© Copyright 2004
Courtney O'Keefe. Just hearing her name is enough to get my heart singing. My lips turn up in a smile, and a warm feeling spreads through my entire body. It still doesn't quite make sense to me. Courtney, the girl of every man's dreams... on my arm. How could I be so lucky?
To this day, I'll never understand what she saw in me. I think maybe it was the fact that I didn't immediately start fawning over her, bending over backwards to her every whim, just on the off chance I might get a shot at her. I wasn't like that.
Not that I didn't want to be, mind you.
Courtney moved to Minnesota from somewhere out east, during the summer before our senior year of high school. She was immediately the "hot chick" of the school, and the object of every guy's attentions.
You have no idea how hard it was to sit back and watch all the other guys practically line up in a row, just for the opportunity to get shot down. I would have been right there along with them... I wanted to be, in fact. You would have found me in the very back of the row, but I would have been there, but I'm just too damn shy.
Every day, I'd see her in my physics class. I kept hoping to hear Mr. Humphries ask me if I wanted to partner up with Courtney.
"Dennis," he said in the imaginary conversation I played over and over in my head. "How would you and Miss O'Keefe like to partner up on our lab." In my fantasy we were discussing magnetism, and how polar opposites attract. It couldn't have been more perfect.
"Of course, if that's what she wants," I answered. Even in my own daydream I was practically unable to look her in the eye, just like reality. Courtney had a wild, Irish goddess look about her, as if she was some kind of Celtic warrior princess, and I was completely and utterly intimidated by her presence.
In my dream though, nervous as I may have been, I was finally able to turn and give her what I hoped was a gallant grin. My heart felt ready to burst, because in my fantasy Courtney never failed to return my smile before she turned back to Mr. Humphries.
"I'd like that very much," she always answered in her soft melodious voice.
But alas, daydreams and fantasies rarely come true for me. My walls aren't filled with scantily-clad women or sports stars, because I know I have no shot at dating a supermodel or playing in the big leagues.
What decorates my walls? Pictures of my parents, my sister, photos of the library of the college I've already been accepted to. Those sort of things. People who love me, who care for me, things already in my grasp. I can happily engage in my fantasy life, but would never dream to put it out in front of me as some sort of goal.
Put another way, it's fun to think about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but completely silly to go looking for it. There's no use pining for something that can't exist, and that's how I felt about Courtney. She was there, but was certainly too good to be true, at least in my world.
"Dennis?" I had been biding my time in study hall, my homework finished, just staring out the window as the leaves turned red and orange and prepared to float to the ground, a constant reminder of the coming of winter. It was the fall of my senior year and I was ready to graduate. Only seven more months and I was out of here. I started at the sound of my name and turned to see who wanted me, and my mouth immediately dried, my throat suddenly raspy.
"Yes?" I managed to gasp. That one syllable was almost more than I could string together, as my entire field of vision was filled with the sight of Courtney O'Keefe, only this wasn't some far-fetched daydream. This was real.
"Dennis Miller?" she asked, smiling slightly as the realization hit her. Yes, that's my real name, and no I'm not nearly as funny as he is.
"Yes," I nodded, rolling my eyes as she laughed. I took the opportunity to glance around to see if anyone had noticed this... this goddess standing at my table. Talking to me... me!
"Mr. Armstrong gave me your name, said you might be able to help me?" I saw she was holding a slip of paper, and recognized it as a referral to one of the student tutors. I reached out and took it from her and quickly looked it over.
I was never so happy for computer glitches. It had been two semesters since I'd been an active tutor for Mr. Armstrong's calculus class, but I still occasionally received tutoring assignments like this. Normally I would apologize and send the student back to the office for a new tutor. I was no longer being paid by the school, so why bother, right? Not this time, there was no way I would turn this assignment back.
"Sure," I said as casually as I could, handing the paper back to her. "Glad to help."
"Great," she said, beaming a million-watt smile at me. I swear her teeth sparkled brighter than in the toothpaste commercials. She even had little dimples in her cheeks when she grinned, and my heart started beating faster.
"When... when would you like to start?" I asked, frantically making mental notes to cancel any and all plans I might have had. Nothing was more important than this. Nothing.
Courtney fidgeted in place, biting on her lower lip as she thought about when we could study.
"How about Thursday?" she finally suggested.
"Sounds fine," I said without thought. She smiled at me, although I'm not sure if it was because I sounded so eager or if she was simply glad I could help.
"Perfect," she said. "Oh... where do we meet?" she asked. My place or yours, I almost blurted out, but thankfully didn't.
"How about the library?" I asked, startled when she frowned.
"Oh, I don't have any study halls," she answered. "I just got a pass out of gym so I could come find you. We'll have to study before or after school."
"In that case, why don't we work at your place," I said, sounding much calmer than I felt. "Do you have somewhere quiet we can study?" I asked.
"My room?" she asked, and I shook my head. "Oh... Isn't that okay?"
"Too comfortable. Too many distractions. A kitchen table is often best for serious studying. It's not as fun," I said, my heart leaping in my chest as Courtney smiled at me, "but it's more effective."
"I guess that's cool then," she said. "We'll have the place to ourselves, since my mom works late on Thursday nights, so we won't be bothered."
"Great," I said. "It's a date." I blushed when I realized what I had said, but Courtney just smiled and stuck out her hand.
"It's a date," she agreed. My palms were sweaty, and I hurriedly wiped them on my pants before reaching out to seal the deal. Her hands were delicate and smooth, and I had a hard time letting go. I finally did though, and Courtney gave a little wave as she left the study hall.
I looked around, hoping someone had seen me talking to Courtney, but no one seemed to notice.
Some kind of bizarre warping of time and space always seems to take effect when it's least wanted. Why is it, for instance, that when I'm racing to get to the bank before it closes, time speeds up and I get there a few minutes too late? How can the road get longer when I'm pulling up to a yellow light, forcing me to stop and sit through a red light, then get shorter when I'm trying to stop suddenly on a patch of black ice?
Why was it that time stood still between our first meeting and Thursday? It was only two days, but if I'd put my mind to it, I'm sure I could have written a novel, time seemed to move so slowly.
I found myself glancing at the clock so often that even my mother noticed.
"Everything okay Dennis?" she asked. I looked at the clock for the fiftieth time since I'd gotten home from school, and saw it was ten minutes after five o'clock.
"Yeah," I said. "I'm just... I have a tutoring assignment and I don't want to be late."
"Oh, well that's... wait a minute, I thought you stopped tutoring."
"Um... I still help some students. When I can... if I'm not busy. I like to help out."
"That's nice. Who are you tutoring?"
"Some girl. Courtney."
"Do I know her?"
I scanned my memory, trying to remember if my mom would have ever seen Courtney. If she had she'd certainly know who I was talking about. And probably why I was so nervous.
"I don't think so," I finally said. "She's new this year."
"Oh. Is she nice?"
I almost laughed. What an understatement! As if the most beautiful, most stunning, absolutely perfect example of the female species could be called... nice. What an insult!
"Yeah. I guess so. She's pretty nice," I heard myself answer. Way to play it cool, right?
"When do you have to be there?" my mom asked, and I found myself checking the clock for the fifty-first time in two hours, and groaned when I saw only two minutes had passed, which sadly was about the average.
"Seven o'clock," I mumbled, and went to my room to check myself in the mirror. Again.
I knew I had no real reason to be nervous as I knocked on the O'Keefe's front door. This was just a study date to Courtney, and meant nothing more to her than that. From her point of view I was a tool to a better grade. Nothing more, nothing less.
Obviously I was blowing this way out of proportion, and I realized there was a better than average chance of me embarrassing myself simply because I was so nervous. I took a deep breath to calm myself, but ended up choking as the door opened right as I started to exhale.
I stood there coughing and sputtering on the front step as Courtney looked at me in amusement and concern.
"You okay?" she asked as I slowly got my breath back.
"Yeah," I gasped, taking a deep lung full of air. "Sorry... something went down the wrong pipe or something," I said lamely. "Do you want me to come in?"
"Did you bring a cell phone?" she asked. I was confused... was this a trick question?
"No... no cell phone. Why?"
"Then I think it would probably make it easier for us to study if you did come in," she laughed, stepping back and allowing me to enter. I wanted to crawl in a hole I was so red-faced, but a quick glance around her living room revealed no holes, so I had to be content to follow Courtney into the kitchen.
"Want some water?" she asked, but I shook my head. I was over my coughing spell, although I was still a little chagrined to have been hacking up a lung when she first opened the door. So much for a good first impression.
"Let's start then," she said, sitting down. I stood for a moment, trying to memorize everything about her. Courtney had changed out of her school clothes and was wearing an old pair of grey sweatpants and a navy blue Michigan Wolverine t-shirt. Her dark brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and she was obviously ready to get started.
I shook my head to clear the cobwebs, mentally chastising myself for ogling her in her own home. I had to keep this professional, or I'd make a fool out of myself, I knew. I grabbed a couple pencils out of my bag, before quickly sitting down in the chair opposite Courtney at the kitchen table.
"Well," I said, clearing my throat. I had brought some basic worksheets with me, in order to better get a grasp of where Courtney's troubles originated. "Why don't you look this over," I suggested, handing her the piece of paper. "Let me know what you can do and what confuses you, and we'll go from there."
Courtney grabbed a pencil and began going over the worksheet, occasionally using her calculator to help with a difficult problem. I had nothing to do while she worked, so I tried to watch out of the corner of my eye, not wanting to get caught staring at her.
I must have been more obvious than I thought, for suddenly Courtney looked up from her work and our eyes met for a moment, before I quickly looked away.
"Yes?" she asked. "Did you need anything?"
"Oh... um... just... if you have any questions, feel free to ask. This isn't a test," I said, hoping I didn't sound as lame to her ears as I did to my own.
"Okay," she said, returning to the problems.
I made a point to look everywhere but at her for the next few moments, but found my gaze returning time and again, drawn to Courtney like a fly to a flame. Every tiny movement she made, every flick of her hair, every time she brought the pencil to her mouth, every crease in her forehead as she frowned in concentration... each was just another reason I was in love.
Of course it wasn't love, not at that point. Just a serious infatuation, and I knew it. I was at the stage where every little thing Courtney did was endearing to me. There was nothing she could do at that point that wouldn't have made my heart flutter. For the moment it was enough to just be in the same room with her.
"Done," she said, and I whipped my head back in Courtney's direction from where I'd been staring at the kitchen clock. "I think I missed a few," she said. "But most of the questions were fine, I guess." She frowned, clearly disturbed by her previous lack of success.
"Okay, well, let me look it over and we'll go from there," I said. For the next few minutes I was busy correcting her work, although I would occasionally look up and find her looking at me. Just bored, I told myself, she's wishing I'd hurry up and finish looking over her paper, and I would hurriedly look back to the worksheet.
Finally I finished, and found what I thought was the underlying problem to her difficulties.
"Should you really be in calculus?" I asked. "It looks like... well, it looks as if there's a whole lot of algebra and geometry that you don't understand."
Courtney sighed and bit her nail angrily before answering. "It's my mom," she said. "She thinks I need to take calculus in order to get into college. I told her it was useless, but she insisted."
"Did you understand your other math classes?" I asked.
"Some of it," she said, shrugging her shoulders. "I've really tried this semester, but it seems like the more I study the more confused I get. Is it hopeless?" she asked, her eyes boring into mine, and I suddenly wondered if she hoped it was a lost cause.
"You're not getting out of it that easy," I chided. "We can work on this, and I think you can get it. It'll mean a lot of work, and it's going to be like cleaning a room and how it gets messy before it gets clean. You'll be more behind than you are now before you start to catch up, but you will catch up. Are you up to it?"
Courtney fidgeted in her seat for a minute, before nodding. She had a curious look in her eye as she watched me, and I wondered if I'd said something wrong, but quickly put it out of my mind as we went to work.
Our study sessions continued for the next few weeks, right up until Christmas break. As it turned out, Courtney was more than willing to put in the work and it appeared she had both the mind and the energy to make it happen.
I was sitting in my bedroom one afternoon during Christmas break when my sister knocked on my door.
"Yeah?" I called out, and she opened the door a crack.
"Phone call," she said. "Some girl named Courtney. Who's Courtney? Is she your girlfriend?" she asked, grinning. I love little sisters, and Trisha is a great little sister, but she can be kind of a brat sometimes.
"She's not my girlfriend," I said. "I don't have a girlfriend, thanks so much for bringing it up. Now get out."
Trisha stuck her tongue out at me but left, shutting the door behind her. I took a couple deep breaths, wondering what reason Courtney could possibly have for calling me at home over Christmas break. I picked up the receiver carefully, trying not to let my nervousness show in my voice.
"Hello?" I said.
"Dennis?" she asked, sounding nervous herself, and I wondered what gauntlet my sister had put her through before announcing her call to me.
"Yeah. This is Courtney?"
"We did it!"
"Did what?" What was she talking about?
"Did you get your grades back yet? I got mine in the mail today, and I got a "B" in calculus! I was failing before and I got a "B!"
"Congratulations," I said. "You earned it, you know. You put in a lot of work."
"But I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you so much."
"No problem," I said.
"We need to celebrate," Courtney said, and I nearly choked.
"Yep. We're going to paint the town red. Or something. Do you have plans over the rest of break?"
Did I have plans? Let's see... my family always visits relatives, and generally a couple cousins from out of town stay with us for a few days. My dad and I almost always spend some time up at the family cabin and usually some friends and I go ice fishing.
"No. No plans." I said. No plans that couldn't be cancelled, I should have said.
"Great! I'll give you a call sometime, okay?"
"Sure," I said, wondering how I could be so lucky. Two calls from Courtney O'Keefe... I was in heaven.
"Okay, thanks again Dennis. I gotta go. Bye!"
"Bye," I said, and sighed contentedly as I the connection went dead as Courtney hung up.
As it turned out, Courtney was true to her word and did call, and the two of us ended up going out to see a movie and have dinner. It would have been a perfect date, except in the back of my mind I knew Courtney was only doing this as a payment of sorts, for me helping her with her math. Still, I didn't mind, and was as courteous and gallant as I imagined all her boyfriends were, holding doors open for her, pushing her chair in to the table. I even brought her a single red rose.
"Thanks," she said, smiling as I presented it to her. "It's beautiful." Before I could say anything, Courtney leaned across the car seat and gave me a small kiss on the cheek.
"No problem," I stammered, my collar instantly too tight in the suddenly hot car. In reality the windows were frosted over and I could see my breath, but with all the blood in my body rushing to my face, it was no wonder I was warm. I'm sure I was blushing madly. It's not every day Courtney O'Keefe kisses me.
"You're cute when you're nervous," she said, smiling at me as she leaned against the door.
Thankfully no more was said on the subject, and the rest of the evening was a stunning success. Courtney, as I'd found out while tutoring her, was a fun, easygoing and altogether nice person. Unlike every other girl I'd had a crush on, I found myself, for the most part, able to behave like a normal human being around Courtney. Whether I was getting older or for some other reason, I felt perfectly comfortable around her.
All through the movie I couldn't help but be aware of Courtney, sitting beside me in the dark theater. I could smell her perfume over the odor of stale popcorn and sticky candy, and found it nearly intoxicating. Our fingers met once in the tub of popcorn. Courtney giggled as our fingers bumped together, slippery from the butter, and squeezed my hand.
My cock was instantly hard in my pants, and I was thankful for the cover the popcorn provided, although I was ever aware of just how close Courtney's hand was to my prick as she reached for another handful of popcorn. I held my breath, hoping my condition escaped her noticed, breathing an audible sigh of relief as she moved away.
"You okay?" she asked, concern and confusion in her eyes.
"I'm fine," I whispered back. "Just having a good time."
"Good," she said, smiling and leaning toward me. "Me too."
My heart was pounding in my chest as Courtney leaned against me. I fought the urge to put my hand around her shoulder, content to feel the soft curls of her hair against my cheek. I remember nothing of the movie, all my attentions were focused on the beautiful creature to my right.
"I had a wonderful time tonight," Courtney said as I dropped her off. I had offered to walk her to the door, a gentleman to the end.
"So did I," I answered quickly, pleased at her happy smile. "Well... I... you probably need to get inside," I fumbled, trying to find a graceful way to say goodnight. "It's pretty cold out here."
"I suppose," she said, sounding unconvinced. "I guess I'll see you after break, right?" she asked, and I wondered for a moment if that was a hopeful look in her eye, but passed it off as a trick of my imagination.
"You will," I answered, turning to leave. "Have a good night."
"Wait," she called after me, and I turned. To my surprise, she leaned against me and her lips brushed mine. I felt a jolt in my groin and my head started spinning as we held the kiss for a moment before she finally broke away. "Thanks again," she giggled softly and spun around to head inside.
I watched as Courtney turned once and waved good night before shutting the door behind her. She had kissed me! Me! I felt like I was walking on air as I returned to the car, mumbling to myself, my mind buzzing at what had just happened.
"No problem," I said. "No problem at all."
I was sitting at the kitchen table a month later when the phone rang. Trisha ran to answer it and returned shortly with a smug smile on her face.
"It's for you," she said, rather more loudly than necessary. "It's your girlfriend!"
"Oh?" my mother asked, interested at the sound of that. "I didn't know you had a girlfriend, Dennis."
"Brat," I yelled as I hurried to the phone. "I don't have a girlfriend. Hello?" I said as I picked up the receiver.
"Hey, Dennis. It's Courtney, your non-girlfriend." I wanted to die, I couldn't believe she'd heard, but she laughed.
"Ugh. Sorry about that."
"It's okay. Hey, the reason I called is I wondered what you were doing this weekend."
"Nothing," I said without thinking. Again, I have no plans that can't be cancelled for Courtney.
"Cool. I saw the news about the Ice Palace on television last night and I want to go. Take me there? Be my date?" she asked. "I won't tell anyone. Wouldn't want word to get out that you took a girl somewhere," she said, and I could hear the smile in her voice as she said it.
We talked for a little while and then hung up. I sat there in the hallway for a moment, stunned at my turn of good fortune. Whatever it was that Courtney saw in me that kept her coming back for more... I wasn't going to complain.
"Who was it?" my mom asked, popping out of the kitchen on her way to the living room.
"That? Courtney called, she wants me to take her to the Winter Carnival."
"Oh... really?" my mom asked cryptically, typical of her. I rolled my eyes as usual.
"Oh... nothing. Nothing."
Sighing, I went to my room and shut the door behind me.
Thankfully, the next few days went by in a rush, and before I knew it I was once again knocking on Courtney's door. I heard the sound of footsteps from inside and shortly the door opened, and I gasped.
Courtney was decked out in the tightest pair of white tights I'd ever seen. Every curve of her body, the swell of her hips and buttocks, nothing was left to my imagination. She had topped it with a pale blue ski jacket that looked two sizes too big for her. She turned to close the door and my cock was instantly hard in my pants as I realized the crack of her ass was clearly visible through her tights. If she was wearing panties I certainly couldn't tell.
Unfortunately Courtney caught my eye as she turned back around.
"What?" she asked, looking down at her clothing. "Something wrong?"
"Uh... no! Nothing's wrong. Aren't... aren't you going to be kind of cold?" I asked, stunned when she wrapped her arms around my right arm and pulled me tight.
"You'll just have to keep me warm, won't you?" she asked.
"Sure," I stammered, blushing deeper as she kissed my cheek.
I was right though, it was bitter cold this Saturday, and standing in line for three hours to get inside the Ice Palace didn't help matters. Tired of braving the icy cold winds and quarter of a million people who had invaded downtown St. Paul, we cut out of line and ran for one of the heated tents along the ice sculptures.
"Holy crap it's cold!" Courtney said as she rubbed her arms for warmth.
"Are you okay?" I asked as we stood in line for a cup of cocoa. "You look kind of blue!" She didn't look comfortable at all, and her teeth chattered as she shook her head.
"Cold," she said.
"You should have worn something a little heavier than those tights," I pointed out.
"They're supposed to be insulated," she protested as we looked for a seat. Because of the cold the heat tent was practically full, and I finally managed to find two empty chairs, but before we got there, someone grabbed one.
"Rats," I muttered, looking around for another empty spot, but Courtney took my hand and pulled me back.
"It's okay," she said, pushing me ahead of her. "You sit down, I'll sit on your lap."
I nodded and dropped to the chair, thankful to be sitting after so many hours of standing in line. Before I could ready myself, Courtney had plopped down on my lap, and I fought the urge to moan as I felt the soft cheeks of her ass come in contact with my lap.
We sat there a moment, drinking our cocoa, while I tried to think of anything to keep my mind of the beautiful girl in my lap. State capitals, multiplication tables, counting backwards from a hundred... and it might have worked if not for what happened next.
"Rub my legs?" she asked, turning her head to look back at me. "I'm really cold."
"Sure," I said and put my cup down on the table. I took my gloves off and started briskly rubbing the taut muscles in Courtney's legs, rubbing up and down, trying to get the blood circulating again. As I prodded and massaged, Courtney squirmed in my lap, and I felt the globes of her ass rubbing over my cock, which predictably sprang to attention.
I was mortified, but had nowhere to go, so continued on as if nothing was wrong, hoping she wouldn't notice.
But really, how could she not, as my cock poked up against her butt through what had to be the thinnest pair of tights in the universe? Suddenly she squirmed more forcefully against me, as she settled the crack of her ass right on top of my erection.
"Mmm," she moaned and I felt the muscles in her legs begin to loosen, finally warmed from my rubbing and the heat of the tent. "That feels really good," she said, and for a moment I wondered if she was talking about my hands or my dick.
Down boy, I thought to myself, but it was no use. I realized I was getting a bit warm myself, and could feel the heat of her pussy through my jeans. I was thankful she was facing away from me, for I'm sure my face was beet red with embarrassment. Fortunately we were back in a corner of the tent by the heat blower, and no one was paying us the least bit of attention.
Suddenly Courtney shivered, and pulled my hands off her legs, and I thought I was busted for sure.
"Your hands are cold," she said.
"Sorry. I'll get my gloves," I answered, thankful that this was the extend of her complaint.
"I've got a better idea," she said, unzipping her coat. Before I realized what was happening, Courtney had pulled my right hand inside her coat, and I found myself with a firm handful of a soft breast, trapped in place by her hands. I'm sorry to say I didn't... ahem... handle it very well.
"What?" I cried out, drawing some attention from other heat seekers in the tent. "What are you doing?" I whispered, lowering my voice.
"I'm warming up your hand," she answered, grinning at my discomfort, and I felt her hips grind against mine, forcing my cock more firmly against her warm pussy. "Do you mind?"
"Good," she interrupted, turning to kiss me on the nose. She squeezed my hand, and I groaned as I felt the firm flesh of her tit under my fingers.
At last, Courtney seemed to have had enough, and released my hand. I pulled away as quickly as I could, still trying to be discreet about what was going on between us. I could still feel the heat of her nipple against my palm.
"Ready for the other one?" she asked, startling me.
"Your other hand. Isn't it cold, too?"
"Is it or isn't it?"
"No "but" Dennis, it needs to be warmed up. Give me your hand," she said, and I knew that for whatever reason she was enjoying teasing me, but on the whole I found it an immensely satisfying way to be teased, and I gladly surrendered my left hand to its punishment. It was quickly inside her coat, her other breast filling my hand.
Courtney moaned at the contact and I gave a tentative squeeze. If all else failed, I knew I would have months and months of jack-off material after this experience! To my surprise, Courtney pressed herself against me more tightly, and I could only sit there in stunned wonder as the two of us sat there together.
It seemed like the blink of an eye, but was more likely a few minutes, but however long we sat there was too short, in my mind.
"I think I'm warm enough," Courtney said abruptly, and I quickly removed my hand, trying not to look disappointed as she pulled herself up from my lap.
"Oh, was your hand still cold?" she teased, noticing my expression. Once again I blushed several shades of pink.
"I... I'm good," I answered, scarcely able to look her in the eye. Suddenly she sat down.
"Dennis, how embarrassed are you right now?" she asked.
"Me? A whole lot," I answered.
"Why are you so nervous around me?"
"I... I'm not. What do you mean?"
"You are, I can see it. We can sit and talk about math all day long, but as soon as things get a little personal, you freeze up."
"Truth?" I asked, realizing I had to tell her exactly what I thought was going on.
"You're so beautiful and funny and I enjoy being around you so much, but when you start teasing me and acting... like this, I get confused."
"Because I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. For you to tell me it's all just been a game, and that you have a boyfriend back in Boston."
"Providence," she corrected me, grinning.
"What's the difference?" I asked.
"One's in Rhode Island, the other's in Massachusetts," she said.
"No, I mean what's the difference where your boyfriend lives?" I asked, glumly.
"I don't have a boyfriend," she said.
"Why not?" I asked, completely perplexed. "Don't tell me it's a case of the pretty girl never being asked out, because I see the way everybody fawns over you."
"It's not like that," she said. "It's just that the guy I like hasn't asked me out yet."
"Oh," I said, disappointed to find out there was a guy she liked. "Shall we go?"
"I suppose," she answered, a confused expression on her face.
We gathered our hats and gloves and headed back out into the cold to look at more ice sculptures. Nothing more was said on the topic, and we eventually headed to my car and began the drive to her place. I must have looked distracted, because Courtney suddenly nudged me in the ribs.
"What?" I said, a bit more sharply than I'd wanted.
"What's up with you?" she asked, staring at me intently.
"Nothing," I sighed. "It's just... I don't know."
"I'm just like every other guy in the school," I said. "I've had a crush on you since you moved here."
"Nope," she said, smiling at my surprise. "You're not like every other guy. Every other guy has already asked me out, but spent the whole time looking at my tits instead of my face. I hate that!"
"So I should feel honored, then?"
"Sounds like I'm the only one who's actually felt them," I laughed, then suddenly sobered. "So there are just two of us then?"
"Two of you? What do you mean?"
"Just the two of us who haven't asked you out. Me and the guy you hope does, right?"
"Mmm," she hummed, by way of an answer.
"Is he a nice guy, at least?" I asked. If he was nice, at least it wouldn't be so bad.
"Very nice," she answered.
"Do I know him?"
"You know him very well."
"Who is he?" I asked, beginning to get annoyed at her mysterious answers.
"Uh uh," she said. "You have to guess."
"Fine, I'll guess. Give me a hint."
"You get lots of hints, because you seem kind of slow today," she teased. "He's your height, has brown hair and glasses, sings in the choir, is really good at math, and is going to be an Iowa Hawkeye next fall."
"He sounds just like me," I said. By this time we were at her house, and before I had a chance to say any more, Courtney had jumped out of the car and was heading to the front door.
"He sounds exactly like you, doesn't he?" she grinned as she turned to head inside. "Give me a call when you figure it out!" And with that, she was gone.
I sat in my car for a few minutes, going over our conversation in my head, trying to figure out who her mystery man could be.
He's my height, has glasses, sings in the choir, likes math and is going to Iowa to college. He sounds just like... and then it hit me. If it wasn't for the cold I would have figured it out earlier... she likes me! I'm the guy who hadn't asked her out. I looked out the car window, hoping to see Courtney still standing there, but she had gone inside, and I was too nervous to go knock on the door.
It was warm in the car, but I was still numb as I drove home.
"Get off the phone," I pleaded to my sister, who gave me a dirty look and kept talking. "Please, get off the phone. I have to make a call," I begged.
"Just a minute," she hissed at me, putting her hand over the receiver.
"I'm sorry," I said as I clicked down on the cradle, cutting her off. "I have an important call to make."
"Jerk," she yelled as she stomped to her room.
"I'll just be a minute," I shouted after her, sighing as I heard her door slam.
As fast as I was able, I dialed Courtney's number, waiting impatiently for someone to pick up.
"Hello? Did you get cut off, or what?"
"Who is this?"
"It's Dennis. Courtney?"
"Yes. What happened to your sister?"
My heart rose in my throat. Trisha had been talking to Courtney? And I hung up on her.
"Hi. Um... I hung up on her. I wanted to call you."
"I was talking with her, waiting for you to get back!"
"Yeah... sorry." There was a long pause while I tried to think of something halfway intelligent. So far I was coming up with nothing.
"So, why'd you want to call?" Courtney asked, and I sighed as once again I could hear the playfulness in her voice.
"Oh, you know. I was thinking about what you said, and..."
"Yes?" she said.
"Courtney O'Keefe, would you like to go out with me sometime?" Once more there was a long pause, this time from Courtney's end. "Courtney?"
"I'd love to," she said, and I burst into laughter. "What's so funny?" she asked.
"Nothing, I'm just happy. You do that to me, Courtney. You make me happy."
"You make me happy too, you just made me very happy. So... what are you doing tonight?" she asked.
"Nothing. Watching All-Star skills events on television."
"Hockey?" she asked.
The hockey All-Star game was in town this year. After almost a decade of there being no professional hockey in Minnesota, the self-proclaimed "state of hockey," the NHL had finally given us a team, and the Wild were hosting the big event this year, and the town was crazy.
"Yeah, hockey. What else?"
"You want to come over and watch?" she asked.
"I better not," I said and I heard her groan in disappointment. "I want to," I quickly added. "I really want to, but I think I'd be a slobbering idiot if I came over."
"Yeah, but you'd be my slobbering idiot," she whined.
"Still, I think I need some time to adjust."
"It isn't every day that the most beautiful girl in the world molests me in public and then tells me she's hot for me."
"Not every day?" she laughed. "How often does it happen to you?"
"Try never," I said. "Courtney... you aren't just pulling my leg are you. I'm sorry, but this just doesn't happen to me. I am not the most frequent dater in the world, you know."
"Good," she said. "More for me, and No... I'm not playing with you. Although... if you ask me, I just might."
"Play with you. Don't think I didn't notice what I was sitting on this afternoon. You're packing some heat in those pants."
"Oh God... you noticed."
"Noticed? It warmed me right up," she laughed.
"I'm so glad we're having this discussion on the phone," I said.
"I'm sure I'm blushing like a madman."
"You're cute when you blush."
"Yeah yeah." Again I paused, not really having anything to say, but not wanting to hang up and end the conversation. "Say, do you want to come over on Sunday to watch the game?"
"I can't," she said, and I sighed. "But, you could watch it with me, if you want?"
"Over at your place?" I asked, realizing I would have to meet her parents.
"Sure. Why don't you come over around noon."
"Noon? The game doesn't start until two o'clock."
"Don't you want to hang out with me any more?" she pouted.
"Of course I do! I'll be over at noon."
"Good. See you then."
I hung up the phone, thinking about the momentous change of direction my life had seemingly just taken. If I hadn't just hallucinated the last few hours, I now had a girlfriend. Me! A real life, honest-to-goodness girlfriend. The thought was dizzying.
Suddenly remembering how I'd left Trisha hanging, I quickly knocked on her door.
"Go away," she said. "I'm still mad at you."
"Trish... I'm sorry! I'm off the phone now. I didn't know who you were talking to, and..." Suddenly the door opened, and there stood my sister, all smiles as she laughed at me.
"Gotcha," she said.
"Little creep," I said, realizing I'd been had. I laughed and headed off to my room.
"Dennis," my sister called after me.
"Yeah?" I stopped and turned around.
Sunday found me again knocking on the door of Courtney's house. This time there was a big difference, in that I wasn't nervous and my excitement was all of the good kind.
"Hey," she said as she opened the door.
"Hey yourself," I answered, squeezing past her into the living room. I started looking for a place to put my coat, but Courtney stopped me.