September - Part Seven Ella

89 2 4

AN: See who enters the game...

SEPTEMBER – PART SEVEN

Argh!” Charlie groaned and rested his hands on his knees, breathing deeply. “That was not right, Lassie, not right at all. I call foul.”

“Oh whatever, Charlie, I didn’t touch you. You shoot worth shit, that’s all.” Ella laughed and slapped Ben a high-five.

“Suck it up, Charlie, she got you on that one,” Ben said, tossing Ella the ball at the top of the key. Ben breathed heavily and the shaggy hair that peeked out from under his backwards cap was wet with sweat. “Quit whining and play the game. It’s ten to six for us, still game point.”

Ella held the ball up over her head at the foul line. Alex stood between her and the net, but Ella could see easily over her head. Ben struggled to get open but Charlie shadowed his every move. Ella put the ball on the floor and stepped forward, guarding her dribble with her body. Alex blocked the middle so she stepped right and pushed against her. Alex swung a hopeful hand towards the ball, reaching into Ella’s protected space. With Alex off balance, Ella spun on her heel, pulling the ball past Alex and bouncing it under Charlie’s reaching hand to Ben. With a two-footed takeoff, Ben dunked the ball, hanging on the rim momentarily before dropping to the floor with a laugh.

“And that’s game!” He clapped loudly and shoved Charlie on the shoulder. “We beat your ass ah-gain!”

“Good game.” Ella reached out to Alex, trying to break her adoring gaze at Ben. Alex blinked and smiled back, slapping her hand.

“I’m done,” Alex gasped. “I gotta quit.”

“What?” Charlie said. “C’mon, we have fifteen minutes. You can’t let them finish like that!”

“Yup, I can. I will. I am.” Alex laughed, repositioning the band that held her hair out of her face. “Good game, guys. See you later.” She retreated to the locker room.

“Well, damn,” Charlie said. “The Parker luck has to run out sometime. At least I’m not afraid to play you.” He shot at the basket and moved for the rebound.

“Me neither!” A voice came from across the gym. Ella turned to see Sam leaning in the doorway, his arms folded across his broad chest. He smiled, revealing a small dimple on his left cheek she hadn’t noticed before. His gym clothes hung just right from his shoulders and hips. Ella’s gut twisted. “Need a partner, Charlie Mac? I’ll help you beat these guys.” Ella forced a smile and looked from Sam to her brother and Charlie.

“Great!” Ben said. “Let’s go, sis. Charlie hasn’t been schooled enough yet.”

Ella’s heart was racing. She struggled to catch her breath, then shook her head. “Nah, I gotta get ready to go.”

She took a step backwards towards the locker room. Sam had left his post at the doorway and sauntered towards the key. Ella glanced at him and he smiled again. Damn. She took another step back. “It’s getting late.” She looked at Charlie, hoping for support.

“We have time,” Ben said. “Let’s play a quick game — to five.”

When Ella shook her head again Charlie laughed. “Some teammate you’ve got there, Benny. She knows round one was a fluke so she’s scared of round two.” She glared at him. Some friend.

“C’mon, Ella. I dare you,” Sam said softly. She turned to look at him but he had moved closer so she had to look up. She took a half-step back. His eyes held hers and flashed with restrained laughter. “Here. Your ball.” She looked away but her traitorous hands took the ball.

Game Plan (an excerpt)Where stories live. Discover now