Football && Heavy Metal
May 26th 4:53 PM, East Coast
I blinked through the tears as Alyssa wrapped her arms around me, hopping up and down happily and squealing about how happy she was now. I only nodded, hugging her back half-heartedly. I tried to remind myself that I should be happy for her, but I just couldn’t muster anything but hurt. It felt like she had driven a dagger through my heart, and then poured salt on the open wounds. Alyssa Addison had betrayed me—she was a traitor, an enemy; and yet I was standing here, hugging her and listening to her gush all the details about how Ash Callum—the Ash Callum—had asked her on a date.
“I hope you don’t mind Valerie. You don’t, do you?” She asked, pulling back and giving me a sad smile. I shook my head and blinked back the last of the tears. I could detect the hint of new-boyfriend-excitement in her voice but her false sympathy drowned it out.
How could she do this to me? Was the only thought running through my mind at the time. I couldn’t feel happy for her, or sorrowful that I had lost Ash. The fact that Alyssa was my best friend of two years and had known that I was in love with Ash made it all the more hurtful. I told her when we first became best friends that I felt that way about him. I remember her constant bragging that she was the only girl in the state not to have a crush on him and that she would help me get him.
After nearly nine years of crushing on Ash, I had decided—well, Alyssa decided for me—that I would get him for myself. It was the summer of ninth grade when she had dialed his number, tossed the phone in my direction, and walked out of the room.
‘Tell him’ she mouthed before stepping out the door and into the hallway. Even though she was leaving the room, I knew that she was standing with her hand cupped over the door listening to what I had to say.
“Valerie, hey, what’s up?” Ash asked when he picked up the phone. I sputtered a greeting just before falling silent. Only moments ago, Alyssa and I were rehearsing what I was going to say to him to make him mine. But I my mind was blank.
“Did you want to hang out or something?” He asked after a long moment of silence. I shook my head, stupidly thinking he could see.
“Uh, no I just wanted to….” I fell silent.
“Right…well, if you want something just come next door okay?” He told me before he hung up the phone. I nodded once, and then dropped the phone on the bed.
“Are you serious?” Alyssa asked incredulously as she stepped back into the room. She had heard my entire side of the pitiful conversation. Alyssa shook her head, sending her gorgeous blonde waves spilled over her shoulders in disappointment. “I can’t believe you. You could have had him all to yourself by now! God, Val, you’re hopeless sometimes…” She told me, wrapping her arms around me as tears spilled down my cheeks.
“Don’t cry. You’ll ruin your make-up.” She said, snatching up a box of tissues and dabbing under my eyes with it. “No worries. You know he’ll invite you to his end of the year party in two weeks. You can just ask him then.”
I nodded, knowing that Alyssa would get him for me.
But she only got him for herself.
“Heads up, Val!” I heard someone yell just before the brown leather ball slammed into my arm, sending me off the bleachers. I landed sprawled across the ground, face flushed red as the a*****e who hit me came to retrieve it. I looked up to see an idiot jock, wearing nothing but basketball shorts and tennis shoes, smirking down at me. Jared Lake was the worst.
“Idiot,” I mumbled, standing up and toying with the frayed ends of my black and white polka dot cameo—the very same one that covered my black bikini top with the pink skulls. It was the first time I had worn a bikini, courtesy of Alyssa, who I pretty much let talk me into anything, and I was a little nervous about showing so much skin.
Jared snorted and snatched up the ball, refusing to help me up. “Get your damn head out of the clouds and quit daydreaming about Ash. ‘Cause it won’t ever happen.” He told me before jogging back toward the field where he and his idiotic friends were playing two-hand-touch football.
I gasped, kicking dust at him with my hot pink flip-flop and frowned. “I was not thinking about Ash, you annoying freak.” Okay, my vocabulary of insults was a bit lacking.
Jared paused, huffing and rolling his eyes. He showed me a wide smirk before taking a few steps closer to me. “Oh really now? Then why have you been staring at him for the past twenty minutes straight? I mean, yeah, the guy’s eye candy for almost every girl at this school, but you tend to stare longer than necessary. I know you’re like, in love with him. You can’t even hide it.”
“That’s a lie. Ash is only my friend.” Now that was a lie.
“Whatever, I don’t have time for this,” he said, turning his back on me. But before he took off running for the field again, he glanced over his shoulder, his jade green eyes piercing me. “You know he’s been dating your best friend for almost two years now right? If you said anything to him now… you’d get in big trouble with them both. So it’s best to keep your mouth shut. Hell, maybe we should even start dating,” he offered with a sinister grin.
“Not likely,” I shut him down, turning away and walking back up toward the bleachers where Alyssa was sitting, wearing her skimpy hot pink bikini and fanning herself. She had on these monster sized sunglasses and was applying more suntan lotion to her upper thighs.
“What was that all about? What did Jared say to you?” She asked as I took a seat next to her.
“Nothing. He was just being an a*****e like always. It’s nothing new,” I told her. Alyssa nodded and sighed. She set the suntan lotion back in her bag and lowered her glasses to stare at Jared’s half-naked sweaty body. She grinned.
“He may be an a*****e, but he’s a sexy a*****e.”
“Eww,” I simply replied, holding my hand over my eyes to shield them from the hot Florida sun. I curled toes with the lime-green paint on my nails as I waited for the game to be over. Summer had just begun and it was already scorching. Normally in Florida, it wasn’t this hot, but today, the sun seemed to be searing down on us with all its might.
Alyssa looked uncomfortable too. Even though her curvy tan body looked natural in the sun, she was starting to sweat a bit; her facial make up was beginning to run. I pointed that out to her and she blanched, then her cheeks flushed a pissed-off pink.
She stood up, waving her hand in the air at Ash. He paused his game and came jogging towards us. His golden-blonde hair flopping into his olive green eyes as he did so. My heart fluttered. His sculpted calves nearly gleamed in the sunlight. Ash paused right in front of us, looking at me and giving me a signature goofy-grin before turning to Alyssa.
“Yeah?” He asked, wiping the sweat from his brow.
“It’s hot as hell out here, Ash. Let’s go to the beach now, I wanna get in the water already. Even Valerie wants to leave to.” She said, speaking for me like always. I nodded in agreement though; Alyssa was normally right about how I felt.
“Fine, I’ll go tell Jared and the guys that we’re going now. Be right back,” he said.
“It’s fine. We’ll just meet up with you later. We’re going back to my house to get ready for your party later. You guys should do the same, you sweaty little pigs,” she grinned before leaping down the bleaches with her long, tan legs and delivering a scorching kiss to his lush lips. The kiss I had been waiting for so long to have with him.
When they broke apart, Ash went back to his game and Alyssa beckoned me to get back into her car with her. I took the passenger seat and cranked the air conditioning all the way up. The built-in thermometer in here rearview mirror told us that it was nearly ninety degrees outside. Alyssa sighed and rolled her eyes, backing out of the parking lot.
“Thank God the party starts when the sun sets,” she said. I nodded in agreement as we drove the short way home to get ready for the party. As always, when anything involved Ash, my heart was a nervous wreck.
Tonight was going to go on forever…
When we arrived at Alyssa’s house, the first thing we did was take showers. She went into the hall bathroom while I was privileged to use her own personal bathroom. It was large, with white tiled floors and a walk-in shower that was big enough to host a party in. Her bottles of differently scented shampoos and conditioners were lined up on one wall of her shower while the body was lined the opposite wall.
I looked carefully at the line of shampoos, wanting to choose the right one for the occasion. It was a beach party so I thought that maybe I’d choose something to go along with the party. The closest thing I could find was Tropical Mango, which incidentally smelled like Tropical Toilet. I grabbed the bottle of Wild Cherry Blossom and squirted a dab into my palm then massaged it into my hair. I used the matching body wash and then grabbed a towel. Once it was wrapped around my body, I stepped out and walked into her room.
Alyssa was still in the shower so I decided to get dressed—a pink bikini with black bow ties etched into it. We had gone to the mall just hours earlier and picked this one out especially for tonight. I chose it because Ash had once said that pink was a good color on me—and I thought the black would be a good contrast. And for the after party, I had chosen a white bra with black lace at the top and matching panties to go under my strapless white dress. The straps on it were black lace, just like my underwear, and I had black strappy heels to go along with it. In comparison, Alyssa was wearing a blinding pink tube top with a tight black mini skirt and hot pink Stilettos.
“I feel so much better,” Alyssa said as she came into the room, dropping the towel and grabbing her underwear. I quickly wheeled around, not wanting to see anything she was willing to show. That was one thing I admired—and feared—about Alyssa: she was not afraid of what anyone else thought. I, on the other hand, was shy and timid.
“So do I,” I told her, straightening out my dress and fixing the spaghetti-thin straps on my heels. I unraveled my hair from the towel and bent over, beginning to brush it out while Alyssa got dressed; and she looked amazing when she was finished.
“You look good,” she stressed, helping me to fix my dress. “I definitely think white is a good color on you. And so is pink, but white makes you look more…mature I guess.”
I smiled. “Thanks. You look great too, Lyssa,” I told her, even though I wanted to say she looked like a cheep hooker.
Ash always wanted to throw a fancy ball—mainly because he thought he was a king—but he couldn’t afford to rent out a hotel or even the gym of our school. So instead, his grandma went on vacation every year about the same time we were getting out of school and she let him throw parties there as long as we cleaned up—we being me, Ash and whoever was left in the morning. And even though he never had a ball, all the girls wore their Homecoming dresses or something similar.
We went into the bathroom to do our hair, which honestly seemed like it took forever. First of all, my hair wouldn’t obey me and kept falling flat when I wanted to get the gorgeous waves that Alyssa had. So I ended up just straightening it and teasing it a bit at the top. Secondly, our make up ended up being too heavy the first time—we both looked like cheap hookers—but we finally tamed it around the third time of applying it.
Finally, we were ready to go.
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