about paula
clique lounge


Don't Get it Twisted "Shorty, I want you to be my entourage" Omarion, Entourage

The Frenzy

R U down?

Mina Mooney stood, hunched over the back of the chair at her desk, staring at the three words on her monitor. Her stomach rumbled. From hunger or anxiety, Mina wasn't sure.

Two seconds ago, it was definitely hunger.

Sick of leftover turkey, mashed potatoes and all the other food they'd eaten on Thanksgiving and all yesterday, she'd been ravenous at the thought of sinking her teeth into something that wasn't stuffed or covered in gravy. When her mom burst into the room, plopped down on the bed, rousing Mina from a sound sleep with a tickle to the neck and a proposal that they cook a very un-Thanksgiving family breakfast, Mina eagerly shook off the early—if you could call ten thirty a.m. early—morning haze fogging her head.

That was five minutes ago. Now...

She wanted to be sure that she understood Craig Simpson's words correctly. He was asking her out. Wasn't he?

Mina swiveled the chair with her knee and let her butt hover over the seat in a half-sit, half-standing stance. She scrolled the screen and read the short exchange, again.

Bluedevils33: Ay what up?

BubbliMi: Nuthin' ready to go eat

Bluedevils33: O. U know 'bout the Frenzy?

Mina knew. It was all JZ had talked about the last two weeks since football season ended. It was the big bash Coach Banner held for the varsity football team at his McMansion in Folger's Way, Del Rio Bay's ritziest neighborhood, to celebrate the season.

BubbliMi: yeah. heard they had strippers last year

Bluedevils33: LOL. whatever. people b x-ageratin! It's not that bad

BubbliMi: I figured..but u never know! Y'all ballers can get out of control- ha ha

Bluedevils33: tru dat. But naw it ain't nothin' like that.

BubbliMi: I'll have 2 take ur word 4 it

Bluedevils33: No u can see 4 urself. u want go w/me to the party?

And that's when Mina had shut down, unable to move, type, blink or breathe. It was while she was trying to come back to her senses when the last message came in...

Bluedevils33: R U down?

Mina stared at the screen, letting the words sink in. She wanted to type "seriously?" but figured that sounded stupid.

She rested a knee in the chair, a big grin on her brown sugar face. Craig was finally asking her out. Exactly four weeks ago they had spent the night bumping, grinding and getting their dance on at a party Mina had for her best friend Lizzie. Since then she and Craig talked more at school than they had before and IM'ed when they were online at the same time, but nothing drastic had changed between them.

Now, he was asking her out. And not just any date—no movies or grabbing a slice at Rio's 'Ria, the hot hangout spot in Del Rio Bay. Craig was asking her to go with him to the annual Blue Devil's Football Frenzy. She ignored the images the word "frenzy" brought to mind and instead tried to picture the forty-member football team playing rowdy rounds of Spades, Madden football or Checkers.

Yeah, right.

JZ had already given her and the clique an earful about the Frenzy. Board games and Playstation were never mentioned.

JZ and a few other select junior varsity football players, those who were definitely making varsity next year, were invited to the Frenzy. JZ was the main reason the JV football team had gone on to win the county championship. The invite to the Frenzy was a not so subtle acknowledgement that next year's tryouts were only a formality. JZ's future place on the varsity food chain was set.

The only reason JZ wasn't on Varsity football this season, as a freshman, was because of his father. He wanted sports second on JZ's priority list. But JZ was a die-hard athlete—football in the fall, basketball in the winter and track in spring to stay in shape. He trained like a pro—running several miles a day and lifting weights several times a week. Even if sports were second on JZ's schedule, because Mr. Zimms said so, football and basketball were first in his every thought.

And being on JV had actually brightened JZ's star, not dulled it. The minute he stepped on the field in September, it was obvious to the coaches he was Varsity material. They'd been drooling over the thought of having him move up ever since.

Now the varsity basketball coaches were going to get the chance the football team hadn't had, because when football season ended, JZ's dad relented and agreed to let him try out for Varsity. JZ made the team easily. The only "catch," if JZ's grades suffered even a little, his father was going hardcore and making JZ cut out the sports until next season. So all JZ talked about, lately, were basketball and the Frenzy.

According to JZ, the Frenzy was wild. Coach Banner basically let his "boys" have run of the house for the night, no chaperons. JZ also mentioned nude foolishness in the hot tub and drinking, Real World high school edition.

Other than pointing out to JZ that she thought the details of the party were probably rumors or over exaggerated, Mina hadn't given the Frenzy much thought. Until now. Now she had an invitation from a varsity football hottie.

Was she down?

Mina wanted to type YES, all caps just so Craig would know how down she was.

She couldn't believe that only three letters stood between her and her first date with the guy she'd crushed on for months. Her first date, period.

It wasn't even eleven a.m. and this day was quickly moving toward bestdayever status.

And to think, in her haste to throw down on some pancakes and bacon, she'd almost walked right by her computer without as much as a glance.

Thank goodness she'd logged in to see if Kelly had sent a message confirming yes or no, she could come over later and hang over at JZ's with the rest of the clique. Mina was anxious for the six of them to get together. They'd only squeezed in a few IM's and phone calls over the week-long break. Mina didn't mind family time, but five straight days of it was enough. She was ready to kick it with her friends, especially now that she had something more interesting to share than an account of her family's insanely competitive game of Trivial Pursuit on Thanksgiving night.

Mina's head turned toward the loud clanging of pots and pans coming from downstairs, her attention slipping, just for a second, from the three words on the screen. She tipped over to her bedroom door, leaned her head out of the room and waited on her mother's call asking for (requiring) help cooking breakfast. When it didn't come, Mina scurried back over to the desk and sat down, her heart pounding and her hunger completely forgotten.

The loud tinkle of another IM from Craig rang out.

Bluedevils33: Yo, Mina u there?

BubbliMi: Sorry! Listening out 4 my mom...I'm supposed to be downstairs cooking

Bluedevils33: Word. I let u go if u answer me. U down w/the Frenzy?

This time Mina didn't think. She typed, quickly.

BubbliMi: Mos' def!!

Bluedevils33: Cool. U be @ the Ria tonite?

BubbliMi: Trying to be. Not sure tho'

Bluedevils33: I can give u a ride if u want

The thought of being in the car with Craig made Mina's heart race. Everything was moving so fast.

BubbliMi: Naw I'm cool. If I go it'll be w/my girls. I see u there if we go.

Bluedevils33: Aight. Later

BubbliMi: C U

Mina stared at the conversation on the screen, reading over it quickly again and again. It felt like a dream. If her heart wasn't practically beating out of her chest she would swear she was still sleeping.

"Mi-naaa!" her mother called from downstairs. "What's taking you so long?"

"Coming, ma!"

Smiling like an idiot, Mina closed out the IM box and signed off. She stood up and jogged down the hall to the bathroom. If Craig could see her now, bed head and stank morning breath, he'd run screaming in the other direction. She laughed out-loud at her fuzzy-headed image in the bathroom mirror.

Stank breath and all, she had a date!

She had a DATE...and one problem—her parents didn't allow her to date, yet.

© Paula Chase