“Jonnie!” Amberlyn pounced on my bed, jostling me awake from what little sleep I’d allowed between crying and staring at the pictures on my phone.
Everyone in the school had posted homecoming weekend photos and I tortured myself scrolling through them on Instagram and Facebook. A few people had even sent me Snaps with cool shots from the game or the dinner or dancing.
Most photos were completely innocent. Others… not so much.
Someone had created a montage of photos involving me and Skyler. Him lifting me into the air while celebrating in the endzone after the winning touchdown. Him with his arm around me while in the lineup for photos at the gazebo, our heads close together while Amberlyn is pulled away and talking to someone else, barely acknowledging her date. Him holding me on the dancefloor with our cheeks close together. That one was grainy and dark, barely recognizable other than the obvious polka dotted dress and a clear shot of Skyler’s face.
Videos had been posted of our argument with captions like, “Trouble in the endzone?” and, “Has the winning streak come to an end?” and, “What did Skyler do to anger his best receiver?”
Most photos and videos were complimentary toward me, my dress, my hair, my sexy calf muscles and three-inch heels, my touchdowns. They weren’t necessarily uncomplimentary toward Skyler, more questioning, “What happened to break up the dream couple?”
None of them seemed to remember that Skyler and I weren’t a couple.
Only one photo caption asked, “How does Amberlyn feel about Jonnie moving in on her man?”
I guess I was about to find out since she was yanking the covers off and bathing me with morning light streaking in the bedroom window. I moaned and tried to roll over.
“Jonnie, wake up! I want to hear all about your date with Aiden.”
That caught my attention and I sat straight up. She didn’t know?
“Oh, sweetie, your poor face. Don’t you know you can’t sleep with makeup on?” Amberlyn climbed back off my bed and rushed into my adjoining bathroom, continuing her one-sided conversation. “I guess you wouldn’t know that, would you? You’ve never worn makeup before now. Your mascara is smeared down your face as if you’ve been crying. You poor thing.”
The faucet turned off and Amberlyn squeezed water from a washcloth then hurried back to my bed and climbed up and over my mound of blankets, kneeling next to me and wiping my face as if she were my mother, or as if I were her life sized baby doll.
I looked up at her as she carefully removed the makeup that I had so carelessly allowed to remain next to my skin as I cried myself to sleep the night before. She had no clue. She hadn’t heard any rumors. Or if she had, she was good at pretending she didn’t know.
“I don’t think I ever told you,” —she pulled back with wide eyes. “Your dress was perfect! I mean, like, we outdid ourselves this time. And Aiden’s tie! Oh my gosh, you guys looked so cute together. Have you seen the pictures all over social media? You are in just about all of them! No one can believe your transformation over the summer. We were right to curl your hair. You’re so gorgeous. No wonder all the guys are in love with you.”
Your boyfriend included, I almost said out loud. I sighed. She seriously didn’t know. What was I going to do? I needed to tell her. “Yeah, so, about that…”
“Oh, I know everything,” Amberlyn said, waving her hand in front of her like she was shooing a fly.
“Oh, yeah, Skyler told me all about it.”
“He did?” My heart pounded. “And you’re okay with it?”
“Of course! That’s why we got the whole group together,” she said.
“Huh?” I’m confused.
“Yeah, Skyler told me the reason he needed to get all the guys from the football team to date the girls from the cheerleading squad, was because all the guys were in love with you and it had become a distraction. I know all about that.”
My shoulders fell. She knew nothing. We were back to square one. What was I going to do?
“You need to get in the shower,” she said as if answering my unspoken question. “A bunch of us are going to get pedicures and after all that dancing, we need those foot massages. You’re coming too, let’s go.” She pushed me gently but insistently off my bed.
Pedicure? I looked down at my ugly feet. I had never painted my toenails in my life. Still, if it involved a foot massage? I was totally down with that.
Shower first. I could get through this day.