The Flipside Part 2

by Tina Ferraro

Re-Cap of “The Flipside Part 1”

24-Hour Clock

Becca Benvenuto is a reluctant guest at Elaine Chu’s 17th birthday slumber party. She knows she was only invited by the soccer-playing birthday girl because she’s BFF with soon-to-be soccer captain and “It Girl,” Parker Stanhope (whose story was featured in the 2009 Delacorte Press release, “The ABC’s of Kissing Boys”).

Becca also knows she only caught the attention of her  boyfriend, Scott Cinderelli, because of her friendship with Parker. In fact, Becca could feel totally insecure that her entire social life hinges on being Parker’s bestie—but having had a rough ride so far in high school, has decided to laugh that off and just enjoy herself.

All that changes when at the slumber party, she and Parker find a scavenger hunt clue that reads: “Scott Cinderelli is cheating on you.” She and Parker set out to find out the truth about what he is or is not doing—not to mention who wrote it and why.

And you know what they say being careful what you wish for.  Because you just might get it…

The Flipside Part 2

Tiffany and Amber won the scavenger hunt. Parker and I—with another late start—never made it past “More than you, but less than double you,” which turned out to be “vee,” as in the V-shaped split of the Chu’s front yard oak tree. So another team got the glory and the gift cards.

sunbathingBut I got Parker’s attention. That night, that next morning. And the next day, as the two of us sunbathed in shorts and t-shirts on her backyard grass. (Sure, it was barely seventy degrees, but anyone who’d endured a bone-chilling DeGroot winter knew to have at the sun whenever possible.)

“So how come you didn’t go into work today?” she asked, belly down on a towel, head arched up. “I thought your schedule was pretty set.”

“It is.” Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, and all day Sunday, manning a cash register in DeGroot Groceries. And more hours during school breaks, which did very good things for my wallet, but very bad things for my big cheeks. Because the other checkers and baggers—most of whom went to the University—made me laugh too much. They were into pranks and imitations of managers and customers, and anything they could get away with.

Will Jackson, the store’s other high school student, and I usually kept our heads down (and our snickers to a dull roar) when the college kids got started. But since Will was a computer whiz, he routinely got called away from bagging to help our techno-challenged manager with such mind-boggling programs as e-mail and Excel, and so he missed some of the good stuff. Which I generally relayed to him when he got back, or the next day, by his school locker.

Which I happened to pass a lot. It was pretty centrally located, near the main staircase, plus, I seemed somewhat drawn to it. Or him. Or whatever. Will was interesting, and made me laugh. Good-looking, too. And okay…I’ll just say it: I liked having a friend who just liked me for me, and had nothing whatsoever to do with Parker, Scott, or soccer.

“I requested today off,” I went on, answering Parker’s question. “Figuring Elaine’s party would be slumber-less, and I didn’t want to be a zombie on the job.”

“Good thing. Especially since, after that happened, your mind would hardly be on your work.” She pressed her lips into a flat line. “So what’s the plan? When are you confronting Scott about the note?”

I sighed, long and loud. I wanted that confrontation about as much having my beauty mark removed without anesthesia. “Probably tonight. I’m thinking of asking my mom for the car after dinner and heading over there.”

“Good.”

Unannounced.”

“Even better,” she said. “Giving him no time to prepare or rehearse.”

“Or hide.” I shook my head. “And then I plan to just be straight with him. And see what he says.”

“If he’s half the guy we think he is, he’ll get totally pissed off and offer to help you investigate.”

“Or he’ll confess.”

She bit on her lip. “Oh, Becks, you don’t really think he’s cheating, do you?”

I shrugged. I didn’t know what to think. But in the dark hours of the night, when I was the only one in Elaine’s living room still awake, I had come up with a perfectly good reason why Scott would have taken the low road and cheated on me: soccer team camaraderie. Just like Parker, he was the odds-on favorite for next year’s varsity team captain. The last thing he’d want was tension between the men’s and women’s teams, which would undoubtedly occur if he cruelly dumped Parker’s best friend for another girl.

And cheating, let us not forget, was supposed to be secret.

Plus, maybe he wasn’t really interested in this supposed other girl. Maybe she was simply offering him a taste of something he’d never even asked of me. Maybe he figured he could keep this affair undercover (so to speak) until he got enough of what he wanted. Then he’d walk away, and I’d never be the wiser.

Maybe. Who knew? Certainly not me.

Didn’t they always say the girlfriend was the last to know?

Parker’s text message chimed, and while she tapped out a reply, I’m pretty sure I dozed off. Because a short time later, I was jarred back to reality by a male voice. Belonging to Tristan Murphy, or “Boy Tristan,” as I liked to call him behind his back. Not that Parker cared. After all these months, she’d heard every age difference joke—probably even started a few herself.

I opened my eyes to see Parker pulling back from a kiss with her six-foot honey. Yeah, Tristan was one year younger and two grades behind her, but no one could deny he was hot.

“Hey,” I said.

“What’s up, Becca?”

The question didn’t require an answer, of course, but I shrugged. He smiled in return.

Which made Parker go all goo-goo eyes, looking up at him like a twelve year-old at teen idol poster. It seemed as good a time as any to head out, so I promised to check in with her later, grabbed my overnight gear, and took off.

But a glance at my watch (3:53, which read the same backwards, and I was too tired to care how it read upside-down) predicted trouble. At this rate, I’d make it home before my dad. Who spent every Sunday from about ten ‘till five visiting Zachariah, the kid he’d fathered with his (now ex) mistress.

During which time my mother generally let her rock-wall defenses down, and could be found doing any weird thing from whimpering to slamming kitchen cabinets to griping to her best friend on the phone. When I was around, I was fair game for an earful, too.

No, thank you. I’d work Sundays at the grocery store even if they demoted me to toilet scrubber.

Planning my route home, I hoped to start with a lengthy delay at the Aerial Lift Bridge. Trawlers and sailboats traveled in and out of the harbor at all hours, requiring the bridge’s mid-section to periodically rise, and bringing foot and street traffic on the mainland and this little island to a standstill. Odds were you’d get stuck there, especially every time you were in a hurry.

Next, I’d kill time in Old Town’s premier boutique, Anna Banana’s. Never too early to think about this summer’s shorts and tank tops.

And then? Walking as slowly as possible…backwards, balance beaming, one step forward, one step back. Whatever it took.

With the historic bridge in sight, an enthusiastic blast of a car horn broke me from my musing. A look over my shoulder showed a familiar black sub-compact. And like the dog who salivated at the sound of a bell (I’d learned about that in psych class), my heart jumped to my throat.

Scott.

His buddy Alex lived on the island, so while it didn’t send shockwaves through me to see him here, I was surprised he was alone.

(Had he heard about the note? Had he come looking for me? Wait—had I gone and gotten paranoid? Don’t answer that.)

I crossed around to the passenger side, and looked into my boyfriend’s big blues. Framing them above were sandy colored brows, and dark blond hair that wasn’t quite long enough to require combing. “Cute” was the word that came to mind, although once, when he was rambling about field goals, I’d intently studied his face and decided he had an unusually large amount of space between his upper lip and nose. Might make for a killer mustache someday, but right now, seemed a bit odd.

“Hey, you,” I said and forced a smile.

“You want a ride?”

Huh—good question. On one hand, getting in his car could be  the perfect time waster. Especially if we headed out to the lake. And he was a good kisser. However, then there was the simple fact that I didn’t know if I ever wanted to kiss him again. Because I didn’t know what he’d been up to, wasn’t sure where his mouth had been.

But…I couldn’t convict the guy without a trial. And before I could convict, I had to at least build a case. So I forced out an enthusiastic “Sure,” chucked my stuff in the backseat, and climbed on in.

Time to see what Scott Cinderelli was made of. And maybe, what I was, too.


We were two cars away from the bridge when the ear-splitting “bridge rising” bell started up. Scott braked as the gate lowered in front of his hood, and we powered up the windows.

Still, it was practically impossible to hold a conversation with the incessant clang ripping through the air. But he tried, anyway, shouting my way. I caught enough to know he’d been at Alex’s, working on a history project, and that he’d planned to call me later to see how Elaine’s party had gone.

Why?” I yelled back. “Did you hear what happened?”

He shot me a look. Whether he’d gone on the defensive or deaf was anybody’s guess. But I figured I had one toe in the water already, so might as well jump.

This is weird!” I shouted. “But last night, someone told me you’re cheating on me!”

He blinked. Hard. “What?”

I cupped my hands around my mouth. “I said—”

He cut me off with the lift of his hand. “I heard you! What the… Who said that?”

It doesn’t matter!”

Yeah, it does!”

What mattered most to me was that he wasn’t denying it. But eyes all narrow, brow low, he did looked convincingly offended, and that scored him points. “I don’t know,” I blasted so loudly it hurt my vocal chords. “It was anonymous, written on a scavenger hunt clue!”

I could see him watching my mouth, lip-reading my words. And while I applauded his attempt at thoroughness, I couldn’t help noticing it kept him from meeting my eyes…

Maybe,” he bellowed, “it was meant for someone else, about a different Scott!”

I totally liked where he was going, but had to shoot him down. “No,” I thundered, as if into a mighty Minnesota wind. “They used your full name.”

He muttered colorful expletive that I lip-read rather than heard, then glanced up. White, hot light glared from his eyes. “This is crap, Becca! You know that, right?”

I didn’t, but was glad to hear it. And I wanted to hear more. But the truth was, it was just too hard, all this yelling, this tension, this potential for misunderstanding.

He must have thought so, too, because he shook his head, bit the inside of his cheek, and exhaled. A minute or more must have passed when he turned back to me.

What about Parker?” he yelled, his words seeming to bounce off the windshield. “Does she believe it?”

She’s giving you the benefit of the doubt,” I screamed back.

What?”

I said—”

I heard you!” He shook his head again. “Benefit of the doubt? What have I ever done to make her even doubt?” He frowned, then continued shouting, “Oh, wait, is this about Amber?” Just as the clanging stopped.

Making that sentence seem larger than life. Larger than, well, even Amber Kline’s signature boobs.

A ringing inside my ears replaced the clanging, and almost as if a whiff of Lake Superior air would help, I zapped down my window and took a couple breaths. Turning back to Scott, I saw he’d powered his down, too. Sweet, fresh air blew past us.

“What about Amber?” I finally continued.

I pictured the busty brunette. While never a close friend, I’d known her and her boobs since sixth grade. You couldn’t help connecting the two since she took every opportunity to shove them in people’s faces. In fact, Parker swore that she could gauge Amber’s mood by how much cleavage she was showing, that she used those puppies as confidence builders. On her very best day, Amber covered them in a sweatshirt, on her worst, she appeared in barely more than a push-up bra.

phone“Nothing. I mean, she’s in my French class and called about homework a few times. Got my number from her ex, who plays on the team. We talked about him, about soccer and stuff. The last time, I made sure to mention you and how we’re going out.” He put the car in gear and accelerated, his gaze zigzagging between the road and me. Like he wanted a read on my reaction to this important fact he was laying on me.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this, but let the obvious question slip out. “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

He shrugged. “Do you tell me about conversations you have with people about homework?”

Okay—point taken.

“Anyway, she never called again,” he went on. “And I didn’t know if I’d ticked her off or something, if she’d maybe gone and bad-mouthed me to the girls’ team.”

I shook my head. “I never heard a thing about that.” But Parker, who spent all those hours on the field with her, would know. (Note to file.) “But if she felt you blew her off, maybe she wrote the note to get even.”

Looking straight ahead, he nodded. “Maybe.”

Or maybe, my thoughts continued, you just fed me that tidbit to throw me off the track. So that I’d put Amber in the hot seat while you continue your affair with your real other girlfriend.

Or, you really are having a thing with Amber. But as Parker’s best friend, I am more passenger-seat-of-your-car acceptable. So you’re going to stick with me. And you gave me that information because…because…

Oh, what did I know?

All I could say for sure was that he’d scored high on the anger and indignance meters. And he had denied it. Which was good. But high also on caring what Parker thought. Which was bad.

So there were no conclusions to be drawn. No reason to break up with him, no reason to stay with him. No reason to trust him, no reason not to trust him.

What I needed was more information. Insight. Focus.

What I needed was a plan. A plan to answer the question once and for all: Is Scott faithful or is the flipside true…he’s cheating on me?

Tina FerraroAbout Tina: Tina Ferraro is the author of “Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress,” “How to Hook a Hottie,” and the precursor to “The Flipside”: “The ABC’S of Kissing Boys,” which has been nominated for a 2010 Romance Writers of America RITA Award for best romantic YA fiction!  When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Tina blogging.  Check out YAFresh and Boys, Books and Buzz!

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3 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Mithra Bhadha says:

    This story was really interesting and in depth. I really like it, but arts of it are really unexpected. I did not think at the beginning that it was going to be much of a romantic story. The fist few sentences also really get you hooked and make you want to read more. I really hope there are more parts to this story!

  2. Liz says:

    I loved it and the mystery in it leaves me wanting more. Are you going to make a book The Flipside and publish it?

  3. Meredith says:

    Please let this book get finished and published! I will buy it the first day!

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