“Do you have any friends on the cheerleading squad who need boyfriends?” I knew my question would catch Amberlyn off guard, but I needed her help with an idea. We’d been dating forever, and I knew I could trust her.
She had a few French fries clasped in her fingers halfway to her mouth and her jaw dropped. “What?”
“The football players need girlfriends, so I want to hook them up.” I picked up my cheeseburger and tried to catch the special sauce from dripping all over the wrapper as I took the first bite.
“I don’t understand what you mean,” Amberlyn said. She finally shoved the fries in her mouth and reached for her Coke. The condensation from the cup left a ring on the cheap, Formica table. A few kids ran by on their way to the playscape area but I pulled my attention back to the matter at hand.
“The guys on the football team are fawning over Jonnie,” I said. I grabbed a napkin to swab up the mess I was creating all down my hands.
“And…” She lifted her eyebrows.
“And it’s a distraction.” I thought it was so obvious.
“So, what do the cheerleaders have to do with this?” she asked more directly this time.
“If I could get these guys some girlfriends, they would stop fawning over her.”
“What is it with you and her?” Suspicion laced Amberlyn’s question and she shoved aside her half-eaten chicken sandwich.
“What do you mean?” I took apart my burger under the auspice of scraping off extra sauce but using the distraction as a way of averting my eyes from her accusing stare. “We’ve been best friends for years.”
“I thought I was your best friend.” Amberlyn pouted and folded her arms, leaning back in the booth.
“You’re my girlfriend, there’s a difference.”
“But if your best friend is a girl, doesn’t that make her your girlfriend?”
“I thought we were talking about getting girlfriends for the football players.” I changed tactics. “Think about it, Jonnie can only go with one of them to the homecoming dance, so we need dates for everyone else. We can go as a big group and hopefully some of them will pair off. Have you bought a dress yet?” Good diversion. Shopping. Girls loved shopping. And the homecoming dress was an important thing to shop for. I took a huge bite of my hamburger to shut myself up.
“No, a couple of us are going shopping next Saturday. Maybe I can invite Jonnie to go with us. Do you know who’s taking her to the dance?”
I choked a little and had to take a sip of pop. The thought of Jonnie dancing with someone else made my stomach flip. “No.”
“It’s gonna be a bloodbath once they figure out she doesn’t have a date yet,” Amberlyn said with a giggle. “They’ll be falling all over themselves to be the first to ask her.”
“All the more reason to get a group together.” I jumped on this tactic. “We’ll make sure the guys in the group all know that they have to keep the girls in the group dancing. Like they’re all each other’s dates, ya know?”
“Uh… sure. Sorta. I guess I’ll have to think about this.” Amberlyn rattled on about who already had boyfriends and who didn’t, and who she wouldn’t recommend that any of my friends go out with because they were gossiping brats, and which of her friends would look best in pink dresses rather than red but how Autumn colors might be a better choice for this time of year. I tried to keep up and reminded myself this was my idea.
It was a good idea.
I leaned my elbow on the table and listened more intently. Yeah, this could work.