I'm so into you, I can barely breathe
And all I wanna do is to fall in deep
But close ain't close enough 'til we cross the line
So name a game to play, and I'll roll the dice
It was that stupid way he always wore his stupid hat backwards on his stupidly attractive head.
Only replace stupid with highly distracting and that would more accurately describe how Ginny felt.
It was a case of Ginny versus the backwards cap. It was weakening her resolve to keep a physical distance from Mike ever since the fiasco that was the night before her injury last season. Because she wanted to touch him. Constantly. His arms, his face, his wide back. But it was only when he wore his hat That Way that her brain seemed to short circuit. It was when Ginny wasn’t able to pretend that she wasn’t attracted to Mike Lawson with an intensity that she had never experienced before, an intensity that still left her breathless.
Ignorance was bliss but ignorance was thrown out the window that night outside Broadner’s.
Its not that she hadn’t noticed that Mike stopped pretending he didn’t have similar feelings toward her. He had come back from their break sans Rachel and with a bit more confidence of his future without baseball. Or that she didn’t notice that he had stopped looking away when she caught him staring at her, their eyes meeting and holding a little too long for comfort.
They were a ticking bomb and she knew it. She also knew that the ball was in her court (wrong sports metaphor notwithstanding). Ginny had pushed aside so many wants when she was growing up in favor of the end goal that was baseball and now that she was here she still didn't know if sacrifices to that extent had been necessary but maybe she could take this one thing she wanted, just this once. Because oh how she wanted.
He was sitting in his chair in front of his cubby having an animated phone call with what sounded like his manager. Post-baseball career moves on their minds. It looked like they were discussing something that actually might lead somewhere because by the time all the guys had showered and left, and by the time she had showered and changed and come out of her little room, Mike was still in the same spot. He was only now hanging up.
He was still in his dusty uniform, with his sweaty hair curling under his hat, which should have made her think he looked disguising but her brain couldn’t get past that hat again. She wanted to smack it off of his attractive face with is pretty eyes and pink lips. She also tried not to stare at how the rucked up sleeves of his under-armor shirt revealed his thick forearms. Ginny needed to bite the bullet and walk past him to get out of the clubhouse but her resolve was crumbling by just looking at him.
His head was down and he was leaning his elbows on his thighs, thighs that she did not need to focus on even if they looked wide and muscular in those white pants that clung and revealed a little too much. Ginny caught herself before she started thinking about how they’d reveal even more if he wasn’t wearing the long shorts she knew lay under those pants.
UGH, she needed to stop.
He leaned back slouching a bit in his chair, spreading limbs wide and leaning his head back until it rested on the back of the chair and all she could see from her view was his neck and beard covered chin. All that man displayed in a seemingly unconscious matter isn’t what made her move towards him when not 2 minutes ago she was decided to walk straight past, keeping it safe for just one more day.
What made her move towards him so that he lifted his face as he noticed her was the exhaustion she felt in him. Beyond the desire she knew, or at least hoped, they shared, he was her friend. A friend that she wanted to help in the same small but essential ways that Mike had extended to her. Those small gestures and gruff words that had helped her stay sane during her time with the Padres.
“Hey, you’re still in your uniform. Old age making you slow, Lawson?” Ginny kept her voice as casual as she could manage while he looked at her straight on, swiveling so that his body was pointed right at her. If she took just a couple more steps toward him, she’d be standing right inside the vee of his thighs. This was definitely a low self-control day for Ginny.
“Ha ha, Baker. Thought everyone would be gone by now.” He lifted his arms over his head in a big stretch, tightening his undershirt over his chest and bulging his biceps as he bent his arms back and up several times before bringing his arms down again.
Ginny abruptly stood up straight and felt her mouth open before her brain could catch up.
“You know how you’re always going on about keeping things from distracting me?” Her hands tightened where they were wrapped around her backpack straps and her voice rose in pitch. Mike’s eyebrows lifted at the volume of her voice, but not seeming overly alarmed that she seemed to be gearing up for a rant. Ginny, on the other hand, was alarmed. She’d walked over to him to serve as a distraction to the stress his phone-call had caused him. Not to do this, whatever this was.
Ginny had started this and felt herself unable to stop.
“Well, you’re becoming one Lawson! So you could maybe try to work on that.” Her leg had begun to shake in impatience at herself as a small smile started to lift his cheeks, not seeming to mind one bit that she had started a tirade for no apparent reason.
“And you need to start with that hat! You need to stop doing,” Ginny gestured vaguely in his direction, “that because its distracting me and isn’t it ironic that you are the thing that’s distracting me?" Still not out of steam she continued.
"But you knew that already because I’ve been distracted since last fall even though I’ve been trying so hard to ignore it and I need to shut up so I’m leaving.” She half turned and started to do just that. ”Do whatever you want with that stupid hat see if I care.” Ginny heard him move behind her but before she could even think of speeding up or straight up start running away, Mike spoke.
Ginny thought for two second of ignoring him. She’d definitely said too much but maybe he would ignore it. Ignore her outburst like they’ve ignored the fact that they almost kissed (and more) last year. Or he would push them into the collision neither of them wanted to avoid any longer. It seemed the reckoning had come and it was all her fault, so taking a deep breath, she turned around to face him.
“Its ok to talk about now?” His voice only loud enough to reach where she stood.
By “it” Ginny assumed he meant the fact that they apparently wanted to jump each other’s bones.
His voice was soft and open, as were his eyes, like he would accept any answer she gave him. It was because of that fondness that she saw in his eyes, even when they were at their most distant last year, that she knew they would be okay with time. Its why she knew they would be ok now.
She sensed he would wait for her if that was what she wanted. But that’s not what she wanted. She had waited and put off so much a girl her age should have been free to do and she didn’t want to wait for one more thing. Especially this one thing she wanted this much.
With another deep breath she answered him.
“Yes its ok to talk about now.” A calm had settled over her. She’d questioned several times during the mending of their relationship, if it was all just in her head. If the heat of that night had been an anomaly on his part, but now looking into his eyes she knew that what made her heart so big with emotion was matched within him too.
With that, Mike stood from the chair and took several steps towards her.
“Okay, then I have something to ask you.”
Ginny tried not to smile at his excited face and the way he seemed to not know what to do with his hands.
“So, would you like to…go out with me?” It was the last thing she had expected but also exactly the right thing, it was a beginning.
Ginny gave up trying to fight her smile and let it spread across her face.
“Like out in public?” Her smile dimmed a little and he sensed what was wrong.
“Out yes, but there’s ways to be private. Just you and me and dinner. If you want.” The last bit was said like he was afraid she actually didn’t want to go on a date with him. She was feeling too bubbly on the inside to pretend otherwise long enough to tease him.
“Okay. Alright, yes, I want to go on a date with you.”
They needed to stop saying okay.
With one last smile, she turned around and sped away before she pushed him back into the chair and jumped on his lap right then and there.
Oh baby, look what you started
The temperature's rising in here
Is this gonna happen?
Been waiting and waiting for you to make a move
Before I make a move