Jake raised a fist to his mouth and bit down hard on his knuckles. He’d do anything to stop from laughing. During the drive to the alley, Amy had spoken of her poor bowling skills. He had assumed her sense of modesty urged the speech. He’d reassured her she couldn’t possibly be as bad as she implied.
She was worse.
During the first ten frames, she hit every part of the lane except for the pins. At one point, her ball stuck in the gutter, and he’d used his next turn to force her ball down the alley. He asked if she wanted bumpers. Shaking her head, she refused. He insisted he’d asked on his behalf. Of course, she didn’t believe him.
While he wasn’t up to professional standards by any stretch, he was much better than her and snagged four strikes and two spares. The next round, she was, perhaps, even worse. He wasn’t sure he’d considered any sport as subjective. He didn’t know how else to rate her performance.
Her score remained in the low double digits. But if he analyzed her play from a broader perspective than numbers, he’d attest that her form declined. At one point, she hit four pins in the lane next to theirs. Luckily, they were the only people bowling at the time.
Finally, she lifted the ball on the tenth frame of their second, and final, round. She held the ball to her nose and moved forward, gliding over the wooden floor with the tricolor, too-large, bowling shoes. Extending her arm behind her, she bent at the waist. When her feet met the line, she had almost perfect form.
This is it. She gets it. He dropped his hand to his side and half rose on tiptoe, studying her in profile. Maybe she had needed practice to loosen her muscles and remember the actions. He’d pay for another round so she could have a decent score and brush off her first two rounds of failure.
In slow motion, she swung the ball behind her, and she lost her grip.
The ball landed with a heavy crash, rolled backward, and lodged between the wall and the stationery row of molded, plastic seats.
Turning, she widened her eyes, and her gaping mouth formed a perfect circle.