Wednesday, February 27th, 2008, 9 am
As usual, Allison followed Andrew into his room after practice. She took a seat waited for Kevin and Neil to head off to class before speaking. She needed Andrew’s advice but she was not ready for the others to hear, yet. Once they were both gone she spoke up.
“Okay, I’m going to get straight to the point today. You’re like Renee’s best friend, which is weird because she's an angel and you’re a demon, but whatever. I like Renee. I’ve been dropping hints for like three months and I thought she finally figured it out last night, but no. I offered her a neck rub because her shoulder was killing her, not even trying to hit on her, just being a decent person, by the way, and that somehow turned into like a full back massage and at the end, she said thanks Allison you're a good friend,” said Allison as she buried her face in her hands, “Good Friend, really?”
Andrew looked at her with a blank expression she could not decipher and said nothing. Nothing she had said so far required a reply, so he waited, wanting to see what exactly she wanted from him.
“You’ve noticed right?” she asked.
“Everyone’s noticed,” he said, adding “even Neil’s noticed”
“Goddamn it, if he’s noticed it’s useless. I need to take it as a sign that she’s not interested” she said, still hiding behind her hands.
“Giving up so soon?” he challenged.
“Last week she asked me to go to breakfast with her and I said it’s a date and she just laughed and said I hope they have a cinnamon roll left”
“Mhm and have you actually told you that you like her?” he asked
“Yeah, that would be a no,” she said, getting up to pace the room.
She paced the room a few times, before sitting down again with a huff. She pulled at her skirt hem a few times, then folded her hands in her lap. Andrew waited to see if she was going to speak again. He watched her from his perch on his desk for a few minutes. Then took out his phone.
“What are you doing tomorrow night?” he asked.
“What? I don’t know, homework then something with the girls I guess,” she said.
He typed out a text, sent it, then threw his phone to Allison so she could read it. The message was to Renee and said: ‘You’re going out tomorrow 7 pm.’ As she read the text a reply came in, saying simply: ‘OK :)’. She threw his phone back to him and wondered if that meant he would talk to Renee for her.
“What did you do?” Allison asked, eyeing him suspiciously.
“Created an opportunity. You’re going out with Neil and I. What you do with that is up to you,” he said, “I’d suggest you dress down a bit, we’re going to be walking a lot”.
“Where are we going?”
“The same place we always go on Thursday nights”
“No one on the team knows where you and Neil go on Thursdays. There two separate bets about it” she said flatly.
“Hmm maybe I should cancel then,” he said.
“No, it’s okay, I’ll come,” she said quickly before he could change his mind.
“Then stop complaining,” he said, getting up to get more coffee.
Allison watched him, trying to think of what she could do or say that would make it clear to Renee that she liked her. She was going between just telling her something to the effect of ‘I like you and want to date you’ or asking her out to coffee and adding as in a date date at the end when Andrew came back.
“What do I say to her?” she asked.
Andrew took a drink of his coffee, pretending not to hear her, and looked out the window. The front door opened and Neil walked in, eyeing them both. He put his bag down then sat in the chair in front of Andrew. Allison wondered how she’d already spent an hour with Andrew when he spoke up.
“Neil, Allison has a question for you,” he said.
“Ummm... no, I don’t... Well I probably do but I can't think of anything right now,” she said confused. After a moment she spoke up again, “actually I have one question, how did you figure out that Andrew liked you?”
Neil laughed and looked at Andrew, who just waved his hand in what must have been approval because Neil turned to her looking thoughtful.
“He told me that he hated me, but he’d still blow me,” Neil said after a moment.
“And that worked?” she asked astonished.
“Not well enough because he kissed me like a week later” Neil laughed.
“And that worked?” she asked again.
“Not really? It’s a bit more complicated than that, I was having a rough day, but sure we can go with that worked”
She tried to ask more questions about their relationship but neither of them would answer at all so she decided to ask Neil what he thought she should do about Renee.
“Have you told her that you like her?” he asked.
“Jesus that's exactly what Andrew said to, no I have not. That's a bit desperate, is it not?” she huffed.
“You’re asking us for advice, you’re way past desperate” snapped Neil.
Allison got up to leave, slightly annoyed that she didn’t get any actual advice, and equally annoyed that she’d actually thought that she would get advice from Andrew at all. When she got to the door Andrew said her name and she turned towards him.
“If you hurt her I will--”
She cut him off before he could finish his sentence, “yeah yeah, you’ll kill me and make it look like an accident or some shit, whatever”.
She slammed the door on her way out trying to make a point. But the gesture fell flat and came off more like a child trying to get the last word.
Thursday, February 28th, 2008, 11 am
Allison sat alone in the athletes dining hall, having a quick lunch before her noon to 1:50 design class. She was looking over her current project when Andrew sat down across from her. He played with his food more than he actually ate it. She waited for him to say something but he seemed to be paying her no attention, so she turned her thoughts back to her project.
Keeping his eyes on his plate, he spoke up, “We’re stopping by the mall for a minute, then going to dinner, then grocery shopping”.
“That’s what you do every Thursday night? All the bets are a lot sexier than that,”
“We leave for less than two hours and come back with at least four paper bags, not my fault no one pays attention”.
He got up to bus his plate, leaving his backpack. She thought about what she was supposed to wear to such a casual night out, that was somehow also a weird sort of double date. When he returned to grab his stuff she asked him.
Andrew gestured to her dress and said: “what's wrong with what that?”
“I don’t know, I get that this isn’t like a double date, but it is, what did you call it yesterday? An opportunity?” she muttered.
“Renee has seen you dressed to the Nines, and naked, and everything in between. I doubt she cares what you wear to the grocery store”. He grabbed his bag and walked off before she had a chance to even begin to think about his comment.
After bussing her tray she went to class. The almost two-hour class was completely wasted on her, all she could think about was the fact that Renee had seen her naked. It had been a few years since body image was a major problem in Allison’s life, but with one comment Andrew had accidentally brought it all back. A large amount of muscle gain had been unavoidable playing Exy, once she’d allowed herself to eat that is. It was noticeable, especially with the way she dressed. Suddenly, she worried it was too much. Seth had loved her muscles, but maybe Renee wouldn’t.
Annoyed with her sudden spiral into old forgotten habits, she texted Andrew: ‘Has Renee ever mentioned seeing me naked?’
His negative reply came only a minute later, he must not be in class she thought. She sent a second text: ‘Has she ever talked about my body at all?’ The reply was immediate this time and said: ‘Not to me. Stop freaking out.’. If only it was that easy she thought, but let the conversation drop.
Thursday, February 28th, 2008, 6:30 pm
Allison knocked on Andrew’s door a few minutes after they got back from practice. As she walked in the door she did a twirl and asked what he thought of her outfit. She was wearing black victorian looking lace up heals, dark red skinny jeans, and a tan shirt with a colorful plaid design. Andrew thought she looked like she was trying too hard, while also missing the mark by a mile, but he told her it was okay. To her okay coming from Andrew meant she looked amazing. Neil walked out of the bedroom, wearing a nicer shirt than he had been earlier, and she remembered Andrew hates how he dresses just as much as everyone else, if not more. He must have made Neil change his shirt. When Neil didn’t comment on her outfit change she asked him how he liked it.
“Umm... it’s fine? I guess? I don’t know anything about clothes apparently so,” he let his sentence fade off while gesturing with his hands to show his confusion.
He sat down at his desk sorting through papers, while Andrew looked at his phone. Allison was walking over to sit at Kevin’s desk when Andrew asked if they were ready.
“You said Seven” she exclaimed.
“If everyone’s ready now we can leave now”
“You can’t steal my 25 minutes of mental preparation” she muttered.
Neil spoke up then, “Allison chill you hang out with Renee every day, this isn’t any different”
“Neil don’t tell a woman to chill, that is literally the quickest way to make her angry”
Neil lifted his hands to surrender and Andrew said “Pity party’s over we’re leaving”
The three walked out the door and met Renee in the hallway.