Authors: Bri Izzo
Copyright © 2015 by B.H.Izzo
reserved. This book may not be reproduced or transmitted in any capacity
without written permission by the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote
brief passages for review purposes.
This book is a
work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, or resemblance to events or
persons, living or dead, are coincidental and originate from the authors
imagination and are used
Cover image and
design by Elizabeth Izzo ©
Prologue: Bianca Ferrari
I live my life like I
m in the batter
s box and the count is full. Every decision and every moment
can lead to either a strikeout or a home run. And I like to swing for the
m only a year younger
than my brother Rex, I can
t help checking out the boys on
his baseball team. My age has never mattered; I
been a boy crazed girl who appreciates a good pair of baseball pants and a
backwards baseball hat.
I have this theory about guys that wearing a baseball
hat automatically makes them one ranking higher on the attractive scale than
re not wearing one. For instance, a guy I would
normally rank as a nine would instantly be considered a perfect ten if he just puts
on a baseball hat. The bonus part of my theory is if he
wearing the hat backwards - that bumps him up two rankings. It doesn
t matter what kind of baseball hat he
wearing - trucker hat, snapback, fitted, flat brim. The theory works on every
guy. Even a guy ranked at a three can be bumped up to a four just by adding a
baseball hat to his ensemble.
s always have on
backwards baseball hats, and, often times they have the best pants, too, since
they squat all game. My brother
catcher was a little scrawny as a kid yet easily in the top two most athletic
boys on the team. He just needed to develop his muscles, which happened during
his high school years.
s no coincidence that his dad
and my dad co-founded the local Rockets baseball team that the boys played for
that traveled throughout the state of Illinois playing other similarly built
teams. They also co-own an advertising agency in downtown Chicago that keeps
them busy most of the year. Our dads are best friends despite sending their
kids to different elementary schools. With their competitive nature, the plan
has always been to compare how privately and publicly schooled kids would
compete against each other, both academically and athletically, once they reach
high school. My money is on the public school kids. I know my brother is a
genius despite picking out his own outfit every day for school. I, however, don
t really care about school. I can never wait for summer to come
so I can just watch baseball or play softball every single day. I compete in
the athletic part of the friendly competition.
Our dads have been best friends since college, so I
ve known the Swansons since I was in the womb. My first clear
memory with their oldest son, Skyler, who grew up to be a catcher with amazing
baseball pants, is when I was five (and he and my brother were six) when our
dads took us to our first Cubs game at Wrigley Field. It was my first exposure
to the game of baseball. I loved every second of it from the smell of peanuts,
hot dogs, and beer to the players
tight pants as they
waited for their pitch in the batter
s box. My love for
baseball, boys, and boys
baseball pants started that very
day. Our dads bought us each a Cubs hat to commemorate the game. Besides that
annual outing, we also played t-ball through the YMCA, stayed with one
babysitter at one house so our parents could all go out for dinner and drinks,
and played together whenever we had the chance. Skyler was basically my second
older brother, which also came along with him and Rex ganging up on me. It was
all in good fun and the teams actually rotated enough that it wasn
t always the two boys against me; Skyler made sure of that. It
was the three of us against the world - but mostly against our parents.
When Skyler turned eight I was the only girl invited
to his birthday party, so I had to find a way to mingle with the boys so they
t exclude me or pick on me. I wore my Cubs hat to
try to combat the outfit my mom picked out for me to wear - overalls with a
pink t-shirt underneath. It was my way of rebelling against my mom
s dream of having two cutesy and girly daughters. My younger
sister Baylee is girly enough for both of us.
By the time that summer ended I already had a crush
on Skyler, even if I couldn
t admit it to myself. I was
only a kid at the time; boys were supposed to still have cooties. We played
together all the time so that never registered with me. It wasn
until Halloween that I realized that those were butterflies flying around my
stomach whenever I saw him. A resemblance to Benny Rodriguez from The Sandlot
occurred right around that age, which officially sealed my crush on Skyler. I
dressed up as Buzz Lightyear while Rex was my Woody. The entire night I was
hitting people with my ejected wings, which was not only annoying to them, but
to me as well. Then my nickname was born to me: Buzz. Everyone was teasing me
all night long for wearing a boy
The only one who continued to call me by my nickname after that night was
Skyler, and I
m pretty sure it was because he had a hard
time remembering my real name.
As we were walking ahead of the group to go to the
next house, Skyler whispered to me, “What was your
Even at the ripe old age of seven I had perfected my
you-have-to-be-kidding-me face, which slightly frightened him. “Really?” I
demanded, this time purposely smacking him with one of my wings.
m bad with names,” he tried
telling me, but I didn
t buy it. Although, to his defense,
he never addressed me or anyone else by name. At best he called me “B.”
been friends since we were born and you can
t remember my
re stupid,” I told him flat out. Before I
stormed ahead of him I blurted out, “Just call me Buzz. That can
be too hard to remember.”
ll try,” I heard him say as I
continued lengthening my lead on our group. I approached a house with two dogs
running around in the front yard and thought I could bypass them through the
grass up to the front door. They were so quick that I ended up right in the
middle of their game of tag.
“Daddy!” I screamed as the dogs started chasing me. I
was such a daddy
s girl growing up, mostly because I liked
the same things he did and he taught me to be tough like the boys. I looked
back at the street to see that the only person within a reasonable distance of
me was Skyler, who was already sprinting towards me in his Spider-Man costume.
My wings were about to be the dogs
dinner, but instead,
Skyler jumped behind me, grabbed me by my waist, and forced me to the ground as
he fell on top of me. I heard one dog scamper away as the owner shouted for
them both to come to her, but the other dog must
thought Skyler looked appetizing and bit his teeth into his leg. Skyler
s scream was piercing, but when I rolled over to see if he was
okay, his eyes bulged at the sight of my face.
“What?” I mumbled, lightly touching my hand to my
face. When I pulled away all I saw was blood. His blood on his leg through his
torn Spider-Man pants and my blood gushing out of my nose and mouth. Apparently
when he tackled me my face broke my fall, and I looked like Zurg had defeated
me. I was so scared of the dogs biting me that my face was numb.
That night we were both rushed to the hospital but
managed to clean up with no major injuries. My fall caused one of my baby teeth
to fall out and my nose to bleed, but thankfully it wasn
broken. Skyler just needed to be cleaned up since the dog had all of its shots.
The next time I recalled seeing Skyler
dog bite was in the spring when the boys
started. When their first game finished, the boys stripped off their socks and
baseball pants (such a shame) to wear sandals and athletic shorts when we went
through the entrance, I could see Skyler had a deep scar from the dog
s teeth gouged into his leg.
“Does it still hurt?” I asked him quietly while we
stood in line to order our food.
“Does what still hurt?” he wondered, barely turning
in my direction as he scanned the menu like he had never eaten there before. It
was our go-to place for celebratory butter burgers and custard, so I knew he
was just avoiding me.
” I replied as though
it were obvious.
“No but it
s weird when everyone
looks at it and talks about it. People at school tease me that a bear was
trying to eat me and other stupid stuff,” Skyler half laughed to show me it was
okay to laugh with him.
“They also laugh that he got it so the dog wouldn
t bite a giiiirl,” Skyler
brother Sam piped in from behind. He was seven - the same age as me - and still
thought girls had cooties. Girls thought he had cooties until he was in high
school, so him teasing Skyler did no good in the long run.
“Well I think it makes you look tough. And I never
really thanked you,” I realized, trying to ignore Sam. He was a shorter clone
of Skyler on the outside, besides a giant gap between his front teeth.
Otherwise they were complete opposites. Skyler was usually the reserved one
while we could never get Sam to shut up.
s fine. If I wouldn
t have gone after you then you might not have a foot,” he
shrugged like it was no big deal. When I turned silent to give him a confused
look, he finally looked at me to clarify, “You
skinny that dog would
ve bit right through you.”
The first time I ever really flirted with Skyler I
was thirteen, and he was fourteen. We were sitting in the backyard of the
s coach for the annual party with the team
and families. It was a typical suburban home with a nice private backyard where
they set up a volleyball net with hoses as the boundary lines and tables and
chairs scattered on the patio and deck. After I filled my plate with a
cheeseburger, watermelon, and chips from the garage, I approached the patio
filled with baseball players and siblings occupying every chair except for one,
which happened to be right next to Skyler. My best girl friend Tiffany was
sitting across from him and next to her older brother Benny who was on the
team. Other chairs around the table were filled with slightly intimidating
baseball players. I glared at Tiffany from afar, and she motioned with her eyes
for me to sit next to Skyler. My heart was making me shake so much that I
almost dropped my entire plate on the ground. It wouldn
have been a big deal if every single person at the party didn
have their romanticized eyes awaiting my next move. It was the first time since
I realized I had a crush on Skyler that I had a chance to be close to him in
front of the team. His dark hair poured out from underneath his backwards baseball
hat, and I could tell the rest of it was spiked up inside of it from the way it
rested high on his head. His jaw was hard and so alluring from the way he
carried himself; he wouldn
t let anyone in past his
sunglasses. I wanted what I couldn
t have, as usual.
“Is this taken?” I asked in regards to the empty
seat next to him.
“Just waiting for you, sweetheart,” he replied.
Did he just call me sweetheart? I
Bye. End of Story.
Just kidding. That was just the beginning.