Chapter 12 The body shot

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Dating Flora was the single most overwhelming thing I had done in my life. She was exciting, mind-numbing and intoxicating, just like the body shot she did off me. I tried to piece together the night and I could only get fragmented memories like puzzles that didn't match up. Jake had his arms around random girl A. Dylan was talking to random girl B and C. One of them told him that letterman jackets aren't cool anymore, and the other was saying if he really wanted one they sell it at Gap.

The last memory I had of that night was lying shirtless on the pool table and the warmth of Flora's tongue on my body, right between my navel and my belt buckle. She was licking a dash of salt off my stomach, before taking a shot of tequila, then she sucked off a wedge of lime that I held between my teeth.

Perhaps I should go back to earlier that day.

My friend Dylan was in an especially bad mood that afternoon as we were getting dressed in the locker room.

"I'm never getting back with the psycho bitch from hell again."

Jake and I exchanged a look. "You mean like the last five times?" I asked. I was so sick of this rerun. Dylan and Sydney had more drama between them than the soap operas Flora watched, all thrown together.

"This time I really mean it," he said, dropping each word slowly. "Listen to this. She threw a huge fit last week because I promised her we'd watch some movie together, then I went and saw it with my mom."

Jake and I both knew not to mess with Dylan's mom. Ever since his dad passed away a few years ago, she was all he had left for family and no one dared make fun of his "mommy issues". We liked her, though. She was a lawyer and always let us play pool at their house, and she pretended that she didn't see all the beer cans.

"That's it?" Jake asked. "Just go and watch it again with Syd."

"No, that's just the prologue. At the game last Friday I let Diane wear my letterman jacket because I was mad at Sydney, but we made up afterwards and I thought everything was fine again. I gave my jacket to Sydney again, and this morning she gave me this."

Dylan yanked open his locker and took out a paper box. It was light blue with ribbons falling around it. "There was also a card," Dylan said and shoved it in my face.

"Something for you to think about," I read.

Jake lifted the lid of the box. "What the-"

I peered at the content. It appeared to be filled with shredded fabric. I reached my fingers in and pulled out a handful of what used to be Dylan's proudly owned jacket.

"She cut it with a pair of scissors because she doesn't want anyone else to ever wear it again."

"Just when I thought the story's getting old, Sydney managed to come up with something new to surprise us," I said. I had always known Sydney was crazy, the bad kind. She was a year younger than us, still a sophomore, and Dylan had told us it was lust at first sight. The moment she entered our school, Dylan fought off all the leering seniors so that he could deliver his big confession of love, something along the lines of you give me a boner every time I see you.

I don't know if it was the attitude or the tattoos or getting detention for literally fighting for her, it somehow worked, and they had been dating for a year already, although more often off than on.

A few months ago Dylan had shown up with a weird looking scar on his temple, and I had commented on what a peculiar hickey it was, when he nonchalantly told me Sydney had stabbed him with a pen. From his tone I gathered that domestic violence was something he lived and breathed.

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