First weeks of school are the same everywhere. Teacher introductions, class review, maybe an assessment quiz. Only the class name changes with the year. I knew that I’d have to do more than my usual bullshitting to keep my GPA up so that I would qualify for a scholarship, if I was offered one.
Classes weren’t the only thing that stayed the same. Every clique had their hangouts and there was no way I was going by the Fine Arts building if I could help it. I was grateful, but not surprised, that Sookie hadn’t started hanging out with Felicia and Heidi. I had seen her, from a distance, with a couple of new girls on the dance squad, but she never really deviated from her routine from last year.
Except at the end of the day. Instead of catching a ride home with a friend, she had her own car, and a parking pass due to her after school practices. Tuesday and Thursday, she’d run out to the lot and grab a blue and black duffel bag from her trunk and head into the gym. Wednesday, she hopped into her driver’s seat and drove off, heading to work.
I knew she’s be at school early on Friday. They had practice before classes to put the finishing touches and perfect the routine they would be performing during halftime that evening. I had heard from Heidi that the new uniforms they had for this year were “something else”, but we would have to wait until the game to see them. Shit.
I wasn’t over her, even though it pissed me off to no end that she had the ability to go through her day-to-day life without a thought about me. It had hurt her to see me with Yvetta at the beach party. That had been clear on her face. Pam, once she started speaking to me again, had mentioned “having words” with Sookie that night also. I tried to be mad at her for interfering, but I couldn’t be, really. As much as she could bug me, I knew she loved me and would bring on anyone against me.
Our first game this season was a home game and I was looking forward to it. There was a high that came with being on the field that couldn’t be replicated with any drug. The feeling of adrenaline pumping as you pushed yourself to win was indescribable. I thrived on it.
After classes were done, the team always went out to eat before a home game. There were four hours to kill before the game started. We’d head to one of the pizza places or sub shops around school and get whatever we wanted to hold us over until after the game. It was a good way to build camaraderie, spending down time with my teammates. It was a tradition I had grown to love. The restaurants were aware and if we gave them advance notice, they would actually close down so we had the whole place to ourselves.
I ordered my meatball sub and sat with Max and a new player, Preston. He had been on the JV team last year, but he was fast as hell and seemed to be a ball magnet. He never fumbled and the only time he didn’t catch the ball was an error on the part of the quarterback. He had been promoted to the varsity team over the summer and I knew we would work well together. I didn’t make errors. On the field, anyway.
I dressed with care the first day, but for the first time, I wasn’t excited about going back to school. I loved writing and looked forward to the paper. I hadn’t seem Amelia, Holly, or the twins in about a month. I really liked the dance team and my job. But I just wasn’t feeling it.
When I got to school, I found my nice, new parking spot, having filed the forms to get a parking pass once I made the dance squad. Tara and Amelia met me with hugs, but Holly was missing. Amelia said that she and Alcide had broken up. She had fallen for the brother of one of her softball teammates while at camp over the summer and said she had more in common with him than she did with Alc. Well damn. I could understand that, but it sucked that we wouldn’t be hanging out anymore.
We went to our homerooms and got our locker assignments and class schedules. Everything was always the same during the first week. I was thrilled to see that Tara was in three of my classes and that I had been able to get all three AP classes that I had wanted. It was going to suck work-wise because those classes weren’t known on going easy on the assignments, but I would find a way to manage.
At lunch, I grabbed a chef salad from the salad bar and took it and a bottle of water out to the lawn by the Fine Arts building. I gave Tray a hug and smiled, seeing Tara and JB had the same lunch period as me this year. Only Amelia was missing. Alcide looked lonely without Holly and I felt a little sorry for him. He gave me a small smile when I hugged him, but it was a little weird, not getting the customary leer and innuendo from him. That’s not to say he didn’t look at me. It just didn’t seem as creepy as it did before.
Halleigh had given us all duffel bags for carting around our practice gear. She didn’t want us to wear the uniforms before game time; she wanted them to be a surprise. We had our workout clothes and shoes in the bags, as well as several bottles of water. The routines were very intense and could make me work up a sweat. The first performance was going to be to the Black Eyed Peas. We had had a lengthy debate over the merits of several songs, but ultimately, we decided “Get It Started” would be perfect for the first game of the season. Halleigh and Felicia were both talented choreographers and had a way of putting things together in a way I wouldn’t have thought of and making it look seamless.
The only day I had to work that week was Wednesday. I drove quickly from school after the final bell so I could get to the diner and change into that uniform before four. Senior and I had discussed my work schedule during school over the summer and had decided Mondays and Wednesdays from four to nine, and Saturdays from ten to four. Sixteen hours a week and I would still have my days for practices and a full weekend day to work on projects and homework. I told him, depending on how classes were going, I might have to pull back a little on the hours and he was fine with it.
Waking up two hours early on Friday morning for pre-class practice just flat out sucked. I got my travel mug of extra strong coffee and headed to the dark school. We all straggled in, no one except Halleigh looking energized, and I kind of hated her right then. But once we were warmed up and did the run through for the performance that night, I could see the merit of getting it out of the way. Afterward, we showered and got dressed, ready for class.
When the final bell rang, we met again in the gym to go over the home game procedure, since the game didn’t start until seven-thirty. We would go out and do what we wanted, making sure we ate. No one wanted to pass out on the field. We would meet back at the gym at seven-thirty to warm up, rehearse, and get dressed. Belinda, Danielle, Ginger, and I had become a little group and went to get dinner. We went to the same Mexican place I had gone from prom and had tacos and rice. Protein and carbs. Perfect.
I ran home and got some makeup. I still rarely wore the stuff, but I would be in front of hundreds of people and wanted to make sure I looked good doing it. Danielle laughed a little about how clueless I was, but agreed to help me. We also had this glitter hairspray that Felicia wanted up to use to we would “sparkle” under the floodlights. I wasn’t sure about that, but I was learning a lot about the strange world of cosmetics.
Tara, JB, Amelia, Tray, and Alcide had said that they were all going to some out and support me in my debut. It meant a lot to me, because none of them cared at all about football and I was only playing a tiny part during halftime. Mom, Daddy, Jason, Hadley, Sophie, Andre, Uncle Victor, Aunt Sandy, and Gran were also coming. I wasn’t sure if that was comforting or if it made me more nervous.
The team gathered in the gym and we did out warm up stretches. At the end of the first quarter, we went into the locker rooms to get ready and dress in the uniforms. I had tried mine on once just to make sure it fit, but it was by far the most revealing thing I had worn that wasn’t a bathing suit. I was blessed in the bosom department and the tiny top made sure the girls were supported, but a little more on display than I liked. The fringe of the skirt-thing tickled my hips when I moved, but that was something I would just have to get used to. Felicia sprayed herself, then all of us, with the glitter spray and I thought this might be what a showgirl in Vegas would look like.
After we ate, we headed back to the school to warm up and get suited up. We went over plays and what should work best against the team we were facing. They weren’t our main rival, but they were a challenging team that had a strong defense and offense, with a lot of seasoned starters. We could hear the music from the neighboring gym and I knew the dance squad was getting ready to warm up. I could hear the marching band tuning up in the stands. My senses were percolating and it felt like everything was heightened. I loved games.
The first quarter was challenging. Our offensive line wasn’t as seasoned as some of our starters had graduated the previous spring and my ass got sacked twice. Little holes appeared and my ass was feeling it. Shaking it off each time, we had still scored first, with a beautiful pass connecting with Preston in the end zone. That little fucker was fast.
The second quarter was more of the same. It took all my strength to not knock heads about the holes opening and getting my ass pounded into the ground. As big as I was, as quarterback, I had a big fucking target on my chest. And it’s true the bigger you are, the harder you fall. A three-hundred pound defensive linebacker hits hard. The pads only protect you so much. It’s still hurts like hell.
We managed to score another touchdown and field goal, but the other team got on the board with the same. We entered halftime with a seven point lead, which was good, but the game was by no means over. We went into the locker room as the band filed down from the stands to do their thing for the first part of halftime. We got the coaches’ commentary on what we needed to look out for during the second half so we didn’t lose the lead we’d gained. We got water and Gatorade to replenish what we’d lost. I talked to my offensive line to emphasize what needed to happen when we got back on the field, specifically closing holes. Sacks were part of my stats and I wanted to keep that number as low as possible.
We headed back down to the field as the band was marching off. Eleven sparkly girls came running onto the field. Oh. My. God. Heidi hadn’t been kidding when she said that the uniforms for this year were “something”. Cleavage. Bare midriffs. Fringe. Long legs. I couldn’t look away. They took position on the field and the loud speakers started playing Black Eyed Peas. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. My eyes were drawn to Sookie in particular. She was amazing. I remembered back to the private dance I had received before she had started practicing with the team. She had been good then, but she had improved with just a few short weeks of training. It was different to see her as part of a unit and still being the only one that drew my eye.
The song ended entirely too soon for my liking, but the crowd had been enthusiastic with their applause. I could hear exactly where her family was in the stands behind me by the hooting of Jason, Hadley, Sophie, and, I assumed, Andre. They jogged off the field and the clocks ran out the last couple of minutes until halftime was over. Fantasy time over, time to get back to work.
I felt like I was going to throw up. There was a reason I focused on back-stage when I did drama. I’m not a “Where’s the spotlight” kind of girl. I should have thought this through more. Heidi caught my white face and gasping breaths before we left the gym. “It’s okay. I still get nervous too. Once you get down there, though, the lights kind of hide the stands. Focus on the music and the steps that have been drilled into us and it’ll be over before you know it.”
I was surprised and kind of touched that she would go out of her way to comfort me. I had known her through Tara since we were in middle school, but I assumed that she had forgotten that we knew each other. We jogged down to the field and took our positions, waiting for the music to start. Heidi had been right. The steps were second nature by this point and I let memory take over. I didn’t even think about the audience until the music ended and the applause started. I could hear my family cheering loudly. I glanced toward the stands to see if I could see them and saw Eric on the sideline, looking shocked. Had the team watched the entire show and I had just blocked them out? I glanced around and saw several other players looking as dumbfounded as Eric did. I felt my cheeks burn with a blush as I made my way off the field with the rest of the squad.
Once we got into the gym, we congratulated ourselves on a lot of hard work that paid off. Halleigh came in to congratulate us as well and remind us that we had a lot of work to do since there was another home game the following week. We changed back into our street clothes and were free to do whatever we wanted. I put on a jean skirt, my flip flops, and a tank top, but I was still all made-up and sparkly. It was an interesting look.
I dropped off my duffel bag at my car and headed into the stands. I got fawned over by my family, Mom especially. She had even brought the video camera. I had a feeling by the end of basketball season, she would have a full collection of my dances. I said goodbye to everyone and went to hunt down Tara and the rest of my friends.
They found me first. Alcide gave me a huge hug and swung me around. In fact, it was Hugs for Sookie from everyone. We walked around the stadium, meeting up with other people, just saying hi. It was weird how, when Holly wasn’t around (now apparently a permanent situation), Alcide and I got paired together. It was just how the grouping worked out. It was also weird how, now that he was single, he wasn’t as aggressive as he had been. He was actually… sweet. It wasn’t something I was used to.
We took breaks to watch parts of the game, but I needed an explanation as to what was actually going on. Jason and Daddy had given up trying to explain football to me years ago. I just knew that Eric was the quarterback, the number on his jersey was 16, and he actually looked dwarfed by some of the guys on that field. I didn’t have the slightest idea of what was going on, but he had a grace of his own, moving around to hand off or throw the ball. His strength was apparent. I loved being able to stand back and watch him. He clearly had command of the team on the field.
We cheered every time our team scored, but none of us were all that involved in the game. We headed to the ice cream shop across the street and I got my usual peach and strawberry milkshake. Taking our time, it was fun just hanging out until we saw the lines of headlights leaving the stadium. We had missed the end of the game. Deciding to head back, I made it a point to catch a glimpse of the scoreboard on the way to my car. 31 to 13. I was happy for Eric. I knew that he would look better for scholarships with more checks in the “win” column.
Alcide had walked me back to my car before going to meet Tray at their Jeep. He had loaned me his flannel shirt since the evenings were starting to get chilly. I was grateful for his company. A dark parking lot is just creepy. He was quite sweet and gave me another hug before leaving. It was hard to get used to that from him. I called him back and tossed his shirt back to him. I dug my keys out of my pocket to unlock my door when a voice came from the darkness.
“You looked good out there tonight.” I released a breath that I hadn’t realized I was holding. Eric.
“So did you. I was impressed.”
“I didn’t realize you were watching.” He slowly came closer. I still couldn’t see him, just his vague shape.
“I missed the first half, but caught most of the third quarter. I’m glad we won.”
“You didn’t watch the second half?” I had to be imagining it, but he sounded slightly insulted.
“I don’t understand football. I’ve never followed it before. We went to the ice cream shop until we saw the cars leaving the school.” There was no point in lying.
He got closer. “I would have been happy to explain it to you. You never told me that you didn’t understand it.”
I unlocked my door and leaned in to stick the keys in the ignition, but closed the door and leaned against it. It seemed this was going to be a lengthy conversation. “It never really came up.”
He finally got to the car and leaned against the back door next to me. “So who went for ice cream? You said ‘we’.”
I inhaled and got a little dizzy. He smelled so good. “Umm, Tara, JB, Amelia, Tray, and Alcide, along with myself.”
“Was that Alcide or Tray that walked you to your car? I can never tell them apart if they aren’t with their girlfriends.”
I could get that. They were identical twins. “Alcide. It’ll get easier. He’s the one that doesn’t have a girlfriend anymore.”
I was fucking thrilled with the win tonight. We allowed the other team just three more points and we scored two more touchdowns in the second half. I walked into the locker room feeling like a king. It was those moments I just loved.
We gave the game ball to Preston. He and his speed and ability to get to the ball where ever I threw it had earned it. We showered and got ready to go. By the time we left the locker room, the parking lot was usually deserted. But in the lot where my car was, there was one other car, a dark blue Cabrio.
I saw two figures walking toward it. I leaned against my Camero just to see who it was. I recognized Sookie’s shape, even in the dark. I could tell one of the twins was walking her to her car. Good idea. You never knew who could be lurking in the dark.
She gave whichever twin it was a hug and as he walked away, she… what? Took off her shirt and threw it to him? What the hell was that? My eyes grew more accustomed to the dark and could see she was still wearing a tank top. Even if he had a girlfriend, I didn’t like the idea of her wearing another guy’s clothes.
After he left, I spoke up from my car, knowing my voice would carry in the empty lot. It was uncomfortable, neither of us really knowing what to say. I was kind of insulted that she hadn’t hung around to watch the game until she told me that she didn’t understand the game. I was entirely un-fucking-thrilled to hear that the twin that wanted her was now single. Did he not have a girlfriend the way that I hadn’t had a girlfriend for a month? Was he able to give her the easy, casual “relationship” that she claimed to have wanted from me?
I turned toward her. “So are you with him now? You looked pretty cozy there.”
She tilted her head. “Is that really any of your business anymore? I’m not asking you about, what was her name, Yvette?”
“Yvetta. And you can ask anything you want.”
“It’s not my place to ask. We aren’t together anymore. You can do what you want; I can do what I want.”
It wasn’t what she said, it was how she said it. Her voice sounded… sad. Like she was just accepting what she found inevitable. “Are you with him now?” I asked again.
“Why do you care, Eric?”
“Because I want to know if I’m gonna get my ass kicked for doing this,” I said and without giving her warning, pulled her to me and kissed her hard. I had missed her lips. Her body instantly molded into mine and her tongue plunged into my mouth, her hands wound around my neck and into my hair. It lasted for just a moment before she pushed herself away from me.
“What the hell was that exactly?” She sounded breathless and pissed. “You can’t just sneak a kiss like that!”
“Would you have let me kiss you otherwise?”
“Well, I guess you’ll never know now!” She turned to open her car door, but I pushed it closed before she got it all the way open.
“You want this. I know you do.”
“I’m starting to think that you never knew me. If I had walked to my car alone tonight, would you be acting all caveman on me? Or is it because you want to claim me? Why are you out here waiting for me?”
“Because I haven’t been able to get you out of my fucking head since May. Because I have thought about you daily for the past four fucking months and it’s driving me crazy. Because I can’t get enough of you,” I growled. I pulled her to me and kissed her again, only to have her push me away again.
“You can’t keep doing that. You know what I want, and you know it doesn’t exactly mesh with what you want.”
“I know what I want right now. I’m not thinking beyond that. I don’t give a shit what happens tomorrow, next week, anything beyond this moment right here and now. Don’t think about anything except what you want. Right now.”
I wasn’t prepared for her quick response, but it was what I had known it would be. This move had to be all hers. She grabbed the material of my t-shirt, pulled me to her and kissed me harder than I had kissed her. I held me to her tightly. My arms went around her and she released the hold she had on my shirt, only to return her hands to the back of my neck. I slid a hand up her side and palmed her breast, loving the way her nipple hardened against my touch. She moaned softly in my mouth and I moved my lips to her neck. Her breathing became heavy as she tilted her head to give me better access. I cupped her ass and lifted her when the height difference became too much. I moved to the back of her car and sat her on her trunk. I stood between her legs and nudged the thin material of her tank top and bra out of the way to give me access to her perfect breasts. I pinched and rolled her nipple between my finger, watching her to see if she would object. Taking her moan and the squirming of her hips as the green light, I leaned in and sucked on them, alternating right and left, feeling them harden afterward in the cool evening air.
She shifted on the trunk and slid forward, allowing my hips to make contact with hers. I don’t think I had ever properly given thanks for the creation of skirts. I could feel heat rolling off her between us and she rocked her hips toward mine. I had been hard since the first kiss, but it was getting to be uncomfortable. Her hand slid down and stroked me, making me unsure yet again as to whether I was in heaven or hell.
“Are you with him,” I repeated breathlessly against her breast.
“No one since you,” she panted. “You?”
“Same, and if we don’t stop now, I don’t know if I’ll be able to later,” I groaned, praying she was in the same place as I was.
She shifted her hips again and grabbed my butt to pull me tighter against her. “That was me not saying a fucking thing to stop you.” her voice had become a little growly and it was hot.
I reached up her skirt and nudged aside her panties to feel her dripping wet. I ran my finger through her folds. Her response was to stroke me harder and reclaim my lips for a kiss that left me even more breathless.
What the fuck? I might as well just go for it. God knew I wanted it just as much as he did. I was through with thinking about this so fucking much. I unfastened his jeans and reached past the zipper to find he had gone commando. Well, that was certainly convenient. We were alone in the parking lot. Every other car had left. I pulled him out and stroked him firmly in time to the thrusts of his fingers inside me. He knew exactly what to do and how to touch me to get me off fast. He found my g-spot immediately and scissored his fingers against it as he massaged my clit with his thumb. I couldn’t help the movements my hips made as I ground against his hand and gasped his name.
He licked his fingers clean as I came down. He seemed to be thinking, which was the last fucking thing I wanted either of to be capable of. He reached up my skirt again, grabbed the waistband of my panties and pulled, ripping the sides of them. He slid his hands under my ass and lifted me again. I could feel his erection against my thigh as I wrapped my legs around his waist. He pressed my back against the side of my car and hiked my skirt up until it was around my waist. He positioned himself and pushed into me, making both of us moan. His hips pumped and I knew I would reach a second release quickly. I rolled my hips on every upstroke and felt my eyes starting to roll back in my head. He attacked my neck with his mouth, groaning my name against my skin between nips and kisses. My legs tightened around him when I came again and he followed, biting my shoulder to keep from yelling. It took awhile for us to catch our breath. He pulled out and helped me get my feet on solid ground, even if I was a little wobbly at first. I adjusted my skirt so everything was covered, important since I didn’t have functional underwear anymore. I wasn’t too thrilled about my panties being ripped, but was too blissed out to really give him any hell about it. I leaned back against my car door and everything that was wrong with this came flooding back. “So what now, Eric?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Now we go home. I told you. I don’t care about tomorrow, next week, next year. You got what you wanted; I got what I wanted. If it happens again, it happens. This is a casual fling. This is what you wanted. Good night, Sookie.” He gave me a quick kiss, headed to his car, and pulled away without a backward glance.
Well fuck. Now what?