Susan Holland leaned back on the bleacher, her arms around one knee. Kendall was out on the field, pitching against the team from the hardware store. Her father’s team of mechanics was winning. Susan’s older brother was out there, too. She couldn’t believe he’d been in college for a year already. He’d brought a girl home this summer for a few days. Amy. She was nice, or seemed that way to Susan, at least.
Her gaze didn’t leave Kendall. She’d already struck out two of the hardware store’s players. And she was grinning at them while she did it.
Something about Kendall’s grin always had light bursting through her.
Susan shook off that thought. She seemed to be doing that a lot with thoughts lately. Particularly the ones that revolved around Kendall. It didn’t make any sense. Kendall was her best friend. Had been practically from the time they were born. Her mom had pictures of the two of them playing together when they couldn’t do more than crawl. Kendall had always been more like a sister than anything.
But, for the last several months, Susan hadn’t been thinking of her like a sister. And it was so wrong. Kendall’s mom had just died, and while she was still grieving, Susan had started having these thoughts. She didn’t mean to, but every time she gave Kendall a hug, held her while she cried, she couldn’t seem to help it. And Kendall was always touching her.
Kendall had always been like that. Even as kids, she was always holding Susan’s hand when they went somewhere, hugging, brushing their arms together. Just. Always. Touching. And then just before Kendall’s mom had died, Susan’s best friend had told her she wasn’t attracted to boys but to girls. Maybe it should have made Susan uncomfortable. But, it was Kendall. She’d never been uncomfortable around her.
Not until recently, but not because of her revelation. But, that was just silly. It was Kendall. And Susan was attracted to boys. So, it didn’t mean anything.
Kendall threw one last pitch and struck out the final batter. And Susan watched as Kendall’s dad ran from where he’d been playing as catcher and picked Kendall up in his arms. It might only be a community baseball game, but they celebrated a win as if it were more important than that.
Susan headed down the bleachers and waited by the edge of the fence. Kendall turned her head, saw her, and beamed. Then, she was jumping out of her dad’s arms and running over to Susan. “Did you see that?”
“I did,” Susan said. “You were great.”
Kendall leaned forward and pressed her lips to Susan’s cheek.
Warmth flooded through her at the touch, and she wanted to…No. This didn’t mean anything. She pulled back. “So…I thought I heard your dad say something about ice cream if you guys won.”
Kendall laughed and pulled her to where the rest of the team was gathered. It didn’t mean anything. Kendall was just her best friend. That was all.
Note: If you read any of the snippets I’ve posted from Love Who You Love, you’ve seen bits of Susan and Kendall’s story. But, here, they’re only ~16 and still figuring things out.