The adrenaline pumping through his veins was familiar; after all, there was nothing like a good game to get his blood pumping… and he knew that this was going to be one to remember. The fact that it was a school rivalry just made victory look a little sweeter. Oliver Creston surveyed the field with a casual expression as he dropped his duffel bag on the bench.
"This should be fun," his friend commented rather indifferently, suggesting otherwise, but Oliver knew better. He was just as excited.
The bleachers were filling up nicely and he observed the expectant look on their faces. Apparently they weren't the only ones.
There was hooted laughter. "We all know that there's only one person's ass Oliver wants to kick."
Sniggers followed. Oliver looked at them amusedly. "How about you cut him some slack?"
"Who are we talking about?"
One teammate pointed, and the new members eagerly followed the line of direction. Indifferently – if you wanted to call annoyance indifferent – he also turned to look –
– and was promptly left breathless.
"They've been rivals ever since they went to soccer camp together."
"Who is she?"
Silence ensued and Oliver knew they were blatantly staring. She was beautiful, and he wanted to know her name.
Her hair was in a high pony tail, and even then it looked long. The sun made her dark hair look darker. Her cheerleading uniform decently covered her body, unlike other females on the squad… It made her look even more tantalizing… and off limits. For several different reasons.
But she had the most mesmerizing smile he's ever seen.
"Oliver!" He heard loud laughter. "You're staring. I don't think your girlfriend would appreciate that."
He pivoted with a roll of his eyes. "She's gorgeous," he said shortly, as if it explained everything. There wasn't an ounce of lewdness in his tone, nor did he face show a wide expectant smirk – he was only saying the truth. She was, and no one could deny his words.
"Looks like she's taken, anyway."
Oliver barely resisted the urge to grit his teeth together. Of course, Corey Davis. Golden boy of the school with charming looks to lure absolutely anyone in. He also noticed the way her smile turned forced, the way her eyes tightened. Something clenched in his gut when he saw the fear.
Someone grabbed his arm. "Where the hell are you going?"
Incredulously, he looked over his shoulder. "She obviously doesn't want him touching her."
Expectant but knowing eyes assessed him. "And how is that your problem?"
He opened his mouth, but promptly shut it closed. It wasn't his problem. Roughly, he tore away from his friend, eyes seeking his new found interest. His lips thinned. Davis was gripping her arm tightly; even he saw it from here. Oliver always knew he was nothing more than filth. It took everything in him to keep himself rooted.
"She's pretty, isn't she?" a melodious voice reached his ears. He nodded at his girlfriend's words, and then she laughed briefly. Jealousy didn't exist in their relationship… much. "She's co-captain… an amazing gymnast. Lost to her school practically because of her. Remember how I told you about her?"
"I do." He looked down at the pretty face smiling at him. "Do you know her?"
Her lips pressed into a smile as she shook her head. "No; I only know of her. I think I'd want to be her friend. I heard she's very sweet."
"Looks like it," he agreed, their eyes straying to their topic of conversation. The girl next to him didn't notice the way they interacted – Oliver did, and his eyes tightened. To anyone else she would look playful and teasing, but he saw the reluctance, and he saw Corey's subtle force. The tight feeling in his chest could only be described as distrust – for Corey Davis – and worry – for the girl.
"You're staring too hard," Kylie laughed, nudging him. "Should I be worried?"
Shaking his head, he smiled amusedly at her. "Of course not," he said, his arm easily going around her waist. He gently began to turn them away from the bothersome scene. Why did he care so much, anyway? "You're the only girl for me."
"I better be," she joked, her own arm wrapping around his waist.
He took one last glance at the stunning face he'd probably never see again – and found himself breathless when striking dark eyes met his own. The beautiful stranger smiled at him, eyes lightened… until they were both pulled away.
He released a breath he didn't know he was holding. "What's her name?" he said casually, frowning at the odd feeling in his chest when he recalled her smile. How strange.
Kylie looked up at him confusedly but shrugged, pushing away any thoughts to the back of her head. This was Oliver Creston, loyal to a fault. There was no need to worry about the threat the girl's exquisiteness posed.
Oliver stared at her expectantly, waiting for the name that would one day change his life completely.
"Her name's Sydney Rhode."
"Sydney Rhode," the name rolled off his tongue easily, like an old song. He nodded, and as his coach commanded everyone's attention, he pushed her to the back of his mind.
Sydney Rhode. He couldn't resist a small glance over his shoulder… She was looking back as well, eyebrows furrowed. He smiled slightly, eyes locked.
Then the stolen moment was dispelled, they both looked away, and reality was set. It didn't matter what that meant, anyway. He was never going to see her again.
At least… that's what he thought.