Kailyn groaned as the sun hit her face. She reached for the blankets and tried to pull them over her head. But Max was lying across the foot of the bed, tangled in the covers. Kailyn groaned again, pushing herself into a sitting position to pet the dog, then made her way to the kitchen to put on the coffee.
She had racked her brain when she went to bed about how to approach Ben with going to the basketball game with her. They had discussed their interests in sports while looking over the menu at the restaurant but were interrupted when the waiter brought their drinks. But Kailyn finally believes she has found the right words to persuade him to go with her. And she hoped her friend Janelle wouldn't be disappointed Kailyn gave her ticket to Ben.
"After all, she's the reason I know Ben in the first place."
After her morning walk with Max, Kailyn showered and poured herself another cup of coffee, turning on the news as she fumbled through her closet for something to wear. After picking out a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, Kailyn reached for her phone and dialed Ben's number.
One ring, two rings, three rings. After the fifth ring, Kailyn was about to hang up when an out-of-breath Ben came on the line. "Hello?" he gasped.
"Ben?" Kailyn answered, pulling the phone from her ear as he coughed loudly and tried to catch his breath.
"Yes. Kailyn, hi. Sorry, I just got back from a run. What's up?"
"Oh, not much. Just returning your call from yesterday. Sorry I missed you. Must have been out with Max." Kailyn smiled down at the dog, who was chewing on a toy she had just bought for him.
"That's OK. I just wanted to tell you I enjoyed our date the other night."
"Me, too. Thanks for taking me to that restaurant. It was lovely. And so were you," she said said hurriedly. Ben laughed on the other side of the phone.
"So you're a runner?" Kailyn asked, changing the subject. "I took Max on a long walk earlier. I'm not much of a runner, but I do enjoy the exercise walking gives me with a Doberman."
"Yeah," Ben said. "I try to run every morning if I can."
"Cool," Kailyn responded. Did I just say 'cool,' she thought to herself. I'm such an idiot.
"So, you want to try to meet up some time next week?" Ben said, filling the pause.
"Oh, yeah, that's another reason I called," Kailyn said, trying to remember her rehearsed speech. "I have tickets to the Mavericks game Thursday against the Lakers. I remembered your saying something about basketball, so I thought maybe you'd like to go with me. That is, if you don't have plans Thursday night." Too rushed, Kailyn, she thought to herself, covering her eyes with her hand.
"Wow, you scored Lakers tickets? Of course I'd like to go. Hell, yes!"
Kailyn smiled. "Great!" she exclaimed. "I have a friend who works in sports media. I'm always hitting him up for good seats and games."
"That's awesome," Ben said. "It should be a lot of fun. What time does it start? It's what, a couple of hours drive to Dallas? and you live on the island so add a few extra minutes, plus traffic ..."
"Um, it's about four hours. I'm taking Friday off work because I just planned to drive back after the game. I totally forgot about the drive! Does that put a dent in things for you to go?"
"Naw, it shouldn't," Ben replied, checking his calendar. "I'm actually on call most of next week, which usually means the world has to blow up for me to get called in to the precinct. That should work. Road trip!"
Kailyn laughed. "Yeah, I guess so."
"Cool. Is it just you and me or do you have a group going? You said you had tickets, just not how many."
"Oh, I just have two. A friend was going but backed out at last minute. I meant to ask on our date, but I forgot." Liar, she thought.
"Sweet. I'll call you soon and we can plan. I can drive if you want. Or you can. It doesn't matter to me."
"To me either," Kailyn said, jumping up and down in her bedroom, trying to contain her excitement. "I'll talk to you soon."
"Sure," Ben said. "See ya."
Hanging up, Kailyn bent to kiss Max on the forehead. "He said he'd go!" she squealed. "He said he'd go! After two dates. Wow."
Now what does that mean, she thought later that day as she was getting ready to meet some friends for drinks. Does that mean he'll try to have sex with me? Does that mean he thinks I want him to have sex with me? Did I not plan things through? What message did I just send him?
"I did tell him I had planned to drive right back," Kailyn was telling her friends at the bar. "Do you think he heard that part or do you think he was planning his move?" Kailyn sipped her margarita and sighed.
"Girl, you overthink things WAY too much!" Janelle said, taking a gulp of her own drink. "Men don't plan out everything the way we do. They just go with the flow and act on impulse. Sure, some think ahead, but the majority plays out the situation in real time. Believe me."
"Janelle's right," added Dana. "He might have thought about the possibilities of what could happen, but I guarantee he didn't dwell on them like you did."
"I hope you guys are right," Kailyn said, sinking into the booth even more. "And Janelle, you're sure you're OK with me giving your seat away?"
"Of course, sweety. Any chance you get to go on a road trip with a hot fella like Ben, you take it. No questions."
"A toast," Dana said, raising her martini in the air. "To Kail finally getting her man."
"I don't have him yet," Kailyn said, holding her glass up, too. "But how about to new beginnings."
"Here, here," Dana toasted, and the three clinked their glasses and sipped their drinks.
"So," Dana said to Janelle when Kailyn went to the bar for another round. "Has Ben said anything to you about his interest in our Kail?"
"Uh huh," Janelle murmured. "He only thanked me for introducing him to her. I wish he'd moved here sooner. Kay really could've used someone like him last year. Remember Jonathan? Boy, was that relationship a disaster!"
"I know. She definitely deserves better than him."
"Who deserves better than whom?" Kailyn asked, setting the pitcher of margaritas on the table and taking her seat again.
"You," Dana said. "Now pour up."