Notes and disclaimers: FNL owned by large corporate entities, not me. No profit garnered here ever. Thanks to Signe and svilleficrecs for awesome beta work. Title from Kristin Hersh.




BLUSH AND KNOCK YOUR KNEES



It was kinda tough for Matt, sitting in the back seat, trying to participate in the conversation. It was technically sort of his date, even if it was just a drive to the cheerleader thing.

"You were really named for Tom Landry," Julie said, laughing. "God, that's, I'm sorry, that's a little crazy."

"Maybe there's nothing crazy about naming your child after a great Texan," Landry said. There was probably a little sarcasm in the way he said it, but sometimes it was hard to tell.

"Could've been worse," Matt said.

"I could have been born two weeks ago and named for our Dallas Cowboys QB1," Landry said.

Julie laughed, louder this time. "Okay, that would be completely crazy. Seriously, that's, like, child abuse."

"Plus, he could suck next week," Matt said. He could sort of identify, back-up QB to back-up QB, but he wouldn't ever say that out loud, not even to Landry or Julie.

"Romo Clarke. You'd never get teased for that name." Landry glanced at Matt and then back at the road.

Matt said, "Like being named Lance, huh?"

"Yeah, Julie, could you say something to your father? I know I'm not one of his players or anything, but it's Landry. How hard is that to remember?"

She rolled her eyes, Matt could see in the mirror. "I'll get right on that." She turned around and winked at him. They'd spent the morning with her sitting as close to him as she possibly could and talking about football. She really liked driving him and her parents crazy at the same time. And his grandmother had walked out of her room three separate times so nothing had happened or would have. How it ever would, he had absolutely no idea.

*

The bathroom smelled and Matt didn't even want to think about why, but there was a sign on it about no one coming in because it was broke, so Julie decided it was perfect.

"Cause everybody likes, uh, broken bathrooms," he said.

"I'll take what I can get," she said. "We have an actual half hour. Landry's waiting in the car, I saw my parents pull away and I told them we were stopping for something to eat."

"We aren't?"

She jumped herself up onto the counter, by a dingy looking sink. He meant to say something but she grabbed his shirt and pulled him between her legs. She kissed him as her sneakers knocked against the back of his knees. "We aren't," she said. "We can't at my house or your house and we have thirty minutes. Twenty-eight now." She bit her lip a little and she had really straight teeth. "Did your parents name you after some football player? Matt Unitas or something?"

He wanted to laugh. "No. And it's Johnny Unitas." He could feel her relax a little.

"Sorry, I don't really pay attention. I couldn't think of any quarterbacks named Matt."

Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Leinart, he thought.

She somehow scooted closer to him and he worried she'd fall off the counter. "So Matt is just, what?"

"I think they just liked it." He tried to think of something to say but she was fiddling with his belt. Her fingers were almost like tickling when they grazed his stomach but it was completely different. No way he could think of anything. He kissed her instead.

"We're not going to," he said.

"Not, not that," she said.

"Right, alright." Which was kinda unfair because he guessed that meant that he wouldn't get to the end, that was the safest way to think of it with her right in front of him, kissing him, pushing up against him, her hands opening his jeans. It was different for girls. But he wasn't going to be an asshole, either. Just what she wanted even if he felt like he might just blow up right there in that stupid bathroom while she was feeling her way around.

But it turned out she did want him to get to the end. He was really glad they hadn't emptied the paper towel dispensers when they closed the room off.

*

Landry said, "So what do you two have planned for tonight? Do I need to have my limousine ready?"

"I've got to work," Matt said. First thing anyone'd said in ten minutes. He'd expected Landry to needle them about their thirty minutes in heaven or whatever stupid thing he'd call it as soon as they got in. But for once he'd kept his mouth shut. Julie just looked quiet.

"Working man," Landry said. "Okay then, I'll make my own plans."

Julie snorted. She looked up at the mirror at the same time Matt was looking and smiled at him. She said to Landry, "Do you have plans, really?"

"I do have plans. I'm going to start a band," Landry said.

"Tonight?" Julie grinned.

"Tonight," Landry said. "It'll be a day that goes down in history. We're going to be huge, like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and you're going to rue the day you didn't hitch your wagon to our star."

"If you're just starting tonight, I think she's got some time to hitch," Matt said.

"Good save," Julie said. This time she turned around and smiled. "I think I'd rather go by and see Matt tonight. You can start your super great band without an audience, right?"

"You weren't invited," Landry said. "Sorry, I know you're heartbroken."

"God, yes," she said. She laughed and said, "Sorry."

Then they were at Julie's house and she was already out the door before Matt could say anything. He opened his door to say goodbye and almost hit her. She was standing right there and then she was leaning in, hands on his shoulders, kissing him. "I'll try, uh, to come by tonight. But I think my parents will make me stay in," she said.

"It's okay," he said. He kissed her. He didn't even care that her parents were standing in the doorway already.

She said, "Ask him what he's going to name his band."

"Unitas," Matt said, right in her ear.

"Johnny Unitas," she said, pulling away. She was smiling. She waved and said, "See ya. Thanks for the ride, Landry," and then she was in the house.

"Get in the front seat, Matt," Landry said. "We're pulling away and even the great football coach of the Dillon Panthers can't hear all the way to my car. Tell me about your thirty minutes in heaven."

"I knew you'd call it that," Matt said. He sat in the front seat and thought he could almost smell something of Julie there. Like, her shampoo and the laundry detergent the Taylors used. "I'm not telling you anything."

"Fine, be that way," Landry said. "I'll get it out of you eventually."

"No, you won't." Matt tapped the dashboard. "So what are you going to call your band?"

"I realize you're changing the subject. But I am actually thinking of band names and your opinion could possibly help."

"Names matter," Matt said. He tugged his t-shirt further down and zipped up his jacket. "Come on, list away."

THE END


Back to Stories

Send feedback to k.