A/N: Hey guys, sorry it's been such a long time...I had most of this one locked away, so I just tied it up with a little bow at the end and here it is!

Chapter IV: It's a Love Thing

The next morning Chavo picked Don and I up, and we headed over to the high school. They had weight training and I had Majorette practice. But first we stopped at a 7-11 for some breakfast.

The boys grabbed burritos out of the hot-foods counter and I went to grab a donut.

"Shouldn't you be on a diet or something?" Don shot at me. I cringed. I hate it when he did that. Made cracks about my weight, just because I don't look like the size zero jeans he usually dates.

I opted for a bottle of water and a bag of pretzels instead. We paid and sat out in Brian's car, eating. I almost got sick, watching Don go back and forth between a carton of chocolate milk and his burrito.

We were only sitting there a few moments when the cop car pulled up beside us. He turned off his car, unbuckled his seatbelt, and just sat there. I got chills, just like I did every time I saw some old man still wearing his Championship ring.

"You boys alright?" He asked. What the hell!

"Yes sir," Donnie and Chavo answered in turn, mouths still full.

"You gonna win state?" The officer pressed, another inspired round of:

"Yes sir." Dang, there's that sarcasm again...

"Undefeated?" The officer continued. And what do you know, there was Donnie:

"Yes sir."

When we finally got to school, the boys headed to the weight room, and I met the rest of the Majorettes, in our own personal practice area, right on the other side of the room.

"You better have a stellar routine for us this year," my fellow captain, Mindy, shot as I entered the room. "Cause that's the only reason you made the team."

"Yea, yea," I waved her off. "But let's warm up first." I put on some music and led stretches, and half watched the boys lifting weights.

Boobie was going through all the letters he had received from colleges, asking Chavo about the real "hard words." Man, there I go again.

He started talking to Mike about Billy Cosby, and at that point I sort of spaced out. Lord, that Mike Winchell has some nice, big arms on him. I was practically drooling. That was until I heard Boobie chimed in:

"...And you're gonna smile or I'm gonna stick about four pudding pops up your white ass." And then Mike laughed, and I melted. What a smile...sweeter for the waiting, I guess.

We did a set of about five-hundred crunches, and all the girls were moaning and complaining.

"Earth to Emma," Mindy chimed in. "Are you going to show us the routine or what? I'd like to get this over with so we can draw names."

I groaned. Every year the Pepettes and the Majorettes, and a lot of the cheerleaders picked one of the football players' names out of a hat, and the girl was supposed to make him a sign, and give him food on game days and all that cheerful crap. It was the schools way of giving the football players their own personal servants.

I popped the cassette I lifted from Donnie's room into our small stereo and waited for the song to start.

"The beginning is going to be in three parts," I explained as the first beats were played. "We're going to have three groups, all doing the same thing in three different counts of eight." I caught the last set of eight and showed them the chassé fan-kick with shampoo arms I wanted.

The beat picked up and I went straight into the hip roll, and then to the rest of the 40 counts I had in my head. By the time I was done, I had most of the football team's attention as well.

I managed to teach them all the beginning, before a bunch of the Pepettes and cheerleaders showed up and we all just couldn't wait to choose our players for this season.

I found Sherry, and tried to stay close to her as I stretched out to cool down. Then, much to my surprise, my friend Nina came in. She was a small girl, with olive skin, bobbed hair, and pretty, blue eyes.

"Hey, Nina," I called to her. "What are you doing here?" She rolled her eyes.

"My father's forced me to enlist in the spirit-army," She groaned. I might have mentioned, but her father is one of the assistant football coaches. Sherry and I grimaced for her.

"You don't know the half of it," she continued. "I've got to help make them a spaghetti dinner this Friday."

"We'll help you out," I offered and Sherry nodded in agreement.

By that time the hat had come around to us. Mindy held it out to me, and I indifferently pulled a piece of paper out and unfolded it.

"I got my brother," I declared.

"That's not fair," one girl, Karen, spoke up vehemently. "She can't get her brother!" Well, we all know that SHE doesn't have a crush on Don. Darn it, I just can't stop can I...

"Put it back," Mindy ordered. I dropped Don's name back in and selected another piece of paper. I opened it and felt my heart skip a beat.

"Mike Winchell." A few relieved sighs went through the room, I shrugged, more quarterback for me.

Nina was next, "Chris Comer." She announced, and we all laughed as we saw Chris perk up from across the room, look at Nina and cringe. Then came Sherry.

"Brian Chavez," she started up with, what I guess she thought was a sultry Brazilian accent. "The hot Latino boy," she continued, unbuttoning her shirt, doing this strange shimmy-shake.

I laughed, rolling my eyes, "Put your clothes back on," I ordered. We laughed as she fixed herself. I sighed.

"I'd better go wait for Don," I explained. "Or they'll leave me again."

"See you Monday, Sweetie," Sherry called to me as I headed out to the parking lot. I stood, waiting by Chavo's car, to catch a ride over to the school, for maybe ten or fifteen minutes before the boys started flooding out of the locker room.

"Hi Emma Jean," I spun around quickly in surprise, hearing someone call my name. Now, you can imagine what was going through my head when I saw that it was none other than Mike Winchell.

"Hi Mike," I answered cautiously,.

"I'm sorry about what happened the other night," he went on nervously.

"Why do you feel like you need to apologize to me?" I asked. He sort of shrugged.

"I don't know," he replied. "I just feel like I owe it to you."

"Well, thanks," I replied sweetly. "But it was really none of my business in the first place...In fact, I think I should probably be apologizing to you." Mike looked down, a hint of a toothless smile ghosting his features.

"Naw, you're alright," he offered, rubbing his hands together uneasily. "Look...uh...I was just wondering, if you—uh—if you didn't have other plans...you know, if you would—uh—if you would want to be my, you know, my date—to the pep rally." My eyes went wide. I couldn't believe my ears.

Being Mike's date to the pep rally may not have seemed like a big thing—after all, it essentially entailed sitting besides him during the various displays of school spirit at the assembly that afternoon, and that was it. But it was the idea of being Mike's date to the pep rally that had stars in my eyes. It meant I'd be wearing his jacket. It meant he'd carry my books. It meant I'd be wearing his ring. It meant that I was Mike's girl.

"I'm sorry I asked," he started up, misinterpreting my silence. "It was stupid of me." He moved to walk away, but I grabbed his arm.

"Mike, no," I interceded. "No...it wasn't stupid of you, not even a little bit. I'd love to be your date to the pep rally." Mike smiled broadly, a smile just for me.

"Would you like to walk to class with me?" He asked, offering me his arm.

"It would be my pleasure," I accepted his arm with a broad smile. And then Mike did something I'll never forget. He leaned over and gave me this quick peck on the cheek, and although there wasn't a mirror in sight the whole walk over to the school I could tell I was glowing.