“Matt!”Natalie yelled, as he pushed her out of the way.“You’re cheating!That’s a foul.”
“Cry baby,” he said, scoring a three-pointer.“Victor!”
“More like ‘Cheater!’” Natalie grumbled.
“Come on, Nat, don’t be a sore loser,” Matt said, putting his arm around her shoulders.
“Eww!Someone needs to hit the showers,” Natalie said, scrunching up her nose.
“I could say the same for you.”
“But you wouldn’t, because it’d be rude.”
“Look who’s talking.”
“It’s a good thing I like you, Buddy, because if I didn’t…”
“If you didn’t what?”
“You’d be horribly deprived.”
“Of course,” Matt said smiling.“I think I’ll go take that shower now.”
“Good idea,” Natalie said heading towards the apartment that she shared with her four best friends.Alysa’s the studious one.She has dark brown hair and chocolate brown eyes.Bry is the musician.She
has red hair and gorgeous turquoise eyes.Taylor’s the singer.She has blond hair and sky blue eyes.Then there’s Monica.She’s the poet and artist of the group.She has dark blue eyes and caramel
colored hair.Natalie’s the sporty girl.She has dirty-blond hair and hazel eyes.
Natalie jumped into the shower, and then she put on her bathing suit.She pulled her sheer blue skirt and tank top on.She had a date with another “mystery man.”Nick, her twin brother, had set it
up.He told her that the guy was “perfect” for her.Natalie didn’t think that she needed a guy, but everyone else in her life, besides Matt, thought she did.She threw her hair up into a ponytail and
grabbed her sunglasses.She slipped on her flip-flops.Then she hopped into her pink sports car and headed to the beach.
Michigan was pretty warm this time of year, but Natalie always kept a sweatshirt in her car just in case.
When she got to the beach, she spread her towel on the sand by the lifeguard station.She looked around wondering who this “perfect guy” could be.It can’t be Tony since he’s dating Alysa.Brad’s
dating Monica.Alex’s dating Bry.That leaves only…no...he wouldn’t.Natalie spun around.Matt!
“Hey, Nat, what are you doing here?”
“Uh, I could ask you the same thing.”
“I’m here to meet my ‘perfect girl.’Your brother set me up,” he said, moving his head so that his blond hair shimmered.
Natalie’s world was spinning.The trees that lined the beach were moving too fast.Matt’s my best friend.It’d never work.What was Nick thinking?
“Nat?Natalie?Are you okay?” Matt asked, concern written all over his face.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“So what are you doing here?”
“Nick set me up to meet my ‘perfect guy.’”
“Looks like we both got stood up.”
“Yeah, looks like it.”
“Unless…no your brother, my best friend, wouldn’t do that, would he?”
“He wouldn’t set us up, would he?”
“I-I don’t know,” she said.The world was still spinning, although it was slower than before.
“We’re best friends.Best friends don’t go on dates with each other.Do they?”
“You’re full of questions.”
“Answer this one, please.”
“I don’t know.Nick probably wasn’t thinking.He just wants us to be happy.”
“Well, we could give it a try.”
“Do you want to?” he asked.A vulnerable look crossed his face that Natalie had never seen before.
“Well, I don’t know.What about our friendship?”
“Natalie, I’m twenty-three and you’re twenty-two.We’re not kids anymore.”
“Okay, let’s give it a try.”
Matt pulled her into a hug.“It’ll all work out.”
I hope you’re right, Natalie thought. “So are you up for a swim?”
“Last one in is a loser.”
“Can’t you think of anything more creative?”
“Sure, they’re a chicken.”
“Oh, yeah.That’s original.”
“Hey, be nice to me.”
Natalie started down the sand.Matt, whose legs were longer, caught up to her easily.They ran into the water at the exact same time.
“So what are we?” Matt asked.
“Ha, ha.No, really.Are we both chickens?”
“Sure.So are we dating?”Natalie asked, while she floated on the water.
“Yeah, I guess you could say that.”
“So are you my boyfriend?”
“Sorry, I’m new to this. I’ve never had a boyfriend before.”
“Oh, yeah.I forgot.”
Natalie stood up and put her hands on her hips.“I’m your best friend.You should remember everything.”
“I have a selective memory.”
“Like hearing,” Natalie mumbled under her breath.
“What was that?”
“Nothing.It’s cold.I’m going up.”
“Come back here and tell me.”
“Dude, you used my middle name.You must be ticked.”
“Natalie, you’re pushing.”
“Nice,” she said smirking.She pulled her towel around her shoulders.The sun had started to set.“It’s beautiful.”
“Yeah,” Matt said.He wasn’t watching the sunset though.He had eyes only for Natalie.
She turned around.“What?Do I have something on my face?Seaweed?Mud?”
“No, everything’s perfect.”
She smiled but was still confused.He just smiled and put his arms around her, and they watched the sunset.
When they were going to their cars, Matt said, “We would have saved gas if your brother would have told us that we were going on a date.”
“Yes, but that would have ruined the surprise.”
Matt turned her towards him.“No matter what, always remember that I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Matt leaned in toward her and brushed a kiss on her forehead.“Forever,” he whispered.
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