Inning 12 ★ Foul Play

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Ellen picked me up at home on Monday morning. Yesterday we texted a bit about the party, but we saved the juicy stuff for when we saw each other in person. I could tell as soon as I got on her car that she was buzzed on more than just caffeine. She handed me a cup of blond espresso latte right before bursting into a ball of energy.

"Oh my God, I was so anxious to tell you every little detail."

I fastened my seatbelt and sank into my seat. After my somewhat of an emotional breakdown in her room Saturday eve, I didn't want to talk about anything that wasn't school, family or extra curricular activities. No boys, no parties. I brought the steaming cup to my nose, seeking comfort because I knew precisely that we'd just talked about boys in the party.

"Okay, so guess who I hooked up with?"

Thankfully I wasn't drinking my coffee then, because I was sure it'd have gone up my nose and a burn like that would be no walk in the park. I turned to her, incredulous compared to her smug face.

"Chris?" I asked.

She shook her head. "Nope. Casey Marchand."

"The football team quarterback?" I whistled and I swore I'd never seen her with such a wide shit-eating grin. "That's big leagues."

"And Chris saw." This time she grimaced. "But I still managed to get him alone afterwards and we chatted. It was great, he's so dreamy."

We reached a red light and she stopped the car, looking at it as though she could see Chris' face in the red light. I twisted on the seat to face her better. "But backtrack a little, how was it that you ended up making out with Casey?"

She shrugged and ran her hands around the steering wheel. "It was a bet. Kim and the other girls dared me to kiss a hot jock and Casey was nearby."

"But if Chris saw you it means he was nearby too, why didn't you grab him?" I sometimes couldn't understand her whims. It sounded like it'd have been a great opportunity and instead she grabbed some other rando. "He fits the definition of a hot jock to a T and you'd have had the perfect excuse."

"I know." She groaned and banged her forehead against the steering wheel. The light turned green and we advanced. "But I just didn't see him until the kiss was over and, ugh, in any case it was better that way. Casey was safe because I don't give two hoots about him, but if I'd grabbed Chris... I think everybody would have seen the little red hearts falling off in the background."

"Don't forget the red roses."

She gave me a light smack, but smirked. "But guess what?"


"I did tell Chris when we chatted that if I'd seen him when I got dared I'd have kissed him instead."

I gasped and jumped a little, making hot coffee spill onto my hand. I licked it quickly. It hurt a ton but I still said, "No way! What did he say?"

"Well, he actually no way'ed me too." Her laughter was parts embarrassed and parts amused. She shrugged. There was some pink tinging her cheeks. "But at least I had the courage to take my shot, you know? I think if it weren't for Gigi's advice I'd never have said that."

I nodded. "And with some liquid courage, no doubt."

Our school was within sight now, and there was a pause in the conversation. I examined the red shape of the coffee spill on my hand. It was probably going to be tender for the rest of the day. Just like my mood yesterday, yikes.

"Gigi's really cool by the way. You should hang out with her for a bit."

"I'll pass," I said. "I'm having trouble wrapping my head around someone being called Gigi. Besides, she and her squad are just vicious."

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