"Jenny, I told you the same thing last week. I can't switch anyone's positions this far into the season."
"You say that because you're a flier. I'm a backspot." She said the word with so much distain I had to fight the urge to roll my eyes.
"I say that because I'm the captain," I emphasized, "And if it means that much to you, we'll talk about it again next year."
I loved cheer, I really did, but my heart wasn't in it that evening. My midterm grades still hadn't come back, and I was starting to worry that I'd completely bombed more than a few of them. I felt someone sneak up behind me, wrapping their arms around my waist and nuzzling their face into my neck.
"How's your ankle, Els?" I recognized the voice as Daniella — my old roommate and Vice President back in our sorority days, and thus far one of the only tolerable people I'd met since moving to the sleepy city of Vancouver, Washington. Really, it wasn't a particularly small town, but compared to Seattle, it was almost claustrophobic at times. The feeling probably had more to do with the fact that I rarely left campus, but that was another issue entirely.
"It's fine," I lied. Practice a week ago had been an abject disaster, and I'd fallen out of a basic lib extension, twisting my ankle in the process. I'd been a flier since my freshman year of high school, making Varsity co-captain after just two years at WSU, and still, I'd managed to injure myself in what was arguably the easiest stunt in our repertoire. My ankle was killing me, but I couldn't very well leave Dani alone to deal with the girls. Our squad had a reputation to uphold and I was proud of it, but with this year's new recruits to consider, we were going to need a lot of practice if we expected to hold our own at Nationals.
"I can't have my co-captain breaking her neck before competition season starts," She whined, adjusting my bow in a way that felt almost motherly. She lowered her voice to a whisper, "You know I can't control these idiots on my own. My hair is greying already. They're killing me, I swear."
"Calm down, Dani," I giggled, "Half of them are freshmen. You were like that once."
"I was not," She defended, "The boy drama. God. You'd think their lives revolve around men."
"You're right, you never were that interested in men, were you?" I teased, and she pinched the exposed skin of my waist. Dani was the epitome of closeted, even more-so than myself. I didn't advertise my sexuality — having spent so long in a sorority that certainly wouldn't have taken kindly to the fact that their beloved president had a preference for the fairer sex had taught me to more-or-less keep my personal life under wraps — but Dani took it to a whole new level. Her revolving door of boyfriends kept suspicion at bay, and during our brief relationship during sophomore year, I pretended not to care that I was stuck waiting for her while she was off screwing half of the football team. In the end, we were better as friends. I still wondered sometimes if she'd ever realize that nobody paid nearly as much attention to who she was sleeping with as she thought they did.
Jenny was half-way down the field when Dani addressed her. "Hey Jenny!" She called out, "You know what they call a squad full of fliers? A gymnastics class. Join one and stop wasting our time!"
"You should really be nicer to them," I remarked idly.
"Maybe if you weren't so damn nice to them all the time I wouldn't have to play bad cop every time they try to start an uprising."
"You might be right," I hummed, "But someone's gotta be the good cop, and I don't think it's ever going to be you."
"Remember that introductory psych class I had to take this semester?" She asked, a smirk playing out on her rouged lips.
YOU ARE READING
Elsie Tyler was an expert in juggling the impossible, that is, until she met Adelaide DaCosta. Graduate school certainly wasn't supposed to be a walk in the park, but nothing could have prepared Elsie for the year ahead of her.