I slammed my tray down on the cafeteria table near Chelley and several other women’s figure skaters on Team USA. “Well, she rejected me repeatedly and told me I need to start seeing other girls. Are any of you interested?”
A couple of girls chuckled or giggled but all of them had sympathetic expressions. I was pathetic and they knew it.
“You took me on a date last night,” Chelley said with a shrug. “That should count for something. Right?”
“Yeah, but you’re too old for me. You said it yourself. Anyone else eighteen or younger?” I looked around the table with a playful but hopeful lift of my brow.
“I’m seventeen.” A girl further down the table raised her hand tentatively. “But… I have a boyfriend.”
“I don’t,” another girl said. “And older women could be… instructive.” Her sultry expression made me blush and I gulped.
“Now, ladies—” Chelley wrapped her hands around my arm. “Let’s not taint his virgin mind and body. He’s saving himself for the love of his life, even if she is on a date with someone else right now.”
“I dunno, Chelley. I’m so vulnerable right now any one of you could take advantage of me.” I leaned forward to point at the girl near the end of the table. “Except you. I will not encourage you to cheat on your boyfriend. Trust me, I know how that feels.”
“Eh, Lara was never your girlfriend anyway,” the temptress across from me said. “You need to hang out with some real women and we’ll make you forget all about your foolish skating partner. Her stupidity is our gain. Here’s my room number. Let’s hook up later.” The twenty-something skater pulled out a piece of paper and wrote a number on it.
Chelley snatched the paper away before the girl could hand it to me. “I think it’s time Jordan and I take a little walk together.” She pulled me up from my seat with insistence.
“Ah, come on, don’t keep him all to yourself,” the woman said. “You can come too. You probably need some tutoring also. Time to unlace those super tight ice skates and have some fun with us.”
“Nah, I’m good. Thanks.” Chelley kept tugging me away from the other girls.
“But I haven’t finished eating.” I reached for my food and my meal nearly sloshed off my tray as she pulled me away. “Where are you taking me?”
“Somewhere you can go that won’t leave you with any regrets tomorrow morning,” Chelley said.
“Y’er no fun,” I said, playfully.
“You can thank me later,” Chelley said.
“I’ll thank you now and get it over with.” I changed my tone to sincere and appreciative and followed Chelley to the other side of the large cafeteria where she plopped me back down on a chair and pointed to my food. “Now eat. You need your energy so we can brainstorm how to get your girlfriend to stop dating other guys.”
“She’s not my girlfriend,” I mumbled and stabbed a piece of broccoli. “I think she’s made that quite clear.”
“She will be,” Chelley said with confidence, sitting beside me, our backs to the rest of the room. “There’s no doubt in my mind. Now, about your triple toe loop. You need a little more height. Use that toe pick with a little more force.”
“You think?” I shoved a bite of food in my mouth, giving her my attention.
“Yeah, and you need to teach Lara how to do some quads. The competition is only going to get harder between now and the next Olympics. I can work with you.”
“Thanks, Chelley.” I looked right at her. “For everything.”
“You’re welcome.” She winked, then continued her armchair coaching. “Don’t get me started on your triple axel. I know you can do a quad, so now it’s time to improve your triple until you can get Lara up to speed.”
I listened to her chatter on for the rest of our meal, thanking her over and over in my mind. Things would work out. Someday.
(As always, feedback is greatly appreciated. -Julie)
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