That evening, Odessa went over to her Aunt and Uncle’s house, where she was meeting up with Skyler, Tyler, and Ace -- who was staying with them for the night before heading for Pine Valley on the weekend -- before they all went to the game. Her heart had been racing since that afternoon when reflecting on yet another semi-intimate session with The Boy. She still couldn’t believe what had happened, from letting her inhibition go, to the pictures, and to yet another interruption, this time from The Boy’s manager, just as he was about to tell her something “vital.” She understood The Boy had his annoyance with phones, but she really wished that he would call and tell her what he needed to say. All the wondering was making her go out of her mind and she decided to take a little nap. However, she was glad to get out of the house after waking up from a horrible dream, the same one she’d had twice before nearly two months ago. And still, she couldn’t recall anything from it, except for falling over a cliff at Llantano Mountain, leaving her very much spooked…
Odessa arrived her Aunt Marcie welcomed her in, but her Uncle Mike was at the hospital performing an evening surgical operation. She was also surprised to see that Derek, Kiko, Alec, and Nicole were also over at the house; they’d all carpooled together. “Whoa! I didn’t know there was going to be a pre-game party!” Odessa exclaimed.
“That makes two of us!” Marcie said hugging her niece.
There was some friendly trash-talk banter between Kiko and Nicole, over who was the better star quarterback: Nicole’s boyfriend Randy, for Llanview or Theodore “Teddy” Montgomery, for Pine Valley High. For the most part Kiko had already decided to cheer on for Teddy, whom she’d known since her days as a young child at Pine Valley’s adoption centre. His parents, Reggie and Danielle Montgomery, would occasionally come down to the centre and perform volunteer work there. They’d bring their two sons, Teddy and his older brother Xavier, along to play with the children there. Kiko and Teddy became close friends until she was adopted at the age of nine by Kevin and Kelly Buchanan. However, the two childhood friends remained just that, and occasionally contacted each other over the years.
“My man can throw the ball almost 60 yards!” Nicole bragged.
Ace, who’d been a year above Teddy and played on the team with him in high school, was also putting his two cents in. “Teddy’s got this in the bag for ‘The Valley.’ He’s been starting at quarterback since his freshman year and can run 40 yards in 4.5 seconds,” he said.
“That’s right, Ace! You tell ‘em!” Kiko instigated. “Shoot Teddy had better get it done! Or else I’ve got quite a few cars to wash…”
“Good grief, Keeks! You actually bet against your own school?! Have you no shame girl?” Nicole exclaimed.
Marcie playfully warned Ace and Kiko. “Wow, you two had soooo better sit on the Visitor’s side.”
“Forget that, Mom! It’ll serve them right if they sit on the home side and end up getting their butt kicks if they start trash-talking,” Tyler joked.
“Hey now, I may talk junk but I’m not brain-dead! I can’t say the same for ‘Miss Pete Rose’ though…” Ace motioned at Kiko, who gave him a playful kick.
Odessa brought her digital camera that she usually carried and snapped a few group pictures of everyone and, afterwards, inquired about the pep rally. Skyler and Nicole filled her in, saying that it went as expected: everyone was pretty much hyped for one of the biggest match-ups in a long time, especially with both the Llanview Warriors and Pine Valley Knights were both carrying undefeated seasons. The cheerleading squad had done their cheers, helped led by co-captain Tamzin; the marching band did their musical numbers; and all the seniors on the football squad got their recognition, with Randy being saved for last, since he was the team’s quarterback and MVP. Nicole was beaming about that part. Finally, the rally capped off with a rock quartet of Llanview High students doing their own, catchy rendition of Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” Derek, a gifted guitarist, filled in at the last minute for the band’s bassist, since she sprained her wrist during gym class, so he quickly learned the chords during his lunch hour with a band member. All and all it sounded like it was a good time. Odessa, almost wished she’d been there to see, almost…
“Oh no, they’ve sacked Teddy!” Kiko yelped over Pine Valley High’s star quarterback. The score was 17 – 10 with the Warriors ahead with a little over 5 minutes to go before halftime began. The sack, done by Jacob, occurred on second down and caused a loss of 10 yards, leaving the Knights at the 30-yard line in Warrior territory. Teddy regrouped his Knights, and on the next play he was able to complete a crucial 15-yard pass to one of his receivers. “YEAAAAA!!! GO TEDDY, WOOOOO!!” screamed a now very elated Kiko.
“Yuriko Buchanan, will you shut the hell up! People have been giving us dirty looks all game, especially you!!" Skyler scolded, who was sitting behind Kiko and Odessa in the stands, and in the same row as Nicole, Derek and Alec. “Good grief!! Go sit on the visitors’ side, so that the rest of us have a better chance of getting out of here alive!” She had become a bit irritated considering they were all sitting on the home team’s side. Tyler and Ace were sitting in the row behind them.
“Hey, what about me?” Kiko asked, noticing the obvious exclusion.
“Look Keeks, if your traitor-ass has some sort of death wish that’s your problem, but don’t take us down with you,” Derek teased.
“Oh bump you guys then. Besides, I can’t help it! Teddy is my friend, and I want to support him.”
Odessa had been taking pictures of the game. “Okay fair enough, but what about school pride and spirit?” she asked. At that point, the Knights had setup to take a field goal.
“Yeah, seriously. My sister might be offended by your behaviour,” Alec playfully added. Tamzin was still down by the sidelines cheering away with her squad.
Kiko half-listened to what her friends said as she’d been concentrating on the game. “School what?” she responded.
“Nevermind, Kiko...” Odessa passed off.
The snap had been made for the Knight’s field goal kick, but the football sailed just wide right. Pretty much everyone on the home erupted into cheers, with the exception of those like Ace and Kiko.
“Hey, do you any of guys know where Gisella went off to? She was just here a second ago,” asked Ace, after things had quieted down. Apparently, Ace and Gisella had been in each other’s company earlier that day when the topic of the football game came up. Ace -- who wasn’t really unaware of Gisella and Odessa opposition --had asked her to meet them at the gate so that she could sit with them at the game, which she naturally accepted. Being that Tyler was Ace’s best friend and Odessa’s cousin, Gisella knew she had to put on her “good behaviour” in front of Ace. They weren’t even a real couple, but everyone else decided to put up with her for his sake, in spite of how they really felt about the situation. A couple of times, Tyler tried as nicely as he could to tell Ace that she wasn’t exactly “good for him,” but Ace wasn’t hearing any of it. Regardless, as long as she wasn’t sitting near Odessa, things would have to just be as is.
Ace’s question broke Kiko out of her brief, missed-kick sulking mood and she erupted with a bout of giggles. “Ace, no offence, but no guy can keep up with that-- ” she started to say to him, but Odessa knocked her knees with her own, before she could finish.
“Don’t start Keeks, we’re here for a good time and we don’t need any trouble right now,” Odessa reprimanded.
Kiko shrugged her consent and went back to watching on the game. “So where’s your ‘biker-loverboy’ tonight?” she playfully goaded.
“Ha-ha, you’re so funny you know that,” Odessa sarcastically replied. “Anyway, he was working all day and probably got too tired to make it… But then again he doesn’t like big crowds… nor does he seem like the football type…" she kept adding.
Kiko was just looking at her, and cracked a big knowing smile, causing Odessa to feel a bit embarrassed. “Go to hell, Kiko,” she laughed off. Moments later, Odessa told her that she was going to the restroom. She declined her friend’s offer for accompaniment, saying she, “Miss Benedict Arnold should stay and continue rooting for her ‘little boyfriend’.” Kiko responded by flipping her off in jest.
The restrooms were a short walk away and right by the gated entrance of the woods-surrounded stadium. After Odessa had finished using them, she started walking back to the game. However, her phone began to ring and it was her dad, who was curious to know what the score, as he was still at the station. Her signal was weak so she walked behind the small restroom building for better reception.
“Well, I just came from the restrooms, but last I saw it was 17 – 10 with a little time to go before halftime, and we’re winning,” she informed him.
“Nice. And how’s Tyler? Tell him I said he’d better stop by this weekend before he goes back to campus, or else ‘Uncle John’ will not be a happy camper!” John joked.
“Hehe… He’s fine, Dad. I’ll be sure to pass the warning on to him.” Her father was saying something, but it the reception wasn’t clear enough. “Dad you’re breaking up, but I’ll talk to you later…” She got off the phone with him, and just as she was walking back, she noticed two people standing on the large hill some distance away, where a parking section was located behind the stadium. With just enough stadium lights available Odessa was able to identify one of them as Gisella because of the jacket she was wearing. The other person was a young man wearing dark clothes, with what looked to be a helmet in his hands; they appeared to be heavy in conversation. Odessa started to get an ill-feeling in her stomach. She reached for her camera and used its zoom-in feature to its highest degree, for better identification; as she suspected, it was The Boy and Gisella. The two were at arm’s length, and when he put his helmet down he wrapped his hands around Gisella’s shoulders.
The green-eyed monster was kicking in. And what’s going on here?!?!? Odessa’s thoughts were railing. Then, out of the blue, Gisella wrapped her arms around him and gave The Boy a hug too long for Odessa’s-liking, and without thinking she snapped a picture of the two. She didn’t like what she saw next though, drawing in a big gasp when she witnessed her nemesis giving him a peck on his cheek. At that moment, a whole range of emotions had overcome Odessa: anger, confusion, disappointment, jealousy... Not coming to the game, huh? ‘Tired’ my ass!!
Again, she shot another picture of Gisella’s telling gesture towards The Boy. She didn’t know what was going on that hill, but she knew she didn’t want to stick around a moment longer; she just needed to get out of there, quickly. She proceeded to take a step back and turn around simultaneously, causing her to trip up on her feet. She fell down, whilst in the process of knocking down an orange traffic cone, and let out a small cry of pain.
“Are you okay, miss?” asked a security guard, who quickly went over to help her up. Just then the halftime whistles were blown.
“I’m fine, thank you,” she managed to say kindly to the guard. She was still on the ground quickly picking up contents that had fallen out of her bag. But she turned around to make sure The Boy and Gisella hadn’t seen her, but surely enough they had, as Gisella was pointing over to her. She’d now felt like an even bigger fool and felt like bursting into tears. She got up and immediately started to run away, as a small throng of people was starting to come to the restroom area, the baffled guard looking at her.
“ODESSA…WAIT!!” shouted The Boy, who was out of Gisella’s clutches, and running down the hill to get to Odessa. But it was too late, for she was speedy and had already run-off into the closest set of woods near her, away from the game, away from the stadium, away from Gisella, and most importantly, away from The Boy…