Deepest Scars(9)

By: Tricia Copeland

“Excellent point. I’ve got to stop saying that. But I’ll talk to John, no problem.” I swing the door open and wave her in.

“Good, because I’m seriously kind of scared of him. He seems really intense.”

“Rabbi John? He’s harmless as a flea.” I spin the volleyball on my index finger.

She snatches my ball. “Do you seriously have to be good at everything? You know Rabbi could be a child molester.”

I swipe the ball back. “That Brad dude could be a serial killer.”

Stopping, she tosses the ball back to me. “Are you looking out for me? I’m a grown woman. I don’t need protecting.”

“Sorry, instinct.” I shrug.

As we approach John, she points to the court and heads there to warm up. I wait for John to finish talking to another player. “Hey, do you think you can switch Liz to my team? Say something about her being new and I invited her.”

He elbows me and winks. “She’s cute, right?”

I ignore his comment. “Thanks.” I jog to the stands and let my bag drop to the floor beside Liz. “Problem solved. Just watch your space.”

“New girl safety talk?” Jeff asks.

“Don’t hound me about it.” I take my ball and head to the court.

“Hey, I was just razzing you,” Jeff says as he and Liz catch up with me.

“Is there something I should know?” Liz’s eyes dart between Jeff and me.

“My”—I swallow hard—“friend, crashed into another player and fractured her skull on the floor.” I glance over to gauge Liz’s reaction, and her eyes are wide as saucers. “Won’t get that memory out of my head ever.”

We warm up and start our first game. Liz has good timing, and the team falls into sync in no time. Tonight is tournament night, and I start to think we might have a pretty good shot. Three hours later finds us in the number two seat in the final match.

“We’re on fire. I can’t believe this.” Jeff gives me a high five. “She is good.” He points at Liz.

“She is.” I nod and down a gulp of water.

As we start, I notice Isabelle on the sidelines. We usually go for drinks after the game, and I wonder if Liz will join in. An hour later, we’re beat and sweaty and lose the match by two.

“You’re hired.” Jeff points at Liz. “Hey, wanna come out with us?”

Liz looks at her phone. “I have to be at work at six. Maybe another time.”

Jeff glances at me and back to Liz. “Are you hiking with us Saturday?”

I divert my gaze and pretend to be packing my stuff.

“I think so,” she answers.

“Okay, we’ll see you then.” Jeff waves at her.

“Bye.” She grabs her bags and heads to the door.

“Dude, what’s wrong? Don’t you like her?” Jeff hits me on the back.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, you gotta be fast. She’s not going to be single for long.”

“She may not be single now.” I zip my bag and shoulder it, following him and Isabelle across the gym.

“You don’t move across the country if you’re dating someone.”


He hits me on the chest. “Hey, maybe she’ll come on the Grand Canyon trip.”

“Do you have to make such a big deal of this? We don’t even know if she’s nice.”

Isabelle wraps her arm around Jeff. “She seems cool.”

“Can we just get some food?” Entering the locker room, I slap the door frame.

After showers, we decide on a restaurant and meet at the tables on the outside deck. The food is not amazing, but the hours work for us. I enjoy being outside as there aren’t many opportunities during the day, unless I want to be char-broiled.

The next day, I sleep in and get in a long workout before heading to the stadium. I arrive early to study what I’ve missed the past four days. A hand lands on my back, and I spin to see Carlos standing in front of me.

“You ready for the big party? Got a date lined up?

“I didn’t think a date was required.”

“No, it’s not, man.” He straddles the bench in front of me. “Eva’s got her eye on Mia for you. If you don’t think that’s gonna work, you might want to bring option B.”