Carter Beckett, the Vancouver Vipers' star captain, is always confident and in control. Most of the time. Some of the time.
Okay, fine. On occasion, he's been known to get just slightly anxious. It's not his fault, though. I mean, what's a guy to do when the girl he's been pining after shows up for an impromptu pseudo movie date?
It's no big deal, right? It's not as if he's never been on a date before.
Can I touch her? I don’t know if I can touch her.
I keep reaching for her hand and then letting mine hang there in midair before pulling it back, dragging it over my thigh. It’s all clammy, so she probably doesn’t even want to hold my hand anyway. But I want to hold hers.
Olivia’s being a good sport, pretending not to notice how anxious I am, how I have zero clue what the fuck I’m doing. She keeps her eyes trained on the movie trailers in front of us, but every time I look at her, the corner of her mouth quirks as she tries not to laugh at me.
“I’m so hot,” I blurt, tugging at the neck of my hoodie. I fan at my face. “Are you hot?”
She twists in her seat, amusement twinkling in her eyes as she watches me. “No.”
“Oh. Just me then.” Leaning forward, I pull my hoodie over my head, and Olivia grunts as my elbow connects with some part of her body. “Oh fuck.” I shove my hoodie in her lap and stick my face in hers, my hands running up and down her arms, lifting them, searching for…bruises? I don’t fucking know. Christ, I’m a fucking mess. “Did I get you? Are you hurt? Are you okay? Sorry my hands are so sweaty.” I twirl one in the air, then point to the ceiling. “It’s the heat. I think they’ve got it cranked all the way up. Want me to ask them to turn it down?” I push on the armrests of my chair, climb to my feet, and thumb down the row. “I’ll ask them to turn it down.”
Olivia grabs a fistful of my shirt and tugs me back down to my seat. “The temperature is fine, Carter. I know you’re nervous, but—”
“Nervous? Me? Psssh.” I wave a flappy hand through the air. “Please. They call me Mr. Confident.”
Her tongue pokes the inside of her cheek as she tries not to smile. “Uh-huh.”
I sink back in my seat, knee bouncing as I stare at the screen but don’t actually see what’s on it. This particular theatre is relatively quiet considering how busy the place is. Perks of seeing a kid’s movie after they’ve all gone to bed, I guess. Anyway, I kinda wish it was busy, because then maybe I’d have something else to focus on other than how fucking nervous I feel.
She’s here. She came, all on her own. What does that mean? Is this a date? Does she want to, like…move forward? With me? I won’t fuck it up. I’m gonna be so fucking good, and I’m gonna show her how much she can trust me.
“I’m gonna go get snacks,” I half yell, leaping to my feet before promptly tripping over them on my first step, catching myself against the row in front of us.
“Are you o—”
“I’m fine,” I call over my shoulder, scurrying down the row. “Snacks. Snacks, snacks, snacks.” I bury my face in my hands the second I burst into the hallway, leaning back against the wall. What in the fuck is wrong with me? She’s, like, half my size. Why am I scared of her suddenly and how do I become, like…normal again?
I pick the longest line at the concession stand, relishing in the time alone to screw my head on straight, but by the time I get to the counter I accidentally order so much food that they have to put all my candy and chocolate in a popcorn bag so I can carry it all.
“Thanks.” I wrap one arm around the XL popcorn, the other around the bag of treats, and carefully pick up a drink in each hand. “And by the way, it’s hot as balls in theatre four. You should maybe think about turning the heat down.”
The kid behind the counter blinks slowly. “We keep all our theatres set at sixty-five degrees.”
My brows rise as I give him a pointed look. “Yeah. Fucking scorching.”
With that, I leave him staring after me, carrying my goodies back to the theatre...