It was an ordinary spring day, with a crowd forming outside the Staples Center while waiting to get inside to their seats. It was a Lakers home game, sold out, playoffs against the Spurs. Los Angeles was feeling beautiful as two girls stood patiently, shuffling their feet as the line moved forward.
“Remind me why we are here again.” Parker looked at her best friend, who currently had her back to her. They had both recently moved to California from Texas, hoping to find a new life after high school. Both of them were only eighteen years old, but ready for something new and exciting. “Taylor?” Parker poked her quickly to get her attention.
“What?” Taylor spun around as Parker raised her eyebrows at her.
“What were you looking at?” Parker laughed, looking forward at the boys who were standing right in front of them. “Nice. Very cute, but I was asking why we are here. I guess I have my answer.” Taylor rolled her eyes.
“We are here to meet people, to get out, and to have a good time! It’s an LA thing, right? We need to learn how to fit in.” Taylor had been planning for years to break out and make a change for them and had a whole list of things she wanted them to do together. Parker felt like she was more along for the ride. She knew it was better here than going out to a sketchy club on a Saturday night, but she had never been a fan of basketball. Much less had she ever been a fan of Los Angeles basketball, before last month she had never been to California in her life. Now she was living there.
“Right.” Simply put. “You know, technically I should be for San Antonio, being from Texas an all.” Taylor shot her a death glare, shushing her immediately.
“Are you out of your mind?” Taylor pulled her forward in the line as they neared the entrance. “That is not what I call fitting in.” It’s not that she didn’t like it here; she just didn’t feel part of the L.A. lifestyle. Everyone was so perfect and she, well, wasn’t.
Standing just two inches taller than her five foot one friend, they were both falling on the short end of the ladder. Parker had gone a little crazy with the “change” recently and decided to chop her dark auburn hair short, which she hated. Though it was just above her shoulders, the texture was wavy and just didn’t get along well with being short, or so she thought. She envied Taylor’s long curly black hair at the moment. She looked around to all the girl’s as tan as can be and then down to her own skin. It had a sun-kissed glow, unlike Taylor who was as pale as a sheet. She felt thankful for that at least. Though, Taylor’s stunning blue eyes stood out and Parker had to deal with her mediocre hazel, which on most occasions just looked like another shade of poop. They were both pretty petite and if it weren’t for that Parker was pretty sure they’d have eating disorders by now. A beautiful model-esque woman walked by them and Parker looked down at her chest through her band t-shirt. She’d always wished she could pull off the vintage 70s inspired look or something out of a magazine, but she was pretty sure she was doomed to stick to sneakers instead. Taylor on the other hand rocked sundresses like she was Swift.
Parker’s mind had begun wandering as much as Taylor’s eyes were, not realizing that the line had moved forward. Before she knew it someone had walked right into her, knocking her off balance and out of her trance. “What the hell?” She remarked, instinctively.
“My bad,” is all she heard as she looked up at a group of laughing boys. It was a good thing these were very good looking boys, or was it? Parker regained her posture, watching one of them playfully slug the one that had run into her from behind. “I just noticed the line was moving, I didn’t notice you weren’t.” They all laughed again, mumbling obscenities to themselves. She tried to force a smile, but at the moment she just felt humiliated.
“It’s fine.” She mumbled under her breath, feeling her face flush.
“No, no it’s not. You don’t hit a pretty lady and don’t apologize, where are your manners?” Another boy moved his way in front of them and shielded Parker as he turned towards them again, staring them down to the best of his ability. She laughed to herself. Who was this pretty lady he was talking about? Taylor, noticing something was going on, turned around to join the conversation.
“What is going on?” She asked Parker, checking out the boy in front of them. She smirked.
“Yeah, he’s hot, but I have no idea what’s going on.” Honestly, she really had no idea.
“Whatever, dude.” The boy remarked as he and his friends wandered back further in the line, another boy replaced them to stand next to the one who had stood up for her.
“Are there any bad looking guys in Los Angeles?” Parker covered her mouth. As soon as she let it slip she couldn’t believe she said it. Taylor couldn’t believe she’d said it either. The boys just laughed at her.
“I’m Travis,” he said, extending a hand in her direction. “I am sure you could find a few if you looked hard enough.” Parker’s eyes had glazed over by now, staring directly at the boy standing behind him. She wasn’t sure why, but she couldn’t keep her eyes off of him. Travis was not bad looking by any means, probably moreso than this other boy, but he was entrancing her nonetheless. Taylor pushed Parker to the side.
“I’m Taylor. We are from Texas, we just moved here. Excuse her, she’s a little shy.” She shook his hand, as he laughed at Parker completely ignoring him. She snapped out of it again.
“I am so sorry, here you are defending my honor and you don’t even know my name. I’m Parker.” She really did mean it; she didn’t want to seem ungrateful. She took his hand and shook it forcefully, but her eyes never deferred from the other boy. She could tell he was starting to notice her attention on him, his cheeks starting to blush. She shook her head, trying to make herself stop, but she just couldn’t. Travis continued to laugh at her.
“This is Kevin, one of my band mates and best friends.” A smile formed across her face, instinctively. “You know, the guy you keep staring at.” The smile quickly faded. They all carried on with the laughing and she started to feel humiliated again. Kevin extended his hand to her cautiously, but this time she felt timid. She reached out, gently placing her hand in his. She wasn’t sure why she was so spellbound by him, but even his touch had chills running down her spine.
“Nice to meet you.” He smiled at her and the entire world stopped turning. “I’m actually from Texas too.” Her eyes lit up at his voice.
“Did you say band mate?” Taylor asked Kevin, trying to keep a conversation going and make friends with these pretty boys.
“Yeah,” Travis was still amused by Parker, but he put his attention back on Taylor. He knew he’d lost Parker the moment Kevin walked up. “We are in a group called NLT.”
“Oh, I have heard of you.” Taylor lied. She figured she might have to embellish a tiny bit if she were going to make fast friends, after all the line was still creeping towards the front entrance.
“Have you really?” Travis called her out, her face immediately turning a dark shade of red, with her skin tone making it very obvious she was caught off guard. She began to shake her head, but Parker interrupted.
“I actually have.” Parker saved her.
“Have you really?” Taylor parroted Travis’ question, she was shocked. Parker, not releasing her grip from Kevin’s hand, turned to Travis and Taylor.
“Yeah, I actually was trying to get acquainted with L.A. music and heard that song on the radio. Karma?” Kevin and Travis’ eyes both lit up.
“That’s right.” Kevin said to her, also not releasing his grip from her hand, neither of them even realizing that they were glued to each other at this point. Parker turned back to look into his eyes again and felt as though she’d fell in love already. Her heart squeezed, making it hard for her to even breathe, let alone speak any more. She was wondering intently if he could feel this too. He wouldn’t look away from her, either, he must.
“So, where are your other band mates?” Taylor asked, not passing up any opportunity for more cute boys.
“They just called and said they couldn’t make it actually, they’re meeting up with some friends instead. We just got back home from touring, so there’s lots of last minute plans for the weekend. We were given four tickets though...” He started to trail off, not sure how to ask these two girls he just met to sit with them. He was usually pretty smooth, but probably off his game from bouncing from one girl to the next in all of a few minutes. Kevin was feeling quite on his game though as he held tightly to Parker’s hand, flashed her that smile again, and pushed in front of the other two.
They had made it to the front of the line as Kevin gave his two tickets and without a word pulled Parker with him inside. She walked a cloud behind him, still not speaking or even thinking clearly as she looked back at Taylor and shrugged. Taylor looked back to Travis, confused.
“Apparently our best friends get along, I think we will too.” He motioned for her to walk in front of him, which she obliged. Travis gave his two tickets and led her to their courtside seats.
“Holy crap.” Taylor said, as they joined Parker and Kevin. They were engulfed in each other, not even aware that they had been reconnected with Taylor and Kevin. “These seats are crazy close.”
When the game started and the crowd hushed Kevin looked away and then back to Parker. He did this several times, various thoughts running through his head, before he finally spoke.
“You want to get out of here?” She was a little taken aback, being that she did pay money for her own tickets and was hoping to catch a glimpse of what the hype was all about, but she couldn’t deny that she was drawn to this man. For whatever reason, he was beautiful to her. She thought for a second, looking to Taylor, who was wide-eyed and motioning her away, then back to Kevin. He had never let go of her hand, now rubbing his thumb gently in her palm. No words could make her feel the way his fingers intertwined in hers did. Her heart was going wild. Her heart was going wild for a boy she didn’t know. This was crazy. But staring into those blue eyes, feeling things she’d never felt before, she couldn’t say no. She felt like that girl in the movie who tries to sum up all her feelings in two hours, which should have all been done in several years. This was irrational. This was ridiculous. This was… fun. She nodded her head fiercely, letting her smile cover her face completely; a smile that much mimicked the one on his. He shot Travis a glare and that’s all it took, they were off into the night.