”Do we have to go? ” Bryce complained.

I leaned across the counter, touching up my eyeliner before answering him.

”No, ” I said, popping the top back onto my eyeliner before observing my handy work.

My eyeliner made my blue eyes pop, but not too much to where it was overpowering.

”I hate it when you say that, ” Bryce huffed.

I glanced over at my phone screen, where Bryce was staring straight ahead at his video game, a look of intense focus on his face.

”We don have to go if you don want, ” I repeated, picking up my curling wand.

He did this every time we were supposed to go out. I warned him not to start a mission on GTA 5, but he ignored me every single time, leading to this conversation.

e going, ” he muttered, glancing over to his phone camera and offering me a smile.

”Maybe you should think about starting to get ready? ” I suggested, as I started curling my hair.

”What time am I picking you up? ” he asked, without looking at me.

I picked up another piece of my hair, carefully curling it before answering him.

”8, ” I reminded him. ”We
e meeting everyone for dinner before. ”

”Okay, ” he agreed.

”Its 7:30 now, ” I reminded him.

”Okay. ”

I rolled my eyes, chuckling to myself as I focused on curling my hair.

”What are you wearing? ” he asked, after a few moments of silence.

I put down my curling wand, stepping away from my bathroom mirror and turning around to face my full-length mirror.

I was currently wearing a loose-fit white blouse and a pair of skinny jeans, barefoot because I hadn decided on a pair of shoes yet.

My blonde hair fell around my shoulders and down to brush the tops of my hips.

”I love this view, ” Bryce added.

I turned around to face my phone, sticking my tongue out at him.

”You look pretty, ” he added. ”I guess I should go get ready? ”

”Seeing as though you need to leave your house in now 11 minutes? Id say so. ”

”Then Ill see you at 8, ” he said, flashing me a pearly white smile before ending our FaceTime.

I stepped out of my bathroom and into my bedroom, placing my hands on my hips and letting out a sigh.

Shoes don much matter when you
e going midnight bowling, but they still completed the outfit.

I stepped into my closet, flipping on the light as I stared at my selection of shoes.

Ihelped myself to my black belt, looping it around my waist and tucking the front of my blouse in.

I stood up in my tip-toes then, grabbing my gray ankle boots off the top of my shoe rack before heading back into my bedroom.

”Sophie? ” mom asked, knocking twice before coming in.

”Yes? ” I asked, as I leafed through my sock drawer.

”Thats a cute outfit, ” she said, smiling as she surveyed me.

”Thanks, ” I said, taking a seat on my couch as I slipped on my socks.

”Are you going bowling then? ”

”Of course. ”

”Text me when you
e on your way home then. ”

I nodded, and she kissed the top of my head before leaving.

I stepped into my ankle boots before heading downstairs, reaching the bottom of the staircase just as the doorbell rang.

11 minutes on the dot.

I grabbed my purse as my dad opened the door, always wanting to be the first one to greet Bryce.

I think it was originally an intimidation tactic, but my dad and Bryce couldn be on better terms. So now I just think my dad likes the conversation.

”Ready to go? ” I asked Bryce, stepping around my dad.

He flashed me a pearly white smile. ”If you are. ”

Hed cleaned up better than Id expected in a pair of dark wash jeans and a three-quarter sleeve flannel shirt. His brown hair was brushed up, and his blue eyes were sparkling with amusement.

”Bye daddy, ” I said, rising up on my toes and kissing his cheek.

”Be careful! ” he called after us, as Bryce and I headed towards his car.

Ilaughed, looping my arm through Bryces, and he bent down and kissed my cheek.

”I didn expect you to make it on time, ” I said, as he opened my passenger seat door for me.

”Never underestimate Bryce Harrison, ” he chastised, before closing my passenger door. And then, just to prove a point, he slid across his car hood before taking the drivers seat.

e such a show-off, ” I teased.

”Only for you Sophie Allen. ”

2 years together and he could still make my heart melt with a few simple words.

We pulled up to the diner, the parking lot already packed and the music already blasting.

I stepped out of the car, Bryce immediately enveloping my hand in his as we headed towards the door.

The door swung open before we could reach it, one of Bryces jock buddies welcoming us.

Bryce knocked fists with him before pulling me inside behind him.

We headed over to the counter, the party already in full swing.

”And what can I get you two? ” Larry asked, with a smile.

”Ill have the double burger, fries and chocolate milkshake, ” Bryce recited, wrapping his arm around me.

”Will you order for me? ” I asked. ”Ive got to go find Kylie. ”

He nodded, turning to Larry and reciting my order.

I headed out back, where the music was blasting and people were dancing.

Kylie was sitting in the back of a pickup truck, her legs swinging as she clapped along with the music.

I hopped up next to her, and she let out a squeal.

”You made it! ”

”Of course, ” I said, bracing my arms behind my back.

”Wheres your other half? ”

”Getting our orders, ” I said, craning my neck to see if hed come out yet. ”I wanted to come out and make sure you were good. ”

”Oh yeah, ” she agreed, flicking her hand around in the air.

”Really? Because the text I got earlier disagrees. ”

”Landon is such an asshole. ”

I rolled my eyes. If she and Landon weren having problems, then Im not sure the Earth would continue to spin.

”But its whatever, tonight Im going to dance with … ” she trailed off, surveying the boys hanging around the diner. ”That boy in the blue button down, and forget all about him. ”

”Because that solves all relationship problems, ” I advised, patting her on the back before hopping off the back of the pickup truck.

I headed over to our table, where Bryce was placing our food down on the table. ”Thank you, ” I said, leaning across the table and giving him a quick peck on the lips.

”Anytime, ” he agreed, with a smile.

I took a seat across from him, crossing my right leg over my left before dunking one of my fries in my milkshake, dropping it into my mouth.

Bryce and I weren alone for five seconds before his baseball buddies descended upon our table, unable to live without Bryces presence for more than 12 minutes.

I let out a sigh, eating a couple more fries as my eyes searched the parking lot for Kylie or one of my friends, basically anyone besides a jock.

But I wasn having much luck.

”… and I don think Im going to be eligible to play, ” Clayton was saying to Bryce, as I tuned back into their conversation.

”Dude, you
e a vital part to our team, ” Bryce argued, sipping on his milkshake. ”Talk to Lewis about it. ” ”I did, ” Clayton informed him. ”He said I can bring up my grade without passing this book report and test. ”

”So pass it, ” Bryce stated, staring at Clayton like he was an idiot.

Because lets face it, he is.

”I don even know what language the title is, let alone what the book is about. ”

Bryces eyes flickered over to me, and I knew the words that were about to leave his mouth. And there wasn much I could do to stop them, seeing as though Clayton was his best friend.

”Im sure Sophie could help you, ” Bryce volunteered.

If looks could kill, Bryce would be 10 feet under.

Claytons eyes flickered over to me, giving me the same look of disgust I usually give him.

Clayton and I weren on speaking terms, let alone tutoring terms.

”Right Soph? ” Bryce added.

I dipped another fry into my milkshake, trying to avoid Bryces gaze.

But I knew Id cave, because I couldn turn down a student that was failing, even if it was Clayton Johnson.

”Yeah, ” I agreed, before popping the fry into my mouth.

”See? ” Bryce said to Clayton, nudging him with his elbow. ”Come over to my place this weekend and well knock out … ”

”Les Miserables, ” Clayton filled in, pronouncing it the way it was spelled.

I wanted to face-palm myself.

”Right, ” Bryce agreed, flashing me an apologetic smile.

Bryce wasn the sharpest tool in the shed, but he at least knew what Les Miserables was.

”Lets go dance, ” suggested to Bryce.

Bryce nodded in agreement, finishing off his burger before disengaging himself from his jock buddies.

”Sorry, ” he apologized, wrapping his arm around me as we headed out to the parking lot.

”What for? ”

”I know you don like them. ”

e your friends. ”

He laughed, shaking his head. ”Even when Im telling you its okay not to like them, you
e still trying to be polite.

e something else Sophie Allen. ”

Bryce took my hand, leading me out to the makeshift dance floor as we reached the parking lot.

I threw my head back, laughing as I followed him out.

Bryce couldn dance to save his life, but he didn mind making a fool of himself, because in the end theres practically nothing he could do to actually damage his reputation.

He was the starting pitcher for the baseball team. That was like being some type of God in this town.

And so we made fools of ourselves together, laughing all the while. Because thats how memories are made.

”Here, ” Kylie said, passing me a disinfectant spray.

I sprayed the inside of my bowling shoes before slipping my feet inside of them.

”The amount of attractiveness radiating off of you right now is unbelievable, ” Kylie informed me, whilst laughing.

I laughed along with her, heading over to pick out my bowling ball.

I got the same one every time, a six-pounder and emerald green in color.

”Whered Bryce go? ” Kylie asked me, as I placed my bowling ball on the rack.

I shrugged.

”Well lucky for you, you don ever have to worry about him flirting with someone else, ” she said, looking over her should at Landon, who had his arm around another girls shoulders.

”Hes such an asshole, ” I repeated, shaking my head.

I don understand their relationship.

”Easy for you to say, you have a perfect relationship. ”

”My relationship is not perfect, ” I informed her, laughing at the thought.

”Hes in love with you and you
e in love with him. It doesn get much better than that. ”

e just two kids trying to figure out the world together. And sometimes we get it right and sometimes we

don . ” A smile formed its way across my face. ”But I wouldn want to figure out this world with anybody else besides Bryce Harrison. ”

She sighed, shaking her head at me.

Ifelt a pair of arms wrap around my waist, and I let out a squeal as I was spun around the room, closing my eyes.

Once my feet were firmly back on the floor, I opened my eyes into Bryces crystal blue ones.

And then he kissed me.

”What was that for? ” I asked, breathlessly.

”That was spontaneous, ” he informed me, with a crooked smile. ”Every relationship needs a dose of spontaneity, its healthy. ”

”Did you read that in Popstar Magazine? ” I teased, naming on the teen magazines you usually see on the shelves at the grocery store.

”Ha, ha, aren you just the comedian tonight? ” he asked, wrapping an arm around my waist.

”Id like to think so. ”

He bent down to kiss me again. ”That wasn spontaneous. ”

”It wasn ? ”

”That was just because you look amazing tonight and I couldn resist. ”

I shook my head, unable to wipe the smile off my face. ”You
e so full of it. ”

”Sophie Allen, I will romanticize you until the day I die. ”

I hummed in agreement, wrapping his arm around my waist. ”Ill hold you to that. ”

”Hey lovebirds! ” Clayton called, cueing up our bowling game. ”You plan on joining us tonight or what? ”

Bryce kissed me one last time before taking my hand in his, pulling me towards the bowling lanes.

”Im going to kick your ass, ” I warned him.

”In your dreams. ”

”Thats not what I dream about, ” I whispered, seductively.

He stared at me in shock, and I walked away from him to join my bowling team.

That should be enough to keep him distracted.

”You actually have to try if you want this to work, ” I informed Clayton.

”This book makes zero sense. ”

”Thats because you have to actually have some sort of a brain to comprehend it. ”

He clenched his jaw as Bryce came into the room, handing me a sweet tea.

”Thanks babe, ” I said, leaning over to peck him on the lips.

”So have you guys gotten anywhere? ” he asked, observing the papers spread across the table.

Not really.

”A little, ” Clayton informed him.

”Good, ” Bryce agreed. ”Im going to take Dawson out. Try not to kill each other? ”

”No promises, ” I said, flashing Clayton a smile.

He flashed me a sarcastic smile in return.

Dawson came trotting into the room, placing his nose up onto the table to see what was up.

”Do you want to read some Les Mis? ” I asked Dawson, scratching him behind the ears.

The black lab barked as his answer, causing the three of us to crack up.

”Come on dude, ” Bryce said. ”Crush on Sophie later, you need to go out. ”

Dawson perked up at the word ”out ”, and he immediately took off running towards the door.

Bryce took off running as well, determined to beat the dog.

”How can your boyfriend be so chill and you be such a bitch? ” Clayton asked me, once Bryce was successfully out of earshot.

”I could ask the same about you, ” I shot back. ”How could his best friend be such a dick? ”

”Good one. ”

”I try. ”

Clayton opened his book again, flipping a couple of pages.

”Thats really not doing anything. ”

”Neither are you by criticizing me. ”

I let out a sigh, taking a sip of sweet tea to calm my nerves.

”Your book report is simple, ” I said, picking up the paper with the requirements on it.

The paper that now also sported some of Dawsons slobber. ”All you have to do is give an overview of the book, ” I stated.

”Im aware. ”

”Well weve spent the last two hours talking about the book. Did you retain anything? ”

He let out a sigh, massaging his temples. ”Some of it, yeah. ”

”Why don you take what you remember and try and formulate it into a paper, ” I suggested, gesturing towards his laptop.

He worked in silence for a few minutes, until the theme song for That 70s Show went off.

Clayton abruptly stood up, pulling his phone out of his back pocket.

And successfully throwing his wallet to the floor as well.

”Sorry, ” he muttered, pressing ignore on the call.

I reached over and picked up his wallet for him, his One Year coin falling out.

”Here, ” I said, handing the two items back to him.

”Thanks, ” he said, tucking his coin back into his wallet.

”Did you need to take the call? ” I asked.

He shook his head, tucking his wallet back into his pocket. ”Nobody important. ”

Silence lapsed between us again.

”Can I see your coin? ” I asked, looking back over at him.

He looked over at me in surprise, before nodding and pulling it out of his wallet, handing it to me.

I flipped his One Year coin in my hand a couple of times, studying it.

The coin stood for so much. It showed a year of struggle, a year of perseverance, and a year of hard work.

”How long? ” Clayton asked.

I looked up at him. ”Until what? ”

”How long until Bryce gets his? ”

I flipped the coin in my hand a couple more times before handing it back to Clayton. ”4 months. ”

Clayton nodded before tucking his coin back into his wallet.

”Does your boyfriend have a Mac charger? ” Clayton asked, after a few minutes. ”Mines almost dead and I left my charger at home. ”

”Yeah, in his room, ” I said, standing up and leaving the study room.

I headed upstairs and back into Bryces bedroom.

I paused at the door, staring at his bed for a few moments. It didn look like it had been slept in.

Ilet out a sigh before searching for Bryces charger for a few minutes. I headed back downstairs empty-handed.

”I couldn find it, ” I informed Clayton.

”Well read over this, ” Clayton said, swiveling his laptop around to face me. ”And if its a good enough start to get me a passing grade, then Ill just finish the rest at home. ”

I read over the beginning of Claytons book report, and I had to admit that it wasn bad.

”Definitely passing grade worthy, ” I said, handing Claytons laptop back to him.

”Awesome, ” he agreed, closing his laptop screen. ”Never thought Id say it, but thanks. ”

”Just try not to fail out. ”

He saluted me before heading out of the study room.

I followed him out, heading into the living room where Bryce was unhooking Dawsons leash.

”You guys done? ” Bryce asked, straightening up.

Upon a closer study, I could see the bags under his eyes, and even more were the light bruises indicating multiple nights with lack of sleep.

”Yeah, ” Clayton said, with a nod. ”Thanks man. ”

They did their bro-hug before Clayton left.

Iplopped down on the couch, snapping towards Dawson, and he happily trotted over to me.

I began to scratch him behind the ears.

”He loves it when you give him attention, ” Bryce informed me, laughing.

”I couldn find your laptop charger, ” I said, looking up at him.

”I had to take my laptop to the shop, ” he said, stretching out across the couch and placing his head in my lap.

”Some virus thing, had to bring the charger too. ”

I stared into his eyes for a few moments before reaching over and tracing the bruises under his eyes.

”Its not a big deal, ” he said.

”It is, ” I argued. ”How long has it been? ”

”Just a couple of days, no biggie. ”

”Maybe we should call your doctor? ” I suggested. ”Or maybe even talk to your therapist. ”

He flipped over, sitting up. ”Im fine. ”

”You aren sleeping. ”

”That would be a side effect of being an insomniac, ” he teased.

Dawson let out a whine, and I went back to scratching him behind his ears.

”If it continues, then will you at least consider talking to your therapist? ” I asked, looking over at Bryce. ”I see him on Tuesday, ” Bryce said, handing me an XBOX controller. ”If I don sleep tonight, Ill talk to him. ”

”Thank you, ” I said, leaning over to kiss him.

”Now let me kick your ass in FIFA. ”

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