Something’s up with Garret. I know this because he sits perfectly still next to me when usually he’s in constant motion. His eyes say he’s somewhere far away from this party and all the people celebrating his winning catch. No one else will notice, but I’m his best friend. It’s kind of my job.
I elbow him. “What’s up?”
He startles, as if he honestly forgot where he was. “Nothing, man. Just tired.”
I don’t believe him, but before I can ask anything else Mercedes shows up. She glances at me and waves. “Hey, Russ, mind if I steal him for a while?”
“What if I said no?”
She laughs and sits on his lap, attaching her face to his. That would be my cue to find another seat, because the last thing I want to see up close is Garret making out with his girlfriend. It’s bad enough that I’ve had to endure so many of them over the years while never having one myself.
I grab a beer from the counter and crack it open. I don’t really like the stuff – especially when it’s cheap crap like this – but you can’t be a school athlete without at least looking like you drink. Especially after smashing your rivals at Homecoming. But nothing seems right tonight. No post-game high. Nothing. This party is like déjà vu, and I get the feeling my whole senior year will be the same. Football games, parties, girls, school. Rinse and repeat.
Out of nowhere, Garret pushes Mercedes off him and says something to her. I can’t tell what it is over the blaring music, but she gives him that I’m-trying-to-be-the-understanding-girlfriend smile. Then she hugs him, and he pulls away.
I get it now. Garret’s getting restless. It’s always the same pattern: Garret gets swarmed by girls, he picks one, dates her, gets bored, and breaks her heart. We’ve now hit the “I’m bored out of my mind” phase. I give her a week, which means I must prepare. Since I am his best friend, every single girl campaigning to be the next trophy on Garret Taylor’s arm will suddenly want to be my friend.