Something You Can't Hold Back: REMIX
Chapter 5: Bleed It Out
"Today, we're going to discuss one of your summer reading assignments, which I'm sure you all read, correct?" Mrs. Saunders asks the class sternly.
Whoa, we had summer reading? I'm screwed. I had no idea.
A chorus of groans ensues. She frowns deeply, her dark eyes daunting. She reminds me of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz with her dark hair pulled tightly back and pointed nose… all she is missing is the green skin and the pointy hat.
I try to stifle a giggle as I picture Mrs. Saunders with bright green skin.
"We are going to be discussing Hamlet." The witch turns to write something on the chalkboard.
"Oh, thank god!" I blurt out.
Shit, I definitely didn't mean to say that out loud.
Mrs. Saunders turns around swiftly, giving me a sharp glare from beneath her silver-rimmed glasses. I slide down in my seat, avoiding her piercing gaze unsuccessfully.
Oh, I'm so dead.
"Excuse me, Miss Madison?"
"Nothing, Mrs. Saunders." I attempt to give her a sweet smile, feeling my cheeks heat up.
Andy snickers beside me at our desk. I kick him lightly and smile to myself when I hear him moan in pain.
"Do you have something you would like to share with the class about Hamlet?" Mrs. Saunders inquires firmly. I see her trying to hide a smile as I squirm in my seat.
I hate being on the spot… I can feel everyone stare at me expectantly.
Stop staring at me! I want to scream.
"Um… I love Hamlet…" I answer lamely, biting my pen.
"Really?" She asks disbelievingly.
The truth is I really do love Hamlet. It's such a beautifully written play with so much twisted conflict. In my opinion, it's one of Shakespeare's best works. And call me a nerd all you want, but I love Shakespeare.
"Yes," I say evenly, building up my confidence. "The play is a masterpiece in itself and the character of Hamlet is fascinating."
She stares at me, shocked that I actually have an opinion on the matter. Her dark eyes scan my face, sizing me up. I can tell she's trying to think of a way to test me. "Describe Hamlet's character in one word, Miss Madison."
One word?! That's nearly impossible. Hamlet's one of the most complex characters in all of English literature… how on earth can you describe him in one word?
I think for a few long moments, trying to ignore the feeling of everyone's eyes on me. So many words are running through my head as I try to find the appropriate one. noble, disgraced, cautious, heartbroken, philosophical…
Perhaps Hamlet and I have something in common.
I shift in my seat, sitting up straighter as I feel my confidence build. "He's lost his father to the hands of his murderous uncle, so he's lost his rightful place of the son of king, causing a social hierarchy confusion. More importantly, he's lost a sense of himself, causing him to be unsure of his actions and feelings throughout the course of the play."
Take that, wicked witch.
Mrs. Saunders stares at me for a few long moments, processing my answer. "That's a very interesting opinion, Miss Madison." She says finally, giving me a slight nod while trying to hide her disappointment. I know she certainly didn't expect that answer from me.
Apparently, my classmates are just as surprised as she is. The room is absolutely silent.
Just because I'm blonde doesn't mean I'm stupid. It's about time that everybody realizes that.
Andy nudges my elbow lightly and mouths 'nice.' I give him a proud grin and turned to listen to Mrs. Saunders lecture obediently.
She didn't call on me for the rest of class.
"Who knew Tyler had a brain?" Andy smiles playfully, walking beside me down the hallway after class.
"That was a shot to the heart." I sigh dramatically, placing a hand over my chest.
"Only kidding, my little darling."
I grin at him and poke him in the side. "You better be."
"Of course," he says as he ruffles my hair lightly. "So, are you ready for tomorrow?"
My mood instantly falters, my stomach dropping at the thought of tomorrow. "I – I don't know yet."
Andy looks at me with a puzzled expression. "I'm sure you are… it's normal to be nervous for tryouts."
"Well, yeah…" I mutter, twirling a strand of flaxen hair between my fingers. "The thing is I don't know if I can even try out yet."
But god, I hope I can. Soccer's one of the only things I have left from my life back in Georgia. And I can't lose that.
"I talked with Gram yesterday and she still wasn't sure of the board's decision in dealing with my situation…"
He frowns slightly. "That sucks."
"Yeah, I know."
"I really hope you can because I'm sure you'd make it… you've got talent, Tyler. Everyone agrees."
I smile slightly, "Thanks, Andy."
"We're scrimmaging in the quad today…you're welcome to come play."
"I've got to stop by Gram's office first, but I'll try and make it."
"Okay, Ty." He grins slightly, placing a friendly hand on my shoulder. "Cheer up."
We part ways and I begin my journey down to the first floor to meet with Gram. The whole way to her office my stomach knots nervously.
I don't know what I'm going to do if I can't play.
I knock on the mahogany door lightly, waiting for my grandmother to usher me in.
"Come in!" Her sweet voice calls from the other side of the door.
"Hi Gram," I say softly, entering her elegant office. She stands from her desk to give me a tight hug. I can't help but smile as I inhale her familiar flowery scent.
"I have a surprise for you!" She says excitedly as she pulls away from me.
Ooh, I love surprises!
She goes over to a table in the corner of her large office and picks up a large pitcher. She quickly pours a cup of liquid and hands it to me.
"What is it?" I ask curiously. I sit down in one of the cream cushioned chairs across from her desk.
"Take a sip!" She smiles, her blue eyes radiant.
I laugh at my grandmother's silly antics before taking a small sip of the mysterious liquid. Instantly, I recognize the sweet taste with nostalgia.
"You made me sweet tea!" I gush.
Gram nods, a wide smile on her pretty face.
"Oh, thank you! It's delicious!"
"Mrs. Phillips called yesterday to check on you and I asked her the formula for good 'ole Southern sweet tea." She says in a mock southern accent.
I laugh loudly, "There's nothing better than Southern sweet tea."
Of course no one's sweet tea would beat my mother's… I don't know exactly what she did differently to make it, but it has always been the best.
She always told me that when I went off to college that she would teach me her secret recipe so I could make it for myself.
She never got that chance, and now I would never know.
"How's Mrs. Phillips doing?" I ask, trying to sidetrack myself from grave thoughts.
"She's doing well – she misses you."
I smile sadly. "I miss her, too."
Mrs. Phillips – Jen's mom – is like a second mother to me, especially after helping take care of me after the accident a few weeks ago. In fact, I almost stayed in Georgia to live with the Phillips', but Mrs. Phillips helped me realize that I needed to be with my grandmother.
"So, how are classes going so far dear?"
"Good, I guess." I shrug, twirling my hair.
"Is Mrs. Saunders still giving you a hard time?"
I smirk, remembering today's English class. "I think she's starting to lighten up, I'm starting to prove myself worthy."
My grandmother gives a loud laugh, "Good, my dear. I was worried I was going to have to chat with her."
"No worries, Gram. I've got it under control."
"And how is your roommate situation?" She asks curiously, as she does every time I see her. "Trenton's behaving himself, correct?"
"Yes, yes, Trent's behaving just fine. I think we've adjusted to each other, we don't argue quite as often…" I laugh lightly.
"Ah, that's expected." She nods knowingly. "You're both very alike."
I snort, "Trent and I are nothing alike!"
She shakes her head, "Whatever you say, darling."
"But we aren't, if we were alike then we wouldn't argue as much!" I push the subject further.
"Funny thing is that he said the same thing when I talked with him the other day."
"He talked with you? He didn't tell me that…"
She grins mischievously, "I had to set some ground rules."
I blush and avert my eyes, "That's embarrassing."
"I have to make sure my granddaughter is taken care of."
I'll have to ask Trent about these mysterious rules later. Honestly, I'm surprised he hasn't said anything to me about it. I had no idea that he and my grandmother had this 'chat' about who knows what.
"He's a perfect gentleman, though. I won't have to worry too much, thank goodness. I already have enough things to worry about." She smiles, going through papers on her desk.
Trent… perfect gentleman? Oh please. He probably just charmed my grandmother like he does with nearly every female, even the teachers adore him. I don't know how he does it… okay, he does have a charming smile…
"I don't want to worry you more than I have to." I say, placing my chin in my hand. "I have a question…"
"Yes, darling?" Her blue eyes gaze at me curiously.
"Have you talked to the athletic board lately about their decision concerning my soccer situation?"
She frowns slightly, "No, they have yet to get back to me." My heart drops in my stomach as I hear her words. That is not a good sign.
"So… I can't try out?"
I can hear my heart beating nervously as I await her answer.
She purses her lips in thought. "You should try out, in case the board approves. I'll talk to Coach Harlow tomorrow before tryouts start."
Relief starts to pulse through me. At least I have a chance. "Thank you!" I clasp my hands together breathlessly.
Maybe if I do really well at tryouts, Coach Harlow will talk to the athletic board himself and convince them that I'm talented enough to play, even with all boys.
I know I can do it. I just have to prove that to them.
"Of course, Tyler Anne. You deserve a fair chance after everything you've been through. And knowing you, you'll prove them all wrong."
I grin sleepily up at Trent's irritated face.
"What?" I yawn innocently, clutching the soft sheets to my chest.
He sits on the side of my bed, shaking his head at me. "You should invest in an alarm clock."
"But you are my alarm clock."
He tries to give me a stern look, but I see him struggling to hide a smile. "I don't want to have to wake you up all the time."
"Don't you like knowing that you're the first thing I see when I wake up?" I taunt him, suppressing giggles.
"Flattery will get you nowhere, love." He laughs, patting my side. "Now get up and get dressed, we have to be at the fields in twenty minutes." Trent fluidly stands from my bed and sits at his desk.
I stretch the sleepiness from my body and absorb the warmth of my covers before getting out.
I decided to take a nap between the end of the classes and soccer – or should I say football – tryouts. It seemed to be a good idea for I am very calm and rested. No nerves shake me even though so much rests on these tryouts.
If I can't play, I don't know what I'm going to do.
I walk to the bathroom, grabbing a pair of running shorts and a sports tank, and quickly change.
I search my closet for long socks – my lucky pinky ones to be exact – and my shin guards.
Trent snickers at me as he watches me put them on. "Nice socks, love."
"I rather like them." I grin, shaking my feet at him as I sit on my bed. He swats one of them playfully, giving me a crooked smile.
He chuckles, "Hurry up."
I swiftly slide on my cleats and tie my hair up. "I'm ready now."
Trent and I walk together down the halls, in an easy silence, both gathering our thoughts before we reach the field. Trent, however, is most likely guaranteed a spot on the team. I might not even be able to play… but I hope I can.
"Nervous?" Trent asks me quietly, as the field enters our sight. A few boys are already there, dribbling the soccer ball back and forth to warm up. I watch him size up his competition.
He looks really sexy when he's intense like that.
Oh my god. Really, Tyler? Stop.
Save the hormones for later.
"Not at all?"
He nods his head, "Good."
"Don't be ridiculous, Tyler." Trent smirks at me, an air of arrogance surrounding him.
I groan, "Don't start."
"Don't start what?" He asks with mock innocence.
"The whole I'm-Trent-Parker-and-I'm-better-than-you thing."
"But I am better than you." He teases me.
It's amazing how fast the dynamics of our relationship can change – but it's us.
I shove him forcefully, knocking him a few steps to the side. "Oh, just shut up!"
He laughs in surprise, "I didn't know you had that in you."
"Don't doubt me, Parker." I grin up at him.
He shrugs nonchalantly. "I'll try and remember."
I roll my eyes. That damn boy will never learn.
"TYLER!" I hear a familiar voice call from the field. All the boys turn to watch Trent and me approaching.
"Andy!" I yell with excitement, quickly walking towards him. He slings an arm around my shoulder.
"So… you can play?!" He smiles at me eagerly.
I bite my lip. "Well, Gram doesn't know yet. But I'm trying out anyways."
"Let's hope you can! And if you're worried about some of these blokes - " He motions towards some of the boys stretching on the field, "don't, because frankly you're better than half of them."
"Let's not build up her ego too much, Schmidt." Trent grumbles.
"I'm just being honest."
I grab Andy's wrist lightly, "Thank you."
"Oi, sex kitty!"
"Gag me." Trent scoffs, glaring at his approaching friend.
"Ryan!" I protest, trying to hide my giggles. "Not so loud." I look around at the other boys captiously, hoping they had not heard. I don't want them to think I'm some kind of whore – I'm the furthest thing from a sex kitty.
"Sorry, Ty," He grins boyishly running a hand through his messy hair, "I'm just excited to see you."
"You see me all the time."
"It doesn't mean I still can't get excited!"
I shake my head at him, laughing.
"Hey!" Johnny comes up to us with Derek in tow. "Want to warm up a bit?" He asks us eagerly. We all agree, and for pass the soccer ball between us for a few minutes while awaiting the arrival of Coach Harlow.
A loud whistle signals his entrance. We all turn towards the goal on the left side of the large field where Coach Harlow stands tall and intense, a clipboard in hand. A boy stands at his side confidently… an extremely handsome boy.
"ALRIGHT BOYS, ENOUGH PLAYING AROUND. START ON SOME LAPS! DON'T STOP UNTIL I TELL YOU TO."
In an instant, the boys began to run. Even Trent didn't hesitate to listen. From just looking at him, I know he's a good coach – perhaps a tough one at that.
"Miss Madison!" he calls in a more quiet tone, "May I have a word?"
I nod, walking swiftly towards him. "Yes sir." He probably wants to talk about my 'situation.'
"No need for fancy names, Coach will do just fine." He gives me a polite smile and turns to the boy at his side, "Go show them how it's done, son."
"Got it, Coach." The boy says in a deep baritone. He jogs from Coach's side and by me, his bright green eyes staring at me intently. I try to ignore the butterflies filling my stomach as he looks at me.
He's tall and toned with messy blonde hair that falls in his eyes… his beautiful green eyes. Damn, the boy is gorgeous; he even gives Trent a run for his money.
Suddenly, it clicks.
That's the one and only Duke Harlow, the one everyone talks about, the one whose name even makes Trenton Parker squirm a bit…
And I can see why.
How am I supposed to concentrate when I'm in the presence of a Greek God?
I dribble the soccer ball between my feet gracefully as I thread between the bright orange cones, pleasure rushing through me. Every part of me feels alive.
The drill is simple enough; no one seems to have trouble with it. Coach Harlow watches us intently, writing down our strengths and weaknesses as we go through each different drill.
I wonder how I compare to most of the boys. I feel like I'm keeping up. For heaven's sake, I nearly beat most of them in sprints earlier. That's got to prove something – it shouldn't matter if I'm a girl.
A whistle blows, signaling the end of the drill. Coach motions for us to circle around him.
"We have ten minutes left of play time. At first I was thinking to make you all run sprints again."
Groans ensue around the circle of boys. I bite my lip in anticipation. I was hoping for something a bit more competitive than sprints, but at least it's something I'm good at.
"If you keep up that attitude, I'm going to make you run sprints for twenty minutes." Coach says sternly, frowning at us.
"What do you have in mind?" Duke asks casually, running a hand through his wet golden hair. I hide a smile of approval – I like my boys hot and sweaty.
Coach Harlow breaks into an enthusiastic smile. "A scrimmage. No time-outs, no breaks. I want to see all out football, boys – and girl."
Trent lets out a low whistle. "I like the sound of that."
"Me too!" I say excitedly, clapping my hands together giddily. Instantly I hide my hands behind my back, embarrassed by my totally girly enthusiasm. I blush deeply as my gaze meets Duke's; his emerald eyes full of laughter.
"I'm going to split you up into two teams," Coach continues, "Shirts versus Skins."
Trent nudges my elbow, "You should play on Skins, love." He whispers huskily in my ear.
I jerk my head away quickly, "In your dreams, Parker." I mutter back, annoyed that he's disrupting my concentration. Although I'm not surprised that he would say that, it's typical Trent.
He grins crookedly at me, "You know what they say – some dreams do come true."
"Give that one up now – it'll never happen." I retort before walking over towards the Shirts side of the field. I'm happy to see that both Andy and Derek are on my team. Ryan, Trent, and Duke are all on the Skins team, which I must say I don't mind seeing them shirtless.
God, I love soccer boys – their bodies are on point.
"Alright, team, let's work out some positions." Andy begins confidently as we all listen to him eagerly, wanting to have the glory of winning. I can't tell you how much I would enjoy beating Trent.
I make my way up to midfield as the rest of my team takes their positions as well. I watch Trent walk smugly up to me, taking his position directly across from me. He would guard.
"Don't let me distract you, love."
I wrinkle my nose at him, now is not the time to mock one another. "Shut up and get ready to play."
He smirks at me, his chocolate eyes sparkling. "I like it when you're feisty."
I quirk my eyebrow at him playfully, "Don't let me distract you."
Trent shrugs indifferently, his abdominal muscles rippling as he does so. "I was going to go easy on you anyways."
I snort. "Right."
The whistle blows, instantly catching both of our attention. Duke starts with possession of the ball at center field, taking it from Andy. Trent attempts to side step me, but I quickly follow his moves as he runs down the field a few paces in front of Duke.
I mimic Trent's every move, blocking him from getting an open position. I might nearly be a foot shorter than him, but I keep up with him. Andy guards Duke carefully, making sure he does not have shot at goal. However, Duke executes a roll dodge to the right and kicks the ball hard towards the net.
The black and white spotted ball knocks off one of the goal posts, allowing Derek to take possession of the ball. I begin to run up field, watching Derek intently. I heard Trent running directly beside me, matching my steps.
My eyes meet Derek's dark ones. In a swift motion I slow down my fast speed, and cut behind Trent to gain an opening. "Derek!" I shout roughly.
He passes the ball to me and I head towards our goal, nimbly dribbling the ball between my feet as I sprint. Trent runs behind me as Duke attempts to cut me off in front. I notice Andy open a few paces from goal and quickly pass the ball to him before Duke steals it.
Andy takes a hard kick and I hear Trent groan behind me as we watch the soccer ball fly through the goalie's hands.
"YAY!" I exclaim, running up to Andy and patting him on the back as the rest of our team praises him.
We all go to our starting positions once more, allowing the play to continue.
The scrimmage was extremely aggressive throughout the remainder of the time. The Skins team managed to score a goal to even the score. It was Duke, of course. I could tell by Trent's expression that he wanted to be the one to score that goal – he was always competing with Duke.
Why? Who knows, boys always have some kind of rivalry going on it seems.
"NEXT GOAL WINS! LET'S GO BOYS!" Coach shouts across the field.
I wipe the sweat from my brow as I stand by Trent, awaiting play to begin once again. Surprisingly Derek wins control of the ball from Duke and sprints down the field toward the goal. I quickly follow suit, trying to get away from Trent, trailing my heels.
I try to cut behind him, but he blocks my move with ease. I try to cut in front of him, but again, he blocks me.
I let out a loud groan in frustration as we run side by side down the field. I don't even have to look at him to know he's smirking.
Come on, Tyler. You can do this.
I concentrate my energy, even though my muscles are aching. With an amazing force of speed, I run in front of Trent, efficiently cutting him off. I run towards the goal, open. "DEREK! DEREK!" I screech frantically.
He passes it to me promptly. I dash towards the large net, dribbling the ball with graceful agility.
So close, so close!
Suddenly, a large shirtless body jumps in front of me, trying to steal the ball away. In his attempt, however, he trips me, and we are sent tumbling onto the rough grass. The light haired boy falls next to me, our limbs stuck in a tangled mess.
I let out a moan in pain, feeling a burning sensation on my left knee as thick liquid runs down my leg.
"Damn," I hear Johnny groan beside me.
Coach sprints towards us along with the rest of the boys. They all look at us – well, me – with worried expressions.
"Miss Madison, are you alright? That was quite a fall!"
"Tyler! Are you okay?" Andy calls frantically.
I grimace as Johnny and I untangle ourselves. "I'm fine."
Johnny gives me a concerned half-smile as he gets up, "I'm so sorry, Tyler!" I notice a few scratches on his arms, but other than that no injuries. "I didn't mean to trip you! I'm so sorry!"
"S'kay, Johnny." I give him a small smile, ignoring the pain.
"Let me help you up, love, you're bleeding." Trent murmurs, coming quickly to my side.
I look down at my burning knee to see blood dripping down my leg under my shin guards. No wonder I'm in so much pain! I skinned the hell out of it. Great, just what I need on the first day of tryouts.
But why do they insist on helping me? Just because I'm a girl doesn't mean I can't deal with pain. They're all watching me like I'm made of porcelain.
I smack his arms away, "I can get up myself. I'm okay, really. It's just a little scratch."
Trent gives me a deep frown, "I'm trying to help you."
"I don't need help!" Stifling a whimper, I push myself up to my feet slowly. It definitely is not a little scratch. I look at my arms to see them covered with small scrapes as well.
"Are you sure you're okay, Miss Madison?" Coach asks me, giving me an apprehensive look. "Duke can take you to the nurse if you want."
Ooh, as much as I would like that… I don't want to look… well, weak.
I feel Duke's vibrant eyes on me and I look down, knowing that if I meet his gaze I won't be able to resist. "I'm okay."
He casts me a nod, "Well, boys and girl, great job today – there will be no cuts yet. Way to start off tryouts with so much energy. I look forward to tomorrow as well as the rest of tryouts and the season. As you all know, Saturday will conclude tryouts and I will be making final cuts. Be well rested, it's going to be a long week!"
A strong hand comes to grasp my elbow lightly as we begin to disperse from the field. I turn around to come face-to-face with Duke.
God, he's even more gorgeous up close.
"If you won't let me take you to the nurse, can I at least walk you back to your room?" He asks me with a wide smile.
I smile, averting my eyes shyly. "That would be nice."
He holds out his large hand, "I'm Duke, by the way."
Trust me, I know who you are.
"Tyler." I shake his hand gently.
He gives a small chuckle, "I know who you are."
Well, everyone at this school does if you think about it. I mean, I am the only girl in a school full of boys. I shrug self-consciously, "I figured."
"I'm just glad I finally got to meet you."
"You wanted to meet me before?" I ask, butterflies filling my stomach.
He rubs his neck, almost as if he's nervous. Odd, he seems so self-assured at all times. "Yes… I was very… curious about you – I still am."
I laugh nervously, "Oh?"
Duke nods, running a hand through his blonde hair.
Trent appears at my side suddenly, "Let's go, Tyler."
"I was going to walk her back." Duke gives him a cool glance.
Trent meets his gaze with confidence. "She's my roommate. She might as well walk back with me."
"We were going to stop by the nurse first, so you don't have to wait for her."
"I'm perfectly capable of taking her to the nurse. Tyler, come on."
I roll my eyes, heaving a heavy sigh. Trent is never going to let up, I think both Duke and I know that. "Fine, let's go, Parker. Sorry Duke, we'll have to catch up another time."
Duke grins boyishly, "Of course." He's so cute... and my, my doesn't he live up to his reputation.
Trent and I walk off the field together, tension thick between us. "Why did you have to be such a jerk to Duke? He was just offering to help me."
Trent ignores my question, his dark eyes holding an innocent expression. "How's your knee feeling?"
I hate when he does that.
Hello my beautiful readers! I know it took WAY too long for this chapter to be posted, but guess what... I'm half way done with chapter 6! And it's ALL new - no rewrites from the previous story! You get to find out whether Tyler makes the team or not (which you kind of know... or do you?) and you get to meet the infamous Kristine Miller. I'm really excited to post the next chapter to say the least. So until then, PLEASE REVIEW.
Thank you lovies for all the reviews so far, and I love you all.