I made the Varsity softball team. Every day at practice, Coach Smith and Coach Alexander worked me behind the plate with Molly, which I took as a good sign.
Every day after practice was the same. I met Andrew at his car or mine, and we hung out. Mostly we went to the old drive-in, or if his parents weren't home we went back to his house. My parents were OK with me staying out until 9:00, since they thought I was at Cambree's, or with Mandy and Jenna doing homework. I hadn't even told my parents I wasn't friends them anymore.
My first game was on the first day of March. It was a home game, so we all wore our jerseys to school. I'd sat up pretty late the night before studying for an English test and I was paying for it by second period.
"Miss, Martin, can you kindly stay awake?"
I opened my eyes lazily at the sound of my history teacher's monotone voice and found my class staring at me.
"Yes, sir," I replied, feeling my cheeks growing red. But I wasn't so sure if I could. Besides my lack of sleep, Mr. Hemming had a voice that made Ben Stein sound like an MTV host.
After class, I met Derek in the hallway.
"So, I'm coming to your game tonight," he told me.
I grinned. "Yay! I'm so happy!"
"Yeah, so you really should hit a home run."
I laughed. "I'd love to! I hope I do."
We walked together until we met Andrew. He quickly slipped his arms around me, and pulled me away from Derek without a word.
"See you, Derek," I called over my shoulder. Then I looked at Andrew. "Why are you in such a hurry?"
He looked pissed. "Just wondering why the hell you're still hanging with that douche."
"Sophia, how do you think it looks for my own girlfriend to be walking to class with another fucking guy?"
Yeah, so this was new. "Uhm, Andrew, that's Derek."
"Sophia, I know who the fuck it is. I'm not a fucking idiot."
"He's my friend. There's nothing going on with us if that's what you think."
Andrew just laughed. "I don't think that. That little prick would be dead if I thought that."
I hated hearing him talk about Derek like that.
Andrew looked down at me and smiled, tugging on my softball jersey, his attitude completely turned around. "You look so cute in your jersey. I wish I could come to your game."
That was the quickest attitude change. Like, scary-quick. "Yeah, uhm, so do I. But my parents are coming, so-"
"Yeah, it sucks."
Well, I didn't think it sucked that my parents were coming to my game, but-
"So, look," he said. "My parents are out of town this weekend. I think you should sleep over tonight."
"Uhm, I don't know."
"Sophia, come on," he scoffed.
"I just don't think sleeping over would be a good idea. If I get caught, I could get in a lot of trouble."
I couldn't understand why he didn't get that.
I told him I'd think about it.
"Yeah, whatever, Sophia," he said, rolling his eyes and walking away as Cambree scurried over.
"What's wrong with him?" she asked me, watching him walk away.
"I don't know," I said. "He wants me to sleep over tonight because his parents are out of town, and I told him I was uncomfortable, and that I had to think about it. So he walked away."
"Sophia, it's not a big deal," Cambree said. "Just tell your parents you're staying at my house."
OK, so Cambree didn't get it at all.
"Haven't you guys had sex, yet?"
It really bothered me how coolly she said that, like it was just no big deal. Sure, it was no big deal to her. I was certain she and Ethan were having sex already. Not that she would have told me, or anything. Taryn and Laurel? They would have known before the sheets had cooled.
"No, Cambree, we haven't," I said, lowering my voice in hopes she'd take the hint and do the same.
She looked astonished. "What the hell?"
"What do you mean, Cambree? We've only been going out two months. I'm not ready."
"Are you serious? Sophia, he's gonna break up with you. You're gonna be a virgin forever."
I rolled my eyes.
"It's amazing," Cambree said. "After the first time, it just gets better."
"There's a lot of responsibility with sex, Cambree."
"Sophia, condoms," she said. "Duh."
I thought there was more to it than just that. But what did I know.
She sighed. "Go with your boyfriend tonight. Have yourself some fun. You deserve it. I'll totally cover."
I thought about it, but still, I didn't know.
"Come on, Soph," she said. "What are friends for?"
The good thing about Andrew not being able to come to my game was that Derek could come. He and Cambree sat in the bleachers with my parents and Olivia, and I could only imagine how fake Cambree was being, telling my parents all the things that were going on with us at school.
Before the game I had apologized to him for the way Andrew had acted.
"I don't know why you're apologizing," he had told me. "You're not the ass whole. Your boyfriend is."
I couldn't argue with that. Derek was right. Andrew had really been an ass hole to him today and I was still pretty pissed about it. He sure was acting differently lately than he used to.
I wasn't worried about him, now, though. Now, it was the bottom of the seventh, the game was tied, and I was up to bat with the winning run on second base.
"Come on, Sophia!" I heard my sister shouting over the entire crowd as I adjusted my helmet and walked out of the dugout.
"You got this, number 5!" Derek yelled.
I stepped up to the plate, and I glanced at Coach Smith, who was coaching third base, and adjusted my helmet. He gave me the sign to swing away so I stepped up to the plate and waited for my pitch.
"Come on, Sophia!" I heard from the crowd. "You can do it."
Talk about pressure.
I saw the runner on second, waiting. All I needed to do was get her home. I set my feet, glanced at the pitcher, and waited for the pitch.
She wound up, and sent a fastball straight down the middle. I swung, and felt the barrel of my bat make contact, sending the ball soaring right over the pitcher's head and right between second and shortstop.
With the crowd cheering, I ran. I touched first, rounding to second, but I could already see the winning run touching home plate.
The crowd was on its feet and the rest of the team ran out to congratulate me on my hit.
"Way to start off the season, Sophia!" Molly told me, slapping my helmet as I headed toward my team.
I smiled. "Thanks."
We shook hands with the other team, and after our talk with the coaches, I gathered my stuff and met my parents, Cambree and Derek.
"Way to go!" Derek said, slapping me a high five. "Nice hit."
"Thanks," I said, smiling.
"That hit deserves a celebratory dinner," my father said with a smile. "Cambree and Derek. You're both welcome to come along."
"I'd love to go," Derek said, rubbing his belly.
Cambree eyed her cell phone, then looked up at me. "Actually, I can't. I have to meet Laurel and Taryn. Sophia, I thought you were going with us back to my house."
"Oh, yeah," I said, glaring at Cambree. I knew I was going to tell my parents I was sleeping at her house then go to Andrew's, but really. Couldn't she wait?
"You're going to Cambree's?" my mother asked.
I nodded. "Well, I mean, if it's OK."
"It's fine," my mother said. "Are you staying over?"
I nodded. "If it's OK."
And there it was. I had just lied to my parents. And since my mother had no reason not to trust me, she nodded.
"Yes, it is," she said. "But don't you want to go out to eat with us, first?"
"Uhm, well it's getting late," I said.
Seeing their disappointment kind of sucked, though.
"You all are sure you don't want to go with us?" my dad asked.
"We're sure," Cambree said.
I looked at Derek. He looked disappointed, too, but mostly, I could tell he disapproved. He had to know I was meeting Andrew.
"I'll text you later, Derek," I told him. "Maybe we can hang out tomorrow."
"Yeah," he said. "Maybe."
But he didn't sound so believable.
I found myself panicking. I'd lost Mandy and Jenna, and I'd lost the Cambree I used to know. I couldn't lost Derek. I would text him later. Andrew could get angry all he wanted. Derek was a good friend and I wasn't losing him.
"What plans do you girls have for tonight?" my mother asked.
I looked at Cambree, the brains of our sneaking, lying operation, hoping she would answer.
Luckily, she did.
"We'll probably just rent a few movies and order pizzas," Cambree said, smiling like a pageant queen, innocent and honest. She didn't look the least bit guilty but I felt the brunt of it. I felt it deep in the pit of my stomach. Lying was hard, but knowing what Andrew was probably planning for us, wondering if I would have the courage to say no was making my stomach flip more.
I felt like a real Benedict Arnold standing there. They were disappointed enough that I didn't want them to take me to dinner tonight. If only they knew I was lying about going to Cambree's. If only they knew I was going to Andrew's instead.
I probably could have thrown up at the guilt in my stomach right then.
I gulped, and prayed no one would catch onto the way I wore my feelings on face. Because if they did, my parents would sure know I was probably going to lose my virginity tonight.