Out For the Season

Gordie was shooting hoops in the driveway when his sister Gail and her longtime friend Kayley pulled into the driveway in Kayley's car.

"Don't get to close," Gordie warned, talking loudly so he could be heard inside the car. "I'm practicing my shots."

Kayley tooted the horn in response but she parked a fair distance away to give Gordie his space. He ignored the girls as he continued his shooting, moving from spot to spot on the imaginary court in front of the hoop extended from the garage.

"Isn't it kind of cold and wet to be out here?" Gail asked her brother as the two girls climbed out of the car.

"Nope," Gordie answered, concentrating on the basket and getting his own rebounds after each shot.

"When's your first game?" Kayley asked as the two girls stood to the side of the driveway watching Gordie shoot.

"Next week," Gordie replied.

"We'll be there!" Gail said proudly. "You worked hard to make the starting team."

"I've been waiting twelve years for this," Gordie acknowledged. "It's finally my turn to be in the spotlight."

"We're your fan club!" Kayley assured him.

It was only high school but Gordie knew this was the end of the road as a high school senior and he wanted his final year of basketball to be the best. He had been a bench and role player for most of his playing career but now Coach had awarded him a starting position for his longevity, team spirit, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game. There were a couple of guys on the bench better than him and Gordie appreciated Coach's trust and belief in him by giving him the starting assignment.

"Cassie Calhoun is having a birthday party," Gail reported. "You want to go?" She asked as the two girls continued to watch him shoot.

"Can't afford to get busted at some stupid drinking party," Gordie replied, focused like a laser beam on his shooting. "I'm not getting kicked off the team or losing my starting job."

"It's not that kind of party," Gail informed him. "It's at the Mt. Griffin Bowling Alley."

"Seriously?" Gordie asked with surprise, stopping his shooting for the first time since the girls' arrival and he finally looked at them. "What is she, ten?"

Kayley laughed. "I know, right?"

"She just wants to have a good and safe time," Gail explained. "She doesn't care what people think. She likes to bowl."

"All the pizza you can eat," Kayley added. "Good music. Video games. Come on, it will be fun!"

"Who's going?" Gordie wondered.

"Her family rented the place out so it'll just be Hillsboro High kids there," Gail said.

"I'm sure some of the basketball geeks will show up," Kayley teased. "So you'll fit right in!"

"Hardy har har," Gordie said, making a face at Kayley who giggled in response.

"We're leaving in about an hour if you want to come with us," Gail said.

"How long you staying?" Gordie asked as he launched a shot.

"Past your bedtime, apparently," Kayley joked. "What, you need your beauty sleep!?"

"World class athletes like him need to rest," Gail teased.

"I'll go with you guys," Gordie decided as he got his own rebound and tried a hook shot from beneath the basket.

"Great!" a beaming Kayley said enthusiastically, causing Gail to roll her eyes.

"What?" Kayley asked innocently.

"Can you be any more obvious?" Gail whispered to Kayley. "Stop being a goof."

"He never notices anyway," Kayley moped.

"Okay," Gail said to her brother as the two girls headed for the house but Gordie was too focused on his shooting to look at them or even care that they were leaving.

He shot for another fifteen minutes and then went inside and took a quick shower, dressing in fresh clean jeans and a brown Hillsboro High Hurricanes sweatshirt with a basketball on the front. His parents were going out that evening and he waited for Gail and Kayley to finish whatever they were doing upstairs.

Gordie got along fine with his sister and Kayley had been around forever so he accepted her as part of the deal although she could be a bit annoying for his tastes. Still, he enjoyed the easy going friendly nature they shared, always teasing each other in a fun way.

Gail and Kaylee were attractive and popular juniors so it didn't hurt Gordie's reputation to be seen with them, especially since he hadn't exactly been swishing it in the dating department lately. He had been so focused on his basketball training and shooting that he hadn't been paying attention to that stuff anyway. The payoff had finally arrived – basketball season was about to open and Gordie was primed to have a great run in his final fling in uniform.

He was holding a basketball under his arm when the girls finally showed up in the kitchen.

"Get rid of that," Kayley ordered with a laugh when she saw Gordie with the basketball. "This party is lame enough as it is."

"He sleeps with that thing," Gail noted with amusement.

"One with the ball," Gordie explained as they headed for the door.

The two girls had overdressed for the occasion with too much make up and their hair all done up.

"We're going to a bowling alley,"Gordie reminded them. "Not a club."

"It never hurts to look good," Kayley reasoned with a smirk as she walked to the car with swagger, purposefully for Gordie's benefit.

Her brown hair was curled and lay on her shoulders. She wore a pretty sweater and a pair of dress slacks. Gordie would have to be blind not to notice how sensual she looked but he was one of those who knew the worst thing you could do was fall for your sister's friend.

Gordie climbed into the backseat with the basketball while the two girls got into the front of the car, chatting away as they drove to Mt. Griffin as if Gordie wasn't even with them. He wasn't interested in their babble anyway as he visualized basketball shots in his mind and fantasized various plays as he daydreamed.

Gordie had zoned out because he lost all sense of time and place and before he knew it Kayley was pulling the car into the parking lot of the Mt. Griffin Bowling Alley, a relic of a building that long ago outlived its usefulness. But it was still popular among the young crowd and the owners had stayed relevant by adapting the business to modern times with the flashing lights and loud music and non-stop pizza and flat screen televisions and video games.

Gordie had the basketball with him when he got out of the car.

"You're not going in there with that, are you?" Kayley asked.

"One with the ball," Gordie grinned as he dribbled the ball toward the entrance as he walked.

"I don't know you," Kayley called after him, rolling her eyes while Gail laughed good-naturedly.

Gordie didn't see much of Kayley or his sister once they were inside. Gordie hung around with kids he knew, including the basketball guys and their groupies who knew they'd get added peer attention if they were seen with the jocks. Gordie didn't consider himself a jock – he was serious about basketball is all.

The party was a hit and a success with plenty of bowling, pizza, dancing and fun, including a huge birthday cake for Cassie and lots of socializing for everybody although Gordie lost track of Kayley and Gail as soon as they entered the bowling alley.

Gordie was glad he came but he was ready to go when Kayley finally showed up to get him.

"Okay, let's blow this popsicle stand," Kayley announced.

"Where's Gail?" Gordie asked, glancing around.

"She got a ride with Scott Gleason," Kayley reported.

"What for?" Gordie asked dumbly. "You're bringing me to our house anyway."

"Duh, because she likes Scott maybe?" Kayley said, rolling her eyes.

"Oh," Gordie said, feeling foolish.

"Come on," Kayley said, wishing her friend's brother liked her the same way Gail liked Scott.