3 …My Loyal Reviewers… 3

To: FamousOneLiners

Yeah, sometimes it can be hard to "find" stories again when the author never updates… 

To: Izzey

Yeah…we can all be pretty clueless…


The Matchmaker is Down

Chapter 8

Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was truly a sight to see. Compared to the old County Stadium that Brewers' fans were subjected to each season many years ago, the place was the Ritz. It was humongous, with a great roof, and great architecture. The only people who could complain about the complex were the county taxpayers who paid through the nose for the park to be built.

Walking into Miller Park with Nick, Logan, and Natasha felt better in a way that I'll never admit. It was almost a guilty pleasure. I always had wanted a group of friends that was completely at home with each other, a group that just made sense in a cosmic sort of way.

It was more than just the four of us being together, I realized as we sat down, and the first inning was on its way. There was something else about the day that felt more than pleasurable. It felt exhilarating. And as much as I love baseball: the batting, the base running, the brats, and the huge sodas…I don't think that it was any of that that was causing me to feel so wonderful.

Whatever it was, I had a problem to solve. The feeling of wonder could only make me better at completing my task. I had decided to sit on one of the ends of our foursome, only sitting next to Nick. I was afraid that if I sat next to Natasha, she would either talk me out of it or she would make me feel embarrassed.

I couldn't afford to have either of those things happen that day. Instead I had to squelch out Natasha's words about my taking an ancient look on relationships and her comment on my clients never being willing for a match.

I looked over at Nick. Was I taking a special interest in him? Was Natasha right? Maybe I was putting an extra effort in this situation, but it was only because I had never seen anybody who was as in dire need of a girlfriend as he was. And he had all of the necessary tools, too. And that is what frustrated me the most.

Wasted talent and wasted potential were two conundrums that I could not handle watching. Especially when I had the power to do something about it.

As I offered to get Nick a soda with a smile, I felt that maybe I did have that power. So my plan was totally warped and extremely dangerous, but whenever had I done stuff in the logical, sensible way?

Nick grabbed my hand when I turned to go get drinks, and pulled me back into my seat. "What's going on with you, Chris?" Amusement was on the surface of his brown eyes, but in the depths I saw a smattering of concern too.

How to play this? My matchmaking mind started working. I decided on dishonesty. "I don't know what you mean."

"Chris, you don't have your glasses on, you're wearing makeup, your hair's done, your outfit leaves little to the imagination, and you just offered to get me a drink. So my thought is that you are up to something. Am I wrong?"

I tried to look confused, and with a small, innocent looking (or so I hoped) smile, I said, "Yes, you're wrong. I always dress like this for baseball games, and I offered to get you a drink because I'm grateful for the invite to this game."

Nick grabbed my hand again, only this time he pulled me up and started pushing me towards the steps to exit our section. "Come on, let's go get drinks," he said to me, and loud enough so that Natasha and Logan understood where we were going.

I was a nervous wreck, and I was afraid. Not in the "Oh no, this psycho killer is trying to get me" type way, but in the "Oh no, I don't think my plan is working, and this feels better than it should and he's my client." Type way. He was right behind me, pushing me through the people. I could feel the hard planes of his body pressed up against my back. I could feel the warmth emanating from him.

It was shocking, bothersome, and completely delectable feeling that way. It was – My thoughts were interrupted when we had fully exited our section by Nick. He turned me around abruptly to face him and began interrogating me anew.

"What're you trying to do, Chris?" He asked me point-blank.

"I told you, I--"

He interrupted me again abruptly, "Do you want me, Chris?"

I was so baffled by his blunt, abrupt question that my mouth just kind of made fishy type openings for a while. I would part my lips to answer, and then stop, and then try again. This continued on for a few minutes, all the while I was asking myself the same question. When I finally came to the answer, I did not like it. So what did I do?

I lied. "No."

At first he didn't seem to believe me. He raised his eyebrows and just stared at me, into my eyes, trying to read me, figure me out. I assured myself that he never would, never could. I was a mystery, even to myself. I put all of the hardness that life had taught me into my eyes, I put my walls up in my eyes, defiantly challenging him to charge them down.

He started moving closer to me, his face coming closer into view, his gorgeous brown eyes so close that I felt that I could see his walls too. He was challenging me in the same way that I was challenging him. I saw his body charge with action, and I licked my lips. I knew what was coming next.

He moved closer, and even closer. But for once, I did not move an inch. I stood my ground and waited with anticipation for what, I was sure, would be my downfall.

But instead of his kiss, I felt these words uttered against my lips, "Chris, tell me."

"Tell you--what?" I barely murmured back. I could not concentrate on what he was saying. I could not think at all. There was no nagging sensible voice or voice of reason in my head. My whole world in that moment was feeling. Feeling our breaths mingle, my heart pounding, my legs quickly losing strength, I longed to dive into the passion that flamed in his eyes, and at the same time, I wanted to heal the hurt I saw in the brown depths.

He made me crazy for wanting him. He must have read the desire in my body, because his pupils dilated and his irises flared. Oh, so slowly, he lifted his hands to the side of my face and angled my mouth up towards his. My breath was coming short then, waiting, waiting, my whole life waiting for anything and everything, romance, kindred spirits, understanding, a kiss.

This kiss. His lips met mine at last. They brushed against mine delectably slowly at first, but after several moments of the torture, I moaned into his mouth, begging for more. I moaned for the fighting, aggressive, passionate kiss that Nick could give to me.

And he did. His tender caresses became nibbling and sucking. His tongue begged for access to my mouth. I opened to him. He pulled my body to his and everything became faster and more.

Too much. I pushed him away in a manner that was not at all gentle. Nick stumbled backwards and almost fell completely over. It would have been comical, if not for the shocked and dazed look on his face, if not for the electricity charging through my body. I did not feel like laughing…At all.

In reality, I felt like shouting, like running, like hiding. Honestly, I did not know then what I wanted to do after Nick kissed me, and I'm not sure that I know now.

But as was my way, and the way of most afraid, defensive people, I slid my mask back into place and played my chosen role. The world's a stage, and I was merely the matchmaker. I started moving back towards Nick, who still looked shocked and dazed, but something else too. It was right there in his eyes burning right through me.

I ignored his magnetic eyes, and the all-knowing, chirpy, and condescending voice of the matchmaker poured out of me. It was a voice I was beginning to hate. "Now see, Nick, wasn't that nice? You clearly enjoy the practice of kissing."

His eyes changed. His expression became the "Are you crazy?" expression that I was used to. It was bittersweet to witness the power of my persona. It kept me safe from Nick's scrutiny, maybe, but a piece of me cried out at the loss of fire that had just been in his eyes.

The show must go on, however. "Before when you asked me what was going on? This is what is going on. I was trying to show you the benefits of having a girlfriend. I didn't want you to resist love or being paired up any longer. It is a ridiculous waste of a great guy for you to be alone."

"You're trying to show me the benefits of having a girlfriend? So the revealing clothes, the politeness, brownnosing, and the kiss…That was all about teaching me a lesson, letting me know what I'm missing?"

I was sensing hints of anger and disbelief in his tone, and it was disturbing the hell out of me. "Correct."

As Nick mulled over what I had said, his expression became frustrated. After a heavy silence, he finally said, "so that is what you think I want in a girlfriend? A sexually appetizing suck-up? You know maybe you should open your eyes long enough to realize that not all guys are like that. I sure as hell am not. With all of the 'great' work you've done today, I'm surprised you've ever made a match in your whole life. You don't seem to understand guys at all, let alone relationships, or even connections between people. You connive and meddle in other's lives, but in reality, Chris, you have no idea what life is about."

My eyes stung and the lump in my throat was threatening to explode. I was pretty sure that I was trembling. How had my plan gone so wrong? And why was he saying those awful things? I lived my life with good intentions. I never meant to connive or meddle. I only was trying to help! I couldn't take any more of his harsh words. Screw my persona, I was about to go into survival method #2. Fighting had not worked, it was time to flee.

Apparently, though, he was not done with his speech. "The only thing you had right today was the kiss. And I am 99% sure, that that part of today was not part of your plan."

I turned away without another word and returned to my seat. Nick eventually returned to his seat as well. We sat in silence for the rest of the game, and we continued to ignore each other all of the way back from Milwaukee. I was hurt and confused. The more I stewed in what Nick had said, the more I realized how right he was. He was right about me not understanding guys, and he was definitely right when he said that I hadn't planned the kiss that had completely flipped my world upside down. It was the kiss that brought me down.