilly cut him off with a smirk.
"You want to play a game of cards?"
"Well," Oliver answered with a smirk of his own, "I don't have my deck on me, and I don't really like to gamble in public places."
Lilly bit her lip to keep her self from smiling too widely and looked back down at her plate. She could feel Oliver's leg resting right up against her own now and she shifted a little in her seat, but didn't move away.
"What kind of card games have you two been playing?" Nick asked suggestively.
"I thought you said you were gonna stop that! Do you want to have complete use of your lower body? Because even though my legs aren't as long as yours, I bet I could still reach certain areas from here," Lilly informed him, eyebrows raised, her frustration boiling over.
He chuckled and motioned for Oliver to continue. He had been wondering how long it would take for her to reach her breaking point. She was almost there.
"You ever played those games with the random questions, like… what would you take with you to a desert island? You learn all kinds of things about people."
"I like that game! I'd definitely take chili cheeseburgers with me," Todd exclaimed, nodding for emphasis.
Lilly rolled her eyes and crossed her left leg carefully over her right, making sure not to kick Todd, letting her calf rest against the fabric of Oliver's jeans. She had to stop letting Nick's remarks bother her. Most of them were at least half right anyway.
"That one's boring. Most people are going to say matches or a knife or food," Nick said. "How about this: who'd you pick, Blake Lively or Leighton Meester?"
Lilly snorted into her drink and pushed her plate slightly to the side. She didn't think she could handle anymore waffles right now. Her stomach was doing jumping jacks with Oliver's leg next to hers. He was now stretching his leg, very subtly letting his shin repeatedly bump into her calf.
"Blake Lively," Oliver responded easily, shooting Lilly a small smile just as Todd said, "Leighton Meester."
"Yeah, maybe that one was easy to see coming too," Nick amended, shaking his head and taking another bite of his burger.
Oliver started eating the waffles Lilly had abandoned and she posed her own question.
"Do you look straight ahead or down while you walk? They say how you walk can actually reflect your whole outlook on life."
Todd appeared confused at the question, but Nick spoke around his burger, "depends. If I'm walking in the grass where people walk their dogs, I'm definitely looking down. Anywhere else, I usually look ahead of me."
"I don't think I ever look down," Oliver remarked after swallowing some chocolate chips.
"Maybe that's why you fall down so much," Nick joked.
"Dude you shouldn't worry about the grass. It's the sand at the beach you have to watch out for. Cats totally think it's a giant litter box," Todd told the three of them seriously before his phone rang. He gestured for Nick to move from the booth. "Sorry, dudes, I gotta take this. It's the surfmaster. We've got a bet to settle this weekend."
Nick stood, letting him pass, and watched Todd walk towards the entrance.
"I know he's my best friend, but that boy is strange."
"Twenty bucks says he knows that because he stepped in something," Oliver said to Lilly, ignoring Nick's comment.
"No way. He's Todd. He totally laid down in it when he was taking a break from surfing." She gave him a pointed look. "Or he let some kid bury him in the sand and fell asleep, and a cat tried to use him as a litter box. Either way, he was laying down."
"I'll take that bet," he responded, putting his hand out for her to shake.
As she reached for it though, with a smile on her face, Nick stopped her.
"Seriously? Money? You guys have got to make your bets more interesting." At the looks of disbelief from both of them, he added, "like, if Oliver loses, he's got to drink the whole bottle of hot sauce."
"Ew! No! If I have to be in a car with Oliver, he is not drinking a bottle of hot sauce. I don't want him throwing up on me," Lilly protested.
"You're just assuming I'm going to lose?" Oliver asked.
"If I didn't think you were going to lose, we wouldn't be betting against each other," she pointed out, drumming her fingers on the top of the table.
Nick slid along the seat so that he was across from Lilly now and gave her his best smile. "How about this?" he asked, ignoring the glare Oliver was giving him, "if Oliver loses, he has to ask out the waitress, and if Lilly loses, she has to pay for everybody's food."
Lilly narrowed her eyes at Nick. "Let me get this straight. Oliver gets to ask out a waitress, but I have to pay? Yeah, cause that's fair."
"What? She's like, forty, and we're out celebrating Oliver's band getting gigs, right?"
"No," Lilly said shortly.
"What's the matter Lillian, jealous of someone old enough to be Oliver's mother?" Nick teased, leaning toward her.
Lilly leaned as far back in her seat as she could, glaring at Nick the whole time.
"Give it a rest," Oliver snapped, his left hand pressing on Lilly's knee to keep her from trying to kick the other boy.
"Fine, fine. Be boring with your twenty dollar bet." Nick brushed them off and went back to eating his burger.
"I am not boring," Lilly muttered crossly, shifting in her seat a little, feeling Oliver's palm move across her leg as she did. She cleared her throat and started jamming the straw for her drink repeatedly into the ice cubes, not wanting Nick to question what might be going on under the table.
While Oliver finished her waffles, his thumb began to sweep back and forth across her thigh, almost like he didn't even know he was doing it. Lilly swallowed, ignoring the two boys at the table who were now debating which superheroes would survive longest stranded on an island. She focused instead on the motion of his thumb.
Back and forth.
A pause when Nick said something funny.
Then back and forth again.
Then his whole hand slid back a fraction when he reclined in the seat, part of his palm scrunching up the hem to her skirt just a little bit. Lilly bit her lip, swirling the ice around in her glass, trying to keep her breathing in check.
It felt like she was always doing that around him now. Controlling her breathing. It was just his hand. It wasn't like he was doing it on purpose. He wasn't focused on her at all. At least, she didn't think he was. Oliver wouldn't be so cruel as to do this to her while they were sitting at a table in a public place with someone who didn't actually know they were making an attempt at dating.
His thumb was moving again. Back and forth. But part of the motion was hampered by the fabric of the skirt now. It didn't even matter. She could still feel the heat through the skirt as Nick started asking about the capabilities of Batman's communications equipment over long distances.
She shifted again on the seat, turning her hips slightly, her calf sliding along Oliver's leg as it had earlier, but this time she pressed a little more firmly, and Oliver coughed, reaching for his glass, talking a gulp of his soda before going back to the conversation. Lilly looked at him, then over at Nick, who had apparently completely given up on antagonizing her for the time being, more interested in just how Superman was supposed to have become stranded somewhere if he could fly. Oliver definitely knew what he was doing. He was purposefully distracting Nick and driving her insane. No question now.
Lilly stopped fidgeting, trying to focus on what they were talking about, but Oliver had changed the position of his fingers slightly, sliding his palm a little further under the fabric of her skirt, and his thumb was back to moving across her skin, just under the hem of the material, his touch feather light. She kept one of her hands on the rim of her glass of soda. She had pretty much demolished the ice cubes, and there was some sort of half water half cola substance now that didn't look all that appealing. Her other hand was clenched into a fist against her abdomen while she willed the giant knot in her stomach to go away. She wasn't sure how much more of this she could take. She was going to kill him later. It was probably going to be slow and painful. With every sweep of his thumb now, his hand was moving just a little bit higher and she was getting antsy. She squirmed in her seat again, shifting closer to him, her calf hooking around his shin, allowing her foot to brush against his other leg, and consequently, shifting her thigh under his hand. Oliver's movements stilled, his fingers gripping her skin as he cleared his throat.
"What do you think?" Nick asked her suddenly.
"About what?" Lilly jolted forward in her seat, leaning her elbows on the table, knocking the heel of her shoe into Oliver's leg when she did so.
Oliver gave a muffled groan at the contact and eased his shin away from her foot.
"On a desert island? Superman's totally got the advantage, right?" Nick told her, either oblivious for once to what was going on, or purposely ignoring it, giving them a break. Except Nick was never that nice, so he must have been oblivious.
"I don't know, wasn't Wonder Woman from an island? I'd go with her," Lilly smiled and tried to act like she had been paying attention the whole time, but her pulse was racing and Oliver hadn't taken his hand from her leg, even though he was probably going to be nursing a pretty decent bruise on his own leg later.
"Wonder Woman? Lilly, she's not an option," Nick said, rolling his eyes.
"Well, she should be," Lilly shot back, swallowing a gasp when Oliver's hand moved again. He was going to be running out of skin on her thigh to touch soon, and she would be in serious trouble.
"Oliver, would you tell her?"
"I don't have any problems with Wonder Woman," Oliver laughed around the words, not looking in Lilly's direction.
"Yeah, I bet you don't," Nick muttered, punctuating it with another roll of his eyes.
"Excuse me, but he came in with you all, right?" It was Cheryl, popping her gum after the question, and gesturing over her shoulder to Todd. Her eyes shot to Lilly and Oliver after she popped the gum, specifically to Lilly's skirt and Oliver's hand, which she could see from her vantage point, though Nick could not, and her eyes widened. She popped the gum again.
Lilly tried not to laugh as Oliver smoothly put his hand on his own leg and turned to look for their slightly less than logical friend, ignoring Nick's gaze. She couldn't hold back the laughter though as she spied Todd, crouched down on the tiled floor at the entrance, his hand stuck in the bottom of one of those machines with the metal claws that you got stuffed animals from, a look of complete concentration on his face as he reached his arm further and further inside.
"Oh my gosh," Lilly giggled. The combination of the waitress catching Oliver and seeing Todd in that particular position was too much for her. "What is he doing?"
"I'm not entirely sure what he's up to, but that is no place for his hand to be." Cheryl popped her gum again, her eyes fixed on Lilly, and Lilly sobered up, pursing her lips together to hold the laughter in. "When a boy does something like that, well, bad things tend to happen… for everyone involved."
She gave Lilly a significant look as she walked away, causing Lilly to burst into laughter all over again with Oliver joining her.
"She's a weird lady," Nick remarked as the three of them got up to see just what Todd was doing.
"Dudes, you've got to help me out! The machine totally cheated, and I've got to get my bear. It's right on the edge of the box here!"
"Aren't you a little old for stuffed animals, man?" Nick asked him, peering into the glass to see what Todd was trying to grab.
"Dude! That bear has the exact same surfboard as me!" Todd protested. "The same design and colors! How cool is that?"
"Todd, get off the floor," Lilly snapped, seeing that the handful of people in the diner were now turning to stare at them.
"But, my bear-" he told her.
Lilly's eyes narrowed and she held out a hand. "Do you have a dollar?"
"For what?" He was still crouched on the floor, but at least his hand wasn't jammed inside the chute where the stuffed animals fell if you were able to successfully maneuver the claw.
"So she can get the bear for you," Oliver explained, chuckling. He found his hand drifting to the small of Lilly's back as he stood next to her, and he quickly pulled his arm back, balling his hand into a fist at his side.
"Really? A dollar?" Todd asked skeptically. He stood up, and Nick continued to examine the contents of the machine.
"You want that bear or not?" Lilly smilingly responded.
"I guess…" Todd reached into his back pocket, pulling out a handful of bills and his driver's license, not really fond of wallets, and found a dollar bill that was folded into thirds to hand over to her.
"Man, seriously, why do you need a stuffed bear?" Nick leaned his back against the machine as he spoke, trying to appear as the picture of cool as a group of what looked to be college girls stumbled in, fresh off the party circuit, though as far as he knew, there wasn't a university campus near by.
"Dude, it matches my board. It's like my own little mascot! I've always wanted my own mascot."
"You're your own mascot," Nick muttered to himself before adding, "I'm gonna go finish my onion rings before they get cold." He left the trio, and Oliver took a small step away from Lilly as he passed them.
Lilly straightened the dollar between her thumb and fore finger, repeatedly running it through, attempting to get all of the creases out. She eyed the position of the bear as she worked, then turned her attention to Oliver, feeling his eyes on her.
"What? I was just watching you."
"Could you stop, please?" she asked him, then moved closer to say softly, "I can't concentrate."
Oliver smiled, color rising to his face when Todd turned to look at them. "I'll just go back and, uh, talk to Nick," he told her, nodding his head a few times as he backed away.
Lilly bit down on her bottom lip, trying not to giggle, and made a real effort to focus on Todd and his bear.
"You know," Todd whispered loudly, looking over his shoulder to make sure no one was listening as Lilly slid the dollar into the payment slot at the front of the machine, "I'm glad you guys are together now."
She froze, finger tip poised above the "start" button. "What are you talking about?"
"Dudette, you guys are totally different now, but totally the same too. It's cool."
Lilly shook her head and pushed the button, gripping the joystick, and moving the claw a little to the right.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
She pushed the release button and watched as the metal fingers surrounded Todd's bear, but they were so loose, that as it rose above the box, the bear dropped back down, again on the edge of the plastic box. She pursed her lips in annoyance.
"It's totally okay, you know, that you don't want to tell me. I mean, I get it. You think I'm jealous cause I liked you before, but I told you, I'm so over you. You're like… like my surfing soul sister. It's cool."
Todd leaned in close and looked through the pane of glass at the bear, and Lilly stifled a giggle.
"That's not… there's nothing, I mean, I don't have anything to tell you."
She gave him a small smile and hit the "start" button again for her second, and last, shot at the surfing stuffed animal. Just as she shifted the joy stick, Todd opened his mouth again.
"I'm just saying, Oliver's a cool dude, and I think he'd totally make you happy. So, it's cool. And I won't tell Nick."
Lilly did giggle now as she pushed the release button. The metal fingers extended around the bear, one of them getting caught between the fabric of the animal and the board, the claws circling the prize securely as it rose into the air.
An hour later, Todd was clutching his new mascot in one hand and attempting to regale Jackson with the thrilling tale of Lilly rescuing the item from the "cheating machine." Of course, Todd was sitting in the back seat, smushed up against a window, and he kept trying to shove the bear in Jackson's face to make his point, which wasn't really making Jackson like him very much since he was trying to drive.
"You said I'm taking you to your mom's, right?" Jackson asked him through gritted teeth.
"Yeah, but my house is closer," Nick said. "You just have to turn-"
"We're taking Todd home first," Jackson snapped, his teeth still gritted.
Lilly giggled and leaned her head back. As the shortest in packed cars, she always had to sit in the middle seat with the seatbelts that seemed to get lost in the cushion, and sandwiched between two people who never smelled very good. Lucky for her, this time she was pressed firmly against Oliver's side, his arm draped around her shoulders, which he had made a big deal of showing was just for spatial reasons. She snuggled a little closer to his side, her eyes sliding shut while she listened to Todd go on and on about the bear, Oliver's breathing next to her almost lulling her to sleep.
Her eyes snapped open though when they pulled into their first drive way and she reluctantly unclipped her seat belt, sliding across to the seat Todd vacated.
"You so owe me," Jackson muttered to her from the front seat.
"So, Jackson, my man, you know Lilly and Oliver pretty well, right?" Nick asked as the car began to back track toward his house.
"Sure," he responded, and Lilly saw him roll his eyes in the rear view mirror, "but only because they practically live with my sister."
"Yeah, right. So, you think there's something going on there, right?"
Jackson didn't say anything at first, probably because he could hear the jeering tone in Nick's voice, but also because his eyes met Lilly's in the mirror, and he noticed how uncomfortable she was.
"Nah," Jackson finally said, "they fight too much. Nothin' there."
Lilly let out a small breath she didn't know she had been holding, and Nick didn't say anything else about it, not even when they dropped him off. He just said good night and gave Lilly an exaggerated wink as he got out of the car. Neither Lilly nor Oliver moved from their spots at either end of the back seat, and Jackson began to drive in the direction of their neighborhood.
"So," Jackson started, "I know I said you guys fight too much, but, you know, if there was anything going on, it'd be pretty cool. I kinda think you guys are perfect for each other." He kept his eyes on the road as he spoke.
"Uh, well, that's probably why we've been friends for so long," Oliver told him uneasily.
"Right," Lilly agreed softly, careful to avoid looking at him in case she stared smiling uncontrollably. Jackson was like her big brother, so it was nice that he approved, but she couldn't tell him she appreciated it and risk him talking about them to Miley before she got a chance.
They rode a while in silence before Oliver suddenly called out at a stop sign, "you should drop us off here."
"But, there's still a block before I get to your houses."
Lilly leaned forward in her seat to say, "my mom thinks I'm already in bed." She unbuckled her seatbelt as she spoke, and she heard Jackson laughing in the front seat.
"Don't forget, you guys owe me."
"Yeah, I doubt you'll let us forget," Oliver muttered, climbing out of his side of the car.
When they were safely standing on the sidewalk, Jackson sped off, a little too fast for a residential area, but Lilly was happy to see him go. They stood there awkwardly for a second, neither of them wanting to comment on the night they'd had, but neither of them particularly eager to get home either. With a sigh, Lilly finally started walking, figuring she had to at least make it home before the sun came up, otherwise she would be grounded for life.
"So," Oliver asked, his arm casually brushing hers, "what'd you think of the show?"
"You guys were definitely better than the band that played before you," Lilly teased him with an easy smile.
"That's it?" The back of his hand moved against hers now.
"Well, you guys did some pretty good covers..." she trailed off when she felt his finger tips touching her own.
"Yeah?" He slid his fingers between hers, the grip on her hand loose, just in case.
"Mmm..." Lilly edged a bit closer to him on the sidewalk, adding "I mean, the band was just okay..."
"Just okay?" He glanced over at her, and there was a smile dancing around his eyes. He knew she was just dragging out the conversation.
"Yeah, but," she lowered her voice to a whisper as they passed in front of his house and began walking up the grass to the side of her own, "I thought you were..."
"Horrible?" Oliver supplied. "Off key? Too nervous? I stunk, didn't I?"
"Oliver!" she hissed in mock horror, knowing he was playing along, "how could you say that?" They stopped just at the end of the side of her house, next to the paneling that was below her bedroom window she had left open. "I thought you were pretty great."
"How great?" he whispered back, turning completely to face her now that they were standing still.
"Amazing." She took a step closer to him. "Fantastic." And another. "Awesome." She raised an eyebrow. "Maybe even..." Lilly hesitated, smiling up at him, her head tilted a bit to the side before she added, "sexy."
Oliver pretended to be surprised by the flattery. "Well, if you like it that much, maybe I should start singing around you more often."
"Maybe," she agreed, just before he leaned down and kissed her. She pulled back from the kiss quicker than he anticipated though to ask him, "how's your leg?"
"My leg?" he repeated, confused by the question before it dawned on him that she was referring to her heel almost impaling his shin at the diner. "Oh, my leg." He shook his head, then deadpanned, "I'll probably have to get a tetanus shot or something. Maybe even get the whole thing chopped off."
"Oh, of course," Lilly remarked, then nodded her head gravely. "Well, it's probably exactly what you deserve, trying to feel your girlfriend up in a public place like that where anyone could see you."
"You're right." Oliver was solemn as he told her, "but the problem is my girlfriend is just so gorgeous that I forget what I'm doing sometimes."
"But, I'll make a real effort to only feel her up behind closed doors from now on." He tried to be serious, but both of them started laughing at that.
"Shhh. I have to get inside without waking everyone up!"
"Yeah, you should probably go soon then. I don't want your mom saying you're not allowed to see me anymore. I don't know what I'd do with all that extra time on my hands."
Lilly smacked him lightly on the arm before slipping off her heels and reaching behind the drain pipe for a pair of tennis shoes.
"What? You can't climb up there in the heels?" he asked her sarcastically.
"Are you kidding? Those are expensive! I don't want to break one!"
"You're worried about breaking your shoes, I'm more worried about you breaking your neck," Oliver muttered, watching her slip the sneakers on and hide the shoes she had been wearing earlier.
"I'll be fine. It's not like I haven't done this before." She smiled reassuringly at him, then pulled him the few inches down to her level so she could kiss him again.
Oliver's arms wrapped around her waist, tugging her closer to him, almost lifting her completely off the ground. He broke the kiss, but kept his grip on her, only to say, "I thought you needed to get inside."
"Just another minute?" Lilly whispered, leaning back in.
"Only one?" he whined.
It was somewhere closer to the neighborhood of fifteen before Lilly was able to untangle herself from him, grip the drain pipe in one hand, the trellis in the other, and find a tentative foot hold with her right sneaker.
"Be careful," Oliver instructed, one of his hands hovering over the small of her back as though he was going to hold her up.
"Would you just go home before your dad starts to worry? He's probably up waiting for you." She twisted her neck around to have a clear view of him when he spoke and he surprised her with another quick kiss.
"I'm not going anywhere until you are safely in your room."
Lilly's eyes narrowed and she asked, "you're just using this as an excuse to look up my skirt, aren't you?"
"What kind of boyfriend do you think I am?" Oliver retorted before chuckling. "The thought hadn't even crossed my mind, but now that you mention it... you should climb on up there."
With a roll of her eyes and a brief shake of her head, she did start climbing, only going up a few steps though before whispering, "Oliver?"
"I meant what I said. You were great tonight."
She climbed higher without losing her grip or slipping on any worn patches of siding, and when she reached her window, she called down softly to him, "and stop looking."
"But I've always thought purple was a good color on you," Oliver stage whispered back to her with a smirk on his face that she couldn't see.
When she got inside her bedroom, Lilly chucked a tee shirt she had rolled into a ball at him. She wanted to throw something at him, but she didn't want to give him a concussion. After throwing it though, she realized it had been one of his anyway. Oliver just wrapped it around his neck, waved goodbye, and finished his very brief walk home. He paused at the porch as his phone alerted him to a text message.
Dont forget you owe me 20 bucks
Oliver smiled to himself for a second before responding with: I bet I can think of something better than a 20. All he got back was a can't wait followed by a winking smiley face.
When he made his way through the front door of his house, he explained to his dad the grin he was sporting was simply the result of a great set with the band, nothing else.
"How was the rest of your night?" Mr. Oken asked him while Oliver started up the stairs. He had only waited up out of habit. This was the one time Oliver had been granted (after much begging and pleading) a greatly extended curfew for his time with the band.
"Oh, you know, not bad."