“I think that wins the prize for the most ungraceful moment I’ve ever had.” Emma stood up and dusted herself off.
The guys watched her walk back over towards the chairs and were stunned by her attitude. AJ moved over to the chair next to him and let her sit down.
“Damn girl.” he said with a grin. “How bad does your ass hurt?”
“AJ!” Nick yelled.
“A lot.” Emma answered with a smile. “Actually, I can’t decide which hurts worse, that or my pride.”
“I gotta give you credit Emma.” Kevin stood up to take his turn. “I haven’t met many women that can laugh at themselves like that.”
“Trust me, I’ve done it so many times that if I didn’t learn to laugh at myself, I’d probably never leave the house.”
“She wouldn’t.” Addie agreed. “She’s a walking accident waiting to happen sometimes.”
“Thanks.” Emma threw a napkin at Addie. “I love all the support.”
“Just being honest.”
Nick moved to the chair behind Emma as the other team took their turn. He reached out and put his hand on her shoulder.
“You really ok?”
Emma turned to face him. “I’m fine honest, but thank you for asking.”
She smiled at him and Nick stared at her, momentarily hypnotized. When Emma smiled, her entire face lit up. It gave off the most peaceful glow and her amusement showed in her eyes.
“Are you ok?” Emma asked waving her hand in front of his face.
“Yeah, sorry. Spaced out for a minute.”
“Well it’s your turn.”
Nick walked over and picked up the ball. He felt like an idiot for staring at her and he hoped that he hadn’t freaked her out. Flustered by the whole thing, his two throws were completely off and it caused his team to lose.
“Sorry guys.” Nick muttered as he sat down between AJ and Emma.
“Not a big deal.” Emma responded. “Do you guys have time for one more game or do you have to leave?”
“We should probably head back to the hotel.” Kevin said looking at his watch. “It’s already 11 and we have an early flight out in the morning.”
The group headed out to the parking lot to say their goodbyes. Howie took Addie aside while the rest of them finished talking.
“I think someone has a crush.” Brian teased.
“It’s mutual.” Emma replied. “She’s had an infatuation with him since forever.”
The two rejoined the party and the girls thanked them for a terrific time. The boys watched as Addie and Emma waved and pulled out of the parking lot.
“Shut up AJ.” Howie said turning bright red.
“Well at least tell me you got her number.”
Howie pushed AJ out of the way and climbed into the SUV. Kevin and Brian climbed into the same one, leaving AJ and Nick to ride in the other.
“Stop picking on Howie, J. You know he gets embarrassed by that stuff. And besides, what’s wrong with a little crush?”
“Absolutely nothing.” Lowering his voice, he muttered something only Nick could hear. “I don’t think he’s the only one who likes someone.”
“Shut up J.”
He closed his eyes and leaned back against the seat. There was no truth to what his brother had said and Nick knew it.
“Sooooooooo………….” Addie said looking over at Emma.
“So what?” Emma asked confused.
“I got Howie’s number.”
“I figured that.”
“Did you get someone else’s?”
“I don’t know. How about a certain tall, blonde, blue eyed god?”
“Why would I have gotten Nick’s number?”
“I saw the way he was looking at you….”
“Whoa! Stop right there. Nick was not looking at me. I can’t believe you’d even suggest that! He is in a relationship and so am I.”
“Yeah, you’re in one that sucks.”
“Maybe it’s not great all the time but it works for me.” Emma lied. “And besides, I heard Nick talking about Lauren tonight. He’s really in love with her.”
“No buts. This conversation ends now and never gets brought up again.”
“Ok, ok.” Addie said quietly. “I’m sorry. I won’t say anything like that again.”
Emma turned her head and stared out the window as Addie drove her home.