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Pen Your Pride


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"Hola, clase! Hoy en dia, vamos a leer la poesia," Mrs. Vasquez, my Spanish teacher, greets the class.

Poesia. Why does that word sound so familiar?

"Poesia is poetry," she continues in her thick, Columbian accent. "I will hand you each a piece of poetry. You read, and then tell me the meaning. Poesia speaks in different ways to each of us. What does your poem speak to you?"


Ohhh... Sanders.

"Podria escribir poesia sobre sus ojos," he'd muttered the day we met, among many other things. I could write poetry about your eyes. So that's what he said. And the memory makes me laugh, because it was the only thing he said that day that I didn't catch the meaning of. He had no clue I knew Spanish and understood nearly every word of what he'd meant to be secret...

Chica mas bonita que he visto nunca. Prettiest girl I've ever seen.

Esa es la maldita verdad. That's the damn truth.

Tu hermano me mataria. Your brother would kill me.

Fuera de los limites. Off. Limits.

His voice continues to play through my mind. He had a way of turning those innocent words into something more. Something sensual. And I won't lie, his words set a fire inside me I'd never felt before, or since. A tiny, little fire. That might...most definitely still burn at just the thought of him.

I still don't know what it was about him. He wasn't much taller than me, and he isn't the typical kind of guy I'd go for, but...he was handsome and adorably hilarious yet confident. A kind of confidence I'd never seen in anyone but Travis before. But...

Off limits, he'd said, and wasn't that the damn truth. Travis confirmed Sanders' fears the moment he pulled up to the house. Scowled face, fists tight, attitude. In other words, typical Trav—the protector, the father figure, the older brother making sure his little sister never dates.

So it's funny he never noticed I was dating Tyler. I'm not really surprised though. He was focused on one thing and one thing only at the time...saving Maddie.

"Alright, class! Let's begin," Mrs. Vasquez' words interrupt my thoughts, but I haven't even begun to look at my poem.

Well, shit.


"Welcome, sit," Coach Grey says after I plop myself into the chair across from him.

I wait while he shuffles some papers around his desk for what feels like forever. Please don't let this drag any longer than this day already has. But Coach is in no rush. He fires up his computer, refills his cup of coffee, strides back to his desk, and lowers himself in his seat before finally making eye contact with me.

"How are you today?" he asks.

I shrug my shoulders. "Alright, I guess."

He nods. "Card game? Up the ante?"

"What does that even mean?"

"Winner asks two questions this time, but the loser gets to ask one as well. Same rules apply," he answers, and his gaze weighs down on me. Or maybe it's the pressure of his words.

"Do I have a choice?" I ask.

"Not really. Unless you'd rather sit here and go about counseling in the traditional sense."

No thanks. I sigh. "Speed. You deal."

I slam the cards down on the table, irritated, but at least Coach doesn't look smug about winning this time.

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