Bryan called a few minutes after I'd caught my breath and composed myself.
"Hey, it's Bryan. I'll be there in 10 minutes, cool?"
"See you then!"
Bryan lived around the corner, so we switched off who would get tanked on kickball nights and who would drive. Every time I was the designated driver for the night, he kept track of my alcohol intake and when he thought I'd had enough he'd say, "Umm, hello! Precious cargo, here!" Precious was right. The kid was fucking adorable. He looked just like Kevin Walker on Brothers & Sisters with those big blue eyes and curly brown hair. He always got mad when I said that because Kevin Walker is the gay brother on the show, and Bryan does in fact like the ladies.
"Well, so much for dinner, right?" Cayden said, laughing as he helped me peel myself off of him.
"That was SO much more satisfying than dinner," I said, holding onto the side of the bed for balance because my legs hadn't regained their full strength. "We'll just grab something to eat at the bowling alley."
Ten minutes gave us just enough time to shower, but not enough time to do anything fun in the shower, which was probably a good thing considering the fact that by the time Bryan got there my knees still shook a little when I bent them. How was it possible I could run a 5K just fine, but one successful ride on top and I walking like Bambi fresh out of the womb?
Cayden hopped in the front seat and shook Bryan's hand in greeting. They'd met at the Halloween party and the brunch the weekend before. I sat in the backseat on the way there and sang off-tune to every song that came on to annoy the boys. At one point I asked an Asian kid in the Honda next to us if he wanted to race. He didn't.
"Do they have bowling in England?" Bryan asked. "That's probably a dumb question..."
I'd asked the same question an hour earlier.
"We do. It's not that big of a sport there, though," Cayden said.
I wondered if Cayden thought bowling was a low-class sport compared to cricket and polo or whatever they hell they play over there. Then I got to the bowling alley and looked around at the clientele. Of course it was a low-class sport! And it's awesome! It's the only game you can play while you're pounding pitchers of beer. Well, except for kickball of course.
I loved bowling. Well, I take that back. I only loved bowling when I was good at it. I had my good days and my bad days. I'd taken bowling as a class in college my senior year, along with pilates, weight training, and art therapy (see: finger painting). Rough semester, eh? One day in class I bowled six strikes in a row. It was beautiful. I hoped I was on my A-game while Cayden was there.
We found the rest of my team in the bar (big surprise), huddled around a long table and pitchers of beer.
"I thought I'd find yall here," I said. "Glad to see we're not wasting any time on the drinking front."
"Joey shotgunned a beer in the parking lot!" Cate yelled, pointing a finger at Joey, living up to the nickname on the back of her jersey: Shit stirer.
"Maddie did, too!" Joey said, pointing across the table at Maddie.
"Ah, it's the elusive Cayden! We finally meet!" Maddie said, shaking Cayden's hand. They'd met once before on the webcam, but this was their first in-person meeting. I introduced Cayden to everyone else he hadn't met yet. We joined the table and Maddie threw an extra Teammates with Benefits shirt to Cayden.
I had a flashback to my spine-collapsing orgasm less than an hour before and found our team name quite fitting for him. I also liked the way it stretched across his chest when he put it on. I wanted to rip it off of him and have Mind-Blowing-Orgasm-Take-2.
"Have you ever bowled?" Maddie asked. "Like, do they have that there?"
Bryan and I snickered and said, "Duhhh!" Even though we'd both already asked.
"I have played, but bowling isn't as popular there," Cayden explained, yet again.
"Ready to play?" Wally asked. Wally was a CPA by day, and a hard-core recreational-sports athlete by night. But he was better known as Coach Lady Fingers. Don't ask why.
We grabbed our pitchers of beer and sweaty rental shoes and took over three lanes. On my lane: me, Cayden, Bryan, and both Joeys. We looked like a legit bowling team with our matching T-shirts. I was glad our team name wasn't sport-specific, because I'd originally come up with the name for our softball team. But luckily for us, it carried over into kickball and bowling, too.A few of my teammates had brought friends or wives, so they didn't match, but they looked like our groupies. In fact, Nelly (a girl on my team who also went to OU) had a friend there who just happened to be wearing a "I <3 British Boys" printed Tee. Her face turned dark red when she heard Cayden's accent. What were the chances? (Cayden was flattered)
The bowling and drinking went into full force. Pitcher after pitcher of cold beer made their way to our tables, along with cans of beer (that Cate snuck in) and tiny cup after tiny cup of Jell-o shots.
Cayden was on a roll with the strikes and spares. If he were as good at bowling as he was at drinking games, I was fucked. But luckily, I was on my A-game, and Cayden and I were neck and neck.
"Hey, do they even have bowling in England?" (Mexican) Joey asked, obviously tardy to the party. (Decided I'm going to have to start identifying the Joeys separately. So from here on out, you'll see Mexican Joey or Hawaiian Joey.)
We all stared at him and rolled our eyes dramatically.
"Well, I didn't know!" Joey said, getting defensive.
Just then, my stomach growled and I realized we hadn't had dinner.
"Babe, are you hungry? I'm starving," I said.
"Yes. Yes I suppose I am quite hungry. I'll go get us some food."
He came back with another pitcher and a heaping tray of chips, smothered in nacho cheese and jalapenos. Let me just say, there are nachos, and there are NACHOS. And these were NACHOS. They tasted like the kind you'd get at a ballpark. Spicy, delicious, cheesy, messy, perfect mix of soggy and crunchy, NACHOS. Wash them down with a cold swig of beer, and that's what I call a well-balanced meal.
"Is it just me, or are these really good?" I said, licking cheese from my fingers. Then I gagged remembering my fingers had just been inside a disgusting used bowling ball. But did that stop me? No. Looking back, this may have been where I went wrong.
"They really are quite tasty."
It cracked me up that Cayden used the word "quite" where I would use "effin," "freakin," or "fuckin." I was such a lady.
We took turns bowling, drinking, and devouring the nachos. Three hours later, we'd polished off the nachos, and my team had emptied at least 12 pitchers of beer, and sucked down more than 50 Jell-o shots. OK, so maybe that's where I'd gone wrong.
I won every single game; Cayden and Hawaiian Joey taking turns at second. Rae had shown up later and joined our lane, so she and Mexican Joey took turns finishing dead last. But it didn't matter. We were all having a blast. No matter where we were, when Teammates with Benefits got together, we were bound to get shitfaced and messy. If we weren't licking cheese off bowling balls we were singing karaoke. And Cayden fit right in. It couldn't have been more perfect.
After a brief discussion about possibly relocating to a titty bar followed by a discussion of who was crashing on who's couch, (No one wanted to crash on mine because they knew Cayden and I would be having loud sex), we decided to call it a night. Bryan had cut himself off pretty early in the night, so he handled his precious cargo perfectly. He dropped us off at my apartment in one piece.
Cayden and I were both buzzed and I was on a winners' high.
"So, how does it feel to go home with the bowling champ?" I asked, hoping to initiate celebratory sex.
"It feels..." he said, running his hands up my stomach under my shirt, "amazing."
I flung myself down on my bed, ready for Cayden to ravage me, but suddenly the room got really hot. My blurred vision from the night of drinking turned into tunnel vision. And those weren't butterflies in my stomach. Or if they were, they were frantic jalapeno-flavored butterflies searching for an emergency exit: my throat.
"Umm... I don't feel so good..."