Rylie closed the door gently behind, and stood in front of her dad. She clasped her hands together behind her back, and bit down on her lip, fearful of what was wrong. She didn't do anything. Why did he look so mad? All she was doing was talking with Luke, and then he asked her on a date...the realization hit her hard. The words Paul spoke about no more boyfriends played in her head.
"What's wrong?" she asked, even though she knew the answer.
Paul glared at her for a moment before his face softened. He huffed, and rested his hands on her shoulders. "Listen..." he paused. "I know you're trying to get over Liam, but throwing yourself at the singer of their opening act isn't smart."
Rylie was taken aback. How dare he say that to her? Was it not obvious she had moved on?
"Excuse me?" she hissed, feeling her cheeks grow red with rage. He was her father, but he had no right to make such awful assumptions. "I'm over Liam, first of all, and second, I haven't 'thrown' myself at anybody. Luke's sweet, and he asked me out, and I'm going."
Paul's expression went from surprised to furious in no time. He let out a sinister chuckle as he shook his head. "Not while I'm alive."
"That can be changed..."
"Rylie Ann Higgins!" Paul shouted, and Rylie knew when he used her full name, he was serious. "This will end badly for you."
"Dad! Why can't you be happy for me? I'm 18 so I guess you can't tell me what to do anymore. I'm a legal adult. I make my own decisions." Rylie crossed her arms, and blew a strand of hair out of her view. He was being unfair. She could date whoever she wanted, and he was in no place to give relationship advice, judging his divorce with her mom. Maybe she should have been acting a little more like an adult, but it was one date. One date that would most likely turn into nothing.
"I don't care if you were 50, and I had one foot in the grave!"
"You know what, Dad? One day, I won't be around and you'll be old and alone, so start appreciating me sticking around, or you'll regret everything." Rylie was upset with herself that she said something so cruel, but it was true. They rarely fought, but when they did, it sucked.
Paul rubbed his temple out of stress, and took a stern look at her. "I guess I can't stop you, but know I'm disappointed."
Well done pulling the disappointed card.
Rylie turned her back, and before she went back into the building, she stuck a high middle finger in the air.
The little room in the cramped bathroom on the bus offered no help in Rylie's quest to get ready. All she really did was run a comb through her wavy hair, and apply a coat of lip gloss. She was mostly stalling. She didn't want to disobey her father, but she really liked Luke...
He was just being an overprotective dad, still trying to keep boys out of her life, but it's not like she hadn't experienced everything there was to experience with Liam. He was fine with that, but why not Luke? He just needed to get to know him better. Rylie felt things with Luke she hadn't felt with Liam. It wasn't a crime to have a crush.
"Are you ready?" Luke asked, knocking on the door.
Rylie took a last glance at herself before sliding the small door open. She gave Luke a bright smile.
"You look...wow..." Luke traced over her before seductively biting his lip ring. Rylie melted, amazed she was the cause of the slight bulge protruding from his skinny jeans. She stifled a laugh, and didn't understand why he looked at her that way. She was in the same ragged clothes she had been in only hours before.
"Is that a good thing?" Rylie asked nervously.
"Uhh, yea! I'm incredibly turned on right now, I need to look away." Luke turned around, and covered his eyes with his hands, and Rylie shoved him playfully as she let out a laugh.
She turned to the few boys on the couch, and waved at them. "Um...see you later..." she said awkwardly as they watched the two move closer together. They really weren't supposed to be going on a date what with management and all obsessed with time and stuff, but you could say they were slight rebels.
Liam shot her a playful wink, but it had a hidden mock behind it. "Bye...have fun.."
Rylie snorted in aggravation. Only she had caught the mocking tone he had, and she was fed up. No one understood why she took such offense."Shut up Liam. Doesn't this look familiar to you?" Rylie raised her brows, and grabbed Luke's hand, intertwining their fingers.
Liam rolled his eyes, and looked back down on his phone, and Rylie allowed a small smile to creep onto her face.
She felt Luke's large hand yank her towards the bus door, and they stepped out onto a setting sun, causing colors to mingle together in the dim sky. They had to walk to wherever they were going because they weren't allowed to take a car, so hopefully, it wasn't far away.
They stepped in unison for a long while, neither one speaking in fear of what the other might say. Rylie could tell something had suddenly started to bother Luke, but she was afraid to ask, knowing it was because of her.
"What was that about back there?" Luke said, a raw tension in his tone as he broke the silence.
Rylie knew her little stunt hadn't gone unnoticed. "That...was nothing." she shrugged.
"Well I already know you and Liam had a thing. Everyone did."
"Then what's the problem?" Rylie asked, obviously.
"I asked you out because I knew you and Liam were over and done with. Why are you still trying to make him jealous? Is that the only reason you said yes? To make a point?" Luke looked at Rylie like a hungry, rabid dog, and Rylie was his prey.
Rylie hunched her shoulders, a little afraid. "No...I'm long over Liam! It's just... He just...has...will always have a piece of my heart that I will never get back, and I hate him for it...I just want to start over, and by me grabbing your hand, I...I wanted it to get to him...I'm sorry." She hadn't really thought about it, but that was the perfect way to explain her and Liam's complicated relationship. He was her first love. Of course he would always have a hold on her.
Luke's face softened. "I'm sorry too. I looked too far into it. I guess you could say I'm being a potential jealous boyfriend..." Luke nudged her slightly as he smirked.
"Shut up." Rylie smiled. "So where are you taking me?"
"We're gonna grab some burgers, then go see a movie. Sound good?"
"Oh thank goodness. I thought you would go all out and book like a fancy restaurant or something! Yuk. Liam always did that!"
"Ok, let's not make a bunch of Liam references, okay?" Luke said.
The rest of the walk was small talk, and an occasionally chill, signaling winter was coming. As soon as Luke stopped, Rylie looked up to a small, rustic diner, no bigger than the bus. It was old, and dirty, but had a charm to it. It looked humble, and Rylie appreciated the humble things. The painted letters on the sign were faded and chipped, and the windows were slick with dirt, but Rylie honestly didn't care. She appreciated the place Luke decided for a first date.
He acted as a gentleman to open the door, and she stepped inside to see teal booths ripping at the seams, and a few ladies talking in the corner. Only a few people resided at the tables. There was an old couple, some truck drivers, and a red head.
The smell of pumpkin pie hit her nose, and she smiled with satisfaction. She picked a booth slightly close to the door, and Luke slid in on the opposite side of her. He picked up menu to the side, and she did the same.
"What do you want?" he asked as his eyes scanned over the coffee stained pages.
"Just a burger...and a milkshake...." Rylie smiled, and glanced at Luke. He smiled back, and nodded his head in agreement. He was so cute.
A short waitress dressed in a black shirt, and a small apron wrapped around her waist walked over to them, and held a pen and paper in her hand. Her chestnut locks dangled from her ponytail, and her blue eyes looked at them with genuine kindness. "What would you like?" she asked.
Luke repeated what they had decided, and Rylie caught the smirk the waitress gave him as she walked away. She wasn't surprised. She was on a date with the hottest guy on Earth, so he must have gotten used to the attention, but she felt a sting on jealousy deep in her gut.
"You must get all the girls, huh?" she questioned.
Luke met her eyes, and stifled a laugh at her slight jealousy. "No...actually, I'm a total geek."
Rylie shook her head. "I highly doubt that."
"It's true. I'm wearing ninja turtle boxers right now." he blushed at his confession, and Rylie tried to hold in her chuckle, but she couldn't. He got cuter by the second.
"Oh, c'mon, you must have had 50 girlfriends back in Australia."
"More like one."
Rylie shut her mouth and drew her lips in a straight line at the statement. She was astonished. There was no way. Luke could get any girl he wanted. How could he only dated one girl his life? She had no words to say, so she sat back in her seat, and shot a small smile his way.
"What about you? Besides Liam..." Luke asked, trying to draw the attention off him as he fiddled with the napkin dispenser.
"Um...one, but I hardly considered him a boyfriend. He was my rebel guy...we made out a few times, and smoked together, but that's it..." she shuttered at her rebel phase a few years ago, right after her breakup. It was a bad time for her, and she hardly brought it up, so Luke was lucky to even get that simple sentence.
Luke nodded in understanding, and looked up to thank the girl as she sat the food down in front of them. Rylie thanked her too, and felt her tongue wet as she looked down at the burger with cheese dripping off the sides. She hadn't had a proper burger in a long time, and her stomach was screaming for taste. She picked the burger up, and held it up to her mouth as she took a decent size bite. Her taste buds exploded with delight, and she laughed, knowing Luke saw the cheese at the corners of her mouth. She dabbed it off with a napkin, and watched Luke take a bite. She laughed at his awkward face, and earned an eye roll and smile from Luke.
They chuckled as they ate, and they didn't know why. Maybe it was just the presence of each other, but it was nice. It was nice to enjoy each other's company. Every time Rylie's met Luke's eyes, her heart leaped, and she feared of her strange feelings. She knew she liked him, but liking him and being with him were two different things. Did she really want to risk him? What if he broke her heart just like Liam? If it didn't end well, would it be worth it? She tried to push the haunting thoughts out of her mind so she could enjoy a simple burger with the guy she liked. Every time she met his eyes, she considered him worth it.
She took a last sip of her milkshake, hearing a slurping noise through her straw and it distracted the girl as she handed Luke the check.
Luke reached for his wallet, but Rylie grabbed his wrist, and shook her head. "We are splitting it." she announced, attempting to reach in her purse for some loose dollars.
"But then you'll blow my chances of being a gentleman..." Luke whined, and pouted his lips, earning another heart leap for Rylie.
"You'll have plenty of other chances."
Luke smirked, and bit down on his lip ring. That was so sexy. "So that means?" he raised his eyebrows, and Rylie smiled at his cheekiness.
"Nothing yet..." she winked, feeling unusual in trying to be flirty.
Luke sighed, surrendering their little game. "Fine..." he placed some money on top of Rylie's and moved in sync with her as they slid out from the booths. She stepped in front of him to head towards the door, but she soon felt a warm hand placed on the small of her back, and she shook at the sudden contact. Just a simple touch exchanged by Luke sent sparks flying through her body.
Luke pushed the door open, and she stepped out into the cold, but turned to see Luke widen his eyes in fright at the approaching body. Rylie strained her eyes to see in the dark light, but she made out red hair.
"Is it really Luke Hemmings?" she smiled as she stepped closer to Luke, and he cowered.
Luke left pleading eyes sent Rylie's way, and she had no idea what to do.
"Um...hey Thea." he scolded, and tried to move closer to the door but she placed a hand on his shoulder to render him.
Why, I never thought I'd see you again!" She smiled with bright teeth. Rylie fiddled with her thumbs at the gorgeous girl. Her auburn hair flowed with potent color, and her brown eyes were big and luminous against her pale skin. The dimples as she smiled made her look a lot nicer than she seemed, and judging by her strong Australian accent, her and Luke went way back. Uh-oh.
"What are you doing in America?" Luke asked nervously. He bit down on his lip as he scratched the back of his neck in an awkward anxiousness.
"I told you I was going to college here before we-"
"Oh yea..." Luke interrupted her sentence, and glanced at Rylie to make sure she hadn't caught on. Rylie was bewildered, and had no idea what to do in the situation. Was that the one girlfriend? Why did he cower in fright? She looked mean, so she could only imagine what Thea must have done to Luke to make him so afraid of her.
Thea trailed down Luke's body, making it way too obvious, and let out a sigh. "What a coincidence we are in this dirty diner at the same time..." she let out a sinister chuckle, and Rylie almost scoffed in annoyance. She pulled on Luke's arm, but he was frozen in place. Thea seemed satisfied with the way she made him stunned, and just now turned to meet Rylie's eyes.
"Oh, who's this?"
It took Luke a moment to comprehend her statement as he gathered his thoughts. "My date..." He wrapped his hand around Rylie's and she held in her breath at the contact.
"Nice to meet you..." Rylie lied as she held out her other hand to be shaken. Truth was, she already disliked the girl, but she was a nice person, and good first impressions were key.
"Wow, Luke, you moved on fast." Thea exclaimed, and she grazed Rylie's hand with her hot pink fingernail. "I honestly thought you would never get over me..." she laughed with a mocking tone, but no one found it funny. Rylie only gripped Luke's hand harder, knowing how much the girl got under his skin.
"Well, Thea, we have to get going." Luke pushed Rylie's back gently, nudging her farther out the door and allowing the door to close before Thea could say another word.
Without letting Rylie's hand go, he pulled her up the road, occasionally glancing behind him to make sure the diner grew farther and farther out of focus. "I don't want to go to the movie anymore...." he announced, travelling the same way they had come.
"That's fine..." was all Rylie said because it was obvious she didn't have a say in the matter. Didn't matter because she wanted to figure out what was wrong with him. He dragged her behind him, and her short legs could barely keep up with his speed as he took two steps at a time, slicing the air with his body.
Rylie wanted to say something, but she was scared. What a first date...
"I guess we all have someone troubling from our past." Luke finally broke the silence.
"Could you explain?"