Authors: Annameekee Hesik
Abbey Brooks, Gila High freshman-to-be, never thought a hellish day of shopping at the mall with her best friend, Kate, could change her life. But when she orders French fries from the flirtatious Hot Dog on a Stick Chick, she gets more than deep-fried potatoes. Abbey tries to ignore the weird, happy feeling in her gut, but that proves to be as impossible as avoiding the very insistent (andârumor has itâvery lesbian) players on Gila High's girls' basketball team. They want freakishly long-legged Abbey to try out, and Abbey doesn't hate the idea. But Kate made Abbey pinky swear to avoid basketball and to keep away from the you-know-who girls on the team.
Sometimes promises can't be kept. And sometimes girls in uniform are impossible to resist.
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The You Know Who Girls: Freshman Year
Â© 2012 By Annameekee Hesik. All Rights Reserved.
ISBN 13: 978-1-60282-805-6
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First Edition: October 2012
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Editor: Ruth Sternglantz
Production Design: Susan Ramundo
Cover Design By Sheri ([email protected])
The You Know Who Girls
could never have made its way into the hands of readers without the help of many. First, a huge thank you to my family and friends for your constant cheerleading and encouragement. Thank you to Ellen Bass for your outstanding feedback and guidance and for introducing me to the incredible LeslÃ©a Newman, who held my hand through the editing and publishing adventures. Thank you to Radclyffe and Ruth Sternglantz (Queen of Commas) at Bold Strokes Books and to all of the incredible folks at BSB who contributed to this finished product. Thank you to my webmaster and BFF, Casey Chafouleas, for being so attentive to my website whims and for making me laugh at things that aren't supposed to be funny. Thank you to the baristas across Santa Cruz County for blending my mocha shakesâsorry I sat at your tables long after I slurped down the last gulp. Thank you to my amazing students at NMCHS for being my biggest fans long before the book was publishedâyou will always be my little chickadees. Finally, a special thank you to my wife, Mary, for everything you are, everything you do, and for being my one and only you-know-who girl.Â Â Â
To all the you-know-who girls.
According to my best friend Kate, the purpose of our visit to the Tucson Mall today is to have my “never-been-kissed innocence get an ass kicking from my BeyoncÃ© booty and Cameron Diaz legs.” And this may be the closest Kate's come to paying me a compliment. I'm still not moving off this couch, though, because my plans for the day include rejecting all uncomfortable fashion trends and watching the twelve-hour
marathon. Yes, I know at fourteen-and-three-quarter years old I may be a little too old for cartoons, but I don't care. Kate will just have to torture me some other day. Besides, we've been friends since the day I threw up on her shoes in the third grade, earning me the nickname Abbey “Chunks” Brooks for the rest of my life. Kate got over the vomit incident, so I know she'll get over this, too.
I reach for the phone to tell Kate the bad news, and because I'm a giant dork who can't control her superlong appendages, I knock over my bowl of cereal and spill it all over the coffee table. I decide to mask the spill with my napkin, but then my mom walks in and says, “Abbey, I'm not really seeing this, right?” because she's the master at telling me what to do without actually telling me what to do.
“No, you're hallucinating again,” I say and get up to grab a rag from the kitchen.
After she's satisfied with my cleanup on aisle three, my mom says, “Shouldn't you be getting ready to go? You don't want to miss the eleven-forty bus. Because you know, Abbey”âa sly smile appears on her face, and I know she's about to sing the public transit jingle, which is her not-so-subtle way of reminding me that a ride from her is out of the questionâ“Suntranâ¦it's catching on!”
“Mom, that stopped being funny about a million years ago.” I fall back onto the couch and watch SpongeBob prepare for a death-defying stunt on his bicycle. “Anyway, I'm not going. It's too hot to breathe, let alone walk around.”
Then the phone rings.
“You weren't thinking of bailing on me, were you, Chunks?”
Damn Kate and her mind-reading skills. “No,” I say and then let out a defeated sigh. “I'm getting ready,” I lie and hang up, already sweaty from holding the phone to my ear.
We do have this thing called an air conditioner, but my mom refuses to employ its services. See, while the rest of Arizona's residents are chillaxing in their homes, we suffer like martyrs in hopes of ending global warming. In my opinion, Mom's using the earth's demise to her economic advantage, but I've noticed that everyone has stopped asking for my opinion on all topics of discussion.
But then again, since my dad died, Mom has been cheap about everything, even her creativity. She did get a huge amount of money from my dad's life insurance (she doesn't know I know this, but I saw the papers on her desk), but she's always worried about not having enough, and what-if-God-forbid-something-happened-to-her, which is why she's been working nonstop on this totally cheesy howling-coyote painting for commission (art inspired by cash). It's for Ventana Views, the new resort being constructed in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains. I consider pointing out that her art is going to be displayed in a 5,000-square-foot air-conditioned dining room built on land that once served as a habitat to javalinas and near-extinct bird species. But, then again, if she gets paid, maybe we can stop eating the always yellow and ever mysterious “casserole surprise” on Friday nights and start going out for pizza again. I have to play my cards carefully.
During a commercial break, I look over at her. It's the usual scene: Mom in her paint-splattered glasses, wearing overalls and a tank top with a cup of iced coffee on the table next to her. She carefully adds a gray line down the coyote's back, then rinses off her paintbrush in a jar of muddy brown water. I used to watch her so intently when I was a baby that Mom and Dad were convinced I'd become an amazing artist by the time I could babble
. My artistic toddler efforts (like the one-eyed, armless “girl” with the purple Afro) still hanging around the house are proof, however, that I took after my dad: I'm book smart, scientific, and as linear as the crisscrossed grid of Tucson's city streets.
And according to my eighth-grade counselor, I'm also tenacious, so I give it one more try. “Whoa. Everything's getting blurry. Mom? Are you there? Where am I? Why is this giant frog staring at me? I can't feel my tongue. Is that normal?”
She laughs, but that's my only reward. “An Oscar-worthy performance, Abbey, but the air conditioner will remain off. It's not even ninety degrees outside,” she says and dabs another empty spot on her canvas. I try to remember the last time she looked at me that closely, but can't. “Go take a cold shower and stop bugging me.”
I almost say, “Dad would do it for me,” but decide to save the dead-dad card for something more important. Instead, I collapse to the floor and belly crawl past her. “Water, waterâ¦pleaseâ¦just a dropâ¦” And then feign death by dehydration at the bathroom door.
She finally looks up and smiles big enough to show off the new wrinkles reaching out from her lake-blue eyes. People say I look exactly like her. I used to think it was because of my blond hair and long legs, but now I see me in her eyes, and I'm glad to have inherited at least that part of her.
By the time I finish fake dying, showering, and getting dressed, I wind up missing the 11:40 bus. I don't even bother asking my mom for a ride but do ask for back-to-school-clothes money and then give her a kiss good-bye.
Thanks to my mom's recent yard sale shopping spree, it takes me a minute to free my dad's red bike from all the junk in the garage. I'm riding his now because long-tall Abbey here outgrew her bike last year. I tie a rag around the baked bike seat that has cracked open from too much sun exposure and strap on my helmet and backpack. As I coast down my driveway, I curse the infernal sun and Kate and low-rise pants, and start my forty-minute ride to the stupid Tucson Mall.
Kate will be very disappointed if she finds me at the mall in a sweat-drenched shirt, so I clean up in the Macy's bathroom and change into a dry shirt I was smart enough to stuff in my backpack before leaving my house. I try to fix my helmet hair but give up and pull it back into a low ponytail. The lack of both effort and product I've put into my hair is going to bug her, but everything about me seems to irritate her these days, so it's not like I can win. Like the fact that I'm wearing my khaki shorts, plain white tee, and blue Converse shoes, which Kate says makes me look like a deckhand on a Carnival cruise ship. My choices in clothes and hairstyles didn't use to bother her, but ever since we became Future Freshmen, it seems like overnight she's become everything I'm not, and then some.
As I wait for Her Majesty, I work on my own list of important things to do before my first day of high school:
Rearrange glow-in-the-dark stars on my ceiling to reflect recent celestial changes.
Stop having nightmares about dead dad.
Develop addictions to all foods and drinks that stunt growth.
Then a shadow falls over me followed by a waft of some actress's new perfume and the smell of cucumber-melon lotion.
“You're such a freaking schoolgirl.”
I look up and see my before-mentioned BFF with her brown hair cascading down her back, every curl in its place, the perfect shade of eye shadow to make her eyes pop, shimmery lip gloss, freshly painted fingernails, and coordinated clothes. None of which surprises me. What gets me is how much bustier she is than the last time I saw her. “Wow, have there been new developments in your life that you want to tell me about?”
“Jealous much? Pack up your little geek-party-for-one and let's go.”
I put my notepad and pen away in my faded red backpack. “All right, let's get this over with.”