The team was sitting in the tail end of the plane for the trip to New York and Cynthia was trying to concentrate on some schoolwork she wanted to get finished. Unfortunately, she couldn't seem to concentrate on such mundane matters. Her thoughts kept going back to the workout and lunch she had shared with Toni earlier that day. I can't believe she had all that to go through. At least everyone felt sorry for me and my problems in high school. Toni had to fight almost everyone. I'm glad she had her family's support.
Finally conceding defeat, Cynthia shoved her books and notes back in her bag then eased the seat back the full two inches allowed. Turning off the overhead light, she tried to get some rest. Unfortunately her thoughts were running so fast through her mind she could barely keep up with them. How could someone post that picture of Toni? What was that principal thinking? What happened after the ACLU got involved? I wonder what became of Becky?
She shifted a bit to look out the window on her right. The plane was cruising above a thick cloud layer lit eerily by the half moon. Unable to see any of the ground below, she twisted back to a normal position. Looking through the materials in the back of the seat in front of her, she came up with a Skymall catalog. Flipping through the catalog but not really looking at anything, she sighed slightly to herself. It's so strange. I've never been able to speak about things like I did with Toni today. I guess I feel safe around her. She's so easy to talk with and she listens to me and comforts me. I can't wait till Saturday.
Cynthia's thoughts were still on Toni when a body slipped into the seat next to her. She looked up and saw her road roomy Christy and nodded, before turning back to the catalog she wasn't really looking at.
"Cyn, are you okay?"
"Huh?" Cynthia grunted.
"Are you okay, Cynthia? I've never seen you fidget so much."
"Oh, I'm fine. Fidget? I wasn't fidgeting!"
"Sure. Whatever you say." Christy said with obvious doubt in her voice.
"No, really Chris. I was just doing some thinking about someone."
"Oh? Have you finally met the man of your dreams?"
Cynthia chuckled. "No. It's nothing like that. Remember my story about my car breaking down in the storm?"
"Yea, you were rescued by some girl trucker you thought was a guy, right?"
"Well, at first, yea. But she doesn't really look like a guy, except in that silly uniform she wore." Most definitely very un-guy like. Anyway, she came to our game last week and we went out to dinner at my treat. Kind of a thank you for her help. Anyway, after dinner we were walking around the loop talking and stuff. But I said something that upset her, and she got angry with me."
"I'm sorry Cyn, what did you say to her?"
"Well, I said something in passing that hurt her. The dumb thing is what I said was not really me. It was something very like my Mom. Some of her opinions had rubbed off on me I guess, and I spewed something silly and prejudicial. Anyway, she was very angry at my unkind words, and proceeded to tell me that my words concerned her directly and if I felt that way, we couldn't be friends."
"Wow! What happened?"
"Well, I was kind of in shock. I couldn't speak at all. I was shocked those words had come from me, and shocked that I had thought that way at all. Then she tells me that she happens to be a part of the group my words were against. She stared at me waiting for a response, and I just sat there. Eventually she left."
" I'm sorry Cyn, what did you really say to her?"
"Chris, I'm not sure I should say. Let me explain a bit. We met earlier today to apologize to each other. On my side, I had realized something about myself I didn't like and wanted to change. Anyway, I told her how I felt, and about certain things in my past that led me to say those things. I explained how sorry I was and how much I wanted to change. Then she apologized to me!"
Christy arched her eyebrows in surprise. "She did? I don't understand."
"Well she wanted to explain why she was so angry at my words. It turns out I used the same turn of phrase as someone else earlier in her life when she was going through a very emotionally painful period. She was very lucky her family supported her because everyone else turned against her. Anyway, we both apologized to each other. I think we've become close friends now due to sharing so much of our past with each other."
"Okay, that explains a lot. So, will you now tell me why you were fidgeting?" Christy asked.
Cynthia started to exclaim. "I was not fi...." She tailed off as she realized she had been fidgeting. "I don't know why I was fidgeting."
"Come on Cyn, you can do better than that."
Cynthia looked at Christy closely. The team's center clearly showed concern and interest on her round face. "Okay. Okay." Cynthia paused, leaned closer to the tall blonde, and whispered. "Well we shared a lot of our pasts with each other and those things were deeply personal and private. We needed to do it to explain our actions though. I think we connected on a very deep level. I am confident she will be a great friend for me, and I hope I can be the same for her. I know we parted just a few hours ago, but the things we talked about and shared with each other were very personal. I guess I am trying to say I miss her."
"You miss your friend? Well there isn't anything wrong with that. I'm sure she misses you too."
"Thanks Christy. I know I'll see her Saturday night. I guess all the emotions we shared earlier made our friendship that much closer for me. I think I'll be okay now."
"Good! You need to get your rest tonight. We've got a tough game tomorrow."
"I know, and I'll get my rest."
The senior center rose to move back to her seat. "You better Cyn. Because if you fidget like that in our room, I'll have to knock you out!"
Cynthia laughed as Christy returned to her seat. She pulled the Microbiology book and notes out of her bag and got down to work. She was actually surprised when the seat belt buzzer sounded, announcing their approach to LaGuardia.
Toni headed back to her apartment to change for work. As she drove, she thought back to the things Cynthia had revealed of her past. She went through so much. I don't know if I could handle what she went through. Never knowing who raped you? Never knowing if he was just around the corner? Plus the drugs and alcohol! So much to go through before becoming an adult. Toni thought for a moment. I guess we've both been through a lot.
After changing, she drove to the plant to pick up her rig for her run that night. She was taking a load of Dodge Ram pickup trucks to Rolla, Missouri then returning to the plant to pick up a second load for Belleville, Illinois. She carefully checked her rig and the ramp-rack trailer. All the tires were good, the trucks were all tied down correctly, and the rig itself was in good shape.
Climbing up into the cab, she ran her rig through several tests before pulling into the departure lane. She came to a stop across from the departure office to receive her paperwork. After double checking her paperwork she mounted her rig again and headed out of the plant toward the highway.
The drive to Rolla was slightly over an hour, and while she had NPR on the radio, she turned the volume down low and spent the time thinking. Cynthia sure is a remarkable woman. The pain she shared with me was immense, yet she was willing to burden herself with my pain as well. She's mentally strong too. She is willing to face her faults, talk about them, and change them. It took a lot of courage for her to apologize to me and explain her past so I could understand.
Chuckling to herself, Toni continued onward toward Rolla. Luckily the roads were dry, as the temperature had dipped below freezing again. It's gonna be a cold night unloading these trucks. She turned up the volume on the radio and listened to the Tavis Smiley show as the miles rolled by.
The team had arrived at the hotel just before 10 PM. The team manager handed out the room keys and the players went up to their rooms. Christy and Cynthia both shrugged off their shoulder bags and backpacks. Christy turned on the television while Cynthia opened the drapes and exposed the New York skyline.
"Hey! I can see Liberty!" Cynthia exclaimed excitedly.
Christy moved over to the window as Cynthia pointed Both players looked out toward Lady Liberty for a minute, then slowly searched the skyline for something they both knew was no longer there.
"It's hard to believe its been a year and a half since..." Cynthia paused, not sure how to continue.
"I know what you mean. I was in a Psychology class when I heard. Some professor came in and whispered to our professor. She went white as a sheet. She then told us. You could hear a pin drop."
"I was on the way to campus when I heard the first news report about the first plane on the radio. By the time I got to campus I was just sitting in my car wondering what could have caused it when the news came about the second plane. I was so stunned. I don't even remember driving home, but I remember turning on the TV just as they were replaying the second plane. I just kind of slumped down into the chair. All those people! For awhile I was in denial."
"Yeah. The professor let us go. Turns out she had a son in Tower 1. He got out, but she didn't know until the next day. I went to the student union immediately and even got to sit in the TV lounge. Within 20 minutes the room was packed." Christy shook her head sadly. "The emotions ran so thick. None of us knew each other, but we were all comforting each other."
Cynthia turned to look at Christy. "My parents and their friends always talk about where they were when the heard about JFK. I guess our generation has the same thing now."
"My grandparents do the same thing about Pearl Harbor. I guess every generation has something that binds them together like that."
Both girls quietly sighed, and turned back to contemplate an empty piece of sky.
After she finished unloading the pickup trucks at the dealership, Toni updated her logbook before getting started back to the plant to pick up her second load. At least Belleville is a shorter trip. I could be home early tonight! Good thing. I need my rest for the show. Toni giggled, Cynthia is going to be so surprised.
The drive back to the plant was mostly uneventful. Aside from some stupid kid on a motorcycle intent on breaking the land speed record, the other motorists had behaved well. At the plant, she pulled up next to the holding pen with the vehicles scheduled to go to Belleville.
Loading the trailer was a little slower than unloading since she had to match VIN numbers to be sure everything matched her paperwork. Luckily she didn't have to move any other vehicles to get to the ones she was hauling. She set up the ramps to load the lower level first and proceeded to drive each truck onto the trailer, resetting the ramps as necessary. An hour later she was in the departure lane again for her run to Belleville. Looking at her watch she hoped Cynthia was already in bed. After all, she's an hour ahead.
Cynthia had just finished in the bathroom and told Christy she could have it. She climbed onto her bed, propped herself up, and grabbed the novel she was reading. When she finished the chapter, she went to the bathroom then climbed back into bed.
"We better hit the sack. Coach has us booked for the Empire State Building, and lunch at Rockefeller Center."
Cynthia looked up from her book. "I forgot about that." She marked her place in the book, and tossed the paperback onto the dresser by her shoulder bag. "Hit the lights, I'm ready."
Christy leaned over and hit the switch. "Night Cyn."
"Good night Chris."
Both girls settled down in their blankets and soon Cynthia heard Christy's soft snores. Come on Cyn, time to go beddie bye. She turned on to her side and curled up a bit while trying to relax. Thoughts of the upcoming game flashed into her mind. She quickly calmed herself by thinking of something very different. Images and thoughts of Toni soothed her mind and soon her deep breathing and Christy's snores were the only sounds in the room.
Toni pulled back into the plant after returning from Belleville. Parking the rig, she gathered her personal items together and climbed down to the ground. She used the office to finish up her paperwork and was able to head home an hour early. She had a few things to take care of in the morning, then she could enjoy a rare two days off in a row.
The ride back to her apartment passed quickly and she was soon passing time watching The Late Show with Conan O'Brian. It wasn't long before she was yawning, so she clicked off the television and headed to bed. Setting the alarm for 8 AM, she turned on to her side and curled up a bit while trying to relax. Good luck in your game Cyn. Tucking both hands under the pillow, she took a deep breath and slowly drifted off to sleep.
Cynthia picked up the wake up call on the second ring, quickly replacing the handset. Allowing Christy to get some extra sleep, she went into the bathroom to shower and get ready for the day. When she returned to the sleeping area, she noticed Christy was awake.
Christy rose from the bed, gathered her personal bag, and headed into the bathroom. Cynthia set out her street clothes and quickly dressed. She put the paperback book into her shoulder bag, then gave the room a quick check to make sure she hadn't forgotten anything. Christy emerged from the bathroom fully dressed for the day. They both grabbed their bags and headed to the hotel restaurant for breakfast with the team.
After breakfast, the team loaded into a tour bus for the ride to the Empire State Building. The bus dropped them in front, and the driver was enlisted to take photos of the team, with the big brass letters that spelled out its name. Many of the girls had cameras, so the driver was kept busy for a while. When everyone was satisfied, the girls proceeded to take the elevator to the top.
On the observation deck, the team took pictures of the New York skyline, and each other. They were always happy to spend time together away from the court, and the bonding was important for the team, especially as they were approaching the national championships. Although the air was chilly, their closeness as friends and teammates warmed them up enough to spend most of the morning on the top of New York.
The ride to Rockefeller Center passed quickly, and the coaches bought the team lunch at one of the more famous New York Deli's. After eating, some of the girls went shopping in nearby shops while Cynthia and a few others watched the skaters on the famous rink. At two in the afternoon, the team met back up at the bus for the ride to the venue for the game.
Toni was a little rushed after having used the snooze alarm a couple of times. She then had to spend time slowly stretching out her muscles after the tough workout with Cynthia the day before. A hot shower and a good breakfast had her feeling pretty good by the time she left.
Her first stop was at the hair salon for a professional styling. If it was just her, she would have just tied her hair back in a ponytail, but she knew her mentor was correct when he told her that image sold tickets, and tickets had been selling well since her debut. So she quietly submitted to the stylist and his professional talent.
Happy with her new do, she continued on to her next appointment at the tanning salon. Since it was February, most of the benefits of the summer sun had left her, and her skin tone was almost pale. Although she hated the idea, she had an appointment for a spray tan. The process was quick and painless, but annoying just the same. She was led back to her spray booth, and quickly removed her outerwear revealing a small black bikini. The attendant handed her goggles and a covering for her hair, while trying not to stare at the tall beauty in the small bikini. Ten minutes later she left the tanning salon a few shades darker.
Her last stop was a quick one since she had already tried it on a week before for the final fitting. The new outfit was again a nod to her mentor, Steven. It would sell tickets, and probably last for a couple of years. Again, it wasn't something she would have chosen, but she also knew it was best. It gave her a chance to do more with her image for the fans. At the last fitting, she had been surprised at how good she looked in it. With my new hair and tan, I'm sure the fans will like it. I wonder what Cynthia will think of it all? With the last thing on her list finished, she headed in to Kirkwood for lunch with her Mom.
The lunch had been surprisingly quiet. She could tell her mother wasn't happy, and she also knew why. "Look, Mom. I would really like you to come to the show. I know you don't like me doing it, but its something I enjoy. Would you please come just this once?"
"I'm sorry Toni. I just can't." Her mother stared at her plate. "I worried about you when you played those sports in high school. Every time you slid into base, or crashed to the floor my heart just stopped. What you are doing now is much more dangerous. I just can't do it. I'm sorry."
"I know you worry mom, but we do protect each other out there. We are licensed by the state to do what we do. We take every precaution we can, Mom. I wish you wouldn't worry."
Looking at her daughter sadly, "I'm your mother dear. It's my job to worry. I won't ever stop, so don't ask it of me. Someday I hope you'll understand that." Pearl shifted uneasily. "It's not just the physical aspect that worries me."
"What do you mean Mom?"
"Well, if something were to happen, I'm not sure your insurance from work would cover it if they knew what you were doing.."
"You are probably right there Mom, but let me put you at ease. Steven and his company has a policy that covers all of us while working for his show. If we are injured, we'll be taken care of."
"That eases my mind a bit. I did like Steven when you brought him for dinner. I was surprised too." Pearl flashed a quick grin at her daughter. "I never expected you to bring home a man for dinner."
"Mom!" Toni whined playfully while smiling at her mother. "I respect Steven a lot. He's taught me so much, and I really wanted you to meet him so you could have some faith in the people I work with there."
"Point taken, dear. He's good people." She wagged her finger at Toni. "You still won't get me to go."
Toni chuckled. "I may have something that may entice you to come."
"This should be good, go on dear."
"Cynthia will be there."
"Yep. We worked out together yesterday then had a long talk over lunch. We both apologized and explained why we reacted the way we did. I think she was more surprised at her comment than I was. After all, I've heard things like that before. She found that there were some things about herself she really didn't like, and she's working to change them."
Toni could tell that her mother was curious. "She told me a lot about her past. In fact I think she had a worse time in high school than I did."
Pearl's eyebrows arched in surprise. "Really?"
"In fact, I told her almost everything that happened to me. I told her about Jen, and Becky. Snyder, everything."
Pearl could not possibly look more surprised. "You did?"
"Yes, and Cynthia helped me through it. She was there for me emotionally. She even tried to get me to stop when she saw how hard it was for me. But I got through it, and I feel so much better now."
"I'm glad dear. I'm very glad. It was a very difficult time in your life and I am glad you were able to speak of it. I know you never have before. Why do you think you could with this girl?"
"Like I said, Cynthia was there for me. Made it easier for me. But the big thing was hearing her story. She's been through so much! More than I have I think. More than anyone I know. Yet she is still able to get through the day." Toni paused, an image of Cynthia smiling despite all the pain she has been through passing through her mind. "I think our friendship will be lifelong. I think we help and support each other."
"And do you still have other feelings for this girl?" Her mother asked in a worried tone.
"I admit I had a bit of a crush on her, but to be honest I know she's straight. For a time it was all I could do to not make a move." Toni laughed, a twinkle in her eye. "Then I realized that her friendship was more important to me than some fling. Once I realized that, those other feelings went away."
"And what does she think about this show tomorrow night?"
Toni laughed again. "She knows I compete in a sport. Sometimes against men. But that's it."
Pearl giggled like a schoolgirl. "Oh my. I'd like to see her face when she finds out."
Toni turned serious and caught her mother's eye. "You can, Mom. I really want you to come, and I want the family to be there early so we can keep Cynthia in suspense until just before the show."
Toni's mother sighed softly. "And who are you..." She paused and put her hands out to make the quotations motion. "...competing against?"
Toni smiled now. Knowing she had her mother right where she wanted her. "Steven"
"Okay, Okay! I'll be there."
"Thanks Mom. I really appreciate it."
"You just be careful Toni." Her mother warned, then she barked out a wicked little laugh. "Oh, by the way, nice tan!"
Toni growled, and playfully threw the unpaid check at her mother.
The game was part of a special event at Madison Square Garden. There were 6 games lasting most of the day. The Wash U. Bears were playing a very good Division I school that was ranked 24th in the country. Although they were ranked #1 in Division III, this was a big step up in competition for the Lady Bears. Cynthia was excited. Their game wasn't for another hour, so she decided to calm herself by calling her brother. After a couple of rings, her brother picked up and said hello.
"Hi Danny, it's Cyn"
"Sis! How's New York?"
"It's a bit chilly, but that didn't stop us from going out on the observation deck at the Empire State Building."
Her brother laughed. "With that bunch, I bet you spent more time talking than looking at the sights."
"We're women. Of course we talked!"
"Speaking of women..." Her bother hesitated.
"Well we are now. Did you ever get a chance to see if your new friend Toni had any interest in me?"
Uh oh! "Umm.... Well you were busy with that project of yours and I've been so busy with classes and games..." God! What should I tell him about Toni? I guess the truth is best. Toni is very open about being gay. I would hate to speak for her though. But it is my brother.
"Huh? Oh! Sorry Danny. My mind kinda wandered there for a bit."
Cynthia briefly talked about that night on the Loop with Toni. The meal, the conversation, and fun they had shared. Then she talked about their stroll around the loop window shopping, and the incident that led her to say the words that she regretted so much and that angered Toni so much.
"Cynthia! I can't believe you said that!"
"I know, and it angered Toni greatly. At first I didn't understand her anger. She tried to make some points about it, but I wouldn't let her. Her anger kind of scared me, and I didn't understand it. She said she had wanted us to be friends, but didn't think we could be. I was even more confused and asked her what was wrong. Then she spelled it out for me. She didn't think we could be friends because she didn't think I could handle the fact that she is gay. Then she stormed off, and I was to shocked to do anything more than stare after her."
Cynthia was expecting the shocked silence. But she wasn't expecting the laugh that was Danny's first reaction.
"She's a lesbian?" He asked.
"Yes, what's so funny?"
"Don't you get it, Sis? It fits so perfectly with all the choices I have made in life when it comes to women."
Unable to stop, she giggled loudly into her cell phone. "Danny..."
"No worries Sis. It just struck me as funny. I'm sorry you lost a potential friend over it."
"Well, there is good news on that front. I was able to track her down, and we both apologized to each other. After that incident, I did a bit of soul searching and found that because of what happened to me in high school, I had sort of assumed some of our parents attitudes about certain things without really giving it a thought. I found I didn't like some things about myself. So when I apologized, I also told her about... well... high school."
"Are you okay with that Sis?"
"Yes, Toni gave me the support I needed to talk about it. She was great! Anyway after I apologized, she wanted to apologize for her anger. I won't go in to details, but I think she may have had a worse high school experience than I did."
"But Cyn, you were..." Danny was unable to continue, the emotions he felt at the time coming to the fore.
"I know. I know. But what she went through was just as bad if not worse in another way. Anyway, we both had difficult things to talk about and we both supported each other while we talked. Of course, we both forgave each other, and I think we'll be very close as friends."
There was a long silence and Cynthia could tell that her brother was churning what she had said over in his mind.
"Cynthia, don't get mad now. But do you think she might be trying to..." Danny's voice trailed off.
Her brother sighed before he continued. "Do you think she may be trying to turn you into a lesbian?"
"Danny!" She exclaimed, anger clearly evident in her voice.
"I'm sorry Sis. Call me overprotective if you want. I'm just worried you may find yourself in a situation you don't want to be in."
Still angry, she replied. "Danny, I don't know what to tell you. I feel a lot for her as a friend, but I don't want to roll around a bed with her. Look, we're friends. We may even grow close. But you need to understand I will never do anything I don't want to do."
"Okay Cyn, cool your jets. I'm sorry. I just know that since... high school, you haven't really had a boyfriend, and I worry this woman might..."
"You can stop that thought right now. Toni wouldn't do that, to anyone. She's a very kind and considerate soul. Danny, I've trusted her with my past. That should tell you something."
"Okay, I'll back off. Just realize I worry because you are my favorite sister."
Despite herself, Cynthia smiled. "Okay Danny, but you know I am still your only sister."
"Good luck in the game tonight, Cyn. Its on ESPN you know."
"Yea I know. It's bad enough we're playing in front of 20,000 people, but it's on TV. I went to this school because it was Division III! Our biggest crowd since I've been here was under 500 people!"
"You'll be fine Sis."
"Thanks Danny. Tell Mom and Dad I'll call on Sunday."
"Will do. Bye Sis!"
Cynthia closed her phone. It seems I am not the only one to assume Mom and Dad's attitudes about certain things. I know Danny would like Toni if he got to know her a bit. The sounds of the coach calling the team together interrupted her thoughts, and she quickly packed her phone away and put on the jacket of the warm-up suit, she hurried over to the team meeting while trying to rein in her anger at her brother's words.
Toni had just placed her dinner in the oven to cook, and walked into the main room of her apartment to relax before eating. She turned on the television to catch the local news. She was glad to see her night out would not be marred by bad weather. She was glancing at the newspaper when the sports came on, but the mention of the Lady Bears basketball team got her attention.
After the report, she quickly changed the channel to ESPN and saw that the game was almost ready to start. She went into the kitchen to grab some water, made sure the timer would go off when her dinner was ready, then climbed on to the sofa to watch the game.
Ten minutes later, the timer went off for her dinner. Wash U. had just called their first time-out of the game because they were already down by 12 points. The commentators were talking about how Division III schools just couldn't compete at this level. Toni knew Cynthia was not playing well. Come on Cyn! Get yourself in gear! While the commercials played, she quickly removed her dinner from the oven and hurried back to the television.
After the time out was called, Christy went over to Cynthia. "What's wrong Cyn?"
Cynthia glared at Christy. "Don't know."
"Cyn, whatever you are angry about, get over it. We can play with these guys if you get your head on straight!"
The girls went over to the bench. Coach Fahey went over their game plan while trying to convince the girls to relax. Cynthia knew the coach's eye remained on her longer than the others. She shook her head to try to clear out her thoughts and nodded at the coach. Soon the girls were back out on the court, but had to wait for the TV people to say it was okay to start.
"So what has got you so mad?"
Cynthia turned to Christy. "My brother said something about Toni that pissed me off."
"Whatever it was, was there any truth to it?"
Cynthia's eyes turned flinty. "No!"
"Then deal with your brother later. We need your head in the game now."
Cynthia took a deep breath and nodded. Thinking of Toni with a smile on her face allowed her to finally push the angry thoughts out of her head. When the referee handed the ball to her, she knew her head was in the game.
Toni listened to the comentators talk about what a great player Cynthia was. The Lady Bears had upset the Kansas State Wildcats, and Cynthia was being praised as one of the great front court players in the country. There was a quick interview with her from the court and she was asked what had fueled their turn around in the first half.
"It's simple. We took that time out and Coach Fahey got us all to relax. We are a good team, and as long as we concentrate on just what happens on the court, I believe we can beat anyone."
"You scored 26 with 15 assists and were guarded by one of the top defenders in the country. Where have you been hiding?"
Cynthia laughed and replied. "I had a great game, sure. But we all did. When they keyed on me, we got the ball to Christy in the paint. The forwards came out and gave me great picks. Basketball is a team effort, and we are definitely a good team." Cynthia paused and looked right into the camera. "But we are all students, and we play in Division III for educational reasons. We might not have scholarships, but we have great players. I urge everyone to catch a Division III game in their area, I think you will be pleasantly surprised."
"Thank you, Cynthia." The reporter turned to face the camera. "For those just tuning in, Division III, Washington University led by Cynthia Pennington has defeated the Kansas State Wildcats, 85 to 67. Back to you, Steve."
Toni clicked off the television and leaned back in to the sofa cushions. What a great game! Whatever got her out of that early funk, she needs more of it! Toni rose and quickly changed. She was going to her favorite bar to pass out flyers for the show the next day. The girls at Novacks supported everyone's endeavors, and she was sure she could get a few to show up.
The team was delayed by press interviews after the game, and barely made it to the airport in time for their flight. When they reached St. Louis, the local news stations and newspapers were there to greet them. Eventually they climbed aboard a bus for the trip back to campus. Cynthia snagged a seat next to Christy as the bus pulled away.
She leaned over and whispered. "Thanks for getting my head in the game Chris"
Christy whispered back, "What the hell did your brother say to you?"
"Well, I told him about Toni and our argument, and that we made up. Then he started accusing her of something she wouldn't do just because she's..." Her voice trailed off.
"Because she's what?"
Realizing she needed to tell Christy everything, she leaned closer. "She's gay. And my brother thinks she was trying to recruit me to the gay life."
"There's a good one. Gay people don't recruit. Sexual orientation is part of who a person is. Some people know early in life, and others need to grow as a person before they can find where they stand."
"I know that. But knowing Toni the way I do and hearing that from my brother got me so mad..."
"Well, I'm glad I could help."
"Both you and Toni helped."
"Yea, I just imagined the smile on her face when I'll tell her how my brother wanted me to set him up on a date with her, and all of a sudden my anger was gone. Your words, and her smile was all I needed."
Christy turned and looked at Cynthia closely. "It's a good thing you can picture her smile so clearly." She smiled slightly and continued. "I'm glad we both could help you out."
Most of the girls had fallen asleep so the rest of the ride back to campus was quiet. Cynthia was thankful that her house was only a few blocks from campus, she was soon home and in bed. Her dreams were filled with images from the game, New York, and of Toni's smile.
Toni got to Novacks by nine o'clock. She passed out flyers to everyone she knew, and left a stack by the door. Some of her friends talked her into a few rounds of washers. While playing, Nancy Novack brought her a drink on the house and assured her that she at would be at the show. After a few more games of washers, Toni made the rounds to tell everyone good-bye. She needed to be at Steven's early with the other performers so they could move everything to the venue.
Back at the apartment, she set up everything she would need in the morning. She crawled into bed just after midnight. I'm so glad Cynthia will be there. I hope she likes it. It will be good to see her again. Turning over on to her side, she quickly fell asleep.
Continued in Chapter 7
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