"What do you guys know about Amanda Stryton?" Reggie asked as she walked down the street with Sam and Otto that night.
"You mean the girl Twisters going out with tonight?" Sam asked, a little accusatory.
"Woah, Twister's got a date?" Otto was shocked. "I was beginning to think he would never get a girlfriend."
"It's not his girlfriend; it's just one date," Reggie said defensively. "So, what's she like?"
"She's pretty hot," Otto responded.
"That's not what I was asking," Reggie said, even though she had been curious and was glad to know even if she wasn't happy with the answer.
"I don't know her," Sam said apologetically.
"She was Twister's partner in chem lab last year," Otto said. "He didn't fail, so she's probably pretty smart. She's pretty high on the social ladder. She's one of the top strikers on the girls' soccer team."
"Great, pretty, smart, and athletic," Reggie mumbled. "I'm surprised she's still on the market."
"Well, she was dating Matt Roder for a while but I think they broke up last December."
"Did she break up with him or did he break up with her?" Reggie asked.
"I don't know," Otto gave her a look. "Why do you care?"
"Because if she's broken up with him, who's to say she won't do the same to Twister? I don't want her to break his heart," she was getting a little worked up.
"You don't want her to break his heart?" Sam asked pointedly and Reggie was glad Otto didn't pick up on it.
"Whatever let's just eat." Reggie was getting sick of the conversation.
But she didn't eat. Not really. She stared at her plate, poking her wings with a fork while Otto and Sam talked. She couldn't help but think of Twister's date and how it might be going. She had formed a mental picture of Amanda: long, blonde hair with soft curls, perfectly applied makeup, a low-cut dress. She wondered what was happening on the date right now.
After they ate, they had played a few rounds of pool, switching off who sat out since they had an odd number. When it was Reggie's turn to sit out, she offered to get them all more drinks.
"Hey, could I get two cokes and a sprite," she told the bartender.
"Hi there," a smooth voice said while she waited. She looked over at him and ignored him. She was so not in the mood for this tonight.
"What do you say I buy you a drink?" he continued.
"No thanks," she said flatly, avoiding looking at him.
"Come on, beautiful. One drink."
She was getting angry. "I said no."
"Oh, feisty. I like that." She felt him put his hand on her lower back. She turned and kneed him in the balls. Otto and Sam were coming over at that point.
"You'll pay for that, bitch," he said, coming towards her but Otto got to him first.
"Hey, that's my sister, you asshole," he said, punching the guy.
Everything quickly turned chaotic as they started fighting, Reggie and Sam trying to pull Otto off until the bartender broke it up and kicked them all out.
Reggie expected Otto to try to hide when they got home so Raymundo wouldn't see his busted lip. On the contrary, Otto was proud to show it off and excited to retell the story of what happened. She could tell he felt macho for getting in a fight at a sports bar to defend his sister. She didn't particularly want to re-live the night's events so she went straight to her room. It had been a very crappy night. Against her better judgment, she made it worse for herself by pulling out her yearbook. She flipped to the juniors page and scrolled down until she found Stryton, Amanda. She was very pretty but not what Reggie expected. She had long, silky brown hair and she had a very girl-next-door look. But Reggie was the girl next door! She knew she had no right to be jealous. She had her shot with Twister and she turned him down. Telling herself this didn't make her feel any better. She flipped to the signing pages and regretted not getting the gang to sign her yearbook. They always thought it was kind of dumb to write "have a great summer!" Or "I'll miss you so much!" For people you don't care about at all. They never got into it because they knew they'd actually stay in each other's lives so it didn't matter. Now she wished she had something from him. Then she remembered her graduation cards. She flipped through the stack and got to the one from him. She smiled down at his messy handwriting. "Reggie, congrats! I know this sounds lame, but I'm really proud of you. You're gonna do so awesome at college and I'm gonna miss you. Your present is a movie but it's going to be delayed so I can include footage from your graduation. Anyway, happy graduation! -twist" she had forgotten about the movie. She really wanted to see it now and wondered if he had worked on it at all since everything had happened with them. She thought back to him videotaping her when she made the joke about him loving her. She had said it without even thinking and it had caused such a huge shift in their lives. She was so confused. She thought she knew what she wanted but she hated the idea of him being out on a date with someone else right now. Maybe Sam had been right. But it was too late now.
Otto was quick in recounting the story of the previous night to Twister the next day, which delayed Reggie in getting information on how the date went. Sam seemed to be reading her mind and after a while, he asked about it.
"It was good," Twister said a little evasively. "She's really nice."
"Well, you better not talk about it in front of Reggie," Otto joked without realizing the weight of his joke. "She was flipping out about it last night."
Reggie felt her face flush. She avoided looking at Twister, who didn't speak as he processed this. Luckily, Sam quickly changed the subject. "Hey, did you hear about that movie they're making about the one-armed surfer girl?"
She was glad that Twister quickly joined in conversation without having to go back to the topic of his date. However, she did notice that he was very careful not to bring up anything about it around her again.