Love on Skates
by Kelly F. Barr
Melissa pulled into the driveway of Lainey’s parents’ home at 5:30 p.m.
“Melissa’s here. See you later.” Lainey called as she grabbed her jean jacket and headed out the door.
Melissa grinned as Lainey got in the car. “This is going to be so much fun!”
“I just hope I don’t fall more than skate. It’s been a few years since I’ve gone rollerskating.”
“Well, Scott’s going to be there, and maybe … you’ll meet someone special tonight.”
“Melissa, what have you done?”
“What do you mean?”
Lainey raised an eyebrow. “Please tell me you aren’t trying to set me up on another one of your blind dates. I told you after the last one, I’m never doing that again. That guy never said more than ‘hi’ to me all night.”
Melissa scowled. “As I recall, you didn’t make an effort to talk to him either.”
“The guy was a farmer. I don’t have anything against farmers, but I don’t know anything about farming. I had no idea what to talk about. It seemed all he and Scott wanted to talk about was tractors.”
“Okay, okay. I’ll admit, it wasn’t a good fit. But…”
“No! No buts. No more blind dates.”
“It won’t be a blind date. You’re going skating with me, and he’ll just happen to be there.” Melissa grinned at her again.
At the skating rink, Lainey put on her skates. When she stood, her legs were about as stable as a newborn colt’s. She skated back and forth, outside the main rink, to try to gain her sea legs.
As her legs grew steadier, she entered the main circle, but stayed on the outer edge, away from the experienced, faster skaters.
Others, including Melissa, flew past her over and over. Melissa smiled and gave a little wave every time she passed, but Lainey focused on keeping her balance.
When the rink announcer called the first couples’ skate, Lainey aimed herself toward one of the main rink exits. As she rolled to the exit, she noticed a group of young men just on the other side. She had never learned how to stop properly using her skate stoppers, so she hoped she could just glide past them.
However, one of her wheels caught on the little lip that separated the two circles, and she lost her balance. As she fell forward, her blue-green eyes met the blue ones of a young, very good-looking blond male, and a spark of something other than fear and embarrassment shot through her as their gaze connected. She put her hands out to brace her fall, but the blond moved to catch her.
Her hands landed squarely on his firm pectoral muscles, and heat flooded her cheeks. She jerked her hands from his chest as if she’d been burned. “I’m so sorry.”
The handsome blond grinned. “Don’t be. I kind of like having a pretty girl fall for me.”
“I … I wasn’t… I didn’t mean to.”
“Would you like to join me on the main rink?” His hands were still on her hips. “I’ll keep hold of your hand. I won’t let you fall.”
Lainey placed her hands on his and removed them from her hips, released one, and held the other. “Okay. What’s your name?”
“Kaeden Phillips, and yours?”
“Ah, you’re the one I’ve been waiting to meet.”
“Wait … what?” She looked at him and blinked. “Wait, you know Melissa?”
“Hm-hm, indeed I do. I’m so glad you were able to come skating with her tonight.”
The music and couple’s skate ended. Kaeden brought her to a smooth stop at one of the main rink exits. “Would you like to go to the snack bar for something to drink?”
Kaeden helped Lainey settle in a chair then went to the counter to order their drinks.
He returned, placed their drinks on the table, and took the seat across from her. “Are you planning on going away to college after graduation?”
“No, my folks can’t afford it. Are you going to college?”
“I’m twenty-one. I work at a lumber yard.”
Melissa skated to their table. “Lainey, it’s 9:15.”
“Oh no, we need to go.” She struggled to get up, but fell back into her chair.
Kaeden stood, moved to her side of the table, and helped her up. “Lainey, what’s wrong?”
“I’m supposed to be home by 9:30. My mom has trust issues. She’s afraid I’m going to make the same mistakes she made when she was my age. If I’m late, I’ll get a lecture, and I’ll be lucky if she doesn’t ground me.”
Kaeden led her to a bench and loosened her skate laces. After changing to her shoes, she grabbed her jean jacket, and headed for the door.
“Wait … Lainey.” Kaeden skated after her and grabbed her arm. “Can I see you again?”
Lainey paused. She placed her hand on the side of his face. “Call me. My number is 252-7785.”
“I’ll call you tomorrow.”
Melissa caught up to Lainey in the parking lot and grinned. “So, you like Kaeden?”
“Does that mean I’m forgiven for the epic failed blind date?”
“Only if Kaeden actually calls me and takes me out.”
They grinned at each other, then Melissa pulled onto the road.