Reggie wasn't looking forward to meeting up with the guys the next morning. They had been planning to have a hockey scrimmage and she knew she couldn't bail on them. She and Otto went out to the cul-de-sac to wait for Twister and Sam. Twister came out first, looking especially happy as he skated over to Reggie.
"Hey," he said, giving her a quick kiss.
"Hey," she responded, her voice cracking a little. She hoped he didn't notice.
"Ugh, get a room," Otto rolled his eyes.
"Sorry, man," Twister said, turning a little red.
They turned to see Sam's front door shut as he skated towards them. "You guys ready?"
"Let's do this!" Otto replied, pulling the puck out of his pocket and eyeing Twister. "And no couple-teams. Reg, you're with me."
After half a game, it was clear that Otto regretted that decision. Reggie was playing terrible and she knew it. Twister, on the other hand, was having a great game. In fact, he was playing better than she'd see him play in a long time which she would've been happy about had it not been for her sucking so much.
"Reggie, on your left!" Otto shouted as she was about to shoot. She looked too late and Twister stole the puck. Otto grunted in frustration as Twister scored. "Ugh, where's your head today?"
"I know, I know," she mumbled, skating away.
Twister looked over at her with concern in his eyes. He could tell she was playing so bad because something was wrong, she could read it on his face. She looked away, pretending to not have just made eye contact with him. She was glad he wasn't going easy on her though; she wouldn't want that and he knew it. It just made it more unbearable with Otto constantly reminding her how bad they were losing.
Once the game ended, she was more than ready to quit. She started skating back towards the house and she heard Sam say, "Shouldn't someone go after her?"
She didn't look back but could bet they were both looking at Twister.
"She's your girlfriend," she heard Otto say. "You go talk to her."
Reggie didn't want Twister to follow her but she knew that he would. She made it to the couch and was halfway through taking off her padding when he skated in. He sat down next to her and thought for a moment. She expected him to try to figure out the best approach for talking to her about what was going on.
Instead, he asked, "what sounds like a sneeze and is made of leather?"
She looked at him, curiously.
"A shoe," he answered in an almost sneezing way.
A smile spread across her face; she couldn't help it.
"How did you come up with a gem like that?"
"Bubble gum wrapper," he shrugged.
He was already making her feel better. How was it possible that he knew exactly what to say even if it was just telling a lame joke? She wanted to tell him everything she had been thinking. She was about to but then she remembered her conversation with her dad the previous night and she decided against it.
"You were really good today," she said instead.
"Thanks," he smiled. "But I think we should save hockey for another day. Maybe we can do something a little more mindless today, like go to the pier and ride all the rides until we puke."
She laughed. "That sounds great."
A few days later, Reggie woke up to a light knock on her bedroom door. She thought she had imagined it at first, so she went back to sleep but the door opened and Twister climbed up on top of the bed. He kissed the tip of her nose before sprawling out on top of her.
"Wanna go on a road trip?"
"Crescent Canyon again?" She smiled up at him.
"None of the parents would agree to it! Can you believe that?"
"You actually asked?" She tried to sit up and he moved next to her as she crossed her legs, leaning back against the headboard.
Twister nodded. "They did agree to my surprise destination though. My mom even caved and extending my curfew till midnight."
She smiled suspiciously and cocked her head to the side. "You're serious."
"I've got the car all ready. I even stole your bike out of the garage and put it on the bike rack your dad let me borrow."
"You don't have a car," she pointed out.
"Which he so graciously let you borrow?"
"I had to give him my allowance for a month, so I hope you're not wanting to go out anywhere nice for awhile. I'll be way too broke for that."
"Guess we'll have to go Dutch."
"Dutch?" He gave a quizzical look.
"It means the girl pays."
"Awesome! The perks of dating an older woman."
She gave him a little shove and climbed off the bed, walking towards her closet and shuffling through the hangers. "So what do I need to bring on this road trip anyway?"
"Nothing, I've got it all covered," he laid his head down on her pillow. "Once you get dressed, we're ready to hit the road."
She grabbed a pink tank top and tossed it on the dresser before opening one of the drawers. "Okay, just give me like five minutes."
"Meet you down there," he said hopping up and heading out the door.
She grabbed some shorts and started changing, smiling to herself. Twister wasn't one for planning so the fact that he had planned out the trip, okaying it with the parents and everything, was really sweet. She was curious where he was taking her but she was excited for the adventure. She pulled her hair up into a ponytail and headed downstairs. Twister was in the kitchen, holding out a donut bag and a to-go cup of coffee.
"For you," he handed it to her.
"You thought of everything," she said happily as she took it.
"Well, I know you've been stressed about the school thing lately. I wanted to try to get your mind off of it."
"You're sweet," she kissed him, feeling a little guilty that he was doing all of this because of a lie she told him.
They made their way out to the car, where Reggie found plenty of snacks waiting.
"You sure it's Lars that's making you go broke?" she teased, holding up some skittles.
"Every road trip needs snacks. And," he said, digging through his CD case and holding up a mix CD. "Music."
He put the disk in and she nodded in approval. "Good choice."
"Thanks." He backed the car up and made it halfway down the street before looking down at the gas gage. "Oh, man!"
"Lars left it empty."
"Did you expect anything else from him?"
They spent most of the two-hour car ride singing along to the music. She had never heard of the town he took her too but from what she could tell, it was similar to Crescent Canyon. They mostly stayed on the outskirts of town, exploring and mountain biking. They went into town (which was so small, it was really just the one street) for dinner, finding a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that had the best onion rings Reggie had ever had. Twister drove them to an outlook spot where he got out a blanket for them to sit on as they watched the sunset.
"So, not quite as good as the Milky Way," he started as they looked up at the stars a few hours later. "But still pretty good."
"They're amazing," she said in awe, looking up at the millions of stars above them before looking at him. "I can't believe you did all this for me."
"You deserve it."
"Twister," she started nervously, playing with the arm of the sweatshirt he had given her. "I have to tell you something."
"The school thing wasn't really what was bothering me. It was, well... us."
"Oh," his face fell. "You're not happy?"
"No, I am! I'm so incredibly happy with you."
"I don't understand."
"I've never felt this way about anyone. And that's... sort of scary. I mean, we're just so young."
"So? That doesn't change the way we feel."
"People who get together at our age don't stay together. They don't end up together. And I just can't imagine not being with you."
"Reggie," he laced his fingers through hers and looked into her eyes. "You don't have to just because other couples break up doesn't mean we have to."
Reggie nodded, still feeling a little unsure.
"Hey," he said cupping her face in his hand. "I love you. I'm not going anywhere."
Reggie reached up put her hand over his, looking down before meeting his eyes again. "What if it doesn't work out?"
He gave her a half-smile and shrugged his shoulder. "What if it does? I think it's kind of a leap of faith."
"I wanna jump with you."