A/N: I don't know much about football, so trust me there isn't much about it in here other than that's where it starts. This is meant to be short, so I should be through within another chapter on two depending on if I get out of writer's block. Please forgive me, I am not one of the most popular author's, but I am a sucker for anything romantic. I'm still hoping for at least A review.
The bright lights blinded me as I half listened to Coach. He was yelling at us to get out there and kick someone's butt, he couldn't say ass due to the fact our principal was within ear shot. Gordy, our quarter-back, looked on worried as he gawked at the other team over Coach's shoulder. They were good, undefeated for the past six play off games taking down the favorites for state 43 to 0, not even letting in a field goal. Sweat trickled down Gordy's face in fear as Coach continued screaming at us saying, "They may be stronger, but we're smarter," talking about how our plays were top of the line or whatever. We were going to get whipped. They were going to take us on, scare the shit out of us, then leave us broken to bits crying home to our Mama's.
"Aaron!" I blinked back from the other team as they practiced tackling. They were rough even with each other. One of their players sat on the sideline from a practice gone bad. I saw the troops were putting their hands in. Gordy yelled at the other co-captain half-heartedly, something about us winning,but stillit seemed more like asking. I shoved my arm through two of our biggest guys, towering a good five inches above me, at least three times my width. I was a runner, they tackled, I caught the balls, while they slammed people in my way. It was horrific when people saw up close how much damage they managed. My gaze fell on the other team with at least six or seven guys their size and two a good size and a half bigger. We were so screwed.
"Break," we chorused timidly. Gordy was too busy gapping at the other time as they ran through some plays to even participate. He seemed like a lost pup when we went out on the field. Pom-poms from our team hollered and screamed for us to "Go!" and "Win!" or at least die trying, the latter the most likely of the two. I heard a big "Go Aaron!" from a group of Drill Team girls up in the stands, my girlfriend one of them. Knowing she caught my eye she waved blowing air kisses, flipping her hair, batting her eyelashes. Her friends giggled sighing with "aw"s and "how sweet"s.
Of course, it was a show. It was always a show. We'd been going out for six months and after the first month we stopped caring. We hadn't even kissed since our second month anniversary. True, it was awkward when she kept shoving her face towards me, but the kiss would be even worse. The few times we did kiss it was dry and lifeless. There was nothing to it. Mind you, I have very few kisses to compare it to, but I just knew it wasn't right. Nothing with Jessie seemed right. Holding her hand down the hallway just didn't fit. There was no comfortable warmth of entwining fingers, shy rubs for confidence.
It was plain and simple responsibility. She didn't want to be the only girl in her crew without a boyfriend and I just wanted to get my mom off my back about me never dating. She wants grandkids, I get that, but at seventeen, it's a bit early for me to seriously think about buying a house and settling into the boring life of a business man.
I wanted passion I guess. I sound ridiculous, but I wanted out of the expected. I didn't want to end up like my mom and dad, married and settled into a quiet, comfortable business deal. No love, just meeting the few requirements of having the typical suburban life. They wanted nothing more. My mom had her book club every Tuesday and Thursday, and my dad had his secretary when he worked late.
I waved back more out of habit than anything else. There was never any random epiphanies of "Oh my god, she's mine," that leave you grinning for the rest of the day. She just waved and grinned leaving me with the feeling of disgust at the pit of my stomach, her smile only teeth and lips, all feeling lost in her eyes.
A soft click and a flash of light came from the sidelines. I blinked down to the brunette with her hair shoved in a ball at the back of her head, frizzes sticking to her forehead from the heat of the blaringlights. For the first time that night I smiled, forgetting the monsters who were about to destroy us. Sam looked up from her camera chewing on her lip as she looked up at the home team rubbing the back of their necks like idiots, eyes wide in fear.
Her, that's who I wanted. Oh my god, I wanted her. Of course, that would never happen. To her I was ridiculous, totally faceless in a sea of conforming teens.
I had met her last year in my English class before my girlfriend even came into play. She sat towards the front, a book always on hand. I could always hear her laughing from where I sat, Gordy in front of me, him right next to her. A gaggle of girls who had always annoyed me were her amusement. I heard one too many stories from them being the drama queens they were, but when she was there, they seemed to calm down. They took her maturity and transformed it into a comfortable childish innocence that became prevalent whenever candy and bouncy balls were brought in. At first all she did was amuse me. In class, I'd watch. It was completely innocent. She was the main attraction in that class anyways. She talked more than anyone else, other than her oh so dramatic friends of course, but the things she said, you just had to sit up and pay attention. It wasn't out of responsibility, it was just impossible not to.
One day the class got into a big discussion about Islam and its extremists. The class was all up in arms ready to defend their bible-hugging, confederate heritage. Most were in agreement, only assuming that Muhammad taught violence. Sam flexed her hand restraining herself from going off right then taking down all religious mongers who saw only one very biased side that their religion was the absolute. Then one of her many Republican friends said something completely and utterly ridiculous that held no logic or real fact behind it.Her entire self seemed to wake up shaking with anger and laughterkeeping herself restrained. Her friend blinked, "Is there a problem?" she asked in a snotty tone.
"If you take the bible to its extremes you get feminists bombing abortion clinics, the KKK thinking they are the one true race, gay rights totally abolished because to some people if it freaks them out, it should not be allowed! I'm freaked out by needles, but I still have to get a shot," her voice edged further on as she explained there will always be extremists in every religion. "It's impossible to escape!" She was absolutely livid when another person tried to retort reiterating what many others had said, no real thoughts of their own.
"Don't you consider yourself a little prejudice just for saying that," I heard myself say. Sam's back stiffened as she turned to face me a small grateful smile relaxing onto her features.
"I'm not prejudice! I have Muslim friends," the girl huffed. Her chestnut eyes met mine sending remnants of her passion shooting electricity through my veins. I grinned back encouragingly as she turned back to the main bible-hugger of the class saying prejudice was alot different than racist. Prejudice was more biased than anything else and with the views that girl had, it was obvious her right-winged up-bringing had done her no favors.
That was the day I wanted her. The passion that took over her entire form made me wake up from my suburban induced coma and see what I had been missing all my life. A point of view, conviction for my beliefs, passion that just took over, all the words coming out of no where that just seemed to make sense. It was then that I wanted her, more than anything I had ever known.
The camera blinked again as Gordy bounced up and down on the balls of his feet throwing and catching a ball with the other co-captain. Noticing the camera he grinned waving at Sam like an old friend. She smiled, her chestnut eyes lighting up, saluting him proudly. Gordy trundled over to her, his black skin sparkling in the bright, false sun. She cocked her hip to the side as she laughed with him totally relaxed as his drill team girlfriend joined them. She threw her head back in a full, open laugh so real with emotion. She waved her hands frantically, wrinkling her nose, a smile still peeking through. The dancer poked her good-humoredly. Sam swatted her away quickly glancing towards the side of the field I was on, blinking back to Gordy just as fast. A whistle blew nearby calling for us into position. Another click of the camera and Gordy was clapping his hand on my shoulder directing me onto the field.
"You'll have time to gawk at her later, man."
"What?" I blinked. Gordy's chuckle took over his face as he shoved on his helmet.
"You're both idiots," he snickered leaving me behind at my post.
My camera clicked and buzzed flashing a picture of the huddled home team. I stared at the picture on the back of my camera. Gordy looked scared while Aaron just stared at the other team concern taking over his features. For as long as I knew myself I had never been the type of girl to go crazy over a guy. All my life I've been so determinedly independent that even when I was eight and everyone was dressing up as a bride for Halloween and having their first "boyfriends," I was dressing up like pirate and beating all the boys up. The last boyfriend I had was my imaginary friend Tom who I met when I was six and thought burning grasshoppers with a magnifying glass was endearing.
The flash went off again as I stepped closer to one of the pom-poms doing a back tuck. She threw her hands up screaming "Go! Fight! Win!" The other pom-poms joined their captain. My camera whizzed as the team yelled "Break!" dispersing as the pom-poms reiterated their cry for the home team to win. The crowd applauded encouragingly calling for the boys to bring us home the big trophy. Our school wasn't marvelous at football, but for the past year they had made it all the way to state. The trophy still seemed a far-fetched idea. The opposing team practiced random plays pretty much declaring we were completely screwed. Two of the biggest guys tackled one of their own almost breaking him in half.
"Go Aaron!" rang from the drill team section. I groaned inwardly. I didn't hate them. At least I didn't hate the few of whom were my friends, I was just- I didn't know quite how to answer that. Was I jealous? I had to be. Jessie flipped her strawberry blonde hair letting it trickle down, bouncing off the shine of her overwhelmingly sparkly uniform. She blew a kiss to her boyfriend down on the field. Her puckered lips were shimmery from lipstick, her eyes batting in silvery eye shadow, makeup consuming her true features which were pretty despite everything. I touched my cheek feeling the reality that I was nothing like her. I stared at him as he waved back. That's what he wanted. Her. Not the psychotic girl who never learned when to keep her mouth shut.
I clicked my camera again. I had used yearbook one too many times as an excuse. He grinned his entire face lighting up as he caught the flash of the camera. I bit my lip to restrain the thought that he was actually smiling at me. It had to be somebody else. I was pathetic. The first and only guy I had ever truly lost my head over didn't even want me.
Oh, but I sure as hell wanted him. I wanted him so bad that my entire body ached when I saw him and Jessie holding hands walking down the halls. It hurt even worse when he met my gaze and grinned causing me to trudge on through my liquefied form. Gordy perked up with another flash. He waved grinning rolling his eyes when he noticed who I was staring at. Ignoring his knowing eyes I saluted back mockingly smiling against my will. He bounded over his eyes narrowing into a smirk. His squared off body seemed more domineering in all of the football gear as he towered over me.
"So, how are the pictures coming?" he asked coyly.
"Just fine thank you," I said glancing over his shoulder at Aaron.
"She's been staring at him all night," I heard Marissa state matter-of-factly from somewhere nearby. I laughed, shaking my head, knowing full well it was true. I felt ridiculous for being caught.
"You should tell him," Gordy sang bouncing from one foot to the other.
"No, no, no, no, no-" I frantically waved my hands in the air fending off their remarks. Marissa poked my side.
"And why not?" I swatted her hand away glancing swiftly to the field.
"Because," I bit off my words, "well, for one, he has a girlfriend, and two-"
"Oh, don't give me that crap. He-" Gordy started, but his coach cut him short, the whistle echoing shrill over us. He rolled his eyes mumbling, "I'll see you later if I don't die first." Marissa sighed as I clicked the camera again just as Gordy came up behind Aaron slapping his back.
"You don't think-" I started uneasily.
"He's probably just talking about the game," Marissa said rolling her eyes touching my shoulder, "You should really tell him." She trotted off elegantly falling back into place with her drill team.
"I know," I muttered taking anther shot.
The bright board flashed "7 to 13", us obviously losing, but surprisingly enough it was not by a thousand and two. The home team was close to another touch down. If I caught the ball and ran my ass off we might survive the game with a little dignity. The visiting team was already bitter towards me for scoring a lucky touchdown a quarter earlier. I ran back following the ball, catching Gordy's pass. Cradling it in my arm, I ran like hell. The other team forced their way through my defenders. I jumped over some guys from my own team unaware of the cheers coming up from the crowd. I just wanted off the field. I was scared for my life as I ran those last few feet to the end zone.
The crowd roared as I got closer and closer. Pom-poms were preparing to throw up a flyer. The drum major was lifting up its fist to prepare the band to blast in celebration. Coach clutched onto his play book for dear life. The defense was gripping their fists in anticipation. The drill team was on their feet screaming and hollering. "Go! Go!" I heard Sam yell clapping her hands together giving me an extra boost.
I felt something around my waist then another force pushing me in the opposite directions. I heard a crunch from somewhere beneath me, the ball falling from my grip tumbling just a few inches away from the line. I was on the ground shocks of pain shooting up my leg. My head was throbbing, but suddenly the pain was gone. I blinked feeling something wet stream down my face. Were those tears? Well, it didn't hurt that bad. I attempted to push myself up, an inferno of pain blazed through my leg. I fell back down writhing, my head aching. I blinked as the light began to fade.
"Aaron! Aaron!" I heard a desperate cries from above. My eyes were out of focus, I couldn't make out who it was. Slowly the light faded out. "Aaron!" now I could tell who it was, her voice was crystal, her form blocking out the remaining light.
"Sam-" I thought, but my voice came only as a small grunt the rest of the world faded, disappearing to black.