“Oh god,” Ashley gasps from her position on the floor beside me, “I’m going to die, Sara. I leave you all my CDs and t-shirts.” She lays her hand over her heart and groans, “I don’t know why I even care how much I get hurt by women, by the end of college I won’t have enough heart left to break!”
Grateful that practice is over and praying I live through the night, I can only smirk, “I’d laugh at that, Ash, but my muscles are on strike.”
A shadow is cast over my body as someone straddles my legs. I look up to see Jesse standing above me with her hands on her hips. Her voice is annoyingly calm, “What’s wrong, old lady? You out of breath already, Mayze? I thought you had more stamina than that.”
I fight the urge to kick her in the knee, “No, in case you don’t recall, you’re the one who bragged about stamina. I didn’t say a word.” I stop to rise up on my elbows, “It doesn’t matter how you are in practice, Cooper, what matters is what you do on the court during a game.” My arms are starting to shake under the weight of my head so I lie back again, adding, “If you don’t want to get hurt, you’ll stop standing there dripping sweat all over me.”
She uses the end of her t-shirt to wipe her chin, “You wouldn’t hurt me.”
A sharp laugh comes from nowhere, “You don’t think so?”
Before I know it, she’s on her knees over me, and then she stretches out above me. Her t-shirt just barely brushes against mine and her hands hold her up on either side of my head. I look up into her eyes and the lop-sided grin is magnetic. Her voice, low and sultry, is intimate and makes me shiver, “You wouldn’t really hurt me, would you, Sara?”
Not prepared to answer a question like that, I change the subject, “How the hell are you on top of me without touching me?” I pick my head up to look at the space between our bodies and see that she’s balanced the exact same way someone would balance themselves when they’re doing push-ups. “You’ve got some serious upper body strength! How long can you stay like that?” I’m genuinely curious, but the flash of wickedness in her eyes tells me she’s not going to give me a straight answer.
“Long enough, I promise.” Without shivering or shaking, she lowers herself down to whisper in my ear, “And then some.” She pushes herself back up, locking her elbows.
I roll my eyes, but I’m honestly impressed, “Well, I’m sure you’ll be getting tired soon enough.” I grab either side of her waist, intending to move her. Instead, I hit a ticklish spot and she collapses on top of me with a grunt. I instantly start giggling uncontrollably, but I have no idea why, “What the hell happened?” My hands carelessly grab her again, hoping to elicit the same response. She wiggles against me and I giggle even more.
She grabs my hands and uses one hand to pin them to the court above my head. Shifting her weight atop me, she’s got me pinned totally now, but I’m laughing too hard to resist or respond. She lets me calm myself just long enough to realize what kind of pickle I’m in before answering me, “I can’t tell you what happened, but I can show you.” I inhale a deep, sharp breath when her hand, cold for some reason, snakes under my t-shirt to make full contact with my stomach.
The shock of feeling her cold hand against my hot skin makes other parts of my body respond as well. Under my breath I curse my body for being a traitor. When her hand slowly inches north, she begins lowering her face towards mine. I realize I’m not breathing normally and that’s affecting my reaction time. I open my mouth to speak but nothing comes out.
“See?” she murmurs. “That’s what happened to me when you grabbed me. I lost all control, and concentration.” She allows her pointer finger to draw slow, lazy circles on my abs, making my toes curl in my shoes.
I swallow hard and notice that my chest is heaving under the weight of my now heavy breathing. She seems to notice it about the same time and I suddenly become very self-conscious of her eyes on my torso. I push against her hand, trying to unpin my arms and get up. But she presses her body against mine a little harder. I look into her eyes, wanting to ask her why she’s keeping me pinned, but also wanting to demand that she let me up. Instead, I mumble, “What are you doing?”
Her hand freezes but her mouth crooks a bit, “It’s interesting that you asked what I’m doing instead of insisting that I stop.” I can only stare up at her stupidly. She dips her head a little closer, “Do you want me to stop?”
I take a breath and prepare to answer, but suddenly she’s being lifted off me. I sit up quickly, confused and stunned. Sam, having picked Jesse up off me, reaches out to help me up, “You okay, Sara?”
“Yeah,” I respond, accepting her hand so she can pull me up, “thanks.” I smooth my t-shirt and suddenly notice that Sam didn’t really wait on my answer. She’s now nose-to-nose with Jesse.
Jesse’s the first to break the standoff, “I wasn’t hurting her, Woods.” The tone of her voice is angry, with a hint of venom.
“That’s debatable, Cooper.” Sam’s not backing down, and part of me is flattered by that, “She didn’t ask to be molested.”
A flicker of hatred runs across Jesse’s face before she responds, “I wasn’t molesting her.” She takes a small step forward in a silent threat, “And she didn’t ask me to stop, either. Maybe you’re just jealous you weren’t in my position.”
Sam rolls her eyes, “I don’t have to trap women on the floor to put my hands on them.”
“Fuck you,” Jesse spits.
“You wish!” Sam counters.
Something in me wakes up and I realize that I’m probably going to have to be the one to end this. I step forward, hands on my hips, and address them both, “Hey!” Both sets of eyes turn to me before I continue, “Does anyone care what I want?”
There’s a pause before Ashley answers on their behalf, “Apparently not, Sara.” She loops her arm through mine and, before we turn away from the spectacle, she adds, “She doesn’t need pinning or saving, girls.” As she leads me away, she throws over her shoulder, “Get your shit together, figure out what she needs, and try again.”
Behind us I hear Megan speaking to Jesse, “Come on, Jess. Mayze isn’t worth all this fuss.”
I almost want to turn around and confront her, but Jesse responds, leaving me stunned, “Yes, she is, Megan. She sure as hell is.”
Sam’s voice barely reaches us, “That’s the one thing you and I can agree on, then, Cooper.”
I whisper, “But Ash, I don’t even know what I want!”
“Hush!” she whispers back, fervently, “They don’t have to know that!”
I smile at her, but something dawns on me, “But Ash, at some point, I’m going to have to decide what I want.”
Ashley holds the gym door open for me, “Oh yeah. There’s that. Forgot about that.”