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Second Shot – The Senior Year: Chapter 29


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The enticing smell of fresh bread and marinara sauce struck Jason’s sense the moment he walked into La Scala’s. Several people waited in front of them, so he glanced around hoping Dean and Hanna had already been seated. He didn’t want a confrontation in the lobby.

Then again, having one in the main restaurant sounded worse. The couple in front of him gave their name and stepped aside. He approached the hostess stand and immediately recognized the woman staring intently at the book on the podium.

“Hi, Denise.”

“May I help you?” When she looked up from the book her all business expression was replaced by shock. “Jason! What happened to your eye?”

He raised his hand to his eye and noticed several people around them turn in his direction. “I got in the way of an elbow during the game today.”

“Wow, that must’ve hurt. It hurts me just looking at it.”

With her attention focused on him, Jason felt the heat building in his cheeks. “It looks a lot worse than it feels.”

“I hope you’re telling the truth, for your sake.” She scanned the waiting area. “Where’s Peter?”

Jason hitched a thumb over his shoulder. “He’s in the men’s room.”

Denise nodded and checked the page in front of her. “Erin moved things around so your table is next to your brother’s. They’re seated already.”

He tried not to frown. “Thanks.”

“What? That wasn’t what you wanted?”

“No, no. That’s great. I’m just not sure I want to be that close to my brother while he’s on a date is all.”

“A double date, how sweet.”

“Yeah, kinda.” Next time Peter suggested they do anything like this, he didn’t get to run off to the bathroom.

“Hey,” Smiling, Peter walked over and slid his hand into Jason’s. “Sorry to keep you waiting. I ran into Erin on the way back.”

Denise moved from behind the stand and gave Peter a hug. “Good to see you again. It’s been a while.”

“Yeah, well the trial was last week….”

“I know. The entire staff let out a cheer when she called to tell us the verdict.”

Jason watched Peter’s face closely looking for any sign of discomfort. Moving closer, he reconnected their hands and squeezed.

Denise lowered her eyes toward their wrists for a split second and smiled a bit wider. “Come on, let me take you to your table.”

Jason’s stomach churned as he noticed people staring at them as they walked through the restaurant. He’d gotten better about holding hands in public, but it still made him anxious. Of course it could be his eye. But the real issue for him was where they’d be sitting.

They rounded a corner and he saw the back of his brother’s head. Dean was seated across from a very pretty brown haired girl that had to be Hanna.

Focusing on her face, Jason watched her staring intently at their joined hands. Her lips pinched tighter and he felt like she was shooting daggers at them. From the way Peter’s hand gripped his, Jason assumed Peter saw her reaction too.

Dean twisted in his seat to see what captured his date’s attention and his face went from confused, to a smile that lasted barely an instant and finally into a frown. Jason met his brother’s angry glare briefly, and then looked ahead as Denise stopped in front of their table.

“Jason, what are you doing here?” Dean’s icy voice stung at Jason’s conscious.

“Having dinner. I told you Pete and I had plans.” He glanced at Peter and noticed his boyfriend had a laser locked focus on Hanna. He let go of Peter’s hand and held it out toward Hanna. “Hi. I’m Jason, Dean’s brother.”

Hanna’s eyes opened a bit wider and a fake smile appeared on her lips. “Oh wow, Dean talks so much about you.”

They shook hands briefly and Jason tried to make her insincere smile with one of his own. “Nice to meet you, too.”

“Dean told me about what happened to your eye. Does it hurt?”

“I’ve had worse. And it only hurts when I laugh, so I plan to be like one of those guards in England who never smile.”

She giggled, and it felt like the first honest reaction he’d gotten from her. “That’s funny.”

“Hanna, this is my boyfriend, Peter.” He stepped back and didn’t hear the exchange between the two.

Dean seemed tense as he watched Peter and Hanna exchange greetings. He snuck a glance at Jason and then quickly turned his attention to the menu.

Jason let the awkward exchange continued for a few more seconds before he spoke.

“Nice to have met you, Hanna,” he said, stepping closer to Peter hoping he’d get the hint. “We’ll leave you two alone.”

Peter moved first and surprised Jason when he took the seat on the same side as Dean. It only took a second for him to realize his boyfriend wanted to sit where he could see Hanna. His dinner date had turned into the nightmare he feared.

He felt Peter staring a hole in him, but Jason concentrated on the menu. If they had just stuck to his plans and gone somewhere else this wouldn’t have happened.

Their waiter came and started to fill the water glasses. The guy stopped pouring and raised his eyebrows when he saw Jason’s black eye. Without a word, he looked down and topped off Jason’s glass.

So far their night was off to an amazing start. The waiter, a smile back on his face, took their drink order and left. Jason finally looked at his date.

“Are you okay?” Peter reached across the table with his left hand.

Jason nodded as he laid his right hand in Peter’s. “Yep.”



“Didn’t think so.” Peter squeezed gently but never let go. “Are you mad at me?”

It took him a moment to sort out his feelings. “No, but I wish we’d gone somewhere else.”

“Then you’re mad.”

Keeping his voice down, he closed his eyes and shook his head. “No, not mad. I wish you’d been wrong and I guess I wished we didn’t have to ruin our night to find out.”

Peter added put his other hand on the table and Jason smiled as he took it. “It’s only ruined if we let it, Soccer Boy.”

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