Sweat dripped from my forehead as I dropped the ball in the service zone and whacked it hard against the front wall. We were three games into our racquetball cutthroat match as we started the fourth. Hollis, Lucas, and I had each won a game, and now the winner of this round claimed bragging rights as King of the Court. Today was just what I needed to take my mind off Maddie; only, it wasn’t happening.
“You should just call her,” Lucas bellowed as he returned the serve.
The ball bounced against the sidewall and raced toward me. I slammed it back toward the front wall, barely missing the back of Hollis’s head.
“Hey, watch what you’re doing! Elodie would prefer I survive this venture and not come home with a welt on my face.”
“Whatever.” I was surprised I had even won a single game with my head being anywhere but here.
“Seriously,” Lucas said with a grunt, “you need to call her and hash it out. Either that, or stop whining about it.”
Hollis pushed me to the side, ensuring the ball stayed in play. “Look, fly out there and talk with her face to face. Trust me. I learned the hard way with Elodie to confront the problem head-on.”
I stepped left and stopped — face to face. I was about to reply when the ball smashed against my lower back, dropping me to my knees. “Fuck!”
Lucas wasn’t sorry. I knew he did it on purpose. He and Hollis had been tossing advice my way all morning long, and I didn’t want anything to do with it.
“You okay?” Hollis held out his hand to help me right myself.
I reached my arm around to rub the sting away from where the ball had slammed into me. “I’ll be fine.”
Lucas stood in the serve zone and bounced the ball once, then caught it in midair. “You know, Hollis is probably right. You should do this face to face.”
Knocking the ball around was supposed to help me not think for a while, but instead, it’s done anything but help me forget. “Can we please talk about something else for a while.”
Lucas served, and Hollis rallied. “Hey, get a load of this.” Grunt. “I saw a license plate this week that said VGN4LIF.”
The ball flew past me. “Virgin for life?”
Hollis returned the ball. “Or Vegan for life.”
Lucas lobbed it against the right wall before it ricocheted off the front wall. “Either way, there’s no meat.”
His response had me laughing so hard, I swung and missed the ball completely. The three of us stood in the center of the court, chuckling uncontrollably.
“Seriously,” Hollis spoke, “I think you need to confront Maddison in person. She’s got a good head on her shoulders, and she’s going to be an asset to Livingston. I was impressed by her the other night.”
Lucas was bent over with his hands on his knees. “Yeah, talk it out with her, or call one of your bimbos and fuck her out of your system. Now, serve.”
I glanced at Hollis. Holding my hand out as our eyes met, and I mouthed the word ball. He tossed the ball into my hand, and I bounced it once, then smacked it hard. Not hard enough to injure Lucas, but hard enough to drop him to the floor.
“Payback’s a bitch, motherfucker.”