Cheer For Me!
Meredith Carver High had three designated hangout spots. The Garner Football Field; where they chilled after school, a game, or midnights on Saturday. The green hallway; which got its name from the green lockers and carpet was where anybody who was anybody hang out before class. There were even rumors that the registrar had been bribed with Starbucks and The Container Store (the woman had a thing for organization) gift cards by those that wanted their lockers in that prime location. Lastly, there was the student parking lot littered with cars finer than the faculty and loud music, it was the place seniors and juniors tired of eating in the cafeteria retreated to decompress from the academic grind.
It was lunchtime Tuesday as Taylor and Linden sat in the back of Taylor’s Escape with the back door looming over Tatum’s head as she paced back in forth. Unlike Humpty Dumpty, Taylor and Linden put Tatum back together after her head exploded in the main hallway that morning. What the fuck, you’re pregnant, Tatum screamed in the busy hallway earning herself after school detention from Mrs. Rice.
“No one thought to call me.” Tatum rotated on the heels of her gladiator sandals. “Drop a dime.”
“Drop a dime?” Linden’s face contorted.
“What is this 1991?” Taylor smirked. She did plan on calling Tatum last night but it was too late, and truthfully she didn’t think Linden’s condition was the kind of news to tell over the phone.
“Why are you freaking out?” Linden asked Tatum as she splayed ketchup over her piping hot curly fries that had survived the walk from the cafeteria and so had she. “I’m the one going full Juno over here.” She stuffed a fry in her watering mouth.
“Yes, Ellen Page why are you Juno-ing it?” Tatum folded her arms adopting the parental stance her father used on her whenever she was caught sneaking in the house past curfew. “Weren’t you on the pill? Aren’t we all on the pill.” She shifted her eyes to Taylor, who nodded even though she wasn’t getting any action. “I take mine every night! Although….” Tatum’s head cocked up.
“Have you and Josh…” Taylor stopped talking as her mahogany eyes picked up approaching bodies. “Kingsley, Becca and Cassandra are coming this way.” She wiped the mustard from the corner of her mouth with a balled up napkin.
“Damn!” Linden uttered. She smoothed down her wind-ruffled hair then stretching out the black t-shirt she borrowed from Tyler in hopes to conceal her predicament, which it hadn’t. Trent had already asked her if she had a food baby or eww real baby, his exact words in third-period Calculus.
Tatum swiveled around her hair flying over her shoulder, “What the hell do you want Cassie Alice?”
“It’s Cassandra.” She corrected stopping next to Tatum not giving her eye contact. No, Cassandra saved all her glare for Taylor.
Taylor’s eyebrows furrowed, “How can we help you Cassandra.” She drew out her name.
“I don’t need anything.” Cassandra rolled her eyes. “King wanted to come over here
Kingsley Barnett, the hardest working girl at Meredith Carver High was a varsity cheerleader, a flutist in the classical ensemble and a member of Future Lawyers of America stood with one hand propped against the hot body of the car and the other on her hip. Her denim jeans showed off her thick, toned ebony thighs that matched her yellow Hollister T-shirt that went along with her bun. Kingsley wasn’t one for being trendy and who could blame her; the girl didn’t have time. It was a miracle she had enough time to brush her teeth.
“I don’t mean to cause drama.” Kingsley cleared her throat. “I have ensemble practice after school and a Lawyers of America meeting tomorrow, so when are we going to have tryouts?”
“Tryouts?” Tatum asked. “For what?”
“I know I’m not blind,” Becca affirmed pushing up her red heart-shaped sunglasses looked at Linden’s protruding stomach. “But Lin is one trimester away from auditioning for Teen Mom.”
“There is no way in Hades’ home she can do a back handspring!” Cassandra pointed to Linden. “Really you don’t need to hold tryouts. I’ll fill in for her.” Cassandra beamed.
“The hell!” Tatum choked out. “We don’t need tryouts. We have an alternate.” Her eyes fell on Taylor.
Taylor stopped swaying to Troye Sivan’s Youth blasting from Corey Hansen’s red Dodge Ram. She let the Sour Punch straw, which she was sipping Sprite through fall out her mouth. “Oh no! I’m not.” She laughed. “I’m a tennis player. Not a cheerleader.”
Tatum grabbed Taylor’s arm and pulled her to the side. “Help me out here. I can’t have Cassie Alice on my team.” Tatum looked at Cassandra primp her hair as Donovan, Heath, and Josh made their way over to them. “Do you want me to go the Huntsville and I don’t mean to SHSU(Sam Houston State University).” She frowned.
“Linden has sex and I get screwed” Taylor growled. “I’ll do it.” She huffed.
Tatum jumped like a spring then engulfed Taylor in a hug, “Thank-you! Thank-you! Thank-you!” Tatum released her and bounced back to the huddle of girls. “She’s in! Suck on that, Cassie Alice.”
“What’s up ladies?” Josh Armstrong proclaimed throwing his arm around Tatum’s neck.
Tatum intertwined her fingers with Josh’s, “Taylor’s taking Linden’s position on the team. I introduce you to the newest MCHS Panther.” She smiled from ear to ear.
“Congratulations,” Donovan said standing next to Taylor with his hands in his back pockets.
“Thanks.” Taylor shot him a tight-lipped smile, and then pulled herself back into the truck of her car.
“Taylor. Cheerleader.” Heath bit his bottom lip visualizing Taylor in the blue and gray tight, midriff-revealing cheerleader uniform. He started to feel a warm, tingling sensation all over. He looked up trying to shake the image from his mind causing the sun to stain his eyes. He shielded his eyes from the brightness.
“Heath, you okay?” Linden asked.
“I’m fine.” Heath shook his head once more; too blind to see Cassandra’s hand resting on his bicep.
Donovan stopped staring at Taylor sliding his eyes over to Linden. “You’re pregnant. Why didn’t you tell me?”
Linden slightly shook her head so no one noticed but Donovan.
“Why does she need to tell you?” Tatum asked unknowingly squeezing Josh’s hand.
“Babe!” Josh pulled his hand away from her.
“Yeah. Why does she need to tell you?” Taylor bore into Donovan.
“No reason.” Donovan shrugged. “I just thought we were all friends.” He looked around at everybody: Tatum, Josh, Cassandra, Heath, Becca, Kingsley, Linden and Taylor.
Taylor glanced at Linden with her mouth agape. “Uh.” She put the blue raspberry Sour Punch straw back in her mouth.