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Perfect Couple


Page 49


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She grinned. "I'm Sabrina, Brody's sister."
"I can tell!" While she was still laughing, I asked, "Does he know you're here?"
"Yeah. It was a last-minute thing. I'm driving back to Gainesville tonight. I have to be at work on campus tomorrow morning. I just wanted to see him play."
"So far, so good."
"Yeah! And I wanted to meet you." She put her hand over the fence. I detangled one arm from my camera to shake hands with her. "He's been texting me about you ever since yearbook elections. I can't believe you've started dating. That's so romantic!"
I shrugged and smiled, because I wasn't sure what to say. Honestly, I was flattered that he'd told her about me at all, and floored that he'd been talking about me since the election, weeks before we got together. My hopeful daydreams about him hadn't been one-sided after all.
"When I was a senior," Sabrina said, "a guy and a girl on the track team were our Perfect Couple That Never Was, and they hated each other. You can see them in the yearbook turning up their noses at each other. What are the chances that you'll actually get along with the person your senior class picks out for you?"
I grinned at her for a moment, letting her words and the warm fuzzies that came with them wash over me. Then I asked, "Can I get a few shots of you cheering Brody on? He would love to see that."
We didn't have to stage anything. I caught the cutest images of her holding the fence with both hands and screaming at the top of her lungs for her little brother.
Then she returned to the stands. I still snapped photos, but the end of the game had taken on a dreamlike quality. Every time I blinked, I felt like my eyes had been closed for two minutes. And when our team finally won, I didn't realize what had happened at first. I wondered why all the players and cheerleaders had suddenly rushed onto the field. I should have been taking pictures of the melee, but I needed to lie down.
Brody burst out of the crowd, looking huge in his uniform and pads, carrying his helmet. He glanced around at the sidelines and spotted me. Grinning, he dashed straight for me. Recalling how I'd been afraid he would make me drop my camera if he ran into me at the 5K, I removed the strap and packed everything away just before he reached me.
He dropped his helmet on the grass, grabbed me, tilted my body backward, and captured my mouth with his.
I was vaguely aware that some football players and a few kids in the stands were hooting at us. Maybe this kiss looked wildly inappropriate to some people in the crowd. To others, I imagined it looked a lot like a certain sailor grabbing and kissing a certain nurse in Times Square. If two of my friends had kissed like this instead of Brody and me, I would have made sure I got the shot.
But if the purpose of a picture was to capture the memory of a moment, I didn't need one . I would carry this feeling in my heart forever. For once, I honestly didn't care how this looked. I put my hand in his wet hair and kissed him back.
He broke the kiss, then thought better of ending it and kissed me again. He rubbed the tip of his nose against mine and said, "Harper. Thank you."
I giggled. "No, thank you."
He kissed me one more time, then set me on my feet. "See you tomorrow."
"See you then."
I watched him jog back to the players on the field and slowly ascend the stadium steps with Noah. Unlike last game, this time they were laughing.
A few minutes later, I sat in the back of Will's ancient Mustang in the school parking lot, transferring the night's pictures from my camera to my laptop. I was so sleepy I could hardly remember my own password. I'd be gone to dreamland as soon as he and Tia took me home and I caught sight of my fluffy bed. But I wanted to get these pictures uploaded. Then I could e-mail Brody the cutest one of Sabrina, my way of saying Great job and Have a good night and Thank you for that kiss, which made my senior year.
Tia and Will were busy clunking their snare drums into the trunk, then peeling off their band uniforms to reveal their shorts and T-shirts underneath, then tickling each other, it sounded like. I was concentrating on sending an e-mail to Brody that didn't seem high. Tia and Will's voices suddenly became hushed and concerned. The change hardly registered with me until Tia appeared in the open door.
"Did you see Brody?" she asked.
I didn't understand what she meant. "Did I see Brody? You mean right after the game? Oh, boy, did I. We were making out, I tell you, and not just a little."
She tried again. "Did you see Brody leave?"
"Did I see Brody leave?" I hadn't, and I wasn't sure what she was getting at.
"Is there an echo?" Tia asked, exasperated. "Brody just drove off with Grace."
Brody just drove off with Grace. Brody just drove off with Grace. I'd heard Tia, but what she'd said did not compute.
She called to Will, "Did you know Brody was going out with Grace again?"
"No." Will rounded the car to stand with her and peer inside at me. "That's shocking. I don't understand why he would do that."
"You warned me about him," I said quietly.
"Yeah," Will admitted, "but . . ." He stared up at the sky. He couldn't think of a but. "Yeah," he repeated.
Tia could think of plenty to say. She was asking me questions about Brody, bad-mouthing him, and grilling Will about how he and Brody could possibly be friends. I didn't really hear her. I was remembering the first time Mom had found out about my dad cheating on her. I was very little. She had told me, "I don't know why that girl thinks he's going to stay with her. If he cheated on me with her, he's just going to cheat on her with the next girl." And he did.
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