She was a blur of green and blue. Fluorescent, neon sign green and denim, dark wash blue, I considered myself very lucky to have turned around when I did. I punched my new friend in the shoulder.

"Who is that?" I demanded, nodding my head in her direction.

"Save it, Daniel, Sophie is way out of bounds." Christian laughed.

"Sophie, I like it."

I watched her skid to a stop next to a tall blond guy. She gave him a hug and laughed at something he said as she grabbed a bag from his hand. Something in my gut made me want to run and tackle the kid who made her laugh.

"Why haven't I seen her before?" My voice hit a catch in my throat as I saw her hug a ring of guys who appeared next to the tall blond.

"You probably have, Sophie is the quiet type. She'll keep to herself and a book more than tackling people in the hallway to talk to them," Christian looked at her. "And here comes the iPod, she's never without it. We have to get to practice, dude."

"How do you know so much about her?" I asked as we turned toward the doors.

Christian sucked wind, "She lives in my neighborhood."

I laughed at his expression. He looked scared to death.

"Dude, I'm new here. I'm not going to beat the crap out of you or anything."

I moved here about a month ago. This was the second week of school. So far so good, the appearance of Sophie made it that much better. I smiled as we arrived at the field house.

"Why is Sophie out of bounds?" Christian raised an eyebrow at me. "Back there you said she was out of bounds, why is she?"

"She just doesn't date. We've lived next door to each other for years and in middle school she dated and freshman and early junior year. Now, she just doesn't seem that interested in anybody." Christian shrugged.

"How long has it been do you think?" I asked innocently.

"Since what?"

"Since she's had a boyfriend? What in the world did you think I meant?" I knew what Christian thought I meant. His left eyebrow rose implying I knew exactly what he thought I meant.

"Two years maybe," Christian shrugged his bag off his shoulders and on to the bench. "Anyways you have more important things to think about. You made the team but you still have to keep your head on you around these seniors who have been here for a long time."

"Robinson and Caruso out on the field now!" Coach Montgomery yelled from the doorway.

We jogged out to the field our pads in our hands. I only wanted to be on the baseball team, but off season training annoyed me. The tedious and monotonous tasks of running every day, to the same goal, for an hour bored the crap out of me. Christian knocked my helmet with his own.

"Don't get hurt, newbie," he joked, running off to the defense side.

I threw on my pads and helmet and joined in with the offense. We ran. We tackled. We scrimmaged. We planned. We strategized. We each got a high five as we ran back into the field house.

I got brained before I could take off my helmet.

"So Christian told me that you have a thing for Sophie. I'm telling you right now stay away."

"I'm sorry, do I know you?"

The guy stood only a few inches taller than me, meaning he had to be around six-four. His hair already fashioned the crew cut I was still holding off to get. My California hairstyle had been with me for so long.

He smirked as he sat down on a bench, "You don't want to know me outside this team. Trust me."

His knuckles rapped twice on the wood as he rose up. The smirk stayed in his eyes as it left his face. He looked more like a professional wrestler than a high school football player as he walked passed Christian, clapping his shoulder.

"Did you tell him to say something to me?" I waited until we were out in the parking lot before interrogating Christian.

"No, he simply asked me what took us so long to get to practice. He's our captain. I can't lie to him. Besides, now you know what awaits you if you try to get involved."

"Christian, don't you think she can handle herself? I mean what's with the muscle-heads creating a brick wall around her?" I was incredulous. I desperately wanted to know the big secret surrounding Miss Sophie. "What's her last name, by the way?"

"Harris." Christian stared out into the distance. "Speak of the devil," he muttered.

"Chris!" Sophie shouted. She was maybe ten feet from us. "I need you."

My gut gave a tug as it wished my name was Chris, or something that could be shortened into Chris.

"What's wrong?" Chris sounded deeply concerned.

Sophie sighed with relief, "My car won't start. I don't know what it is this time. Dad already changed the oil. We gave Starla fluid this morning. And she is still being stubborn."

"Alright, where is your father this week?" Christian asked, he dropped his bag on the ground and ducked under the hood.

"He's in Corsicana. He'll be there for two weeks." She pulled off the green shirt she wore, revealing a black tank top, leaning down next to Christian.

Her auburn hair was pulled into a ponytail. It curled at the end, just a little flip. She reached her hands up underneath the ponytail pulling on each side to tighten it. I could hear her mumble questions to Christian every once and a while. Christian tightened caps and checked the dipstick before telling Sophie to get in the car and start it.

On the first try nothing happened. Sophie pulled the key out, took a deep breath through her nose and letting it out through the tiny O her lips had made. As I watched her maneuver, I couldn't think of another girl to whom I had paid this much attention. She stuck the key back in and turned. The engine turned over at once, roaring to life.

"I love you, Chris." She slammed the door as she climbed out to give him a hug. I watched from the sidelines, trying my best not to clear my throat to get him to introduce me.

After what felt like an hour to me, Sophie and Christian broke apart.

"Sophie," Christian sighed. "This is my friend Daniel. Daniel, this is Sophie." Her sky blue eyes turned a sparkling turquoise as she smiled at me.

"Hi," she said. That was it. My organs turned into mush. I would have to be scraped off the cement parking lot.

"Hey." I managed.

"You're new here right?" She still kept in close proximity to Christian. I almost wanted to tell her I wouldn't bite.

"Yeah, new to Texas even."

Sophie winked, "Well, we stopped frying people in our front yards a few years ago. So you moved here just in time."

Christian laughed, shaking his head. I smiled unsure of the tidbit. I knew Texans were said to be certifiably crazy, I just hoped Sophie's sarcasm was meant to be a joke.

"I'm joshing you, kid. We stopped the frying more than a few years ago. It's more like ten. Right, Chris? Ten, maybe fifteen years ago," Sophie shoved my arm. I thought the nerves shooting sparks to my brain would catch my whatever-cortex on fire.

Christian touched her shoulder as she stepped back to her place by him. "I will see you later, right? Mom said you were coming over for dinner tonight."

"Yep, Sister and I will be there. Thanks again. It was nice meeting you, Daniel."

Sophie got into her car without looking back. Sophie drove off without waving. Sophie took a little piece of me with her as her lights disappeared around the bend.

"There is a difference between her living in your neighborhood and her coming over to your house for dinner and her calling you Chris. You told me to never call you Chris."

"Dude, I am telling you right now to back off. Okay? Just let it go." Christian just shook his head as he climbed into his Jeep. He shoved his bag into the passenger seat and rolled down the window on the passenger side where I stood next to my Ford.

"Sophie is like my sister. Most of the guys around here will say the same thing because we've all grown up together. We all pretty much know a whole lot more than we should about every one else's families. Sophie… Just let it go, Daniel. I'll see you tomorrow." Christian drove off without a word.

My truck seemed quieter than ever as I drove home. I didn't turn on the radio because I wanted to think about everything that Christian and our captain had said. As with most attempts of reverse psychology, although this wasn't really reverse, the more they told me to stay away the more I wanted to know.

Christian seemed like he wanted to give me a better reason to leave well enough alone where Sophie was considered. Something stopped him. Even if I never found out what it was about Sophie that made her the school's most private possession, I wanted to know why Christian couldn't tell me.

"How'd practice go?" Dad grunted as I powered through the door.

"Great," I answered. He didn't care how school went. As long as my grades stayed high enough for me to play every week, Dad was happy. His senior year in college he'd gotten tackled as he leapt into the air. The blow shattered his knee. An NFL scout had sat in the second row as Rodney Robinson got an ice pack strapped to his knee and rushed to the hospital.

"First game is this Friday," I yelled from the kitchen as I grabbed a soda from the fridge. I pecked Mom on the head as she stood by the sink. I'd long surpassed her height of five-three. I snagged a piece of fried chicken on my way out before heading to my room.

Instead of lying on my bed and doing my homework like I'd planned, I laid on my bed staring out the window wondering what Sophie would wear to Christian's house, if her eyes would turn turquoise as she smiled at something he said. I wondered if they were secretly dating. That would explain the secrecy. And he never did answer my question about how long it had been since she'd dated anyone.

I pulled off my shirt as I decided a hot shower was exactly what I needed to clear my mind. Of Sophie. Of Dad. Of Christian. Of football. Mainly of Sophie, though. I rubbed my eyes as the water steamed up all the glass in the bathroom.