Inning 22 ★ Batter Out

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Sometimes you wake up in the morning, knowing you have the recipe to be completely happy but feeling sour instead. And you can't explain it.

That was exactly what I felt the next day. Okay, so I was a bit pissed that we were interrupted and I missed out on wherever that kiss was headed to, hopefully not in public, but that really wasn't it. It was strange afterwards. I put on my shorts and went back to washing cars and avoiding dad, and Santi and I didn't coincide for the rest of the day. Ellen and Chris went their separate way and dad insisted on bringing me home and having family time with mom. Which was fine, but the whole time I itched to just run to the Mirandas and ask Santi the million dollar question...

What now?

And by that, I expected an answer along the vein of: we ravage each other. Multiple times.

But this time, for this one thing, I didn't want to be the usual Peyton O'Hare. I could be hard headed and intense for everything else, but not for this. I didn't want to force myself on some guy if he didn't want to try, not even if that was Santiago Miranda.

It was killing me.

I dozed in and out of sleep the entire night until a text message close to 6am Sunday morning woke me up. I wrestled with the bed sheets to stretch myself across the bed and grab my phone. It was from Ellen.

We need to talk.

I let my face fall on a pillow and fell asleep with my arm outstretched holding the cellphone. It buzzed again about two hours later, this time from Santi.

Let's talk.

Alright, so after that there was no way I was going back to sleep. And that was how I woke up with the entire vibe of, I cannot calm my tits versus I feel like I've done something wrong and don't know what.

I called Ellen on FaceTime after brushing my teeth. She looked as much a sight as I did, with her short and straight hair pointing in all directions, tired eyes and — was she eating ice cream this early?

"Yeah," she said, licking the spoon. "I feel like I've earned it."

"Why? What happened?" I scratched my head. "You're freaking me out, I've never seen you like this."

She sighed and set the spoon down, fixing the camera on her face better. "Sex is not what it's cracked up to be."

I choked on my own saliva. I think I managed to ask what the hell even as I tried to survive the pain.

Her lips pursed. "It like, hurt so much. I'm even sitting on an ice pack right now because I'm still so sore." She pointed the camera down and yes, in fact, she was in her pajamas, sitting on an ice pack in bed. I never thought I'd see this. She whined long and hard. "We just couldn't find a rhythm, and because it hurt so much it was so uncomfortable and I couldn't even fake I was enjoying it. Oh my God, what am I going to do? What if Chris kicks me to the curb because I was a terrible lay?"

"Uh." I fumbled for words. This was so not my element. "Why don't you call Gigi for advice?"

She put her face very close to the phone. "Are you fucking with me? I don't want to ruin his reputation. She might blabber to all her friends for all I know."

I think I might have smiled too wide at the confirmation that even though I'd missed out on all the boys talk when she wanted it the most, due to my own incompetence in the subject, she still came to me when it mattered the most. It gave me the warm and fuzzies.

I tried to brush the tangles off of my hair with my fingers as I thought about this. It wasn't terribly shocking, everybody and their mom said that first times usually sucked. That whole perfect alignment of bodies and simultaneous ecstasies was something straight out of the adult romance books she and I used to read in secret in the public library when no one was watching. We were about 12 and it already sounded like bullshit.

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