Foot on the Dashboard
*I do not have any rights to the music. It was just inspiration that I wanted to share with you.*
She didn't know it as she was getting ready to go out that night that Fate had a plan for her. This was supposed to be a night out to listen to a local band, have a few drinks, and spend some time with her girls.
She did her hair, her make-up. She was prepared for a fun night out. Maybe she'd meet up with a guy she was talking too, but that was not the main goal.
Jen showed up at Nova's hotel. They headed out to the bar that had the band playing. Jen didn't drink, so she was there to socialize and hang out. The good thing about an outside concert was there was room to move around inside the bar and out.
Jen and Nova cased the place, noting who was there, which friends they wanted to talk to. Jen found a group back from college, so she went her way and Nova decided to head to the bar. She ordered a beer. As she waited she looked around at the faces in the crowd. Jen was busy with a group of friends and that was perfectly fine.
As Nova looked to her left, she saw the guy she was talking to. He had texted saying he wasn't going to be there. He must have changed his mind and forgot to tell her. Nova didn't really want to see or talk to him right now.
She continued scanning the room. When she looked to the right there was a guy from her past. That relationship was cut short a few years ago. It's one of those relationships that if only the timing was different, it might have worked out.
What was Nova supposed to do? Should she go and say hi or just leave well enough alone? What if the guy she was talking to now saw her talking to an ex?
This was not how she thought the night would be. She just wanted to listen to the band, dance, hang out, and have a drink or two. When she got her beer she decided to make her way to the seats near the stage and wait for her favorite song to be played.
Something about the night seemed to be orchestrated by Fate. Two guys whom she had feelings for were there and she was confused. As soon as she sat down the song she was waiting for began to play. She got up to dance and that's when a guy grabbed her waist and began dancing with her. Surprised by this sudden action, she didn't fully take in the music. She was just staring into the eyes of this guy; the guy from her past.
Mateo must have seen her getting a drink or a seat. Whatever it was, he made the move. He came and found her. All she could think is Fate must have wanted to see how this would play out too. Would three years without seeing each other or talking to each other cause any changes between them? As he leaned in to kiss her, Fate must have known exactly what she was doing.
Three years ago, he showed up at her work. They knew each other, went to high school together, but hadn't really ever talked. That didn't stop Nova from smiling at him. To her surprise he smiled back. The butterflies began to erupt. She couldn't explain why now?
Nova was busy busing tables and she hadn't noticed Mateo had left. However, his friend Charlie came up to Nova and asked her what plans she had that night. Her usual plans after work was always a shower and then cuddle on the couch with the dogs, watching movies before heading to bed. But, she didn't say that. She said nothing. So, Charlie invited her out with them to get a couple drinks after work. Nova agreed, but only after she was able to go home, shower, and change.
So that night, Nova met Charlie and Mateo at the bar. They got a table and just started chatting. Mateo only had a few more days before he was heading to basic training. Nova was proud of him for deciding to serve. But, she knew long distance doesn't always work and a few days isn't really enough time to decide anything major on a relationship. Her hope to see why she got butterflies was beginning to fade.
If he's leaving, why did he have Charlie invite her out with them? Charlie mentioned when Mateo went to get the drinks that Mateo had wanted her to come out, but he was afraid to ask, plus Nova was busy at work and he had a couple of things to do before they went out that night.
So, Mateo likes Nova. Nova likes Mateo. But, both were heading off in two different directions in the days that followed. Fate had decided then this wasn't going to work. Had it been another time, maybe. Had only Nova known that.
It was becoming more and more obvious that something was happening between Mateo and Nova. As the night continued, there was a lot of talking and laughing. But, the space between them was growing smaller and smaller as Nova was leaning towards Mateo and Mateo had his arm on the back of her chair. Charlie left for a bit. He had seen some other friends and decided to give Mateo and Nova some time alone. As soon as he left, Mateo leaned in for a kiss. Nova was surprised, but she had very much wanted him to kiss her and that kiss was amazing. Nova knew she was a goner at this point. The butterflies were free and she forgot the fact he was leaving.
After a while, Charlie came back and asked if they wanted to go get some tacos. Since they hadn't eaten at the bar, both Mateo and Nova were hungry.
They headed to the only taco place in town that stayed open this late. Nova got a booth, while Mateo ordered the food. Food, however, had lost its appeal after the bar. All they wanted to do was make out. But, since they were in a public place with Charlie and some other people in the booth next to them, Mateo and Nova kept the chemistry contained.
At the bar, they had all agreed to go to Charlie's house to watch a movie. Now, with more people coming over that gave Mateo and Nova a chance to hang out together without Charlie feeling like the third wheel anymore.
Everyone finished their food and made their way to Charlie's house. Mateo and Nova sat in the corner, snuggled up together talking, kissing. All the while, neither spoke of the fact this was going to be short lived.
Finally, Mateo asked Nova into the bedroom to talk. Nova knew that wasn't the only thing he wanted to do in the bedroom. She had no intention of having sex that night. But, she went in because they did need to talk.
They kissed, they cuddled, but most importantly they talked. They talked about Mateo leaving and whether that was something Nova would be able to handle. Nova was still in college, so she was busy in her life too. They agreed after some tears and frustrating that they would spend what time they had together and when it was time to part, they would do so and continue on with their own lives.
Nova knew she couldn't stay there. She had work tomorrow and it was already past two o'clock in the morning. They left the room to people passed out on the couch and floor. Mateo walked Nova to her car. After one final kiss of the night, Mateo asked if she would see him tomorrow. She did. But, that dark cloud was hovering over them now. They weren't going to move forward and this was it.
They parted ways with a text saying goodbye. It was cowardly, but neither wanted to hurt the other. It was unspoken that they had to just end it. No long goodbyes. No crying in his arms again. Nothing. It would just be too much to handle. Nova went back to college and Mateo went his way.
Though the goodbye was something simple, that didn't stop Nova from thinking of Mateo often. As time passed she would question what if, but what ifs don't get you anywhere. They just weren't meant to be together.
So, here three years later, in the middle of the dance floor, holding a beer in one hand, the other on his shoulder, they were kissing. It was like no time had passed; nothing had changed. The butterflies knew this sensation and they knew a small piece of Nova's heart had always questioned where would they be if she had agreed to handle his deployment while she was in college. Mateo was the one that got away and tonight here he was. Nova wasn't going to let the opportunity pass her by.
They finally came up for air and she hugged him and he hugged her. Nova told him she had missed him all this time and asked how he was. He said seeing her made his night so much better. They went over to the seats and having only one available, Mateo sat down, pulled Nova into his lap, and back to kissing. He was holding her as close as possible to his body. She was completely oblivious to the world around her. She had missed most of her favorite song, but she didn't care. She didn't even care who saw her making out with Mateo.
As the night continued, more talking and a lot more kissing happened. Before the band had finished their set, they were off to get a taxi back to Nova's hotel room.
A lot has changed over three years. They both had grown and had to learn who they were. Mateo told Nova that he had a child and was sharing custody, so after this weekend he would be moving. Nova knew they were never destined to ever be together. These chance meetings were lessons. Nova knew she wasn't going to dwell on that tonight. Tonight was a chance to make up for running away three years ago. Tonight was just about the two of them. They would face the real world tomorrow. For now, they had each other.
The next morning they woke up, gathered their things, and Nova checked out of the hotel to head back to college. This was just a weekend trip for her. For him, he was off to see his family before moving on with his life. Even though they were parting ways again, Nova couldn't help feeling happy. Happy that she allowed herself the freedom of last night. Happy that Mateo was there last night. Just happy. She knew as she drove away that Mateo would always have a place in her heart. In another universe, maybe it worked out between them. But here, she was still finding herself.