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"Did you know that Allison is dating Neil?"

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Nicky was walking by the freshmen’s rooms when he heard a few excited voices talking all over each other. Now, Nicky is not someone that thrives in gossip, of course not, but he didn’t know as much as he liked about the baby Foxes and every time he could eavesdrop without other people’s knowledge he would do it. Not that that was called gossiping, obviously.

Now, not in even a million years, Nicky would imagine what made the kids so excited.

“Did you know that Allison is dating Neil?” a girl said and Nicky almost had a heart attack. He froze, his eyes widening and his mouth opening in a chuckle that he was able of stopping.

“What?” another person asked, Mia, Nicky thought.

“Yes, we saw them in the mall this morning! They were all lovey-dovey!” now that was definitely Gus talking, Nicky knew, since his voice was the lowest one in the bunch and he had to actually move closer to the door to understand what the kid said.

“What the fuck? That hot piece with a midget like that?” Nicky didn’t even had to try to know who it was. Jack, Bastard One, as Aaron liked to call him.

“She is not that hot!” Sheena, Bastard Two, as Nicky liked to call her, answered back.

Nicky wondered if he should stay a few moments longer, but he heard the roof door opening and closing and two male voices and before he could think twice he had flown to the girls’ room, opening the door after knocking once. Luckily, Allison was the only one in there and her eyebrows rose when she saw Nicky’s mischievous smile.

“Well, hello to you too. Nice to see you didn’t become politer during summer… Does a closed door mean something different in Germany?” Allison asked, turning back to arrange her desk and her new books.

“Yeah, sorry about that, I didn’t want Neil and Andrew to see me…” Nicky explained. The Foxes had learned the hard way that the roof was Neil and Andrew’s place after rudely barging in in the middle of a make out session. Even all these months later, Aaron proclaimed he still had nightmares and Kevin swore he thought they were actually having a barbecue on the roof and that’s why he followed all of them. The girls and Matt decided selective memory was the best course, even if every time, for the next few days, Matt was in close proximity to Andrew he always had a shocked expression on his face. It only went away when Andrew volunteered to carve that expression on his face with his knife.

 “I just had the best idea ever!” Nicky announced and Allison stopped what she was doing and watched him sit on one of their beanbags. “You have no idea what I just heard from the kids! And you are going to love me when I tell you everything!”

Allison heard the entirety of the crazy plan Nicky came up with between first listening the freshmen and entering her room in a mad dash. With every word, Allison’s eyes twinkled in mischief and Nicky spurred by her reaction kept on.

“So?” Nicky finally finished and Allison looked at her nails in deep concentration.

“You know Andrew is going to kill us, right?” Allison mentioned and Nicky sighed.

“I guess we will have to be martyrs for the well-being of this team…”

Allison shook her head at his dramatic words.

“Well, it’s been too long since something lightly exciting happened around here…”

“Right? It’s not like we have some gangster breathing down the neck of our boy or anything…” Nicky replied and Allison smiled at him.

When Nicky left the room, he prayed a small prayer for his cousin not to commit double homicide and walked towards his and Matt’s and Aaron’s room, with a beat in his steps.

 


 

The first part of the plan would happen still inside the locker room. Nicky and Allison had agreed on what to do and say. They were lucky it was Wednesday, or at least, Nicky was, since it made his part way easier. It wouldn’t do them any good to be impaled even before starting messing with everyone.

Allison made sure all the freshmen girls were in hearing range, when she started showing Dan and Renee some pictures on her phone.

“Oh my god! How did you convince Neil to try this?” Dan asked, chuckling at Allison’s phone.

“He loves me too much to say no…” Allison replied, not telling them that she used the fact of this being her last year to finally convince him into taking silly pictures with her. The boy was always too serious, he needed to shed that psycho’s son mantle and be a normal brainless teen for a few hours.

Dan and Renee smiled at each other, noticing the ease with which Neil stood next to Allison on the pictures. A mere year ago it would be impossible to imagine their scaredy cat standing so close to someone and smiling. Dan felt incredibly proud of the way Neil reacted now to them, joking around with Matt, yelling at Kevin, rolling his eyes at Aaron, letting Nicky buy him clothes that he would never wear, having philosophical conversations with Renee, letting Dan hug him when she felt the need and especially the bond he developed with Allison, after everything that happened with Seth.

“Why were you in a Halloween shop?” Renee asked, when the pictures changed to Neil wearing something that resembled a mechanic’s clothes, all dirty with oil.

“Renee, we have to buy the costumes soon or everything good will disappear…” Allison replied and Dan shook her head.

“It’s still the beginning of September…” she commented, but Allison ignored her.

She kept showing pictures of Neil with actually normal clothes, making sure to comment on his physical attributes. The younger girls were doing nothing to hide their eavesdropping, until a yell from Kevin outside their door made them jump into action.

 


 

On the boys’ side, Nicky waited until Aaron and Kevin were almost ready to go to start his conversation with Neil.

“Neil, did you buy a lot of stuff with Allison when you went shopping?” Nicky asked, feeling Aaron moving towards the exit and Kevin following him right after.

“Not much, she wanted to buy some stuff for her…” Neil replied, making sure his guards were correctly put.

“What stuff?” Nicky asked.

“Some underwear and costumes, stuff like that… She wanted my opinion…” Neil was not really paying attention to Nicky, so he answered like it was a completely usual thing for Allison and him to go buy lingerie together. Actually it was, since the end of last year, when she started borrowing him for her shopping sprees.

Nicky saw, through the corner of his eyes, Jack’s eyes widen.

“Really? And did you have some favorites?” Nicky wondered if he was exaggerating, but Neil was now checking his phone, probably reading a text from Andrew telling him he just arrived at Betsy’s office, and was clearly not understanding that he was being played.

“She had some frilly stuff… It’s not really my thing, but she liked them…”

Nicky was almost exploding in laughter, but controlled himself.

“Did she buy you those skinny jeans?” Nicky pointed at Neil’s new pants inside his locker.

“Yes, she said they made my ass look great…” Neil said it as an afterthought, texting quickly on his phone. Nicky didn’t know if he should thank Andrew or not for distracting Neil in such a way.

And now not only Jack was staring at Neil, but the rest of the freshmen too, with something akin to jealously or bewilderment. Matt was humming under his breath, clearly used by that kind of conversation.

“The fuck are you all doing?” Kevin yelled so loud, it echoed through the walls of both changing rooms.

 


 

 

The next day, they started their morning work out in the gym, with Matt and Kevin in a competition to see who could bench press more. What they chose to ignore was that Andrew was still better than them, and Neil was not doing anything to hide the way his eyes followed the goalkeeper’s arms.

Allison tsked to herself. He was doing things harder for them… So, she moved from her station to stand next to Neil's. She started an inane conversation, too low for anyone else to listen, about Renee and Dan loving his Halloween costume.

“Yup, so sexy…” Allison rose her voice, so the freshmen boys closer to Neil were the only to hear, and lowered it to say the next words. “Andrew will totally rip that outfit off of you!”

“Allison!” Neil replied, blushing to the roots of his hair, and his voice carried through the gym, making everyone stop and stare.

“Allison! Stop distracting Neil! Make that on your own free time or should I send the electricity bill to you?” Wymack yelled, making both of them jump and Allison had to stop the smile from appearing in her face. The coach just said the best thing to make the younger kids keep wondering without her having to incur in Andrew’s wraith during the rest of training.

Oh, yes, she could feel his eyes following her since the moment she approached Neil. Thankfully, his blank face didn’t give anything away or else hers and Nicky’s little game would finish before it started and before she could win that bet about how long it would take the kids to figure it out about Neil and Andrew.

 


 

Nicky couldn’t be having more fun watching Allison messing with not only the kids, but Neil as well.  Neil’s face would redden after a few minutes of Allison starting a conversation with him within the kids’ visual range. Nicky could only imagine what kind of things she was saying, probably bringing up Andrew more times in a conversation than she ever did in the last three years. However, Andrew was the thing that was worrying Nicky now. His cousin started paying more attention not only to Allison, but Nicky as well, and he felt like a mouse being followed by a particularly mad cat.

Since they started their little prank, three week had already flew by, and Nicky was starting to doubt the younger kids’ intellect. Not that Allison tried less hard to keep her part, but Neil was so not into her that it was palpable. He wondered what the freshmen thought about all the moments Neil disappeared with Andrew, or when he appeared with some hickeys during a weekend when he was away with only Andrew. Seriously, Nicky started wondering if the freshmen saw Neil and Andrew making out if their hetero-normative little brains would come up with the right answer…  Somehow he doubt it…

 


 

The answer to Nicky’s current doubt only got its answer by the end of a training in the beginning of October.

Everyone was already moving around the lounge, showered and tired from the training when Kevin appeared with a white board.

“What is that for?” Matt asked, already moving towards the exit door.

“Everyone back to the court!” Kevin commanded. “I got this idea from Jeremy and Dan and Neil agreed…”

“Your crush Jeremy?” Nicky chuckled and ducked to avoid the pen Kevin threw at his head.

“Usually after a game, the Trojans sit in the court and talk about went wrong… Since everyone will start punching everyone after a game, we decided it would be best to do it after a training once a week.” Kevin explained.

“But you didn’t say it had to be today…” Dan replied, her hand being pulled by Matt towards the exit like he thought they could escape before Kevin locked every door.

“Better start today, since I already have the board in here!” Kevin said, ignoring everyone’s annoyed faces.

“But I have a dinner today…” Sheena said and Jack nodded, even if he hated being against his idol.

“Well, when we start losing and Coach stops using the freshmen in our line, you can’t come cry and ask for forgiveness!” Kevin replied, angry and pointing fingers at everyone, including the non-freshmen.

Renee sighed.

“Well, we can do forty-five minutes of it, what do you think?” she asked and everyone looked at her like she was crazy.

However, her calm smile and hopeful eyes made everyone, even Bastard One and Bastard Two, look down.

Grumbles of “Alright” and “Just forty five minutes” echoed around the lounge and Kevin looked at them like a monarch seeing his orders being respected. More than one athlete wanted to punch that smirk out of his face.

When they reentered the court, however, every thought of a calm, logical meeting flew from everyone’s minds.

Nicky and Allison looked at each other with disappointed faces. Nicky because all the next steps on his plans were now useless and Allison because she just lost one hundred bucks.

“What the fuck?!” Mia gasped and every freshmen around her had different reactions of shock and astonishment.

Neil squealed when Andrew stepped away from him and let him fall to the wooden floor of the court. Just a few seconds ago, Neil had his back against the Plexiglas wall, his legs around Andrew’s hips, with Andrew’s hands holding his ass, while kissing him with something akin to hunger.

Dan giggled behind Nicky, while the freshmen turned as one to face Allison.

“I can’t believe it! He is cheating on you with Andrew!” Gus said, shocked and Nicky actually face-palmed himself.

Aaron and Matt turned to Allison with surprise in his eyes.

“What in the hell?” Aaron asked.

“Cheating on you?” Matt repeated.

Kevin, after letting the shock pass, jumped and quickly approached a blushing Neil and a don’t-give-a-fuck Andrew.

“What the fuck are you doing? A court is no place to be doing this, your assholes! Go to your room!”

“We share the room with you, Kevin…” Andrew replied, ironically. “Don’t tell me you like to watch…”

Kevin sputtered and pointed a finger at them.

“Wait until I’m not there, morons! Or go to the roof! Or your room in Columbia! But not my court!” Kevin yelled at them, until Neil looked up.

“Excuse me, for being too busy with your crazy schedules to properly make out with Andrew in my spare time!” Neil replied with fire in his eyes.

Behind the three of them, a mess of confused freshmen and chuckling upperclassmen observed the verbal sparring.

“Neil is right, you know? They can’t have sex properly without Kevin breathing down their necks about Exy…” Allison commented, and her words, more than anything else made the freshmen finally, finally, realize their mistake.

Nicky saw the kids discussing among themselves, and the cruel looks Jack was sending Neil…

Oh, Jack has no idea what will be going his way if he tries to say something about Neil and Andrew... Nicky thought, remembering the only time he saw Neil actually furious with someone, after some asshole made a comment about his relationship with Andrew outside Eden’s Twilight, and almost end up in a coffin.

Matt, never to be called subtle by anyone, actually stepped in front of the group and yelled to Kevin.

“So, Kevin, are you going to inquire them on their romantic relationship as well or are we going to start this team bonding stuff?”

Kevin looked back, took a deep breath, and carried his white board towards the center of the court, ignoring Neil and Andrew for the moment.

When the group moved towards the court, Andrew waited until Nicky and Allison were in close range.

“I don’t like when people play with Neil…” he let the threat stay in the air, long after he moved away from the two, but Nicky and Allison knew what it meant. They were lucky this time.

“How in the hell did he know?” Nicky asked, looking at Allison.

“Are you sure he is not an alien that can read minds?” Allison replied.

“You were way too obvious!” Dan said behind them. “Renee caught on three days after you started your little thing, and I wasn’t all that far away and then I told Matt, he was already suspicious too... I bet the only ones that didn’t know were Aaron and Kevin, just because they are way too busy with Exy and Katelyn, respectively… And I’m almost sure Andrew caught on right on the first day… Why do you think I bet the way I did? I gave him one month until he got tired of it…”

Dan left them behind, chuckling to herself.

Allison looked at Nicky.

“You just made me lose a bet, Hemmick!”