The Keatyn Chronicles
Push Me Over the Edge of the Love Cliff
By Jillian Dodd
Wednesday, August 24th
A Bigger Picture of my World
So growing up with a famous mom is one thing. It’s another thing entirely when your mom is gorgeous, your step sisters are young and adorable, and you seem to be the ugly duckling. At least that’s how I felt the past few years, but I managed to make it through middle school relatively unscathed. I love my family. There’s my mom, Abby Johnston. Yeah, yeah, THAT Abby. America’s favorite romantic comedy actress.
And really now that you know who my mom is, you probably don’t need me to tell you about my stepdad, action film star, Tommy Stevens or their four year old triplets (Avery, Emery and Ivery) and 2 year old daughter (Gracelyn). They are all highly photographed as they travel around the world making movies. You don’t see me photographed with them very often. They try to let me live a normal life. I live most my life at our beach house in Malibu. My dad was a professional model/actor. He and my mom seemed majorly in love with each other and looked to be the perfect couple. Then when I was 9, his private plane crashed, killing him, and leaving me and my mom alone. Mom coped by throwing herself into making more movies, and I coped by spending time on an East Texas ranch with my dad’s parents.
It was on a visit to the ranch that started this whole journey for me. Last Christmas, Grandpa said, Keatyn, you need to start getting a bigger picture of your world. I wasn’t sure what he meant and told him that I have traveled the world since I was a kid. I have a picture of the world. But I misunderstood what he meant. He told me that every person has to strike out on their own, at some point. And at that point, they will begin the journey of becoming who they are going to be. Pretty deep for an old cowboy, huh?
And that conversation got me thinking about life and becoming my own person. Through a series of nightly front porch chats, we determined that I didn’t think I could become my own person in LA or Malibu. I loved those nights. We would sit on his front porch, rocking on rocking chairs, watching the sun go down, and drinking Grandma’s incredible lemonade. I don’t think there’s a taste that I love anymore than Grandma’s lemonade. And Grandpa usually spikes his lemonade with a little Jack Daniel’s and those nights, I got a little in mine too. I felt very grown up. At least I wasn’t sneaking it like I usually have to when Brooklyn and I feel like drinking. So we came up with the crazy idea of boarding school. Of me going to a school away from my family and starting my own life. Of not really telling anyone who I am. I want to see what I can become on my own. I want to make real friends. It seemed like a silly dream, but then the whole thing spiraled out of control slightly.
Grandpa loved my idea and fully backed me. So I started doing online searches of every boarding school on the east coast. It seemed to be the best place for me. Far away from the life I have. Grandma and Grandpa took me to visit my favorites and because my last name is pretty basic, (it’s Douglas) no one knew, or even cared, what movie my mom last did, or whether or not my step dad was sleeping with the nanny. He’s not, btw, she’s uh well, she has a gf and I’m pretty sure, a huge crush on my mom. I managed to get accepted to my first choice based on my grades, test scores, my skill at foreign languages, and that fact that I’m a pretty decent soccer player. And my mom and step dad were cool with it. Taking care of the little kids and shooting movies all over the world keeps them busy. And they are glad I’m growing up some. I also think that they won’t have to worry that I am rotting away in Malibu, reading poetry and surfing when I’m not at school. (Are you bored yet? This is the classic backstory dump mistake many authors make. Instead, I let you live all this and more in Stalk Me.)
So I decided if I was going to revamp my life, start on my own journey, that it was maybe time I cared a little more about what I looked like. Not that I look THAT bad, but I just never really cared all that much. I was pretty skinny most of my life, but then in fifth grade, I got kinda chunky. I was that way for about a year, and then all of a sudden, I grew like a weed, as Grandpa would say. Now, I’m 5 foot 9 inches. My body is tan, and I’m in good shape from a combination of me and Brooklyn’s daily surfing, kickboxing lessons with my step dad, and soccer practices. Brooklyn lives just down the beach from me and has been my best friend for the past three years. I told mom I wanted to look a little more, um, polished, I guess is the word, when I started school, so she totally pampered me. I got polished, scrubbed, and massaged, from head to toe. My hair is naturally a dark blonde, but in the summer, the salt water and sun make all the light blonde highlights come out, so my long hair just got trimmed up. I got lessons on how to apply makeup and how to fix my hair. My braces came off, my teeth got whitened, and my glasses were replaced with contacts. She even let me get cool ones that let me change the color of my eyes from a piercing turquoise blue to a bright emerald green. But usually I wear the clear ones. My eyes are naturally a kind of a bright purplish blue, and they are an exact replica of my dad’s. And I don’t know, it’s like seeing them, helps me feel like he’s still kinda with me, you know? Then she took me shopping. Well, she and her stylist, Kym, took me shopping. And that was a whole lot of fun. I never cared that much about clothes before. As long as I had a swimsuit and a wetsuit to surf in, I was pretty happy.
And although Brooklyn wants to be a professional surfer someday and does a lot of competitions and stuff, I just like to go out there. I love the way the waves feel under my board, the sun shinning on my head, and how I feel both confident and scared to death, simultaneously, as I ride a wave back into shore. Brooklyn is, well, he’s my best friend, and this summer, has been my sorta boyfriend. We spend all our free time together, and I’m really going to miss him. It’s not like he’s asked me out or anything, but we’ve spent a lot of nights on the beach together, and we’ve done some stuff.
Like, sexually. Not everything, but some stuff.
And he’s really adorable. He’s older than me. I just turned 15 a few weeks ago, and he turned 17 in July. He has shaggy blonde hair and the eyes the color of the ocean. He’s tan, about 6 ft, and has the strong core of a surfer.
As in abs to freaking die for. (This, of course, stayed the same. I had a very clear picture of Brooklyn—and his surfer boy abs— from the start.)
He could have about any girl he wanted, I think. At least they all seem to come up and talk to him whenever we’re at the beach, but he doesn’t seem to notice much. That or he doesn’t care. He says he’s in love with me, but I think that’s just cuz I’m easy to get along with and appreciate his love of waves, weed, and indie rock bands. He decided since I was leaving this fall, that he and his dad were going on tour. Like he has a list of all the places they want to surf and are planning on experiencing them all. His dad is a retired internet mogul, who likes to party and surf, so they are two peas in a pod pretty much. I can’t wait to hear all about their adventures, and I am really hoping my own adventure is a successful one. I’m really going to miss my family and mostly, Brooklyn. I thought, well, I kinda hoped, he would tell me not to go. That I should stay with him, marry him and have little surfer babies, but he’s got that zen attitude that is scary to me. That whatever’s meant to be, will happen kind of thinking. As in, he believes I do need to go out and find myself, experience life.
Tomorrow morning I fly to Connecticut, go to orientation, and move into my dorm. I’m packed and ready to go. All of my dorm room stuff and most of my clothes were sent out last week and will be waiting for me.
Tomorrow, I start becoming who I am going to be.
But for tonight, I’m still me, and Brooklyn is waiting for me on the beach. (Awww!)
Thursday, August 25th
Don’t worry, everyone will love you.
So I’m sitting here with my Mom and Tommy. In our plane. Flying with four kids under the age of five is tough enough, without having to fly commercial. Add to the fact that they are photographed practically every time they try to take a pee, and well, you can see why a private jet is a must. Normally the jet is a flying toy box. But today, thankfully, it is just the three of us, and there is not a toy in sight. I told the little munchkins goodbye this morning, and they all gave Kiki (as in Key-Key, which is their adorable name for me) kisses and drawings with all sorts of unidentifiable cute things on them.
I’m alternately thinking about last night with Brooklyn, and what my plan of attack is for today. Brooklyn, although he is very into zen-ness, is a avid reader. He reads all sorts of books that he thinks make him more worldly. And I will admit, when he starts quoting Keats poetry to his Keats, (his nickname for me) I don’t feel very zen like.
I feel more like I want to attack him.
And last night. Well…..let’s just say that this was the Keats quote he recited to me, Nothing ever becomes real ‘til it is experienced. (Keats, which as you know becomes a big part of the story. Both Aiden and Brooklyn quote it to her. And random fact, Jillian has a Keats tattoo.)
Mom interrupts my thoughts, or reads my mind, I’m not sure which and says, “So, Kiki, are you excited for your new adventure?”
I nod my head yes.
Then she gets to what she’s really dying to know.
“So…..how was your night with Brook last night? James (head of family security) told me you didn’t come in until 7am.”
“It was good,” I say, sort of glossing over last night. Although my mom and I are pretty tight and can talk about anything, I don’t know if I want to tell her about what happened. I’m still not completely sure how I feel about it. “And yeah, we decided to watch the sunrise, and then we decided to go out surfing. One last time together.”
“One last time together. Hmmm. You do anything else, since, you know, you won’t see each other for awhile?”
“Just hung out.”
I wanna tell her. Really, I’m dying to tell her. But I have other things I need to think about. Things the zen master told me to do at my new school. But she’s not giving up.
“Oh my gosh, Kiki, did you sleep with him or what?” (It’s driving me nuts hearing her call her Kiki constantly.)
I look at her, slightly embarrassed and then roll my eyes toward Tommy.
Tommy has been fully engrossed in a new script he’s been reading, but what mom said caught his attention. And now he’s looking at me. Even though I am not his biological daughter, Tommy is still pretty protective of me.
“Why don’t you go back and take a nap, Tommy?” my mom hints.
Tommy gets up and does as he is told, but I doubt he’s going to be napping.
Mom gets up too, grabs some champagne for both of us and says, “Here’s to first times and cute boys. Cheers.” Then she clinks my crystal flute and takes a sip.
“What makes you think I did it with Brooklyn last night? Just because we spent the night on the beach. We’ve done that a million times.”
“You look different today. You seem happy about leaving him, and I thought you would be sad, so something must have happened! Did he tell you that he loves you? And will you pleaseeee stop making me guess!!”
“Well, I’m kinda dying to tell someone about it.”
“OH!!! I knew it.”
“He did tell me he loves me, but he’s told me that a lot this summer. And even though we kissed and stuff a lot, it’s like maybe more of a best friend kind of love. I think. He says I don’t hassle him, that I don’t make him take me out, that I’m chill, that I like his music, his literature, his surfing. I think he likes hanging out with me because for a guy that is all about catching big waves, he doesn’t want any waves in his life. He wants calm, easy, chillness. He doesn’t want to work for it. Being with me is easy for him. And I love him, I do. But is it bad that I want a boy to want to take me out? To have to work for it a little. That I don’t just want him to love me because I’m easy.” Then I look at mom, who has a very worried look on her face. (It was my original plan to have her lose her virginity to Brooklyn, but then I added Cush to the story. Because Brooklyn was an ass and ditched me—I mean, Keatyn.)
“Oh, I don’t mean easy, like sex. I just mean easy to hang out with. I don’t demand anything of him. And I can’t decide if that means we’re like destined to be together, or if it means we don’t care enough.”
“That’s a hard one,” Mom says, scrunching up her famous nose. “What do you think?”
“I’m not sure. I know he was upset that I’m going away to school, but he also was very encouraging. Shouldn’t he have said, Please don’t go, I can’t live without you?” (Yes, he should have! I feel a little like Vanessa here, but Keatyn, you know the answer to that question! You are definitely thinking with your heart and not your head here!)
“I think what you and Brook have is special. And time will tell if he’s the one. You’re fifteen, you have a lot more boys to meet and love before you can figure all that out.”
“That’s almost exactly what he said. He said this is all about me growing into who I’m going to be. Once again, I’m not sure if he loves me so much, he’s letting me go be a free bird, or if he doesn’t love me enough to care one way or another.”
“Kiki, you have known him for the past three years, and you’ve been pretty much inseparable this summer. I’m pretty sure he’s letting you be the bird.” (Maybe more like giving her the bird? LOL)
“Yeah, I don’t know. So he gave me all sorts of advice on what to be at my new school. How I should behave, who to be friends with, how not to get involved in drama, how to not be afraid to be noticed, how to be confident, how to not care what people think. So….do you have any advice for me? You made it through high school, were prom queen and all that. What do I need to know?”
She runs her hand across the top of her perfectly coiffed hair and says, “Just be yourself, Keatyn. And be confident. You’re worldly, mature, well traveled, well spoken, and confident. You have always acted older than you are. Kids are drawn to that. And if I was you, I would make friends with a few boys first. It takes some time to figure out how girls are going to behave. And I know you think you remade yourself this summer. And sure, we got rid of the glasses and the braces, but you are still you. The you you’ve always been, with your father’s gorgeous eyes, my killer smile, and your own individual grace. You are unstoppable, baby. Don’t worry, everyone will love you.”
“You just told me what Reece Witherspoon told her dog when they got to Harvard in Legally Blonde.”
Mom’s mouth starts out in a little smirk and then beams into her famous mega watt smile. And then she laughs. “You’re right. I just did. Well, everyone will love you. And I love you very much. And um, sooooo are you gonna tell me about it or not?”
“Not. At least not yet. I need to process it all a little.”
“So you did have sex with him?”
“Yeah, I did.”
Mom looks concerned. “Was it bad? I mean, it’s not that unusual for your first time to be kinda bad, but it gets better, really.”
“No. It wasn’t bad at all. It was perfect. A little uncomfortable, yeah, but he’s amazing. And I can’t imagine having anyone else be my first, you know?” (**cough** Cush, anyone? And by the way, you are probably wondering where the heck is the Cushman? Well, he doesn’t appear in this version and was added later. Cush was sort of a prelude to Aiden.)
“Yeah, I know. Well, actually I don’t know. My first time was with a guy that was a jerk. So um, not to ask too many details, but were you like on the beach?” (Abby says like a little too much here.)
“No. His dad was out for the night, so we were in the hot tub, on the deck, in his room.”
“You did it all those places??!!”
“Okay, Mom, I think that is too many details and no, we didn’t. We just, okay, Tommy is getting restless. So our conversation about this is over.”
She gives me a little snivel.
I drink some more champagne and tell myself to relax.
Brooklyn told me last night not to worry. He said, You have a plan. No one knows you. Your mom is a great actress, your dad was a model and actor, so it only stands to reason you should have a little bit of the acting gene in you somewhere. So act. Act confident. Act like you have it all together. Act like you don’t care what people think of you. Act like you have a guy back home who adores you. Then he kissed me for the thousandth time that night and said, Actually you don’t have to act that part. You do have a guy at home that adores you.
Except you aren’t going to be home, I told him.
Doesn’t matter, he said, pointing to his heart, you’re in here, in my heart, and you always will be. I love you Keatyn Elizabeth Monroe. Always. Then he quoted Keats again. Touch has a memory. I will never, ever forget you, forget this perfect night. (He’s still got all the quotes! Love them.)
And that’s when he led me to his bedroom. Things had been hot and heavy in the sand, and then on the deck, and in the hot tub. And they got even hotter in his bedroom. And I wasn’t lying when I told my mom that my first time was actually pretty amazing. And I’m not talking the mechanics of it all, like I said, that was still a bit awkward for me, but Brooklyn has been around some. So he knew what he was doing and how to make me not feel awkward. Or maybe it was because he made me feel loved. Either way, I couldn’t wait to do it with him again. And so I’m not saying one way or another, but um, maybe we did again this morning.
Um, well, maybe twice.
And it wasn’t awkward at all.
Kiki is a stripper name.
I have been dropped of at the airport, hugged, and made a scene over. Thankfully, they agreed to let a driver take me to school and for them to head to NYC for their meeting. I’m not trying to hide who I am, but I don’t want that to be like the first thing people think when they see me. Oh, that’s so and so’s daughter. I wonder if she can get me an autograph, or a job, or a screen test, or into a premiere.
I look around and am shocked at how many trees there are, and I am super excited to spend the winter here. To maybe see snow like every day and not just for a week of skiing in the Alps. The school’s campus is beautiful and is really similar to a college campus. Dorms, classrooms, and athletic fields. There are a million trees, and they look like they are maybe just on the verge of changing to their brilliant fall colors. Something else I can’t wait for. (You can see that her reaction to Eastbrooke is much different here than in the final version. By adding the stalker, Eastbrooke not only felt like home, it felt safe, which was a huge deal.)
I check in, drop my bag off at the student center, as we were instructed, and head over to the large gym. I’ve been standing back a bit and observing everyone, just like Brooklyn suggested.
Doing a little recon. (Notice Jake didn’t take her bags and wasn’t the first person she met at Eastbrooke in this version!)
Really, I have decided to find the two cutest guys and sit with them. Make friends with them. Let them introduce me to their friends. A few of the kids seems to know each other. Mostly guys. I remember reading something about them coming a week early for football camp. So they probably have gotten to know each other.
Then I spy a guy that is too cute for words. He looks, well, like Brooklyn did when I first met him. Sandy blonde hair, gleaming blue eyes, and I instantly feel a connection to him. When another tall, dark haired cute boy walks over and fist bumps him, I know I’ve found my pair.
I wait for them to sit down.
I try to decide if they were good boys, as in the kind to sit right up front, or if they were naughty boys, who prefer to slack in the back. They go straight towards the back, high up in the bleachers, and I follow.
For most school days, we have to wear uniforms. Well, sort of uniforms. Have you ever seen those perfume ads with the preppy looking boys and girls in some form of prep school uniforms? Well, that’s sorta how it is. The boys have to wear navy blazers, a polo shirt or oxford, and on most days they have to wear ties as well. The bottoms are either khaki or navy shorts or pants, and it seems there is some leeway in this because the day I visited, there were boys in striped and plaid shorts as well. The girls have plaid skorts and skirts the are a combination of navy, black, white and red, with just a little yellow, along with navy blazers, colored vests or cardigans. There’s some rules about how long the skirts have to be, but I noticed that only the freshman girls seemed to follow this rule and it made them stand out as freshman. I had one of my mom’s designer friends custom tailor all of my skirts, skorts and blazers, so that they fit like couture. And all my skirts can be pulled down on my hips to pass a length test, but were made to be a shorter than they are supposed to be. Today, most everyone was traveling here, so they told us we could dress casually. I picked my outfits for the next few days out very carefully, including the ways I would be accessorizing my uniform. Well, I had a stylist help me. I mean, why not let the experts dress you?
So today, I am wearing a cute strapless dress that fits me like a glove on the top, but flows out into a layered short ruffled skirt, a necklace loaded with charms, and with it, my favorite cowboy boots. I have some gorgeous boots that are like things you would find in LA, not on in East Texas farm town. These boots were purchased at a boot store in Texas and are legit. I love them.
So I try not to make too much noise in my boots, as I clomp up the bleachers after the boys. I do notice a few girls looking at me. And then at my boots. I’m thinking East coast girls maybe don’t wear a lot of cowboy boots. At least I don’t think so. And I have to admit, I’m kinda glad about that. I don’t want to be like everyone else. I see a combination of designer heels and Sperry topsiders. The boys are sitting down with a group of about six or so nice looking boys. I march up to them and point at a sliver of empty bleacher between them.
“Is this seat taken?” I ask politely, boldly pointing down at the sliver.
They look at each other, slide apart, and the blonde one says, “All yours, darling.”
At first I thought he was making fun of my boots, but then he says, “Hey, I’m Dallas, and this here is Riley,” using an unmistakable southern drawl. The kind that you only get from growing up there, not working with an accent coach. (Meeting Dallas and Riley is one of my most favorite scenes. And knowing how it laid the foundation for their life-long friendship gives me happy goosebumps!)
Because I’ve spent a lot of time in East Texas, Brooklyn tells me I have a little twang in my own voice. I respond with, “Nice to meet y’all. I’m Keatyn.” And I sit.
“Great boobs, uh, I mean boots,” the boy behind me says.
And I’m not offended in the least.
I am not a virgin. I have done it three times, and I think that makes me more worldly than all my travels have.
Okay, so yeah, I might have said two before, but we actually did it like three times. He kept telling me it would get better. And he was right. It did. The first time was like uncomfortable, the second time was awkward, the third time was good.
I coo, “Thanks, what’s your name?”
All the boys introduce themselves. There’s Dallas, the adorable blonde from Tennessee. Riley, the dark hottie, says he’s from New York. Carson from Rhode Island, skinny and a bit nerdish looking, but I notice the under the skinny is all muscle, he must be a runner. There’s Parker from Connecticut, who also has darker skater boy hair, and really nice teeth. Ryan from Pennsylvania has the short muscular body of a running back or a wrestler. Jordan from Virginia, has a lost, I’m really high look on his face. And then there’s Lance and Zane, twins from New Jersey, who totally look and talk like the Italian Jersey boys they are. (Um, hello? Who are all these people and how in the world would we ever remember them all? All these random people got the literary ax. Chop chop.)
The boys tell me they all just met last week during football camp.
“So what are you gonna do here?” Riley asks me.
“I’m not sure. You guys like to party? Or you serious athletes?”
“Oh, we like to party,” gorgey, dark Riley tells me. “And my brother is a senior, so I pretty much have the place wired.”
“You’re a good guy to know then,” I say. “You can introduce me to your hot brother and all his friends.”
“How do you know my brother is hot?”
“Cuz you are,” I flirt.
“Naw,” says Riley, “I think we’re gonna keep you to ourselves.”
“Uh, not to burst your bubble or anything, but I kinda like older boys. Boys my age tend to me a bit immature for me.”
Just as the the words leave my lips, it’s like I’m on a movie set, with a script in my hand about immature boys. And they’re all following along. A boy up front rips out a loud fart, and they all start laughing.
“My point, exactly,” I say.
“That dude may be immature,” Dallas tell me. “But we’re not. Notice he’s not sitting with us.”
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
Riley asks, “So how come you’re not down trying to meet all the girls? Find your new bff?”
“Notice how all the girls are trying to get as close to the front as they can? Trying to make a good impression?”
“Yeah,” both Riley and Dallas say.
“Why are you in the back?” I ask them.
Dallas laughs, “Because we don’t give a shit about good impressions. We just wanna goof around.”
“Me too, boys, me too. Plus, most of my best friends have always been guys. Guys are way easier to get along with. No drama.”
Riley raises his eyes at me. “We’ll get along just fine. You don’t need girls for your bff anyways.” He throws his arm around my shoulder. “I’m your new bff, and I think I’ll be your new boyfriend too.”
“Um, I kinda have a boyfriend at home.”
“Not for long. I promise, I’ll make you forget all about him.” He grins a very seductive grin at me.
“He’s 17, a semi professional surfer, and seriously hot. I highly doubt that.” (You may notice that ages also changed. He was 19 in the series.)
“Oh, you underestimate me,” he says, his eyes smoldering.
Eyes that make me know I’m not the only not virgin sitting here. This boy is clearly not new to this game.
And you know? He might be right.
I may have underestimated him.
Riley continues, “Plus, I can get us in all the good parties. My bro and I are tight.”
He and Dallas fist bump each other.
“Hell yeah, bro,” one of the boys from behind us says.
The headmaster, principal, dean, whatever they call him, gets up and starts welcoming us.
He’s telling us a bunch of boring history about the school, and I’m really not all that interested.
I say to Riley, “You sure your brother feels that way?”
Carson laughs, haha, and says, “SLAAAAMMMM.”
“What do you mean?” Riley asks.
“I mean, do you really think your older brother wants his baby bro tagging along with him?”
“You’re cute,” he tells me.
“Thanks, I think.”
“And my reputation clearly does not proceed me.”
“You have a reputation? Ha! Did you make one up? You haven’t been here long enough to get a reputation.”
“Well the boys here, have heard all about my summer at the Hamptons.”
I hear a chorus of Hell yeahs, You’re the man, Dude, and Bro, from behind me.
Dallas says lazily to Riley, “You are the man.” (I heart Dallas!)
I cough, “Bullshit.”
Riley laughs and says, “Just you wait and see. You can come play cowgirl with me anytime.”
I quip, “Save a horse ride a cowboy, huh?”
“Now that’s what I’m talking about,” Riley agrees.
He’s funny. And there’s something so cute about a cocky boy. Like you just wanna laugh at them.
The dean guy is droning on about being special and chosen to go here and what an honor it is. And he may be going over rules. I’m still not listening. I’ve never been much of a rule follower. Well actually, I have never really had any rules to follow. I’ve never had a curfew. Really my only real rule is that I have wear a helmet if I ride roller blades, skateboards, longboards, or Brooklyn’s motorcycle. But that’s about it.
Riley snaps his fingers and says, “I have a great idea. Keatyn is a boy name. Lets dress you up like a boy. You can be my roommate by day, and then be my hot little plaything at night.”
I roll my eyes at him, like I’m so bored.
Haha, I’m not.
This is so much fun. But I have to give him some shit. I think he likes it. (Oh, Keatyn, he does.)
“Seriously?” I say.
“Forgive him,” Dallas says. “He thinks all the girls want him. He’s been going on and on about all the hot girls that came to his brother’s parties this summer that he slept with.”
I raise my eyebrows at him. Like I don’t believe a word of it.
“It’s all true, baby.” Riley says.
“So basically you either had your brother’s sloppy seconds or girls who were too drunk to know better?”
“Oh, I’m gonna like you.” Riley nods, looks me from the toes of my pointy boots, up to my tan collarbones and then says, “You’re gonna be my first real challenge.”
“Sounds like I’m probably much too young and much too inexperienced for you.”
He glares at me. At first he was trying to impress me with his experience, and then I just turned it around and made his experience seem like a bad thing.
“I think you’re forgetting what I said earlier anyways. I kinda have a boyfriend.”
“I think you’re faking a boyfriend.”
“Oh really?” I grab my phone and pull up a picture of me and Brooklyn. We’re standing facing each, swimsuits on, boards stuck in the sand next to us. His arms are casually around my waist, and he’s getting ready to lean in and kiss me. The sun is glimmering on the ocean as it’s getting ready to set, and the sky is a brilliant shade of fiery oranges, pinks, and reds. And he is looking at me in the dreamy way he always does.
“See?” I say.
The boys pass the phone around.
I hear Carson say, “Dayummm, look at the bikini. Nice.”
He and Parker are huddled over my phone.
I try to grab it from them as they pass it to the twins.
“Oh my gosh, you are not supposed to be looking at my body.”
Jordan says, “What are we supposed to be looking at?”
“At us. At how happy we are. How dreamy he is.”
“All guys look like that when their arms are wrapped around a hot bikini,” Riley states.
Then he opens up his phone and scrolls through about a million pics of him with hot bikini clad girls posing next to him, hugging him, kissing him on the cheek, kissing him.
“See. I’m not in love with any of these girls. It means nothing.”
Oh my gosh.
He frustrates me.
“Fine then. I mean nothing to him.”
The dean guy is going on now about the activities for this weekend, how we should each join at least two extracurricular activities, how cheerleader and dance team tryouts are this weekend, and some other stuff that was all in the packet we received in the mail earlier this week. Which I scoured. Practically memorized.
I don’t understand why we need to sit here and hear it all again, when surely everyone has read it because no one is listening to him at all. Well, except for a few girls down front, who are pretending to be rapt with attention.
Or maybe they are. Who knows. Who cares.
The phone is passed to Dallas, who is staring at my bikini, I think, when it vibrates in his hand. He jumps slightly then goes, “Ooooh,” and proceeds to read my text out loud.
“You just got a text from Brooklyn with a heart.” I try to grab the phone. “It says, Miss you already, Keats. Last night was amazing and well, both times this morning too. Winky face. Then, Love you, heart. Oh la la.”
“See, I’m not making up a boyfriend.”
“Soooo, what did you do last night that was so amazing?” Carson asks.
I look at him a little puzzled.
“What do you think?” I ask.
“So I take it you’re not a virgin?”Riley says smoothly. “Me either, but most of these douches are.”
“You have no idea what he’s talking about. Maybe we made pancakes twice this morning. Or maybe we caught a couple great waves, and they were amazing.”
“Doubtful,” Riley says. “My vote is that he’s talking about hot sex with you.”
Then the phone buzzes again.
Dallas reads, “Oh don’t forget to send me a pic of you in that sexy little school girl outfit, and maybe forget to put on your shirt. Then there is a big grinny face.”
“I’ll take a pic of that too,” Riley says slyly.
“Too bad he wont’ get to see you in your sexy little uniform every day, like we will,” Dallas says.
“I hardly think they’re sexy.”
“We’ll see, now, won’t we?”
We are now being told that we are being dismissed and are to go get in line, pick up our schedule, get our dorm assignments and roommates. We’re supposed to go to our dorms, meet our roommate, and go to dinner in the dining hall together. Then tonight there is some kind of freshmen mixer. Where we’re going to play stupid icebreaker type games and get to know each other.
Ought to be interesting. More like lame.
All I know is there are a whole bunch of football playing upperclassmen with nothing to do tonight but workout. So, one would assume they are having a party. Or they should be.
Time to meet a few of them.
As the boys and I are walking over to the commons area where we are supposed to go next, I see a group of older boys out in the big green lawn kicking a soccer ball around. And I figure, what the hell. This is the story of my life, the script of my life, and I am writing it.
What would I do if I was the cool/crazy girl in a teen movie?
I’d get noticed is what I would do.
And it just so happens I’m pretty freaking good at soccer. My select team has won state the last two years in a row.
Not that cowboys boots are the best for kicking a soccer ball. They are good for shit kicking is what my grandpa says, but what the hell. The ball is heading toward me as we get closer. I veer off the wide pathway, run down the little hill, intercept the ball from the gorgeous boy it was getting passed to, dribble the ball down the field, and kick the ball straight into the goal.
Right around the extremelyyyyy, and I mean super de duper, super extremely hottie hott hot hottie.
Like he is seriously the God of All Hotties. (Can we just take a moment to allow the importance of this scene to sink in? How many Keatyn + Aiden things arose from this scene? He calls her Boots because of it. Her new obsession with gods. The naming of the Titan. The golden laurel wreath she made him wear at the Olympics. The dream where she was wearing a gold embroidered dress. I could go on and on…..)
I don’t say anything and neither do the boys on the field. I think I sorta shocked them, took them by surprise.
The goalie for sure.
I give the hottie god a big grin. A haha I just totally scored on you grin, then I jog back up the field to my friends, who have stopped and were watching me.
Dallas high fives me.
Riley says, “Uh, you just stole the ball from my brother.”
“Sweet,” I say.
Dallas says, “Dude, that was awesome! And in cowboy boots to boot. Haha,” he laughs at himself. “To boot, get it??”
“Yeah, we get it,” I laugh.
Dallas replies, “I said it before, and I’ll say it again. We’re gonna have some fun this year. I’m so glad you came up and hit on me.”
“I did not hit on you.”
“You asked if this seat was taken, and there was like this much space.” He puts his hands out and shows the others that there was like two inches.
“Maybe I just wanted to meet some cute boys. Some nice, fun to hang out with boys. I figured the boys in the back were a good place to start. But if you would have all turned out to be losers, then I woulda had to ditch you.”
“We still might ditch you,” Carson says.
“No way,” Riley says.
Dallas agrees, ruffles my hair, and says, “Yeah, now you’re like our mascot.”
“What did your boy toy call you?” Riley asks.
“Um, he calls me Keats, but my little sisters call me Kiki. Like key, key.”
“Kiki is like a stripper name,” Ryan chimes in.
“I like Keats,” Dallas tells me.
“Uh, yeah, you can’t call me that. Only one person in the world gets to call me that.”
He scowls. “Fine. What’s your last name?”
“K-mon?” Parker suggests.
“Uh no. That’s dumb,” Dallas tells him.
“Shut up,” Parker scowls.
“Why do i need a nickname anyways?”
“Cuz we all got nicknames. This week during football camp. You need one too if your gonna hang with us,” Dallas informs me.
Riley says, “Well, Kiki it is then.”
Seriously? Why did I open my mouth about Kiki? It totally sounds like a stripper name. And yeah, I want to get noticed, but I don’t want the boys to think I’m like some strip tease slut.
I mean, certainly not yet anyways.
You look like my next girlfriend. (Ahh! Aiden!)
I get my room assignment and meet my roommate. Her name is Morgan. She told me she plans on trying out for the debate team, plays a mean clarinet and hopes to get on the student council.
And I think, you know what? Student council is not a bad idea. It said in our packet the freshman election campaigns start soon. And I think I just decided to run. For president maybe.
Band? Uh no. Debate team? Uh, although I am proficient at arguing, I don’t really enjoy it, so probably not.
I figure soccer, for sure. Tryouts are tomorrow afternoon. And definitely French club. That’s my favorite language. We’ve spent a lot of time as a family in France, Mom and Tommy have a big villa there, so it’s the language I’m most fluent in.
Well, besides English, I mean.
Her and I go to dinner, and she ditches me for some girl she met at orientation. I think she thinks I’m not her type, and I’m a bit offended by that. I’m an actress, well sorta, I mean, no not really, but I’m trying different things out. But I’m pretty sure, her’s is not a role I would consider trying out for.
I’m standing in line when a older girl walks up to me.
Well, I assume she is older. She looks older. Actually, she is freaking beautiful. Like her skin belongs on a Cover Girl ad. She says, “Hey, I’m Peyton. Sweet moves on the soccer field today. You totally scored on my brother. It was awesome,” she laughs.
“The goalie was your brother?” I say stunned, although I can see that hotness runs in the family. I can still see the goalie’s face if I close my eyes. The shocked look on his beautiful face, the stiffness of that chiseled jaw, the surprise as the ball sailed right by his gloved hand. (As you can see, I also had a very clear picture in my mind of exactly what the hottie god looked like. His description is almost word for word to the final version.)
“Yeah, he’s a sophomore. And I am hoping you are trying out for the soccer team tomorrow. I’m the captain this year.” (Obviously, I changed the ages a lot. She comes to Eastbrooke as a junior not a freshman. Because my word, if she would have done all what she does as a freshman, I would have had to ground her.)
“Really? And yeah, I was planning on it. I love playing soccer.”
“Cool. See you tomorrow afternoon. Oh, and whats your name?”
“Oh, sorry, it’s Keatyn.”
“Cool name. Hey, I think you’re in my student advisor group tomorrow. I get to show you all around school.”
“Can’t wait,” I say, but I don’t really hide my lack of excitement.
“Don’t worry. I’m not gonna show you all the boring things they want us to. We’re gonna go to all the best spots to meet boys on campus. I’m going to show you the best place to get coffee. But, shhh. Don’t tell.”
I grin big. I like this girl already.
“See ya tomorrow,” she says, as she walks away with her tray and goes to sit with the gorgeous dark haired boy.
I look around and feel a little awkward for a minute.
Because I’m not sure where I’m going to sit. Do I go sit by some girls I don’t even know, introduce myself and try to make a friend, or do I go back to my new guy friends?
I see the guys in back, all sitting together, and Dallas waves me over.
And where else am I gonna go? So I head over there. I’m weaving my way through the tables when, all of a sudden, the God of All Hotties, brother of Peyton, is standing in front of me, blocking my way.
“Sweet moves,” he says, and then he looks me up and down. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone play soccer in cowboys boots.”
He laughs. He has a easy laugh.
It makes me miss Brooklyn.
He is so easy to make laugh. Okay, so granted, he’s high a lot, and that makes him think things are funny. But still, it’s cute.
I pretend like I don’t recognize him and say, “Were you out there today? Like on the soccer field I mean?” (Now this is one lie that she didn’t have to tell, but I love that she tells it. It’s so fitting of their relationship. Were you out there today, God of all Hotties? I just didn’t recognize you with your shirt on. LMAO.)
“Uh, yeah.” He looks offended. “I was the goalie.”
“Oh, wow, so that was you, huh?”
“Yeah,” he says, just a bit awkwardly.
“So wait. You’re Peyton’s brother?”
“Guilty,” he says, holding up his hands.
“You’re pretty gorgeous yourself. And you have a mean kick. I’m curious. What possessed you to run out on the field like that anyways?”
Did he just call me gorgeous??
Calmness, zenness, chillness, be with me now. (One of my favorite lines from the book and part of the quote I inscribe in every paperback of Stalk Me.)
“Oh, haha,” I awkwardly giggle. “I don’t know. Just saw the ball and felt like it. Sorry. It was probably stupid of me. I guess I just got caught up in the moment.”
“I liked it, even though you made me miss.” Then he moves in to stand just a little closer to me and lowers his voice.
“Well, really, you kinda embarrassed me. I don’t usually miss. But you, I couldn’t stop looking at you. I kinda forgot about the ball until it was coming at me.”
“I think you were just shocked to see a girl running down the field in cowboy boots and a dress.”
“That’s for sure. Not something you see every day around here. But I hope I get to see you more.”
His gorgeous green eyes are practically drilling their way into my soul as we speak. (They are, they really, really are!)
I’m not going to swoon. I’m not going to act like probably every other girl acts in the presence of a hottie god. I’m going to walk away before I make a fool of myself. Hopefully leaving will make him want me more. Mom says you always leave them wanting more. (Even though I’m totally swooning.)
But instead, I am just standing there, staring back at him. At his short blonde hair, that is perfectly, almost artfully, messed up on the top. At those gorgeous green eyes. At his perfect smile.
I manage to say, “Hey, it was nice to meet you.” And then I squeeze around his tall, muscular body. When I accidentally brush up against him, I almost jump from the electrical feel of him. I quick walk over to sit in the relative safety of the freshman boy table.
“See you were talking to Aiden,” Riley says.
“Who’s Aiden?” I ask. I’m still in a bit of a daze. I mean, who could blame me? I was just touched by a god.
“Uh, the guy you were just talking to, the goalie from today?”
“Oh, yeah. I guess,” I shrug.
“You should know he is a total player.” Riley tells me this, like it’s something I really need to know.
Which kinda pisses me off. “Really? And you’re not? You have been trying to do nothing since we met, but convince me of your playing skills, and now you are condemning him for it?”
Dallas is like, “Dude, she’s got a point.”
Riley quips back, “I’m not a player, Kiki. I just want to settle down with a hot stripper named girl on my arm.” (I love Riley!)
“Shut up. Seriously. Skip the Kiki crap.”
I shove some lasagna in my mouth, and wish my mouth was doing something else.
Something else with this Aiden boy.
But then my mind flashes back to last night, with Brooklyn. I can see his face right next to mine. I can feel the way his weight felt when he was laying on top of me, the closeness I felt to him.
Seriously, what is wrong with me? I lost my virginity to the love of my life less than 24 hours ago, and I’m drooling over the some random hottie.
Okay, so he’s not a random hottie. He is more like the god of random hotties.
We eat, and then go to the freshman mixer. It’s pretty boring, honestly. But I met a few more people.
The boys were bored, so we all left and walked around outside for a bit.
I just dropped them all off at their dorm, and I’m walking back to my dorm when I hear, “Hey, Boots!”
I turn around, and there is gorgeous goalie boy.
God of all Hotties.
“Uh, are you talking to me?”
“Yeah, you didn’t tell me your name, and since you were wearing those cute cowboy boots, I thought I’d call you Boots.”
“Boots is the name of the monkey on Dora the Explorer.” What? Is he an idiot?
“What’s Dora the Explorer?”
“It’s a kid’s show. Seriously, you’ve never heard of it? Swiper, no swiping? Backpack? Map? Tico the squirrel?”
He looks at me with a blank face. “Uh, I don’t think so. So….??”
“Are you gonna tell me your name, or what?”
“Oh, um sure.” Then I get a little swag back. “If you tell me yours first.”
You show me yours, I’ll show you mine, is what I wish I could say.
He stares at me for a second, like I’m a fish he’s trying to size up. See if he should throw me back in or not. He puts his hand out, for me to shake it, and says, “Hi, I’m Aiden.”
I smile at him and let out a little nervous laugh.
I’m trying really hard to be all cool with this guy.
Cuz the player comments are totally in my mind.
I don’t want to fall for a player, get my heart broken. And really, I’m not sure if Brooklyn gave me my heart back or not. But I’m single. We decided no strings, just friendship, when I left, so I say, “I’m Keatyn.”
“Really? I’ve never known a girl with that name. Only guys.”
I stand there and stare at him, not sure if I’m supposed to be offended or not.
“So, Boots,” he grins. “You have a date for the dance Saturday night?”
“Uh no, I’ve been here for like five hours, I don’t really know very many people yet.”
“Well you’ve certainly made an impression on the male population so far.”
I roll my eyes. “I highly doubt that. Unless, of course, their impression is that I’m freaking nuts, cuz apparently that’s what a lot of the girls thought. Or so my roommate tells me.”
He laughs. He’s got a cute laugh that’s kinda deep and sexy. Kinda a growl.
Grrr, baby, grrrr. (My thoughts exactly, Keatyn.)
Yeah, I don’t say that.
He says, “Freaking hot, yes. Freaking nuts, probably. Freaking adorable, absolutely. Plus, I have a lotta respect for a girl that can score on me.”
And before I can edit myself, I blurt out, “Funny, I’ve heard just the opposite.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I don’t know. I just heard you’re a major player. Usually players don’t have much respect for the girls they, uh, score with.”
He narrows his eyes at me. I think I just pissed him off. (I just love their banter.)
It’s cute. (It is.)
He leans in to me and sorta breathlessly says, “How do you know it’s not just cuz I haven’t met the right girl yet? I’m really a hopeless romantic, a sensitive soul. I know that doesn’t sound very cool, but I am. And I’m looking for that special girl, so I guess you’re right. I figure out pretty quickly if things are right or not. And if they aren’t, well then, why waste my time? And I haven’t, um, scored with all the girls I’ve dated. I’m really not all that experienced.”
I laugh out loud in his face.
I didn’t mean to, but I did.
Cuz I mean look at him!
He’s freaking gorgeous. Tonight he’s got just a bit of stubble on that movie star jaw. And his hair is not messed up from soccer anymore.
“I’m serious,” he says. “And uh, what about you, stripper Kiki?”
“Hmmm. One, I am not a stripper. Two, they asked me if I have a nickname, and I stupidly told them at home my little sisters call me Kiki. Like key key. When they say it, it sounds adorable. When freshman boys say it, it sounds slutty.”
“So maybe we’re both hearing things that aren’t exactly true?”
“How many girls did you go out with freshman year?”
“Uh,” he hems and haws. Purses his lips. “I went out with eight.”
“That’s like one a month. Let me guess, you loved them all?”
He winces. “Well, I heard you have a boyfriend. Some older surfer dude.”
“Well, yeah, I like did, but when I came here, we decided we should go back to being friends. He’s my best friend.”
“Good to hear. Cuz you look like my next girlfriend.” (Torn between thinking he’s a jerk and swooning.)
“Oh my gosh, did you really just use a pickup line on me? I thought you said you are a sensitive soul. More like your soul is full of bullshit.”
“Uh, sorry. I don’t know why I just said that. So hey, I gotta go, but save me a dance tomorrow night, k?”
I gave him a flippant, “Sure,” along with an eye roll.
He turns, grabs both of my hands and says, “I’m serious.” He looks me in the eye, and I swear, I almost fainted when he touched me.
What the hell is wrong with me?
Repeat after me.
Do not fall for a player.
Only date nice boys.
Do not fall for a player.
I shake my head a bit, get the cobwebs that seem to have formed in my brain out and walk back to my dorm.
How not to impress a girl.
Back at the dorm, in the safety of my room. My roommate is already in bed and asleep.
Seriously? Curfew isn’t even until 10:30. And I’m still on pacific time, which means it’s only 6:00 at home. I change into a pair of shorts and a sweatshirt, then text my mom real quick.
Me: So, I’m doing good. Today went good.
Mom: Any cute boys?
Me: Mom, I’m here to get an education, remember? Figure out me?
Mom: But, still.
Me: Yes, I have met some cute boys. One that is so good looking, he should be in your next movie. He’s like the God of all Hotties.
Mom: Did you talk to this hottie?
Me: Yeah, he asked me to go the dance with him tomorrow, but I said no.
Me: Cuz he’s apparently a player.
Mom: Players can be fun. Tommy was a player before he met me, just saying. (Um, Abby, this may not be the best motherly advice in the world. Just saying. But she’s right. Players can be fun. *Until you get played.)
Me: I’ll keep that in mind. Love you!
Mom: Love you, more!
I turn on my lamp on and shine it at my bare wall. I’m ready to hang up the main decor for my side of my room.
It’s a 14 foot by 10 foot poster of the ocean. Brooklyn’s dad was laying on the sand when he took the photo that we had blown up and mounted. There’s a heart drawn in the sand in front of him, which I never noticed in the small photo he showed me. Written in it is B + K.
I start to get tears in my eyes, but I keep working on getting it hung up anyways. I turn the main light on and appraise it. My roommate moans and pulls the covers over her head.
It looks fantastic. It’s the ocean right out in front of my house, and there’s a big wave coming into shore and way out in the distance is me and Brooklyn, the wave just starting to curl over us.
I sit on my bed and stare at it. Feel homesick. Decide to make my bed. I have my poster hung, my bed made, and am about to start unpacking clothes, and possibly call Brooklyn.
My phone vibrates.
I have a text message from someone called, The love of my life <3
The love of my life <3: where are you?
Me: who is this?
The love of my life <3: Dallas, duh:)
Me: thats not what it says in my phone
The love of my life <3 🙂 come meet me outside your dorm.
Me: I was gonna unpack.
The love of my life <3 You can do that after curfew, come on.
Me: you talked me into it 🙂
So I go.
I figure it’s all the boys out there. We’ll probably go kick around a soccer ball or something, but when I get out there, I see it’s just Dallas.
He gives me a naughty grin.
“What? Why do you look like we’re about to do something that could get us both in trouble?”
He really is a cutie. And really does remind me of a young Brooklyn.
He opens his hand and shows me a neatly rolled joint.
“Wanna join me?”
“Uh, yeah. But where? I don’t want to get in trouble my first day.”
I already got the scoop on where to go, come on. He grabs my hand, which for some strange reason feels very natural, and we walk hand in hand behind my dorm and into some woods I hadn’t noticed before. There’s a skinny, but well worn path that we follow, and pretty soon, we are in a well hidden clearing. I smell the unmistakeable smell of weed, and know it’s not just me and Dallas that are gonna get a little baked.
There is a group of about eight guys sitting in the clearing on a bunch of downed tree logs. And just one girl, Peyton.
At first, I’m a bit nervous because she is like my group leader. I don’t want to get in trouble, but then the gorgeous dark haired boy (Hello, Dawson!) she was sitting with at lunch passes her a joint, and she expertly takes a hit.
Guess she won’t get me into trouble.
Dallas still is holding my hand and leads me over to the other side of the little circle. We sit down on some logs. He lights up and passes it to me.
A tall brown haired guy, with really massive arm muscles and kind of a beaky nose walks over to us. Dallas stands up, says, “Hey, Ace.”
“Thought we told you freshman aren’t supposed to be back here.” He says freshman like it’s a dirty word.
I smile at Ace, who is looking me up and down very predatorily. Specifically at my long, tanned legs. I kinda don’t like it.
Dallas is super smooth though, I’m impressed.
I hand him back the joint. He takes a big hit and blows the smoke out toward Ace’s face and says, “Chill, dude. We won’t bother you. Just wanted some place to smoke, so we won’t get caught.”
But Ace is probably the asshole in the group and clearly hasn’t smoked yet. He is way too uptight. Dallas hands me back the joint, so I hand it out to Ace, toss my hair a little and then smile at Ace seductively, “Here, we’ll even share.”
Ace appraises me, takes a hit, mellows a bit, then hands me back the joint and says, “What the fuck, with legs like that, you can come here anytime.”
I nod a thank you.
And thankfully, Ace goes and sits back down with his friends.
Dallas and I are smoking and giggling about Riley and all the corny things he said trying to impress me. And then I remember the hottie god. I tell Dallas, “So first he is telling me how he’s this sensitive guy, then he said I look like his next girlfriend. And I can’t help it, it’s not just the weed, I mean him telling me that was like classic. Something for the movies. How NOT to impress a girl.” I’m leaning against Dallas and having a bit of a giggle fit, when Dallas pokes my side. I look up
And there standing in front of me, not giggling, is the God of all Hotties himself.
Oh shit. Busted.
I don’t know what to say.
I go with, “Uh, hey, um, Aiden, right?”
He nods and walks away.
Dallas and I giggle some more.
And somehow, when our heads are together laughing, Dallas starts kissing me. And Dallas is a surprisingly good kisser.
Like really good.
He’s definitely had some practice. And I start to wonder what else he has done and how good he might be at it.
Friday, August 26th
A Perfect Four Leaf Clover
Up early, ready for a full day. Even though my body is saying, Keatyn, it’s 4:30am at home, please go back to bed.
But I can’t. I’m too excited. (So am I! I want to go to Eastbrooke!)
This morning is when we meet our student leaders for the school tour, pointers, etc. I think this is where I will see Peyton.
I walk into the gym, and we break up into our groups. Our group is all girls, and Peyton is excitedly talking to us about the dance, about all the different clubs, about things like curfews, visiting the boys dorms, places the boys like to hang out. I find it all very useful.
I do notice that not once in all that does she mention the smoking spot we were at last night.
Then she leads us to the “cafe”, which is what they call the dining hall, where booths have been set up for each activity, so you can learn about and sign up to be in clubs, activities, and sports tryouts. All the extra curricular activities are represented.
I sign up for student council, checking the box that says I’m interested in running for office. Peyton says, “Leadership material, good girl.”
I sign up for french club, spirit club, latin club, circle of friends, which looks kinda dumb, but I figured worse case, I meet some more people. Oh, and of course, soccer tryouts.
Peyton asks me if I might be interested in dance team.
“Could I do both that and soccer?”
“Sure you can. I’m captain of both teams. I’m also student council secretary, president of the french club, founded the literary club and am on the highly coveted social committee. Something you are hand selected to join. Something you would probably be good at beings you were the first girl to discover the cave.”
“The place you were at last night.” She has that keep it on the down low look in her eyes. I nod. Got it.
She signs me up for literary club because I told her I love to read, and then she says, “Come on, try out for dance. We have three spots for freshman, and so far only fifteen girls have signed up. Your odds are pretty good. Plus, you have the body of a dancer. Do you dance?”
“Well, I took ballet when I was little, and some other dance classes in middle school, so yeah, but mostly now I do yoga and kick boxing.”
“Just try,” she says, and puts my name on the paper. Her enthusiasm is catching, and she has all of her girls signed up for all sorts of clubs that fit their individual interests.
That and the tours took up most of the morning, we went to lunch, but I couldn’t eat a thing. I can never eat before a soccer game. And I’m not that nervous for soccer tryouts, but yet, I am.
Apparently since the school is smallish, everyone makes the team. Which makes me feel better. At least I know if the competition is really stiff, that I won’t look like a loser that didn’t make it. And I know if I work hard, I will play. So basically tryouts are just to determine your level of ability, and for the coaches to decide what team they want you on. Freshman, JV or Varsity.
I’m all suited up and jogging a few laps around the field, when the hottie comes strolling down the bleachers with some friends to watch tryouts.
Dammit. Doesn’t he have anything better to do?
But Peyton, his sister is helping with tryouts, as are a few other older girls from the team that are here to help with orientation.
So it’s not like he’s here just to watch me.
Except he is staring at me, then gives me a little wave.
Do not let the hottie distract you. (How could he not?)
He’s a player.
He’s a player.
But I can’t quit thinking about how he looked last night. His eyes with that hurt puppy dog look when I was telling Dallas about his lameness.
I close my eyes and picture myself on a surfboard, slicing through the water. I’m instantly calm. And I don’t look back in the bleachers because I don’t want to know if he is still there or not.
Pretty soon, I’m in the zone. Focusing on the technical drills the coach has us doing. She times us running the 40 yard dash, then kicks us one ball after another that we are then to kick into the unguarded goal. We do penalty shots, headers, dribbling, and then she splits us up, and we scrimmage. I was told to play the center attack position against a very solid looking girl. The kind of girl that looks like she could tear my head off and spit it out before lunch.
But the girl is surprisingly cool.
She shakes my hand and says, “Good luck.” But then she adds, “You’re gonna need it, skinny minnie.”
But here’s the thing. I might not have brute strength, but skinny minnies can run wayyyy faster than brute strength. I pretty much embarrass her by stealing the ball, dribbling it down the field, and passing it to an open teammate. The teammate shrugs off a defender and passes it back to me, and boom, I score.
And made it look easy.
I feel pretty good about tryouts. I’m really hoping to at least make JV.
I drag my sweaty ass toward the locker room. I have exactly thirty seven minutes to regroup, eat, change, and get to dance team tryouts.
As I round the corner to enter the field house, there is Hottie again.
“Are you stalking me?” I ask with a laugh.
God, he’s cute.
I hope to hell he’s stalking me. And that’s probably the right place to hope to, since I will probably end up in hell when I fall in love with him, and he dumps me. (I didn’t include this line since in the published version she was more sensitive about being stalked. But I love the line about hoping to hell and ending up there.)
He holds up a sack. And grins.
“Well, my sister told me she talked you into signing up for dance team, and I know tryouts start pretty soon, so I brought you some lunch, since I know you didn’t eat anything earlier.”
How did you know that?? That’s what I want to ask, but what I say is, “Really? Wow. That’s really nice of you.” I sit down on a bench with him.
Oh. My. Gosh.
Is that not the sweetest thing evvvverrrr???
“I have an ulterior motive.”
“I’m not stripping for you after the dance,” I tease.
“Well I would hope not, or them I will have to call you by your slutty name.”
I roll my eyes at him.
“So do all new freshmen get such a welcome?” (She was a freshman in my original version. I had thought I would do one book for each year of high school. But way too much happened every day to do that! Plus, the sex.)
“Only the hot ones.” But then his eyes get big when he realizes he pretty much admitted he does this for any girl he deems hot.
Like we thought, total player.
“I bet that means you have a nice full dance card then, and probably won’t have time to dance with me.”
“That didn’t come out right,” he sighs. “It was supposed to have been a compliment. I really am way more smooth than this. Like usually.”
“Then stop trying so hard. Just tell me about yourself, get to know me. I’m a lot more than some girl that can kick a soccer ball with her boots on.”
“My sister said you signed up to run for student council officer. That takes guts to do on your first day, and you don’t strike me as one of those girls that has to do like everything. Like those super overachievers.”
I know exactly what he means, but I say, “Yeah, I’m pretty much just happy slacking.”
“I, uh, God, I didn’t mean to suggest you’re a slacker.”
“I know. I’m just giving you a hard time, and uh, so sorry about last night, at the cave.”
“It’s okay, I probably deserved it. I did sound pretty lame. Um, why don’t you ask me some questions?”
“Okay, um, so do you play goalie full time, or is it just a hobby?”
“Full time goalie. I’m also a tight end and kicker on the football team, and I play basketball too.”
“That’s cool. So what do you like to do for fun, besides sports?”
He stares into my eyes, says, “I think I’d like to do nothing but stare into your eyes.”
This guy is full of freaking lines. I hate him. (I love him.)
I roll my eyes at him. “Okay, so lunch was great, thanks.” I start to get up.
“Wait. I just mean they are such a cool color. They are so blue, but then when the light is just right they look almost purple. Are they real?”
“Last time I checked.”
This guys a dick, gorgeous or not.
“I just meant, gosh.” He runs his hand through his hair and looks frustrated. “They’re such a cool color, I thought maybe they were colored contacts.”
“Nope, all just me.” I shove the rest of the turkey and swiss sandwich down my throat and say, “Hey thanks, but I gotta go change into dance clothes.”
“Okay. Well, hey, good luck.”
I walk into the field house, rush into the girls locker room, and quick brush my hair back into something resembling a ponytail and pull my bangs out of my face with a barrette. I wash my soccer sweat off with a wet towel, and throw on some powder and a bit of mascara. It’s gonna have to do.
Or I’m gonna be late.
I rush out and run smack into Aiden.
He says, “Sorry,” looks at the ground, and then back up at me. He’s holding a small green leaf in his hand. “Here, I found this. I thought you should have it. Open your hand.”
I do, and he lays a perfect four leaf clover in it.
“Good luck,” he says, and gives me a quick kiss on the cheek. (Swoonnnnnn!)
It’s really quite adorable, and I can’t decide now if he’s a jerk or not.
I’m leaning toward not, as I bounce happily over to the gym for dance tryouts.
Tryouts aren’t really that hard. They had the group of us memorize one simple dance routine and then made us perform it in a group. We spent about two hours learning it and about 15 minutes on the tryout.
I have no idea how I did. I knew the routine. And I know big smiles are important for dance performers, and all I know is that I couldn’t fake the smile on my face no matter how good of an actor I might ever be.
The kiss on the cheek and four leaf clover from Aiden has me grinning from ear to ear.
And I’m thinking I’m really looking forward to the all school mixer tonight. (Me too!)