Love at First Sight?
The moment I laid eyes on her I knew my life had changed forever. It is one of those 'love at first sight' moments. This woman stopped me in my tracks, taking away my ability to move and think clearly. When she made eye contact and smiled my ability to breathe was the next to go. She's gorgeous; silky, dark blonde hair pulled back into a loose ponytail; hip-hugging blue jeans that brought out all the right features, and a loose t-shirt that just seemed to bring it all together. Her eyes are so bright I could tell their color from twenty feet away, hazel eyes. That smile though… Breathing, thinking, and moving were no longer possible for me, but somehow I was able to speak when she walked up to introduce herself.
"Hi, I'm Taylor Gensen," she said, extending her hand. My hand mechanically went into hers as I responded.
"Nice to meet you Taylor, I'm Selena. You're new right? I haven't seen you around here before."
"I just transferred; moved into my apartment a few days ago, and I don't know anyone," she replied.
I realized our hands were still clasped, so I let go.
"Well, now you know me," I smiled.
Good one, 'now you know me', you are such a dork, Selena!
"And if you don't have any plans for lunch, my friends and I would love it if you would join us," I added. I knew I covered well when her smile seemed to get a little bigger.
"I'd like that. I have a class in a few minutes though…"
"I'm supposed to be in class right now myself, but it was cancelled today. We get together around 12:30 in front of the cafeteria so we can all go in together. What time is your class over?"
"12:15, so it works out great."
"So, I'll see you in front of the cafeteria then," I double checked.
"Don't leave so soon. Can you help me find this classroom? It says A223, but the ones I am finding are all B300's," she pulled out the paper I guessed her schedule was on. "I am completely lost."
"That is because you are in the wrong building, come on," I chuckled and signaled for her to follow me.
Taylor walked beside me as we left B building and headed for the A building. That is how people around here classified the buildings, instead of going by their names. Students graduate from this school without ever knowing the actual names of the buildings.
"It's this tall one over here," I said, turning to the right when we got outside.
"Wonder how I messed that up," she laughed. We entered the building and I went straight for the elevator and hit floor two. "At least there is an elevator."
"I hear that; although taking the stairs could probably keep me in better shape for basketball season."
"You play on the school team?" she asked.
"Yeah, I'm a forward, here on a partial athletic, partial academic scholarship," I nodded.
"You guys are expecting a player from UCLA, right?" Taylor inquired. "A point guard?"
I nodded again.
"What do you think about that?"
"If she is as good as the coaches are saying, and as good as her record shows, we're going to have a good season," I replied. It had already hit me when she had brought up the UCLA player. Not a whole lot of people transfer to Wrigley after the semester has already started. "We'll just have to see how you fit in with the team…" I said with a smirk as the elevator lurched to a stop and the doors opened.
I walked out and turned left, leading her towards her room. It took me a few seconds to realize she hadn't moved too far beyond stepping out of the elevator. I slowed down and she caught up with me. We arrived at the classroom door before she had said anything. I finally looked at her and saw the remnants of a blush leaving her cheeks and had to stifle a laugh.
"When did you figure it out?"
"When you asked about the point guard from UCLA," I grinned. "I've just met the soon to be team captain."
"Team captain, right," Taylor rolled her eyes. "What makes you assume that?"
"Point guard is usually team captain," I shrugged. "Plus, you seem like the type that could get the team rallied and riled up."
"I'm actually naturally shy," she admitted.
"I bet it is different when you are on the basketball court, though. You better get in there," I added, waving to the door. "See you at lunch?"
"I'm there," she smiled.
I watched her walk in, and then I made my way back to the elevator. My thoughts were consumed with the right things at first: how Taylor and the team would get along; what our season was going to look like. Then, somewhere, it switched to what my friends would think of her; if everyone would get along; and the fear that they wouldn't. That fear seemed to grow the more I thought about it, and I could not figure out why I cared so much.
The reaction I had when I saw her back in building B hit me upside the head. What the hell is going on with me? Since when am I attracted to women?
I'm not attracted to women. No woman has ever stopped me in my tracks like that before. For that matter, no one has ever stopped me in my tracks like that before. I am attracted to Taylor. Like this season was not going to be complicated enough. This is just great. New, weird feeling that I don't know how to deal with, that I should have time to figure out how to deal with, but now I am going to be rushed because I cannot afford to get distracted on the court. For that matter, on or off the court, I cannot afford to be distracted.
I looked up and found myself outside walking in the wrong direction. I turned around and started heading towards the student union building.
See? This is insane! Taylor is already distracting me and I am not even on the court. How is this going to work at practice?
It is such a beautiful day outside for this time of year. Unseasonably warm for October. This week is the start of real practice instead of the off-season training we had been doing. The coaches prefer you train with the team during off-season, but we needed a point guard since our last one, Penny Grove, got expelled when she was caught with alcohol and a minor in her dorm room. Everyone is still pretty pissed about that, including me, because she has been our point guard for two years and the team was just starting to take off. The chemistry was finally setting in and she goes and gets herself expelled. Everyone was down about the prospects for the season until we found out that the scout had succeeded in luring one of UCLA's rookie starters; though I never got how a junior could be classified as a rookie. Taylor's stats were phenomenal and she was known for her sportsmanship. It was definitely going to be an interesting practice.
Brianna's voice pulled me out of my thoughts. From the tone, she had called out several times already. Brianna's been my best friend since we met our freshman year here at Wrigley University. Neither of us liked our roommates and ended up rooming together our second semester and we have not grown tired of each other yet.
"Who were you daydreaming about?" she asked when she caught up.
"You do not want to know," I shook my head as she fell in step with me.
"Sure I do."
"No, really, you don't. That and I am not sure I am ready to disclose it," I replied.
"Fair enough. So, you're class was cancelled too, eh?" she asked. I nodded. "What are we going to do for an hour and a half until lunch? I am already bored."
"We could go shoot some hoops," I suggested knowing she would shoot it down.
"You know every time you suggest it that I am going to say no, why do you keep trying?"
"Don't want to mess with the routine," I chuckled. "What do you want to do?"
"I don't know," she shrugged. We walked in silence for a couple minutes. "So, what's new?"
"You mean what's new since we left the dormitory three hours ago?" I asked.
"Yeah," she laughed.
"Well, actually, I met the new point guard," I said.
"Really? Is she as awesome as everyone is hyping her up to be?"
"I won't know until we hit the court, but her stats are off the chart. She was a starter for UCLA right out of high school."
"Yes, you've told me every day since they announced it. Why did she leave UCLA to come here?" Bri asked the question that had been bugging most of my teammates. "I mean, this college is, what, ten years old? It's a baby college just getting into the NCAA, hardly noticed by scouts from any professional league. Why come here? And during her junior year?"
I looked at her, my eyebrow raised.
"What? You don't think we have hung out enough to where I could pick up on stuff like that?" she laughed. "Seriously though, what do you think?"
"I don't know. We can ask her at lunch. I invited her."
"Oh nice, checking out the competition for the captain spot?"
"What competition? Everyone knows that the point guard is always the captain. Usually, a senior on the team would get captain, but then again, usually it's a senior on the team that is point guard. If she can come in her junior year on scholarship and be starting point guard on our varsity team, and you add in her stats, she's going to get captain."
"One: there are no seniors on your team this year. Two: you are a junior starting forward on the varsity team, and you have been here since your freshman year. You'll probably get captain," Bri argued.
"You don't get it," I smiled and shook my head. "Point guards are the leaders on the court. They call the plays and all that. That is why they are usually captain. But thank you for the vote of confidence. I don't need to be a captain. I don't want to be the captain. People are too hung up on labels."
"True to that. Okay, so I will ask her at lunch why she traded UCLA for Wrigley," she decided as we entered the student union. "You want to play some pool or just chill and watch television? The recliners are free," she added.
"We can watch your soap opera," I rolled my eyes.
"Taylor! Over here!" I yelled over the noise of the lunch crowd. She fought her way through. "How was class?"
"I didn't realize I could fall that far behind by transferring in the middle of the semester," she replied, looking exasperated.
"Despite his mean appearance, if you meet with Professor Jepson he will tell you how to catch up pretty quick. His class can be intimidating but it's really not that bad, honest," I explained.
"Well, if you say so," she smiled.
"Hey," Lonnie found us next, wrapping his arms around Bri. Lonnie is Bri's boyfriend of a year. He has been in the group since freshman year, but they didn't start dating until the beginning of our sophomore year.
"Bri, Lonnie, this is Taylor Gensen-"
"The new point guard from UCLA, welcome!" Lonnie got excited, reaching to shake her hand. "The school seemed to fall into a depression when the last point guard got expelled, but when we learned they offered you a full athletic scholarship and you accepted, spirits rose considerably! Welcome to Wrigley!" He's also known for being dramatic.
"Well, thank you," Taylor smiled. She shook Bri's hand next.
"Should we wait for Wanda?" I asked.
"She actually said she is going to be late today. Let's go get our food and grab a table," Bri said, leading the way.
I got strange looks when all I grabbed were two apples, but I seemed to be too nervous to eat. I knew I needed to because of practice later. When we sat down at our table in the corner, another tradition, Bri prayed over the meal. As soon as we said 'amen' she started in on me.
"An apple? You have practice this afternoon and all you are going to eat is an apple?"
"I'm not that hungry," I shrugged.
"That is when you force yourself to eat something!"
"I am! I am forcing myself to eat two apples. Would you like me to grab a banana too?"
"Alright, alright, I'll leave it alone," she sighed. "Just saying…"
"She is right you know, you should get at least a sandwich too or something," Taylor suggested.
"I'll be fine," I insisted.
"So, Taylor," Bri changed the subject. "We're all wondering, or at least I am, why you transferred from UCLA where you were a starting guard for the past two seasons, to little old Wrigley."
I said a silent prayer that the question would not offend her. Taylor took it in stride, she didn't seem to mind one bit.
"I was at UCLA on a partial scholarship. Between basketball and working to pay off the rest of school, my academics were faltering. Basketball is not going to be my career, so when I got the offer for a full scholarship I jumped at it. I can concentrate on my studies as well as my performance on the basketball court. Plus, just because I am not planning on going pro, doesn't mean others don't want to. The scout from here told me that I could attract pro scouts for the star players on this team who wouldn't be discovered because pro scouts don't like hitting the small, new schools," Taylor explained.
I managed to keep a straight face, something I had been forced to get good at since the end of last season. A few weeks after the last game of the season last year, a scout from the Chicago Sky WNBA team had come to see me. Of course, the guy had contacted coach first. Thank God coach did not say anything to anyone else about it. I had declined the offer, intent on finishing my bachelors' degree. I have dreamed of going pro but I am pretty intent on becoming a lawyer. Basketball is just a fun way to let off stress and get me through college, just like it got me through every year of school since I started playing in the second grade. Anyway, I declined the offer, but the scout and coach had insisted I take more time to think about. I received a call a few weeks later and then again over the summer from the scout, rechecking my decision, and I stood my ground. You would think it would wear me down to say yes, at least I think that is what the scout was thinking, but if anything it just started to annoy me. Anyway, the only people who know are my mother and the coach.
"They don't?" Bri asked.
"They send scouts mainly to the big, well known schools," I explained. "Like UCLA, Duke, Notre Dame, University of North Carolina…"
"What's so special about UNC?" Bri cut in.
"Michael Jordan," Lonnie, Taylor, and I replied in unison, and then started laughing.
"Oh, right, I forgot about him," Bri rolled her eyes.
My classes end an hour and a half before practice starts. My ritual has always been to eat a sandwich, grab a bottle of water, and hit the court an hour before. Today was no different; I got changed into my practice jersey in the locker room and entered the gym. I went through my own stretches, ran two laps, and shot some free throws. Half an hour later, Coach Williams appeared.
"My favorite player," he said, grabbing the rebound after I made another bank shot. He tossed it back to me. "Our new point guard is changing and will be out any minute."
I took another shot in response.
"Nice shot!" Taylor's voice rang out, causing me to have to make a conscious effort to catch the ball when coach passed it back. A minute later she was standing by his side.
"Taylor, this is Selena," Coach introduced.
"We've met. I had lunch with her and her friends today," Taylor informed him. "You always here this early?" she asked me.
"I like to get here an hour before everyone else," I shrugged.
"Selena here is our star player. Her and Penny fought for that lead scorer title," Coach said. I smiled and shook my head.
"That is a lie. Penny was always lead scorer."
"And you were always right behind her," Coach pointed out.
"It's a team sport, coach."
"That it is, and with you two on this team, I am feeling pretty confident we will have an outstanding season."
"Quit sucking up, Coach," I was amused and annoyed at the same time. He had not said a word during off season but now he is going to bring it up in front of the newbie. "I turned the scout down. I am determined to get my degree before I go pro." I watched relief wash over his face.
"That is what I like to hear."
Taylor's face was filled with amusement until my last statement when it turned to shock. I smiled sheepishly and fired off another shot.
"Okay," Coach held onto the ball and checked his watch. "A quarter till, so your teammates should be out any minute. Lead them through warm-ups. You know the drill," he ordered.
He passed the ball and headed for his office. It wasn't until his door closed that Taylor finally found her voice.
"Did I hear that right?" she asked.
"Don't tell anyone," it came out more of a plea than a directive. "The team has a way of falling into cold jealousy. That and the only people who know are Coach Williams, the scout, and my mother."
"You were going to be drafted?"
"Really?" I knew she was thinking about what she had said at lunch.
"Pass the rock!"
The team was starting to filter onto the court.
"Circle up everyone!" I yelled and signaled Taylor to follow me.
The circle was formed and expanded from center court. Once everyone was present and accounted for, I went to the center of the circle, basketball in hand.
"Hey team, let's give a Soldier's welcome to our new point guard, Taylor Gensen."
I waved Taylor to come out to center. When she reached my side, a resounding "HOOAH TAYLOR" rang out from the team.
I know, you think it is weird, right? Our team is called the Wrigley Women Soldiers. The history of the school goes back only ten years; this University was built by a Desert Storm veteran who was a Chicago sports fan. We're located in Northern New Mexico, but Army Chief of Staff Daniel Lucero named it Wrigley (after Wrigley field we assume) University, and the teams are the Soldiers, which we figure was a double meaning (Soldier field where the Bears play and the obvious one).
I have always gotten a kick out of that, being a Chicago sports fan myself, and growing up an Air Force brat. Almost every military brat's dream at one point or another is to be a soldier; and in the end, it was the name of the basketball team I'd be playing on that held most weight in my decision. The first team to play a game in our arena jokingly named it the Mini United Center; two years later it was painted on the side of the building, and every year thereafter it receives a fresh coat of paint.
The University is also extremely involved in charity events for the benefit of the United States Military. Ticket sales to all play-off games for any sport are donated to the military, and the secretary of defense himself usually makes an appearance to congratulate us, praise the university at large, and accept the check. One year, the end of George W. Bush's first term in office before the election, Laura Bush made an appearance at the school to accept the check. I was in high school when that happened.
The past two seasons we'd get so close to the play-offs, and then something would happen to the lead scorer of the season. It's a curse, and I am not joking. Last year Penny twisted her knee after I had fouled out. It did not end well. This year, with everyone having played together for the past two seasons, the exception of course being Taylor, we are hoping to at least get into the play-offs; our strategy after that is to cross bridges as they come.
"Okay Taylor, this is how we introduce the team," I handed her the basketball and then joined the circle as I explained, "The person you pass it to states their name, number, and position as they pass it back."
And it began.
"Charlotte Jones, number forty-two, starting forward."
"Chardae Martin, number twelve, starting right guard."
"Heather Sunter, four, second string forward."
"Tina Aroe, eighteen, second string forward."
"Annette Gentry, ten, starting left guard."
"Sally Turner, thirty-nine, I play wherever coach puts me."
"Kendra Greene, seven, guard."
"Gina banter, twenty-two, guard."
"Sarah Kensy, twenty-five, forward."
"Alright everyone!" I yelled when the ball was passed to me. "Annette leads stretches today, let's go!"
Stretches were followed by twenty laps around the court, which is usually when the coaches joined us. To keep us always on our guard, they'd stand there with basketballs in hand, and randomly pass them to someone who would then dribble it around the court and pass it back. After laps is when the clock starts, three hours of practicing plays; then ending practice would be however many suicide runs the coach decides on, but no less than five, and we hit the showers.
"How do you not ever look exhausted?" Chardae asked me on the way into the locker room.
"It's a gift," I shrugged.
The locker room presented the first problem. I was fine with showering because those were in stalls, but when I turned the corner to my locker afterwards and spotted Taylor as she was pulling on her shirt, it got complicated. I managed to back around out of sight so that I could force thoughts out of my head before continuing to my locker. Of course, I did not want her to turn around because all I had was a towel wrapped around me.
Having managed my underwear and bra, I was pulling up my jeans when she did turn around.
"Great practice today," she said, completely at ease.
"Yeah, we have some work ahead but today was a great start," I agreed, pulling on my shirt. "And now it is time to hit the books."
"Great practice today ladies," Heather came around the corner and grabbed her bag from the bench. "And I am sure I speak for everyone," she said in a voice close to yelling, "When I say it is great to have you on our team, Taylor."
Hooahs came from the few of us still in the locker room. Heather patted us both on the back as she headed for the door. "See ya'll some time tomorrow."
"I'm out too," I announced, pulling on my sneakers and grabbing my bag. "See you tomorrow. Lunch again?"
"I was hoping you would ask," Taylor smiled.
"Hey, you survived lunch today; you have a lifetime invitation now. I think they may have taken a vote and decided to extend a membership to the group," I joked. She chuckled.
"I hope so."
"I know so. See you tomorrow at lunch," I repeated and left.
When I made it out into the cold night air, I stopped to take several deep breaths as I made numerous attempts to push the picture of Taylor in her bra out of my head. When I made it back to the dorm I was grateful to find an empty room. I had forgotten that Bri had a test tonight. I grabbed a bottle of water and sat down, pulling out my books. Thankfully, just like on the court when practice had started, opening my books managed to push Taylor out of my head.
This is what I know. This is what I am here for; studying and basketball are the reasons I am at this university.
"Stick to what you know and you'll do great," the late, great Coach of Holloman High school once told me. I took his advice to heart, along with anything else he told me. He was a longtime family friend and my mentor. The closest thing I had to a father, too, after mine was sacrificed for our freedom during Desert Storm when I was nine years old.
When I made that decision about not going with the draft it was what I knew mom and he would say if I told them my decision. "You're talented and smart, and only you can make this decision. That said, if you quit school and something goes wrong in your professional basketball career, you will not be moving back in here expecting me to support you." It was a bluff; mom hadn't changed my room much despite my little brother's arguments.
As I was finishing up my paper for English, I heard Bri's key.
"How was practice?" she asked, letting the door swing shut behind her.
"Exhilarating as always," I muttered as I read over my paper one last time before hitting print. I turned in my chair, giving Bri my attention.
"Another paper done the night it was assigned?" she inquired.
"Would I let it be any other way?"
"You're such an overachiever."
"And you are going to have to find a synonym for it, because you have said that word so many times it no longer sounds like a word," I chuckled.
"So, how is the team shaping up?"
"We've got work ahead, but the chemistry seems to be there."
"Everyone likes Taylor?"
"So far so good," I nodded. "What do you, Lonnie, and Wanda think of Taylor?"
"We thought we should invite her on our road trip this weekend. What do you think?"
"Good, I'll ask her at lunch tomorrow. Are you done with your homework?"
"Yes ma'am, turn on the show," I said, grabbing sodas out of the fridge and moving to the floor in front of the television. Everyone has a show they like to keep up with, or at least everyone I know. Brianna and I both got hooked on one that comes on Monday nights. It's a good way to start off a week and end a Monday.
"Okay, we've got rooms at Motel 6; one room for Lonnie, one for us girls," I announced when I was getting back into the car. "And by default the rooms and first dinner are on him because he forgot to make our reservations," I clapped him on the back.
"What would you ladies do with me if my Dad wasn't rich?" he chuckled.
"We'd have to punish you in other ways," Wanda said in what she considers her sexy voice. Bri ran her hand up his thigh for emphasis before we all busted up laughing. We didn't know about Taylor yet, but the rest of us are all virgins. Yes, even Lonnie. Crazy, right?
"The only time I have ever wished my parents were hobos," Lonnie shuddered while we laughed. "Where is the Motel 6?"
"Ten miles on the right," I managed.
"Alright," Bri said when we were back on the highway. "We'll check in, drop off our stuff, and go see where everything is at."
"I'm going to chill in the room while you all go do that," I announced.
Everyone but Lonnie, whose eyes remained on the road, turned to look at me.
"Hey, if you all don't want me stressed and worried all weekend, you'll let me finish my paper," I stated.
"I thought you finished before we left!" Bri exclaimed.
"Half done when Wanda showed up hyper and buzzed," I replied.
"Guilty," Wanda admitted.
"I have my sources with me, I'll have it finished when you get back," I promised.
"Fine, but new rule effective after this weekend: No school work on trips!" Lonnie announced.
"Deal," I nodded as we pulled into the Motel 6 parking lot.
I jumped out with Lonnie to check-in, which took only a minute before I was leading the car around to where our rooms were. We were unloaded in record time.
"Alright, let's go while there is still light," Wanda rushed them.
"Do you all mind if I stay behind as well?" Taylor asked them as I was setting my books on the desk. I almost dropped one. "I think my legs will mutiny if I get back in the car now," she explained.
"Ah, a rookie, we'll break you of that yet," Wanda patted her on the back.
"One step at a time though," Bri stepped in, "We totally understand and now I don't have to worry about Selena being here alone, so thanks."
"Why would you worry-"
"Geez, a guy breaks in one time in the Houston hotel room and no one will let it go," I stage muttered as I booted up my laptop.
"Ignore her," Bri laughed. "It's our first trip to San Antonio, I tend to worry."
"Understandable," Taylor nodded.
"Come on guys, I need to see the routes to SeaWorld and Six Flags in daylight or we're going to have to get up an hour earlier than we planned!" Lonnie was yelling from the car now.
"We'll be back," Wanda and Bri said simultaneously before I heard the door shut.
Little did they know, I had been closer to finishing than I thought. I hit the save button, waited two minutes, took a deep breath and closed my laptop.
"Done!" I exclaimed, shoving everything back into my bag before I turned around.
Taylor and I saw a lot of each other all week, and that had allowed me to find a way to deal with my sudden, new feelings. I found a way to push them to the back of my head and could now function around her just fine. There are moments that still catch me off guard, but like I said, I know how to shove them away quickly now.
"Was closer to finishing than I remembered," I shrugged. "I would have pulled that card even if I was finished though. I needed to read back over it, and it was the perfect excuse to not get back into that damn car so soon."
"My legs scream their agreement," she smiled. "We're too active for sitting still. Want to go for a walk?"
"Sure. If we spot a court nearby we'll come back and grab my basketball," I suggested.
"You brought a basketball?" she asked.
I grabbed my duffel bag and unzipped it, pulling the ball out.
"I never leave town without it," I said, spinning it on my middle finger.
"Funny," she bent down. I heard a bag open and when she stood back up she was holding her own basketball. "Neither do I."
"See," I put the ball down, stretched, and headed for the door, "This is why the scouts come after us." I held the door open for her to walk out first. "Our undying love and commitment to the game."
"I think you are the only other person who does not view it as an obsession."
"Probably," I shrugged. She laughed.
We walked in a comfortable silence for a little while. I was examining the sun's glint off the San Antonio skyline, and the different colors being cast the lower the sun got.
"I'm glad I met you guys," Taylor broke the quiet. "I usually have a bit of trouble making friends I can trust, but we all seem to just click."
"You have trouble making friends you can trust?"
"I'm from Colorado Springs. I had grown up, K-12, with the same bunch of peers. Then, graduation came and I was off to college where I didn't know anyone and was known as the freshman chick starting on the varsity team. My popularity increased with each game we won. Then we lost in the play-offs and suddenly no one knew me."
"Sounds like my high school years."
"I'm an Air Force brat. Both parents served. I lost my dad when I was nine. Killed in Action, Desert Storm. Mom works at Headquarters on Holloman. She's a Senior Master Sergeant. My high school basketball coach, Lee, my father's best friend, married my mom and could not have been a better stepfather to my little brother and me. He was my mentor. Anyway, growing up on base, I never had a guarantee that my classmates would be the same every year. Hard to make close friends when you don't know how long they'll be around. So, I enjoyed the popularity when we won, and I filled my time with practice and books when we lost." I shoved my hands in my pockets and kicked at a rock on the ground. "My mom is my closest friend, and coach was the only friend I had in that school that I could count on."
"Sorry about your dad."
"Me too. What are you parents like?" I changed the topic.
"I was placed in foster care at the age of five," she replied slowly. "My parents died in a car accident. Drunk driver."
"Yeah, but you know, the foster home I was placed in is awesome. Gigi and Ted are my parents. They waited until they felt I was old enough to decide for myself, which they decided was fourteen, and asked me what I thought of them adopting me. The only thing was, they didn't have the money to do it because Dad had gotten laid off at work. They never had the chance to officially adopt me, but when I turned eighteen they accompanied me down to the courthouse on my request and I had my last name legally changed. I have two last names."
"Yeah, I'm Taylor Teresa Dempsey Gensen."
"Well, Taylor Teresa Dempsey Gensen; I am Selena Louise Rossetti Johnson." Taylor glanced at me, eyebrow raised. "A story for another time."
"Fair enough," she nodded.
We had taken more left turns than we realized and were coming back up on the Motel.
"So much for getting lost," I chuckled. "We're better off; they'll be back soon and ready to find food."
We reached our door. I opened it and let her in first. She brushed me as she walked in and electricity shot throughout my body. Once again I found myself making a conscious effort to breathe.
"So, Six Flags tomorrow, where are we going on Saturday?" Taylor asked.
"They want to go to SeaWorld," I replied.
"And you don't?"
"Not really. I would rather go see the Alamo and hit the river walk."
"Oh, good, I am not the only one," she sighed.
"Yes! Now that there are two of us I don't have to worry about Bri putting me on a guilt trip," I exclaimed. "I've got it planned out. We catch the bus into town from Sea World and catch it back in time for them to be walking out at closing."
"Hey, hey, let's go, we're starving!" Wanda shouted through the door before she could get it open. "Did you get your paper done?" she inquired when she did finally get through.
"Yeah, ready for fun now," I replied and followed them out to the car. "Party time!"
That night, and the rest of the weekend, I insisted on sleeping on the floor. No one wanted to accept that when the beds were big enough for two people to each, but all that meant to me was sleeping in the same bed as Taylor since Wanda and Bri always shared a bed. It was an intriguing thought, but that is what scared me about it. I could not bring myself to do it.
When the weekend was over and we were dropping people off, the ritual was everyone got a hug from everyone. Taylor was the second dropped off, and when we hugged it was the most comfortably uncomfortable feeling ever, and left me questioning myself again.
Back in our dorm room, Bri started a line of her own questions.
"Is something wrong?"
"What makes you think something is wrong?" I gave her a puzzled look.
"You've been acting weird."
"I have?" I raised an eyebrow.
"A little bit, yeah," she nodded.
"I guess you insisting on sleeping on the floor has me confused," she said.
"Alright, look, I had tested the bed while you all were out exploring. It was a back ache waiting to happen and I cannot afford to screw up my back with the first game coming up," I lied. "The floor was more comfortable."
"Why didn't you just say that and save us our questioning and taunts?"
"I like the attention," I smirked.
"Of course you do," she laughed. "Are you nervous about the game this weekend?"
"Not as nervous as Taylor."
"She's only been with us for a week. Her first game with us is after practicing with us for two weeks. Wouldn't you be nervous?"
"Well, yeah, when you put it that way…"
"The good news is that the team has really taken to her. After one more week of practice, we'll at least give the Lobos a run for their money," I continued.
"Just a run for their money?"
"They are a good match for us," I shrugged. "Are you and Lonnie going to make it to the game?"
"Yeah, and we've got Wanda coming too."
I shot her a look.
"Don't worry; I'll search her and her stuff, and Lonnie's car to make sure there is no contraband."
"That's all I ask."
Bri laughed and I joined in after a minute. Last year, Wanda was tossed out of a game and I was chastised by the coach because of her actions. She had snuck in a bullhorn, thinking it would be funny to use it to make sure the players of the other team could hear her taunts. This would not have been a problem but there were signs posted everywhere forbidding the air horns, and Wanda's mistake was doing it when the other team was on the free throw line… The game was stopped while security escorted her out. The team found it hilarious but the coach had not. He later apologized for chewing me out, but the impression had lasted and I had banned Wanda from attending the rest of the games.
"So," Bri said when we calmed down, "Is there anything else bothering you?"
I didn't answer, not wanting to lie again.
"You want to talk about it?"
"No, I'll be fine," I waved her off, adding a smile to reassure her.
We had won that first game against the Lobos. Chardae saved us from overtime with a beautiful three point shot at the buzzer. The whole ride back was rowdy with celebration and talks about the party waiting for us back home at Joe's Tavern. I had received the usual ribbing from the teammates about being hogtied and thrown into a trunk and forced to party with them. It was all in good fun. No one knew why I didn't party with them, but they had come to the conclusion that there was no point in trying to guilt me into it.
Taylor had made a point to ask me to come this one time, playing the 'it is my first victory with the team' card, but I politely declined without explanation. She looked slightly hurt when I pulled out my mp3 player to get lost in my music, my way of ending the conversation. Then Chardae had leaned forward from her seat behind us to try to explain it to Taylor. I don't know what she said, since she didn't know the reason either, but Taylor looked less hurt by the end of the trip. Maybe Chardae, with the help of Annette, just explained that I never go, it is nothing new.
Anyway, while they were out partying, I called my mother to give her the play by play and then I went to bed. Bri, Wanda, and Lonnie always went to the tavern to celebrate with the team, so I had no problem passing right out.
A week later, the team we were supposed to play that Friday in a home game couldn't make it because of weather. So our easy Thursday practice turned into a regular practice, and we had an easy practice on Friday, followed by the captain vote. I had no worries about this vote. Everyone knows the point guard is going to get the captain spot, which is just how teams worked, at least in my experience. I had never been on a team where the point guard was not the captain.
Anyway, the way it worked with our team is that the nominations go in all week, anonymously, to the Coaches office. The nominees are announced on vote day, and then the team votes for their captain. Unless there was only one nominee, then they automatically gained captainship unless someone stepped forward to contest.
"Alright, bring it in!" Coach William's yelled. The team had been scrimmaging. Annette was about to take an outrageous shot from the half court line when we all stopped and headed towards Coach. "Are you all ready to hear the nominees?" he asked when we all grouped around him with water bottles in hand.
"Hooah," the team responded.
"Alright, we have two nominees this season. Taylor Gensen," he said, and pointed to a spot beside him. Taylor walked up and stood to his right. "And Selena Johnson."
"I decline the nomination," I responded as he pointed to the spot on the other side of him.
"Sorry, your team has spoken, get up here," he ordered.
A stare down ensued. He broke it right away with an ultimatum.
"You can come stand up here now, or you can run suicides and then come stand up here."
"Fine," I muttered, walking up and standing on the other side of him.
"Alright, any words from our nominees before the votes?" Coach asked.
"Yeah, the point guard is the leader of the team, so vote for Taylor," I retorted. "I am."
"Taylor?" Coach turned to her.
"Selena's been here longer, she's already the team leader," Taylor pointed out. I shot her a look behind Coach's back, but she ignored me.
"Alright, all in favor of Selena," Coach said. I glared out at the team. That usually worked, but half of them were immune to it now. Chardae, Annette, Tina, Sally, Heather, and Taylor all raised their hands. "All in favor of Taylor." The other five and myself. "Hmm, interesting. Looks like we have co-captains. Congratulations. Go home," he said. "Dismissed."
Everyone broke for the locker room. I turned and followed Coach William's to his office. He opened the door and moved aside to allow me in first, letting me know he had expected nothing less. I went in and leaned against the wall as he walked around his desk and sat down. He looked up at me and waited.
"I decline," I stated.
"Selena, your teammates want you as one of their captains. How could you possibly decline that?"
"I don't want the responsibility," I stated firmly. "I do not deserve the captainship, I do not want the captainship."
"How long are you going to punish yourself?" he asked quietly. I stared at him. He was the only person on this campus who knew what happened my senior year of high school. "Your stepfather would be pro-"
"Goodnight," I cut him off and walked out, slamming his door shut behind me.
I walked into the locker room and went straight to my locker, not looking at anyone. I pulled out my bag, shoved my clothes into it, zipped it up and headed for the door. I opened it and stopped, turning around. Taylor was looking at me, so were the three other people in my line of sight. I wanted to find out who nominated me so I could scream at them, but I couldn't do that. That, I knew, would disappoint Lee. So I took a deep breath, turned, and left.
To make it all worse, I had had a bad day to begin with. This day was bad for me every year. I was glad when the game was cancelled. It would have been worse after a win with everyone bugging me about going to celebrate with them again. No, this was so much better, being voted captain instead. A post I did not want. This is not how it works.
I changed into jeans and a t-shirt back in the dorm room, grabbed my keys, and headed down to the liquor store as I did every year. I purchased a fifth of Jack Daniels and then headed back to the dorm room. I placed my keys out in plain view as requested by Bri, pulled on a jacket and placed the bag containing my liquor under my arm inside my jacket before zipping it up. Then I headed out on foot straight for the astronomy building. The good thing about nine o'clock on a Friday night, the campus was pretty much deserted. I reached the building and Norman the security guard was standing beside the front door waiting.
"Hey Norman," I greeted. "Is it cool if I go up?"
"It's all clear," he nodded.
"You need a refill for you flask?" I asked as he pulled a walkie-talkie from his pocket and passed it to me. I took it and placed it in the pocket of my jacket.
"No, I'm still topped off. I'll let you know if I run out," he said.
I walked on in and headed for the elevator. I took it to the sixth floor, the top floor, where the elevators opened to reveal a staircase that led to the roof. The elevator goes all the way to the roof if you have a key, which I do not. Norman always left the door unlocked for me on this night. I bribed him the first year with whiskey, having shown up already slightly buzzed, wanting to go onto the roof despite my fear of heights. He let me. I remembered that and had come back to thank him a few nights later, and he became a good friend. Everyone should befriend a security guard with keys to all of the buildings. It makes college life quite a bit easier.
I stepped out onto the roof of the building and stopped to get my bearings as the door swung shut behind me. I have a deep fear of heights so I always had to take a moment and ask myself what the hell I was doing on the roof of the building. I enjoy the view, but that wasn't it tonight. Tonight it was because I knew I could be alone, and I knew I wouldn't get caught because Norman was down there keeping an eye out.
The air was freezing, which is perfect. I crossed the roof and sat on the bench that they had facing North. I brought the Jack Daniel's out and took it out of the bag, unscrewing the cap and taking a drink as the day sunk in. I fought flash backs, feeling my heart start to ache like crazy. I took a few more sips and the tears that had started in my eyes went away. It is such a beautiful night, all of the stars are out, I spotted three constellations right away though not all of the stars were as bright as they would be if the street lights around campus were off.
I could feel the buzz setting in as I took a few more sips and thought about how the season was shaping up. I started to feel bad for not calling my mom to see how she was doing, but we never called on this day every year. We usually talked once a day every day, but I couldn't handle it, and I knew she had her own rituals to go through today. Mom had no idea about mine, that I knew of anyway, and she never asked. Doug, my little brother, has told me about hers, but I didn't need to know. Even Doug had his own rituals for today, but I chose to forget what they are. Theirs seemed healthier than mine, but I had yet to find a different way to deal with today.
None of my friends would come looking for me. Bri figured out the first year that it was something I had to deal with on my own. She was the only one who knew I go out somewhere to get drunk, and insisted on at least knowing where, in case anything happened and she needed to find me. Otherwise, she would get back to the dorm room, check to make sure my keys were on the table, and then find a way to keep the dorm unlocked so that I could get back into the room without making too much of a scene.
"Selena," the walkie-talkie in my pocket squawked, making me jump. Then I started laughing as I fumbled to get it out of my pocket and dropped it. "Selena, pick up the talkie, there is someone approaching the building!"
"Which side Chief?" I said into the box, and then laughed again when I realized I didn't press the button. I held it down. "Which side Chief?" I repeated and released the button.
"Approaching from the south. I knew you would be plastered within an hour."
I ignored the latter statement as I set the bottle down and tried to jump the back of the bench. I had a grip on the top and jumped, but my foot got caught and I ended up hanging off the back. Laughing harder, I fell onto my back, stumbled to my feet, and headed for the south side. I peered over the edge and immediately knew who it was that was approaching.
"Hey chief, is that Taylor Gensen?" I said into the talkie in what I thought was a quiet voice. It didn't help any. Taylor was only ten feet away by the time I had reached this side and spotted her.
"Affirmative, captain, permission to come aboard," Taylor's voice filled the airwaves.
Taylor was coming up whether I wanted her to or not. Somewhere in the back of my brain I knew that.
"Granted," I replied and then left the talkie on the side of the building and started back for the bench. It felt like I took the long way there, but I could swear I was walking in a straight line.
I sat back down and went back into my reverie, picking up the bottle and taking a long draw. I closed my eyes and heard steel crunching steel, saw a street in front of me and then nothing. I forced my eyes back open and wiped them with the sleeve of my jacket before taking another slug of the whiskey. I was starting to feel too warm, so I shrugged out my jacket and let the cold air hit me. It felt really good.
Then I heard the door open at the top of the stairs and I froze.
"Okay, I know the drill," I set the bottle down in front of the bench, put my hands in the air, and slowly stood up. "I'm busted, I'm expelled. Give me the night to sober up and I'll head home in the morning."
"It's just me, Selena," Taylor's voice caught me off guard. I turned around, not hiding the shock on my face. "You knew I was coming up…" she reminded me.
I thought about that for a moment, remembered something, shrugged and sat back down on the bench, picking the Jack Daniels bottle back up. I spun the cap off and took another swig, staring out at the buildings. This was supposed to be my vulnerable night. My alone time. Now it was being infiltrated by, of all people, Taylor. I took another swig as she sat down on the bench beside me. I offered her the bottle.
"Wow, how long have you been up here?" Taylor asked, staring at the ¾ empty bottle. I shrugged. "Are you alright?"
"If you're going to stay up here, you're going to have to stay quiet," I stated. "And drink."
Taylor looked at me for a moment, and then looked back at the bottle, smirked, and took two swigs in a row. I did a double take and chuckled as I watched her wince and then shake her head fast before handing the bottle back. I went back to staring at the north star as I took another swig of the whiskey. It got to the point where I didn't even have to close my eyes to flash back. I kept seeing that old familiar road and then heard the squealing tires and the crunch of metal and my eyes would black out for a moment. Taylor's hand touching my cheek snapped me out of it for a moment. She was wiping a tear from under my eye. I had not even realized the tears had started again.
"If you want to talk about it," she said quietly, "I am a good listener."
I took another drink and then passed her the bottle. The flash back had taken a new road. It was starting from the beginning. I was reliving it again, the whole thing, not just the end.
My high school basketball team had just won a high stakes tournament, the first tournament of the season was always between the three high schools in the district. It sort of set the tone for the season, and it was the districts way of getting the rivalry out of the way, hoping we would all stand together and support each other the rest of the season. Especially when it came to play-offs time, because for the past four years straight one of the schools in our district made it all the way to the state championship.
Anyway, it was the first year in my four years of high school that we had come in first. The whole team wanted to go out and celebrate, and there was a huge blow out going on in town to mark the beginning of the season. We piled into three cars and carpooled off base to get over to this house. It was only about a thirty minute drive. The party was in full swing when we got there, and cheers went up as we entered. The superintendent's plan to bring the rivals together at the beginning of the season seems to always work.
We were all dancing, drinking, mingling and having fun when the cops showed up. No one made it out, these cops knew what they were doing. All of the exits were covered before they even knocked on the door. I was buzzed, but I knew what I needed to do. The cops had pretty much just told everyone to call their parents as they made the rounds to get everyone's names and all that. There were four cops, which went down to two after ten minutes. I pulled out my phone and instead of calling the home number, I called Lee's cell phone. He picked up on the second ring. I gave him the address, informed him the whole team was here and we had just been busted by the cops. He just said 'okay, be there in a few' and hung up the phone.
When coach showed up, he assured the police he could handle it from here, and they left. The coaches from the other two teams had shown up shortly after he did, and every one was waiting for their parents. Since my parent was a coach, I was one of the last to leave, and one of the ones getting the more sympathetic looks from my team mates.
Finally, it was time to go. The buzz effect had worn off and I knew I was in deep. It was torture, sitting in the car with him for twenty minutes in pure silence before he finally spoke.
"What were you thinking?" he asked once we were through the gate.
"That we won that tournament for the first time in years, and I wanted to celebrate with the team this time," I replied. "I'm sorry."
"Scared the hell out of your mother and me. We thought you were just taking your sweet time getting home…" he shook his head. I had let that sink in and then I turned to look at him. It was the first time I realized he had been smiling this whole time.
"You knew?" I looked at him.
"Of course I knew. All of the coaches know about that party. We know it happens every year," he laughed. "And of course you guys were going to go, you won the tournament. It gets busted every year too, but usually no one from my team is there at that point."
"I'm sorry Dad," I said, my face falling again and turning to stare out the window.
"You were drinking weren't you?" he asked. I wouldn't look at him. "You should know that your mother and I have already discussed your punishment…"
"I'm grounded till I'm thirty."
"No, we figure the way you feel tomorrow morning is going to be punishment enough," he replied. To this day, my mother insists he was talking about the hang over. "Look, Selena, I know you are going to want to explore and experiment with different things like your classmates and teammates. I get that, but take some advice from the old man here and stick to what you know, at least until you get a degree out of college. You are a great basketball player and a phenomenal student, Lena. You can do anything, be anything you want to be. The whole world is at your feet. I just don't want you to get caught up trying to fit in and then find your future ripped away from you. Okay?"
"Okay," I said, looking at him now. "No more stupid stuff. I promise."
"Thank you," he smiled. "By the way, the team will be paying big at Monday's practice."
"We know," I sighed, causing him to laugh again.
We were three blocks from home when it happened. He had just stopped and started again from a stop sign. The only thing I remember is the crunch of steel, and then I was waking up in the hospital. My mom was sitting to my right, holding my hand, her head down on the side of the bed. I didn't know if she was sleeping or praying, but it didn't make any sense.
What was I doing in the hospital?
Where is Dad?
I looked around and found my brother curled up on a couch looking thing by the window. He was asleep, but I could tell by his face that he had been crying.
"Selena, you're awake, thank God," Mom said, standing and running her hand over my forehead. "Doug, go let the nurses know."
My little brother stood up, came over and kissed my cheek before he practically ran out the door. I still couldn't figure out what was going on, and my head was starting to hurt really bad. My neck was sore and my back was knotted up. I could tell my mother had been crying too. My little brother walked back in, and I expected Lee to be with him, but he wasn't. I finally looked my mom in the eyes.
"Why am I in the hospital?" I demanded. "What happened? And where is Lee?"
My mom is my best friend. She has always been straight with me.
"Do you remember anything that happened?" my mom had asked.
"I remember winning the tournament, and going to the party. The cops showed up at the party, Lee came to get me and we left after everyone else, and we were driving home…" I kept eye contact with her. "Mom, where is Lee?"
I snapped out of my flashback. I could feel the hot trail of tears rolling down my cheeks. I hadn't realized I had handed Taylor back the bottle of whiskey, but she seemed to know and handed it back to me. I took a last swig and handed it back to her. She polished it off, waiting quietly for me to finish.
"It was a drunk driver," I said so quietly I wondered if she heard me. I heard her sharp intake of breath. "The MP's say there was no way we would have seen the guy coming. His headlights were off and the streetlamp on that particular corner was burned out that night. The guy ran his stop sign and slammed into us on Lee's side. Lee died on impact…" I finished.
I waited for the 'I am so sorry' line that I had gotten from everyone in high school. The reason why I never shared the story with anyone here. The only one who knew anything about it here on campus is Coach Williams. Brianna knew that my step father had died, but she had no idea of the details of it. I had not relived it out loud until tonight.
"Today is the anniversary," she said. It was not a question, but I nodded anyway. I dried my eyes on my sleeve, suddenly embarrassed. "Selena," she touched my shoulder. I turned to look at her. "It wasn't your fault," Taylor said quietly.
That was not the reaction to the story I was expecting. The only person to ever say that to me before was my mother. I couldn't believe it before. I did not believe it now, but something in Taylor's eyes made me want to believe it. There was sincerity, concern, and something else. Electricity. Her hand was still on my shoulder.
"Thank you," I said quietly.
Then, my defense mechanism kicked in.
"You finished the bottle?" I looked at it, taking it from her and tipping it up waiting for the last drop to drain out. Then I put on a fake sad face and stared at the bottle. "Darn it."
"Sorry," she laughed.
"Should go get some more."
"Yeah, like anyone is going to sell to you now," Taylor laughed some more and shook her head. I looked at her. "No way, they won't sell to me either," she said.
"Well, then, time to walk it off," I said.
I got half way up before equilibrium turned against me and I ended up on the bench again. I spotted the paper bag on the ground and picked it up and tried to put the bottle back in. It wasn't working. The bottle would not go in the bag. I had my tongue stuck out to the side in concentration. I could hear Taylor laughing, but I was determined.
"It's not working!" I finally yelled, and I heard myself slur. Taylor put a hand on mine and took the bag and the bottle from me. She slipped the bottle into the bag perfectly. "Sure," I muttered, keeping a grip on the bench as I stood up this time. "After I loosened it for you." That made Taylor laugh harder. I got to my feet and managed to stay there. Grabbing my jacket, I slung it around me and fell backwards onto the ground.
"Are you alright?" Taylor asked. I was laughing now. She pulled me to my feet.
"Fine," I replied. "Let's go," I started for the door. It took me five minutes to take a one minute trip, zigzagging across the roof. I made it to the door and stood there for a minute. "I'm forgetting something."
"What?" Taylor asked.
"I don't know. Oh well," I opened the door and started down the stairs.
Taylor was right behind me. Halfway down the stairs I missed a step, falling and rolling the rest of the way to the bottom.
"Selena!" Taylor yelled, running the rest of the way down. "Selena, are you alright?"
"Sure," I replied, lying frozen where I landed. It was a very sobering moment. I quickly went through inventory of all my muscles and bones. The only thing that hurt was the side of my head. Nothing broken, or sprained. I tried to sit up.
"No you don't, stay put. Maybe we should call…"
"No! Anyone finds me drunk I am off the team! I am fine, just help me up."
"I saw you hit your head. At least let me check and make sure there is no concussion," Taylor insisted. I managed to get up to a sitting position and leaned back against the wall. Taylor pulled a penlight out of her jacket.
"You just so happen to carry a pen light around with you?" I raised an eye brow, which made me wince.
"I'm a nursing major," she replied with a shrug. "Now hold still." She clicked the light on and held my left eyelid up to flash the light. It was too bright and I swatted her hand away. "Selena, hold still," she said again.
"It's supposed to be." Taylor tried again and I swatted again. She grabbed my hand and held it against the floor. "I could be done by now. Just hold still and keep your eyes open," she said. I was frozen now anyway. She flashed that light into both eyes a few times and then clicked it off. "No concussion."
"Good," I smirked.
"Nothing else hurts? No broken bones or sprains?"
"Nothing else hurts," I confirmed.
It got quiet for a minute. My eyes went down to her hand on top of mine, and then I slowly looked back up at her. Once again there was electricity shooting through me from her touch. Taylor's eyes made eye contact with mine, her face was only a foot away. There was a glint in her eyes and then her lips were against mine. Soft, gentle, and too short of a kiss. I opened my eyes for a second to look at her, and then I leaned forward for another kiss. The world seemed to scream away and fire erupted. One of her hands was on my upper back, the other one finding it's way into my hair. I placed one of my hands on the small of her back and the other on the back of her head, swinging her down gently to lie on the floor.
Then there was a ding announcing the elevator's arrival. I was sitting up again, my back against the wall, and Taylor sitting up five feet away from me as the doors opened and Norman stepped out.
"Selena!" he yelled.
"Shh!" I said, holding my head. The booming of his voice really did hurt.
"You took the stairs!"
"I told you to wait until I came up to get you in the elevator!" he said. "And this is why! Damn it, I'll call the-"
"Norman, I am fine," I said. "Taylor is going to be a nurse, she checked my eyes, I have no concussion."
Taylor waved the penlight at him.
"And everything else is working just fine, watch," I said, and got unsteadily to my feet. "I'm just really tired."
"I don't know…" he said.
"If you call it in, Norman, she'll get kicked off the team and lose her scholarship," Taylor said, standing up and walking over to me. "I'll make sure she gets back to her room. It'll be fine."
Norman stood there, looking at us as Taylor swung one of my arms around her shoulders and slid hers around my waist. We both stared him down.
"You'll make sure she gets back alright?" he confirmed
"Alright," he said, walking over and bending down to grab the bottle from where it landed on the floor. "Where is your walkie-talkie?" he asked me. I shrugged. "Probably left it on the roof," he muttered. "Alright, get going," he said before heading up the stairs. "I'll go make sure nothing else was left up there."
"Thanks Norman," I called after him
Taylor walked me to the elevator and hit the button. We stepped on and I let go, leaning back against the wall. My lips were still tingling from the kiss. Taylor hit the lobby button and then came over and stood beside me. I slid my hand over top of hers on the railing, and she turned, stepping in front of me, and we started kissing again. Taylor pressed her body against me and I wrapped my arms around her waist to hold her as close to me as possible. Then, all too soon, the elevator lurched to a stop and we were at the lobby.
"Wait," I said as she backed up, keeping my arms around her and stepping with her.
"We need to get you back to your room," Taylor laughed, unwrapping my arms and swinging one over her shoulder again as she put hers around my back. "Before we are spotted and reported."
"We're just talking about the intoxication part right?" I joked. She continued to laugh.
I lost track after that. My head went into a spin the longer we walked. I remember getting through the door of the dorm room and collapsing on the bed. I must have passed out right away.