Wings of Fortune - Part 8
**THIRTY-SIX HOURS EARLIER**
“Yummy,” Mara mouthed silently as she opened the door.
Matt wore a tight red t-shirt, bulging arms and pecs straining the fabric, striations in his triceps and forearms visible with every movement. The firmness of his abs was somehow noticeable under the shirt despite its relative looseness around his waist. Mara could tell that they were cobbled perfection without even seeing them…
...But oh how she wanted to see them. She daydreamed. Maybe she could get him to take off his...
“What was that?” Matt asked, giving Mara a knee-weakening smile as his eyes sparkled with that insanely sexy sense of mischief that drew her to bad boys.
His jawline seemed stronger and more chiseled than usual. It was as if everything masculine about him had been turned up to eleven on a dial that maxed out at ten. He had been a good-looking guy before… Now? Fuggedaboutit!
“Wha…? Oh, yeah. That? Nothing… just, yeah… nothing.” stammered Mara, thankful that her light brown Indian skin hid blushes relatively well. Blushing? That wasn’t like her. She was a take-charge kind of girl!
When had Matt gotten quite this good looking, anyway? She’d been flirting with him for most of senior year, and he hadn’t given her the time of day. Then, yesterday, out of the blue, he’d asked her out! And today he’s better looking than ever?
...Not that she minded. Hell, looking like this, if he wanted her to have his little Matt babies, she was totally in! Yay! But she better start talking so he didn’t think she was some sort of puppy dog pining over him.
Which she was.
But he didn’t need to know that!
“So where are we going anyway?” Mara asked, finding her footing as she avoided Matt’s eyes.
“It’s a surprise…” said Matt with a wink.
“Will there be babies involved?” Had she just said babies? Omigod! Fuck! “...Baby carrots. Like at dinner? ‘Cause I love me some baby carrots!” she recovered quickly.
Mara was thankful that she could think fast on her feet! She bit her lip as she looked up at him. Had he bought it?
He was giving her a confused look. A little bemused, maybe, but not a knowing smirk. Good! Confused was good. Better than completely fucking laughing at her or lording it over her. She would take confused. Whew!
“Baby. Carrots,” he said as if tasting the words on his tongue. Maybe they would make more sense if he could taste them?
“Yeah. Who doesn’t love baby carrots? Orange is the new black, right?” Mara continued, not paying any attention to what she was saying. Man, his arms were looky tasty!
“Isn’t that show referring to a prison uniform or something?” said Matt, furrow deepening on his brow.
“Duh! Of course!” Mara shook her head as if she knew something he didn’t. What had she said again? Oh well. It didn’t matter.
“Whatevs. So anyway, quit dodging the question! Where are we going for dinner?” Mara smirked. A good knowing smirk was the best way to overcome awkwardness. Just pretend like you’re in on a joke that the other person didn’t get. Worked every time.
Well, sometimes, anyway.
Mara held her breath, gauging Matt’s reaction. He seemed to be having a hard time keeping up with her, now looking completely baffled. That was okay. She liked cluelessness. It was one of the qualities she appreciated most in a man.
“So before we talk about dinner, should I come in and say hello to your parents?” he asked, shaking his head at the odd conversation.
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
Matt just stood there, dumbfounded again.
“My parents are sorta traditionalists. They already have me lined up to marry some dude in India named Sandeep.Them meeting you would not go so well for me.”
“WHAT?! Does that mean you’re engaged?”
Mara sighed and rolled her eyes.
“Of course I am! But I’m not going to actually go through with it. I’ve never even met the guy! No big…”
“So let’s go have some fun, shall we?” she said, grabbing his sinewed arm and walking him down the steps, away from the door. She noticed Matt’s uncertain look and hesitant walk as she half-dragged him toward the car.
“Seriously! No worries, Matt! It’s all good. Me here. Not-going-to-happen fiancé thousands of miles away.” Mara gave him a brilliant smile and pulled him harder. He relented and stumbled forward under the force of her pull.
“Mara, has anyone ever told you you’re quite a handful?” said Matt, a dazed look in his eye and a chagrined smile forming on his lips.
“You mean besides my family, friends, and casual acquaintances...? Not really.” She smiled again. “Now come on! Let’s go before Dad sees us!”
Matt shook his head a second time already as he started the car and they drove away.
When they pulled up at the mini-golf place, Matt turned to Mara, giving her the double-eyebrow.
“Miniature. Golf,” he said, nodding to punctuate each word with smugness dripping from his lips.
“Is that supposed to, like, be impressive or something?” asked Mara with a vaguely disgusted look before breaking into a laugh. “Just kidding, Mattso. Sounds like fun! Let’s go!”
She bounded out of the car energetically. Mara pretty much did everything energetically. She liked to think it was part of her charm.
“Mattso?” said Matt, crinkling his brow as he got out of the car.
“Yeah, you’ve been bulking up! But not in a bad way; in a totally good way—all muscular and shit! Have you been working out, like nonstop since school got out? You look like you’re going to audition for Thor or something! Is Chris What-his-name retiring or something? If so, you’re a lock!” Mara said before pausing to take a breath.
“I’m thinking you may have had one too many red bulls, Miss Bedi!” said Matt, putting his arm around the bouncing girl.
“Ha! You don’t even want to see me on Red Bull!” she said, giving a straight-armed jittery impression before turning to him in laughter.
“On that, we agree,” said Matt with a wink. As crazy as she was behaving tonight, he was beginning to really like this girl. She seemed a little more manic than usual, but he was sure that was simply a function of first-date nervousness. He felt a bit of it himself, though he wasn’t quite as hyper-spastic as Mara was at the moment. Of course, her normal was fairly crazy…
The two walked to the entrance, Matt paying a round for two. He handed her a green ball and club, taking the red ball and a second club for himself.
“So this is a little embarrassing, but I’ve never actually played this game before…” admitted Mara, sheepishly. “But it’s a totally great date idea, and I love it and…”
“Let me show you how it’s done,” said Matt, making a show of walking to the tee. He set down the ball, pulled the club back and struck it. The ball flew off the tee with the power of the strike, ricocheted off the far wall, and flew straight up in the air, landing on the far sidewalk and beginning to roll away.
Matt ran after the ball and recovered it, then jogged back to Mara.
“Uh-huh,” said Mara smugly. “You were saying?”
“I guess I just don’t know my own strength these days,” Matt said, giving her a smoldering gaze.
Mara felt its heat and fanned herself.
“Is it getting warm in here?” she said, with a nervous giggle.
Chuckling, Matt took the shot a second time and sunk it in the hole.
“That’s more like it,” he said, retrieving his ball and tossing it as he returned to watch Mara.
Mara mimicked Matt’s stance, swung her club, barely catching the ball. It dribbled about a foot before it came to a stop.
“Damn it!” she said. “Okay, for real this time…”
Matt, eying her technique, hustled over behind her.
“Let me show you,” he said, scooching behind her until their bodies touched, draping his upper body over hers, his carved arms over hers. Mara felt desire flooding through her from the touch of his body. As his hands came over hers to show her the swing, she caught the scent of his cologne.
Oh, my God she thought. He smells so fucking good…
Normally one to pick up anything involving skill or athleticism with ease, Mara didn’t even try this time. She was too caught up in the spell woven by Matt’s athletic body wrapped around hers, by the fragrant smell of his face next to hers. When he swung, she didn’t even know it had happened.
“Mara! You need to swing too! I was just trying to assist!” said Matt, as the ball dribbled another foot.
“Assist away,” Mara said with a sultry smile, their faces less than an inch apart. She began to lean in. He saw her motion and matched it with a dark smile.
When his lips touched hers, it felt incredible. As her lips reached out for his a second time, she felt his hand gliding along her toned stomach to come to rest on her hip. She could feel him begin to harden against her ass.
Mara turned into him, snaking her arms around his sculpted back. She gasped as she felt the hardness of his muscles. He pulled her into him with a strength she had never felt before, gasping as his arms clasped around her, pulling her lower back upward and inward.
They continued to kiss passionately until they both heard a child’s voice cry out.
“Wow! Mommy! Look at them kissy facing! Maybe we should skip this hole and go to the next!”
Matt broke the kiss and stepped back, embarrassed. He nodded to the child’s mother sheepishly, and she returned a rebuking expression.
Mara’s eyes remained closed for a minute longer, savoring the sensation. She rolled her soft lips inward to suck the vestiges of his taste off them. As her eyes fluttered open, Matt’s eyes locked to hers.
“So… good kisser?” he intoned.
“The best,” she breathed before coming to her senses. She couldn’t let his ego get too big just yet. “...you know, of the middle of the pack. Not the best of the best, but definitely above average. You’ll have to show me a couple more times to move into the top tier…”
Mara teetered a little, and Matt reached out a hand to steady her.
“Thanks. Needed that. Maybe, um, yeah,” said Mara.
Matt laughed, holding her until she seemed well-grounded once more, then continued their game. Mara began to get the hang of it a few holes in. By the time they finished, she lost by just one stroke.
“That’s right, Mattso. I was coming for you. If you hadn’t been playing dirty with all that kissing, I woulda had you…” she said, with faux sternness, waving a finger in front of Matt... until she couldn’t suppress her smile any longer. It bloomed brilliant and huge over her lips.
Matt picked her up with ease and twirled her around a few times while she giggled and smacked him on the back.
“Put me down, you big oaf!” she said, gasping for breath between chortles.
They returned their clubs, joking and laughing all the way to the fish and chips stand nearby. The pair enjoyed their dinner at the picnic table, then got back into Matt’s car to head home.
“I had a great time, Matt,” said Mara, her eyes intense, showing her rare serious side.
“Not Mattso?” Matt asked with a crooked grin.
“Naw. I think you earned a ‘so’ removal,” she said, leaning in for a kiss. Matt’s eyes darkened as the sensitive flesh of their lips slid together with an almost magnetic pull.
Mara felt Matt’s almost unnatural magnetism, breathing in his ultra-masculine aroma. Her kisses grew hungrier, more passionate. Her hand rose to his cheek, and she ran her soft fingers over the ruggedness of his five-o’-clock shadow.
She moaned into his mouth, her body moving toward his, but unable to touch across the gear shift between them. Mara felt herself tremble with desire.
Matt slipped his powerful arm around her, lifting her body from the passenger seat toward him. As her breasts touched him, she felt a jolt of sensation thrill her heart…
“Mara! Is that you?”
It was her father’s voice.
Mara instantly broke the kiss, the promise of her father’s wrath enough—for the moment—to break Matt’s hold over her body.
“Gotta go,” she whispered, breathless, with a parting grin.
As she ran toward her father, just outside the door, Matt watched her go, his smile disappearing before it turned to a scowl.