East Side Academy

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Chapter 12 - Cheap Thrills

“Come on, come on, turn the radio on / It’s Friday night and I won’t be long / Gotta do my hair, put my make up on / It’s Friday night and I won’t be long” – Cheap Thrills, Sia

Arya

“Longest road!” Diana exclaims. “Hand it over here, Teddy!” She opens up her hand, waiting for the card to be placed there. After double-checking the count of Diana’s road, Teddy reluctantly hands the longest road card to Diana.

“I will get it back,” Teddy says.

“Good luck with that,” Diana replies, “You’re blocked on both sides!”

“I’ll just make a new road then!” Teddy says back to her.

“Are they always like this?” I whisper to George who is sitting next to me.

“When it comes to Settlers of Cataan, they become very competitive,” George whispers back.

For our Friday night board game night, we are all in Diana’s basement, which is complete with a bar, a small kitchen, two game tables, a pool table, a large screen TV, and plenty of couches and chairs. While George, Diana, Teddy, and I play Settlers of Cataan, Sarah, Eleanor and Lincoln are playing Dominion. From the yelling coming from their table, I can tell they are getting competitive, or at least Eleanor is and she’s getting frustrated with not being able to use her turns. Not enough action cards maybe?

As our game comes close to the end, I know that having the largest army will be my only way to win and I don’t think any of them realize that I have a lot of knight cards. When my turn comes, I purchase a development card, praying that it’s a knight. When I flip it over and see that it is, I jump out of the chair. “Ha!” I yell, “Ten points! Better luck next time!”

“What?!” Teddy yells and then when he looks at the cards I show him, he sees that it’s true.

“Largest Army!” I say excitedly.

But then, I hear a “Nooooo!” coming from the other table. “Stupid curse!” Eleanor yells standing up from her chair, “I was one point from winning!”

Lincoln just sits in his seat like the calm guy he always is. “Better luck next time, Eleanor,” is all he says as he starts putting the game away.

“Okay, okay!” Diana says as it is clear that both games are done and playing anymore might cause damage to a friendship. “I’m making nachos, there are more drinks in the fridge if anyone wants.”

“Time for margaritas!” Teddy yells as he heads over to the fridge, grabbing everything he needs and then getting the blender. He stands at the back of the bar as if he is a bartender. I walk over to one of the stools and sit down.

“One margarita, please!” I call to him.

“Coming up!” Teddy says and throws a tea towel over his shoulder. He always loves getting into the bartender roll.

Eleanor comes up and sits beside me, “One margarita, double shot!” she calls over the bar to Teddy.

“I’m going to have to charge you extra!” Teddy says just before he starts the blender.

“Oh, bugger off,” Eleanor says, but I don’t think Teddy could hear over the noise of the blender.

“Anyone else for a margarita?” Teddy calls out as he starts grabbing glasses.

“I’ll have one!” both Diana and Sarah say in unison.

“Lincoln?” Teddy asks while he pours the drinks.

“I’m good, mate,” Lincoln says and holds up the beer can in his hand.

“You’re not going to ask me?” George says.

“You don’t deserve it.” Teddy says, “A tiny glass like this in your giant hands just doesn’t match.”

“Hey!” George says, “I like the girly drinks too, in the comfort of you people is the only time I get to enjoy them.”

“Fine.” Teddy says, “One more margarita coming up!”

“No, I’m fine Teddy, I just wanted to make a point,” George says and holds up his beer bottle.

“More for us then,” Teddy says as he tops off all the glasses and then lines three up on the bar for Eleanor, Sarah, and me, and passes one to Diana behind at the stove, and helps himself to his own glass.

“Ahhh,” Eleanor says, “Just how I like it, strong, sweet and sour.”

“I thought that’s how you liked your men?” Lincoln says behind his drink.

“No,” Eleanor starts, “I like my men how I like my pizza; hot and steamy.” and then she turns back to her drink.

“I guess that explains why George is the only hockey player in our grade you haven’t dated,” Lincoln says, winking at Eleanor and then smiling at George.

“Hey!” George says.

“We’re too good of friends,” Eleanor says, “And George doesn’t get my Friends references because he hasn’t watched the show, so that’s pretty much a deal-breaker right there.”

“I don’t get your obsession with it,” George says in his defense.

“Could you BE anymore clueless?” Eleanor says to him and we all laugh except him.

“Nachos are ready!” Diana calls out as she places them on the bar with an oven mitt hand. Everyone crowds around to start grabbing at them.

“Mmmmmm…So good!” Sarah says, “Now I like my men how I like my nachos; hot and super cheesy.” Everyone laughs.

“Well, I like my men how I like my whiskey; twice my age and from Scotland,” Diana says as she takes another sip of her drink.

“You’ve been watching way too much of that Outlander show,” Sarah says.

“Jamie is sexy and beautiful and just everything.” Diana says, “I can’t not watch it!”

“What about you, Arya?” Teddy asks me. “How do you like your men?”

“What don’t you tell me how you like your women?” I ask, deflecting the question.

“I can tell you how she likes her men!” Diana calls out, “She likes her men to have the first name James and the last name Fox!”

“Thanks, Diana,” I say, not actually angry because I know James and I can’t be a secret.

“You know there are no secrets between us,” she says and then grabs another nacho chip.

“So, it’s true then?” Lincoln says, “Wasn’t sure if it was just a rumour or not.” When I look at Lincoln, I see George clearly thinking on something but I have no idea what.

“He asked her out yesterday after soccer tryouts.” Eleanor says, “I’m jealous, he’s such a cutie. If he was a hockey player, I would hate you.” she says to me, smiling. I know she is kidding, but I do think she might cause me harm if he was a hockey player, thank goodness he is not.

“So, what are you guys doing?” Sarah asks and takes a sip of her drink.

“He just told me that he’s picking me up at 4:30 pm tomorrow and to dress casual, whatever that means for a first date,” I say.

“Boy better not be shortchanging on this date!” Diana says, “I get that the boy hasn’t taken a girl out in a while, but he has no excuse to treat you as anything but a queen.”

“Aww...” I say, holding my hand over my heart. “Such a sweetheart, but I’m sure it will be fine. I’ll let you know how it goes.”

“You better!” Diana says, “That boy has become a mystery the last two years. I feel like he avoids people as much as possible.”

“Didn’t avoid Arya.” Eleanor says behind her drink, “Ran up to her like a lovestruck boy the other day.”

“You must have had quite the effect on him, Arya.” Lincoln says, “That guy hasn’t gone out with a girl in two years.” I look at Lincoln again. If Diana has become my closest girlfriend in this group, Lincoln has become my closest guy friend. So many people think that guys and girls can’t be just close friends, that at least one of them will eventually develop feelings for the other, but I don’t think that will ever be the case with Lincoln and me. We have a close friendship that I can tell neither of us wants to develop into anything more. We care about each other, and guys and girls can care a lot about each other without any romantic feelings.

I look at George again. He’s fine now but something happened when he found out I was going on a date with James. What was it?

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