The One That I Want

The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols

Book: The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jennifer Echols
teenager having all the fun, and I was a million years old.
    “Please, Gemma.” Addison poked out her bottom lip.
    Had she said . . .
please
? To
me
? She must have been delirious from the milkshake sugar rush.
    “This will be my first chance to go on an actual date,” she said.
    Right. It was always about her. I wasn’t doing it this time. Not anymore. I opened my mouth to protest.
    She saw she was losing me and added quickly, “
Your
first chance too. Your first date ever will be with a gorgeous blond hunk who’s the quarterback of the rival football team! What do you think Robert and the rest of the trumpets will say to
that
?”
    Robert and the rest of the trumpets would make some very funny, very lewd jokes about it. And if meaty Carter found out what they’d said about me and showed up at school to defend me, they would run hide in the girls’ bathroom. What sweet revenge for the way Robert had treated me!
    “Okay,” I said. “Sure. I’ll go out with Carter.” I felt like I was jumping off the high dive as I said it. Granted, I hadn’t been off the high dive since I was little, but I remembered that feeling: a burst of carefree energy, a sense of complete freedom, followed by an ache in the pit of my stomach as I looked down and realized what I’d done.
    “Great! I’ll go tell the guys.” She flounced away without bothering to say
Thank you, Gemma
, or
I owe you one, Gemma
, or
Next time we both like the same boy, you can have him, Gemma
.
    Grumbling to myself, I finished my text message to my mom and hit send.
    With heavy feet, I dragged myself back to the table. Hoping they’d finished eating so we wouldn’t have to carry on our awkward conversation any longer—at least not for another week, hooray!—I stood next to Carter. If anybody expected me to throw myself in his lap, they were going to be disappointed.
    Nope, nobody seemed to expect this. Neither Carter nor Max looked up at me. Addison chatted away animatedly even though nobody seemed to be paying attention. When she saw me, she said, “Speak of the devil!”
    Oh God. I did not even want to know what she meant by that. I smiled glamorously. The majorette grin was coming in handy lately for both of us.
    “Ready to go?” Max smiled, too, as he asked this, but he sounded about half as happy as he had before I left the table. Depressed that he’d made a date with Addison, probably. Served him right.
    “Yes!” Addison and I said in unison. Addison was enthusiastic. I was faking it like the Best Majorette Ever. She gave me a playful little slap on the face for saying the same thing she’d said at the same time. Her reaction would have been kind of cute if I had not been about to strangle her.
    Thankfully, it was another short walk from the Varsity to the MARTA station. The sidewalk was crowded with rush hour pedestrians—Georgia Tech students with backpacks and businesspeople who worked in the skyscrapers. Small talk was impossible while we were surrounded. As we descended the stairs into the station, a train was waiting. I thought we would catch it and be spared more small talk, but noooo! Just as we reached the platform, the doors closed and the train pulled away.
    Dejectedly, I sat down on a concrete bench set into a wall covered in a bright tile mural. Max and Addison talked as they walked toward me. Carter lagged behind. If models in men’s fashion magazines were supposed to look buff and sullen, he had a job waiting for him in case this quarterback thing didn’t work out.
    To my surprise, Max sat beside me on the bench. Addison sat beside him. Even though there was space on my other side, Carter sat beside her.
    Well, of course. Carter didn’t want to go out with me. Both Carter and Max wanted to go out with Addison. Max had been hooked from the first flirt, and now Carter had gotten on board. I often felt like the odd chick out when Addison tried to land a guy, but this time I wasn’t even the third wheel. I was the fourth

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