Full Summary: Two boys. The first, Maxwell Kennedy: Soccer forward and elite college socialite. The second, Eddie Calhoun: Band nerd. Everyone loves Max Kennedy... everyone, that is, except for the sarcastic, edgy guy in the third row of Max's English Language class. Max has always enjoyed a challenge, but he never thought that it would be so hard to get someone to notice him. Eddie has always enjoyed staying away from people like Max, but he never thought that it would be so hard to ignore him. It will be quite a battle of the wills (or pills), and it will change their lives forever.
Author's Note: I am writing this author's note about half a year after I completed this story. Why? I've revised and updated this chapter, which is the first step in my goal of revising and editing all of Act III. I know that it can be so much better than it is. If you're rereading this story, I hope you find the writing a little more mature and the plot a little better fleshed out, the dialogue a bit less awkward. If you're a new reader, welcome! Please feel free to leave comments as you read; long-time readers know that I take them to heart and that they really help me develop as a writer. In this spirit I will definitely leave up the 'thank you' notes for the reviewers from each chapter. On to the show.
Chapter One: Modest Max
"Max Kennedy is taking it in; the goalie is moving out to meet him; he takes the shot…score! 3-2 Minnesota!"
The announcer's voice pierced the roar of the crowd and Maxwell Kennedy pumped his tendon-laced arms in triumph as his maroon-and-gold-clad teammates streaked towards him. The whistle blew, the game was over. Max felt a lurch in his stomach as he was hoisted up onto the shoulders of his team, but he didn't let the uncomfortable feeling strain his thousand-watt soccer-star grin. He never did.
The star looked up at the grandstands, the blinding lights reflecting on the torn-up watery mud of the soccer field. Eight thousand fans screamed his name and he pointed at a particularly vocal section, then the next as they reacted favorably to his recognition of them.
"Damn it, man," huffed Jack Beluche from somewhere below him and to his right, "You could give those fans the bird right now and they'd still love you."
Max smirked to himself at the thought as he gathered his gear on the sidelines. The other team had long since vacated the premises in favor of their bus, and the fans were filing out slowly, though some were still looking back for glimpses of their hero. The first strains of Hail! Minnesota – courtesy the ever-present pep band – echoed throughout the bleachers, and a few more sentimental members of the team hummed along as they packed up. Max shouldered his team jacket and turned to begin his trek back to the team locker room, waving to the stands as he went.
"Max!" He turned, dirty blonde curls dripping and hanging in his face, and Coach Taggart was indicating a camera a meter in front of his heavy-joweled face. "ESPN!"
The poised sports reporter smiled serenely for the camera; her gaffer was less polite, sending an impatient look his way. Max smiled brilliantly. This was his favorite part; getting on the television after a successful game… and ever since he'd joined the maroon and gold, they'd had nothing but success. He was the best college soccer player that Minnesota had ever had, and he knew it. Max started towards the cameraman and his coach.
Eddie Calhoun winced as his trombone made contact with another blue bleacher chair. He lifted the horn to inspect the damage as the members of his pep band negotiated their way out of the stadium and noted yet another little blue ding in the soft rose gold. He closed his eyes and wished that he was already back in his single room, doing something useful. It wasn't that soccer matches were ever boring; it was just that it had been such a long week.
Aaron Wells poked him in the back and gestured to the Trom, a large live-feed screen employed to show the players in action for those fans who couldn't see well enough from their seats. A handsome, hazel-eyed young man flashed a dazzling smile at the camera as the sports reporter asked him to describe how he had felt right before he had scored the winning goal.
"Just great, really great, you know?" Max's amplified voice rang out over the remnants of the crowd, which stopped moving for a moment to watch the interview, much to Eddie's chagrin. "I was looking at the positions of the defenders and I thought, if I could just get the ball, I could maybe get between two of them and have a shot at it. Marcus passed it to me, and the rest is history," he finished modestly.
Aaron snorted and Eddie turned back to the stairs.
"Modest Max is at it again," Aaron grumbled, lifting his horn over the head of a small boy whose Kennedy jersey nearly drowned his diminutive frame. The boy looked after them, big blue eyes reproachful, as if he realized that they were mocking his hero.
The worst thing about Maxwell Kennedy, Eddie thought to himself as he stepped gingerly down the narrow concrete stairs, was not that he was such a pretty-boy, though that was sort of irksome. It wasn't that he thought he was the biggest kid in the candy store, though that was also annoying. It wasn't that he was talented, or that he was famous, or that everything good gravitated toward him. It was that he was, plainly stated, a real ass. No matter what the kid did, he always came across that way, and Eddie couldn't stand people like that, especially when they didn't care that they were percieved in such a manner.
The trash-littered concessions area was also wired to the Trom, and fans covered their ears as ESPN continued coverage at a volume louder than necessary. Kennedy's voice droned on and on, and Eddie pulled at his maroon-and-gold striped pep band polo in mounting exasperation as he placed his trombone carefully into its case. The blue paint from the chair was even more evident in this lighting, and he sighed as he latched the case closed.
The brunette wrinkled his nose in exasperation as he left the uniform room of the stadium. The crowd was bottled up at the entrance; it would take forever to get out. He joined the queue and looked up at a suspended television. Modest Max was still on; the television showed him signing autographs with a small smirk etched into his strong jawline. Sensing the camera was still on him, Kennedy reenacted of one of his earlier goals, much to the delight of the admirers in his wake.
Eddie tried not to roll his eyes, picked up his trombone case with newfound determination, and wormed his way through the crowd to a less popular staff exit. The security guard at the door noted his band polo and stepped to the side. As Kennedy's voice tracked and followed him out the doors, Eddie wondered if there was anything more degrading – or annoying – than being forced by the Athletics Department to play for the soccer star. After a moment's speculation, he knew there was.
The most annoying Kennedy-related thing in the world would be if he, Eddie, had to take a class with the soccer star. Fortunately, Eddie thought as he stepped out into the blistering wind, that particular scenario wasn't likely to occur any time soon.
A/N: Poor boy, so naive.