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"You Should Name One Bowling Alley, After the Last Place We Made Love"

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“Jesus! Why don’t you just stick a straw directly into the pitcher?”

Katie turns around to see… Tall Guy? Shit, no, that’s not his name. Come on, Katie, you’ve seen him around, you met officially like a month ago, friends with Daniel…

“Mi-” She’s interrupted by an embarrassingly loud belch. She can feel the blush creeping across her face. “Michael,” she says, voice wavering with both surprise and embarrassment.

“Yeah… Are you already drunk?” he chuckles. “This is a work event, Wilburt.”

“It’s Willert, actually.” Katie sits up straighter and adjusts her glasses. “And I’m not drunk. This is ginger ale.”

Michael makes a screwy face. “Ginger ale? What are you, 90?” He walks over and sits next to her, and before she can react, he grabs the now empty glass and takes a big sniff. “Huh. You’re right. This… this is ginger ale. Do they even sell ginger ale here?”

Katie smirks. “I got it from the vending machine.”

 

Michael looks around, pretending to only now notice how far removed they’re sitting from the rest of the group. “You know, the rest of the group is over there, bowling. Because we’re in a bowling alley.”

“I don’t really like bowling. Besides, I moved over here because Daniel and Soren are arguing about Spiderman and Dan kept trying to get me involved. That’s his name, right?” She scans the little crowd across the lanes, searching for where to point.

“Nerdy guy with glasses? Yeah, that’s Dan.”

“I know who Daniel is, he introduced us! I meant Soren.” She finally finds both of them standing next to the little blue seats, Daniel’s face reddening with passion and anger. It’s hard to make out, but it looks like he’s still shouting about Spiderman being both a victim and a hero.

“Oh, the pretty guy? Yeah, you’re right. That’s Soren.” Michael fiddles with the zipper on his jacket. “So if you’re not drunk, maybe we should change that.”

Katie laughs. “Are we just gonna gloss over the fact you think Soren is pretty?”

“Yup!” He stands up, again reminding Katie just how tall he is, and before long he’s walking back from the counter with two pitchers of beer. “Oh, wait, I almost forgot.” He pulls two paper-covered straws from his back pocket, and Katie can’t help but laugh again.

 

What the hell, right? It’s better than getting roped into yet another conversation with Jack in which he calls her Candace.

She takes her pitcher and her straw, carefully places the beer in her lap, and unwraps her straw. By the time she goes to take her first sip, Michael is almost halfway through his beer. For some reason, he put the straw into the pitcher, but he’s drinking from the side, practically pouring it down his gullet.

He looks up upon noticing her stare. “Come on, Katie, you’re never gonna win if you move that slowly.” He goes right back to chugging his beer.

Never one to shy away from a challenge and eager to prove her mettle at this new job, Katie starts drinking, and drinking, and drinking, and soon they’re on their second round and she’s giggling.

 

Michael, upon finishing his second pitcher, burps loudly and winks. “Beat you.”

“Shuddup,” Katie laughs, tipsy and warm. She pulls her hoodie off, revealing a tank top that almost covers her bra straps.

He nods approvingly. “Nice.”

She shoots him a look. “Oh would you…” she trails off, swatting at his shoulder.

 

The music is suddenly very present, Katie notices. She looks over to where the rest of the Cracked group is and realizes why. They’re no longer there. She sort of shrugs to herself, figuring nobody probably saw her off in the corner with Michael.

Tall Michael. Michael who, she must not have noticed until now, is actually kind of cute. Funny Michael. Michael who smells kind of good.

 

Soon her hand is on his knee, and they’re still laughing, and, “Oh hey, I know this song,” and, “I love this song!” and, “Me too!” and when did we start walking towards the bathrooms?

When did he get so close?

When did he learn how to kiss this well?

 

He’s got her pinned up against the wall with a hand down her pants, and Katie is dizzy, trying to figure out how he’s able to hold her up like this while still remembering to kiss back.

Neither of them could tell you what time it is or even how long they’ve been in there, but after kissing for what feels like both not long enough and forever, they’re frantically trying to undo each other’s pants, ending with Katie kicking her jeans and her panties over by the door, and Michael leaving his sliding down his calves to his ankles.

 

(When she looks back on this moment months and years from now, through her annoyance, Katie shakes her head and rolls her eyes. Of course he didn’t take off his shoes. Drunk Michael isn’t coordinated enough to have sex and undress like an adult at the same time.)

 

It’s not long, and it’s not pretty (Katie would know- she caught a blurry, moving glimpse in the mirror), but Michael is surprisingly… good? Is this good? It’s not bad, and the job certainly gets done, but it’s messy and awkward and Katie is completely out of breath by the end- more from trying to balance herself than the sex itself.

 

When they’re finished, Michael keeps kissing her, sloppy, wet, haphazard kisses with far too much tongue. He moves down to her neck again, where there are no doubt at least a couple of marks.

Katie finds her breath. “What are you doing?” she half-whispers.

“Kissing you, obviously,” he practically scoffs.

She frowns, not that he can see her. “No, I meant still?”

“Hey, just because the gun fired once doesn’t mean it can’t be reloaded…” He moves another hand up her shirt and pushes up against her with his hips.

Huh. Apparently Michael is… She can’t tell if he’s a generous lover or just drunk and horny. Either way, she can feel something warm running down her leg, and with it comes a realization she’ll have to stop at the drugstore on the way home. Shit.

“I, uh, I have to clean myself up. What time is it?” She finds her phone on the edge of the sink, thankful it’s there and not on the floor or in the toilet. “Shit! Michael, it’s almost midnight!”

“Yeah, you’re right, we should probably get back to my place so they can close up,” he says, hiking his pants back up and adjusting himself. “Don’t worry, I’ll call a cab or something.”

Katie doesn’t answer, instead trying to discreetly clean herself up. She’s lucky she’s still pretty drunk, or she’d be much more embarrassed. Once she’s all dressed, she gives herself a once-over in the mirror. Her hair is a little mussed and her lipstick is completely gone, but all in all, not too much worse for the wear.

 

They’re walking to the door when she remembers. “Wait, your place? Michael, I…” Katie is now acutely aware of her surroundings. It’s dark, and in the dim glow of the bowling alley sign, Michael’s face is cast in shadow. She looks at him for another second. He looks like a hopeful little puppy.

Why not, I mean… Hey, free ride.

 

They make it to Michael’s apartment and he’s immediately back on her, pawing and kissing somehow even sloppier than before.

“Hold on, hold on, let me actually get naked first,” Katie finds herself saying.

 

There’s about five or six minutes of passionate (and very, very messy) kissing, but that soon winds down to slower, sleepier kisses, which then becomes Michael snoring in Katie’s ear.

She falls asleep clinging to him for warmth.

 

Katie wakes up very early, and after ten seconds of hungover, confused blinking, she realizes where she is and why.

Michael is still snoring, hugging his pillow. It’s almost cute, but not cute enough to justify staying, she decides.

She hurries to get her clothes together quietly. She dresses herself and makes sure to grab her purse and her phone, and after one last look at Michael that leaves her stomach in knots, she slips out the door.

 

Luckily, she doesn’t forget to make the stop at the drugstore.

 

The rest of the day is spent in the shower and then in bed, trying desperately to replace all the water the alcohol stole from her body the night before.

After a nap, she pulls out her laptop and reflexively opens Facebook.

10 messages.

All from Michael.

Shit.

 

Katie tries. She really, really tries, but it’s apparent this won’t work within five minutes of their first date. Michael is funny, that’s undeniable, and the work she’s read and watched of his from Cracked is terrific. He’s just too… Crazy isn’t the word. Immature doesn’t quite cover it. He’s childish, he’s scatterbrained, his boundaries are questionable at best, he’s messy… He’s nearly the opposite of everything Katie tries so hard to be.

Blessedly, the feeling is mutual.

“You’re just too uptight,” Michael says flippantly, to which Katie scoffs, swatting at him.

They decide they can be coworkers and friends (though Katie does wince when he uses that word for the first six months), and Katie makes a point to never bring up her little mistake ever again.

Michael, on the other hand… Michael loves to talk about it.

But then, isn’t that just who he is?