Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Two days later, on Wednesday, Jordyn went straight to her locker after English Lit, then headed to the basement of the gymnasium to change into her gym clothes.
There were fifteen other girls in her gym class, and it seemed like they were all already crammed in the locker room when Jordyn walked in, most of them already dressed in their grey Cedarwood High t-shirts, regulation black shorts, and white sneakers.
Jordyn had never had a dress code before, especially not for gym.
She walked in to find the girls all huddled together, chattering loudly, and laughing with each other as they dressed. With no one to talk to, yet, Jordyn just kept quiet and to herself and went to get dressed.
She saw Ashley and her friends stuck in the mirror. They were already dressed, Ashley with her shorts rolled up so they were far too short, showing far too much of her skinny, pasty legs. She made kissy, pouty faces in the mirror as she put her lip gloss on.
Jordyn rolled her eyes as she slipped out of her jeans and into her shorts. Who did her make up before a sweaty, hour and a half of gym class?
She was bent over tying the laces to her white Nike Air Forces when Ashley turned to look at her with a smile. “Hi, Jordyn, what’s up!”
“Yeah, hey, Jordyn,” Shari said.
“Hi, Jordyn!” Leah chimed in before she and Leah followed Ashley out of the locker room.
Jordyn was confused. Their smiles seemed genuine, and that was scary. Those three hadn’t said a kind word to Jordyn since she’d been in Cedarwood, so why now? Why in the locker room before gym?
Jordyn dressed quickly, then made her way upstairs. When she got into the gym, she found her classmates in their spots on the floor, sitting, talking and waiting for the coach to start class. Ashley, Shari and Leah were sitting with Blake, who looked uncomfortable surrounded by the chatterboxes.
Jordyn took her spot, and turned back around to see Ashley throwing her head back and laughing. Loudly.
Blake forced a smile through a cringe, sticking his finger in his ear, then he turned to look at Jordyn. She watched him say something to Ashley, then he stood up. As he walked toward Jordyn, Ashley frowned at her friends, then turned to scowl at Jordyn.
Jordyn sighed. Great. She didn’t even have a chance to figure out what the locker room friendliness was all about. It didn’t matter now, because that was all over and her snarling glare was dead set on Jordyn as Blake sat next to her.
He smiled at Jordyn, completely oblivious to anything. “Hey, California. What’s up?”
Jordyn sighed. “Thanks a lot.”
He genuinely looked confused. “Uhm, what for?”
Jordyn groaned, glancing back at Ashley. For a quick minute, anyway, Ashley was off her back. Jordyn didn’t explain, though. Just shook her head and sighed. “Hey, Blake. What’s up?”
At lunch, Jordyn sat at what was becoming her routine table with Alice and her friends. They were talking about the football game and carnival Friday night, and the carnival before.
Apparently, the day of the first home game for the Cedarwood Cougars, there was a huge carnival on the field before the game. There would be food, games, the works. Jordyn remembered Mrs. Roland saying something about it in homeroom on the first day, but she hadn’t been paying extra attention to it.
Alice, on the other hand, was very excited about the whole shebang.
“Football’s like a religion in Cedarwood,” Alice explained excitedly as she took a bite of her corn. “On Friday nights, everyone’s at the game. Same for basketball when that starts.”
“This time of year football’s sort of a religion in my family, too,” Jordyn mumbled. Not that she had a problem with it, of course. It took a fraction of the attention off of her dancing.
“Well, the Cougars are really good,” Erin offered. “Number one in their conference last year.”
“We’re all going to the game together Friday night, Jordyn,” Alice said. “You should totally go. No one really watches, but it’s fun, either way.”
“I’m going. My brother’s the new receiver, remember?” Jordyn asked, nodding toward the popular table where Ty was still sitting with the senior royalty like he had the previous two days. There, she spotted Ashley glaring at her.
Bethany must have noticed. “Whoa. What is Ashley’s staring at?”
“Me,” Jordyn said with a proud smile. As if having Blake come sit with her in gym wasn’t enough, Ashley was already pretty pissed about last night at dance when Jordyn landed her favorite Calypso jump perfectly, bringing praise from Maggie, and cheers from her less bitter classmates.
“Perfect, Jordyn, so perfect!” she’d said excitedly. “Ashley, this is what I was telling you about the Calypso jump. Oh, Jordyn, I love it! You’re the first in my class to ever execute it!”
Oh, yeah, that had really pissed Ashley off. Especially since she probably only brought the Calypso up because she knew she finally had a student with enough training to even know what it was, much less how to do it.
“You?” Alice asked, watching now as Ashley finally turned away. “What’d you do?”
Jordyn told them about gym class and last night, and she couldn’t help but smile.
“Yeah, she was pissed,” Erin added with a chuckle. “Jordyn, why didn’t you try out for cheerleading? I think you would have made it without a doubt. You have it all. Ashley just has a tiny bit of it.”
“Cheerleading?” Jordyn asked, crinkling her nose. She’d cringed, but she hadn’t meant to. She’d known there was a spot on the team open. But cheerleading? She’d never pictured herself as a cheerleader. The girls at Victoria Joy had always made fun of cheerleaders.
“I don’t think so,” Jordyn finally said. “I’ve never done it before. I’d make an idiot out of myself.”
“Look, I’ve never seen you do a flip or anything,” Erin said. “But if you’ve done gymnastics all these years and you can do what I’ve seen you do in the dance studio, cheerleading would be a piece of cake for you.”
“And imagine how cool it would be to piss Ashley off even more,” Alice said, nudging Jordyn with a chuckle.
Jordyn thought about the discomfort of having Ashley stare at her through homeroom and across the cafeteria now. She didn’t need anything else to add to it.
“Ashley can have this one,” Jordyn said. “I’ve got enough on my plate with dancing.”
And frankly, she was getting used to all this newfound free time.
“You would do so great, though,” said Erin.
“Anyway, back to Friday night,” Alice said impatiently. “Jordyn, you’re going with us to the carnival. No excuses.”
Jordyn chuckled and took a swig from her bottle of water. “Yes, ma’am.”
Her eyes wandered over to the popular table as discreetly as she could manage until they dropped on Cole. He wore his black baseball cap backwards, and a t-shirt nice and tight so she could make out those wonderful muscles. He had said something, and was nudging a laughing Ty. Natalie leaned over, putting her head on Ty’s shoulder. Cole was turning around when suddenly, Jordyn was face to face with a red Billabong t-shirt. And it was wrapped around Blake Cormann’s torso.
“Hey, ladies,” he said, sitting down with them, right next to Jordyn.
“Afternoon, Blake,” Erin said with a smile. “What brings you back to school so early?”
Blake smiled. “Finished up business a little early.” He looked at Jordyn. “So, California. You have a boyfriend back in Moonlight Beach?” Alice, Erin and Bethany giggled.
“Moon Bay Beach, and no,” Jordyn said. “I don’t.”
“Blake, what are you doing over here?” Alice asked. “Shouldn’t you be with Ashley?”
Blake cringed. “Yeah. Right.” Then he reached over and stole a fry from Bethany’s plate.
“Hey!” she said.
“She speaks!” Erin shouted. “Get out of that book, Beth. Join the conversation.”
“What conversation?” Blake asked. “What did I interrupt.”
“Besides a peaceful, pleasant lunch?” Alice asked. “We were telling Jordyn about the football game.”
“Oh it’s the great event here in Cedarwood,” Blake started, exaggerating enthusiasm. “It’s where these two teams get this funny shaped ball and try to pulverize each other while-”
“I know what football is,” Jordyn interrupted.
Blake smirked. “So, did they tell you about Lake Fest?” he asked.
Jordyn shook her head. “No. What’s Lake Fest?”
“Pretty much the biggest party in Cedarwood,” Erin explained. “It starts Friday night after the game, and doesn’t end until Sunday afternoon.”
“Wow,” Jordyn said. Sounded more like a rave to her.
“It’s sort of a family thing, too,” Alice said. “Friday night there won’t be any kids or anything there, but Saturday and Sunday it’s nothing but booths, and families on the beach.”
“Most people stay over Friday night after the game,” Bethany said. “We’re going.”
“You have to go with us,” Alice told Jordyn.
Jordyn thought about it. A whole weekend just sitting around on the lake with a bunch of families? It didn’t sound all that fun. But it seemed like a real event here in Cedarwood. Alice was sure excited about it. She wondered if Ty and his new friends would go. Probably. And she didn’t want to sit at home on a Friday night while the whole school was doing something else.
She glanced over toward the popular table, hoping to get another surreptitious glance at Cole’s profile. No such luck.
He was looking right at her.
Jordyn flushed. Oh crap. He’d caught her looking at him. Great. Now he was going to tell Natalie and her friends, her brother, and, ugh, Ashley. They’d probably make fun of her for the rest of lunch, maybe even the rest of the day.
He didn’t look away. He just smiled at her, so, without knowing exactly what else to do, she smiled back, and felt elated.
“So, Josh Morton is having a party night, too,” Blake said, pulling Jordyn out of her dreamy state while she and Cole locked eyes for at least ten seconds.
“Lots of beer,” Blake added, mostly to Alice, as he smiled at her. “Alice?”
“I’ll totally be there,” Alice said, smiling back.
Were they flirting? She looked at Erin and Bethany, who didn’t seem surprised at this behavior. Maybe they weren’t. Maybe this wasn’t anything new.
“Cool,” Blake said. “California, you gonna come, too? Let us country kids you how to really party?”
“Uhm, I don’t know,” Jordyn said. “I thought you were going to Lake Fest Friday night.”
“We are,” Erin said. “That ends at midnight for people who aren’t camping out.”
“We’re going to the party afterwards,” Alice said. Then she smirked. “I’m sure Cole Anderson will be there.”
“Really?” Jordyn asked. “Wait, I don’t care.”
Alice laughed. “You’re practically eye-fucking him every day, Jor. We know you like him.”
“You like Cole?” Blake asked.
“No, I don’t even know him,” Jordyn said.
“Doesn’t mean you don’t think he’s hot,” Bethany chuckled. “It’s cool, though. The whole school thinks he’s hot. And he’s the quarterback. Totally sexy.”
“But he’s a real player,” Erin said. “So be careful.”
Jordyn sighed. She really needed to start being more discreet when she was sneaking looks across the cafeteria at Cole.