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Episode 4: Dating Games

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Kyle went to his locker between classes to put away the books he was carrying. He stood for a moment looking up and down the hall full of students doing the same thing.

The halls of Beachwood High were filled with students but not the one I most wanted to see. I had argued that it was important for me to continue my normal life, but how could I do that with Amanda in New York? Every time I saw a girl with blonde hair come around the corner, I would have a memory of Amanda and her wonderful smile. But it was always someone else.

Kyle closed his locker and headed toward his next class.

A few yards further down the hall, Jessi was also putting away her books. She closed her locker and saw Raymond Osgood standing in front of her.

"I told you that we would bump into each other," Raymond said, smiling.

"I don't think there was any 'bumping'," Jessi said with a quizzical expression. "I was just putting some books into my locker."

"Then, you've found me out," Raymond admitted, "I deliberately came in search of you."

"Why'd you do that?" Jessi asked.

"You seem like an interesting girl. I want to get to know you better. Would you like to be my date to the dance Friday night?" Raymond asked.

"Lori told me I should say yes," Jessi said.

"Lori's obviously a smart girl," Raymond smiled. "Does this mean you will?"

"Yes I will. Where is this dance?" Jessi asked.

"It's here at the school," Raymond told her. "There's a dance after every home game."

"What kind of game?" Jessi asked.

"Football," Raymond frowned. "You do know that I'm the quarterback on the team, don't you?" He frowned slightly.

"Yes, Lori told me that you were," Jessi nodded. "I don't know much about football. I know it's a popular sport played with a ball that isn't round, but I've never seen a game played."

Raymond looked astonished, "You've never seen a football game?"

"I should probably go to the game and watch you play before the dance," Jessi said. She looked concerned, "Isn't football a physically demanding game? Will you be able to dance after playing?"

"I usually can unless the other team's defense gets to me too many times," Raymond said with a smile.

"If they are trying to 'get to you', wouldn't that make them the offence?" Jessi asked.

Raymond sighed, "I don't think I can explain football to you standing in the hall here, especially not before the next class. I have an idea. We have practice after school tonight, if you have time, you could come out to the football field and watch. I'm going to be busy most of the practice, but we might be able to talk when I have a break. It'll be easier to explain if you've seen us play."

"That sounds like a good idea," Jessi agreed. "I was going to go to UDub after school and help some of the students with their science projects but I can skip today and watch your practice, instead."

Raymond stared at her in confusion. "Ok," he said. "I'll see you out there." He turned and walked away. After he got about twenty feet away, he turned back and looked at her, shaking his head in puzzlement, then continued. As Jessi looked around she noticed that many of the nearby students were looking at her, most of them female.

She started toward her next class. On her way there she encountered Kyle. She told him, "I won't be able to go to Latnok after school today. I'm going to watch the football team practice."

"Why are you going to watch the football team practice," Kyle looked puzzled. "Are you interested in football?"

"Raymond Osgood asked me to be his date to the dance after the game on Friday," Jessi said. "He thinks that if I go to the practice and learn something about football, I'll enjoy the game more."

"Who's Raymond Osgood?" Kyle asked, frowning.

"He's the quarterback on the football team," Jessi said.

"He asked you be his date for a dance?" Kyle asked, surprised. "And you agreed?"

"Yes, he said I seemed like an interesting girl," Jessi said. "Lori and Hillary told me that if he asked me I should say yes, so I did." She looked wistfully at Kyle, "No one has ever asked me on a date before." They reached her classroom and she went in the door leaving Kyle behind.

I stood in the hallway with a feeling that I had to take action to prevent something wrong from happening. That I was losing something important. I recognized this feeling. It was the same way I had felt when I saw Nate and Amanda about to kiss at the Latnok party. I had felt that I needed to protect Amanda from Nate because I knew what kind of person Nate was. I didn't know anything about Raymond Osgood, why did I feel I needed to protect Jessi from him?