Dana:

I was nervous, which was silly because I didn't have to be. When I saw him come out of the boys locker room, my heartbeat accelerated.

Golly, he was so handsome.

A couple of his teammates patted him on his way out. He grinned and nodded at them. His eyes wandered around until his eyes settled on me. For a moment, we just stood there and gazed at each other.

Strange feelings surged through me all at once. It was as though I was looking at the one person who fully understood me – saw me. It was as though I wanted nothing in life other than this person staring back at me.

At some point, my eyes got watery. I had no idea why I wanted to cry at that moment. It was absolutely ridiculous, but that was what I felt.

It was like I finally found what I was looking for all this time.

The realization came out of the blue. It slapped me in the face without warning. I wasn't entirely sure but something changed in us – with the way he looked at me.

I smiled at him.

Ethan finally moved and walked towards me.

“Hey.”

“Hi.”

“What d'you think of the game?”

“It's great! Congratulations, by the way!”

He looked at me skeptically.

“Did you understand what was going on?” he asked, a smirk on its way.

I rolled my eyes. “Of course, I did.”

No, I didn't. Dakota had to explain to me what was happening. All I knew was we were winning, then we weren't, then we were again, then we won. The game looked very interesting, though. The people were so into it that I got carried away with their excitement, as well. It was thrilling!

I was never really a fanatic of watching sports. However, if Ethan was in it and playing, I was willing to watch another game. I didn't know much about basketball but I could tell he was quite good at it.

His facial expression during the game was very focused and serious. It was breathtaking. And if truth be told, it sort of . . . turned me on.

He snorted. “Yeah, right. And I know geometry.”

“Fine,” I sighed. “Only a little bit.”

He smirked, then looked around. When his eyes went back to me, he said in a teasing manner, “You waited for me?”

I blinked. “Er . . .” I trailed off, not wanting to admit it.

“I'm really flattered that you thought I'd need an escort,” he mocked, putting a hand on his chest. He casually put his arm around my shoulders as he turned us to walk. “Lame ass excuse, but flattered.”

Having him this close, his smell was overwhelming me. He smelled amazing, all husk and male. His warmth, on the other hand, comforted me. It made me feel cozy.

I scoffed. “Get over yourself, Ethan.”

He burst out laughing.

“Never!”

I raised an eyebrow at him. He only grinned back, clearly enjoying himself. He looked so childish that I couldn't help but laugh out loud.

We made it to the parking lot, still amused.

“We're gonna grab a bite at the diner before going to the carnival,” Dakota called out to me across the parking lot. “You guys wanna join us before you go off alone to your date?” she added, keeping herself from laughing.

I caught Aaron and Luke exchange pleased looks, while Sam and Nigel tried to hide their chortles. Even Alyson was beaming.

Looks like I'm not the only one who told on our plans for tonight. Ethan told his friends, which is nice to know because that means he didn't plan on making it a secret between us. Then again, my wearing his jersey today already means that whatever we have isn't a hush-hush kind of thing.

I'm giddy knowing that fact.

“Put a sock in it, Evans,” replied Ethan curtly.

“Ethan Tyler going all shy,” laughed Dakota. “This is hilarious.”

“Nerd.”

“Retard.”

“Said the girl who let a cat ruin her prom dress.”

“Fate wanted me to have a thrilling life.”

“You lived next door to your future husband all your life,” pointed out Ethan. “What's so 'thrilling' about that?”

“And you think your life is any better?” countered Dakota.

“Hell yeah,” said Ethan indignantly. “I met my soul mate in an airport.”

I froze. My eyes widening and my jaw dropping, as I stared up at Ethan. My heartbeat accelerated so hard and fast that I felt like I should be in a hospital right now.

Everyone was quiet. The silence filled us, only the laughter from the all around the parking lot served as the background noise.

“What?” he asked, bemused by our expressions.

Nobody spoke.

When his own words sunk in him, he tensed. I felt it. His right arm was still around me, after all. He didn't remove it, though.

Ethan cleared his throat. “I'm starving,” he groaned, smoothly changing the subject. “Are we gonna eat or what?”

It broke everyone's moment of trance. We proceeded to our respective rides and headed to the diner together, with our vehicles lined up on the road.

It was quiet in Ethan's car. Neither of us spoke. I noticed that he kept glancing at me but always turned away whenever I look at him.

I wasn't quite sure if we should talk about what he let slip up. It would definitely be weird if we talked about it. He didn't look like he intended to say that out loud – ever. My goodness, was that really what he thought of me? I didn't want to think about it because I might admit that I felt the same way.

“I'm not gonna let you eat plants for dinner, just so you know.”

My head turned to him. I wanted to laugh at his choice of words.

Vegetables are healthy,” I told him a-matter-of-factly.

He made a face. “They taste like water.”

“They're good for the body.”

“Don't go for healthy, go for delicious. What's the point of life if you're gonna deprive yourself from the little pleasures of the world?”

I stared at him.

How could he sprout such wise words out of the blue? He kept doing that. All he wanted was to live life and have fun, telling me what he thought was right. He didn't realize that his words had an impact on me. It affected me so much because that was what I wanted to hear – needed to hear.

Because all my life, I craved to do exactly that.

I used to think that I couldn't. I had an image to uphold. However, looking at Ethan . . . Maybe I could finally let go. Maybe it was time I stopped impressing people and caring about what they thought of me.

Then I realized, I already did – the moment I put on Ethan's old jersey.

It was funny how my mind worked that out. All because we were talking about food – vegetables, specifically. Blame Ethan. His words made me think of the bigger picture.

And that's not a bad thing.

_____________

Ethan is... whipped. I never thought I'd see the day.

Mismatched Compatibility (A and D Spin-Off)Read this story for FREE!