On Friday evening, I was challenged by an author I admire, D.L. Jackson, to participate in the 24 Hour Wooden Spoon Writing Challenge. She challenged me to write a 2,000 word Young Adult bi story with a sweet heat level. And Anastasia Vitsky, another wonderful author, added another challenge… No science fiction is allowed. Oh, and the story has to have a wooden spoon in it.
Well, I did it. I finished the story last night and sent it to those ladies to read. And now here’s the story for you to enjoy….
by Jessica E. Subject
© Jessica E. Subject, 2015
“Enough already.” I slammed the wooden spoon on the counter and stared across the island to Phaedra, pouting at the kitchen table. “Forget making cookies. We need to do something else to help you get over Coulson.”
As captain of the girls’ basketball team, my best friend had believed she was a perfect match for the captain of the boys’ team. I admit, they would look good together, both tall and fit, and with plenty in common. But, Coulson hadn’t believed the same thing. While we were all friends, he’d told Phaedra he didn’t see her as any more than one of his teammates, a buddy and nothing more. And he crushed her heart.
A week later, and I was still trying to cheer her up. Her game had suffered and she didn’t seem to care.
She buried her head under her arms. “Don’t even mention his name.”
I joined her at the table, laying my head on my arms. “Whether you like it or not, you’re going to see him again on Monday. And he still wants to be your friend. Why are you letting this get you down?”
“Never mind.” She pulled the hood of her sweatshirt over her head. “You wouldn’t understand.”
Ugh, not this argument again. Just because I chose to focus on my studies and sports, keys to getting into a good university, my friends believed I wasn’t interested in a relationship. The truth was, I hadn’t found anyone worth getting all googly-eyed over. I went to dances and stuff with guys, but they were usually using me to make another girl jealous. I didn’t care, I still had fun. And I wasn’t about to let my friend stop having fun, either.
“Let’s do something.” Somehow, some way, I would get her out of her slump.
“I thought we were baking cookies.”
I flipped her hood off her head and brushed her away her dark hair so I could actually see her face. “We were, but you weren’t helping very much. If Coach Gayl was in town, I would say we could go to the gym and shoot some hoops, but not today.”
“Proof I’m not supposed to do anything for the entire weekend.”
“C’mon, Phae, why do you have to be so difficult? I hate seeing you so down in the dumps.” I wish I could rewind back to the moments before she asked out Coulson, advise her not to do it. I usually tried to remain positive, but it was difficult with Miss Moppey-pants. Never mind how out of character this behavior was for her.
She groaned and finally sat up. “If you got a C on a test or assignment, you’d be like this, too. I’m sorry that you have a problem with me being upset.”
I put my hand over hears, craving my friend back, wanting to take away all the pain she felt. “I know, and you would do everything you could to cheer me up, too. I just don’t want to see you hurting, okay?”
She glanced at me, finally making eye contact. But her expression was unreadable, unlike any emotion I’d ever seen her convey before. She smiled, but then it wavered and she shook her head. “Fine. What do you want to do?”
“Let’s go skating.” My father built a rink in our backyard every winter, like many parents on the block. Growing up in Canada where hockey is the sport to play, everyone either had a rink in their backyard, or knew someone who did. It was mostly for my younger brother to practice his stellar hockey moves—the great goalie that he wanted to become. But when he wasn’t home, I liked to just go out and skate around without anyone telling me I was stopping wrong, or that I needed to take bigger strides.
“You know that’s not my idea of fun. Besides, I don’t have my skates here. I’ve lost them.” She raised her brows, as if she’d won and would get out of skating.
“You didn’t lose them, you just left them here. They’re in my room. I’ll go get them.” Before she could object, I rushed upstairs to grab the skates. Maybe the blast of cold air would knock her out of her funk, or just watching me fall on my butt. I may have been graceful on the court, but not so much on the ice. Even the skating lessons hadn’t helped. I think my instructor had deemed me unteachable when it came to moving around the rink. Hence why I never went out on the rink with my family home.
After finding the skates tucked in my closet, I rushed back down the stairs. Phaedra was already waiting in the mud room, getting her coat and mittens on. The temperature was better today, closer to the freezing point than it had been all week. As long as we kept moving on the ice, we wouldn’t get too cold. And as long as I didn’t crash into the snow bank at the edge of the rink, but hey, I wanted to stay positive.
Once we were both dressed in our winter gear and had our skates tied up as tight as possible, we wobbled outside. I wasn’t much better walking through the snow with my skates on than I was actually on the ice, but I made it to the bench without falling. We sat down to take off our skate guards—I hadn’t learned to take them off on the fly like my brother who always went racing outside of the house with his skates on right after he came home from school. Thank goodness a hockey tournament kept him away for the day.
I turned to Phaedra. “You ready for some laughs?”
She smiled, the twinkle in her eyes finally returning. “Sure, but it may be you laughing at me today. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the ice.”
Holding her hand, I shuffled toward the rink. Actually getting on was the hardest for me, the moment I fell most often. If I got on without landing on my butt, or taking Phaedra down with me, I’d won. And I did. No need to have to give up already from a bruised tailbone.
“Good work, Buzz. Now let’s see how long you can stay on your feet.”
I couldn’t help but smile, even if she was poking fun at me. Having her make jokes meant I had my best friend back again. She’d finally stopped dwelling on Coulson. And she was back to using my nickname. My name is Beth, Bethany to be exact, but all my friends called me B. I guess just to shorten it down. Somehow, when I reached high school and started playing basketball, my nickname changed to Buzz. I guess because of the insect, but I didn’t object. Though it really messed with our opponents when my teammates started buzzing around the court.
Phaedra skated around the rink ahead of me. Once, she’d been behind and had her own accident as a result of my fall. We’d both ended up limping off the ice and needed an cold pack for our injuries. With the championship games coming up, we couldn’t afford to get seriously hurt.
“So, is there someone else you have your eye one? Someone to take Coulson’s place?” Sure, she wasn’t totally over his rejection yet, but I wanted to put the idea in her head. If she focused her attention on someone else, maybe seeing him in the halls wouldn’t be so hard for her.
Phaedra spun around and grabbed my hands. A completely unexpected move. I lost my balance. My feet slid out from under me and I hit the surface of the ice, hard, taking my best friend down with me. The wind had been knocked out of me from the impact. I struggled to catch my breath.
Phaedra laughed beside me, obviously not as stunned as me. “You should have seen your face. Your mouth was a perfect o before you went down.”
I rolled onto my side and pushed myself up. “Yeah, funny. I think I’m going to sit for a minute.” Though my ego was more hurt than anything. Phaedra, who hadn’t donned a pair of skates all season, managed to learn to skate backward. Me, I couldn’t even go forward without falling.
Plopping onto the wooden bench that acted like a hockey bench when my brother’s friends came over, I wiped off the ice flakes and snow from my coat and pants. “I don’t get it. How am I the worst skater in the world?”
“And yet so graceful on the court?” Phaedra sat down beside her. “I’m not sure, but I’m glad you’re on my team.”
I let the warm fuzzies fill me for a moment, but I was more happy my best friend seemed to be feeling better. “And I’m glad your mood has improved.”
“Well, you got me thinking.” She put her hands behind her and leaned back on them, sticking her feet out in front of her. “There is someone else that I do like. Someone I’ve liked for a long time, but have been too afraid to tell them.”
“Who?” My best friend has a secret crush I didn’t know about? How was that even possible?
“I’m not sure I want to say. It’s not like with Coulson where I can go back to being friends with this person. I mean, if I tell them, it will change everything.”
I leaned forward, still in shock. “I don’t think it would be any different than Coulson. And I can’t believe you haven’t told me. I still am your best friend, right?”
“Yes.” She sighed and glanced down at her lap, brushing away snow that had just fallen on her pants. “That’s the problem, because it’s you I like.”
“Yeah, we’re best friends. I get that.” Why was she beating around the bush?
“No, I mean it’s you I have a crush on.”
“What?” I cocked my head to the side. “You have a crush on me?”
Phaedra put her head in her hands. “I never should have said anything. I’m so dumb.”
“No, you’re not.” A warmth I had never experienced before filled me, like coming inside on a cold day, yet different. There was a fluttering in my stomach I couldn’t explain. “It’s just, I thought you liked guys.”
“I do. I just like girls, too.” She glanced up, a tear streaming down her cheek.
I wiped it away. “Why are you crying?”
“Because I never should have said anything. I don’t want to lose my best friend.”
“I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere.”
“Really? You’re okay with it?”
“Yes.” Though maybe a bit surprised anyone would have a crush on me. “I just don’t understand why you didn’t tell me sooner.”
“I was afraid. I didn’t think you’d be so calm about it. Not with your family.”
“Hey, my uncle is gay, and my cousin is bisexual. And there are some members of my family I’m not too sure about.”
Seconds passed. And then minutes. Phaedra didn’t utter another word, and I didn’t know what to say. I’d never thought about dating anyone before, let alone a female, but now I couldn’t stop thinking about a dream I’d had about my best friend, where we’d kissed, and more. I’d brushed it aside, thinking it nothing more than stress about an upcoming game, but perhaps it meant something else.
I reached over and clasped Phaedra’s hand. “So, what do you want to do about your crush?”
She gasped, looking at me with wide eyes. “You’re bisexual, too? Or a lesbian?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know what I am, but I wouldn’t object to being your best friend and your girlfriend.”
Phaedra squealed and wrapped her arms around me. “I can’t believe this. I must be dreaming.”
“No, not dreaming.” Not with the sudden tingling in my fingers and toes, the butterflies in my stomach now on overdrive.
She leaned back, clearing her throat. “Can I…. Can I kiss you?”
I nodded, my heart threatening to pound its way out of my chest.
Placing her hand on the back of my head, Phaedra leaned toward me until our lips met. It was a little awkward at first, but I closed my eyes and matched her gentle sweeps, my body humming with contentment and desire. In all my life, I didn’t think I needed a boyfriend or girlfriend. Not until this moment.
You can read other stories from the Wooden Spoon Writing Challenge…
Anastasia Vitsky – the original challenger
D.L. Jackson – the person who challenged me
Ella Grey – the person I challenged