Doreen

Doreen by Ilana Manaster

Book: Doreen by Ilana Manaster Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ilana Manaster
have found him, Doreen. Juliet, on the other hand, is single.”
    â€œI am lucky, aren’t I? Everyone should be as lucky as I am. Everyone should find true love in this world.” Doreen plucked a leaf off a tree and took a whiff with her eyes closed.
    â€œWatch out for that bench!” said Heidi, though part of her hoped to see the girl tumble over it and back down to earth.
    â€œThanks!” Doreen flicked the leaf away. “Anyway, I think you’re being too hard on Juliet. She’s beautiful on the inside.”
    Heidi turned away and tried not to gag.
    At breakfast:
    â€œYou know, it’s funny. I never liked sports before I met Simon.”
    â€œWaste of time, if you ask me,” said Biz. “I really don’t understand the appeal at all.” She had helped herself to a little of every single cereal on offer. Cereal suicide, she called it.
    â€œI’m with you,” said Heidi as she loaded up her coffee with skim milk and Equal.
    But Doreen did not seem to have heard them. “I never knew why girls wanted to be with athletes. Girls who don’t particularly like sports, I mean. Why would someone who doesn’t watch football want to date a football player? But now I am starting to understand.” She took a thoughtful nibble of whole wheat toast. “Here’s what it is—”
    â€œYou don’t have to explain,” said Heidi. “Really.”
    â€œWhen I watch Simon play football, he’s so much better than everyone else and it makes me feel like a winner myself, naturally. But I also feel very safe. Because Simon loves me and he would kill anybody who would want to hurt me. And he could do it, too. With his bare hands. He is so, so strong.”
    â€œAnyone could do that,” said Biz in between bites of cereal sludge. “I mean, I could kill someone with my bare hands. Truly. It’s easier than you might think if you’re familiar with human anatomy. All you have to do is—”
    â€œI was thinking,” said Doreen. Heidi made an involuntary cluck with her tongue. When you interrupt you seem overly eager, and stupid. Civilized people wait their turn. Roland had taught her that. “Do you think that Simon could get a football scholarship? To Chandler? I know you haven’t seen him play, but you have to believe me when I say he is remarkably good. He would be a huge asset.”
    â€œSorry, did you say football scholarship?” asked Heidi.
    â€œYes. Chandler does have a team, don’t they?”
    â€œSure. I think we do. We do, don’t we, Biz?”
    â€œI have heard that we do.”
    â€œWhy wouldn’t they want to win? And with Simon leading the team, they would win. Wouldn’t they be willing to cough up some tuition for the bragging rights? Biz, what do you think?”
    Biz and Heidi exchanged a look. Chandler was not the sort of place that gave football scholarships. “Uh,” said Biz.
    â€œHe will achieve such greatness. But he needs help. Just a little nudge in the right direction. Wait until you see him play! You will see what I mean.”
    â€œHere comes Misha. Let’s change the subject, okay?” said Heidi.
    â€œBut why should I—”
    â€œDoreen! Just trust me. Keep it mum for now all right?”
    â€œWhat are we talking about here?” Misha slid in next to Heidi.
    â€œWe were . . .” Doreen looked at Heidi, who subtly shook her head. Simon or not, Doreen still wanted to be popular, didn’t she? “We were talking about that cute top you’re wearing, Meesh. Where is it from? It’s adorable.”
    Bullet dodged, Heidi thought. For now.

    As Misha reported on some half-true piece of gossip she’d heard from Wes Sylvan, Heidi became even more convinced that the Simon Vale business had to be kept under wraps. If it got leaked to the Chandler gossip mill, Doreen would be finished. Doreen had not even finished a single

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