dare me & not so subtle subtext
the jordy brennan situation
“Isn’t she pretty, Jordy?” I hear Beth’s ripping voice from somewhere, “when she looks into your eyes.”
All of this moves me, powerfully, and the day feels rare, the dusk falling purple, and I must be drunk because I think I hear Beth’s voice far away, saying crazy things, asking me if I feel different, and loved.
and later on that night
Beth calls after, and we have a long-winding talk, the 40-ouncers still heavy on us both.
She is asking if I remember how we used to hang on the monkey bars, hooking our legs around each other, and how strong we got and how no one could ever beat us, and we could never beat each other, but we’d agree to each release our hands at the count of three, and that she always cheated, and I always let her, standing beneath, looking up at her and grinning my gap-toothed, pre-orthodontic grin.
Such reminiscence is unlike Beth, but she is drunk and I think she may still be drinking, her mother’s V.S.O.P., and she sounds affected by our time at the gorge, and possibly by other things.
“I hate how everything changes, always,” she says. “But you don’t.”
coach party w/o beth
Once, Beth and I had a night like this, the night before we started high school. Kiddie-like, we’d hooked her brother’s Swiss Army into our palms and pressed them tight against each other, and later Beth said she could feel my heart beating in my hand, her hand. She swore she could. We knew that meant something. Something had passed between us and would endure. We don’t talk about it anymore and it was a century ago, wars won and lost since then.
And, Beth, you’re not even here now.
morning after another coach party
“You have always been soft to these things, Addy,” she says. “Last summer you were.”
And I don’t want her to talk about last summer again, and all our bickerings at cheer camp when everyone thought we were busting up. Because this has nothing to do with that girly nonsense.
“I tell you, Adelaide, I know her kind.”
Climbing over the back of the sofa, Beth swings her bare legs, nestling into me, and I’m listening but not listening because I don’t like that hitch in her voice.
“She better enjoy it while she can,” she rumbles, burrowing her head into the pillow I’ve tucked under my arm, burrowing her head into me, like always. “Because in a few years she’ll probably pop out another kid and her hips’ll spread like rising dough and before she knows it, she’ll be coaching field hockey instead.”
Twisting her fingers in my hair, she tunnels into me and the pillow behind me, hiding herself.
“Who will want her then?” she asks.
“None of us.”
beth waiting outside addy’s house (this entire scene tbh)
“She is so transparent,” she says, eyeing me head to toe. “Now she wants to be your best friend, huh? Sharing secrets on her outlet mall sofa? She thinks she can work us like two-dollar whores. I hope you are not a whore, Addy. Are you a whore?”
I don’t say anything.
“Are you a whore?” she says, walking towards me, “and is Coach your sweet-lipped Mack Daddy whispering promises in your ear?”
“I was practicing,” I say. “She’s the coach.”
Beth folds her arms and stares me down.
I don’t say a word.
“Haven’t you learned anything, Addy?” she says. I’m not sure what she means, but I know I have to settle her.
I see something in her eyes I know from back when, from some girl-recesses of time spent hiding in playground tunnels together, nursing schoolyard wounds.
Nobody might understand about Beth because her seeming power overwhelms. But I can see behind things.
And so I find myself reaching my pinkie out to twine hers, and she shakes it off and gripes some more, about Coach’s treachery and false friend ways, but I do see her rest the smallest bit inside, her shoulders unhunching from a toadlike curl.
and massaging scene
“You were burning this tonight,” she says, so dark I can see nothing but the whites of her eyes, the silver eyeliner.
“I was,” I murmur. “Back tucks.”
And there’s this sense that somehow she knows.
“How did it feel?” she whispers. “To nail it.”
“Like this,” I say, curling under the hard pressure from her hand. “But better.”
fighting about coach
“I’ve been right before, other times. You believe people, just like cheer camp, with that St. Regina Flyer. That compulsive liar, Casey Jaye. And you licked it all up.”
Beth, always sifting ancient history, scattering ashes at me. Always going back to last summer. It was our only fight and it wasn’t a fight really. Just stupid girl stuff.
I never thought you’d be friends again after that, RiRi said afterward. But we were. No one understands. They never have.
“Beth, can’t you leave all this alone?” I say now, surprised at the strain in my voice. “You got what you wanted. You’re captain again and you can do whatever you want. So stop.”
“It’s not my choice,” she says. “Something gets started, you have to see it through.”
“See what through? What, Beth? What, Captain-My-Captain?”
She pauses, clicking her teeth, an old habit from the days we both slid retainers around in our hanging-jaw girl mouths.
“You don’t understand it, do you. All that’s happened. It’s all her.”
She leans back, spreading her long ponytail across her face, her mouth.
Then she says something and I think it’s, “She has your heart.”
“What?” I say, feeling something ping in my stomach, my hand fisting over it.
“She has her part,” she says, brushing her ponytail from her face, “in all this.”
But I can’t believe I misheard her. Did I?
“It’s not just me,” she says again, teeth latching and unlatching. “She has her part.”
during addy’s paranoia about the murder and coach’s part
“Addy, I can’t make you believe me,” she says, looking down at me. “And as for you and Coach…”
She lays her hand on my hand, like a benediction.
“We are never deceived,” she says, her voice deep and ringing. “We deceive ourselves.”
and there’s more - there’s a lot a lot a lot more but this is already a long post so uh yeah, enjoy. this is also my subtle way of telling everyone that it’s time to use new quotes xoxo