Inning 28 ★ Baseball Stadiums Don't Have Glass Ceilings

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Ellen's article came out the next day, bright and early. She texted me about it before school, but I was having serious trouble getting out of bed and facing the world. Especially after it had given me everything I wanted and then took it away. She was texting me about it non stop, but I couldn't face reading it. She'd probably painted me like some Boudica of Baseball, but now my hopes and dreams were dashed.

There was a knock on my door, probably from mom. I seriously doubted it was my dad. We hadn't talked since he'd walked Santi and I aside and told us that the rules were the rules, and unfortunately I'd have to leave the team. The shitty part wasn't just that, but that he'd also ruined any desire for celebration we had. We'd just accomplished something huge, and just like that, he'd doused the flames of victory. I'd tasted it for too short a moment, and then it was gone.

I put my pillow over my head and screamed in the best phlegmy voice I could make, "Go away, I'm sick."

"Stop your pity party, we have school."

I jumped as I heard Santi. He was standing right outside my bedroom door. Meanwhile my face was crusty from a night of crying and drooling in my sleep, my hair was a mess and I was wearing only underwear and a ratty Minnie Mouse t-shirt. I ran out of bed and locked the door, breathless.

"What are you doing here?"

He tried to open it and sighed when he realized what I'd done.

"This isn't fair, you barge into my room in the middle of the night and I can't return the favor?"

"It's not the same, I'm a girl."

He made a pause and then said, "Yeah, I know."

I got goosebumps at the way he said it. Like he couldn't stop being aware about it.

I leaned my forehead on the cool door with a sigh. "I appreciate what you're trying to do, but I don't really want to go to school right now."

"Who ever wants to go to school?" He snorted a short laugh. "But tough shit, you got to. I can't just walk into school feeling like the king of the world without my queen, you know."

I groaned, feeling heat spread all over my chest. "Stop, you can't say things like that or-"

"Or what?" he cut off. "People will find out? Guess what, the whole school knows."

"Santi..." I trailed off his name. "I'm sorry."

"What for?"

"I don't want you to think that it was your fault, I knew better than to do something as stupid as kiss you in front of my dad."

"Damn right, it was your fault. I was so shocked that you'd do something like that." He didn't see my glare at where I guessed was his face. "I'm being sarcastic, by the way. I knew better too, and yet I kissed you too. And guess what?"

"What?"

I heard him get closer to the door. "I really enjoyed it." My knees trembled. He sighed. "Well, up to the part where your dad kicked you off the team. That's why you need to come to school today."

"I'm not following the logic."

He sighed like I was a petulant, ignorant child. Maybe I was. "We won't get you back on the team if all you do is stay in bed."

My mind went blank. I had no idea what those strings of words were supposed to mean to me. It was final, the Principal and dad had set the rules and that was that. There was no way to fight the system.

"Let's pretend this is even remotely possible," I said, folding my arms. "How do you propose we do that?"

"First of all you shower and get dressed," he said. "Or you open the door and let me see you do all that."

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