"The higher you build the walls around your heart, the harder you fall when someone tears them down."


Chapter 3 – Lesson

After Melissa had gone over to the bar to grab another beer for Laila and herself, she made a short check up on Greg and Tom to see if they were doing okay. Greg still was a little grumpy, and so he wasn't really paying attention to Melissa. She had always known that the law student was used to winning, but still it was only a game. Her attempts at cheering him up were futile since he was already busy playing dart with Tom against two other guys who already had one beer too many.

Men can be truly disgusting. She thought while watching the guys for a few moments. When one of the drunks ordered another beer for the 'round of men', as he called it, she couldn't help but rolling her eyes in annoyance. Grabbing the two beer glasses, she turned her back on the guys. Her eyes were almost automatically wandering over to the raven-haired girl, who was still leaning silently against the dark wall behind the pool table. It looked as if the emerald eyes were drifting off into nothingness. Melissa stopped for a little while and watched the girl. It was hard to tear her eyes away from the other girl, and she was trying to somehow figure out what it was that made the raven-haired girl so fascinating. But as soon as Melissa got closer to the table the lonesome look was soon replaced with a serious but friendlier face. Not really knowing what to say, Melissa handed over the beer. The fingertips of the biker girl brushed lightly over Melissa's palm, causing her to stiffen for a second as a little electric jolt shot through her body.

"Sorry…" Laila, who must have felt it too, muttered before she took a huge sip.

"Oh my, I see. High voltage. Maybe you should go over and use your electricity on our boys. They seem to drown their sorrows in beer." She chuckled in the hope that the other girl would stop being uncomfortable, and somehow it worked. Laila smiled lightly. She was looking at the glass in her hands while her index finger circled the rim a few times.

"They'll get over it." She finally said before putting the beer away.

Melissa who had been following the play of Laila's finger on the rim of the glass was a bit startled as it hit the table. Not really knowing how to explain her behavior, she tried to catch up why they had left off earlier.

"So, does Laila still want to show me how to become a professional pool player?" She said, sounding a little playful.

"I am not that good, but yes…I can show you the basics." Melissa was not sure if Laila was flattered by her remark but she could have sworn she had seen a little blush on the cheeks of the other girl, but maybe it was just her imagination. Before she could investigate the situation any further, Laila handed her one of the cues.

"Let's begin with the break off." Laila suddenly sounded completely serious. Almost like a real teacher. "Try to aim straight at the apex ball."

"Will do." Melissa said a bit afraid of completely embarrassing herself. While she was positioning the cue ball, Laila slowly walked over to the opposite end of the table. When Melissa bent over to make her shot, her eyes got lost in an ocean of emerald. The colored balls on the table seemed to fade into a mush of black and white compared to the stunning eyes of the raven-haired girl. She hadn't noticed that Laila had kneeled down to watch her aiming more closely, and to find these eyes in the dimness behind the table made her lose every last bit of concentration. I feel dizzy…must be the smoke. What is it with those eyes? Why can't I simply look away? Maybe the beer was drugged. I am starting to feel really weird.

"I think it's better if you focus on the cue ball." The husky voice of the girl ripped Melissa out of her daze within a second.

"Sure." She said and smiled politely. I feel idiotic.

"A little more to the left."

"Like that?"

"Yes. Now strike." The ball is much too slow to break the pyramid of colored balls fully. Not a single one landed in the pockets.

"Wow, that was bad." Melissa remarked bluntly.

"Doesn't matter. We can still practice break-offs later. Now try to aim at this one." Laila had her finger pointed at the green six, which was positioned at the right side pocket. Melissa nodded with a determined look and tried her luck once more. She bent over and was again met with Laila's eyes. This time she could bring herself to focus on the cue ball without having the other girl tell her to. Just when she was about to make her shot, Laila suddenly interrupted her.

"If you don't stop your action, you might end up with a double kiss." The low voice was completely calm, although the words sounded so wrong to the chestnut-haired girl, who was so confused that she couldn't stop her movement anymore. Her eyes shot up due to the unexpected comment, and she completely lost her angle. She hit the cue ball in a fairly unfavorably spot, before scratching the table. It sent the white ball flying all over the table right into the direction of the raven-haired girl. Melissa was so shocked that she couldn't repress a gasp. She put one hand over her mouth in horror when the image of the ball hitting the other girl right between the eyes shot through her head. Luckily, Laila was fast enough to dodge the unplanned attack.

"That was certainly a nice jump shot." The raven-haired girl remarked after the ball had hit the floor with a thud. "Actually, that was worse than doing a double kiss." She added still sounding nonchalant.

Melissa just stared at the girl with a blank expression. She had no idea how to respond to the weird comments. Thankfully, Laila seemed to notice the irritation and enlightened her.

"If a ball strikes another ball, which is close to a rail, and the struck ball rebounds back into the ball it was hit by it's called a double kiss in billiard terms. Usually it's unintended but not always." Slowly, Melissa came back to life. The words sunk into her head, and she instantly felt stupid about acting so weird.

"Ah…billiard terms. I see. Sure. I'm sorry about trying to kill you." The melodic sing-song of her voice helped to ease up the situation again, and somehow it also had a pleasant effect on her opposite.

"It's okay. I'm used to it." Laila said with a wink before she turned around to get the lost cue ball. Melissa was so amazed about the gesture that she again simply stared at the green-eyed beauty. Did she just loosen up for a second there?

"Okay, now for our little bed problem." came the husky voice again.

Melissa was amazed that a single person managed to get so many what-the-heck-expressions out of her in one evening. She had no idea how the girl managed to say so many confusing things without having second thoughts.

Not getting any kind of response from the brown-eyed girl, Laila went on. "I don't think they will notice the little scratch. So, let's just keep it secret, okay?"

"Wow, I really have to get used to you talking polish to me." Melissa smiled and let out a sigh.

"Sorry, old habits die hard." The expression on the biker-girl's face suddenly became serious again.

Old habits…I wonder how long she played? She must have practiced much, or maybe she's just talented. That reminds me, I still don't know anything about her.

"Do you wanna stop?" Laila asked, tearing Melissa out of her thoughts again.

"Mh?"

"The lesson. You don't look like you're having fun." Laila was stating the obvious, and Melissa instantly felt bad about giving away such an impression.

"I'm sorry. I'm just not good with all the terms. Maybe you can explain it a little easier." She politely smiled a little embarrassed.

The raven-haired girl tipped her chin with her index finger before answering. Melissa found the thinking-position quite cute, but didn't say anything. "Let me show you then."

"Alright. Sounds good." Not really knowing what she had to expect of that statement, Melissa grabbed the cue once more. She went over to the table, making herself ready for another shot.

"Okay, bend over like you did before." Laila said while walking past her. Melissa patiently waited for more instructions, but was also afraid to turn around. She figured that Laila might stand right behind her, and somehow it made her a little uncomfortable. Suddenly she heard the other girl cough slightly. "You need to twist your hips a little more to the right." The husky voice suddenly sounded a little insecure.

Melissa now had clarity that the girl was standing right behind, probably focusing on her backside. "Like that?" She gulped while repositioning.

"No, more like…" Laila paused for a second before she added. "Excuse me…"

Melissa stopped breathing for a moment when she felt two hands on her hips. She knew it was Laila, and she knew it shouldn't be a problem but somehow her body was acting awkwardly. It wasn't even a real touch. It was more as if the hands only very lightly touched the fabric of her skirt. Still Laila managed to direct her with the feather-like touch. "Bend over a little further and try to concentrate on the cue ball first." The girl behind her said lowly.

"Okay…" Melissa suddenly felt as if she couldn't grab one clear thought at all. She was seriously worried now if she had been drugged or something.

"Bring your hand as close to it as possible."

"Bring hand as close as possible. Understood." Her voice sounded almost robot like as she somehow got lost by feeling the heat of the body behind her burning through her clothes.

"Have you found your balance-point yet?" Laila asked still talking very quietly.

"I'm not sure…"Melissa words were only a breath since her head started to feel dizzy thanks to the loss of oxygen.

"You're holding the cue slightly wrong. In fact, you're gripping the butt too loosely."

"Excuse me?" Melissa's head shot around with a shocked expression on her face.

"Your hand…" Laila pointed at the right hand of hers that was holding the cue. "It's not properly holding the end of the stick, which is called the 'butt' in pool terms." Laila said, using her teaching voice again.

"Yeah sure. Of course, I know." I am making such an idiot out of myself. It's ridiculous. Melissa turned, shaking her head in disbelief. "You're really making me sweat." She mumbled to herself.

"Mh?"

"Nothing. Forget it." Seriously, what is wrong with me? No! Actually it's not me but those perverted billiard terms. Who on earth thought of such a glossary for a harmless bar game? I bet it was a man. Her gaze wandered to Greg and the rest of the 'round of men', finding them covered in smoke with shot glasses in their hands. It definitely was a man.

"Have you aimed yet?" The girl behind her asked, stopping Melissa from watching the group any longer.

"Yes."

"Good. Shoot." It sounded like an order and so Melissa willingly obeyed. Sadly, she wasn't aiming at all. There were too many thoughts in her head that had kept her from targeting the cue ball right, and so she only scratched the cue ball.

"Ugh, I guess I'm no good." She explained her failure with a sigh and a sad smile as she turned around to her supposed teacher.

"I don't think so. Let's give it another try, or do you give up so easily?" The emerald eyes were deeply staring into hers, and Melissa felt that this wasn't an ordinary question. It sounded like a challenge, and she didn't want to disappoint her opposite. After all, she could be very persistent if she wants something.

"No." She said with certainty.

"Good! Then turn around and focus."

"Yes, ma'am." Melissa chuckled about the serious commands.

"I mean it. It's all about concentration." Laila said underlining her previous statement. Melissa wanted to fire back a witty comment, but was silenced by Laila's hand touching hers. First at the end of cue and then she felt how the girl bend over her back, laying her other hand over Melissa's left too.

"See, my movements are the same as yours." Laila whispered next to her ear.

Indeed… Melissa couldn't say anything. She was too stunned by the action, by the closeness, by the breathing on her back that sent a shiver down her spine, and the radiant heat that spread from her stomach throughout her whole body.

"And now with a little more concentration it'll work out." Laila breathed again, moving the cue along with Melissa's hand towards the aim. Two balls disappeared in the pockets with a small thud.

"Wow, I'm impressed. You're really talented." Melissa said after Laila had pulled away, which gave her room to come back to her senses.

"It's not about talent. If you have the right teacher and play often enough, everyone can become good at it." The raven-haired girl mumbled modestly.

"So, who was that great teacher in your case?" The question wasn't meant to sound inquisitive at all. It slipped out of her mouth almost accidentally. But the following silence from the other girl let her regret it instantly.

"My father…" The words that finally broke the awkward silence also triggered the lonesome look that Melissa had seen before she came back to table. The turmoil in those deep green eyes was almost tangible. She thought about asking her what was wrong, but somehow the look also gave away the feeling of not wanting to go into any more detail. Still Melissa felt guilty about crossing a line, and she felt the need to tell the other girl that she was sorry. Just when she took a breath to voice her thoughts, a figure stumble into her field of vision.

"If that isn't my sweetheart." Greg babbled before he embraced the chestnut-haired girl, pulling her in for a passionate kiss.

"You have quite the alcoholic breath, darling." Melissa noted with a slightly disgusted look on her face.

"I know. The boys and I had some beers." His voice was slightly slower than usual. Melissa knew this state very well. Greg might be very good at controlling his voice, but she could see that he had should have missed out on the last beer.

"I can see…and smell that. Where's Tom?" She asked, sounding a little annoyed.

"Haha, he wasn't feeling so well and disappeared in the restrooms." Grinning like an idiot, Greg tightened his grip around Melissa's waist again.

Without saying anything Laila suddenly stormed off. Melissa repressed the sudden urge to go after the girl, but still struggled herself free from the arms of her lover.

"Can we go home?" Greg asked, suddenly sounding very tired.

"Of course, but let's wait for Laila and Tom to return. Maybe we could share a cab." Her eyes were scanning the bar for the whereabouts of the biker-girl and her friend Tom, but she couldn't find them. Maybe she's looking for him in the restrooms…

"Melissa, sweetheart. They're old enough and here by bike. They'll get home without us." Her boyfriend started to get a little annoyed by the delay, and started to drag her towards the exit.

"But Laila did have two beers."

"Do you really think a chick like her gets knocked out by two beers? Seriously, she has more balls than Tom does."

"I don't think I like you when you're drunk." It was said with a smile, but right now she wasn't sure if it really was meant in a funny way.

"Well, I know that I love you when I'm drunk…and when I'm sober…and always." He kissed her again with an apologetic look on his face. "So, let's go outside and take a cab." He whispered into her ear.

"Okay…" Melissa finally gave in after turning around once more, still not finding what she was looking for. Whatever that is…

"Tom will be alright. Stop worrying. Laila will take care of him. Tom told me she might appear icy, but actually she can be really caring. Of course, she would never admit that. I think Tom might finally have found someone that makes him happy."

"I see…"