Brazen Tricks - Ali Dean

Chapter One


Jolts of adrenaline shoot through me with each bounce on the trampoline. As I fly higher and higher into the night sky, an odd mixture of fear, anticipation and pure joy pumps around inside of me. A year ago, I would have gotten as much air as possible on this thing without a second thought. Tonight, as the world blurs around me and my stomach flips with the sensation of defying gravity, one thing is clear. No wait, two things. First, I haven’t totally moved on from the crash on the Riptide half pipe last December. And second, I’m definitely not okay with accepting I may never be over it. Nope, my mouth is nearly watering at the idea of catching this kind of air again on my skateboard. Safe inside the netting on the sides of this giant trampoline, I bring my momentum down a bit. I’ve yet to try an invert, or any trick on my board that puts me upside down or high in the air, since the crash. It doesn’t mean that desire to flip my body and see what it’s capable of is gone.

Without letting myself think twice about the possible consequences if I don’t land this thing, I take one solid bounce into the air and flip my body backward. The people in the backyard turn upside down as I tuck my knees, and then I’m right back to bouncing on my feet. I did it. Sure, it’s on a surface much more forgiving than cement, and I’m not on my skateboard. And sure, I remember doing this same thing on my friend Levi’s trampoline when I was maybe eight years old. But that doesn’t stop me from breaking into a little victory dance to the sounds of my friends cheering.

Not wanting to stop just yet, I go for a front flip, and when I land that with ease, I find myself bouncing right into a back flip. My friends holler louder and I keep going, front flip straight to back flip. They start to chant my name to the rhythm of my flips, until eventually I realize how ridiculous this is and come to a stop.

Maybe I felt fear I wouldn’t have a year ago when I first started jumping, but there’s another thing that’s different about me now too. I never would have felt comfortable being the center of attention like I am in this moment. My eyes take in my friends before landing on Beck, and I know it’s not about me. Not really. It’s about having fun and celebrating each other. Beck’s got this satisfied little smile on his face, and I squint at him suspiciously as I unzip the net and get down from the trampoline.

In three long strides he’s in front of me, acting like I need help getting down when I can easily hop off. I use the opportunity to jump on him instead and wrap my legs around his waist. “You totally had ulterior motives in getting me this trampoline for my birthday, didn’t you?”

“Ulterior motives? What are you accusing me of, Hotshot?”

“You wanted me to get the feel of catching big air again and going upside down without the pressure of being on a board.”

“I wasn’t exactly expecting you to go Olympic gymnast on us within a minute of getting on that thing. My motive was more about making sure you had another incentive to spend time at Jay Beach with me.”

That makes me roll my eyes. And kiss him. I hear Zora whistle, and remember we’re not alone. Sliding off his body, I grab his hand as we make our way to our friends.

Coby has his arm around Lucy. “Sorry babe, I didn’t get you a trampoline.”

She laughs and glances up at him. “I think the custom surfboard was already too much.”

Lucy and I share the same birthday, though we’re one year apart, with her turning twenty today and me nineteen. We’re at Beck’s house, which we call the Jay Beach house. He won it on Shred Live, the reality TV show we try not to think about too much. It launched Beck to new heights of fame, way beyond his status in the skateboarding world, but to say filming the reality show wasn’t his jam would be a major understatement. Still, Beck going through with it served the original purpose, which was to help his best friend Griffin Perry launch his new skateboarding line. Brazen is one of the hottest brands around right