No Way Back – Chapter 4 – Updated 08JAN2010

Chapter 4…  Hey, I’m tired, it’s late, and I’m scheduling these so I don’t forget…

Chapter 4

Luck must have been on my side today, because I managed to get to the men’s room before too many people saw me. I straightened my hair out with water and my fingers, and no one said anything all day. To top it all off, the day was rather uneventful. That’s good, because the last thing I wanted was to get home in a bad mood. It was bad enough that Less saw me like that. Ugh! I must have looked so horrid! She’s never gonna think of dating me if I keep doing stupid things like that…

I flop into my comfortable chair in front of the computer, looking at the display. I start going through the setup, adding the information as it requests it. As if finishes up, it asks if I have information from an older system to transfer. Luckily, the other system is still in the room, and I quickly reconnect it to the network, power it on, and let the two computers talk about what files to copy and what files to forget. Once I start the process, I hear the doorbell ring. I jump up and answer it, leading the HVAC crew my father had hired into my room. They get to work, checking out the duct and decide to tell me that the issue was a damaged duct, which we already knew. They head into the attic to check the duct, and I soon hear some sawing as they begin making the much-needed repairs. Ten minutes later, they re-appeared with a crumpled piece of steel, heading to their truck and coming back with a long stretch of rectangular ducting. Another twenty minutes, and they’re climbing down, checking the airflow from the vent. Satisfied, they gathered their gear and left, leaving me a bill to hand to my father.

“Back to the computer,” I sigh to myself as I finally shut the door. I cross the house, ignoring my mom’s favored taste of Asian design, and get back to the desk. As I sit, I see the screen telling me that it’s ready to log in. I glance at the clock. Four-thirty. Good, I still have a half-hour to get things ready before anyone gets home. I quickly pop open the game box, scooping up the disk and pushing it into the slot-loading drive. Within minutes, the game is installed and ready to log in. I stretch my arms quickly, ready for a short bit of gaming when there’s a tap on the window. I look out to see those luminescent blues that I still swear she uses to keep me under control. Allessa smiles, then points to the back door. I nod and head to the kitchen, around the refrigerator, and open the door, heading out.

“Well, what a surprise!” I realize how excited I sound to see her again, and I clear my throat. “I mean, I figured your parents are home, you’d be doing something with them.”

“My par– Oh, right, them, they’re home, but they locked themselves into their room. I decided I didn’t want to hear what they were doing.” She looked around, almost as if expecting someone to be watching, “So, have you setup up your software yet?”

“No, the guys who came to fix my heater just left. Kinda makes it hard to get things ready when you’re playing foreman.”

“I guess.” She smiles again, and I feel my knees shaking. I will them to hold me up so I don’t look more like a total fool for the day. “What was up with your hair this morning? It looked like you’d just gotten out of bed.”

I roll my eyes, knowing it was coming sometime. Here it is, I think to myself, she’s going to outright tell me I don’t have a chance in hell. “Well, I was a little distracted. I had homework to get done, and the computer thing, I just didn’t have the time to look in a mirror.”

She gives a slight laugh. “Well, that part was obvious. So, do you have any homework to do tonight?”

I shake my head, “Nope. Did it all in study hall. Why they give someone study hall at the end of the day, I’ll never understand.”

“Well, then, Robert, get logged in! I need someone to cover my six.” She starts to head towards her house. “Oh, yes,” she adds, facing away from me, “I have a little wager.”

Uh-oh…

She turns to face me, looking straight into my eyes. “I know that you’re a little new to the game. I know that you don’t have the kind of ‘Bot that I have. But, if you ever want to duel, ask me.” She steps closer, stopping just out of arm’s reach. “I’ve known, you know.” She cuts herself off there.

“Umm… Know what?” I feel my throat going dry, my legs suddenly even more wobbly.

“What you think of me. How you feel. I have a copy of that letter you were probably never going to give me.”

I try to act stronger than I know I am, not wanting to give up so easily. “H-how do you know that was from me? I mean, half the school–”

“Rob, you’re cute when you try to hide it. So don’t. Why don’t you just tell me yourself?” She stands, crossing her arms, striking a daring pose, and pursing her lips.

I lick my lips, trying to think of anything, my mind racing. My voice sounds distant, stuttering as I try to respond. “Uh… What about the, uh, wager,” I ask, trying to change the subject.

“Not until you admit that you wrote the letter, and that you meant it. Come on, is it that hard?”

Looking to the grass, I try to hold my ground as best as I can. “Yes… But no.. But… ” He grunts in irritation with himself. “You’re beautiful, and amazing, smart, and I’ve always liked you. There, I said it, happy?”

She smiles, leaning back slightly, her hands behind her back. “Well then, here’s the wager. If you can beat me in a duel, then I’ll let you take me out.” Her smile never leaves her face as she leans forward and plants a soft kiss on his cheek. “So, I suggest that you get to work, Rob, because I’ll be waiting.” She spins around quickly, her hair flying up, and walks quickly to her house, walking to make herself as appealing to any guy who would have been watching. As she reaches her door, she looks back over her shoulder, winking at my still immobile form, my eyes wide in confusion, surprise, shock. She then bounds gracefully into her house, leaving me agape with the thoughts of her seemingly limitless beauty.

As she turns to go in, I still can’t make my legs move. Did I hear her right? She wants to go out with me?! All I have to do is win. I can do that, I’m one of the best. Aren’t I? This has to be a joke. She couldn’t mean it. But what if she did? And, what did I see in her hair when she turned? It was such a light color in comparison, almost pink against her black hair? Well, maybe it was just a funny angle. Wait, what the hell am I standing here for, I need to get my levels up!

I turn to go back inside and can’t help but to jump and let out a loud whoop before running inside. Her words, asking me to admit my feelings for her, betting that I couldn’t beat her, it just made everything so much brighter in the world. And, it gave the game an entirely different feel. Now, I just have to wait until I can take her down in-game. I’ve waited years for a chance to hear her say she’ll go out with me, what’s a few days, right?

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