There was something about Matt Davis that made everyone's heart skip a beat, mostly when he was outside, on the field, practicing Soccer with the Glen Heights High Soccer team. Matt is what you would call a heartthrob – he was the kind of guy you could just see as a Hollywood leading man; tall, blond, and a thousand watt smile. Of course, all serious heartthrobs are in serious relationships, with girls who you never know how they started dated. For Matt, that was Kiki Morris; she was the cheerleader of all cheerleaders – petite with bleach blond hair, and a nasty side that scared even the teachers. They had been dating for a year, and everyone thought they were Glen Height's golden couple – there was no doubt they would end up prom king and queen.
So it came as quiet a surprise when Matt, in the middle of the hallway, broke up with Kiwi. I, of course, was first hand to witness the break-up. It was messy, and loud, and Kiki nearly screamed as Matt told her that she wasn't the right girl for him, and that they needed to break up before things got to serious. The look on Kiki's face was priceless, and the way she asked "why" was almost heartbreaking, if someone didn't remember how much of a bitch she was in real life. I, of course, remembered her true face, and so I got a real kick out of watching their breaking up conversation. Later, after Matt had walked off, and she was standing there alone, she turned around and noticed me, giving me an awful look. "What are you looking at?" She muttered, pushing past me, "Loser."
I didn't take Kiki's harsh words badly – I knew I was a loser, or at least what my peers at Glen Heights would consider a loser. I was a writer; I spent my Saturday nights finishing up homework, instead of dating, and I was always the top of my class in everything, except sports. Of course, later as I was spilling the details back to my best friends Sarah and Michelle, I skipped that part, mostly because I was slightly embarrassed. They, of course, got quite the kick out of the public embarrassment of the school's bitch, and then started talking about now that Matt was single, who they thought that he would start dating now.
"A boy like that is never single for very long." Sarah said. "He'll have a new girlfriend within a week." We were all lying across Sarah's bed, a mound of Cosmo magazines spread before us. I wasn't really a fan of the magazine, I found it kind of mindless, but she and Michelle loved reading all about the beauty tips, trying them out in the middle of the afternoon.
Michelle tested some lip-gloss and then turned back towards us, a newly pink pout. "It will probably be something like Gina Connor." Gina Connor, like Kiki, was a school princess, who would have been the perfect match for Matt because she was beautiful, and popular, and could have easily adorned the cover of teen magazines. "She would be perfect for him – beautiful and mindless, like him. They would have beautiful little children." She picked up another little lip-gloss and examined it, then turned to us after she had applied it. "What do you think?"
Sarah shook her head, as though she was a beauty critic. "I think it's too pink." Michelle nodded, and picking up a tissue, removed the too pink gloss.
Picking up one of the Oreo cookies that we had on a plate as our treat, I nibbled on it, and then sighed. "Do you really think that he's mindless?" I asked; the truth was, since the first grade when he had walked into my glass, and sat down beside me at my table, I had a life-sized crush on him. Most people don't keep their crushes that start that young, but even as we grew up, and he went off with the popular people, and I went off with the loser people, my crush remained; the day I had watched him dump Kiki, I wasn't just happy because he was dumping her, but because a tiny part of me wanted him to find me, and like me, even if the chance of that happening was one in a million.
"Looks like Drea is crushing again." Michelle said in her typical singsong voice.
I glared at her, "I am not." I told her, giving her a look. It was obvious that I was crushing on him, but I didn't want it being declared to the entire world. "And besides, it doesn't matter." God. Those words were true, but that hurt. It was sad that just because I wasn't one of the popular, beautiful girls, that he wouldn't give me a second glance. I sighed, and picked up a random magazine, attempting to change the conversation. "Lose ten pounds in two seconds." I said in joking matter, not even reading the magazine. "Wow, that's cool." Out of the corner of their eyes, I could see both Sarah and Michelle shake their heads, and roll their eyes, but I ignored it, pretending to be engrossed in the magazine I wasn't even reading. It worked; after a couple minutes, both girls went back to fixing their make-up, and I sat on my own, thinking about the harsh truth.
A couple days later, while sitting in the newspaper office, I got a surprise. I am the head reporter, which was a job that took me two years to get, so when Mr. McKinney walked up to me that afternoon, I knew that the story he was about to pitch was going to be mine. "Drea." He said, waking over. I looked up from my computer, raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah?" I asked, stopping my typing. I was finishing up a story on the cafeteria, and how they were beginning to offer both healthier choices, but also vegan friendly options; it was pure fluff, and slightly boring, but it was my foot into the door of writing, and journalism, and I didn't mind writing about it. "What do you got for me?" I asked, sounding like a journalist. He threw a sheet of paper down on my desk, and I read it. It was a pitch for an article on the school's top athlete – Mathew Davis. I looked up from the sheet towards Mr. McKinney, and looked confused. "What's this?" I asked.
He looked over. "The pitch."
"I mean," I began, clearing my voice and trying not too sound too emotional. "Is that Alex usually handles the sports." I told him, looking over at Alex Olsen, who was our sports writer, and who handled these kinds of articles, instead of me. "I mean, this is more his territory than mine." I paused, fixing my blazer. "Sports really isn't my foray."
Mr. McKinney shook his head: "Didn't you read the whole sheet?" He asked. I sheepishly shook my head – I was so caught up in the fact that I was going to have to get the goods on Matt, that the second I had read his name I had paused, and looked up in shock. "It's not a sports article." He told me, and I looked down, reading over the pages as he spoke. "It's a person article; the boy behind the sport, that kind of thing." I looked up nodding, "Think you can handle it?" He asked me, as if he doubted my writing skills. I nodded – of course I could handle this, he was just another article; that was all – and picked up my pen.
"You can count on me." My voice was enthusiastic. I was ready.
"Good." He started, "Now go out to the soccer field, and get some preliminary notes. I want this article for two weeks from now." He instructed me, and I nodded, even though I wasn't sure that I could do all I wanted in two weeks; I wanted this to be the best article I could do. I cleaned up my computer, printing off my final copy of the cafeteria article – handing it to McKinney, who smiled brightly at my great work – and then walked out of the room, ready to start this article. I stopped at my locker - locking up my computer safely – grabbing my trusty notebook, which had all the notes to my articles in it from this year, and then walked off in the direction of the gym. The cheerleaders were practicing, and I could see them staring as me as I walked through – my tweed blazer, and my black rimmed glasses.
"What is she doing here?" One of them asked, with venom in her voice.
Ignoring her, I continued on my way through the gym, until I opened the Gym doors, which led to the Soccer field, and noticed where the guys were practicing their soccer moves. I noticed Matt over near the Soccer goal – his shirt was off, and he had a dark tan on his shoulders, which I imagined was from his soccer practices. I inhaled deeply, adjusted my glasses, then walked down the hill to where all the players were, and over to the Coach, who was an older man with thinning hair. "Hello." I said, as I walked over, shaking his hand. "My name is Drea Cruise," I spoke professionally, like I had practiced so many times before, for the days when I would be doing it as a professional, instead of just a high school job.
He kept darting his attention from me, to the field. "Nice to meet you." He said, then something caught his eye, and he started his Coach dilate. "Kelly!" He yelled, and I looked over towards the ongoing practice. "What did I tell you about hogging the ball?" His voice bellowed, and I decided that he was perfect as a coach – his voice carried far. Turning his attention to me, he smiled. "What can I do for you?" He asked.
"I'm with the school paper." He nodded as I spoke. "And we're doing an article on Matt Davis." I pointed out towards the field where Matt was doing soccer drills, back and forth, his muscles moving as he took each turn. The coach looked over at me, and I smiled. "I was hoping I could talk to him for a couple minutes."
"Right now?" He asked.
I bit my lip. "Well," I started, "If right now is a bad time, maybe I could ask you a couple questions, would that be okay?" Looking down at my sheet, which had sample questions to ask his fellow teammates and coaches, I read over them and the cleared my throat. "What do you think of Matt, as a soccer player?" As the coach began to talk, I copied down short jot notes. I asked him a series of questions. Eventually, he got too distracted by the field, and I sat down ready to wait for Matt to finish. I was never really a fan of soccer – or any sport – but as I watched him play, I couldn't help but get drawn in. I wasn't sure if it was my crush on him, or because I was writing about him, but I was suddenly a fan.
Practice ended, and as everyone began to pack up there things, I swooped right in, ready to ask questions. "Hey." I said, as I stood before him. "Matt?" I asked, as though I had absolutely no idea who he was – what a lie. I could feel butterflies in my stomach, and a nervousness that made me question whether or not I could handle the one on one questioning that I had in store.
"Do I know you?" He asked.
I smiled, trying to act professionally. "Not really." I told him; my voice sounded so fake, and I wanted to be me, but I doubted that I could get all my questions out. "I'm with the school newspaper. My name's Drea." Pause. "We're doing an article on you." My voice was enthusiastic, and I was hoping that maybe he would be happy about that, or scared.
"An article?" He asked, as I nodded. "An article on what exactly?"
He nodded, and I went on to explain as much about it as I could. I told him it was about his life outside of being a soccer player, the personal stuff that no one really knew. I could see his hesitation towards the questions, but I assured him that it wouldn't be that personal, and that he wouldn't have to worry about his peers knowing his deep dark secrets, and I would do my best to make sure he was portrayed in the best possible light. "Well," He said, smiling – which was always a good sign. "I guess that I can put myself in your hands then." I smiled, although I was taking that more literal than I should have been.
"Super." I paused. "I guess, I should get your phone number." The second I said it I immediately regretted it. I had just asked the most popular (and attractive) guy in my school, the guy that almost every girl wanted to get alone with, for his phone number. What was I thinking?
He didn't hold back though. "No problem." He told me, reaching over and taking my pen, then writing his phone number across the top of my notebook, "So there, call me anytime if you need to ask something." I nodded, and then watched as he slipped on his tee shirt and threw his duffle bag over his shoulder. "So do you need anything else?" He asked, as the two of us stood there together.
I shook my head, then looked down at my sheet – although it was just an act – and then nodded. "I think we're good."
He walked away from me, and I headed back towards the building, picking up my lap top and book-bag, then walking out into the parking lot where my Volvo was parked. I tossed everything into the back seat, and then climbed into the driver's side; as I stuck the key into the ignition, I paused, thinking about what I was getting into. It was enough to have a secret crush on someone like Matt Davis, but to then have to an article – an unbiased article – on him, that was another thing completely. I didn't know what I was getting into, and I couldn't believe it was happening to me, but I couldn't just turn around, walk back into the school, and say I couldn't happen this. He was just a boy, a super attractive boy, but a boy none the less. I could handle this; I had to handle this.
Later that night, I was sitting at my computer, typing out an essay for English – advanced, obviously – when I looked over on my bulletin board and noticed the pitch that I had received, with the whole idea for the article, his phone number written across the top. Really, if it was any other article I would have already got enough information to write up, but the only thing I had so far was a couple quotes from the coach. My phone was beside me, untouched, and it would have been so simple just to pick it up, and dial his number. I bit my lip, seriously thinking about it. And then, I did something completely out of character for me; I picked up the phone and dialled Matt's number, without a questioning it any. It was only later, when the phone was ringing, that I realized what I was doing.
"Hello?" His voice sounded different over the phone that it did in person, deeper, huskier. It made him sound more like the heartthrob that he was.
I paused, breathing deeply. "Hey." I paused again, realizing that he probably had no idea who was calling him. "Drea." Another pause, and I guess he didn't remember that I had told him my name. "The girl with the paper." I said finally.
I could tell that he thought it was weird for me to be calling right now; it was pretty late, although probably not for someone of his popularity. "Sorry to call so late." I told him, "I just had a couple questions to ask you, to get a basic idea of the kind of person you are." It was a lame excuse – I wasn't calling to ask him questions, I was calling because I was… something. I was abusing my newspaper privileges all because I had a stupid crush. That was definitely not professional – what was I going to do if I someday had to interview Brad Pitt, just call him up in the middle of the night stating I had to "ask him some questions." I would so be fired.
But, being as I told him that I needed to ask him some questions, I continued on, asking him about his grades – which he laughed about, but in the end I found out he did excellently – and his private life which I found out that he liked to keep private, but before I could stop myself I was asking him private questions, questions that I doubted I would end up using in the article anyways. "What do you look for in a girl?" I asked, hoping that he wouldn't think I was a crazy person.
"This is what the article is about?" He laughed.
I tried to keep it light. "I'm sure the girls out there are curious to know. You're like the Colin Farrell of our school – everyone wants to know what you look for when it comes to dating." I was trying to play it off, making things light, but I was still scared he would think I was crazy.
After that, though, I managed to get stuff out of him. I asked him more questions, playing it off humourless, and trying to find out as much as I could. It was a good conversation, one of the best interviews I had ever done, even if I had another motive. Before I knew it, it was close to midnight, and I still hadn't finished my English essay. "Listen," He started, and I listened as I cradled the phone in my hand. "I really have to get going."
"I understand," I told him. "Thanks for everything."
After we had hung up, I sat down on my computer and started writing my essay again. Every so often, though, my mind would wander and I would start thinking about him, and our conversation. Maybe this is silly, but I started to think that maybe it was more than just an interviewer/interviewee conversation; maybe we had a serious connection, like in the movies. Sexy guy, smart girl who meet each other, and through it all – the stares, the comments from his popular friends – we would work it out and live happily ever after, or something like that. Or maybe I was seriously delusional, and I just needed to get it through my head that it was one little article, and that in the end he would probably go back to his friends, as would I, and this whole thing would just be a dream that never came true.
I spent a couple days spending time, interviewing him. We really got to know each other; the first place he took me was to a coffee shop, where I pulled out my notebook, writing down his favourite things; he loved espresso, books by Nick Hornby, and on Saturday morning's he always caught Spongebob before he started his day. It was interesting, writing everything down, learning his secrets. I sipped my cappuccino – which he bought for me – and every so often asked him a question, slipping in the questions to which I wanted to know the answers, mostly about his relationships, and such.
"You sure want a lot." He told me, after answering one particularly tough question.
I smiled. "It's my job."
At school, Mr. McKinney wasn't so keen that I was taking so long on my article. By now, with any other article, I would have already submitted my rough draft, having him check over it, then going out and getting more information. This time, I hadn't even started my article yet; I wasn't sure what I was waiting for, but I knew that I couldn't start it yet. Of course, I just told Mr. McKinney that I was just making sure that I got everything perfect before I got him to look over my first draft. "You're not going to let me down, are you kid?" I shook my head no, although I wasn't sure. I hadn't put stuff of so much before; I was stuck in this crush mode, and suddenly realizing that it was interfering in my school life. And that wasn't good.
I spent that night with Matt, at Wendy's, eating French fries and learning all about his College plans. I found out that he had been offered scholarships to three amazing schools. "Wow." I said, after he told me their names. "Those are impressive schools." He nodded, but I could tell that he wasn't as excited about it as I seemed to be. "But no so exciting I asked?"
He shook his head. "No, not that."
This was what I had been searching for when it came to the article, real dirt, and the kind of answers that made him seem like a real person. "What's up?" I asked; I wondered if he felt the same kind of connection that I felt every time I was around him.
"Nothing." He told me, "Don't worry about it." Of course, being the reporter that I was I couldn't leave that question alone, I had to find the answer, and so because of that I kept on pressing, or rather, telling him that he could tell me anything, no matter why, because I would listen. "Thanks." He smiled, although it seemed weird, or strained, and then we turned back to eating our meals – his cheeseburger, my grilled chicken burger – and I shared my fries with vinegar. He was quiet for a long time, and I was too scared to say anything more, so I remained quiet, and munched on my fries. "Listen," He said after a long time. "I should get going, I have soccer practice early in the morning."
I smiled. "Okay, thanks for everything."
"No problem." We stood up, beginning to leave, and he leaned in and gave me a hug. It was a surprise – I seriously hadn't been expecting something like that – but I hugged him back. On the way home, while I drove through my neighbourhood, I got to thinking about it. What did it mean that he had hugged me? I wanted to believe that there was some kind of deeper meaning behind it, but then came the whole social barrier – him popular, me not. Could he be ignoring that, and through it all, just caring about two people, and what they could feel for each other.
So I sat in front of my computer, looking over my notes and preparing what I was going to write. I had so much, but the words weren't coming. It was as though my head was being blinded by the crush I had on Matt. There was just so much I wanted to say about him, but most of it was the heartthrob that he was, and I wasn't sure if the male readers of the newspaper would be interested in how cute he looked in his soccer uniform. No. I wanted to do serious journalism, and not some fluff piece that would make everyone notice my lifelong crush on him. I started typing, but everything ended up mentioning either how cute he was, or how nice, and I just had to stop, sit back and try to right something later.
And so, I decided something; instead of sitting around trying to figure out what to write – which I imagined wasn't just going to happen – so instead, I found my way out into the night, driving around. Maybe I was acting crazy, obsessed, or maybe I was just one minded, but whatever it was I was out on the road, looking for Matt, or maybe just my inspiration.
Stopping at the coffee shop where we had sat days before, talking about anything and everything, trying to figure out what I wanted to say. I probably would have left right then and there, off in search of another place where we had been, thinking about what I could write about, if I hadn't noticed Matt sitting in the café, sipping on his coffee. And this was where things got crazy – I turned off the ignition, unbuckled my seatbelt, and started my way into the café. It was going to be a casual bumping into, "Oh, what are you doing here" situation. I walked in, smiling, ready to get my drink, and then "bump" into him, when I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks. Because he wasn't alone - there, beside him, was another girl smiling happily and holding his hand. I Moved behind a big fake plastic plant, and looked over there again, watching as he smiled, and kissed her cheek. I could feel my heart sinking; this wasn't how I had imagined this whole thing ending.
I knew I couldn't just stand there all night, and I knew that I couldn't just run off climbing into my car, and driving away. So, instead, I held my head high and walked over to the counter and ordered a small vanilla latte – which cost me five dollars – and then turned around to walk away when I noticed Matt looking in my direction. "Drea." He said surprised. I bit my lip, and then gave him a fake smile. "What are you doing here?"
"Just craving one of these amazing drinks." I told him, sipping my too hot latte, which burnt my tongue.
I couldn't even look at the girl beside him, I was too scared, but he didn't notice and automatically, like a normal person, introduced her to me. "This is my date Kirsten." He told me, motioning towards her, and I smiled in her direction and muttered "hi". She was pretty, beautiful in fact, and happy enough. I wondered what he saw in her; it would have been silly to ask him, to pretend it was just another question, under the guise of the article. I had done that so much, to get to know him, and in the end it didn't matter, because he didn't choose me. "So do you need to get more information for the article tomorrow?" He asked, cheerily. All I could stare at was the way he was holding her hand, so carefully, and all I wanted was for him to hold my hand that way.
"No," I stepped back I spoke, sipping the drink. "I think I have everything I need."
I walked out of there after that, leaving him behind, tossing my over priced drink down in the trash as soon as I was out of sight, and climbing into my car. Tears were welling in my eyes, but I pushed them aside; it was silly to cry about something that had never happened, or had any chance of ever happening. After a long car ride, and too many sad songs on the radio, I found my way home and back to my bedroom where it all started. Sitting in front of my computer, I was still fighting back tears, trying not to cry about something as silly as a boy who didn't like me back. Words began pouring out, through my fingers and onto the computer screen, and it was almost as though I couldn't stop myself.
I finished the article in two days, and when I finally handed off the article to Mr. McKinney, I was proud of myself. It was unbiased – although that had been the hardest part about writing it, not putting in the anger that I was feeling towards him – and portrayed him in the light that I had saw him; funny, witty, and someone that was just more than a soccer player and heartbreaker. And that had helped me, more than I could even realize, because now I knew that there was nothing special about him, really. He wasn't a movie star, he wasn't heartthrob; he was just a guy, like I was girl, who did more with my heart than just make it flutter. First crushes are never easy, and are usually never reciprocated. But there is something about the first heartbreak, when you realize that not all guys are fairytale princes. Matt Davis was that for me – sexy, popular, and my first heartbreak.