Stan: Stan doesn't even have to look up her phone number. He might not be the best boyfriend, but he has her number memorized. He taps his fingers on the edge of his bed while the phone rings.
Delilah: Delilah sits in her room, feet curled under her body, and waits for the phone to ring. The vodka she drank earlier gives the room a fuzzy edge, and she has to concentrate when she picks up the phone.
Stan: He hears the click as she picks up the phone, he feels weird, as if he's not the one calling. He can hear her breathing on the other end of the phone.
Delilah: It takes her a moment to muster her thoughts. Even saying the word 'hello?' is like too much, too soon. If she speaks, then the person on the other end (she kids herself she doesn't know who it is) will answer, and then there's no escape. She considers hanging up, but that's just childish. And so she sits, cradling the garish pink telephone gingerly, waiting for him to take the first step. She wishes she had some more vodka.
Stan: "Damn it, Delilah, I know you're there." He isn't upset, just annoyed.
Delilah: "Well done, Stan, first class powers of deduction. Maybe this studying thing is paying off after all". She slurs slightly when she says his name, but not too badly. "So, what's up? What's this big 'thing' you wanted to talk to me about?" Like she doesn't already know.
Stan: "You're in no condition to talk about serious matters." He says, but he doesn't really care. He slides back on his bed, lying down. "You know what it's about."
Delilah: "Well, have you decided?" She hears the apathy in his voice, an emotion she's all too willing to mirror. But, appearances being what they are, perhaps it's best to fake interest for a little while longer. "Are you a fighter or a quitter, Stan?"
Stan: "It depends on your point of view. I'm willing to admit that some people will see me as a quitter." He shrugs, even though she can't see. "But I don't see it that way."
Delilah: Delilah reaches over to the vodka bottle by her bed and pours some into a plastic beaker. Fuck, she thinks, I'm turning into my mom, but on some level she finds this amusing. Her giggle is shrill and alcohol-fuelled, and it spurs her to continue this conversation. Maybe if she reacts like the pissed Barbie doll everyone expects her to be, she and Stan can fulfill the tired old formula: row, sulk, kiss and make-up. Then things will be back to normal. Normality is good. "If you quit the team, I quit our relationship"
Stan: "I thought you might." His voice is flat. He's disappointed. He'd thought there might be more to her than that, but he's not surprised. He thinks that now's the right time to ask one of his Questions. The ones that have been driving him crazy. "Did you honestly think I'd get a football scholarship to Ohio State?"
Delilah: The disappointment in Stan's voice is obvious. He's so *transparent* thinks Delilah, and briefly she hates him for it. Most people wear masks, it's easier that way. Real emotions are just so messy. If she's not careful, her own mask will slip; it's important to maintain the image of superficiality. "Why wouldn't you have got the scholarship? You're football captain - sure, just for some godforsaken high school in Ohio, of all places, but it's something at least"
Stan: "They want people who can play. They want the kid who throws amazing passes when it counts. They don't want some mediocre team player. They don't want me." He doesn't tell her what the scouts told him. He doesn't want to be fifth string for a college who doesn't have a fifth string. He wants to do something else with his life. "And contrary to popular belief, I'm not as stupid as people think."
Delilah: Delilah knows that. She's seen the textbooks shoved hastily under Stan's bed when she comes over, the homework assignments handed in when everybody else has left the classroom. Mostly the teachers humor him - if their star player (and he is a star, even if only at Herrington) wants to pretend not to study then that's fine by them. And she thinks she understands his motivation: everyone wants to escape. It's why she drinks, and writes, and constructs elaborate fantasies that she would never share with anyone, least of all Stan. It's why Casey hides behind that fucking camera lens all the time, and that dyke Stokely reads those weird-ass science fiction books. Everyone's looking for a way out, and if Stan's a footballer in Ohio then he won't want to be followed by it through college and beyond. It's too easy to act like other people expect you to act. Breaking the mould takes guts. That said, her escape is chiefly personal. To the world, she's going to stay how she's always been. And that means: "Whatever, it's not to do with how fucking stupid or smart you are. If you quit, we're over and that's final. Decide, Stan, what do you want?" She never lets him pick stuff.
Stan: "I don't want to spend the rest of my life playing football ... I don't want to spend the rest of my life living here." He's finding it hard not to tell her that he doesn't really like football anymore, that it's a chore. That he finds it dull, he finds the people dull. So he leaves that bit out. "I want to go to college."
Delilah: "And I want a million dollars. You have to make a fucking choice, Stan. You've been 'thinking' for long enough, it's time to start living" She realizes as she says it how cheesy that sounds. Speaking in sound-bites. The vodka burns her throat but paints her thoughts pink. "Why not just go to college on a scholarship? You can start studying once you get there if you really must," when I'm not with you any more, she thinks, "but don't be so selfish as to bail now. the team needs you. You can't let people down - *that's* stupid"
Stan: "I'm not letting people down. Gabe is good, maybe even better than me. And he's fast." He sighs. "I didn't want to tell you this, in fact, I haven't told anyone this. I couldn't get a football scholarship to Ohio State, even if I wanted one." He sighs again.
Delilah: "Whatever". She's bored now, fed up with this charade. If she gave a fuck she'd put the phone down, show her anger. As it is, she's just playing along, waiting for him to tell her it's over so that she can get out of this dead-end. "The quit the team, start studying, go hang out with the nerds in the library. Just don't expect me to come over and study with you. I have better things to do"
Stan: "You always do." He says, bitterness giving his voice the edge he wanted to forget. "You were a great girlfriend." He finally says after a long pause.
Delilah: "I know" What more can she say?
Stan: He smiles to himself. "I'll see you around."
Delilah: "In school?" It's easier than she expected, even in her semi-drunken state. What did the last year even mean, then? Obviously less than she'd pretended. It's a relief to admit that to herself though.
Stan: "Of course." He waits for her to blow up, to yell. Try to stop him from quitting, breaking up, everything.
Delilah: She can tell he's waiting for a reaction, and on a normal day she'd give him one, fake it as she always does. It's weird how real a relationship built on deception can appear. This isn't a normal day, however, and so she just sighs, hoping that he'll let her go now. "Well, bye then, Stan"
Stan: He sighs, he wishes he could care more, but he doesn't. He thinks that maybe there's something in the water. "Bye." He says, then, "Don't drink too much, or you'll regret it tomorrow."
Delilah: "I never regret anything. You know that" It's a lie. "See you, Stan". She waits for him to hang up, because that'll make it his deal.
Stan: "Take care of yourself, Delilah." He says, then hangs up. Because it's over. He turns the phone off with a click and tosses it onto the floor. He feels oddly satisfied. He thinks it's time for a new chapter in his life ... Or maybe a new leaf. Then he rolls over and picks up his math book.
Delilah: She puts the phone down slowly, carefully, as though reluctant (suddenly) to part with it, and by association with him. She's a free agent, now. No need to hide anymore, to be 'the girlfriend', an appendage to the school's pet pupil. The world is at her feet. And so she picks up the vodka bottle and has another drink. She'll start again tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow...