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Spencer walked across the quad from her class heading back to her room. She hadn’t seen Michael all day, which was strange, though she had to admit to be grateful for it. There was too much on her mind. Spencer had been prepared to give herself to Ashley the night before. She wanted to go to all the way with her, which was very unlike how she felt for Michael. Spencer thought Ashley felt the same way about her. Ashley seemed to be all over the map as well. Just the previous night Spencer was ready to call it off with Michael, but after the way Ashley bolted from the pool, now that decision wasn’t quite so clear. What did Ashley want from her? Spencer wished and hoped she knew so she could give it to her, and in return Ashley would give herself to Spencer. It was one theory anyway.
Speak of the devil, she thought as she noticed Ashley coming her way. Spencer needed to speak to her. Ashley owed an explanation at least.
“Ash, can I talk to you?”
Ashley almost looked startled. “Not now, Spencer.”
Since when did I become Spencer instead of Spence? “I just want to speak to you for one minute. You owe me that much.”
She stopped and turned angry eyes on Spencer. “I don’t owe you anything.”
“Oh really? I was ready to give myself to you last night and you ran off like a petulant child. What am I supposed to think?”
“Think what you want.”
“What I think is you’re playing mind games with me and I’m not going to take it anymore,” Spencer spat.
“Mind games? You’re the one with a girlfriend!” Ashley was trying to keep her tone to a whisper, but her emotions were getting the better of her.
Spencer didn’t notice because she felt the exact same way. “I know that. I told you I wanted to be with you. With you! I was willing to leave her last night for you. But you didn’t even have the dignity to tell me how you were feeling.”
“Spencer, I don’t want you to leave Michael.”
Spencer looked at Ashley with hurt and confusion in her eyes. “Are you sure?”
“Very. She seems to care about you. Why give that up?”
“Maybe because I care about you.”
“Hey babe. What’s going on?” Michael asked suddenly startling them both.
Spencer looked Ashley in the eyes and waited. Waited for her to say something, anything, but she didn’t. That helped Spencer make her decision. “Nothing, Mike. Come on, let’s go.” Spencer grabbed Michael’s eager to get away.
Ashley felt like crap. She wanted so badly to fight for Spencer, to tell her she wanted her for herself. She wanted to come clean about the bet and make her understand that no race mattered so long as Ashley could have Spencer’s heart. It was too late to say that now. She was in too deep. Spencer would never forgive her for the bet, not to mention all the other information she was privy to. Ashley knew Michael would do everything in her power to make sure that Ashley never got Spencer, even if it meant Michael losing Spencer as well. The one thing Ashley could count on was Michael cutting off her nose to spite her face. The one thing Ashley knew was Michael had way too many balls in the air and was bound to drop one eventually. She always did. Ashley just hoped when that happened it wasn’t too late for her and Spencer. Even a friendship was better than nothing.
Practice the next day was strained. There was something in the air. Ashley was cold and distant. Spencer was confused and pensive. Mac and Stacey were peculiar and obvious. Julia was quiet and somber. The only person who seemed unaffected was Michael.
Even the coach noticed the tone and let practice out early. “I don’t know what everyone’s problem is today, but get it together girls! See you in two days for the All-Star invites. Dismissed.”
“Well Jules it’s in the bag now,” Michael smiled. “Spencer’s not even looking at Ashley, let alone speaking or sleeping with her. It’s just a matter of time.”
Julia rolled her eyes as she continued to rummage through her locker. She had held her tongue this long, now wasn’t the time for an outburst.
Michael went on undaunted. “It’s going to be so sweet to see the look on her face when she realizes she lost. And what’s even better is Spencer will never know about it. I think she and I can really build something together from here.”
Julia whirled on Michael. “Build something? You don’t even really like her!”
“Yes, I do. What gave you that idea?”
“I don’t know, the fact that you’ve been sleeping with me!”
Michael frowned. “Would you keep it down, please? Spencer is right over there.”
Julia began to raise her voice. “I don’t care. All I listen to is Spencer, Spencer, Spencer…”
If Spencer hadn’t been paying attention before she sure was now at the sound of her name being repeated. All the girls started watching as Julia broke down.
“…I’m sick of it. I’ve done everything in my power to help you and remain quiet, but I can’t anymore.”
“Quiet about what?” Michael asked incredulously.
“I’m in love with you! Can’t you see that?”
By now Spencer had slowly approached the pair watching as tears slowly poured down Julia’s face.
“Why would I continue to sleep with you almost every night if I didn’t?”
Spencer’s eyes went wide at the realization. Michael whipped her head around finding Spencer watching. She couldn’t find anything to say.
Ashley too watched from afar.
“Look at me, Mike!” Julia demanded. “Not her. The bet is over. I won’t help you anymore.”
Now Ashley decided to interject. “Participate?”
Julia looked at Ashley with hurt in her eyes. She didn’t mean for Ashley to find out. “Michael’s been using me as a mole to find out how far you got with Spencer.”
Spencer snapped out of thoughts of anger toward Michael. “How far she got with me? Ashley, what is she talking about? Does this have something to do with last night?”
Ashley shook her head. “Last night was a mistake.”
“A mistake? You felt what I felt, Ashley. You wanted me just as much as I wanted you.”
Spencer knew Michael was listening, but after Julia’s little revelation she didn’t care.
“Because you have a girlfriend maybe?” Michael snapped.
“Don’t give me that shit, Mike. You’ve been screwing your roommate this entire time.”
Michael fell silent.
Spencer turned back to Ashley. “Tell me what’s going on.”
Ashley couldn’t find the words.
Julia decided to speak up. “They had a bet, Spencer.”
Spencer looked at her with pure malice in her eyes “A bet?”
“Yes. It was to see which one of them could have sex with you in lane ten first.”
All the other girls gasped at the realization as they watched the show.
Spencer turned to Ashley again. “What’s the prize, Ash? Huh? What am I worth?”
Ashley eyes welled with throat closing with emotion.
“Answer me Davies!”
“The loser couldn’t compete in the All-Star meet,” she finally choked out.
“Wow. That’s quite a prize there. Didn’t know I meant so much…” She spun back around to Michael. “To either of you.”
Spencer fell silent for what felt like an eternity. Both Michael and Ashley held their breath as they waited for her to say something.
“So let me get this right. Michael and Ashley had a bet of who could sleep with me first. Julia has been acting like a mole and sleeping with both of you. Michael, you’ve been so supportive and nice just to get in my pants and Ashley you were never really my friend. Did I get all that right?
“That’s not true. I made this bet before I really knew you…” Ashley tried.
“Save it! I believed you when you said I was special. I’m such an idiot.” Spencer couldn’t even look at her. She reached around her neck and snatched the gold chain Michael had given her off. “Here take this back. I don’t want it.”
Michael caught the broken chain. “Spencer don’t…”
“Don’t what? See you for the liar and cheater that you are? Give it to Julia. I’m sure you two will be very happy together. Let me just announce that no one won the bet. So you both are free to participate in the race if you make it. Congratulations.”
Something dawned on Spencer as she began to gather her things to leave. She looked at McKenzie and Stacey. “You knew didn’t you?”
“Only about Michael and Julia,” Mac defended. “Everyone knows they’ve been sleeping together for months.”
Spencer looked Ashley in the face for the first time. “You knew too?”
Ashley nodded silently.
“I’m the only asshole walking around here in the dark. Thanks guys.”
Spencer threw her bag over her shoulder and stormed out.