Author's Note: This chapter is massive. I am sorry. I could not help it. There was no way I could break it up without it being clunky. That and I edited it so much that I didn't realize I kept adding more and more. I may or may not have another chapter up anytime soon since my wedding is Saturday, but you never know what might happen.

Thanks to my reviewers by the way I meant to thank you before. Hope you like it and sorry for anything confusing in it.

Chapter Four: The Change in the Game

I bolted up in bed at the sound of my alarm clock. I skipped throwing it across the room this morning. I just did not feel good. My head felt like it was full of cotton. I tossed and turned most of the night, and just did not feel like doing anything extra. I gave Mouse a quick pat on the head before I dug into my closet for one of my uniforms. We usually had the chance to wear something casual on a Friday, but I did not feel like searching my closet for something nerdy enough for people to leave me alone. Jessica was the only person I could stand at my school. She and I have been together since Sunday School when we were nine. Her mom was never really all there and only came to church to meet men. I pretty much took her under my wing and we both just kind of there. The popular kids never talked to us and the unpopular kids really did not want to be around us either. It is like we are the outcasts of the outcast.

After I attached the anklet my sister keeps adding charms to every year or so and pulled my sock over it, I grabbed my bag and went down the hall. School policy states no excessive jewelry, and Sister Anne deemed my anklet so last year. I took the stairs, jumping down them with two feet on each step to make as much noise as possible. Matthew peeked out of the dining room as I hit halfway down. He shook his head at me as he watched me go the rest of the way down. "No one else is here."

"Aw," I said, giving him a playful pout of my lip. "That means I didn't wake anyone else up."

"Well, if it helps Mom hates that sound," he said as Mouse came up to him and leaned on Matthew's legs. "However, I will admit I wish that our darling siblings were home to be awakened to that. I did so miss Little Harry yelling that you needed to not be a morning person."

"And I don't even need coffee," I giggled, bouncing on the balls of my feet.

"Well, Mom made muffins and left out some orange juice for you to drink before I took you to school," he told me with a smile.

"YES!" I shouted as I fist pumped the air. I ran into the dining room, grabbed a muffin while downing the glass of orange juice in front of my normal place, and gave Dad a kiss on the cheek before dashing back out to Matthew. "I'm ready."

"Grab your helmet before Mom realizes Dad isn't taking you," he told me. I kissed Mouse on top of the head as I went to the hall closet and dug through the mountain of shoes to get my shiny black with bright green lines helmet. I ran out the door and let it slam shut before jumping on the back of Matthew's motorcycle. I do not know anything about motorcycles except they are really really fast and me riding on them makes my mother really really mad. Hence why my family did not like me dating Jonathan.

They could not, however, keep me from hanging out with my own brother.

Mom came running out of the house a few seconds after Matthew started his bike. Matthew was out of the driveway and going down the road before Mom even reached where he parked his bike. He and I both laughed as we sped down the road, not a care in the world. He took the extremely long way to my school, weaving on every long detour and extra road he could. I held onto his waist, my head resting on his back as I watched the world pass me by. We turned down the road to pass my favorite ice cream shop and I was shocked to see police crime scene tape all over the parking lot. I pondered over what could have happened till we drove up to the front of the school. I hopped off the bike and Matthew flipped up his face guard. "Have a good day. Gimme your helmet so you don't have to carry it all day."

"Matthew," I yelled over the bike engine, handing over my helmet, "what happened at the ice cream shop?" Matthew looked at me a minute, setting my helmet on the back of his bike. He locked the helmet on with some special snaps and shook his head.

"It was robbed last night Maggie," he yelled.

"Oh wow," I yelled back, not caring that people were looking at me and pointing. "Did they get the guy?"

"Yea," Matthew yelled. "Someone will be by to pick you up after school Maggie. I have to run some errands before the game tonight." He gave me a salute before flipping down his face mask and roaring off. I watched him disappear around the corner before I walked into the school. Today felt like a lazy day.

"Hey Mags," I heard someone say as I shoved one of my books in my locker. I turned my head and tried not to wince. The head cheerleader, Amy, and her followers were heading my way. They always tried to get me to help them out with some homework, and by help I mean do it for them. Amy stopped an arms length from me, a grin plastered on her face. "Is it true that you were in the ice cream store when the robbery went down yesterday?"

"Excuse me?" I replied, shutting my locker.

"Maria's sister was there with their mother yesterday," Amy said, jerking a thumb at one of her entourage. "Her sister said that your sister's husband and you were there. She said your brother-in-law tackled someone after you threw a chair at them."

"I'm sorry. I don't follow," I told her, adjusting my strap on my bag.

"Seriously," one of her group said. "Everyone is talking about it."

"She's just being modest," Jessica said as she came up beside me and grabbed my arm, giving it a squeeze. "Maggie has always been like that."

"Oh my God!" Amy squealed as she grabbed my arm and pulled me to her. We walked down the hall as she chattered. "That is so cool. Were you scared? Did you feel like you were going to throw up?"

"Ummm…"

"Of course you were," she said with a grin. She waved at someone that shouted her name as we passed. "You know, we always thought you were a little strange. All the Carpenter kids have been, not counting Little Harry. When you came in last year, we thought maybe you would be cool like him too. You stuck to yourself, didn't make waves, and I figured, hey, maybe she will come into her own. You finally did and boy did you do it well."

"Okay?" I said as we walked into Mass.

"You and your…friend can sit with us today. And we have most of our classes together right?" Amy asked as she guided me down the aisle.

"Everything but cheerleading," I heard Jessica pipe up from behind me. I was shoved into a pew, and everyone sat down, Jessica a few people down from me and Amy was next to me.

"Well, we can fix that next year," Amy simpered as she patted my knee. "If you aren't good at cheerleading, well, I am sure we can find something for you to do to give you a leg up in the popularity structure."

"Ummm," I said, trying to come up with the words to ask her the questions that were racing in my mind. I was thankfully saved by Father Anderson coming to the podium and starting the morning prayer.

The rest of the day was kind of…surreal. I always use to watch Little Harry in these groups, talking with them and laughing with them. I even remember some of the people who use to ignore me coming over on the weekends and after school to hang out. I was just "the sister" to them. Now, I was considered cool. Amy and I walked to all our classes together. She even sat with me at lunch. Jessica was almost having kittens she was so excited.

"I cannot believe that we are in their radar now," she told me as we were waiting for our teacher to come in for our last class of the day, Medieval History. "I have been waiting for this forever."

"Why didn't you tell me?" I asked, actually slightly hurt that she was excited that Amy was acknowledging us. I liked the way things were before this whole thing started.

"Because I knew you would just look at me and say 'Jessica, popularity is just a stupid thing kids in high school want to make them feel important. We are already important. Why do we need other people to verify that when we know it ourselves.' Hey, don't look at me like that!" she said as I crinkled my nose at her words, mostly because I knew that it was true. I never really felt the need to have people around me to keep telling me how awesome I am. I just knew I was awesome. "I get to go to their parties now, I can start eating with them in lunch, and hell, I can probably hang out with them after school too!" I absorbed all of her words, not sure if she was happy for me or if she was excited that she might get to go to some of the more high class parties in our school. Sister Catherine came in and rapped her ruler on her desk causing everyone to go silent. The first day that she came in and did that, I almost died laughing. She was one of those nuns who got a kick out of being the old stereotypical nuns everyone was use to seeing.

"We are picking up where we left off yesterday," she said just as someone knocked on the door. Amy bounced in and handed Sister Catherine a slip of paper. Sister Catherine raised her eyebrows and looked at me. "It seems, Miss Carpenter, that Miss Angel needs you to help with some decorations this afternoon for the football game. You are excused to do so." Jessica gave me a pleading look as I got up, and I gave her a look that basically said What am I supposed to do? before following Amy out of the classroom.

"Did Miss Angel really need me to help with the decoration for this afternoon?" I asked Amy as she basically danced in front of me down the hall.

"We all got to pick a buddy to help out, so I went to get you," she said, giving me a grin.

"Couldn't someone have gotten Jess too?" I asked.

"Everyone else had someone," she told me plaintively. She grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the doors that lead to the football field. "Come on! We have a couple things we need to finish before we can start the real fun."

"Real fun?" I asked, breaking her hold on me and planting me feet just before we walked out the door. "What fun, Amy?" Amy turned to me and gave me a curious look.

"We are going to decorate the quarterback's car and a couple of other first string players," she told me, before her eyes grew wide. "Oh God, no. No no no. We would never do things like that." I nodded and followed her out to the football field. There were posters and several huge things of paper hanging up on the fence surrounding the football stadium. There were cheerleaders along with a couple of football players that were on the injured list. Amy handed me a can of spray paint and guided me over to one of the blank walls of paper.

"What am I supposed to do with this?" I asked.

"Just…I don't know…oh! Spray 'Go Team Go' on it! No one has started that one yet! I have to…go over here," she said, skipping backwards a couple of step before turning and heading towards the bleachers where a bunch of guys were sitting. I shook the can and started to spray it in even strokes. Oddly enough, Matthew taught me how to spray paint so it would not drip down the paper. I teased him about how he must have been an awesome football sign maker, but he gave me an odd grin and shrugged before walking off.

"Your Little Harry's sister, right?" I heard a male voice asked. I stopped spraying, and turned to the voice. I blinked a couple times to make sure I was seeing right. The guy looked like a male model. His hair was a dirty blonde in a shaggy style that slightly extended over his chocolate brown eyes. He wore a St. Matthew's soccer t-shirt with some khaki pants and had on some of the best sneakers I have ever seen. I nodded. "I thought that was you. It is about time you decided to join the Legacy ranks."

"I'm sorry?" I asked. He grabbed one of the many cans of spray paint off the ground and started to paint a football on one of the corners of the sign.

"Almost everyone out here had a brother, sister, or parent on one of the sports teams," he told me. "Amy's mother was head cheerleader, my brothers were all on one team or another, and Maria's sister was the star on her Lacrosse team a few years back. I figured it was only a matter of time before you got pulled into the group."

"Oh," I said.

"So, how did Amy get you out here?" he asked.

"She got a note from Miss Angel to get me out of Medieval History," I told him.

"Ah. Sister Catherine. No wonder you were allowed to come without 24 hour notice," he chuckled as he stepped back to admire his handy work. It actually was not all that bad. At least it did not drip or look like some sort of deformed egg like the others. "Well, my name is Anthony Hill. Amy just wanted me to come over and make sure you were not left out of the loop. She figured that you would not get many people to talk to you at first since you were…ya know."

"No, I don't," I said, starting to spray paint the paper again. Anthony grabbed my hand and gave me a look.

"Maggie, everyone knows you are, well, you know," he said. I took a look at his face and felt my eyebrows crinkle in concentration. "Maggie…you are, well you're a lesbian."

"What?!" I screamed in horror, dropping my spray can. Anthony shushed me, looking around before pulling me aside not quite hidden behind the pillars but still giving us some measure of privacy. I shook in anger as my voice came out in a loud whisper. "What in gorram fracking hell did you call me?"

"Did you…did you just curse in sci-fi?" he asked, his eyebrows rising in interest.

"Yes, but that doesn't matter," I said waving my hands in a dismissive way I have seen my sister do tons of times. "What in the bloody hell made you think I was a lesbian?"

"Well all just thought, well you were always with Jessica," he said, running his hands through his hair. "Hell Maggie, you were always so dismissive about guys hitting on you we just though you and Jessica were an open couple and you just preferred girls."

"Guys hit on me?" I asked, blinking at him like a cat.

"You are really that oblivious?" he smirked, shaking his head. "Maggie, almost every guy on Little Harry's team has tried to get you on a date."

"No, they always asked to grab a burger and study together for a test or to go to some of the other sports games, but I figured they were just being nice since I was his sister," I told him. "I mean, seriously, who would want to ask me out?"

"Maggie, you really are deficient when it comes to guys," Amy said, coming towards us. "Anthony was going to ask you out if you confirmed you weren't a lesbian last year, but no one could get your attention or get any messages to you. I figured you weren't since, you know, you don't sleep with Jessica."

"What does Jessica have to do with it?" I asked, looking from the two of them. They gave each other a knowing look before Anthony looked at me.

"Jessica, well Jessica is a bit more…well a bit more…" Anthony tipped his head back as if looking for a word he could not find.

"She is a slut, Maggie," Amy said. I opened my mouth in protest but she continued to talk. "She will sleep with anything that moves and looks remotely interested in her, girl or boy. She is known to try to hook up with everyone at parties she goes to, and has a tendency to kind of keep you all to herself. Jessica pretty much blocked every chance we had to get to know you. Remember that party I had when I turned thirteen and Jessica said you guys weren't coming?"

"I was not invited to that party," I said. Amy sighed and shook her head.

"Maggie, I couldn't find you, so I gave Jessica your invitation," she told me. "When you didn't show up I figured that you were not interested, but Little Harry asked my brother Gus why I did not want you at my party."

"Then last year, when all you did was hang out with her, and most of the guys were trying to get in your good graces, we asked her what kind of guys you were into," Anthony said. "She just told us 'Maggie isn't interested in guys' before walking away to her next class." It was hard for me to swallow, let alone breath.

"But didn't any of you hear that I dated Jonathan?" I asked. "I thought it was common knowledge that I was seeing him." Amy blinked, her face showing genuine shock.

"You…oh God," she gasped, her hand flying to her mouth and eyes going wide. "You were the one dating him?"

"Well, yea," I said.

"He told us that he was sleeping with her," Anthony said. I felt my body go numb and had to lean against the pillar for support.

"He said that he was only sleeping with her because you wouldn't put out, and didn't want to date someone who wouldn't have sex with him. Most people took it as you just couldn't sleep with him because you couldn't bring yourself to touch a man instead of a woman," Amy told me.

"Why would she do that?" I said, tears spilling out of my eyes. "Why would she cut me off from people and do me like…" Our conversation from earlier today came back to me, making everything click in place. She was super excited to be a part of the "cool" kids, and the whole time we were friends, she was trying to use me to get in the popular crowd. I realized that she was just putting them off till there was no way I would leave her behind or let them leave her out, just because she wanted to be included.

"Shit," I said as I realized what kind of friend Jessica really was to me.

"Look, I will start spreading the word about you and your…orientation," Anthony said. "I warn you now, I will not take responsibility for you being overwhelmed by dating requests." I jumped a little as he gave me a hug and walked off.

"Don't get any ideas," Amy mused. "He is taken."

"Eh, he isn't my type," I told her, which is true. He may be some eye candy, but I usually do not go for the All-American look. I wiped my eyes before jerking my head in the direction he took off in. "Who is he dating?"

"Me," Amy said, her smile growing wider. She motioned me to come out from behind the pillar. "Let's finish up this poster and we can go decorate some cars."

"Amy," I said. "Why did you really approach me? What made you finally try to reach out to me?" Amy gave me this queer little smile as she shook her head.

"Not only did we just now get an opportunity," she told me, "but somehow, it felt like that barrier that kept us out was finally let down." She gave me a wink before skipping off toward the parking lot and leaving me to ponder what she said.


I was still fuming when Daniel came to pick me up that afternoon. I made sure to dash out of the stadium and to the parking lot before Jessica could come and find me. Daniel drove the short way home, not saying a word the entire way. I guess I was giving off the pissed off vibe. Dad was out front doing something to the front door when we pulled up, so I dashed around back. Mom was grilling burgers with Mouse dutifully guarding her and the grill. I dropped my bag on the patio table and gave Mom a quick hug from behind.

"Bad day?" Mom called out as I headed to the workshop.

"You could say that," I yelled, flinging open the workshop doors and grabbing my safety goggles. I threw myself into my project, carving and chiseling away at the wood to take out my frustrations. Someone set some dinner on my table at some point, and I grabbed bites of it here and there as I let myself fully become absorbed in my work. Finally, after what seemed like forever, I stepped back and took a good, long look at my work. The intricate designs and pictures were amazing now that I see it all put together.

"Damn," Matthew said, standing in the workshop doorway.

"That is not a nice thing for a man of the church to say," I told him in a sing-song voice.

"When Dad told me you were working on something, I did not imagine it would be something this amazing," he told me as he came to stand beside me. "Are you going to color it or stain it?"

"I need to ask Carlos," I told him. "His grandmother gave him the pattern and I just added things that seemed to fit. I am finished with the carving though."

"Looks fantastic," he told me. "You need to go upstairs and shower before the game."

"Is it that late?" I asked, looking at the clock. I gasped when I saw the time. "I better hurry." I ran into the house and up the stairs to shower. Mom must have known I was running later than I wanted because my entire outfit I usually wear to the game was hanging up on the bathroom door when I stepped out of the shower. As soon as I was dressed, I ran downstairs and out the front door. Mom was reading the riot act to Little Harry as he opened the side door on our ancient van.

"And if anything happens at the game," Mom said.

"I know I know," he said as he waved Mouse into the van. "Get everyone straight home. I know the drill."

"I will see you later, Mom," I said, giving her a kiss on the cheek and hopping in the back with Mouse.

"Try to stay out of trouble," Mom called out as Little Harry shut the van door. Matthew came out of the house with a large parcel in his hands. He shoved it in the back of the van before getting in the front passenger seat.

"Aw, you don't want to party back here with Mouse?" I asked as Mouse put his snout in Matthew's ear.

"I am a grown-up. I don't have to sit in the back with the children, human or other kind," he said turning his face to Mouse. Mouse gave Matthew a lick across the face before moving so he was sitting in the next to me. Little Harry hopped in the driver seat and started the car. Mom leaned in the window.

"Margaret Angelica Carpenter, you will stick by your brothers!" she shouted.

"Yes Mom," I said, rolling my eyes. She kissed Little Harry on the cheek before heading back into the house. We all let out a sigh of relief. We loved our mother, but sometimes she was a little over bearing.

As soon as Little Harry started the car, Mouse started to quiver with excitement. The drive to the school was short, but it seemed to take an eternity with Mouse in the back seat with me. He climbed all over me and kept going from one end of the car to the other. Matthew shook his head when Mouse tried to climb into the front seat. "You would think that he would sit still like a good dog when we go for drives."

"Mouse hasn't been in a car for a while," Little Harry said. He looked at me in the rearview mirror. "You couldn't get the special pass I take it?"

"He is a guard dog, not a guide dog," I replied. The school parking lot came into view and Mouse started to go nuts. He was whining, pawing at the window, and making soft whuffs at me that seemed to say "Come on! Let me out I wanna PLAY!"

"Maggie, can I say that your dog is strange?" Matthew sighed as we pulled into a parking space. I let out a groan as Mouse stepped on my thigh to get as close to the door as possible. Little Harry laughed as he shut off the van and jumped out. He opened the side door and Mouse jumped out with a sharp bark. I sighed as I stepped out of the car. Matthew handed me a lint roller and we began to get the poodles worth of dog hair off me. Mouse just watched, but I could swear he looked sheepish. I threw the lint roller in the van and gave Mouse a full turn.

"How do I look?" I asked him. I was wearing just some jeans and a school spirit t-shirt, but I felt like being silly. He cocked his head to the side, giving me a considering look before sneezing. I laughed and knelt down to scratch behind his ears. "You are such a good boy, Mouse."

"Hi Maggie!" I froze mid-scratch. I stood, slowly turning in the direction I heard the voice. Jessica was standing there, her outfit barely within school regulations to attend any school functions, with Nathan leering behind her and a huge smile on her face. Mouse emitted a low growl as he stood to come to my side. I watched her smile wobble when she saw Mouse. "Oh, you brought him. Why didn't you wait for me after school? I wanted to ask you what the plans were tonight."

"I decided to have my brother's come to the game with me," I told her, laying my hand on Mouse's head. I knew he wouldn't attack Jessica. He just didn't like her, which is one of the main reasons why she has not spent time in my house since we were thirteen and he took a sudden dislike for her.

"Oh," she said, drooping slightly. "I would not have minded spending time with them." Little Harry snorted behind me and Matthew coughed loudly.

"We are going to miss the start of the game," Little Harry said.

"Well, let's go!" Jessica said, grabbing Nathan's hand with a grin.

"No," I told her, burying my fingers in Mouse's fur.

"What?" Jessica said, giving me a baffled look.

"Jessica, I want nothing to do with you anymore," I told her. She blinked a couple times, her smile diminishing a bit.

"You don't mean that," she said, letting go of Nathan's hand and taking a couple steps toward me. Mouse snarled, putting himself between her and I before she could get any closer. Nathan put both his hands up and backed away a couple of steps. "Maggie, come on. Don't let popularity get to your head now that Amy's crowd-"

"This is not about them," I said, my voice shaking as my rage overtook me. "Tell me, did you start sleeping with Jonathan before or after he and I were officially a couple?" Jessica's face fell.

"I didn't-"

"Stuff it," I said, holding up a hand. "I am going to watch the game. Don't follow me, don't talk to me, and don't expect me to talk to you on Monday. You are no longer my friend, and from what I hear you haven't been. Stay away from me. Good-bye, Jessica." I turned and ignored her calling out after me as I stalked up the hill to the stadium. My brothers followed after me in silence as my anger abated the further away from Jessica I got.

"I take it you finally saw her for who she was," Little Harry said to me as pulled me aside and Matthew went up to the ticket booth to get our passes.

"Amy and Anthony talked to me today," I told him.

"It is about time someone besides family did," he replied. He ran his hands through his hair and sigh. "Look, Mags, I didn't want to tell you but you know your birthday sleep over last year?"

"Yea, when she had to leave first thing in the morning because her mom said that she needed her for something?" I said. I also remember it because Mom said that she didn't want Jessica back to stay the night anymore after that.

"That isn't the truth," Little Harry told me. He coughed and scratched his arm as he shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other. "I cannot really say this delicately Maggie."

"Mom heard her proposition Little Harry for sex," Matthew said as he came up beside me.

"What?" I said, looking back and forth between the two of them.

"She offered her, um, self if I could get her in with the popular crowd," Little Harry said, holding out his hand to Matthew. "Gimme the ticket. I will take Mouse and head inside while you handle her." Matthew sighed and handed over one of the tickets before putting an arm around my shoulders. We walked together slowly, watching the reactions of people as soon as they saw Mouse. It actually made me smile in spite of everything.

"How long has she kept me away from people?" I finally got the courage to ask Matthew.

"I would say when you both where eleven," Matthew said. "She seemed to give off this aura when you two would go to parties or when you were out playing at the park. People just glanced over or shied away from you."

"Why didn't anyone say anything?" I asked him, studying my brother's face. He clenched his jaw and shook his head.

"Mom didn't want to ruin your friend for you," he said. "I was hoping she would calm down when you two his high school, but apparently she got worse."

"What do you mean worse?" I asked.

"Later, we are almost to the gate," Matthew said, pointing to the gate. Father Anderson was sitting in the chair there, looking very much annoyed to be there. His eyes rose when Matthew was within recognition distance.

"You are not a student," Father Anderson stated plaintively, pointing to Matthew and glaring.

"Now now Father, is that anyway to talk to a paying patron of the athletic department?" Matthew said as he handed over our tickets.

"Mister Carpenter, I trust you will be on your best behavior tonight?" Father Anderson said, taking the tickets and handing us back our stubs. "I do not want another incident like the last game you attended."

"I would never do that!" Matthew gasped, grabbing my hand and pulling me past the gates.

"What is he talking about?" I asked Matthew as we weaved through the crowd.

"Nothing to worry about," he said. "Besides, no one here is from my crew anyway."

"Crew?" I yelled over people cheering.

"Hey, there is Little Harry and Mouse," Matthew said, pointing in the direction of the concession stand. He let my hand go and I pushed through the crowd just in time to see one of the lovely concession moms' give him a very large hot dog.

"You are not suppose to eat people food," I said with a comically fierce look on my face. Mouse just gave me a grin while the woman who gave him a hot dog shrugged.

"Sorry," she said. "Little Harry just needed to talk to someone for a minute and I offered to watch him. He was looking at me with those large eyes and I couldn't resist."

"He is like that," I said, rubbing his head affectionately. "How much do I owe you?"

"Oh don't worry," she said, waving me off. "What kind of dog is he?"

"A mutt," I told her. Aunt Karrin had given him to me as a gift and told me that is what he was. When I was nine ten I asked her if he was part wooly mammoth. Her eyes grew wide and filled with tears. She pulled me into a hug and laughed into my hair.

"No," she told me. "He is not part wooly mammoth." She walked away and was sniffling. I never knew why she reacted like that, and I didn't think to ask.

"Bring him back later to love on," she called out as I started to lead him away.

"Thank you," I said as I took him by the collar and headed for the stands. I did not get far before I heard someone call out my name. I looked above me and saw Anthony waving at me about halfway up in the stands. Mouse and I made our way to the stands and up to where Anthony was standing. Little Harry was in the middle of the group of them, talking and waving his hand animatedly as he was probably telling them some story from school. Anthony raised his eyebrows when we were close enough to get a good look at Mouse.

"Little Harry said you had a dog, not a buffalo," Anthony stated as he gestured for me to sit.

"Ha ha, like we haven't heard anything like that before," I said. Anthony sat next to Mouse, scratching behind his ears.

"So, how are we doing?" I asked, watching the guys on the field tackle each other.

"Well, we aren't that far into the first quarter, but so far the other team has scored twice," Anthony sighed. "Ah, look! The girls are going to do a pyramid!" I focused on the cheerleaders, and was amazed at how well they were doing this year. Last year, I used to watch and see how close they would come to doing a face plant when they would miss catching them in the proper fashion. It amazed me that the girls were not afraid.

"I really need to start coming around more," Matthew said as he sat down behind me. "I do not remember this many good looking girls when I was in school."

"And most of them are jailbait brother dear, so keep your eyes on the game," I said. Matthew chuckled and muttered something under his breath that was low enough I could pretend I did not hear it. The crowd cheered and everyone around me when to their feet as someone from our team intercepted the ball. I jumped up and cheer with them as the guy ran down the field till her was tackled near the 10 yard line. From then on my eyes were glued to the field, watching as our team rallied and start to really play the game. I thought I was going to lose my voice I shouted so much. By half time, the game was twenty-four to nineteen in our favor.

"Do you want anything from the concession stand? Matthew and I are going to make a run," Little Harry asked, as the marching band took the field.

"I want some nachos and can you get Mouse a couple hot dogs?" I asked.

"Yea," Little Harry said, stepping over Anthony and letting Amy by to walk down the stairs.

"How you liking the game?" Amy asked, sitting in Nathan's lap. Mouse immediately put his head in hers. My respect for Amy rose a bit when she didn't even flinch. Most of the girlie girls freaked out when it came to Mouse.

"It is okay," I said. Mouse lifted his head up and pawed at her leg. "That means he wants you to pet him."

"He is such a charmer," Amy said, putting both hands under his chin and rubbing at the bottom of his ears while touching his nose to hers. "Why haven't you brought him to the games before?"

"He isn't allowed without a pass or Little Harry's charm," I replied.

"Dude, we can get him in," Anthony said. "He is a well-behaved dog, and we have the cheerleaders on our side."

"Oh whoa! We are under aged and in short skirts who fear for our safety against strange men! We need this large dog to make us feel safe," she dramatically swooned against Anthony at those words. Mouse looked back at me and gave me a look that seemed to ask Is this chick for real?

"Hey, who is that chick on the field?" I heard someone a few people down on my row ask. I looked at the field, and my whole body jerked in shock. Jessica was standing on the fifty-yard line, her head bowed and holding something out stretched in her hands.

"Mouse, come with me," I said, standing and climbing over Anthony and Amy.

"What are you doing?" Amy asked, grabbing my hand.

"Going to talk to her," I replied, breaking her grip on my hand and running down the steps. The campus security was talking to the opposite teams band as Mouse and I went through the gate. Both bands were on the sidelines, pointing at her and talking to each other. When we were close enough to see her face, I saw her lips moving. "Jess, what are you doing?"

"You can't leave me," she said. Her head snapped up, causing her hair to move back slightly and show more of her face. My eyes grew wide at the site of her tear-streaked face. The mascara runs down her cheeks made her look almost demonic with her bloodshot eyes. "I only wanted to be popular. You are the only way."

"You slept with my boyfriend and propositioned my brother," I said slowly, taking a few steps forward. "What makes you think that I would still be friends with you after I found that out?"

"Because I did it for us!" she yelled. "I slept with everyone who could improve our chances to be at the top! Everyone who I slept with said that they would help us. It was only a matter of time before they would put in a good word for us and I spent years trying to make us popular, waiting for the right time to let the guards down so we had just enough mystery to be cool. It was luck about the ice cream shop robbery. It was the push we needed. We could have went all the way to the top on that, but you found out everything I did to help us."

"Jess, what is that?" I asked, gesturing to the object in her hands. I felt Mouse's chest rumbled as he let out a growl.

"Miss, just put down whatever is in your hands," I heard someone say. I looked out of the corner of my eye, seeing a couple of the security officers approaching her. One of them had his hand on the holster he kept his Taser. "Don't do something you might regret. Just put down the bomb slowly."

"I wouldn't blow everyone up," she told them, a strange grin coming over her face. "They deserve something much worse."

"Jessica, please don't do this," I pleaded, as I took a couple more steps towards her. Fear for my brothers' lives came over me as she began to cackle. The object in her hand started to give off a purple glow. "I love you. Please, just set that down and we can talk this over. I promise I will hear you out."

"It's too late," she howled. "You have already chosen! You are one of them! You will pay with them!" She let out a string of words that I could not identify, then slammed the object she held on the ground. As Mouse jumped between the following explosion and I, it occurred to me that maybe I should have thought this through better. Mouse knocked me over onto my back as he stood in front of me in a stance that seemed familiar in some corner of my brain, blocking my view of Jessica and the security guards. People were screaming and I looked over at the stands to see people running over each other to get down. I slowly pulled myself into a kneeling position, looking over Mouse's back to see what exactly happened as a result of what Jessica did. I realized I was way out of my element when I saw a group of about eight large purple imps gnawing on what was left of what I assumed was the security guards' bodies since the uniforms were one them. I cried out, and the imps stopped chewing. I felt myself tremble as their eyes narrowed on me in what I could assume was hunger.

"Well, it was nice knowing you Mouse," I said, right before the imps took a flying leap toward us.