“You guys! You know what I just realized? It’s the penultimate Thursday of May!” Tamara Glenn announced, stepping out into the sunshine with two huge, whipped-cream-topped iced mocha lattes. “Do you realize what that means?”
Drew Benson looked at his friends, amused, and a couple of them rolled their eyes. Tamara was always psyched up about something. In fact, a lot of Drew’s friends found her constant optimism irritating. But Drew kind of liked it. It was nice to have someone around who was always looking on the bright side. Plus, Tamara was not bad to look at, with her perfect dancer’s bod and her long blond hair. Drew hadn’t been interested in her that way since they’d gone out back in eighth grade (back when everyone called them Ken and Barbie), but she had always been a good friend. So he decided to humor her.
“No. What does that mean?” Drew asked, kicking back in his chair outside Washingtonville’s very own Starbucks. The sun was shining as it started to dip toward the horizon, and half the school was either loitering on the sidewalk in the center of their quaint Pennsylvania town or hanging out inside the coffee shop. In the warm air, Drew could practically taste the impending summer and all the delicious freedom it would bring.
“It means that in exactly six weeks, graduation will happen, and we will officially be seniors,” Tamara announced.
That got the entire table’s attention. Drew and his friends whistled and cheered, lifting their iced teas and lattes toward the sky. Drew reached across the table to slap hands with Jason Szonyi, his best friend and fellow football player, enjoying the camaraderie of the moment. Every time Drew thought about being a senior, he felt a lightness in his chest that he’d never experienced before.
Senior year. The entire social hierarchy of Washingtonville High was going to change, and Drew Benson, as president of the senior class and starting quarterback of the football team, was going to be on top. He and his friends were going to rule the school and dominate on the field. Best of all, Drew’s older brother, Trey, would finally, finally, be gone. The great Trey Benson was actually going to be forced to abdicate his throne.
“Yeah, everyone except me,” Sally Chou lamented with a sigh. Sally was Tamara’s sophomore friend and the new girlfriend of Clay Carradine—a defensive lineman from the team. She rested her chin on her folded arms and pulled her long, black ponytail over her shoulder to chew on the end.
“Hey. Don’t be harshing my vibe,” Tamara joked, shoving her lightly.
“Dude, I cannot wait,” Clay said, leaning his elbows on the table, causing his massive lineman’s biceps to bulge. “A whole new flock of freshmen females to plunder.”
“Ew! Clay! That is so not what I meant,” Tamara said, whacking his hulking shoulder.
“Yeah, man. Have a little respect,” Drew said.
Drew’s friends jeered, but Tamara shot him a thankful look. Drew smiled back but then, the second her back was turned, wagged his tongue at her comically. All the guys cracked up.
“She’s right, though, guys,” Drew said, lifting his red and white Washingtonville High baseball cap off his head to scratch at his blond hair. “This is big stuff. Senior year. We have to make sure that we don’t waste a second of it.”
“Yeah,” the guys muttered in agreement, nodding and looking around.