Tom ALMOST tells Kayla how he feels.
It was Wednesday night-poker night for the guys-which meant that doorbell might very well be Tom.
Eric and Jeff had already shown up. They were in the dining room eating Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies Robin had made earlier.
Kayla practically ran to the front door. She ran into Cheyenne and gently shoved her aside.
"Jeez," Cheyenne breathed. "What are you in a hurry for?"
"Oh.... uh... I don't want to make anyone wait at the door," Kayla answered.
When she reached the foyer, she stopped, checking her red shirt to be sure she wasn't revealing too much cleavage, and then pulled the door open.
"Oh," she said, seeing Fred standing there.
"Where you expecting someone else?" He arched a brow, shot her a teasing grin.
"No... i just-"
Tom pulled his car up to the curb in front of the house and parked. She looked past Fred.
Fred followed her gaze. "Yup, you were defiantly expecting someone else." He sighed and stepped inside as Tom came up the front steps.
"Hey, Kay." Tom said. "Fred, how's it goin'?"
"Come to kick your ass in poker, that's all."
Tom chuckled. "Yeah right."
Kayla held the door open as the two guys sauntered inside. Cheyenne turned down the TV, inconspicuously watching Tom and Fred as she picked a few crackers from the box in her lap.
"Hey, Chey." Tom called as he and Fred went into the dining room to join the others.
"Is he your boyfriend yet?" Cheyenne paused the movie.
"No. We're just friends."
"Why?" Cheyenne sounded horrified by this idea.
"Because..." Kayla went into the kitchen for her second snack.
"Because why? Have you looked at him? Kayla, look at him!"
"I know, Chey. I'm not blind."
"Then he doesn't like you?"
Kayla took out the tub of cream cheese and popped the lid. "I don't know if he likes me... but we're friends." She dipped a Wheat Thin cracker into the cream cheese and layed it in her mouth.
Cheyenne pulled herself on the kitchen counter and pushed her blond pigtails off her shoulders. For a twenty-two year old woman, she seemed too old to be wearing pigtails. At least that is what Kayla thought. "Do you like him?"
"Like I'm going to tell you!"
"I won't tell anyone!"
Kayla rolled her eyes. "Like the time you told Robin that i took her lip gloss?"
Cheyenne shrugged innocently. "That was an accident."
"I'm not telling you." Kayla said again.
Cheyenne grew bored eventually and went back to her movie. Kayla filled a bowl with Wheat Thins and grabbed the tub of cream cheese, then headed into the dining room.
Led Zepplin blared from the stereo. Tom threw down his cards, flashing three jacks. The guys burst into shouts of surprise.
"Winner," Tom said breezily, sliding the red, white and blue chips into his pile.
Kayla set down the snacks and looked over Fred's shoulder at the new hand he'd just been dealt. He had two nines, a ten, a jack and an ace. Not a very good hand.
"What do you think?" Fred asked her.
She pointed to the ten and jack. "Get rid of those."
"Hey, hey," Eric yelled.
"What?" Fred said.
"No asking your girlfriend for help!" Eric said.
Kayla grunted. "We're not-"
"We're just friends, dude," Fred said.
Tom stilled and looked from Fred to Kayla. "Just friends?"
Tom's lips twitched as if he were going to smile but decided to bury it. "Oh," he said, his eyes lingering on Kayla.
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"Hey," Tom said from Kayla's open bedroom door.
She looked up from her Rip magazine. "Hey," she sat up on the bed, tucking her feet beneath her. "Game all done?"
He nodded. "Everyone ran out of chips."
"And who was the one who had all the chips when the game was over?"
"Well, me, of course."
"Were you counting the cards again?"
He gave her an impish grin. "I'll never tell you." He came further into the room and, with every step, his good mood seemed to slip away.
Tom plopped down next to Kayla. She tensed, her emotions conflicting. She wanted to be close to him.
A short silence spread between them. Kayla repositioned herself on the bed, trying to get comfortable. If she'd known Tom was going to come in her room, she would have put something else on. Instead, she was in a pair of gray-and-white stripped shorts.
As if reading her unease, Tom looked over at her, then down at her legs beside him. "I wanted to tell you," he looked to the floor, holding his hands together, "that you looked good today."
A blush instantly pinked Kayla's cheeks. "You look good, too." she mumbled. "Those are my favorite jeans, by the way."
His eye contact was sudden and intense. "Yeah?"
"So," tom said, rubbing his pale hands together, "You and Fred? I thought you were together."
"No. we're just good friends. I like someone else."
Tom raised a brow. "Who?"
"Secret," she said with a smile.
"I have a secret, too," he said softly.
He nodded. "I like someone, too."
Kayla ranked her teeth over her bottom lip once, twice, then once again. "Tom, I-"
"Dude, let's go." Eric burst in the room, his car keys jingling from his fingers. "We're supposed to meet ray in five minutes."
Tom stood up abruptly. "I'm coming." He glanced over his shoulder at Kayla. "I'll talk to you later."
"Yeah," she said.
When the door slammed shut, Kayla collapsed back on her bed. Her breathing was quick, her heart beating excitingly in her chest. Had Tom almost admitted liking her?
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