Maybe Just One More

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Chapter 3. A Girly Tomboy

“Hey, Claire,” I said. I opened the door wider to let her inside.

“Hey, hon, heard you were back. How was California?” Claire asked as she stepped inside.

“A nightmare,” I said. I turned to face her.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said sadly.

“It’s okay,” I waved it off. “Mason is upstairs.”

“Thanks,” she said and headed for the steps. She stopped halfway up and looked down at me. “Oh, before I forget, they’re having tryouts are on August twentieth.”

“I don’t think I’m trying out, but thanks.”

“How come?”

“They wouldn’t take me last year,” I said.

“Well, maybe this is your year. You can’t give up that easy,” Claire said.

“Their choices are based on popularity, not talent,” I said.

Claire sighed. “I’d like to tell you that you’re wrong,” she said. “Maybe I can help with that. Are you free tomorrow?”

“Sure,” I said and shrugged.

“Good, I’ll be here at ten,” she said. She turned and headed upstairs.

Claire was Mason’s girlfriend since the beginning of the last school year. Claire came here from Dallas, Texas, in the middle of tenth grade. Mason had started chasing her right away, but she didn’t give in that easily because of Mason’s reputation.

Mason was a bit of a man whore. I was sure he would break Claire’s heart as he did the others, but he didn’t. Mason acts crazy over Claire, and Claire’s parents hate them.

Yep, they’re perfect together.

A moment later, without knocking, Avery came through the door. He headed for the stairs, but I grabbed his arm to stop him and turned him to face me.

“What?” he asked, confused.

“I wouldn’t go up there if I was you,” I warned.

“Why?” he asked.

“Well, Claire just went up there, and she hasn’t been here in a couple of weeks. Mason told me he hadn’t seen her much this summer,” I said.

For a moment, he had a confused expression.

I gave him a ‘really’ look.

"Oh,” he exaggerated the word.

"Yeah,” I mocked him. I turned and headed for the kitchen.

“How many times have you walked in on that?” Avery teased.

“None because unlike some people, I knock,” I muttered.

“Did you wake up on the crazy side of the bed again?” he asked.

“What? No,” I muttered. I grabbed two coffee cups and poured coffee into them. I turned around and handed him a cup.

“You seem cranky,” he pressed.

I sighed and sat down at the kitchen table.

Avery sat down across from me.

“Don’t you have chores to do or something?” I grumbled.

“I’ve got most of them done. I can finish them later. So, I have all day,” he said and chuckled.

“Claire mentioned the tryouts,” I said and stared down at the table.

“The cheerleader tryouts?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I muttered. “I told her I didn’t think I was going to.”

“Why not?” he asked.

“It’s a beauty contest and a popularity contest, not a talent contest,” I said.

“I didn’t even know you wanted to cheer,” he said and raised his eyebrows. “No offense, but you don’t seem like the type. You were always a bit of a tomboy.”

“That’s the problem,” I murmured. “That is why nobody likes me.”

“That is the best part about you, Shortie. Don’t let nobody tell you differently,” he said in a stern voice.

“Thanks, Jerk,” I said. “I like to dance, though...” I trailed off. “There is no dance teams around here. I want to open a dance studio in Granbury, but if I can’t even get into a cheerleading squad...”

Avery sighed. “You won’t know unless you try.”

“Haven’t you heard?” My gaze flickered to his.

His eyebrows were knitted, and he shook his head.

“I did try last year,” I told him.

“And they rejected you? That shouldn’t stop you from trying a second time,” he said.

“Rejected me?” I laughed. “I was humiliated.”

“What?” he breathed. “What do you mean?”

“They put something on the floor, and I didn’t see it,” I murmured. “When I was doing a front flip, my foot caught whatever it was. That was how I sprained my wrist. Remember when you teased me and asked me if I walked into a tree?”

“Damn...” he trailed off and leaned back in his chair. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know,” he murmured.

“It’s okay,” I said and shrugged. “Anyway, they all made fun of me and laughed at me. I was the talk of the school for at least a week. I’m amazed you didn’t hear about it.”

“I didn’t,” he said. “I doubt Mason did either.”

“Why?”

“Because we would have found the person responsible. As much as you like to think that Mason and I are mean to you, that isn’t true. Everyone knows if they talk about you, it is going to piss us off,” he said.

“Yeah, I get it,” I said.

“You shouldn’t even have a hard time being popular,” he said.

“Why?”

“Well, for one thing, your brother is one of the most popular guys in school,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter. It’s because of Susie,” I said and shook my head. “When she got her boobs and got all popular, she did everything she could to destroy me. The other girls gave her crap because she was friends with me. So, she made sure that nobody would remember that part of her life by ruining mine. Those girls will never let me on the team.”

“It’s up to the coach, not them,” Avery said. “Just give it one more try.”

“Yeah, maybe one more,” I said and shrugged.

***

“So, how are things with Chris?” Claire asked.

“I don’t know. I don’t see him much,” I admitted.

“Why? What’s going on? You two seemed so good together,” she said.

“It’s probably my fault. A couple of times, he called me while I was at my dad’s, but I was too upset to talk to him. He told me to message him a couple of weeks ago, and I never did,” I explained.

“You should message him,” she said.

“I don’t even know why he wanted to date me. He’s on the basketball team and has plenty of friends. The only two friends I have are Peyton and Jade.”

“You need to put more of an effort into it,” Claire said.

“Every time I tried, I was knocked down.”

“Nobody will knock you down when I’m done with you,” Claire said and smiled.

I rolled my eyes. “Thanks, Claire. You know, for being so popular, you’re really nice. I don’t have much money, though.”

“Don’t worry about it, I got it,” she said.

“Won’t your parents be mad?” I wondered.

“Nah, they won’t even notice,” she said and chuckled. “They’re always too busy to notice what I do.”

We stopped at the hair salon first. Claire grabbed my hand and pulled me inside. Claire was the girly type, and she had fun with these things. The school would start tomorrow, and the fact made me nervous. I hated school.

“Appointments for Claire and Stormie,” Claire told the receptionist.

“Welcome back, Claire,” the receptionist said. “Follow me, ladies.”

We followed the receptionist. It was currently empty. There was soft music playing through a radio. Another lady was cleaning up.

“Are you sure about this? Hair won’t make me popular,” I said and chucked.

“Trust me, when I am through with you, Chris won’t even want to keep his hands off of you,” Claire said and giggled.

***

“Wow,” I choked. “I look so weird,” I murmured as I stared at the girl in the mirror. The girl in the mirror looked nothing like me. It didn’t feel like me. I felt pretty, and I never felt that way. My makeup was done in a way you saw on a magazine, pink lips, shadowy eyes, thick eyeliner, and thick eyelashes.

My eyebrows were thinner, and my hair was shorter. My hair used to be down to my waist, but the shorter hair somehow made me look older. It was just two or three inches past my shoulder now. My blond hair was thinner and straighter. Claire had them polish me head to toe. I even had my toenails and nails done.

“So? What do you think?” Claire asked excitedly.

I tilted my head, and the girl in the mirror did the same. “Um, it’s a little overwhelming.”

“Do you still have your contacts?” Claire asked.

“Um, yeah, but I don’t wear them. I like my glasses; it’s easier,” I explained.

“Um, right...” she trailed off. “Well, you need to get used to them. Did you bring them like I asked?”

“Yes, they’re in my purse.”

“Great, let’s go,” she said.

***

“Seriously, Claire? I can’t wear this in front of Mason and Avery. They’ll laugh at me,” I said.

“They will not, and if they do, I’ll slap both of them,” she said sternly.

The jeans were so tight around my ass. I was sure I wouldn’t be able to walk right in them. I had on a white crop top, and a black leather jacket with black toeless heals.

“I’m going to die in these heals,” I whined. “They’re like three inches too tall for me, okay?”

“Okay, they’re like four inches, Stormie,” Claire said and chuckled. “Come on.”

We headed downstairs to the living room. The boys weren’t in the living room, so we checked the kitchen.

“Maybe they left,” I suggested excitedly.

“Ugh, no way, I know they’re here. They must be in Mason’s room.”

“Probably higher than a couple of helicopters, too,” I added.

We headed upstairs to my brother’s bedroom. Claire didn’t bother knocking, as I always did. She threw the door open. The boys were sitting in a couple of game chairs that were my brother’s. The bedroom was filled with smoke.

Claire walked over to the TV and turned it off.

“Hey!” both of the boys whined.

“Shut up,” Claire said and placed a hand on her hip. “This is important.”

“What?” Mason asked.

“What do you think of your sister?”

I sighed and walked into the bedroom, and stood in front of Avery and my brother.

Avery’s mouth fell open. The blunt that was between his lips fell onto his lap. “Damn, what the fuck happened to you?”

“What the hell? What are you wearing, Storm? Change out of that shit now. You look ridiculous!” Mason roared. Mason’s face started to glow red. He glared at Claire.

“I told you they would make fun,” I muttered to Claire. I turned and stalked out of the bedroom. I slammed my bedroom door shut. Tears started falling down my cheeks. I took the earrings from my ears and placed them down on the dresser.

My door swung open, hitting the wall.

I turned around. “Don’t you knock?”

“Not really,” Avery said and shrugged. He turned and shut the door.

“I was going to change,” I muttered.

“Don’t change, Storm,” Avery said and closed the distance between us. “Your brother worries about you. He doesn’t want guys looking at you. You’re his little sister. You don’t look ridiculous...” he trailed off as his eyes swept over me.

“It was Claire’s idea, anyway. Mason is right; it’s not me,” I said.

“It is you,” Avery said. “You’re not a different person because of what you wear or how your hair looks. You look stunning, and there is nothing wrong with that. Claire and I will talk your brother down. Do what makes you happy.” Avery turned around and walked out of my room.

I turned around and looked at the mirror. Avery is right, I’m still me, and it shouldn’t be wrong for me to want to look nice. I could be a girl and still be a tomboy, right?

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