Friend Zone(8)

By: Camilla Isley

They clasped hands and bumped chests, which resulted in Jack’s hand getting smeared with bluish paint. The team had decided to go to the Halloween party dressed as Smurfs. The costume was very basic: white sports shorts, no clothes from the waist up, a white jersey beanie, and a lot of blue body paint.

Peter was wearing a team hoodie, for now, one the blue paint would make unusable. But the captain always wore team-branded clothes. His favorite pickup line was to tell the ladies he was joining the NBA after graduation. It wasn’t necessarily a lie. Peter was bound to receive an offer from one of the big teams sooner or later. What the girls didn’t realize was they’d be long forgotten by then. But just saying the three little magic letters—N B A—kept the WAG dream alive, and the girls fell right and left for Peter. His blue eyes, dark hair, and impressive height certainly didn’t hurt, too.

Peter gave him the once-over. “Yo, my man, you’re late,” he complained. “I need you to get blue and do my back. The lady doctor keeping you busy?”

“The lady doctor was fired,” Jack said, closing the door behind his friend. It was another lady giving him pause.

“Already? What happened?”

“She drove me an hour out of the city to show me the beautiful sunset, tell me she loved me, and announce she was ready to move our relationship to the next level.” Jack raised his hand sarcastically.


“Yeah, tell me about it. I had the worst night yesterday.” And the worst day, today. What the hell, Ice! Jack shook his head.

Peter took his headshake for disappointment about the doctor. “Come on, my man,” he said. “Tonight we’re going to find you a hot nurse to replace the doctor and cure your soul. Now put on your white shorts and let’s get blue.”


The Smurf costumes were a rousing success. It was impossible for them to move around the party without being the center of attention. Twenty tall guys were hard to miss in a crowd already—paint them blue, and it became impossible. The ladies seemed to love the idea; the guys scored extra points for daring and originality.

Jack dodged a girl who was pushing through the crowd, sloshing her drink over anyone not fast enough to get out of her way. As she scurried by, Jack noticed the girl’s face was smeared with blue paint. At least one of his teammates had already scored. Jack poured himself a beer from a huge keg and took position next to Peter in a corner that offered a strategic view of the house.

From his vantage point, he spotted a group of three girls with potential: a blonde and two brunettes. The ladies had their backs turned, but the rear view did not call for complaints. The blonde was dressed in a short, airy dress, which looked more like a babydoll shirt. She had little white wings strapped to her back. An angel. One brunette was clad in a tight, glittery black jumpsuit with only one shoulder strap. From her bottom sprouted a tail she’d laced around one wrist for support, and she had kitten ears. Meow. The last girl was wearing a short, sequined red dress and had tiny red horns on the top of her head. Hell-o. Jack had a good feeling about the trio.

He nudged Peter. “Angel, devil, or hellcat?”

The captain whistled. “I’ll take the kitty catty.”

A pang of disappointment stabbed Jack’s chest; he would’ve chosen the kitten, too. Never mind. Angel or devil? As they scoped out their targets, a dude in an unoriginal vampire costume approached the girls and left a minute later with the she-devil. “I’ll take the angel, then,” Jack said.

“Let’s see the faces first,” Peter cautioned.

Jack stared as the angel spun around; she was pretty and looked familiar. Where had he seen her? Realization hit him a second before the black kitty turned around and they locked eyes. It was Ice.



Alice turned her head and met a pair of dark eyes. She pursed her lips, trying not to smile. Jack was a Smurf—genius. His blue face was a mask of surprise—he obviously hadn’t expected her to be here.

She whispered in Madison’s ear, then dragged her roommate toward Jack and his fellow blue friend—from his impressive height, another basketball player—to say hello. Alice stopped in front of Jack and smiled. He blinked, stunned. He was gaping at her tight costume and not speaking.

“Hi,” Alice said.

“Hi.” Jack’s jaw tensed and his eyes became wary. “Why are you here?”

It was time to let him know she could play oh so cool.

“Most Kappa Kappa Gammas came here tonight.” Alice casually wrapped her hair to the side, leaving her bare shoulder and neck exposed. “At least, the cool gang did.”

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