“So, how are things between you and Zack?” Blaine asked Kyle as the three of them stepped onto the pebbled walking path around the lake.
“You would know better than me. You’ve actually talked to him in the last couple months.” Kyle rolled her eyes.
“He misses you.”
“He has a funny way of showing it.”
“It’s Zack, Kyle. What do you expect?” He pushed a hand through his thick blond hair “You hurt his feelings. He had to prove his manliness. How better to do that then to sleep with the easiest chick in school? We’re guys. It’s what we do.”
“She knows Blaine.” Cordelia mumbled.
“What?” Blaine choked on a drink of water.
“About you. That’s you’re… you know.”
“How?” He didn’t even try to hide the pain in his face.
“It came up in the car yesterday. Danni was defending you.”
“Shit, why did I tell her? She has such a big fucking mouth.”
“Really, she was defending you.” Kyle interjected, “Dalliah was running her mouth off about hooking up with you over the summer. Rayne thought she was telling the truth. Danni set her straight.”
He chuckled a little to himself “Dalliah did ask me out. I turned her down. I did it nicely though.”
“Sometimes we’re not that different from guys, buddy.” Kyle patted his shoulder
“So, you’re okay with me being… you know, not into the girl thing?”
“Why on earth would I care? It’s not like I’m trying to date you.” She smiled “My only concern is how you’re possibly going to find a boyfriend in this town.”
“Yeah, well, let me deal with that.” They started climbing their way up the side of the rock face.
“Caleb’s the only one who knows right?” Cordi reached forward to take the hand Blaine offered her.
“He was. But now Anson knows.”
“Really? That seems… odd.” Kyle raised an eyebrow. “You told him but not us?”
“It wasn’t like that, Kyle. I drove him home from the restaurant on Wednesday and we got talking. He’d figured it out on his own.” He grunted as he pulled himself around the last overhang onto the large flat surface of the rock. “He’s a pretty decent guy.”
They settled onto the edge of the rock and looked down at the glittering expanse of water below them. They all drifted into their own thoughts for a few minutes.
“Back to you and Zack.” Blaine broke the silence. “Are you interested in getting back together with him?”
“I don’t know.” Kyle rang her fingers through her hair, pulling it back into a high ponytail. “I mean part of me is really ready to get back together. To actually settle down into something serious. And that’s the big part of me. But then there’s that tiny little sliver that just can’t forgive him for what he did with Robyn. And it’s not cause he slept with someone else. It’s totally because it’s her. I hate her so much.”
“Kyle you can’t beat yourself up over it.” Cordi handed over a water bottle, “You know he was angry. You dumped him. It hurt his pride. I’m not saying you should just brush it off, but…”
“But I kind of should? Bulllshit.” Kyle raised an eyebrow.
“Okay. Yeah, I see your point.”
“And it’s not just that…” She played with her hair as she stared out at the water “I don’t know. Christ. I’m tired of thinking about this.”
They sat in silence for a little while munching on trail mix and taking in the view of lake. Speedboats and wake boards filled the open area with clusters of tiny people along the shore. Their campsite was almost directly across from them, but it was impossible to make out clearly through the trees.
“So Cordelia, are you interesting in anyone?” Blaine asked the question of the weekend.
“Jesus! Am I wearing a sign or something? Why do people keep asking me that?” Cordi exclaimed.
“Wow, sorry!” Blaine put his hands up defensively, “What’s up?”
“I asked her that yesterday.” Kyle chuckled.
“Yes, and so did my sister.” Cordelia turned her neck and cracked it. “I didn’t mean to explode, but seriously, no one ever asks me about my romantic interests and now it’s three times in two days.”
“Well, I may or may not know someone who is interested in you.”
“Mean jokes are not funny” Cordelia swallowed a mouthful of water.
“Would I joke about that? How mean do you think I am?” Blaine tugged her pigtail.
Cordelia smirked at him, wiping away water from her chin. “So, am I interested in anyone? That depends on who you ask. Kyle, would say yes. If you ask Danni, the answer is no. If you ask me… well, I’m not really sure. I thought maybe, but I don’t know. I have this weird fluttery feeling in my stomach when I think about him. But then I get a sick heavy feeling in the same place when I think about the problems it could cause.”
“Who?” Blaine turned to Kyle.
“If Cord doesn’t want to talk about it, I won’t break her trust. At least not right in front of her face.” Kyle grinned.
“That’s very thoughtful of you.” Cordi stuck her tongue out at her.
“Can you just turn around? I can say it to your back.” Kyle laughed, leaning against her friend.
“That’s alright.” Blaine handed back the bag of trail mix, “I can’t really say who it is, but I wanted to see if you would volunteer something.”
“I’m volunteering nothing.” Cordelia crossed her arms over her chest.
“So, you said you were chatting with Anson the other night?” Kyle changed the subject. “What’s he like? Danni’s got quite a thing for him.”
“She does, does she? Interesting.” Blaine’s mouth twisted in thought.
“Interesting? How interesting? Does he like her too?” Cordelia couldn’t help asking.
“He said she seems like a fun girl.” Cordi’s shoulders slumped a little, a vacant expression spreading across her face. “Mostly, we talked about what it’s like to move from a city to a place this small.”
“I’ll be back in a minute.” Cordelia moved into a standing position.
“You alright?” Kyle looked up at her.
“Yup. I just like the view.” She pulled a notebook from her bag. “I’ve got a song forming. I want to write it down before I forget.”
“Okey dokey. We’ll be here when you’re ready.” Kyle and Blaine watched her walk away. When she was out of earshot, Kyle began talking while looking casually out at the lake.
“Dude, spill.” Kyle watched Cordi out of the corner of her eye. “Anson’s into her, isn’t he?”
“He thinks she’s really sweet.” Blaine replied equally casually. “He said he wanted to get to know her better and was checking to make sure she wasn’t already spoken for.”
“I knew it,” Kyle held in her excitement by taking a deep breath, “She’s totally into him too, but…”
“Danni’s a problem.”
“Absolutely. Cordelia can’t, or I should say won’t, do that to Danni. They’ve been friends for too long. And Danni’s always been the powerhouse in that relationship. And she is way into him. I’ve never seen her this way about a guy.”
“Worse than with Jon?”
“Oh my God! So much worse. He left a message about being late. She listened to it at least a dozen times. It was ridiculous.”
“Shit, what do we do?” Blaine rubbed his forehead.
“I don’t know. Cordelia is going to talk herself out of liking him so that she doesn’t hurt Danni.”
“Is there any way we could talk to Danni and get her to back down” Blaine asked. Kyle just looked at him. “Okay, okay I know that won’t work. She’s unreasonably stubborn.”
“You’re telling me. She’s one of my closest friends. I love her to death, but she can be obsessive. She hasn’t even interested that Cordi is interested. That tells you how deep she is.”
Blaine nodded and hugged his knees to his chest. “I’ll have to talk to Anson when he gets here. He needs to know what he’s walking into. I hope I didn’t make it worse. Now she thinks that Anson likes Danni.” He paused and looked over to where Cordelia was staring at her notebook and playing with one of her braids. “How did you get her into that outfit?”
“Pretty amazing, hey?” Kyle smiled. “I know it’s shorts and a t-shirt. It’s not…Well, it’s really normal, but for her, it’s a step out of her shell.”
“I’ve never seen her in anything without sleeves before.”
“I know. If she was really happy just wearing that stuff all the time, I wouldn’t care, but she’s not. She hides. Today, something clicked.” Kyle shrugged. “Honestly, it has something to do with Anson, but it’s more than that. I think part of her is tired of playing second fiddle to Danni all the time, but she’s not quite ready to come out of her shell yet.”
“But she’s awesome.” Blaine exhaled “I don’t get why she hides it from everyone.”
“I know that and you know that, but girls like Robyn and Dalliah have instilled in her that she’s worthless. You should hear the things they say to her. They’re pretty cruel.”
“God I hate being a teenager sometimes.” He wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead, “How are you so well adjusted?”
“You cannot contain this level of amazing.” She laughed “Seriously, it’s my parents. They’ve taught me to be pretty strong, but don’t be fooled. I’ve got things I don’t want others to see; I’m just good at hiding it.”
They fell silently into thought. Insecurities floated uncomfortably close to the surface. About fifteen minutes later, Cordelia’s cell phone began jingling in her pocket.
“What’s up, Danni?”
“Are you guys going to be there long enough for us to join you?”
“Did the other guys get here yet?”
“Yeah, about fifteen minutes ago,”
“There is like no shade and I am getting over-sunned. We’re heading back pretty soon.” Cordelia wanted nothing less than to be stuck on this rock with Danni and Anson.
“Cool Meet us at the beach?”
“Sounds like a plan.” Cordelia slipped the phone back in her bag. “Everyone’s here.” Pushing herself up, she hopped over the little space between the rocks and headed back to her friends, much more cheerful than she had been earlier.
“What’s the plan?”
“Apparently the beach then supper then booze.”
“We brought lots of beer.”
“Of course you brought beer.” Kyle rolled her eyes. “As long as we don’t get kicked out.”
“We all know what Danni’s like when she drinks” Cordelia piped up, “Maybe we can have Anson keep her occupied. Although he’s a wild card, we have no idea what he’s like when he’s drunk.”
“I’m sure we’ll find a way to keep him occupied.” Blaine shot a glance in Kyle’s direction as they began the trek towards the beach and found the rest of their friends settled along a row of towels.
“Yo yo, mofos.” Rayne waved as she saw them approach. On the other end of the blankets, Anson laughed as Danni placed her hand on his arm.
“I’m going for a quick dip.” Cordelia folded her top and shorts neatly on her towel and started towards the water’s edge. Once the water was halfway up her thighs, she dove beneath the surface and swam away from the shore.