The Slam

The Slam by Haleigh Lovell Read Free Book Online

Book: The Slam by Haleigh Lovell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Haleigh Lovell
my hands in the washing machine because that was his favorite spot. And one time I was in the shower, I was so annoyed because the pressure pump kept cutting out. Then I looked up and there was Hector, hanging from the shower rod about fifteen centimeters from my head!”
    “No shit.” I grimaced. After a beat, I asked, “What happened to Hector after we left?”
    “I’m not sure,” she said quietly. “Things were never the same after you guys left.”
    “How come?”
    Adelaide didn’t answer right away. When I flicked my gaze sideways, she was staring rigidly ahead, a stony sadness in her eyes. “Jeff hurt his back that summer, then about six months later he sold the farm and we moved to a small town. I had a very hard time adjusting.” She laughed—a soft, humorless sound. “I was Nigel No Mates… that girl who ate her lunch in the classroom because I had no one to sit with in the cafeteria.”
    “Didn’t you have friends on your varsity team? Camille mentioned you played tennis.”
    “Not really. Tennis is an individual sport. I was involved in a lot of individual sports. Not team sports. Nobody wanted me on their team.” She shrugged. “But I was a ball of energy and Jeff signed me up for every individual sport under the sun. You name it—tennis, skiing, auto cross racing, bowling, gymnastics, taekwondo, surfing, rowing, diving.”
    “Diving?”
    “Correct,” she said. “I’m pretty much an Olympic diver.”
    “Show off,” I teased, but I was pretty impressed. “Why so many sports?”
    “Take tennis for example,” she said. “The tennis ball doesn’t know who I am. The ball doesn’t know if I’m a girl or a guy, or if I have Asperger’s or not. Sports have always broken down these barriers. Plus, Jeff wanted me to channel all that boundless energy into something constructive… something more socially acceptable.”
    “As opposed to what?”
    “Wrestling with you and Edric in the mud. Skinny-dipping with you boys in the lake.”
    A corner of my mouth lifted in amusement.
    “But you guys never came back.” She gazed out the window. “I tried to make new friends. I tried really hard to fit in somewhere… anywhere. I tried to please and not make waves, but I always ended up causing problems. And I just knew I was supposed to pretend I wasn’t full of loneliness even though I was. My teachers told Jeff that I was off with the fairies.” A pause. “I suppose I was. It was easier to retreat into the world inside my head.” She sighed deeply. “High school didn’t get much better for me until I joined the drama club.”
    So that explained her wanting to major in theater. “Are you hoping to become an actress one day?”
    “Not really.” A smile flitted across her face. “But I’m really good at acting.”
    I lifted a skeptical brow. “Really?”
    “Uh-huh,” she said. There was no trace of smugness in her voice. Only sadness. “I’ve been acting my whole life,” she said softly. “Pretending to be normal.”
    I narrowed my gaze at her. “Are you acting right now?”
    “No.” She shook her head. “Not at the moment. I’m taking a sensory break right now.”
    “How come?”
    “I don’t know…” She shrugged. “I can be myself. I never had to put on an act when I was around you and you still liked me.”
    “That was a long time ago.” I shot her a quick sideways glance. “People change, you know.”
    She studied me a moment, a frown drawing up through her features. “People don’t change that easily. And my memories haven’t changed. Besides, you’re my bosom friend, Ender! We even share the same birthday!”
    I had no idea what to say to that, so I changed the subject. “Were you acting just now? At your orientation?”
    “Well, I did some research and planned out conversations in my head beforehand.” She expelled a weary sigh. “But that doesn’t work out sometimes.”
    “Why not?”
    “People don’t always follow the damn script.”
    I smiled.

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