But as I lay there, all I could think was about the span of minutes that had changed everything for Charlie, for me. No matter how many years had passed, it still felt like yesterday.
It was Friday night, a few weeks after school had started and the only reason why I was at the football game was because Colton was playing, which meant Reece was there, in the stands, watching his older brother play.
Charlie and I made our fifth or sixth pass in front of the section of bleachers Reece was sitting at with his friends. “Man, I think you qualify as a stalker now, just so you know.”
I bumped him with my hip. “It’s the okay kind of stalking.”
He sent me a sideways look. “When is stalking okay?”
“When it involves Reece Anders,” I quipped, giggling when Charlie rolled his eyes. “Oh whatever, you think he’s hot, too.”
“Can’t deny that.” He glanced over his shoulder, back toward where Reece sat, and then quickly faced forward. “He’s looking down here.”
“What?” I shrieked as I stumbled over my own feet. I sent him a wide-eyed look. “You’re lying.”
Charlie grinned at me. “No, I’m not. Look for yourself, but try not to be so freaking obvious.”
“How do you not be obvious?” I muttered, but as I took another step, I made a causal attempt at looking over my shoulder. My gaze found Reece immediately, like I was some kind of hot-boy-seeking missile.
Reece was staring down at us—at me. And he was smiling. He had the best smile. Wide. Friendly. Uninhibited. My heart kicked around in my chest as I started to smile back.
“Oh,” Charlie said. “My bad.”
At first I didn’t get what Charlie was talking about, but then a high-pitched shout whipped my head around.
One of the cheerleaders had shouted Reece’s name. Rising up on the tips of her white sneakers, she blew him a kiss. My stomach dropped all the way to the tips of my toes. I looked at Charlie.
Reece wasn’t staring at me. He wasn’t smiling at me. How embarrassing. Sighing, I picked up my pace. “Are you ready to go?”
“I’ve been ready to leave since we got here,” he retorted. “But you had to get your stalking out of your system. And look what happened? No good comes from stalking, Roxy.”
“I hate you.”
He laughed as he draped his arm over my shoulders, tugging me against his side. “Come on. Let’s head back to my place. Parents are still at the lake house and I found the key to the liquor cabinet again.”
I quickly changed my mind. “I love you.”
Ordering myself to forget about Reece, we headed out of the gated football field. He still had his arm hanging loosely over my shoulders. “I hate coming to these things,” he bitched. “Every single time we have to park out in the field. We’re going to be covered in ticks.”
I smiled up at the starry sky as we trudged through the calf-high grass. “You probably have twelve attached to your legs right now.”
“Man, that’s fucked up.” He dropped his arm and shoved me.
Stumbling to the side, I giggled, knowing he was going to make me check his scalp when we got to his parents’ house later. “I want to watch Never Been Kissed tonight.”
Even in the dark and without looking at him, I knew he rolled his eyes. “That movie is so old it needs to be retired.”
“Never!” I yelled as I jumped over a rock someone almost parked their truck on. “That guy is hot.”
“That guy is really old now in real life,” he shot back.
I flipped him off. “Don’t ruin it for me.”
Shoving his hands into the pockets of his shorts, he shook his head. I could see Charlie’s car, parked next to a van that hadn’t been there when we showed up.
“Hey,” a voice called out. “Where are you guys heading off to?”
I twisted at my waist, looking behind us, and swallowed a groan when I saw who it was. Henry Williams. He wasn’t alone. Two friends flanked him. All three of them were in a grade higher. All three were total douche bags. Especially Henry. He was a special kind of douche bag. The kind that was good-looking and totally knew it, therefore the latter totally zeroed out the former.
“Just keep walking,” Charlie said under his breath.
I didn’t listen. Facing the boys, I planted my hands on my hips. “Nowhere you all are invited to.”
Charlie muttered something as he stopped, turning around. I think he said something about my mouth getting me in trouble, but that wouldn’t be the first or last time I’d heard that.
One of Henry’s friends laughed, and the sound grated on my nerves. It was high-pitched, much like the cheerleader’s voice was, but this laugh reminded me of a cat getting hit by a car.
Henry was absolutely unfazed by my greeting. He swaggered up to where Charlie and I stood, puffing out his chest like a peacock. “You’re looking good tonight, Roxy.”
I arched my brows at him.
“I’m looking good every night.” I crossed my arms over my chest.
He smirked as his gaze crawled over me, leaving behind a sensation of ants marching along my skin. It really was too bad he was such a pinhead, because he wasn’t bad to look at. “That’s true.” He passed a baleful glance at Charlie, and my spine stiffened. “So, what are you doing tonight?”