I positioned the cue in a perfect line with the white ball, the eight, and the left corner pocket. I was so close to winning this game.
Only, I made the mistake of looking up for a second and froze.
For an immeasurable moment, I forgot to breathe.
How dare she come in here and ruin this game for me? Ah God, how dare she look so good?
It only took a second for the others to realize something had gone wrong, and they all turned to find my personal downfall standing in the doorway.
Lisa grimaced and played uncomfortably with the hem of her top. "Is something wrong?"
Everything was wrong. It always was with me when this girl was near. The day I had first seen Lisa Matthews, I'd tripped over the soccer ball and landed face first in the dirt.
And now, she'd cost me a fair sum if she didn't turn around and walk out so I could get my head back in the game.
No such luck. Justin rushed to her side, the grin of victory sitting fat on his face. "You just saved my life, Liz."
Lisa seemed a little surprised when Justin laid his arm around her shoulders and pulled her farther into the room.
I wanted to kick my best friend's ass at this moment because, for one, he knew I'd screw up with Lisa in the room and he was using that to his advantage.
And secondly, because he dared to lay his arm around my girl. He was going to pay for both later.
"Ah...yes." Lisa's gaze moved from Justin to me. "And how so?"
"Ryan can't play when someone is watching him," Justin stated the obvious. "Totally screws up then."
Her brows knitted together. "But you all are watching him."
The way she spoke to everybody else but looked only at me made me grin.
"Yeah, but we're not girls." That was Alex from the back of the room, and he certainly enjoyed selling me out. Bastards. Were they all against me tonight?
It was probably time to say something in my defense, to save my honor, but all I did was fix Lisa with a salacious stare as I straightened and chalked the tip of my cue.
"Sorry," she croaked. "I'll leave you guys alone then."
Justin didn't let her slip away. "Nuh-uh, no way! You're my insurance, darling."
His arm around her got mightily on my nerves, even though he made Lisa smile. And heck, she had the prettiest smile in all of Grover Beach.
One that conjured sweet dimples on her cheeks and made her pretty green eyes crinkle. One that made me lick my bottom lip, wanting nothing more than to kiss her.
And because she was still only gazing at me and nobody else as she smiled, I couldn't help that one corner of my mouth tilted up. I was in serious trouble.
Taking a deep breath, I leaned over the table once more. Everybody was tense and silent. They would've just loved to see me butcher this shot.
I cleared my throat, playing for more time, hoping for a miracle that would swipe Lisa out of the room this second. But she remained, and I couldn't stop looking at her.
Hard as I tried to concentrate on the balls in front of me, my gaze drifted up to her face time and time again.
Ah, to hell with it! This game was lost.
I dropped my forehead to the edge of the table and laughed. "Take your money, Justin. I give up."
The boys broke out in a rowdy cheer. Yeah, right, rub it in guys! But when I looked up, Lisa was still there capturing me with her gaze, and I knew it was totally worth it.