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Friends Come First.

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Illya stepped up to the foul line. Throwing his arm back, he sent the ball down the bowling alley then twisted his body in an attempt to influence how the ball to hit the head pin.

“Strike!” He yelled as the pins fell.

It was the annual bowling challenge and the finals came down to the Section 2 and Section 3 teams.

“Napoleon you're up, stop strutting your stuff.” April teased the CEA who was flirting with the women that were watching from the audience that had played but didn't make it to the finals.

Napoleon moved to the foul line, wiggled his behind while grinning at the women behind him.

“Pay attention to the game, mate.” Mark called out.

The first throw was a gutter ball that caused boos from the gallery

Illya grumbling just loud enough for his partner to hear. “The object of the game is to knock the pins down not leave them all standing.”

Turning back to the pins the next ball was a strike causing the women in the audience to cheer for him.

//////

The two teams kept abreast of each other as the games continued. Section 2 won the first game, Section 3 the second. The rubber match was close and down to the tenth frame.

The Section 3 team had one woman on it, May, and Napoleon drifted over to her while the other member of both teams threw their last balls.

“How about dinner, dancing, and whatever after the game is done?” He asked raising his eyebrows suggestively.

“Whatever?” she smiled.

“We can see where it goes after the dancing if you're interested.” Napoleon offered.

“Napoleon it's your turn. You can finish your flirting after the game.” Illya called out.

“Why don't you give me a few minutes to think about it?” May suggested.

“Back in a few then.” He kissed his finger placing it on her nose.

“We only need a spare to win.” April called out to him as he headed toward the balls.

The first ball he threw left a 4-6 split. Although there were some groans from the gallery, his team knew Napoleon had picked up the split a few times already during the games.

Stepping up to the foul line, he consecrated on the pins. Throwing his arm back, he was about to leave the ball go when May called out breaking his concentration. “The answer is yes, Napoleon.”

Unable to stop the swing, he left the ball go hitting only the 4 pin. Turning around Napoleon faced his team red-faced embarrassed. They had lost because of his flirting.

Seeing how upset he was with himself, April walked over by him.

“It's only a game. There's always next year to try again.”

Shaking his head he moved to the empty table where his beer sat. As the rest of the players watched the awarding of the gold trophy to the Section 3 team, Napoleon sat alone upset with himself.

“Come on partner. We are going out for pizza and beer. Join us.” Illya said coming up behind him.

“We lost because of me.” Napoleon said softly.

“It is not the end of the world, my friend. Join us? I am paying tonight.” Illya headed toward Mark and April.

May sauntered over to Napoleon. “Ready for our date?” She asked wrapping her arms around Napoleon's neck as he went to stand.

“You did that on purpose,” he accused.

“Oh come on Napoleon. It was only a game. Besides all is fair in love and war.”

Napoleon looked toward the door where his team was waiting for him. He stood up removing her hands from his neck.

“Sorry, I just remembered prior engagement.” And headed toward his friends.

“You can't do this to me,” May screamed at him. She stood there watching him leave hands on her hips.

He took one look at his friends waiting for him before turning back toward her, “You're wrong. Friendship is more important than winning or losing.” Then turned and moved toward his friends at the door.

As they left, he was faced with good-natured teasing but knew he was cared for by those who meant the most to him.