On this page, seventeen-year-old Malik Kaplan and his best (only) friend Cesare Russo, are at a party. Only they are not having much fun:
“Down, Jekyll, it was an accident,” Cesare says. “Not the first tonight and probably not the last.”
“I thought Spencer said I was Hyde,” I growl as the kid rushes back into the crowd.
“Whatever. He’s not known for having all lights lit. I still think he was talking ‘bout himself. Sometimes that crazy dude plays both roles.” Cesare shrugs. “This whole thing sucks. I mean, chips and dip, what does Spencer think we are, eighth-graders? We should leave.”
“You just want to leave because Giselle didn’t come. At least there’s plenty of booze.” I finish off my second beer, or maybe it’s my third. Who’s really counting? I toss the bottle toward an already overflowing garbage can. The bottles inside rattle as I connect.
“Two points,” Cesare says.
I laugh and head for the basement. Cesare follows me. There’s a second beer stash in a wooden tub filled with ice down there. I need another beer and don’t want to face the kitchen mayhem again. There are only a few people in the basement. Unfortunately, Spencer is one of them.
I walk down the creaking staircase and see Spencer standing with a small group of guys. His AstroTurf-green shirt barely covers his stomach rolls.
He laughs and says, “Seriously, the Barn-girl had Malik shaking.”
“Oh no.” Cesare tries to grab my arm. “Let’s go back upstairs.”
“Like anyone cares what comes out of the big mouth attached to the useless hands,” I say loudly and step forward.
Spencer’s head snaps up. “Don’t go there”
“Like you didn’t go where you were supposed to on the football field?” I say. The tub filled with beer bottles sits in the middle of the room. I dig through the freezing cold, grab a bottle from the bottom, and twist off the cap. One chug sends fire streaming down my throat. I wipe moisture from my mouth with the back of my hand and wait for his next move.
“At least I play on a team where people aren’t afraid to hit,” Spencer says.
“Do you have a problem with the basketball team?”
“Not the team,” Spencer says. “Just the self-appointed god of the court calling himself the captain.” He sniffs and runs his hand under his nose, as if wiping away sweat. Or a booger.
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