Together, they've been through hell and back because of their many friendly competitions, but hey there's no heaven without hell. As twisted as the logic sounds, it's because of hell with him that they got to heaven.
Jett McMahon was annoying – annoyingly smart, annoyingly rich, annoyingly athletic, annoyingly gorgeous, annoyingly sociable – just annoying in everything, so it was just natural that Carson Leighton would find competition in him.
If Jett was captain of the soccer team, then Carson headed the women's soccer team.
If he ranked number one in AP Calculus, she had the top spot in AP Physics.
If she spoke French fluently, he did Italian flawlessly.
The list went on and on, and apparently, the only thing the two shared in common was their unending desire to always beat each other out, and today was no different.
"Hey Leighton," a voice called out, and hearing her name, Carson turned away from her locker and towards Jett.
"What do you want?" she asked with a ghost of a smirk on her face.
They didn't hate each other. To put their relationship simply, they enjoyed their friendly competition. Aside from being a form of amusement for their peers, it always brought out the best in them, made them strive harder than they usually did.
"I just wanted to say 'congrats' for winning state championships," he then said, nearing her locker.
"Well, thanks, and right back at ya guys." She chuckled. "Is that all you came here to tell me?"
Walking towards one of the many AP classes they shared together, Jett shook his head as Leighton followed at his side. They exchanged 'hi's and 'hello's with a few of the familiar faces they passed by before turning their attention back to each other.
"Actually, no. Coach wanted to ask if you guys are willing to have a practice game with us tomorrow morning."
Carson thought about it. Surely, she didn't need their coach's permission regarding this since she would certainly say 'yes' to it. Personally, Carson liked playing with guys, especially Jett's team, since it forced her and her team mates to play better. Every time she played with any one of them, she ran faster, played on the field longer, and made sure not to allow room for any kind of gender discrimination since a number of guys she knew loved to tease her on the field for being a girl. This – playing with Jett and his team – would definitely improve her own team's skills.
"Sure, why not," she said smirking to herself. "A little competition is nothing."
"Little?" someone else spoke up from behind Jett.
Carson immediately recognized that voice. Asher Burton – Jett's best friend and one of the more powerful players on the guy's team. He was smirking back at her, and soon after, he broke into a chuckle.
"Seriously…" He began to grope his stomach. "Did you just call us little?"
Not afraid of teasing two–hundred pound–something and six–footer jocks, Carson nodded her head with conviction, but soon after, she ended up laughing at herself. The other guys who stood behind Jett and Asher soon joined in, and after a while, she noticed that a number of females who passed by were shooting her glares. Rolling her eyes, she was more than sure that it wasn't her fault guys acted so comfortably around her. She was after all one of them – a jock.
"Boys, size doesn't really matter," she said to them until she realized she missed something. "On the field that is," she then continued, even winking at them.
The guys once again broke into laughter before Jett took a step forward and said, "Just don't cry too hard when we beat you girls, okay?" And then, "If it's any consolation, some of my buddies here would love to take your girls out after the game to comfort them."
"Ho–ho…slow down on the arrogance, McMahon," she said smirking. "Karma might bite you in the ass."
"I prefer if you did the biting instead," he answered back, obviously teasing.
Shaking her head at how guys could be so immature at times, Carson Leighton waved them 'goodbye' before she entered the classroom with Jett following closely behind. Throughout the rest of the day, all she could think about was the practice game tomorrow morning. Sure, it was just a practice game, but still, the winner had bragging rights, and it would be just lovely if they could show the guys that girls were just as good in soccer as they were, so when she got to class, she started scribbling a few playing tactics in her notebook. All the while, Jett was doing the same on his own binder.
Dear Ms. Leighton,
I am very sorry to inform you that it is not possible to offer you admission to the class of 2010. I wish I were writing to report a different decision, but the competition was so rigorous this year that there were many outstanding young men and women to whom we could not offer places in the class.
Fuck. She mentally cursed, and the more she continued to read, the more tears welled up in her eyes until she couldn't control them any longer and let them escape.
We very much appreciate the interest you have shown in Harvard College. We hope that you will accept the best wishes of the Committee for success in all your future endeavors.
Neither her heart nor her mind was in the game, and this angered some of her team mates. Here was their captain, Carson Leighton, who proudly and confidently accepted Jett McMahon's invitation for a practice game. A day ago, all Carson had been raving about was how they were going to beat the guys and crush their egos, but now, during the actual game, it seemed like Carson was thinking about everything except for winning said game.
"Hey Carson! Natalie's open on the other side!" one of her closer friends on the team, Marcie, shouted out to her.
Carson gave a minute nod before kicking the ball to the opposite side. What happened was that she didn't kick the ball hard enough, so Asher Burton was able to steal the ball before he passed it to Jett, who immediately scored a goal.
"Shit," Carson then cursed to herself when she saw what happened.
The ball zoomed past her team's goalie before hitting the net and landing on the floor with a soft 'thump'. When that happened, all the guys hollered and cheered before turning to face the girls, raising their shirts, and showing off their perfectly–sculpted upper torsos.
All the girls playing just ignored the guys' immaturity by laughing off their short–lived display of skin, everyone except Carson. She was too irritated to try to pretend to be amused, and even a smile was hard for her to muster. Apparently, no one had noticed her shift of attitude from yesterday except for Jett. When all the other players were starting to assemble and get back to their places once again, Jett jogged to her, asking her if she was doing alright.
"Hey, you okay?" he asked, jogging up to her.
Looking at him with saddened, almost teary azure–colored eyes, Carson gave him a small grin and a quick nod before sprinting off to the opposite side of the field. The game went on without either team scoring a goal, so the score was still the same – 1–0 – in favor of the boy's team. Minutes after the second half started and without the help of a pep talk coming from their captain, the girls were able to score, so now, the game was tied, and the time was dwindling down to only a couple of minutes.
"Offense people!" Jett shouted to his team, moving his arms at his sides to tell Asher and the others to position themselves. "Let's end this game as winners!"
"And show these girls that our playing isn't little," Asher shouted, turning to face Carson and giving her a miniscule wink.
Carson, who was too dazed to even focus on putting up a good defense, shook her head, her face void of any smile or grin or smirk, before she ran over to one of the guys and attempted to block him. Apparently, her defense was useless since Jett had kicked the ball to Asher, who gave it back to his best friend. Running at full speed, Jett cruised by his team mates and his opponents before he stood in front of the goalie. In one swift motion, he proceeded to kick the ball, and during the middle of the process, he changed his rhythm, so that the ball hit the net the opposite direction the goalie expected. After a few seconds, the clock wound down to zero, and before the girls could process in their minds what had just happened, the guys all huddled together and slapped one another on their backs. Of course, after all that celebrating, they proudly sauntered over to the women's side of the field and congratulated the girls for a job well done.
"Thanks, but seriously," Marcie began, walking to Asher's side. "You guys were the better team today…"
"Only today?" Jett asked with a small pout which Carson quickly took notice of. The way his lips tilted down was cute, and surprisingly, she felt a flutter at her chest. Jett, being all charming and attractive at the same time, got that usual reaction from girls, so Carson never denied the fact that the guy was likable in a more than friendly way, a happy crush as some called it. "Hmph."
"Don't get too cocky McMahon…" Asher warned his best friend, who was just laughing back. "Just because you managed to win a soccer game and get into Harvard in one, single day, morning perhaps, doesn't mean you've been proclaimed the king of the world."
And suddenly, the fluttering in Carson's chest stopped as tears threatened to spill themselves out of her eyes. Without a single 'goodbye' or even a hand gesture to her team mates and the boys, she ran to the women's locker room and out to the empty hallways. Then, she dropped down on the floor as her back rested against the lockers. She cradled her knees in her arms before her head dropped, and she began crying.
She knew it was stupid to cry over a rejection letter, but it hadn't just been any rejection letter. Harvard had been her parents and her own dream school since she was young. She had immersed herself in a myriad of extra–curricular activities and charity work and excelled in her academics in the hopes that she'd get into her dream school. Apparently, all those weren't good enough, and at the end of the day, they ended up choosing Jett over her. Speaking of him…
"Hey…" he dropped down beside her warily and left a few inches of space between them. "Are you okay? It's just a practice game…"
Looking from her tear–strained knees and up at him, she shook her head, her mouth a thin, grim line.
"I'm not that shallow," she replied harshly before standing up and walking away from Jett, who just took this as his cue to walk beside her.
"Then why are you really crying?" he asked, reaching out to touch her arm, but after a while of thinking, he decided to let his arm fall at his side. He didn't want to breach her personal space.
Carson then stopped walking before she turned to look at him. Jett was a really gorgeous guy, red hair and matching lime green eyes, and aside from his looks, he had a great personality as well. He wasn't full of himself, and if ever he was, it was just to tease his friends, all for good fun. He was easily likable by everyone, stereotypes and popularity were bullshit to him, and that was why he had a number of different types of girls falling at his feet. Sure Carson wasn't 'falling', but she sure was gushing about him.
"Because of you," she said, wiping the tears away from her eyes.
Clamping her shoulders with his strong hands, Jett looked at her, and from sympathetic, he looked…frustrated?
"What the f–" He shut his mouth before he could finish. He only cursed when he was really, really mad, and right now, he was just still at the edge. "I didn't do anything wrong."
"And I don't know what I did wrong…" she sobbed, unable to stop the tears.
Then suddenly, the doors at the end of the hallway opened up, and there stood both the soccer teams, male and female, and all of them quizzically stared at the two. Jett made a motion with his head, and immediately, they all got the message and turned to leave. When it was only the two of them left again, Jett pushed Carson to open up.
"Seriously Carson," he said, his voice slightly hard. "You have to stop crying."
"And why?" She looked at him coldly before trying to walk away again, and just like before, he easily caught up with her.
"It's just not you to cry..." Then, Jett heaved a deep sigh. He was trying to be careful not to say the wrong things. "Whatever happened, it must have been something serious. You wouldn't lose your focus in soccer just like that."
"Apparently," she began, her voice bordering on sarcastic. "You and Harvard seem to know me much better than I know myself."
That was when Jett understood. He knew all too very well how much that university meant to Carson. It was like her life. Okay. Maybe that was an exaggeration, but to sum up twelve years of education, getting into Harvard meant the world to Carson and she let her determination and discipline show all throughout her school life. He knew it must have been devastating for her to read that rejection. Jett might have understood the position she was in at the moment and why it was okay for her to cry. Sadly though, he didn't know the right words to say, so he said the first thing that came to mind.
"How about I treat you to ice cream, so that you can forget about this?" he asked, digging his hands in the pockets of his soccer shorts. "After we clean up, of course."
They were still standing in the middle of the hallway, and Carson could only stare at Jett. Yes, the guy was kind, but today, he was unusually and exceptionally nice to her, and it made her question his motives.
"Why do you care?" she asked in a guarded tone. "I know ice cream's nothing, but you've never treated me."
"Seriously?" he asked, and she nodded in response before her continued to answer her. "I'm not used to seeing you cry, not even looking teary–eyed." He paused to breathe, and all of a sudden, he seemed tense. "And today, when I saw you, you know, that…cry. I was just sure…"
"Sure about what?"
He looked away, at anything but her, and when she made a motion to touch his arm, he stiffened up a bit. "When I saw you all torn up today, I was sure that I liked you, have been since the start of high school."
Carson bit her lip, still guarding herself, but on the inside, she felt erratic fluttering going on inside her.
"Really?" she asked, trying to remain calm despite the drumming of her insides against her whole body. "Because you never made it obvious."
"Yeah?" Jett then looked puzzled. "I thought I was doing a pretty good job at showing you I liked you."
"And how exactly?" Carson replied, chuckling.
Jett let his arms fall to his sides before he leaned against the locker to Carson's right. He heaved a deep sigh before breathing out another one again. He was nervous, and this was the first time he truly felt worried. Not even when his university letters started rolling in did he feel anxiousness. It was probably because he was sure he would get into at least one of the fifteen colleges he applied to, but right now, admitting his feelings for Carson, he felt like he was going to burst.
"During middle school…I was never an overachiever. You should know that. I played soccer, but I preferred not to be on a team. I also knew I could do well at school, but I just didn't bother trying to snatch that number one spot from someone, anyone. I don't know…"
Then, he ran a hand through his hair, and Carson swore that was one of the sexiest things she ever saw a man do in front of her, if not the sexiest, and with Jett doing it, damn.
"Then I went to this high school, and the moment I saw you play soccer on the field, I was whipped. You were such a great player at that age, but the best of all, you looked like you could handle everything. You were in control of yourself."
"So how did you show you liked me?" Carson asked, still not getting an answer, so she raised an eyebrow up in question.
"I wanted to impress you, so I finally persevered. I studied my butt off and joined the team and made sure I'd be one of the better players in this school."
He did that 'running his hand through his hair' thing again. Right. One of the better players. You're the best, Carson thought.
"Then when I saw you crying, fuck." He really was nervous now. "You scared the shit out of me."
Carson chuckled before she furrowed her eyebrows and looked up at him skeptically. He looked apprehensive, restless even, as he began drumming his fingers against the lockers the both of them leaned on.
"Do you expect me to go with you to the ice cream parlor with that 'you scared the shit out of me' dialogue?"
They both laughed at this, and feeling courageous since he was the soccer captain after all, he took hold of her hand and intertwined their fingers together. In return, she squeezed his hand tightly before she pushed herself off the lockers and stood in front of him.
"I'm just asking you for ice cream." He shrugged his shoulders whilst smirking mischievously. "It wasn't like I was asking you to marry me."
"Seriously, Jett?" she began, grinning. "Continue talking, and you'll really be going to Cold Stone alone."
Placing his hands on her hips and pushing her closer against him, he asked, "So what do you suggest I do?"
"Now you…" The smirks on their faces didn't falter as they leaned their heads closer and closer together. "Should just follow my lead."
And without letting one more second pass, she turned around and headed for the door. When she noticed that Jett stayed rooted on his spot, she motioned him to come over, calling out, "I told you to follow me. Come on. I thought you were going to treat me to ice cream?"
He laughed at himself before he walked to her, and once again, took her head, intertwining their fingers together.
"Maybe dinner then ice cream?" he asked, pushing his luck. "Still my treat."
He felt her hand tighten around his, and when he turned his head to face her, she was smiling brightly up at him, and he swore he could just stare at her face the whole day.
"Dinner. Ice Cream. Then a midnight snack?"
They both shared a laugh, and nodding, he answered, "Midnight snack it is."
Hi everyone! I know, i know! It's been long since I've been active here on Fictionpress.:( School's been a bitch, so now that I'm on break, I'm trying to catch up with all the writing stuff with this oneshot first!:)
I just edited a few stuff here and there with this story, no major changes. I just slightly changed the last part since this seemed like a more realistic thing to do. Come on. From friendly competitions to just ravishing each other against the lockers (ending of the unedited version)? I felt that was too...uh, well, not fitting, so I just changed it, making the ending more light, happy, and innocent. Lol.:) Anyway, hope you guys like it! And i'll be working on more of my old works soon!:)