Hello! Thanks to my editor, Becca (unfld), and thank you to everyone else who has been following Scout and Josh’s journey. We have four more chapters after this. Please click the <3 on the top of the screen to show me you’re reading or send me a message! I love you all.
“Please tell me you have good news,” I said ardently as Josh steps through the cream colored door frame of his physical therapist’s office. I have been waiting on him for at least an hour now.
He shook his head and my face fell, “Josh, I’m so sorry,” I pull him in tight for a hug.
“Guess who can officially drive,” he smiles and pokes me in the stomach.
“What?! That’s wonderful!” I beam.
“I’m still going to miss you,” I roll my eyes, “Well, why don’t we go celebrate?” I offer and we start walking towards the exit.
“Sounds great. What did you have in mind?” He opens the door for me as we step into the brisk air.
“No fucking way,” Josh snatched them out of my hand, “This is so awesome. I swore my season tickets expired.”
“I guess not. So, are you in?”
“You and basketball? Of course. However, I do have one condition,” he wraps his arm around my shoulder, pulling me in close.
“And what would that be?” I lower my eyes at him.
“Fine,” I threw my keys at him, “Just don’t crash it, you already have to pay for that damaged telephone pole you destroyed. No need to add anything else to the list.”
“Oh, be quiet,” Josh unlocks my car and opens the door for me to hop in.
“Did I tell you the Catching Fire premiere is in a few days?” Josh tapped his thumb
“You didn’t mention it,” I gaze out the window, “Are you excited?”
“I think I’m more nervous than anything,” a constrained laugh slips out of his mouth.
“You? Josh Hutcherson is nervous? You have got to be kidding me,” I turn to him and laugh, “You’ve done this hundreds of times. You’ll be wonderful as always, Mr. Mellark.”
“I don’t even know what I’m wearing and I have to write a speech. I have procrastinated so much. My Mom and Connor are coming down too. If I was prepared for all of this, I’d be fine. I’ve hardly seen anyone besides you and my doctors in a month.”
“Well, at least you won’t need to be wheeled down the red carpet,” I grin, “You’re going to be fine. You’re healthy and your family will be there to support you. You have nothing to worry about.”
It only took about twenty minutes to reach the stadium from the doctor’s office. It was ridiculously crowded. I could feel a gut-wrenching tension in my stomach form after every whisper Josh and I received as we walked through the crowd. Luckily, our tickets were courtside, so we didn’t have to deal with too many of his fans.
“Wow, I haven’t been to a game in months,” Josh says as he reclines back in his chair.
“I haven’t been to one since I was fifteen,” I state, “It feels like forever ago.”
“Yeah, you were. Atticus got recognized by photographers in the parking lot and we couldn’t even drive away because the reporters surrounded his car. I swore I would never come back,” I inhale deeply.
“I’m trying to face my fears,” I shrug, “There isn’t a point in hiding from them.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re trying,” he smiles, “You are the only person I would want to celebrate my brand new ability to drive.”
The Lakers were winning by a long shot. The orange ball seemed to be stuck on one side of the court throughout the entirety of the game. Josh watched intently, hooting and hollering when deemed fit. The timer was dwindling down at the end of the fourth quarter. In unison, all of the fans began counting down until the numbers on the screen read 0000 and a obnoxious buzzer rang throughout the stadium.
The crowd rose to their feet and cheered in honor of the victory. The timer turned into a video screen, showing different projections of decked out Lakers fans around the stadium. An elderly couple popped up on the screen and the infamous “Kiss Cam” border surrounded them. Their faces erupted into wide grins and they gently pressed their lips together for the crowd.
”Aw, that’s sweet,” Josh’s gaze stayed fixed on the screen.
”I know,” I smiled, “Do you want to head out?”
I knelt down to hoist my purse onto my shoulder and stood back up to leave. A tapping on my shoulder caused me to turn around behind me. A man of about forty wearing purple and gold face-paint sat behind me, “Sweetheart, you’re on the cam,” he slurred.
“What are you talking about?” I sneered and whipped my body around to find a gigantic projection of Josh and my own face, surrounded by “X’s” and “O’s.
“Oh,” Josh shook his head, addressing the bystanders, “We aren’t together.”
Ignoring him, a series of voices shouted out the word, “Kiss!”
“We’re only friends,” Josh yelled this time while I bit my tongue.
“For crying out loud,” the same man garbled, “Just kiss the poor girl.”
“You know what?” Josh looked at him, “Fine.”
With force, he pulled me into him. His lips met my own with such passion that I didn’t ever want to go away. Fireworks shot up in my spine, leaving a prickle of adrenaline racing through my entire body. I reached for the nape of his neck, deepening the kiss. However, in that instant he retreated back to himself, leaving me cold and needy.
The crowd broke out in a series of applause and whistles. Josh’s complexion was pallid and tense.
“We can go,” I walked past Josh without even looking him in the eye.
“Afraid I’m going to crash the car?” He laughs and resided in the passenger seat.
“I just wanted to drive,” I said blankly and shifted the gear into reverse. Striking on the gas pedal, I whipped through the parking lot.
“Are you just going to act like that didn’t happen?” I clutch the steering wheel tightly.
My mouth turned into a firm line and I pulled to the rightest side of the road, easing into my brakes. I clutched the gear into park and crossed my arms, “Okay, what now?”
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