I showered and changed after working out at the gym. I grabbed my stuff and started to head out. I saw a cute top in the gym store window and couldn’t resist going in and checking it out. After deciding it was too cute to pass up, I started to walk out when I noticed a picture of a volleyball on the bulletin board. I stopped and looked at the flier advertising a co-ed summer volleyball league.
“Do you play?” a male voice asked from behind me. I turned and saw a guy I’d seen pretty often there, but had never spoken to.
“I used to in high school and college. I haven’t in about two years,” I responded.
“You should come then. It’s fun and competitive at the same time,” he explained. I smiled.
“I think I will.” He smiled back.
“I’m Aiden,” he said introducing himself. I took the hand he was offering.
“Misty. It’s nice to meet you,” I replied.
“You know, Misty, our team is actually looking to find another girl to round out our group. You need to have the same number of guys and girls on the court with a maximum of ten people per team. Right now we’re at five guys, four girls. You don’t have to, but I thought I’d offer.”
“Are you guys super good or something? I don’t want to be a downer or anything.” He laughed.
“We like to win, but we like to have fun more. Honestly half the teams are drunk by the time they get on the court,” he told me. I laughed.
“Sounds like my kind of league. Count me in.”
I gave Aiden my number and headed out of the gym. I was excited about playing again. It had been way too long. I threw my stuff in the back of the car and drove home. I spent the majority of the rest of the afternoon flipping through channels on the TV and cursing the rain that was falling. Just as I thought I was going to go stir crazy with nothing to do, my phone rang. A number I didn’t recognize popped up on the screen.
“Karaoke tonight?” a male voice asked. It sounded vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t place it.
“I think you have the wrong number,” I told the guy on the other end. There was a short pause before he responded.
“I’m pretty sure I have the right number,” he said. I furrowed my brow and tried to figure out who I was talking to.
“No, I don’t think so. No one I know would ever want to hear me sing,” I joked.
“I’ve heard it, and I didn’t think it was so bad,” he joked back. Okay, it was bugging me that I couldn’t figure out who this was.
“Well, that narrows down the list of suspects on who you are, but not enough for me to take a guess. Care to give me a hint?” I asked. The voice laughed.
“It’s Jack. I got your number from Sid’s phone.” I laughed too.
“Jacky, you sly dog you. I was pretty confused. So what’s this about karaoke?” I questioned.
“It’s at Walker and Zara’s. I guess they’re having a party and apparently karaoke ends up happening at every party they ever throw,” he explained.
“Why don’t you and Sid pick me up?” We finished making the plans and I was glad to have something to do.
Sidney rolled his eyes as he watched Jack vacate the front seat of the car to allow Misty to sit up front. He watched as she smiled up at him while thanking him, and then watched as Jack closed the door for her. He wasn’t sure he liked how their relationship was developing. Jack was a bit of a player and Misty didn’t deserve that.
“Hey, Crosby, how are you?” Misty asked when she looked over at him. He smiled back at her.
“Good, you?” he returned.
“Ready to party,” she replied.
They got to Walker and Zara’s and headed into the kitchen for drinks. As the party got going they ended up getting split up and going their separate ways. When Sidney saw Misty again he couldn’t help but smile when he saw her in an animated conversation with Zara. He wasn’t sure why he was so glad that she got along so well with his friends, but he was.
“Sidney!” he heard a female voice call. He turned around and had to fight the urge to turn and run in the other direction. There in front of him stood the blonde mistake he’d made last summer.
“Hey, Callie, how are you?” he asked. She smiled and threw her arms around him.
“Better now,” she answered. He pulled away and took a large gulp of his beer.
He spent the next hour trying to find a way to tear himself away from Callie. Everytime he thought he’d managed she found him again. It was like she was deliberately searching him out. He overheard Zara say that karaoke was starting so he made his way in there hoping for a break from the headache Callie was giving him.
He watched and laughed as person after person stepped up in front of the group. Everyone was terrible which made it even funnier. A few times he was asked to do it, but he declined. He always declined. That was until tonight.
“Hey, Siddo, I think I’d like to cash in on that bet now,” Misty said, stepping in front of him.
“What are you talking about?” he asked, not liking the look on her face.
“When we went fishing the other day we left our part of the bet open ended and I won it. I want to cash in,” she explained.
“What do you want?” he questioned, a pit forming in his stomach.
“A duet. Right now,” she told him. He started to shake his head as everyone around them began to laugh.
“No way. Not a chance,” he declined.
“You promised that I could have anything I wanted,” Misty pouted, sticking out her bottom lip.
“Come on Sid, get up there!” Caden yelled from the couch. Cheers rang out from everyone and Misty smiled down at him. She grabbed his arm and pulled him up to the front.
“I’ll get you back for this,” he whispered over to her as she handed him a microphone.
“Just make sure you actually make noise, or I’ll embarrass you even worse,” she warned. He sighed and prepared himself. He didn’t even know what she was going to choose. He just hoped it wouldn’t be anything too terrible.
“I’ve heard that Sid doesn’t like to join in on the karaoke fun, so I’ve manipulated him to perform for the first time. I hope you guys enjoy!” Misty said into her mic.
He glared over at her and his glare only grew when the opening notes of the song came on. The room erupted in laughter and cheers all over again. He should have figured if she was going to embarrass him, she was really going to go for it.
He stumbled through the first couple lines of “Summer Nights” from Grease. He wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol, the people, or just Misty that got him into it, but somehow he managed to finish the song and actually have a good time. When it was over he couldn’t stop laughing as Misty hugged him and then gave a bow to the crowd.
Karaoke died down not long after and he lost track of where both Misty and Jack were. He was getting tired and thought it was probably time to start heading out so he began to look for them. Somehow he knew that they were together, and he really didn’t like it much.
He made his way through the house and they were nowhere in sight. The only places he hadn’t checked were the bedrooms. That thought made him angry. He’d kill Jack if he hurt Misty. He decided to walk outside where it was quieter and call them, hoping at least one would answer. When he shut the door behind him he heard voices and recognized them as Jack and Misty’s. He felt himself sigh in relief that they weren’t in any of the bedrooms.
“So why are you really here?” he heard Jack ask.
“I just needed a vacation from life,” Misty replied.
“Yeah, that’s what Sidney told me. I know there’s more to it. Tell me the real reason,” Jack pushed.
“I wasn’t happy with my life. I’d forgotten who I was,” she replied. Suddenly Sidney was envious of Jack. He’d only known Misty for a couple days and she was opening up to him more than she had to Sidney in a month.
“How so?” Jack asked me. I sighed, wondering how much I wanted to get into it.
“I’m sure if Sidney told you why I was here, he told you that Mason Raymond is my ex.” Jack nodded so I continued. “I dropped my life and my dreams so that Mason could follow his. A lot of people don’t realize the sacrifices girls make for their hockey playing boyfriends. Anyway, when we broke up I ended up back in my parents’ house with a dead end job and no clue who I was anymore.”
“So you decided to head out on your own,” he concluded.
“I’d always been a dependent person. First on my family and then on Mason. I don’t want to depend on anyone anymore. I want to be able to do things on my own. I needed to learn who I was as a person without basing it on someone else’s wants and needs,” I explained.
“I think that’s admirable,” he replied. I smiled over at him. We were quiet for a few minutes, just staring up at the night sky.
“Hey, guys, there you are,” I heard Sidney say from behind me. We both turned to look back at him.
“Here we are,” I said with a smile.
“I’m beat. Are you guys ready to go?” he asked.
“Let’s go,” Jack said getting up. I followed the two of them out to the car. The ride was quiet on the way home.
“Thanks for tonight. I’ll see you guys soon!” I called as I stepped out of the car at my house.
“See ya, Misty!” Jack said as he got out of the back seat and sat in the front. Sidney simply smiled and backed the car out of his driveway. Something was bugging him, and I didn’t know what it was. That in turn was bugging me.