Ten minutes later I was pulling into his driveway, Sue in the passenger seat beside me. I parked behind Louis’ monster bronco and we jumped out.
We met Dale at the door and he gave me a scrutinizing stare until I rolled my eyes and pushed past him. “You act like you can just look at me and tell.”
“Tell what?” Sue asked.
“I can,” he said and I looked at him. “You’re clean.”
“I know.” Shaking my head, I made my way through the house and into his large and, very messy, room.
“Hey,” I said, then glanced behind me at Dale and added, “Seriously?”
“What?” he shrugged and I glanced from the pig-sty to him. “Don’t start that or I’m gonna think you’re on you know what and you will have to be escorted off the premises.”
“On what, you know what?” Sue asked.
“On my –”
Then all of the boys cut me off by making loud disgusted sounds and Louis said, “I thought we were gonna stop talking about it?”
“She started it,” Dale accused as he stepped around me and sat in the middle of Louis and Chase.
“What?!” I opened my mouth to say something else, but Dale just gave me a look like he thought he knew he was right, so I just rolled my eyes and let it go. “Where are we supposed to sit?”
“You can sit on the arm of the couch,” Dale offered.
“Or you could sit in my lap,” Louis countered, smiling. “You’re small enough.”
I saw Dale give Louis a dangerous look and then look at me, like he was both apprehensive that I would do it and daring me to see what happened if I did. I almost laughed. “I’ll take the arm,” I said, and sat down beside Louis which, seeing as how I kept slipping closer to him, didn’t really help anything. Sue took the other arm beside Chase.
“Suit yourself.” he shrugged.
After Louis beat Chase and Dale started in on Louis, I said, “So, is this your plans for the day?”
“Unless you have a better idea, then yes,” Louis said, leaning back into the couch and slightly towards me. I was trying to ignore the glances he was throwing my way.
I resisted the urge to hit him while he wasn’t looking, and said, “Like you haven’t been trying to spend as much time with Johanna as possible.”
Chase and Louis laughed at this and said, “Ooooh.”
“She got you there, Dale,” Chase said and Dale shoved him.
“Yeah, we’ve seen him just about as much as you ever since he got with Johanna,” Louis added and Dale killed his character on the screen, but he didn’t seem to care.
“What about you and Diane?” Dale shot back as Louis killed his character.
“We’re doing good, but from what I hear not as good as you two. We’re not together, anyway.” He laughed when Dale shoved him.
“Ohh, are you two dating now?” I asked, and he glanced at me dangerously.
Then he brought himself up and said, “As a matter of fact, we are.”
“Yeah, they are,” Chase added, “I’ve seen them kissing out behind the school.” We all laughed at that and Dale tried to keep his eyes focused on the screen while his face showed a slight blush.
“Okay, okay, come on,” I said and they stopped laughing. “Anyway, I just know we haven’t seen each other very much since we’ve been busy either working or practicing for the competition, except you Chase, and I figured we could do something fun.”
“Like what?” Chase asked.
“Well, how about using some real guns instead of the ones on TV?”
“A hunt?” Dale said, finally looking at me. I had all their attention now.
“Yeah, but wouldn’t you have to go and change first?” They all looked at my nice outfit. “And what about Sue? You don’t hunt, do you?”
She shrugged and I said, “I convinced her to try it, and we have our clothes out in the car.”
Dale smiled. “You did miss us.”
I smiled back. “Yeah, kinda.”
“You think Jack and Jason will want to come?” Dale asked Louis, and I was suddenly confused.
“You mean Jack and Jason the rock mill guys I serve at work? That Jack and Jason?”
“I guess. They do work at the rock mill,” Louis said. “They’re the friends I’m staying with.”
“Oh, wow,” I said, “Why didn’t you ever say you knew them?”
“Because I didn’t know you knew them?” He shrugged and then texted for a few minutes. “Okay, I gotta stop by the house to change and they want to come too. I’ll be right back.”
I went and moved my car out of his way and then went back inside to change. Chase had also left to go a few houses down to his house. “Dale?” I called, walking down the hall. The door to his room opened and he stepped out, already changed into a completely cameo outfit. “Can we use your bathroom?”
“Yeah, sure,” he said, letting me pass into his room. While I was in there, I could hear him rummaging around. “So, are you and Johanna really dating?”
“Just asking. So how did it happen? I mean, did you make the move or did she?”
“Actually, I think we both did.” He laughed. “I asked if she would like to switch partners with me and she said she was going to ask me the same thing. After we became partners for real, I invited her out to celebrate when you and Sue had to work, and the next night she asked if we could practice. It ended up being a date and I guess, here we are.”
“That’s great, Dale,” I said, coming out all cameo-ed up and matching him. “Sue and Ivan are dating too.”
“What?” he said and we both looked at her, suddenly dashing into the bathroom to avoid anyone seeing her furious blush.
“Oh, don’t tell me you didn’t see it coming,” I said and he nodded after a minute.
“What about you and Connelly?” I shook my head. “Good, I mean, I’m sorry,” he quickly corrected himself and I smiled, but then after a minute he added, “You’re not thinking about going with Louis, are you?”
He sighed in relief. “Because I don’t know if he’s good enough yet.”
“You let him into your house to play video games all the time, you hang out all the time, you’re practically best friends, but you’re not sure if he’s good enough for me yet?” I gave him a confused look.