Monday, November 6
Rules for playing Weddas
1) Each player draws a letter. The player whose letter is the closest to A goes first. Play continues clockwise.
2) Each player draws 7 tiles.
3) The first player spells a word on the table.
4) Players take turns building off that word.
5) The player with the most points at the end wins.
Each letter is work one point. If a player makes multiple words on a single turn, each word is counted separately.
Clear rack bonus = extra 10 points
New board = 20 point penalty
NOTE: Playing more than one game a day can be dangerous to your health!
It was strange to have my Monday afternoon free. Wheeler Weekend had marked the end of all sports, including my dance class.
A number of people decided to spend the afternoon in the MAC. The place was hopping as I headed up to the loft. I found Walter sitting in the corner. When I slid into the booth across from him, he held up the little green Weddas bag.
“You said like Parents’ Weekend. I talked to Pat. He’s joining us. You want a snack?”
I wasn’t that hungry. But the grilled food smelled so good. I figured I should probably get some fries. Maybe a milkshake.
I was sliding back into my seat when Pat arrived. He flashed me his winning smile as he sat beside me.
“What’s up, third formers? Why the summons?”
“Melinda said you wanted to hang out.” I could hear the note of bitterness in Walter’s voice. “So this is us hanging out. In public. You want a snack?”
Pat looked between his brother and the Weddas bag before pointing to my fries.
“Can I have some?”
“That depends. Do you have his appetite?” I pointed a fry at Walter with a smirk.
Pat laughed and even Walter smiled.
“I’ll get my own.” Pat slid out of the booth.
Walter turned to his brother. “Hey, can you get me some, too?”
“Maybe.” I knew he would. There was a look in his eyes. I knew he was happy his brother was making the effort to spend time with him.
I followed the voice to the other side of the loft. A girl I recognized from Latin class walking towards us. She smiled as she reached the table. “Oh, hey Walter.”
“Hi, Zayne. How’s it going?”
“Not great.” Zayne plopped herself beside me with a sigh. “I didn’t do so hot on our pop quiz Saturday.” She turned to me. “How’d you do?”
I shrugged. “I dunno yet. I just took it today. But, I felt pretty good about it. I checked Walter’s after class and I think I did okay.”
Zayne nodded. “You seem to always know what’s going on in class.” She glanced at Walter. “Both of you. I think you’re like the two best students in the class.” She turned back to me. “I know this is asking a lot, but I was wondering if maybe we could study together. Maybe you could help me understand what’s going on. I always think I understand it, and then I don’t seem to do well on the tests.”
I sighed. “Well, I don’t mind. But, I don’t know how much help I really am. I mean, I study with Walter. He’s the one who helps me understand it.”
Walter nodded. “You’re welcome to join us.”
Zayne sent me a hopeful look. “Maybe tonight?”
I shook my head. “I have orchestra tonight.”
Walter shrugged one shoulder. “I could still help you. I study in the library, up on the second floor. If you bring your homework, I can help you with it.”
“Oh, thanks!” Zayne looked relieved as she got to her feet. “I’ll see you tonight.”
She hurried to the line as Pat returned with two containers of fries. I thought I saw her glance back, but Walter didn’t seem to notice. Pat slid in beside me, passing Walter one of the cartons and nodding in Zayne’s direction.
I smirked. “Walter’s gonna help her in Latin.”
Walter turned red and I was surprised at the mild pang of jealousy I felt. Pat wasn’t my boyfriend. There was nothing saying he couldn’t look at other girls.
He turned to me. “You’re cuter.”
Walter glared at his brother. “Stop that. Now. No flirting during Weddas.”
“Sorry.” Pat sounded anything but. “Couldn’t help it.”
I bit back a smirk, shoving another fry into my mouth. Walter passed out the tile holders, placing the extra ones on the side, then passed the bag around for everyone to select one tile.
“Q,” said Walter.
“K.” Pat turned to me. “I guess you’re going first.”
I reached into the bag, holding up my tile for the boys to see. “X.”
“I stand corrected.”
We returned our tiles to the bag and Pat shook it a few times. After everyone picked their letters, he placed the word frown on the table.
I had a lot of fun playing with the boys. Every so often, the boys would get overly excited and their loud voices would have other people glancing at us. Otherwise, it almost felt like Parents’ Weekend.
But not quite. Things had definitely changed in the past two weeks. The first time Pat brushed his arm against mine, I was pretty sure it was an accident. A warmth spread from my arm to my belly and I couldn’t help but remember our last kiss. I sent him a quick smile before returning my attention to my tiles. I didn’t want to make Walter uncomfortable.
Pat’s arm brushed against mine a few more times. He was definitely doing it on purpose. And, I wasn’t objecting. I loved the way I felt when he was near me.
When there were no more tiles in the bag, we kept playing until Pat and Walter had cleared their trays. I couldn’t find any place to use my letters, so I kept passing.
Walter tallied the final scores. “So, I won with one hundred and twenty points. Pat, you had a hundred and Melinda, you had sixty. That’s not bad.”
It was only half of Walter’s score. But, before I could sulk, Pat’s arm was around me. He leaned closer, using his free hand to pull my tray closer to him.
“Lemme see your tiles.” He rearranged them a moment. “You could have gotten a bunch more words. See, if you put this here,” he picked up a tile and placed it in a corner formed by the intersection of two words, “you get these three words and . . . eighteen points.”
I shook my head. “I know all those words, too. I just didn’t see it.”
Pat picked up another tile and placed it at the end of a word. “You could have played this, too.”
“Maybe I’ll do better next time.” I shrugged, snuggling a little closer to Pat.
Walter glanced at his watch. “Wanna play again?”
I shook my head vehemently. “No! Definitely not. I like this game, but only once a day. More than that, I’ll go nuts!”
Pat laughed as he removed his arm and started helping Walter place all the tiles into the bag. “So, whaddaya say? Should we do this again tomorrow?” He was asking me, but I knew I wasn’t the one who needed to make the decision. I glanced across the table.
Walter shrugged. “Yeah, I guess so.”
I was a little surprised to see Pat coming towards our lunch table Tuesday afternoon. He hadn’t been sitting with us very often. Sarah and Larry were so absorbed in their conversation, I didn’t think they saw him.
There were several seats between me and Walter. Pat plopped himself into one. Was it my imagination or did he pick the one closer to me on purpose?
After sending me a quick smile, he pointed his fork at his brother. “So, how was your date last night?”
At the word date, Sarah’s head snapped in our direction.
“Date? Who had a date?” She looked around before pointing at me. “You had orchestra. I know. I was there.”
Walter was turning red and Pat and Larry were both smirking. Giggling, I did my best to explain. “You know Zayne? I forgot her last name.”
Sarah looked towards the ceiling as she recalled the information. “It starts with a K. Its unpronounceable. She’s on the . . . third floor? I think so. Single, I think.” She looked back towards Walter. “You had a date last night?”
Walter seemed to have recovered. “Kryszak. I asked her last night. And, no, we did not have a date, which you very well know.” He glared at Pat.
I had almost stopped giggling, but not quite. “Anyway, Zayne came up to me yesterday asking for help in Latin. I told her Walter helps me and invited her to study with us. When I told her I had rehearsal last night, she still wanted to study with Walter.”
“You didn’t tell me this.” Larry sounded pained as he looked at his friend.
“Um, when exactly was I supposed to tell you? You didn’t show up to dinner last night and when I was looking for you during break, Andy said you were with Sarah.”
“You could have said something this morning.”
“Honestly, I forgot by this morning. Zayne and I studied Latin together. I also helped her with her algebra a little. Then, we just worked quietly for a while. I did mention how you and I do the assignments in advance –”
“What?” Pat flashed me that famous smile. “You do extra homework?”
I closed my eyes with a sigh before looking at him. “No. I just do it early. So, today is Tuesday. All the homework I was supposed to do tonight, I did it last night. So, today, I could better understand what my teachers are saying. Or participate in class discussions a little better. Tonight, I’ll do the assignments for tomorrow night. Except art. I just draw whatever Mr. Rockwell assigns in class. He never gave us a syllabus.” I looked past him to Walter. “So, is she going to study with us?”
“Not every night. But, she said she might like to join us once in a while. Especially before next week’s quiz.”
Larry turned to Sarah. “Did you know about this extra homework thing?”
I could feel my face growing warm. Why was everyone so hung up on this? “Why is this a big deal?”
“Yeah. She told me about it a long time ago. She got the idea from . . .”
Thankfully, Sarah didn’t finish that thought. As much as I hated thinking about my first boyfriend, the slimeball, he had been the one to mention doing homework early.
Unfortunately, Larry and Pat would not let the issue die. They both looked around the table until Larry voiced what they both were thinking.
“Who? She got the idea from who?”
“Whom.” Pat’s correction sounded automatic. I had no idea why, but I like it.
Walter frowned into his water. “An arrogant narcissist who shall remain nameless.”
Larry thought for a moment. “Nope. Clueless.”
“The first guy she dated,” Sarah whispered.
Larry called Mike an unflattering name that made all of us smile.
Pat shook his head. “I feel out of the loop. But, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, so I’ll just have Walter tell me later.” I was pretty sure he wasn’t serious, but I couldn’t be positive with that smile. Then again, I knew Walter would never tell him without asking me first.
Thankfully, Sarah changed the subject.
“Hey, anyone wanna go to the coffee shop this afternoon?”
I frowned. “I usually go there Wednesdays after school to kill time before CCD. I don’t think I want to go two days in a row.”
“We could go to Checkmate.”
We all looked at Pat. He raised his eyebrows. “You guys haven’t discovered Checkmate yet? Okay. We’re going there this afternoon. Everyone bring five bucks and meet me behind Stanton at three”
Larry narrowed his eyes across the table. “What are you getting us into, bro?”
Pat smiled. “You’ll love it.”
Tuesday, November 7
(Author note: I am not sure what this journal entry should be about. Any suggestions? Leave a comment below.)
I’m not sure exactly what happened, but the next morning Walter joined me for our morning run like everything was normal. After stretching in front of his dorm, he headed up the steps and I started towards Claybourne. He shouted to me from the doorway.
“Hey. MAC Attack. After classes. Weddas.”
I thought I saw the ghost of a smile as he went into the building.
I wasn’t about to turn down a game of Weddas. When I arrived that afternoon, I was surprised to see Melinda sitting across from him. I smiled as I sat beside her.
“What’s up, third formers? Why the summons?”
“Melinda said you wanted to hang out.” Walter was smiling, but his tone still held some anger. “So, this is us hanging out. In public. You want a snack before we start?”
I looked at Walter a moment before turning to Melinda. “Can I have some?” I pointed to her fries.
“That depends,” she said coyly. She pointed a fry at Walter. “Do you have his appetite?”
She was adorable. I laughed and Walter smiled. “I’ll get my own.”
“Hey, can you get me some, too?” Walter asked as I slid out of the booth.
“Maybe.” He was my brother and he was finally making an effort to spend some time with me. Of course I would get him fries.
As I returned to the table, I saw a girl talking to Walter and Melinda. She went to stand in line as I slid in beside Melinda.
“Friend?” I passed Walter his basket.
Melinda smiled. “Walter’s gonna help her in Latin.”
“She’s cute.” When my brother started to turn red, I winked Melinda. “You’re cuter.”
“Stop that. Now,” Walter insisted. “No flirting during Weddas.”
“Sorry,” I said, not meaning it. “Couldn’t help it.”
Playing Weddas with Walter felt almost like we were back at home, except when we got overly excited about a word, like Walter complaining when I used qat, our voices carried across the MAC. I noticed people looking in our direction, but I think Walter may have been blissfully oblivious. And, of course, there was Melinda.
The first time I brushed my arm against hers, I was reaching for a fry as she was rearranging the tiles on her tray. I had the sudden desire to kiss her, but I didn’t. She smiled at me and I wondered if she was thinking the same as I was. Luckily, Walter was too concerned about beating me that he failed to notice. As the game went on, I brushed my arm against hers a few more times. I loved the way it made me feel, but I also loved the smile I got in return.
After Walter used the last tiles in the bag, we played until Walter and I cleared our trays. I could see Melinda’s frustration as she continued to pass, unable to form words.
When Walter announced he had won, I placed my arm around Melinda. The game was over, so I could flirt now, right?
I leaned closer and pulled her tray towards me. “Lemme see your tiles.” I examined them a moment while looking at the board. “You could have gotten a bunch more words.” I picked up a tile and placed it in the corner formed by two words. “See, if you put this here, you get these three words and…” I counted the tiles involved. “Eighteen points.”
Melinda shook her head. “I know all those words, too. I just didn’t see it.”
I picked up another tile and placed it at the end of a word. “You could have played this, too.”
“Maybe I’ll do better next time,” Melinda shrugged under my arm, but she wasn’t shrugging me away. Actually, I thought she might have leaned into me.
Walter checked the time. “Wanna play again?”
Melinda shook her head. “No! Definitely not. I like this game, but only once a day. More than that, I’ll go nuts!”
I laughed, releasing Melinda so I could use both hands to help my brother clean up. “So, whaddaya say? Should we do this again tomorrow?”
Melinda looked to Walter, who shrugged. “Yeah, I guess so.”