Edgewater’s soccer team definitely wasn’t as well-loved as the football team, despite its success. While the stands were packed every Friday night to watch the football team - and Nick Boomer - barely win more games than they’ve lost all season, the only spectators for soccer were people who had relations with the team members - family members, significant others - and the choir, who were only there out of necessity.
Even still, the boys soccer team had made their way to the semifinals, against none other than North Shore High School. Emma wasn’t one for sports, by any means, but she did try to go to a few games to watch Alyssa cheer, and Greg insisted Emma drive him to a few soccer games to watch Kevin play, so she found herself at games more often than she’d like. The game against North Shore, however, was exciting because it meant Emma could see her cousin. Greg would be there too, but she only saw Cady during holidays or visits, so it would be nice to see her, and have Edgewater kick North Shore’s ass.
“Are you guys coming to the semifinals tomorrow?” Kevin asked, wrapping an arm around Shelby’s shoulders.
Emma grinned, leaning into Alyssa. “Yeah, Greg, ‘Lys and I are driving up tonight and staying with my aunt and uncle.”
“You’re going to something related to sports?” Kaylee laughed.
“My cousin goes to North Shore and her boyfriend’s on the soccer team. So yeah, I am.”
“Cady keeps gloating how amazing Aaron is at soccer. Can’t wait to shut her up,” Greg smirked.
“I still don’t know why I have to ride in the middle!” Greg groaned as the three teenagers tumbled out of Emma’s pickup truck.
Emma opened the tailgate and grabbed their bags. “Because Alyssa’s not allowed to ride in the middle anymore. She knows why.”
Greg ran up to the Heron’s door and pressed the doorbell, not bothering to wait for his cousin and her girlfriend. The door flew open, revealing Cady’s mother. “Hi, Aunt Beth,” he smiled sweetly.
“Gregory! This is a pleasant surprise!” Beth smiled, looking out to see Emma. “And Emma too!”
“I told you they were coming, Mom,” Cady rolled her eyes playfully, emerging in the doorway. “They’re coming to watch Aaron beat Edgewater in the semifinals.”
“We’ll see about that,” Greg scoffed. “You haven’t seen Kevin play.”
“You must be Alyssa. Emma’s told me all about you, I’m Cady, her favorite cousin,” Cady grinned, bounding down the stairs to greet Alyssa.
“Favorite cousin, huh?” Alyssa questioned.
Emma shook her head, before walking into the Heron’s house. “I don’t have a favorite cousin. But I do know I’m Gran’s favorite,” she smirked. “Hey, Uncle Chip.”
“Hello, Emma, how is school going for you?” Chip asked as he looked up from his book. “How’s your girlfriend?”
“School and Alyssa are both fine. Speaking of, what are the sleeping arrangements? I’m exhausted from driving.”
“Ask your aunt,” Chip shrugged as Beth came bustling in.
“Alright, so, Greg will be taking the couch and Emma and Alyssa can take the guest room. No protests.”
The Nolans and Alyssa retreated to their assigned areas, quickly falling asleep soon after. Someone was bound to get hurt tomorrow.
In a tight and intense game, Edgewater managed to pull ahead with a 3-2 victory. Kaylee, Shelby, Emma, Alyssa, and Greg were cheering as Noah scored the winning goal, and the team ran off the field. Emma looked over to Cady and her friends - who looked extremely distraught over the loss - and shrugged to her cousin like ‘what can you do?’ before joining her group with Kevin.
“Off to the finals we go!” Kevin cheered, kissing Greg’s temple and twirling Shelby around.
“I love you but you smell awful,” Shelby wrinkled her nose. “Go put some deodorant on before we get going.”
Cady jogged up to the Edgewater teens, standing a ways away. “Hey,” she greeted, glancing back at her friends. “We’re going to get something to eat and I was wondering if you wanted to come? No hard feelings?”
“That sounds great!” Alyssa grinned. “Text Emma or Greg the address and we’ll meet you there!”
Cady nodded, running off to her group as Kaylee looked at her quizzically. “You just make decisions for all of us now?” she asked. “We don’t even know this girl!”
“She’s Emma and Greg’s cousin. Apparently her boyfriend is just like Kevin, so we’ll get along with them fine. I hope,” Alyssa sighed, taking Emma’s hand.
The group of six piled into the two vehicles - Alyssa, Emma, and Kaylee in Emma’s truck, and Shelby, Kevin, and Greg in Shelby’s car - following Cady’s directions to a diner on the other end of town. Cady was waiting outside when they got there, however her friends were nowhere to be found.
“You made it!” she grinned. “We already got a section, come on.”
The Edgewater group followed Cady inside to see a second group of teenagers - three girls dressed in expensive looking clothes, a girl with a more grungy goth style, a boy wearing a shirt with some drag queen Emma didn’t know on it, and Cady’s boyfriend.
“Make yourselves comfortable, settle in, we haven’t ordered yet,” Cady added. “Also, these are my friends! That’s Regina, and Gretchen and Karen, that’s Damian, and this is Janis. You guys already know Aaron. Guys, these are my cousins, Greg and Emma, and their friends. They live in Edgewater.”
The James Madison group introduced themselves as they sat down, and it wasn’t long before conversations began to spark up. Shelby complimented Gretchen on her necklace, which turned into the two, as well as Kaylee, discussing fashion and where to find the best deals on clothes. Kevin and Aaron began talking about soccer, while Greg and Damian seemed more excited about theatre. Emma and Alyssa linked hands under the table, scared of how strangers would perceive them.
“Are you two, I don’t know, dating?” Janis asked.
Alyssa froze up, pulling her hand away instinctively. “Why would you say that?” she questioned.
“Cady mentioned her cousin being a lesbian who couldn’t go to prom because of her homophobic school committee. That’s so fucked up,” Janis commented.
“She means the fact that you couldn’t go to prom, not that you’re a lesbian,” Cady explained. “I’d hope so, at least.”
“Obviously,” Janis rolled her eyes. “Or else our little...thing would be questionable.”
Emma raised an eyebrow, before Cady explained in a hushed tone. “This isn’t public knowledge, my parents don’t even know, but Janis, Aaron and I kind of have a three-way relationship going,” she whispered. “Janis and I have our stuff, and I date Aaron. He’s fine with it.”
Emma and Alyssa nodded, exchanging a look. “Makes sense,” Alyssa said, taking a sip of her water. “Cady told us you like to draw, Janis?”
“Yeah. I’m not that great,” Janis shrugged. “Probably some shit Cady said to hype you guys up, but sorry to disappoint you.”
“It’s fine, I’m sure you’re great,” Emma gave her a small smile. “Oh, crap. We should’ve left a half hour ago if we wanted to avoid traffic. We should go. Round up everyone, I’ll go start my truck and meet you outside.”
“Aren’t we going to pay for some of this?” Alyssa questioned, before interrupting Greg and Damian.
“I already gave Cady money,” Emma reassured. “I’ll see you at Christmas, Cads.”
“See you at Christmas, Em. You too, Greg. Tell Gran her favorite grandchild misses her.”
“Still not her favorite!” Greg called.
Cady shrugged him off. “Bye, guys! Nice meeting all of you!”
And just as soon as they were there, the Edgewater kids were gone, headed back to their hometown.