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Excerpt from Ria

Ria tossed her sleek dark locks behind her and opened her menu in one swift movement.
“Not as often as I’d like to. The food here is exquisite. The girls and I take a day off every season and come, or maybe even twice if we score an important game and the coach agrees to help out with the check.”
“Well you didn’t have to bother for just me. “ I said a little taken aback. “I would have been fine with a cup of coffee at the diner down the street from this place.”
“Coffee? At this hour?” She dismissed my modest alternative with a wave of her hand.
“Besides, I want you to feel welcome, you know? Like you matter. That you’re not just the new girl from Truro. Everyone is someone on the team. No ones ever left behind as far as I’m concerned. Which is often as far as it gets.” Ria peered up and down the appetizer section before deciding on a common bowl of calamari.
“So I suppose you’re saying that you invite every new addition out for meals worth six figures.” I quipped, after asking the waiter to refill my coke.
She bit her bottom lip, which I realized was full and naturally colored, and chuckled lightly. “Well do you have something against being my pet for a little while? You’re so cute; I can’t help but be smitten with you.”
My cheeks burned slightly, and I could only imagine what I looked like. I cleared my throat frigidly and spoke. “So how long have you been captain?”
“Since I was a sophomore.”
“I’d bet you’re used to being in charge.” I attempted to smile at her.
“Well I’ve played that role all my life. I’d like to think I do a good job at leading if I don’t say so myself.” She grinned back, in a way that made my mouth go dry. I wondered where the hell that waiter was with my coke.
“I should warn you, that I’m not always down to take orders.” I said, trying my uncoordinated hand at flirting.
Ria made a face and then licked her lips before responding quietly. “Oh, I think we can manage that.”
Her very presence was intoxicating as the waiter arrived ten hours later with my drink and our bowl of fried squid. Ria tore a crispy chunk off one of the big ones and bit into it eagerly. “Christ, I’m starving. But tell me about you. Tell me your talents.”
I tore my lips off my straw and stared into my glass that was already half empty. “Talents? Well I don’t particularly have any talents……”

She cut me off and pushed our bowl toward me and urged me to have some. “Oh come on. Don’t be modest. I’ve seen you’re GPA. “
“You pulled my file?” I said grinning whole heartedly...

- Excerpt from "Ria" by Rachel Palay





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