A victory party, celebrating the JV team’s triumphant win over the varsity. Pulsating music, flashing lights, lots of alcohol. Devils and parents alike are in attendance. Takes place at teammate Adam Kelsing’s house.
Jamie stumbles drunkenly into the basement of his best friends’ home. His fellow devils are there, all equally drunk, laughing and having a good time. His coordination isn’t great; as he goes to turn into another room he smashes into the door. He hears light laughter behind him. He turns around. His girlfriend of almost four years is standing there, giggles erupting from behind the hands that are covering her mouth. He smiles, and loses almost all traces of his previous mindset. Gently putting his hands on her hips, just below her waist, he pulls her close and whispers in her ear.
“What are you laughing at, huh?”
“Yes, you, silly boy.”
Jamie smiled even wider, “Thanks to you, I’m no longer a little boy.”
“Sshh! My parents…” Kayleigh’s voice trailed off as she turned her head to search the room for her mom and dad. “…Are not down here.”
“No, they’re not.”
“The team is.”
“Huh. So they are. Hadn’t noticed.”
“How could you not notice your own teammates all around you?”
“I’m with you. There’s nothing else to notice.” faint blush tinged Kayleigh’s cheeks. She really did love him. Always had. And I always will, she thought, as Jamie led the way upstairs.
Several hours later. Jamie and John are driving home in a black Jeep Cherokee. It’s snowing. Black ice covers the road.
“Are you proud of yourself?”
Jamie turned from the window. A mixture of disappointment and curiosity came over his face.
“You were caught with your girlfriend in your best friend’s house and his parents walked in on you!”
“Yeah,” he whispered. He didn’t want to talk right now. All he could think about was what Kayliegh had said to him while they waited for their parents to stop apologizing to Mr. and Mrs. Kelsing. “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. It’s like they said, we are just kids. Maybe we should take some time apart.” Jamie hadn’t been able to think straight since that moment.
“You’re sorry! What the hell were you thinking?” His stepfather’s voice brought him back to the present.
“What does it matter? We apologized, to both Adam and his parents. What more do you want me to say?,” Jamie felt his temper rising as each word spewed from his mouth.
“Don’t you understand? If you keep this up you’re going to end up exactly like your mother.”
“She got pregnant at fifteen. Come on, Jamie, you know that. Do you want to end up like that?”
“I thought you loved my mother.”
“I do love your mother, but I wish she hadn’t been put into the situation she was in. I wish she hadn’t gotten pregnant by that jackass. He screwed her, and then screwed her over. And she got landed with a baby and no one to help care for it.
“You wish she’d never had… me.” Jamie realized quietly.
Before John can respond, the jeep skids on some unseen ice and slams into the guardrail.
Jamie rolls over in bed. He’s dreaming. In his sleep, he raises both arms over his head as if protected himself, then drops them down on the bed.
“No,” he whispers.