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Redfall Loves You All
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Writer Bobby Coxx
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  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
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Redfall Loves You All
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#4
4. Stars in the Sky and Stars on the Ground
Bobby Coxx
Jan 15, 2016
1
0
75
17 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!VNejtdUoaJuPkNeYBSOSposted on PENANA

Preston Morriscopyright protection75PENANA7AGOXkSG4n

-Wide Receiver and Senior Captain of the Redtails Football Teamcopyright protection75PENANAgZauiDId2S

-Captain of the Redfall High Boys’ Track and Field Teamcopyright protection75PENANAXxHhkWgVO5

-Vice President of the American Honor Society, Redfall Chaptercopyright protection75PENANAOWFuKCPDiU

Boys in cold white uniforms dotted the field, capped with gleaming golden helmets. Redfall had not played the Parish Hill Crusaders in at least a decade… but they had all looked smaller on tape. Danny watched as Redfall’s sophomore kicker hit a short field goal, pulling Redfall ahead by three points.copyright protection75PENANA0zTa4cONqR

Three points isn’t enough.copyright protection75PENANAFnonFIjVE8

He worked his left shoulder and grimaced in pain as it popped and clicked.copyright protection75PENANA1t4GXOiNrB

Preston gave Danny a look, wrapping a large scrape on his own elbow.copyright protection75PENANAHsbBDfNr2e

“I’m a righty anyway.” Danny shrugged.copyright protection75PENANAiICH6iqqe5

Preston said nothing; he knew better.copyright protection75PENANAyfyCVwrejT

Parish Hill’s quarterback tried to scramble, but was quickly brought down by a Redfall linebacker. Danny jogged back onto the field and lined his offense up in front of the largest group of high schoolers he had ever seen. He took a snap and was once again reminded why the game was so close. He heard footsteps and tried to throw the ball away before he was taken down, and a white and gold blur flattened him to the turf.copyright protection75PENANAQ0l1BYgpqj

He screamed more in frustration than in pain, and as the referees blew their whistles he tried to force himself back upright.copyright protection75PENANAEJ2hq8zQyN

“Get off of me, you fat fuck!” he screamed as he writhed under the weight of the defender. The big tackle obliged and braced one arm across Danny’s chest as he did so, forcing Danny back to the ground.copyright protection75PENANAV63uJZ0adj

Danny scrambled up and got in the defender’s face.copyright protection75PENANA33jp5VnmlO

“How about you back the fuck off?” Danny said, pressing his facemask right against the tackle’s.copyright protection75PENANAFZxHhXQQOo

“How about you score some points, pretty boy?” Danny could smell the tackle’s breath.copyright protection75PENANAEJuIdeHeoU

“Fuck you, man!” he yelled, backing off a little bit.copyright protection75PENANAxsYRR4Nfq8

“Yeah that’s right, go hide back behind your line,” said the tackle. He shoved Danny. “I’ll see you in a minute.”copyright protection75PENANA368ANpxDgm

Danny stepped forward, but a referee got in his way. Fuming, Danny took his place back behind the line of scrimmage. He took a snap and quickly handed it off. The running back, not finding a hole in the middle, tried to take the ball outside. He made it three or four yards before he was tackled… but it was progress.copyright protection75PENANA2U5xCjLjx9

Third and long Danny threw the ball over the middle to Preston, who went down just far enough out for a first down. Danny pumped his fist and Preston roared as he got up.copyright protection75PENANAe5BdWthJII

But on the very next play his line failed to pick up the blitz, and Danny heard a terrible noise as his neck jerked violently. He hit the ground flat on his back and rolled over, stars in his eyes.copyright protection75PENANASMO0mCqUgG

“That was helmet to helmet!” one of his lineman tried to explain to the referee, but no penalty flag was thrown.copyright protection75PENANAgiBmPdGAxd

Danny struggled to his feet. As his head cleared, his rage returned.copyright protection75PENANAKMjm0gPi0y

“Yo, you alright?” said Garcia, Danny’s right guard. “That was a dirty freaking hit.”copyright protection75PENANA0SkOTHqkBG

“Yeah, I’m fine,” said Danny. “But if they’re gonna play dirty then I need you guys to hit them back. Can you do that for me?” Everybody in the huddle agreed, and they broke.copyright protection75PENANA0RYBeOPUpn

On the next play Danny found his tight end for a gain of seven, and then found Preston for a big first down into Crusader territory. A lucky break by a running back secured another first down, and the crowd went wild. Danny bared his teeth in a savage smile, the energy seeming to fill his aching body.copyright protection75PENANA899rw9HmrI

Danny took the snap and fell back while Preston ran deep downfield. It was the same play they ran every day in practice, the same play they had pulled off a hundred times… Danny watched out of the corner of his eye as his linebackers struggled to contain the oncoming defenders, they just had to hold on a little longer! Preston finished his route and cut left, and Danny fired the ball deep.copyright protection75PENANAUsAfguWHOy

Preston jumped in the air to make the catch, completely undefended, and Danny raised his arms in triumph!copyright protection75PENANAnPqmqEbgzA

Footsteps, and then something plowed into him from behind. He was slammed down face first. He blacked out for a second and felt turf in his mouth. As he got up he heard whistles blowing, he heard the crowd booing, screaming, and he saw yellow penalty flags litter the ground. His vision swam but he blinked hard until he realized what had happened; the same tackle from before had hit him late! The big defender tried to argue with the referee, his helmet in his hand. Enough was enough.copyright protection75PENANADHKN9gXRDp

Danny shoved the tackle from behind, just hard enough to get his attention. As he turned, Danny punched him in the jaw. The kid fell hard to the turf and the crowd roared in shock and approval as soon as they realized what had happened.copyright protection75PENANAzxRaN8EKPt

Zack didn’t see it happen; he had his back turned, ready to conduct the band, but he whipped around as soon as he saw their reactions to what was taking place.copyright protection75PENANAidiJAJnLZW

A referee screamed at Danny, and a brawl looked ready to break out on the field. Elaina stopped mid-cheer to stare, mortified. Zack looked to the left and thought he could pick Rita out in the student section, hand over her mouth.copyright protection75PENANAmDE6qNnnE0

“Get the hell off of this field!” the referee yelled.copyright protection75PENANAMeyEolM36B

“He was trying to hurt me, he did it on purpose!” Danny yelled. “What was I supposed to do, just let him kill me?”copyright protection75PENANAwpPO8pywax

“You’re ejected, get the hell out of here!” the referee screamed.copyright protection75PENANAtxb7DBV0ZA

“That’s bullshit! Fuck you, man!” Danny said. He barked out several more curses and turned to look at his offense. Most of them raised fists or yelled encouragement, but Preston, still holding his touchdown ball, only shook his head, his jaw set in a hard line. Head down, Danny stepped to the sideline.copyright protection75PENANA0LOypdUcg0

Coach blocked his way. “You gotta go Danny, hit the showers and get out of here.”copyright protection75PENANANMqCBy194c

“Coach…”copyright protection75PENANAHxJSFnuAnt

“Save it,” said Coach. “You fucked this one up big time, kid. Go. We’ll talk at practice tomorrow.”copyright protection75PENANAbofZXFdSRt

Danny walked off the field and back toward the locker room to a mixed chorus of cheers and boos. He looked over his shoulder and saw the Redtails’ backup quarterback, a gawky freshman, warming up on the sideline.copyright protection75PENANATEgjhRRj1W

Dammit.”copyright protection75PENANAwJugC9D6K1

***copyright protection75PENANAAVqPVnu8gl

Preston tried to save the game. Redfall’s defense played admirably, only letting up two field goals in the rest of the second half. Unfortunately, a late special teams touchdown put Parish Hill ahead by three with only two minutes to go. Redfall’s offense had not scored since Danny had left, the freshman backup quarterback proving himself far too inexperienced to succeed in a playoff game.copyright protection75PENANAB90StiKlBL

Fortunately, Danny had put Parish Hill’s best pass rusher out for the remainder of the season with a broken jaw.copyright protection75PENANAh7vLn7V1eF

“Listen, just get the ball to me,” said Preston. “You can count on me, just get me the ball.”copyright protection75PENANA2OBtEwR9F7

The freshman did his best. His first pass fell far short. His second sailed wide right and was nearly intercepted. Coach called a time-out and beckoned Preston over.copyright protection75PENANAvhhv9LNT6p

“Preston, start taking the snaps yourself.”copyright protection75PENANAFoxaaVi5Ww

Preston did. He fell back and scanned for an open receiver, and ran the ball himself when he could not find one. He was brought down just short of the first down, but managed to keep it and force it through on the very next snap.copyright protection75PENANALZlms0Tj9y

Working with a new set of downs Preston took another snap, letting Coach call the plays. His tight end cut left a little too early though, and Preston hesitated. He saw a hole and tried to run the ball himself, but a linebacker got to him early. He felt the ball slipping out of his hands, and then it was out of his hands entirely. Another Parish Hill player recovered the ball, and the game was over. The clock ran out, and Redfall’s season ended.copyright protection75PENANArEPIaYuYRA

Preston beat his fist against the turf until his knuckles bled, tears streaming down his face.copyright protection75PENANAnxZUH9PZfM

***copyright protection75PENANAw1LSneShx2

Danny drove, although later he would not remember driving. His foot hit the floor and cars blared their horns and swerved out of the way. Good, they shouldn’t have been in his way in the first place. He screamed out his frustration, whipping the truck around corners far more quickly than he usually would have dared. His vision swam, the light hurt his eyes, and he felt nauseous. He had no destination in mind; he just had to go.copyright protection75PENANAPZGFHQDbOv

***copyright protection75PENANAMc2L6KVWKa

“I still can’t believe Danny actually punched that kid,” said Rita, moving a branch out of her way as she walked.copyright protection75PENANAIhbu9zI2Rg

“That’s what he does, he jumps to violence,” said Zack, as he stepped over a root sticking out of the ground. “We would have won that game otherwise.”copyright protection75PENANA4GfKlXBZ9q

“I hope he doesn’t do anything stupid,” Rita said.copyright protection75PENANAvVCyHJiCF2

They walked through the woods, following a faint trail up the largest hill in town. The full moon shined down through the trees, providing almost perfect visibility.copyright protection75PENANANojZStzBvq

“Elaina will take care of him,” said Zack. “She’s good at that. Hey, watch this rock right here, it’s loose.”copyright protection75PENANARz76jt3Vsd

“Thanks,” said Rita, stepping around it.copyright protection75PENANAlX8YvQHOsn

“You’ve really never been up this way?” Zack said.copyright protection75PENANARgLafEEOf9

“Nope. I guess you just get invited to cooler parties than I do,” she said, smiling.copyright protection75PENANAf7Imd2PhXi

Zack laughed. “Watch it, there’s a big step up here.” He held out his hand and helped her up. They walked hand in hand through a small clearing at the crest of the hill and down a small slope, and suddenly the trees gave way to Lookout Point.copyright protection75PENANAujfDhLtYAW

Every town has a Lookout Point; that one, secluded spot high above the town that teenagers seem to gravitate towards. Stars twinkled above; more stars than Rita had seen since that time she had gone camping with the Girl Scouts in the second grade. The rocky slope of the hill seemed to give way to infinity; Below, Redfall’s lights stretched into the distance.copyright protection75PENANAlrc7CsLgh1

“It’s beautiful,” she said quietly.copyright protection75PENANApw87TmaID7

Zack smiled and led her to a large, flat rock a short ways down the slope. They sat, looking out, their legs touching.copyright protection75PENANA08qgLI2fGC

“This could be my favorite spot in town,” Zack said.copyright protection75PENANAc24p9GRVW9

“Do you take all the girls here?” said Rita, her expression playful.copyright protection75PENANAXlG5tzrDi5

“Just the redheads,” Zack said with a nod.copyright protection75PENANALjecA0UCfA

Rita grinned. For an instant the stars shined even more brilliantly, and Redfall’s lights seemed even brighter below.copyright protection75PENANAfrDjQMZIIW

Zack sighed. “Where do you think we’ll be a year from now?”copyright protection75PENANARFhyKL7coq

Rita lay down across the rock and rested her head on Zack’s lap. “Probably far away from each other, huh?”copyright protection75PENANAiaJwmjwgWM

“You’ll be in Chicago, I’ll be in New York…”copyright protection75PENANARceuw4hwNZ

“Did you actually apply?” Rita said, surprised.copyright protection75PENANAsFEKdpvkBT

Zack nodded. “I applied, but we’ll see if I actually go.”copyright protection75PENANAKU3urqNXGK

Rita raised an eyebrow. “I thought that was your top choice?”copyright protection75PENANAKyXY2t2kZQ

He shrugged. “It was. But I just don’t know if I’m cut out for college.”copyright protection75PENANAjrvXcInH3Z

“What do you mean?” said Rita. “Aren’t you like tenth in the class?”copyright protection75PENANABOTFik56iM

“Eleventh,” Zack said with a wink.copyright protection75PENANAQ2kN0nh3Hg

“Yeah, exactly. I’m only fifteenth, you’re doing better than I am!” Rita said.copyright protection75PENANAT1IoYU7mCa

“That’s not really the issue though, you know?”copyright protection75PENANAldYeSgzXnR

“Well alright, then what are you gonna do instead?” said Rita, frowning.copyright protection75PENANAJeT42UrjY9

Zack brushed a piece of hair out of her face, but he did so distractedly. She took his hand.copyright protection75PENANAARaig9dovP

“Well, what are you gonna do after you get done with college?” said Zack.copyright protection75PENANAyQ2x5VOETb

Rita frowned. “I… I haven’t decided yet. But that’s not the point.”copyright protection75PENANAvCppHrk9Ki

“That’s my point though,” said Zack. “I haven’t decided either, but once I do I think I’d rather be debt free.”copyright protection75PENANAik9sDqCRO7

Rita pursed her lips, thinking. “Then come to Chicago when they accept me. We’ll get an apartment, we can be roommates!”copyright protection75PENANAGnYJU3EIHy

Zack grinned. “You can go to class, I’ll cook and I’ll clean and I’ll look pretty all the time!”copyright protection75PENANAUdbjDSLX1w

Rita laughed. She looked up into his eyes… and Zack’s phone began to buzz in his pocket.copyright protection75PENANAgkRqNuQplF

“Ack,” she said, and sat up. But she scooted a little closer.copyright protection75PENANAx23vMXyrGg

“Goddammit,” said Zack. He checked his phone. “It’s Elaina. I’ll call her back.” He put his phone back in his pocket.copyright protection75PENANAZAuaU82F54

“You don’ think…” Rita bit her lip.copyright protection75PENANAblo2LbxCBT

“I’m sure she just wants to get drunk,” said Zack. His phone began to buzz again.copyright protection75PENANAi8VlDHjc8Z

“You should answer it, it might be important,” said Rita. “I’ll wait.” She winked.copyright protection75PENANAs7AXiu5kab

Zack sighed and put his phone to his ear. “Elaina, now’s not a good time.”copyright protection75PENANApmxOpiZWVA

Zackcomequick-” Elaina sobbed into the phone. Zack took it away from his ear and winced; she screeched so loudly he could still hear her.copyright protection75PENANAPdJLzmtSyC

Danny…jail…cops…” He couldn’t make out most of what she said, but he and Rita caught the meaning.copyright protection75PENANAR1KsY2W4n7

Jail?” Rita mouthed.copyright protection75PENANAfMtMAS5AP0

“Hey, Elaina,” said Zack into his phone. “You gotta calm down. We’ll come meet you, where?”copyright protection75PENANAbFeUqNgUGP

J-Jail…” Elaina sobbed.copyright protection75PENANAwxQg0PiXTF

“Alright, sit tight,” said Zack. He hung up and sat for a second. “Well… I think Danny fucked up,” he said distastefully.copyright protection75PENANA48sxU3q0Df

Rita sighed and stretched. “I don’t really wanna leave.”copyright protection75PENANA0PUfJl30fJ

Zack hung his head with a chuckle. “Some timing, huh?”copyright protection75PENANAQLhG1hwkeq

“They need us,” Rita said sadly.copyright protection75PENANA0iytQtwgta

Reluctant to leave, they sat on the rock for another second and gazed at each other. Zack opened his mouth to speak, but, suddenly shy, he couldn’t find any words. Rita looked down and smiled somewhat mischievously, and then slowly reached out to touch Zack’s face. Her hand lingered.copyright protection75PENANAwuZrKJMNJ1

She leaned over tentatively and quickly planted a kiss on his cheek, as close as she dared to the corner of his mouth. She pulled back, face burning, but she grinned at Zack’s bewildered expression. She stood and held out her hand.copyright protection75PENANAwANNgP5Naj

“Coming?”copyright protection75PENANAdaCMDsgaJK

“I think I’d rather stay here a few more minutes,” he said. “I wanna see how this develops.” But he stood anyway and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. Beaming, she did the same and the two, looking thoroughly goofy, began the trek down the hill.copyright protection75PENANAkgekHZ4tMO

“You were right, the timing is just wrong.” She paused. “There’s gonna be a next time, right?” Rita said.copyright protection75PENANAvjoj7F8csi

“I can probably make that happen,” said Zack.copyright protection75PENANAwGt8s7AIhk

“Good.” Rita sniffed from the cold and shoved her free hand in her back pocket. “I still have big plans for the two of us.”copyright protection75PENANAsCAHXhH1Lu

***copyright protection75PENANAPhNdAVSJ8l

Preston arrived first. He parked on the street in front of the police station. Danny was not actually in jail, as Elaina had wailed on the phone, but rather in holding at the Redfall police station. His jaw set, Preston walked up the granite steps and pulled the heavy door open.copyright protection75PENANA1E1vMtCncU

Elaina sat in the waiting room, thumbs working furiously on her phone. She leaped up and hugged Preston; he half-heartedly returned the embrace.copyright protection75PENANAHFxinvA4wl

“Thanks for coming,” she said. “You’re 18, aren’t you?”copyright protection75PENANAymDmAdhtWp

Preston nodded.copyright protection75PENANAOY4PuQj6ew

“They said they whoever took him home had to be 18, I’m only 17.”copyright protection75PENANA1Wbzez4PEB

“I’ll bail him out, you can take him home,” said Preston. “What happened?”copyright protection75PENANAbcXOzx1Q0Y

“Reckless driving,” said Elaina. “I guess he was just… driving. He wrapped his truck around a pole and the cops came to get him, I think there were a lot of complaints.” She sniffed. “Nobody got hurt.”copyright protection75PENANAgPXkErbYyq

Preston shook his head. “Idiot,” he said under his breath.copyright protection75PENANAuAmG9BgdqU

“Excuse me, sir,” he said to the cop sitting at the window. “I’m here to bail out Danny Fitzgerald.”copyright protection75PENANAOB6MpFjrwk

The cop peered at him. “You have a license?”copyright protection75PENANAqN9n8OPjNo

Preston nodded and pulled out his wallet. The cop examined his license and nodded. “There’s no cash bail after all, I guess that girl’s mom gave the Chief a call,” he said, gesturing at Elaina. “Hold on, I’ll get you the forms.”copyright protection75PENANAKiY6Y7Iel9

Preston took a seat against the wall. He could tell Elaina was waiting for him to say something, but he didn’t feel like talking.copyright protection75PENANA8aKfWaVgCs

After a minute, a different cop came out of the back room. He nodded at Preston. “You’re taking the kid home?”copyright protection75PENANAA2fKqozfIn

Preston nodded. “Yes sir.”copyright protection75PENANAEsFCyEKhT5

The cop motioned for Preston to follow him. The two stepped into the back room.copyright protection75PENANAq2fbhbldsY

“I responded to his accident, but I only got there so fast because I was already on the way to arrest him for reckless driving. Kid totaled his truck… he could have killed somebody. Are you a good friend of his?”copyright protection75PENANAG31WOrknH2

Preston hesitated. “I was up until today. Now I’m mostly here for that girl over there.”copyright protection75PENANAKluqY34IkX

The cop nodded. “I charged him with reckless driving, I had to. The pole was no big deal in and of itself… but just do me a favor and make sure he gets home immediately? He’s alright now but he was just… out of it earlier. I dunno what was going through his head.”copyright protection75PENANANLZ3WhfhvH

Preston nodded.copyright protection75PENANAgbKh8yIsWq

“Thanks, kid,” the cop said. “The Chief said he’d get in touch with the kid’s parents, just take him home before he does anything else stupid.”copyright protection75PENANAvHM08K3cso

“Hey,” said Preston. “Could this whole thing have been because he took a big hit to the head in the game earlier?”copyright protection75PENANAaf9aj5synX

The cop frowned. “Maybe… an EMT took a look at him earlier and wanted to take him to the hospital, but the kid put up a big fuss. He was lucid throughout, so I guess the EMT thought whatever head trauma he found was minor enough to let it go.”copyright protection75PENANAgD90VizDKw

“Got it. So he doesn’t have an excuse after all.”copyright protection75PENANA4geQgmAkz3

The cop shook his head.copyright protection75PENANAIJjSTCXlal

Preston returned to the waiting room and signed several forms, and shoved his hands in his pockets while he waited for the cop to retrieve Danny.copyright protection75PENANAjqZtrUL1yw

Danny came out with his head hung. Elaina ran up and hugged him, Preston hung back.copyright protection75PENANAyCMMt294mI

“Get home safe,” said the cop.copyright protection75PENANA75rqXl2VHd

“Let’s go,” said Preston. He turned and walked out of the station, and Danny and Elaina hurried to follow him.copyright protection75PENANAh1Egu5af7J

“Hey man,” said Danny.copyright protection75PENANAMFlyrPBATY

“Save it,” said Preston.copyright protection75PENANAj03Kq16tWN

Danny sighed. “I’m sorry.”copyright protection75PENANAGdOkujqEyx

Preston jerked his head. “Let’s go, I’m taking you home.”copyright protection75PENANAolcJUEzvfs

“Hold on. Elaina, do you wanna-“copyright protection75PENANAtysxjTypmv

“No,” Elaina said quickly, looking away.” I… I can’t right now.”copyright protection75PENANAc3I1nckNRT

“Elaina…” said Danny.copyright protection75PENANAlfexZ8czEr

“No. Sorry, Danny, I just can’t tonight.” Elaina wiped her eyes and walked quickly towards her car. She waved as Zack and Rita drove by, and crossed the street to talk to them.copyright protection75PENANA180uFjneIK

“Let’s go. My name is on your form now, I’m on the hook. I’m taking you home,” said Preston.copyright protection75PENANAJVNsXbFhYx

“Wait man, let me just talk to Zack,” said Danny, a pleading note to his words.copyright protection75PENANAbkNqSNz4md

Preston sighed, but he crossed his arms to wait. Zack was already crossing the street as Elaina talked to Rita.copyright protection75PENANAwnlwR1Pffy

“Danny, what the hell happened?” said Zack.copyright protection75PENANAZZuNrrY7JX

“I… I fucked up, man.”copyright protection75PENANAEUhrl9eUdA

Preston snorted. Zack looked over and his jaw dropped.copyright protection75PENANA7JYtfQv55L

“Holy shit, Preston. You’re pissed.”copyright protection75PENANAD5K8SczQjj

Preston raised an eyebrow.copyright protection75PENANANXd4pydEtr

“I’ll take him home,” said Zack. “Don’t worry about it. I think Rita is going with Elaina anyway.”copyright protection75PENANAeAbd4r3zw9

Preston clenched his jaw. “Thanks man. I can’t really deal with this shit right now.” He walked back to his car without saying another word to Danny.copyright protection75PENANAkae5i6hRWB

“Holy shit,” Zack said again. “Danny, I don’t think Preston’s ever been that mad in his life.”copyright protection75PENANAbKyoOYX2Cq

“Dammit,” said Danny under his breath.copyright protection75PENANAuR1F4568FD

“Forget it,” said Zack. “We’re getting you home, let’s go.”copyright protection75PENANAh0Nv65BnXy

Danny followed wordlessly.copyright protection75PENANAY8ixx7vva7

***copyright protection75PENANAVEZXk33qbJ

“So… are you two done?” said Rita in Elaina’s passenger seat.copyright protection75PENANA3sJRYPWzdU

“No! Well, I don’t know. It just seems like this kinda thing happens so often. This shouldn’t be normal.” She turned. “Should it?”copyright protection75PENANA8c3qJAyf6I

Rita shook her head. “No, it shouldn’t.”copyright protection75PENANAn2nmZHq28C

Elaina sighed. “Sorry I ruined your night.”copyright protection75PENANAMc5v33l0Cy

Rita’s heart sank a little as she remembered. “It’s fine, don’t worry about it.”copyright protection75PENANAVLKYcuzKKF

“You think you two are gonna get together?”copyright protection75PENANAt8HRuHyVKH

Rita slouched down even further in her seat. “I have no idea. I’m just not very good at this kinda thing.”copyright protection75PENANAxwTC1XFnXi

“I used to think I was, but I’m not sure anymore,” said Elaina.copyright protection75PENANAWT4GRgbq0W

Rita laughed. “Well then I guess I’m gonna have to figure it out on my own. We can’t both be sad sacks.”copyright protection75PENANA6u4NlzvTuf

Elaina laughed.copyright protection75PENANAB1LvENskaq

When they reached Rita’s driveway, Rita got out of the car and made her way inside her house. She hopped onto her bed, flat on her back, held a pillow over her face and groaned. Her big moment had been ruined.copyright protection75PENANAD6jHNbXZBY

Her thoughts turned to Danny and Elaina’s stormy relationship, and she began to wonder if the group could handle another one. She thought of all of the value Zack had added to her life over the years, and began to wonder what it would be like if she messed up and lost it all. But mostly, she thought of Zack’s broad shoulders, and what his abs would feel like from underneath.copyright protection75PENANAVIs0vNz0H3

Her phone buzzed.copyright protection75PENANAgi51OJPh40

New message from Zackcopyright protection75PENANAHH61pUdnUO

She smiled sadly, and resolved to read it a little later. Perhaps all was not lost? Weren’t good things supposed to come to those who waited?copyright protection75PENANAlQxOQ3Bp4j

Brady crept up beside her and began to lick her ear; she rolled over and gave him a big hug.copyright protection75PENANAskCymqhbHm

“It’ll happen someday, buddy, don’t worry,” she said quietly.copyright protection75PENANAbp4irtcER7

54.144.21.195

ns54.144.21.195da2
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