“C’mon Potter, where are we going?”
“What kind of surprise would it be if I told you?” I drive into the parking lot, searching for a space to park. As Pacey reaches for his blindfold, I reach over and hold it in place with my free hand. “Stop it, Pacey.”
He strokes my thumb. “If you’re planning on taking me to the Leerys for movie night with Dawson, so help me, Potter-”
“I wouldn’t do that, Pacey.” I cut in. Spotting a space amidst the crowded lot, I sigh, relieved. “You don’t have to be friends with Dawson. I’m okay with that.”
“Are you planning on ravishing me then?” He grins, reaching out his searching hand to brush against my thigh. “I’m all for that.”
“Haven’t I ravished you enough?”
The hand runs in between my legs. “You obviously don’t know me at all if you have to ask that.”
I pull the parking break with a harder jerk than I meant to as Pacey rubs his palm against me. The engine turns off with a lurching sputter. I shove his hand off, my insides churning, and push the sticking door on the family truck open. Jumping out despite his protests, I run around to his side and yank at the door. “Come on, Jailbait.”
Pacey scowls and clumsily manages to slide out of the truck, blindfold still in place, hair mussed a bit around it. He holds out both hands in front of him, waving them. “Potter?”
I’m silent. I watch him take a cautious step towards me, his head cocked slightly, straining to hear my shallow breathing. It’s noisy in the parking lot and I take advantage of the din, moving around Pacey, inching closer.
“Joey?” He steps away from me as I sneak behind him. “Jo, come on, this isn’t fun-oh, ah,” he groans as his side comes in contact with the side mirror of another car, “Josephine Potter, I’m injured now.”
“Well, then take off the blindfold, dummy,” I say, wrapping my arms gingerly around him, my breath hot against his ear. “You look silly walking around the parking lot flailing like that, Pacey.”
“You’re a brat, Jo.” He tugs the scarf from his eyes, blinking as he adjusts to the lights. Pacey turns and kisses my cheek gently. Turning back, he stares at where I brought him and lets out a low whistle. “Heidi ho, it’s off to minigolf we go.”
“Yeah.” I grin and drag him quickly towards the main building, a fairy tale castle.
Within minutes Pacey’s found a nice corner behind the Pacman game to hide. And kiss. His lips drag across my neck and all I can see are the periodic neon flashes from the arcade. I would wonder if we were going to get to the minigolf course, that is, I’d wonder if his fingers weren’t stretching out lazily along my abdomen, just beneath my shirt. “Oh, Pacey.”
“Pacey? Joey? Oh, man,” a familiar voice says, already chuckling. I sigh as Pacey lets me go relunctantly, turning to the voice. “Hey, guys.”
So the first thing I thought of when we headed into the minigolf center was, Pacey and Joey. Which is sick and wrong. I know. But I haven’t been getting much action til George came along and...well my friends got off on the minigolf course. Now my mind just goes there. And obviously rightfully so. Since who do I see first, being stared at by a scrawny ten year old with scruffy long blonde hair in his eyes? Pacey and Joey behind the Pacman.
So I made with the introductions. “Uh, Sarah Janet, this is Pacey.” Pacey raises a hand, his blue eyes a little glazed. Sarah Janet looks him over with disbelief. “Oh. Right. You met before at the..when he...yeah.” I clear my throat and try again. “So, this is Pacey’s girlfriend, Joey. The one with all the sweaters,” I frown as Joey rearranges her rumpled clothing, “and, Joey? SJ, here is George’s sister.”
Her eyes widen and she smiles widely. “Nice to meet you. Your brother is really great. Jack just loves him.”
George squeezes my hand, even as my other hand smacks my forehead. Jen clears her throat and mimes a slash across her throat to Pacey and Joey. “Are you guys here to minigolf?”
“Yeah,” Joey answers, mouthing a sorry my way, “we went last week and...” she trails off as Pacey, Jen and I throw her glares, “we had fun.”
“Lots of fun,” Pacey adds with a smirk, his arm curling around Joey’s waist. He stares at SJ’s date, Ben. “And you are?”
“Kennel Boy,” Jen interjects, smiling brightly.
SJ laughs and ruffles Ben’s hair. He scowls at Jen.
They all stare at me for a long minute. The group nods finally and we head out.
In the club checkout line, SJ grins widely and introduces Jen to her “date.” Ken Reilling. Wait a-Kenny Reilling?
“Jen, I think you and I have had a class together every year since you got to Capeside and yet, we never ever talk. Isn’t that amazing?” Jen’s eyes take on a hint of fear as Ben chuckles.
“Amazing, Kenny. Ken,” she says, backing away from him. She runs into Ben, who jumps a little further from her than seems necessary. “Sorry,” she mumbles, looking down.
“Hey, Jack.” There’s a tap on my shoulder. It’s Pacey, shifting nervously from foot to foot. He’s grinning. “I need a favor.”
“I was wondering,” he begins, his eyes looking beyond me, “if you could find out...”
“Find out what?”
“Joey and I,” he murmurs, and I follow his gaze to the three girls, now clustered together in front of the course, waiting for clubs and chatting animatedly. “If she says anything?”
Pacey stares at me for long moment before taking a deep breath. “We were together again.”
Should I just make this easier for him or play dumb? “Like in the car?”
“We had sex.” He says and blushes as curious eyes turn on us. We move up a bit in line. George holds up eight fingers indicating how many golf clubs are necessary.
“Sex?” I widen my eyes for effect.
“Yes, sex,” he mutters, grabbing two clubs from George. “Just find out if she says anything.”
“So if she talks, I’m supposed to let you know?”
“I just mean,” he says, frowning pensively at the girls, “if she talks to Jen about me. I wanna know.”
I shake my head, turning to George for back up. “I can’t eavesdrop on Joey and Jen.”
“Yes you can,” Pacey says.
“No I,” I reach for George’s hand, “I’m Jen’s friend. And Joey’s. And I can’t be spying on them. George? Right?”
“I dunno,” he shrugs, quirking an eyebrow. “I think it’s sort of funny. Jack McPhee. Minigolf spy.”
I frown, not liking his tone. “What do you mean by that?”
“Nothing,” he replies, biting down on the inside of his cheek. “Just...I don’t see you as the stealthy, dangerous type.”
“Uh huh.” I stare at him.
“He sees you more as the stumbling into a room sort, Jackers,” Pacey interjects helpfully, his eyes twinkling.
George nods, patting my arm playfully. “Right. You tripped on your own feet yesterday at my porch. No offense, I love everything about you.” He clucks his tongue at me. “But you’re no spy.”
“I could be a spy,” I retort defensively. I dart a glance over at the girls. Jen catches me and waves, smiling. I wave back, my shoulders slumping in defeat as both Pacey and George laugh at me. I stick my tongue out at them and march towards the girls. “I’ll be a spy. A damn good spy.”
“Ken, Ben, and Jen,” Joey sing songs, lips curling in amusement, “now there’s the perfect triangle for you.”
“Jen?” Oh great, it’s Kenny. “I have our scorecard.”
Joey raises an eyebrow at me. “Our scorecard? Must be serious, Jenny.”
Kenny offers me his arm and I can’t believe it but I take it, following him slowly over to the first hole. I grab the proffered golf club and a puke salmon colored golf ball that’s fading to pale pink on one side.
The first hole is deceptively simple. It’s just a few yards long and the hole is in plain view. Surrounding it are tiny little resin mice. A life size resin Cinderella sits mere feet away, clothed in rags, a pumpkin at her feet and smiling gently. The mice are the reason this hole is par 5, Kenny and I find out, thanks to SJ.
SJ spends very little time putting, she swings through impatiently and bats her yellow ball into one of the mice, sending it flying feet away from the hole. “That just,” she eyes the offending mouse with disgust, “bites.”
I try to stop the snort before it’s out in the world, but Ben catches me and laughs. So I flash a dirty look his way and then SJ’s got me in her radar. Her “You’re watching my Kennel Boy just a bit too closely” radar. Which is ridiculous, because I’m not. He’s the one doing the watching and it’s annoying.
“Jen, do you need help putting?” I turn and face my golf mate with a slight grimace.
Bizarrely, I also come near nose to nose with Jack. Who abruptly turns and whistles that tune the wacky Laurel and Hardy-esque villains always hum anytime they're caught spying. Which is...odd. Jack smiles brightly and does a crazy little salute before shadowing Joey with a definite hunch to his shoulders.
Before I can think more of it, Kenny taps my shoulder again and holds out his arm.
“I’ve got it, Kenny.” Shit.
“Well, lets see...um, Joey’s jealous of SJ. And Jen asked how big your,” Jack’s eyes lower for a moment and he smirks, scratching his neck, “you know. Then Joey said, ‘What's up with you and Ben?’”
I roll my eyes. “Wait a minute, what about the other-”
“She didn’t answer.” Jack shrugs, bouncing a bit in the cold air. He blows a breath out, watching it dissipate slowly. “That’s still between you, Joey, and your, you know. But then they talked about Jen and Ben. And Ken. Jen said something about how she was going to kill Kenny. Which became a game. The girls keep thinking up new ways to kill him on the minigolf course.”
“And let me guess,” I say dryly, “it’s the ‘Oh my God I killed Kenny’ game.”
“Ding, ding, ding. Kenny’s a really good sport about it, considering. I think he has a crush on Joey. Watch out man, she was very entertained by him. Or imagining how to kill him. Either way, seems like Kenny’s invading your job description.”
“Hey, she may imagine killing Kenny, but Kenny doesn’t give her reasons to want him dead. Not like me.” I wave at Joey as she turns to look at me. She frowns a bit and mimes a golf swing my way. Huh. “What’s she doing?”
“I’m guessing,” Jack says thoughtfully, “that it has something to do with your last minigolf night. A sign.”
“Yeah?” Joey’s entire face burns crimson as Jen turns to her, catching her mid-imaginary swing. Jen giggles and mimes a swing my way. One which Jack returns, bursting out laughing. “Stop that, Jackers. Anything else?”
“She loves you. Did you honestly need me to tell you that?”
“No,” I admit, grinning. “But I sure enjoyed seeing you go all James Bond on me.”
“She hates your shirt too.”
“This shirt?”I pull the blue button down away from myself, examining it. “No, she likes this one-” I stop abruptly, seeing something that makes me cringe, ahead on the fifth hole.
“Dawson,” Joey supplies, coming up behind me, her breath in my ear making me jump. “I thought Gretch dumped him.”
Jack, Joey and I watch as Dawson and Gretchen move over the fifth hole, hand in hand. Behind them are three of Gretchen’s college friends. Dawson and Gretchen stroll leisurely, bending slightly at the small bridge where a tiny water hazard peeks out below.
“They sure look friendly,” Jack observes and Joey nods her assent.
I watch her out of the corner of my eye, wondering what she’s feeling and she seems to know. She looks over at me, smiles softly and ever so gently plants a wet kiss at the base of my neck. “What are they looking at?”
We watch spellbound as Dawson leans a little further over the bridge and Gretchen pats his back gently. Then she pats it again, a bit harder. Two girls I recognize as Gretchen’s college friends linger behind them, giggling.
It happens in slow motion. One pat on the back from Gretch. Two. And then Kabaam! Boffo! Zooey! Yes, straight out of Adam West’s Batman.
Dawson goes tumbling. Over the edge of the bridge, grasping at the empty air, hurtling ever closer to the dingy gray water recycled through the various moats and ponds of Heido Ho Mini Golf and Go.
He emerges from the water only seconds after the roaring splash sounded his fall. Plastic kelp hangs over one eye, caught in his dripping blonde locks, his chin steadily leaking droplets.
Above him stands my sister. The one and only Gretchzilla Witter and her gal pals.
They lean over the railing, gloriously dry, radiantly happy, releasing ever growing gales of laughter. Gretchen sends a little wave down to Dawson, touches her middle finger to her lips and blows him a kiss-off goodbye.
I feel Joey’s arm curl around mine a bit tighter and I turn, just in time, to see her collapse on the ground beside me. Laughing. Harder. Until she’s crying.
Dawson has the scariest radar ever, because at this point he turns and glares. At me, at Jo. At Jen, Ken and Ben, who have taken a five minute flirting break to gape at the fool in the mini golf pool.
I notice Jack amble up with George and nod affably down at poor, drowning Dawson.
I grin and pull Joey to her feet. She smiles gloriously beneath her glistening lashes and flips Dawson off over her shoulder.
Then she leans into me, her chin nestling against my chest, “Pace, you looked so silly when you fell in last week.”
I look down at her in surprise. She’s not laughing at Dawson. “You’re not laughing at Dawson,” I say dumbly.
She grins, tilting her head. “Well, yeah. But God, he just looks pissed. And slimy. You,” she pokes at me with her index finger, “looked adorable. And lost. And drippy.”
I frown and strive to look hurt.
Joey looks up at me with very little concern and giggles merrily. “You’re so cute, Pace.”
Her hand strokes my cheek. Mmm. Her skin is so soft. “Then stop laughing at me, Jo.”
She holds up her golf club. “Keep playing?”
I nod and follow her to the next hole. My arm reaches out to circle her waist and pull Joey back against me. This private moment is quickly interrupted by the rest of the gang waiting for us to join them at.
I’m first up to swing at the infamous fourth hole. The windmill hole. I dart a sideways glance over at Joey and just behind her, the water hazard I fell in last time we were here. I shift on my feet and swallow. Hard.
But you know, after the thing with her hand in my pocket? I nailed this hole. I could win this game and beat the whole gang. Play carefully, putt slowly and cream ‘em. Yep. It’d be me, Joey and the whole gang. Playing minigolf together. All damn night.
I never was all that competitive really.
I glance up from my ball at Joey again and wink. She wrinkles her nose, smiling curiously. I take a big swing and promptly hit my ball so wide, it ends up in the bushes that line the go cart track.
Joey’s eyes widen. Jen smothers a laugh. Jack and George raise their eyebrows in disbelief. Ben moves in, brushing an arm against Jen while he “stretches.” Kenny dutifully sharpens his miniature scorecard pencil.
I simply shrug, casting a glance out at the shrubbery where I sent my ball. “Oops. Well, I better go get that, huh?”
“Pacey,” Jen begins, “You’ll never find it out there. Maybe you should just get another ball. We’ll mark you with some extra strokes or something.”
“Don’t do that. You know never say never.” I grin quickly. “Plus, you know...gotta play the ball from where it is and all that. I’ll just go over there and you guys play on.”
I march in the direction of the ball, directing a pointed glance at Joey as I go. She frowns.
Three holes later she’s still playing it safe and I’m so far behind I can barely see her. Much less anyone else. She’s so dense sometimes. I run ahead to catch her celebrating her latest under par putt and drag her off by her dainty little waist.
“What are you doing, Potter?”
“Winning,” she replies, grinning. Her eyes flash. “Which is more than I can say for you, Pacey. What hole are you on?”
“The one that is three holes back from the rest of our friends. The hole that is private and special and reserved for you and me to have some fun extracurriculars that have very little to do with minigolf and much more to do with this.” I kiss her for emphasis, hoping to woo her over by shoving my tongue even more directly at her. Or well, down her throat. Which usually works.
She pulls away with a very patronizing smile. Oh man. That look just....that is a bad look. “Aw, sweetie. I’m sorry.”
“Thank you,” I say, glad I’ve won her over. I watch her march back over to the next hole, club in hand, determination all across her pretty features. She’s flushed and I’m the man. Until I see her land another cautious stroke mere inches from the hole. Damn.
I tug her aside again, the others casting strange looks my way. Which I ignore. They’re probably just wondering what I’m doing up with the successful minigolfers when I should be back in remedial at the fourth hole. Which is what I was on. Or not, as I have discarded my ball in the nearest water hazard already.
She looks up at me with a smirk.
“Joey. We could be having sex right now,” I whine hopelessly. I run my hands along her thighs to no avail.
“We have sex all the time, Pace. Minigolf comes but once a week. And I want to win. “
She raises up on her tiptoes and kisses me on the cheek. Then turns on her heel back to that miserable game. Dammit. I’ll fix her.
“We’ll see about that,” I call out to her back.
I catch up by some miracle of teenage horniness, even going so far as to fish my now chlorine reeking ball out of the water I tossed it in. And I’m only thirty or so strokes behind Joey now. She smiles at me, thinking she’s gotten her way. Yeah, right.
It’s my turn to swing and I’m finally on the same hole as the rest of the gang. I square my shoulders and take a deep breath. Focus. Just like darts. Just like sailing. Just like anything else I do good. Joey. Mmmm.
The ball sails quickly past the hole and before Joey can even finish opening her mouth to laugh at my obvious miss I hit my target. Her ball. They stay precariously close to each other and the hole. Joey starts to move to hit her golf ball first and I cut in front of her with a curteous smile. “Mine’s closer. Lemme go first, please?”
“Okay.” She’s staring at me now. Her brown eyes are suspicious.
I put the toe of my sneaker over my ball and turn my back on the hole, focusing entirely on the bridge where Dawson took his headfirst dive. And I swing my club hard, sending Joey’s ball out far, far away into the water hazard. Then, whistling cheerfully, I follow suit with my golf ball. I turn back to Joey with a smirk. Her jaw drops and her eyes are wide.
“I guess the game’s over, yeah?”
I pat her back and drag her off without further comment, even as she glares at me and the rest of our group laughs at us, not with us. I came to MiniGolf to get laid, not to play golf.
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