Jordyn was not new to Friday night football. She was, however, new to Cedarwood High football.
In Cedarwood, Friday night football was like, NFL status to these people, but watching the Cougars play, Jordyn could see why. For a small town high school, they were really good. She could see why the whole town seemed to be packed into the bleachers, and plenty more of them lingering around the end zones watching.
Jordyn was squeezed in between Bethany and Erin with Alice next to Erin in the bleachers on the home side of the football stadium, doing what she’d done since she was a toddler, cheering her big brother on. She was certain she was the only one of the four of them who was actually watching the game and not the group of boys—hot, junior boys—who were sitting around them.
Ashley was nearby, close enough that Jordyn spotted her narrowing her eyes back several times. She knew her parents were somewhere in the crowd, but she hadn’t seen them or Logan, yet. She had seen Natalie. Twice. Once at the carnival, with Lydia and Meredith, and of course, Ashley right on her heels. And she was wearing brown and orange. Ty’s brown and orange Cougars hoodie, to be exact. With her hair up in a messy bun she still looked gorgeous as she sported Ty’s numbers, 67, in orange and brown face paint on each of her cheeks.
Apparently they were officially a couple now.
Fortunately, though, thanks to Erin, Alice, and Bethany, Jordyn was fitting right in in her borrowed Cougars attire. She wore her white skirt, still, but she had borrowed an orange shirt from Alice, rolled the sleeves and tied them with black ties, and her hair was now in a high, curly messy bun, held up with an orange ribbon. She had orange and brown football stripes painted on her own cheeks.
The carnival had been a lot more fun than Jordyn thought it would be. There had been games, food, face painting, but mostly just hanging out. Now, the game was in the fourth quarter, and the Cougars were winning by three touchdowns.
“Let’s go Cougars!” Robbie Parker shouted at the top of his lungs when Cedarwood had to finally to turn the ball over to the Hollingsworth Hornets and the Cedarwood band started playing Louie, Louie, from their own section of the stadium. “Man! Cole Anderson is on point tonight! And Jordyn, your brother has got to be the best receiver Cedarwood has ever had.”
Jordyn just smiled. She’d met Robbie earlier in the week. He and Toby Wyler sat with Alice and the girls at lunch every day. They were friends of Blake’s, Alice had told Jordyn.
They were cute, Jordyn realized, but she’d learned that they liked to party. They were proving it by the alcohol on their breath, courtesy of the Budweiser they’d snuck in in a cooler underneath sodas.
Not that Barney Fife had really searched their bags at the gate when they walked in. Jordyn figured nothing happened in Cedarwood, so why would the bored-looking deputy care if a couple of teenagers snuck in some beer?
But who was she kidding. He probably thought kids around here didn’t even know what alcohol was.
Robbie and Toby were passing their beer back and forth between their friends. Even Jordyn had one in her hand.
Now who was the joiner? She thought ruefully about her brothers who had fit in since day one. She wasn’t a drinker, and wasn’t really sipping the beer to impress. But as the taste started to ease down her throat and she wasn’t making secret faces of disgust, she at least felt cool for a moment. Not porcelain, perfect, dancer girl, Jordyn Hamilton. But instead, she was a regular high school girl, sitting in the stands of a football game, with friends, not her parents and Logan, and her eyes were on the quarterback.
She took a sip of her beer just as the ball was hiked to Cole. She watched as he tucked his arm back, and threw a fifty-yard pass to Ty. The crowd cheered, jumping to its feet as the ball landed smoothly in Ty’s outstretched arms.
“Go, Ty, go!” Jordyn found herself screaming. Beside her, Alice was also screaming, everyone on their feet at this point.
“Your brother is Cedarwood’s savior, Jordyn!” Toby yelled over the crowd cheering.
Once they’d calmed down, Alice leaned over. “Hey, why don’t we get out of here and beat the traffic?” And God knew there was going to be traffic after this game. “There’s only 1 minute left and we’re up four touchdowns.”
Jordyn nodded her agreement, dropped her beer can back into the cooler—because, as Robbie had said, if anyone finds any sign of alcohol, they’ll get strict about bringing coolers in and no one wanted that—and followed Erin, Alice, and Bethany out. They found Alice’s Ford Focus, and piled inside.
“Oh, man, Lake Fest is gonna be so fun!” Erin squealed as they headed out of the parking lot.
“I’ll deny it in the future,” Jordyn said. “But you guys have made me sort of excited about this whole Lake Fest thing.”
“Whoa!” Bethany said. “Miss California is excited about a party in the woods on the lake! I’m telling the whole school Monday.”
Jordyn laughed, and Alice turned up the radio. “Shut up, you guys,” she said. “My song’s on.”
Jordyn soon found herself bobbing her head to a new pop song on blasting on the radio, and who saw it coming, but she was actually having fun. She felt bad about thinking it, but she was already having more fun with her new friends than she had back in Moon Bay Beach, minus the surfing. And Shay would always be her best friend, but she found herself getting more attached to Alice and the girls, and even Cedarwood, Pennsylvania, every day.
Jordyn gasped as Alice reached over and ripped her oversized, button-down plaid blouse opened, exposing her black bikini top and her dangling pink belly-button ring.
“Much better,” Alice said, smiling.
It was 10:30. They were all in Alice’s room, getting ready for Lake Fest. Alice had told her dress code for tonight was swim wear, even though no one would be in the water until tomorrow. But Jordyn wasn’t too sure about showing so much skin.
She spun around to look in Alice’s full-length mirror. The opened shirt now exposed her flat, tanned belly, something she hadn’t wanted to do tonight. She wore a pair of tiny, black cotton shorts over her bikini bottoms, and had pulled her hair into a high, messy bun. They’d all washed their face paint off, and Jordyn’s face was now lightly coated in foundation, her cerulean blue eyes lined with simple mascara and eyeliner.
“Agreed,” Erin said, lounged across Alice’s bed with a magazine in her hands. She wore her light blue bikini top underneath a white camisole with light blue twill shorts. “I’d be showing my stomach, too, if I had your abs.”
Jordyn looked at Erin in confusion. What was she talking about? She was tiny.
“I just don’t know about this,” Jordyn said. “I feel, exposed.”
Not that she wasn’t used to going around in public in a bikini. Back home, she practically lived in her bikini. But that was the beach. And she knew people. She was a surfer. Here, the new girl at school shouldn’t be walking up to a party on the lake exposing her whole torso. It read as slutty.
“Jordyn, it’s a lake party,” Alice said. “A lake party we’ve been to many, many times. Trust me. You’ll fit right in.” Then she glanced at Jordyn. “Well, as much as you can fit in around here looking like a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.”
“Cole Anderson’s gonna be all over you,” Bethany said with a smile.
Jordyn self-consciously tugged the blouse back together.
“That was a complement, Jor,” Alice said, pulling it back apart again.
“I’m just weird about people complimenting me or trying to say I look sexy,” Jordyn admitted, then immediately regretted it.
“Why?” Erin asked. “You’re gorgeous! No homo or anything, but you’re hot.”
“Yeah, I’d kill your figure,” Alice agreed. “It doesn’t make you conceited, if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“Yeah, you got those abs from dance all those years, right?” Erin asked.
Jordyn just nodded.
“So you earned your abs,” Alice said. “Therefore, you’ve earned the right to show them off. Now, you keep that blouse open, or I’ll take it from you, got it?”
Jordyn smiled, and dropped her hands by her sides. “Well, what are we waiting for? Lake Fest is waiting, isn’t it?”
And hopefully, so was Cole.