Growing up in Riverview, Lila Harris always had stupid little boys to contend with. One of whom, Nick Moore, teased her mercilessly as a child.
Lila met Nick when she was fifteen months old, and he two years older. That was when the torture began…
Lila’s middle name was Elle, and Nick’s pet name for her was ‘Elle the Smell’.
She absolutely hated it.
Often she’d wonder why she had to live so close to him. Often she threatened to stop hanging around with him; but for some reason, always changed her mind…
Why?? She didn’t know.
Nick’s teasing of her began when the two were toddlers…
And continued into adulthood. Would Lila ever be free of her pesky male friend?
In actuality, Lila Harris hadn’t seen Nick Moore since both were teens. He’d moved to another state, to her relief. And she forgot all about him. At least until one day in April.
Sitting at the kitchen table in her 14X80 ft. mobile home, Lila discussed her love life with her mother. Or lack thereof of a love life.
“Money’s getting tight again this month,” Audrey said to her daughter.
“Mom, do we have to keep talking about money? I told you I was going to look for a job next week. We’ll be fine,” Lila replied, nonchalant. “Anyhow, I want to talk to you about something.”
“What?” Audrey asked, curious.
“I’m 23 years old and I can’t get a date. What is wrong with this picture? Am I that ugly?” Lila complained. “That last guy I asked out, you remember him? Connor? He hasn’t called me back!” she added.
Audrey twirled her finger in the air and said, “honey, maybe if you do something about your hair. I mean, pigtails? Like you said, you’re 23 years old, not three.”
“What’s wrong with pigtails?! Sheesh! Can’t a grown woman wear her hair and clothes anyhow she wants without worrying about alienating men? Must we all look a certain way to get the attention of the opposite you-know-what?! Maybe I should start wearing my bikini in public! Maybe that would work! Or dye my hair blonde! Agh!!”
Audrey gave her daughter a puzzled look, and then left the room.
That evening, Lila sat down to watch television and grumbled when the picture got screwy. She rose from the sofa and used a screwdriver to pilfer with the screwy gadget. Audrey walked into the room. Now Lila was really screwed.
“Lila, I wish you wouldn’t do that. You could get electrocuted. My goodness, why do you always have to be such a tomboy?”
Lila furrowed her brow in vexation, knowing what was coming next. Don’t say it, she chanted to herself, bracing for her mother’s inevitable statement.
“That could be why your dating life is suffering. You behave too much like a boy,” Audrey said.
“This idea of yours, of getting into a sports career is just… well, just weird,” Audrey continued.
“Thank a LOT, mother,” Lila snapped, turning from the TV. A moment later, the picture came into view. Lila turned to watch the Sports Network, then returned to the sofa.
When her mother turned to leave, Lila snuck a contemptuous look at her. Then she resumed watching TV.
Was her mother right? Should she stop being such a tomboy? Was that her real problem?? Should she stop watching sports and aspiring to be a sports star?? Should she let down her hair, literally??
Then her heart fell to her feet. Right there on the television screen was Nick Moore, supposed quarterback of the famous and infamous Llamas football team. Dear God, how is that possible? Yet there he was… WTH??? Although she hadn’t seen him in seven years, she recognized him immediately.
Three days later, Lila rode her bike to town.
She headed for the Riverview Sports Stadium, intent upon getting a job in the sports career… whether her mother supported her or not.
Then again, her mother only said those things because she cared about her; right?
Regardless, Lila refused to change just to snag a man. If a guy couldn’t like her the way she was, then she resolved to never date again. Period. After all, she shouldn’t have to change to please someone else; and that included her mother.
Lila strolled into the sports stadium and spoke with Human Resources. The secretary led her to the gymnasium to meet her future possible boss.
Nick Moore. Seems he’d recently moved back to Riverview.
Images of toddlerhood flashed in her mind’s eye; particularly images of Nick as a toddler. A mean, torturous child.
Elle the Smell; Elle the Smell, Nick’s hurtful words rang like horrid chimes inside Lila’s mind. She almost expected him to call her that, at that present moment. Luckily, he didn’t. Regardless, Nick Moore as her coach?? As her trainer?? OMG…
Oh, *bleep*, Lila thought to herself.
Maybe her mother was right. Maybe she shouldn’t join the sports career after all.
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