When 'You' Happened
- Avery -
"Ooohh," the crowd groaned.
"He's out of his mind!" I had to say. "He's totally out of his mind!" I grimaced as Luke took another bashing.
"Look at him," Corey, who was on his feet as usual, gestured to the field. "He's playing like he forgot how to kick," he threw up his hands.
"Maybe we should get Avery out of here," Oliver suggested, looking at each of us.
"I don't think we could do anything else to help him any more," Sonia sighed helplessly, shaking her head. "He looks permanently out of it."
The crowd groaned again, even more loudly, and we all turned our attention back to the field. Lincoln had scored another goal. They'd one-upped us.
"Well, he'd better get his act together or else we're gonna lose big time—to Lincoln," Corey commented, as if it were preposterous. "That's okay, DSV! We'll get it back!" he yelled, clapping loudly.
I watched Luke run up the field with the ball again.
Get your act together, Taylor, I told him silently, creasing my forehead.
Luke dribbled the ball across the field, getting nearer to the goal…closer, closer—before this gargantuan Lincoln player came at him from the side.
"Watch out!" I stood up, anticipating the hit.
I drew my breath in a hiss. "Why does everyone have to hit him in the stomach?" I complained, before dropping my arms exasperatedly. "I can't watch this anymore," I mumbled, shaking my head, and moved to leave, squeezing past Oliver and Sonia.
I was already halfway down the steps behind the bleachers when Sonia caught up with me. "Hey," she called. "Where are you going?"
I shot her a flat look. "I need a break," I confessed tiredly. "I'll be back later—maybe," I dismissed with one hand as I turned to continue down the steps.
"Hey!" she called again and I stopped to glance back up at her. Sonia shrugged. "Are you mad at me for dragging you here?" she asked cautiously.
I had to let out a short laugh, throwing up my hands. "Why don't you ask the losing team?" I suggested dryly.
Sonia regarded me with a look from up the steps. "Okay, okay, so I guess the game idea didn't turn out too well," she admitted. "I mean I just wanted to—you know, help you along," she shrugged again. "And don't give me that I-don't-know-what-you're-talking-about look," she wagged her finger at me. "You and I both know I know you better than you do."
I gave her a tired smile, sighing lightly. "I don't know. I just…I don't think I can deal with this. I don't think I'll ever be able to deal with this."
She came down the steps towards me. "Look Aves, you're a great person," she said seriously. "And you deserve to be happy. But you'll never really be happy if you hold yourself back like this—if—if you don't allow it. And frankly, it's really pathetic!" she told me, good-naturedly, half-teasing. "You're my friend but you're starting to get on my nerves."
I had to laugh at her version of a pep talk. "Oh, right, thanks a lot. This is exactly what I need to hear right now," I said wryly, rolling my eyes.
She shrugged again, just grinning. "Anyway, think about it. You know I'm right," she said authoritatively.
I laughed under my breath. "Yeah, yeah," I dismissed her again with a wave. "Don't worry about me. I just need a little air. I'll be right back up," I assured her with a nod.
"Alrii-ight," Sonia said in a sing-song voice. "Later girlfriend," she bid before cruising back up the bleachers steps to go back to our seats.
I smiled slightly, shaking my head to myself as I walked towards the drinking fountain at the bottom of the bleachers for a little cold wake-up call. I vaguely heard the referee's whistle from inside the field. Game must be over, I guessed, starting to head back, but I guess I was also not looking so I almost ran into—
"Luke!" I exclaimed, surprised.
"Avery!" he said at the same time.
I dared to meet his gaze. His hair was wet, his shirt was muddy and there was a smudge of mud on his chin—and I wondered how in the hell he could still look so completely adorable. My pulse raced about ten thousand times. "Um…" I stammered. "I—I have to—," I scrambled to leave.
I hesitated, stopping in mid-stride, before turning back around slowly.
Luke didn't say anything at first. He kept his gaze to one side as if he couldn't look at me himself.
I took a deep breath before I trusted my voice enough to speak. "Is the game over? I asked, breaking the ice. "Wh-what are you doing out here?"
He snapped his gaze back to mine before he replied. "Over time," he answered, shaking his head. "We're tied. I…needed some air." He looked away again.
"Oh," I nodded and made a face, remembering how he was being creamed to a pulp out there. "How's uh…how's your uh—," I gestured to his stomach.
"Oh. That." He spoke like it was no big deal—but his pained wincing sort of gave him away.
I kept shifting on my feet. They wanted to walk right the hell away, but the rest of me couldn't move an inch. I tried to lighten the mood. "They're really killing you out there, aren't they?" I engaged in small talk.
"Yeah. Actually," he replied with a small smile. "I was starting to think maybe they knew me."
I tried to smile but it came out more of a grimace. "Maybe you shouldn't go back out there anymore," I started, actually worried. "Maybe you ought to quit now."
For some reason, that made him hiss out and shake his head in disbelief.
I shot him a strange look but before I could ask what the hell could be funny, he started. "You're right. You're absolutely right," he kept shaking his head. "If I had quit long before there wasn't any reason that I should, I wouldn't be in this goddamned mess!" he started to chuckle again. "But you know what? I used to like it. It used to be fun," he paused before his laughter faded. "Not now. Uh-uh," he shook his head. "Now—everything's all messed up. Now—nothing makes sense anymore! And do you know why? Do you know what ever happened that threw my entire universe for a loop?" he prompted.
I blinked for a second, unaware that he was now talking about something completely different, as if to make sense of his question enough before I could attempt an answer, but he answered it before I could even think.
"You," Luke pointed out, as if accusingly. "You happened."
I winced, at a loss. "Me?! What—?" He was making absolutely no sense at all. I narrowed my eyes at him. "Are you all right?" I asked. "What are you talking about?" I asked, giving him a confused look, wondering if maybe he was having some sort of episode due to all of his injuries. "Luke, are you concussed?"
He started to laugh again. "No!"
My eyes widened, starting to get really worried. "Luke…you're starting to scare me."
"You scare me," Luke exclaimed suddenly, coming closer. "Don't you get it?" he asked quietly. "That night in Lisa's car, you got me so frustrated about your worrying about Gina's gossip while I was starting to get terrified of what just being near you does to me."
I felt my heart pounding in my throat. What??? I blinked, starting to get terrified myself, my mind suddenly whirling with questions. What was he talking about? Was that a line? Was he being serious? Did he say that to every girl he met? I didn't know what to think. I mean this was Luke Taylor. Who knew what sort of tricks he kept up his sleeve?
I blinked, shaking my head to clear it. No. Maybe he figured out I was onto him so he was bringing out the big guns. I'd probably expect him to break out in tears any moment. I mean what could he want with someone like me when he could have practically any girl he wanted?
Luke was searching my eyes, his forehead creased with a kind of deep anguish. Maybe he figured I wasn't buying it. Then again, maybe he was really hurting and telling the truth. But how was I supposed to know??
A loud whistle made us both look up.
Luke hung his head exasperated, but didn't move otherwise.
I blinked, suddenly remembering when and where we were. "Luke, the game," I reminded him.
He looked back up at me, his eyes seeming pained. "I've had enough of games," he said under his breath.
I creased my forehead, shaking my head, before I stepped back.
His frown deepened at my movement, as it was away from him, then he shook his head to himself slightly. "Why do you drive me away, Avery?" he asked.
I felt a sharp constriction in my chest, starting to heave. You'll never really be happy if you hold yourself back… I'll never really know anything until I try it, I realized. I'll never be certain of anything unless I ask.
Luke sighed heavily. "Why?" he repeated, before backing away himself to start to walk back to the field.
I swallowed hard, watching him turn away. "Because I know you'll leave!" I blurted out. There.
That made him stop short and turn back to me. His forehead creased again as he looked at me.
I stood still, heaving. I felt as though I had used up all of my energy in that one exposition. It was a risk. I watched him warily, dreading the next moment and yet anticipating it.
Luke walked up to me again, looking determined as ever. "Avery," he started. "You are the one person I have no intention of even thinking about leaving." He paused, "You're the only one worth falling for—no," he stopped and looked at me meaningfully. "Because you're the only one worth the risk of the pain…in falling for," he finished.
I looked into his eyes and suddenly I just knew. For weeks, I wouldn't permit the thought into my brain, had been so afraid to be disappointed. But here it was. All the proof I needed. There was no use fighting it. Luke was the real thing. For the past few weeks, Luke had been there for me, I'd just been too stubborn to notice.
I started to talk but he stopped me.
"Avery," Luke started fervently. "I am so in love with you. And when I come back from that game—and I am coming back—I'm going to make sure that you feel the exact same way about me. So there," he declared firmly before jogging back to the game.
I blinked, frowning instantly. "Wait—," I started to call but he was already gone. I stood shaken, my heart pounding. I couldn't even move my feet if I wanted. "Whoa," I had to take a moment to check if I was actually awake, then I started to smile, looking in the direction of the field where he'd gone—where he'd be coming back from.
But then I stopped short, my smile fading, as I furrowed my eyebrows determinedly. No, it was my turn.
I ran out and spotted him just about to go back into the game. I skidded to a stop a few meters away and took a deep breath. "And what was that Luke Taylor?" I called loudly. "Another line?"
Luke froze and turned slowly.
My pulse raced again as I met his gaze. I bit my lip, trying to hide my grin. Luke looked at me like he was ready to explain how he wasn't trying to feed me lines anymore but I spoke first.
"Because it was pretty lame, you know?" I told him as if in reprimand. "Especially that last part—"
His face fell.
"I mean why do you even have to wait until after the game anyway?" I broke my reserve, smiling at him.
Luke's face lit up considerably. He started to grin as he started to walk up to me, before he broke into a run and the next thing I knew, I was in his arms.
I hugged him back tightly. "Did you think you could get away with telling me that you love me and not give me a chance to say it back?" I asked before my tone turned serious, "I love you."
He pulled away slightly to look at me after a minute as if he couldn't believe it himself. He touched my cheek gently then I caught his mischievous smile, "I wasn't expecting that line to work until after the game," he teased quietly.
I gave him a suffering look before I raised an eyebrow. "You're lucky it worked at all, cowboy," I pointed out with a wry smile.
Luke chuckled under his breath and nodded in agreement. "Yeah," he said softly as he pulled me closer and moved his head near mine. "Real lucky," he whispered against my lips before he kissed me.
I smiled into his mouth and kissed him back.
That's when I heard the crowd.
Oh yeah, the game.
I opened my eyes and looked over his shoulder, my cheeks instantly turning red. The team was watching us, amused. Coach Hiller was shaking his head. The crowd was cheering and I saw Sonia and the guys practically thrashing the stands in celebration.
Luke tipped my chin up with his hand and I looked up into his eyes. He smiled shrugging. "Everyone's talking about you now," he coaxed.
I bit my lip, dismissing it carelessly. "Been there," I shrugged before I leaned up to kiss him again.
He laughed then obliged.
The crowd went wild when Luke finally went back into the game.
"Hey Winters," I heard someone call and saw Coach Hiller.
Uh-oh. I grimaced sheepishly, already wincing.
Coach Hiller shook his head to himself in disbelief after a pause, and "Let's hope that was a good luck kiss," was all he said before clapping loudly again. "Let's go! Let's go!" he hollered towards the team, and I laughed.
The score at the end of overtime was 5-3. Luke scored two more goals.
- the end -
a/n: Big finish! Well, "big" Lol... And there it is folks. My second completed fic. I hope you've enjoyed reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks for all those of you who've kept up with my "melodrama" from chapter 1 and all patiently leave your awesome reviews that helped motivate me to move the story along.
For those of you who absolutely love this genre like I do, stay tuned to updates on my other stuff, Change of Mind and the completed fic that started my genre stream: Oh Captain, my Captain. Thanks heaps for those who're already reading or have read them and left your reviews as well. For those Fantasy/Adventure buffs out there, check out the happenings on Beyond Another World where Magenta and Josh have just discovered another new kingdom.
A big thanks to those loyal readers who keep checking in and dropping by my page, inspiring and fueling my writing addiction. ;) Hope to catch you all on my next YA/Romance Fic to come in the near future (hopefully). Cheers!