Power to the Players

By Tori M. Pack All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Drama

Coffee For Your Soul

Pepperoni or ham and pineapple. It was a tough choice to say the least. “For God’s sake Beck, will you just choose a pizza?” Brandon growled from behind me.

I groaned. “You don’t understand how hard of a choice this is. And besides, you ate already! You should be the main one not complaining!” I shot back.

He pouted and waited for me to make a choice. I finally caved and went with my 2nd choice. Ham and pineapple. Natalie looked over at my plate and frowned.

“Who eats fruit with pizza?” she asked. “I do! That’s who! Don’t knock it till you try it” I replied, sticking my tongue out at her. She laughed and opened her mouth.

I picked up my piece and she leaned over and bit into it. Man, she is really trying me lately. It’s like she knows she has this effect on me.

She chewed for a while and then nodded. “Mmmm! Ok, fine. You win. It’s not that bad” she said, picking up her own slice of Pepperoni pizza. I smiled in silent victory before going back to my own pizza.

“You guys share food now?” Brandon asked, looking over at us. I hadn’t even noticed this was our first time sharing food. “Uh…I guess” I replied. “Do you go to school with each other?” Kylie asked, taking a sip of her drink.

“Yeah. We’re in the same class” I replied. I glanced over at Natalie and realized half of my pizza was gone. She had a small smile on her face and my jaw dropped in surprise.

“You ate half my pizza!” I exclaimed. “Such lies” she said, putting her hand on her chest in mock hurt. “Then I’m guessing it just disappeared huh? Jeez, I’ll go get some more.” I got up from the table with my plate and grabbed another slice of the same pizza.

Natalie took another bite out of it and I glared at her. “Fine. Fine. Enjoy your food alone” she said, going back to her old food. “Thank you. I will”. We ate in silence for a bit and there was a knock at the door.

My father got up from the living room and went to go answer it. “Good afternoon Lee. Did you come by to see Beck?” he asked, shaking hands with him. “Yeah. Is she in the kitchen? I smell pizza,” he said.

I laughed and waved him over as my father closed the door. “Hey Beck, Brandon. I see you have company” he replied, grabbing a plate and winking at me.

I flipped him off when Brandon and Kylie weren’t looking and he just laughed at me. “Lee’s gonna play some ‘Call of Duty’ with me tonight. Shouldn’t last long because he always dies the first 20 minutes” I teased.

“Yeah right. Who was it that got blown up by their own grenade last game?” he shot back, sitting down at the table with us. “That was one time!” I exclaimed in my defense.

“Yeah, but it was also a rookie move. You know better than that,” he said. I pouted and Natalie and Brandon started laughing. “What’s Call of Duty?” Kylie asked.

“She doesn’t know. How dare you deprive these children! Call of Duty is a video game based on World War II. It’s actually pretty fun, although it’s not a game for little kids” he replied.

“True. I keep most of my games away from Brandon for that one simple fact” I said bluntly. “Not all the time. You let me play Halo 3 once!” he said from across the table.

“Yeah, but Halo 3 isn’t that bad of a game.” Lee nodded. “You both are such nerds!” Natalie giggled. She got up from the table and put her plate in the trash.

“Oh yeah! Lee, Natalie’s thinking about working at Wal-Mart with us” I said, looking towards him. “Mmmm, did ywo fwill owut a reswume?” he asked between bites of his pizza.

“No. Beck just asked me today and I couldn’t say no” she replied. “You could. You just wouldn’t be getting free coffee from me everyday” I teased. She rolled her eyes at me and I laughed.

“So, you had to bribe her way in?” Lee asked. I nodded and he burst into laughter. “Way to go Beck”.

“Hey! I made a good deal. Coffee for your soul sounds good to me,” I said, laughing when Natalie frowned at me. Lee laughed harder and soon Brandon and Kylie joined in.

“That’s great. Just laugh it up while I’m over her panicking” Natalie said sarcastically. I got up from the table and walked over to her. “It won’t be so bad. We’ve got a better manager now and I’m sure our friends at work will all be nice to you” I said, placing my hand on her shoulder.

“Yeah. Plus, Beck and I’ve got your back. It’s never extremely crowded in there except for Christmas, New Years, Hanukah, Birthdays, and for some reason, Easter. I’m sure you can handle it,” he joked, throwing his plate away with mine.

Natalie nodded and I saw Elizabeth out the corner of my eye. “Kylie baby. It’s time to go home. You can come over tomorrow. Natalie? Do you want to stay here or do you want to come with?” she asked.

“I’ll come with. See you tomorrow Beck” she replied. Kylie threw away her trash and stood beside her mother as she exchanged good-byes with my parents.

Natalie walked toward the door and I pulled her toward me for a hug. She hugged me back and I smiled.

“Just…think about it, ok? I don’t want to force you into working there if it’s not your choice” I said. She smiled and kissed me on the cheek. “Good night” she replied, before following her sister and stepmother out the door.

Brandon stood beside me as we watched our new friends go. “I like them. Beck, try not to mess things up with Natalie” my mother said bluntly, before heading towards the laundry room.

I dropped my jaw and looked over at her. “I’m not!” I exclaimed, smiling a little. She arched her eyebrows at me. “I know how you are. You’re friends with a girl for two weeks and then something happens and you have a falling out. I’m surprised Melody has stayed around for so long,” she yelled from the other room.

“I don’t talk to Melody as much” I yelled back. “Maybe that’s why.”

I laughed to myself and threw Brandon over my shoulder. “Beck! Put my down!” he groaned, laughing as I tickled him. “To the game room!” Lee yelled. “To the game room!” I repeated.

“You guys are insane!” Brandon piped in as we heading down the hall.


I woke up the next morning and pulled on my green button up and my light green Cardigan. I grabbed my Khakis off the dresser and pulled them on before putting on shoes.

Today, I had to look semi-nice because it was our school year book picture day. Yay! Whatever. I didn’t feel like dressing up and I sure as hell didn’t want my picture taken for everyone in the school to see.

I walked downstairs and Dad whistled when he saw me. “Going for that business lady look,” he teased. I ignored him and grabbed a pop tart out of the pantry.

“Why so glum?” he asked, sitting across from me at the table. I sighed. “Dad…have you ever…wanted to be with someone but…you didn’t want anybody else to know you were with this person…and you also kinda promised to take things slow?” I asked, confusing myself towards the end.

He thought about it for a second and then nodded. My eyes widened and I was interested. “Really?” He nodded again and I motioned for him to continue.

“I was about…22 years old. I met this girl at a party and…she was into me and I was into her…but she was my friend’s girl and I didn’t want to intrude or mess anything up. Needless to say, they broke up that night at the party and…I wanted to be with her more than anything. We hooked up for a bit but I didn’t wanna rush things. We decided to be friends for a while but neither of us could take it. I didn’t want anyone to know we were together because than my friends would think I was just trying to steal my other friend’s girl.”

“We kept it a secret for a while but then…I got tired of sneaking around and so did she. We announced that we were together and believe it or not…nobody was shocked. They said they already knew and my friend wasn’t even upset. For six months we were sneaking around and then we discovered there really was no need too. Boy, was there egg on our faces” he started laughing and I couldn’t help but laugh with him.

“Beck, if you really like this boy and you wanna take things slow, take things slow. But don’t expect for anything to come of it. Sometimes, it’s best to go in full force and show that you’re ready for this. Are you really ready to be in a relationship?” he asked seriously.

I thought about it for a moment. I like Natalie. That much is very true and Natalie said that she liked me when I was at her house plus, we almost kissed that day. So, why can’t I make it official?

Is it because I’m too scared to come out to my parents and the rest of my friends, probably even the whole school? Or am I trying to ease into things with Natalie to make her more comfortable? I want to be with her…but maybe it’s not best to be with her right now.

“No” I replied, leaning back against my chair. Dad sighed and looked up at the clock on our wall. “You better hurry up or you’ll be late for school,” he said, getting up and walking out the kitchen.

I grabbed my bookbag and walked out to my car, still wondering if I had made the right choice. “Hey. Can I get a ride?” I looked up and saw Natalie smiling at me from across the yard.

“Um…yeah. Yeah, of course” I replied. “Well, don’t you look nice. What’s the occasion?” she asked, pulling me into a hug. “School picture” I said, opening the passenger side door for her.

“Pictures? Aww man! You should have told me yesterday! Should I change?” she asked. I looked down at her body and almost drooled.

She had on a long white shirt and a gray vest, along with her regular gray skinnies and flip-flops. “What’s with you and flip-flops?” I asked. She frowned at me and hit my stomach.

“Ow!” I groaned, rubbing the area. “I look good in flip-flops” she replied, walking toward the car. “I bet you look good in nothing too,” I mumbled.

“What?”

“Nothing. Come on. We’ll be late.” I got in the car and pulled out the driveway, heading towards the school.

“I almost forgot to tell you. I like your car” she said, smiling over at me. I smiled back. “Really? Most people think it’s a piece of shit” I remarked. “Most people aren’t me” she shot back.

I laughed and we rode in silence for the rest of the way there.


“Alright…now big smiles! One…two…three!” the camera went off and I laughed as Lee tried to get his vision back to normal by blinking profusely.

“Lee, stop it! You’ll go blind,” Jessie scolded. Lee pouted and she leaned up to kiss him. “Where’s Mark?” I asked. Hope looked over at me and raised her eyebrows.

“Mark’s a sophomore, remember?” she said, crossing her arms over her chest. “Oh. Almost forgot for a second,” I said, feeling a little dumb for not knowing that.

“It’s easy to get confused. He spends so much time with us after all” Jessie said, playing with Lee’s hands. “What’s he gonna do when we leave this year?” Hope asked, pouting.

“That’s a good question. I’m sure he has some sophomore friends. I mean, we were here for a full 2 years before he came along” I replied. They all nodded and I saw Melody out the corner of my eye.

She was talking to the varsity lacrosse captain. What was his name again? Duncan? I think it’s Duncan. Anyway, she looked like she was flirting with him by the way she laughed at everything he said and the “innocent” touches.

Lee groaned and I looked over at him. “She’s just being a bitch now” he mumbled. “Hey! Language!” Jessie scolded again. Lee frowned and looked away from her.

I don’t know why Lee was assuming that Melody liked me. She’s been straight for as long as I’ve known her. If she liked me or loved me, as he would say, then I would be shocked.

“Oh…my…God” Hope said breathlessly. “What? What am I missing?” I asked, following her eyes. “No the fuck she didn’t” Lee growled.

I still couldn’t see what they were looking at but I heard Jessie gasp and I knew something was going on. Finally, I noticed what they saw.

Sasha had just thrown her drink at Natalie, completely drenching her with Power-Ade. Natalie gasped and just glared at the girl. The whole auditorium got quiet and the next thing I saw was Natalie on top of Sasha, pounding her in the face.

“Damn! Beat that ass Natalie!” Lee yelled. I jumped off the stage and ran toward them with Lee right behind me. “Lee! Beck! Hold on!” Hope yelled, running after us with Jessie next to her.

I don’t know what happened but I swear to God if Sasha lays one finger on her, I will fuck her up worse. People were yelling by now and as I got closer, I saw a drop of blood.

Shit, shit, shit. I pushed through the crowd and saw the security guards pulling Natalie off of a bloody lipped Sasha. Sasha kept yelling words out like “Bitch” and “Dyke.”

I wanted nothing more than to slam her in the jaw…so I did. I walked right up to her and punched her in the face. Blood exploded out of her nose and she shrieked in pain.

It was probably broken by now. Oh well. Another security guard grabbed me and we were hauled off to the office.

Natalie sat in one chair and I sat down in the one right across from her. We were silent for a minute and I sat there, examining her. She seemed to be alright, other than the fact that her clothes were now bright red.

She had a scowl on her face with her arms crossed over her chest. She was definitely pissed and I realized that I didn’t like Natalie when she was upset. It even made me a little upset just knowing that she was upset.

“So…you gonna tell me why you’re covered in Power-Ade?” I asked, hoping she would open up. Natalie just stayed quiet and I sighed.

“…She said something I didn’t like,” she mumbled.

“What’d she say?”

“She called you a name and then when I defended you, she threw her damn drink on me.”

“Yeah, I noticed but what did she call me.”

“…A dyke.”

“I’m not surprised. Sasha’s still mad about the fact I didn’t want her in 8th grade.”

“8th grade?”

“Yeah. She had a thing for me and when I rejected her, she claimed I was the gay one for even answering her. She’s hated me ever since and likewise. What did you say back?”

“I told her you weren’t and I called her a bitch.”

“And?”

“She called me your…girlfriend for defending you and then called me a dyke. I said it takes one to know one and she threw her drink on me”

“…And then you punched her?”

“And then I punched her.”

“…You know I love you like, ten times more now right?”

“Yeah I know. I realized that when you punched her in the face.”

“You saw that?”

“Yeah. Nice right arm.”

“Nice left arm.”

We burst into laughter and she groaned, looking down at her clothes. “So much for picture day” she mumbled. “Aww screw picture day. They’ll be others. We can always make it up another day” I said, waving her off.

She smiled at me and I smiled back. “Did you get hit back?” I asked. She shook her head. “Good” I replied. She blushed a little and I felt my phone vibrate.

Tell your girl she did a pretty good number on Sasha. She won’t be around her a while due to the way her face is looking. Lol. By the way, her nose is broken. Nice hit Rocky!

Lee

I laughed and Natalie raised her eyebrows at me. “Lee told me that Sasha won’t be messing with you for a while. Her face is pretty messed up. I didn’t know you could fight like that,” I said in awe.

She smiled. “Sometimes, it’s good to have other talents. My dad made me take kickboxing when I was eleven. Looks like it came in handy,” she said. I chuckled.

“Remind me to never get you mad. Hey, do you wanna go somewhere after school?” I asked. She glared at me.

“We already are. You’re taking me to the arcade” she replied. “You still wanna go?” I asked, looking over at her sheepishly. She nodded.

“Alright. But no boxing games because I’m in no mood to lose” I said, smirking at her. “Hey! I just got in my first fight here. I should be able to pick the games,” she protested.

“Fine. Fine. But if your scores start racking up, I’ll know why.” She laughed and I started to laugh with her. “This has been an interesting week,” she said, walking over and sitting next to me.

“It sure has. I’m sure you’re in for a whole lot of other stuff. I mean, the school year just started,” I said. She groaned and laid her head on my shoulder.

“Ugh! Don’t remind me. I wish it was June,” she said, snuggling closer to me. I smiled and started playing with her fingers.

“It will be soon. Besides, you’ve got me with you” I said smugly. She slapped my leg. “So conceited” she teased. “Only with you” I replied.

We stayed like that for a bit and I started to drift off to sleep. I actually didn’t want June to come anytime soon. As long as Natalie was with me, I think I could survive this school year.

She interlaced our fingers and without realizing it, we both smiled.

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