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The Softball Game
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The Softball Game
by Twig

"It's just a black eye…honestly…I don't see why you're all worried!" Ivy attempted to shoo the hovering townsfolk away.

"Dios mio," Pilar said, poking at Ivy's puffy, swollen-shut eye. "Mrs. Crane this will take a long time to heal."

"I'm FINE," Ivy insisted, standing up and looking around with one eye for Sam.

Pilar shrugged, "As you say, Mrs. Crane."

"Now let's keep this game going," Ivy said determinedly, tucking her mussed up blond hair under the cap. Squinting into the bright sun with her one good eye, she wobbled her way back onto the field.

"That Ivy sure is resilient," Grace said admiringly, hugging Sam. "You'd never think that a woman of her social stature could have such a good heart. I mean, to go on playing, even though she is so obviously hurt, she is so devoted to helping others!"

"I'll bet she is," Sam muttered.

"Come on, let's get this game going."

"Charity," Ethan called hesitantly, "You can just go to first base, okay? Just pretend you hit the ball."

"That would be cheating."

"I won't mind. Honestly."

"None of us will," Chad piped up from behind her.

"Oh…all right then," Charity, looking relieved, jogged to first.

"Damned!" Tabitha hissed.

"We just need one more out!" Chad yelled, glancing to where Eve stood, rather unhappily, on third base, Luis stood on second, and Charity stood on first.

Ethan threw the ball to Reese, who swung and hit it towards Miguel. The runners had taken off on the pitch, and Charity barreled down the basepath towards second. Miguel threw the ball to Kay where she was waiting at the base, and as she caught the ball, Charity dove for the bag…sliding right into her cousin and sending them both rolling in an ungraceful heap into the infield.

"OWWWWWWW!!!" Kay yowled, clutching her ankle.

"Oh Kay! I'm so sorry!" Charity cried, covering her face with her hand.

"Kay!" The Bennett clan raced out onto the field towards the first member of their family to fall to the softball curse.

Hank carried his niece over to the dugout that was becoming a makeshift hospital. She found a nice spot on the bench between TC and Sheridan, and Eve rapidly wrapped her ankle up.

"It's at the very least sprained, if not broken," Eve bit her lip, as Kay howled in pain.

"Kay's tough," Grace smiled at her daughter, "She can hold off on going to the hospital until the game's over, can't you sweetie?"

"Mo-om," Kay snapped, her face contorted in agony.

"That's my girl," Grace patted her daughter on the shoulder and headed back out to the field.

Millicent bypassed Ivy this time and stomped directly over to Grace.

"I'm QUITTING!" she screamed, throwing the glove on the ground, where it landed in a mud puddle, which splattered right back into her face.

"Is something wrong, Millicent?" Grace, still smiling, asked.

"I am NOT going to have my life cut short by a softball game! I have every intention of living to see the stores open another day!"

"All right," Grace said softly, crestfallen.

"GOODBYE!" Millicent snapped, stomping off once and for all. Ivy, knowing better than to pursue, decided that she would call her good friend in the morning to patch things up.

"Oh my," Grace said with a sigh, "Now we're out two players."

"OH MY GOD!" Kay suddenly howled, "SIMONE!!!!"

Cringing, Simone made her way over to her injured friend, "What's wrong?"

Kay flailed her arms, "Please tell me you didn't leave the bottle of crazy glue on the bench."

"Yeah, I did, why?" Simone eyed her friend suspiciously.

Kay, her grimace partially forged of pain, and partially distorted by her fury, leveled her stare at her best friend, "Because…I…just…SAT…in…it."

"Ohhh," Simone blanched, "I am so sorry Kay!"

Kay attempted to extract herself from the bench, but she was stuck fast, "NOW WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!"

"Ah…," Simone glanced around, "I'm gonna go see if I can find someone to help. Don't go anywhere!"

She had sprinted off before Kay could find something suiting to throw at her.

"This is just great," she muttered to herself, "Kay is the LAST person I want to have pissed off at me…"

"Mrs. Bennett?" Ethan suddenly said.

Grace turned around, "Yes Ethan?"

"Um, Theresa just collapsed. I'm going to carry her to the hospital."

Sure enough, Theresa was sprawled on the floor of the dugout.

"Oh my," Grace said loudly, "I guess she got hit on the head harder than I'd originally thought. Well, you go on Ethan. Take her to the hospital."

Ethan nodded and picked Theresa up, carrying her off.

"HEY!" Luis snapped, upon seeing this.

"Leave them alone," Sheridan mumbled from her spot on the bench.

"But…but…"

"They're going to the hospital," she murmured, "your sister will be fine."

"How does Ethan know her?" Luis demanded.

Sheridan froze, her eyes snapping open, "Ah…I guess they got to talking while they were waiting for the game to start."

Luis seemed to accept this explanation.

Grace, looking forlorn, was gazing at her clipboard, "With Ethan gone, we'll need three more players…"

"I can't believe Charity," Kay was griping to herself, while she remained stuck to the bench, "She slid into me on purpose."

Without thinking, she grabbed a rock off the ground and hurled it at her cousin. Charity squeaked as the rock made impact with her skull, and fell quietly to the ground.

Grace sighed, "Four more…"

Julian inched over towards Eve, "Hello Eve."

Eve jumped, "Get away from me Julian!"

Julian pouted, "Why does everyone have that reaction to me?"

"Maybe because you're disgusting."

He reached for his flask, uncapped it, prepared to drink, then thought better of it and put it away again. Tabitha hissed in frustration.

"Will you just get out of here?" Eve pushed him away, "If TC sees you near me, he'll kill you."

"I'm shaking in my boots."

TC glanced up from the dugout and locked eyes with Julian.

"Ah…on second thought," Julian stammered, "I'll be going now. Goodbye Grace! It was a lovely game!"

He sent a falsely chipper wave towards Grace, before bolting off across the field, clinging to his flask for dear life.

Grace hung her head, "Five."

Simone, bucket of boiling water in hand, wobbled back towards the dugout, where Kay still sat, a smug smile upon her face.

"What did you do?" Simone asked her suspiciously.

Kay gestured to the motionless form of her cousin, who had been dragged into the wounded dugout.

"WHAT DID YOU DO?!"

"I inadvertently hit her with a rock."

"You are truly horrible Kay."

Kay shrugged, "What's in the bucket?"

"Boiling water. It should loosen the glue."

"You're going to POUR boiling water on me?" Kay asked incredulously.

"Would you rather stay stuck to the bench?"

Kay bit her lip and closed her eyes, "Fine. Go ahead. Pour it."

Simone dumped the water on her friend, who yowled in pain, finally leaping free of the bench. Kay landed on her injured ankle, stumbling forward and crashing into Simone, sending them both toppling to the ground. When the dust settled, Simone was rolling around on the floor, clutching her arm, and Kay was once again whining about her ankle.

"I think I broke my arm!" Simone gasped.

"Six," Grace groaned.

Luis stood, watching the confusion with a horrified look, "That's it! This game is over!"

Sheridan sighed, sitting up and rubbing her head.

"You shouldn't be sitting up."

She shrugged, "I'm still breathing."

"I'm calling an end to this before someone gets killed," Luis declared.

"Good idea."

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