“What was that all about?” London asked, turning venomous eyes on Cora. The door had barely closed on Brock’s heels and nineteen other girls’ eyes shot daggers her way.
“What?” Cora took a step back and gulped.
“Gee, let’s see, he barely glanced at any of us before he was at your side,” Hallie said, crossing her arms.
“Then during the game, he couldn’t keep his eyes off you,” Sarah added.
“Even when he wasn’t looking at you, it was as if he was forcing himself not to look at you,” Delaney said.
“And then, I’m having a conversation with him and you make some weird comment about broadcasting, obviously critical of my career.” London raised her eyebrows. “Do you have something against me being a journalist?”
“That’s not what I meant by that,” Cora stammered. How could she explain this to them in a way that doesn’t give away any more than she already had?
“Plus, just a minute ago he hugged you way longer than he did the rest of us and told you he’d see you tomorrow,” Delaney said.
“He didn’t hug me longer,” Cora said. “And he was saying goodbye to all of us, not just me.”
“Yeah, right. It’s obvious who’s getting the At-First-Sight love letter,” Chloe said.
“Ladies,” Nicole interrupted. “Brock giving Cora extra attention is not her fault. It’s not like she’s wearing a dress that’s too revealing and flaunting herself in front of him.” Nicole looked pointedly at one girl whose name Cora couldn’t remember. The dress she wore left little to the imagination.
The attention shifted briefly to look down their noses at the girl who actually was flaunting herself.
“Let’s just get settled in our rooms and call it a night, okay?” Nicole said.
“Gladly,” Cora mumbled and turned around almost running into Rachel Gibbons who had snuck up behind her. “Oh! You startled me.” Cora lifted her hand to her heart and took a deep breath.
“Did you ladies have a fun evening?” Rachel asked, a gleam playing in her eyes.
The women plastered on their fake smiles, remembering they were still on camera and the night wasn’t really over. There were echoes around the room of affirmations that they were having the time of their lives.
Cora sighed at the idiocy. They were all so shallow. Her breath caught when she noticed that Rachel had a white card in her hand.
Rachel raised her eyebrows at Cora and offered a smirk. “Curious?”
“We all know whose name is written on that envelope,” Isabelle said.
“Do you?” Rachel looked around the room.
“Cora,” Isabelle answered for all of them.
Rachel pointedly glanced down at the white envelope and grinned. “Good guess.”
“More like a hypothesis,” another girl mumbled.
“Well, it was a correct guess,” Rachel said, ceremoniously handing the envelope to Cora.
“Surprise, surprise,” Isabelle said.
“I’m going to unpack,” Camie Lou said.
“Darn, I really thought he and I had connected.” Anneka’s shoulders slumped.
“Whatever,” someone else said. Feet shuffled and long dresses swished as girl after girl left the room.
Within less than a minute Cora stood alone with just Nicole. The excitement of receiving the At-First-Sight love letter was dampened by the hostility from the other girls.
“Come on, Cora,” Nicole said softly. “You’ve got a big day tomorrow. Let’s go get ready for bed.”
Cora followed Nicole up the stairs, clutching the little envelope. When she finally had a moment alone, Cora lifted the seal on the envelope and pulled the stiff card from within.
Cora, I believe you promised me a date for tomorrow. What do you say we go fly something a little bigger than a drone and a bit more real than a video game? Do you have your pilot’s license with you? -Brock
The flutter in her stomach shifted to excitement. She wasn’t sure how she was going to fall asleep that night.