As I watched Pierre shuffle off, while practically carrying Jay (Jeremy) and Maddy (Madeline) in both arms, the only thing on my mind was making damn sure that that lanky bastard keeps his mouth shut long enough for me to secure my position on the Crimson Terrace Club Board. Pierre, I swear to God, you will be sorry you were ever born if you go spouting off about me, I thought to myself as the cool breeze of the sunny afternoon at CT Academy caressed my supple, freshly lotioned skin. The quiet was so soothing; nothing around but me and the daydreams of my real man away at college. Jeremy was such a sweetheart, but the bittersweet tango with Rowley was more of my preferred sugar rush.
As I walked to the parking lot with the cheerleading roster in my hand, my phone rang. The ringtone was personalized, so there was no need to screen my calls; Francesca was calling me.
“What the hell does she want?”, I muttered out loud as I begrudgingly slid my finger over my touch screen and answered the phone. “Unless you’re about to explain to me that you were just joking when you tried out for a cheerleader position, we have no reason to talk. In fact, how the heck did you get my number?”
“That’s a good question, Angie”, Francesca replied, in almost a singsong like manner. “Where did I get your number? Oh, hold on, I’ll show you.” There was a brief silence that felt like a lifetime, and as I waited impatiently for a response, the distinctive beep of a lost connection pierced my ear, forcing the receiver from the side of my head and into my palm. [CALL ENDED] , it said. Did this chick just hang up on me?
“Yoo-hoo, Angie!” I could hear from a short distance. I turned around to see none other than Francesca, standing next to my car, with… Oh, crap. Rowley.
A pit of despair and anguished billowed inside of me as I made the walk of shame over to my own car and wondered, in shock, if I had yet another pig sniffing around in my truffles. It is bad enough that Pierre found out about me and Rowley, but there was one key difference: I had dirt on him that would end his athletic and academic career. So, he had good cause to keep silent. Frannie, though? Ugh… I had nothing. Whatever she knew, I would have to eat crow and let the chips fall where they may.
Sucking in enough air to pilot the Hindenburg, I shook off the scaries and prepared to take my bruises like a big girl. Without missing a beat, I simply belted out, “So now you know.”
“Uh, Angie”, Rowley hesitantly said.
But I was about to unfurl. “No, Rowley, let’s not prolong this because she’s just going to enjoy it more if she sees nervousness.” Turning back to Francesca, I started. “Look, I don’t care what you think of me, but just know that you would be ruining a lot of lives here if you said anything to Jeremy. Yes, me and Rowley have been sleeping around, and Jeremy doesn’t know, obviously. But, you don’t understand what is at play here. I’m waiting for the right time to tell Jeremy, but with the cheerleader accident, Club Board nominations, and Homecoming on the way, there hasn’t been time. Now, me and Jay are about to make history as the first interracial homecoming king and queen ever at Crimson Terrace. It may be some kind of affirmative action handout, but I will gladly take it if it gets brownie points on my resume for Ruby Hill University. Now, don’t insult me with frivolities; just name your price to keep your mouth shut and I will pay it.”
Letting out a small gasp, I composed myself and waited for Frannie’s answer to my proposition. But, there was nothing out of her. She sat there, looking at me with a wide stare like a baby doe trapped in the trance of the headlights of an oncoming trailblazer ready to mow it down. She continued to stare confusingly, and then a huge grin spread across her face like a radiating fracture of window pane glass. For a split second, my gaze went to Rowley, who had his palm to his face, shaking his head furiously.
“Angie”, He moaned. “Fran is my cousin. She was looking through my phone at family pics and found your number. I was just telling her that we ran in the same cheer circles at Spirit Camp. That was all.”
Time of social death: 2:34 p.m. In that moment, I realized what they meant by “Your face just broke” because my temples began throbbing so bad it was like the skin around my bronzed statuesque profile began cracking and peeling. Itching… I began itching all over. This was not happening; was I in a bad nightmare where everything felt and seemed real enough to be a regular crappy day, but just part of my subconscious? Wake up, damn it, wake up!!, I screamed on the inside, but to no avail. Whimpering and emerging from a stupor of stunned shame, there was nothing to do but to look at an elated and super excited Francesca.
“Oh, my god. Who just died and went to heaven? Me!!”, She exclaimed, seemingly restraining herself from doing cartwheels. “You and my cousin have been hooking up? And behind Jeremy’s back? This is better than… whatever you two have been doing!!”
“Angie, please,”I begged. “Don’t say anything to Jay. I swear I’m going to tell him. Just give me time.”
“Relax”, She reassured me. “It’s not like I have any loyalty to that virgin loser after all of the awful things he’s said to me. These lips are sealed.”
Her phone then beeped. Looking down at it, she smirked and said, “Gotta run. You’re not the only one with secret meetups”, she joked. “You two have fun, now.”
As Fran walked away, I could only feel the kind of relief one feels after running their dad’s car into the mailbox, parking it so he can’t see the dent, and then watching as he walks drowsily into the house, past the garage and up the stairs to his room where he passes out. Smiling at Rowley, I leaped into his arms and kissed him passionately, remembering how much I loved the way he smelled, and how his body felt on mine. There we wafted in each other, brazenly broadcasting my infidelity in the parking lot, but in that moment, there was only me and him.
And then Francesca again.
“Yes?”, I painfully strained, gritting my teeth.
“So, when should I come in for my fitting?”
“Fitting for what?”
“For my cheerleader uniform, silly”, She replied. “I mean I obviously got the position, right?”
And then I knew that it was about to start. Was this some kind of sick karma for dangling Pierre’s entire future in my fingers? Was it just desserts for cheating on an otherwise nice guy who was in the dark about how I really felt? I stared feeling nauseous in that moment; like a brewing pot of disgust and helplessness. “Yeah, Fran”, I sighed. “I guess you got the part.”
“Oh, goodie”, she cheered, with a sadistic grin on her face. “Don’t let me keep interrupting you. Ciao.”
This time, I watched as she vacated the lot, her voluptuous frame cascading in all of its va-va-voomness; girl could play that body up even when there wasn’t a crowd to appreciate it.
“Well, that was close”, Rowley cooed in my ear, his breath sending chills up my head and down my back. After what had just played out, I had to have him.
“Let’s get out here”, I seductively moaned to him. “We can get a little closer back home.”
While Rowley giddily hop-skipped to the passenger side of my convertible, I remember another certain loose end. Whipping out my phone, I made sure to text Pierre a friendly reminder about what would happen if went spilling his guts to his best friend. After a press of the SEND button and a quick check for missed messages and emails, I climbed into the car, gave Rowley a passionate kiss and sped off into the afternoon, shedding the baggage of a hard day’s deception.