Hi guys! I totally changed Between The Sticks so I'm re-uploading this new prologue-slash-chapter thing. It's a totally fun and brand new story now.

Enjoy! :)

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I heard my bedroom door bang open before my blanket was pried away from me, the cold air automatically enveloping my bare shoulders. I didn't have time to process the information that it was two in the fucking morning before a loud voice came booming above me, "Pack your bags bitch. We're going to South Korea."

The hell?

I managed to sit up on my bed and watched Elle, the girl I have known my whole life, running around my room as she rummaged for my clothes and suitcases. In a span of ten minutes, she had managed to pack me some underwear, clothes, shoes, makeup, and I still had no idea what in the world was going on.

I snatched my passport from her grasp, "What's going on?"

She took a deep breath and tapped my head, "South Korea."

Uh, yeah. "I heard you the first time."

She shrugged, "If you already heard me, why'd you still ask?"

"Elle, you don't just go in here and announce that we're going to South Korea at two in the morning. What are we even going to do there?" I think she forgot that we are now supposed-to-be responsible adults with jobs to do in the morning. I don't even have time to shave my legs anymore, much less fly halfway around the world.

My best friend of twenty years sat beside me, "It's going to be fun, Sofie."

I gave her a blank look, "still not following…"

I continued to look at her as she grabbed her discarded purse from the floor and fished for a small manila envelope, her eyes twinkling bright. She didn't even bother to open it before tossing the thick envelope to me, its contents spilling on my lap.

I watched as Elle grinned like a maniac before I picked up one of the papers that came from the envelope. I brought my eyes to what was written on it and I just about had a heart attack.

I looked back up at Elle and saw her wiggling her eyebrows at me suggestively.

Oh my stars. The little shit actually did it.

I didn't realize that my face was matching her grin until I caught a glimpse of my reflection at my bedside mirror, "You bitch."

Elle just shrugged knowingly. Like getting VIP tickets and passes happened to us every single day (it does not).

"I told you so, Sof." She said with a smug look on her face.

"But how?" I just had to ask. I knew Elle had her ways, clever and crazy people usually do, but this – this is something I didn't even think she could achieve. We were broke fresh graduates who poured our life savings (which wasn't a lot, let me tell you) so we could open a startup online shop and although we both lived alone, both our apartments were crappy and weren't located at the nicest parts of town.

"I saw Clark!" Clark, her first and only ex-boyfriend. Huh.

"I don't know how Clark figures into all of this."

"I saw Clark the other day in the super market, I told you that, right?" She didn't wait for me to nod, "and well, I mentioned something about wanting to go to South Korea but that we didn't have the budget. Last night, or earlier this evening, he called me and told me that he got these for both of us!" She squealed again, not caring that most of my neighbors were probably asleep already, "Her sister is dating someone who apparently works for the national team!" Elle continued, bouncing on my bed.

I looked back down to the scattered tickets and tried to hide my excitement. On my bed are passes and tickets to the biggest sporting event in the world. Every five years, forty of the world's best men's football (or futbol or soccer) national teams gather to out-goal, out-kick, and out-run each other. This year, the Legends Cup – as it is aptly named – will be held in South Korea.

Now, I am not the biggest football (or futbol or soccer) fan out there but damn if I deny myself some abs and sweaty men. Plus have you seen those guys' thighs? Yummerz! Elle, on the other hand, has always been willing to give an arm and a leg to watch a live game. For the past five years, she has managed to convince herself, and everyone else around her, that her soul mate is the star and striker of the US Men's National Team. She has been in love with Tanner Shepherd since she first saw him in a magazine during our senior year in high school. Everything she's done since then has been to achieve her one true goal: to bear his babies. It doesn't matter that they haven't really met yet or that Tanner plays for a Spanish club making it extra hard to track him down because we never really know where he was.

Elle grabbed my hand with all the seriousness in the world, "This is it Sofie! I can already smell his sweat." She rummaged through her bag again and showed me two tickets to Korea with hotel bookings. Woah, someone came prepared.

She might have seen the slight surprise in my face because she explained, "I got the plane tickets the moment Clark handed me the passes."

"Someone is efficient." I rolled my eyes at her.

"Of course. This is for our future."

I quirked an eyebrow at her, "Our future?"

She laughed at my face, "Obviously. Once Tanner and I get married, you will meet his gorgeous Vanderbilt cousins. Thus, your future too."

Leave it to Elle and her active imagination to come up with something that ridiculous.

"Uhmm, Sofie…" there she went again, "if we don't leave now, we're gonna miss our flight."

WHAT?!

"What?"

"I told you to pack your bags, didn't I? Or did you not hear me?"

"I thought you were just joking and that our actual flight will be hours from now."

"Uhmm, no. We're going to miss the opening ceremony if we don't leave now."

I stopped the urge from banging my head on the wall. If there was something that I got from Elle going gaga over football and the Legends Cup is that I now know by heart the schedule of the games, which group the USMNT belongs to, and who their starters are. I might not be the sharpest pencil in the box, but I'm pretty sure that the opening ceremony will not be until three days from now.

I arrived at the Incheon International Airport in South Korea looking like a drunk grandma. I was so groggy that it never registered to me that I was now in the land of kimchi and magnificent skin care. On normal circumstances, I would have been jumping for joy but I was dragged out of my apartment at three in the morning and was on the plane by six. It was now noon in Korea but my body says it's dinner time already, considering that we travelled for thirteen hours. FU, time differences.

Elle, who was walking beside me, had an extra bounce to her step. She looked like a celebrity with her oversized sunglasses, tight jeans, and basic shirt. She looked at me and took off her sunglasses. She grabbed my arm as another grin passed her face, "I've waited for this my entire life, Sofie!"

We grabbed our luggage and proceeded to find an English-speaking cab driver to take us to our hotel. Honestly, ill-prepared would be the best word to describe this trip. Though Elle and I have always been act first, think later kind of people, flying halfway around the world without knowing what will be waiting for us in South Korea would probably be up there in the Sofie and Ellie Crazy Scale. My parents don't even know that I'm out of the country, oh no.

It took the cab more than an hour to drive us to our hotel – a massive 5-star structure that I had no idea we could pay for. I looked at Elle in panic, "we're staying here?"

She nodded like it was the most normal thing in the world. We went out of the cab and a bellboy helped us unload our luggage. I think I have never been helped by a bellboy in my entire life.

"Elle," I continued to nag as we made our way to the front desk, "we can't pay for this."

Although we both went to private schools and had parents who could provide for us, our families weren't filthy rich. My dad's a lawyer and my mom's a chef-slash-restaurateur. Elle's were both doctors. I know it sounds like we both have high-flying families but we were upper-middle class at most. And anyway, it doesn't really matter now because I refuse to call my mom to pay for my hotel expenses just because Elle decided to check us in a hotel that charges more for a night than a week in my apartment.

"Elle, we are going to be buried in debt when we get home from this trip, I swear."

Elle just shushed me as she continued to talk to the gorgeous front desk officer. "Elleeeeee," I didn't mean to be such a baby but I gotta draw the line somewhere, right? "I don't shit money, you know. Neither do you."

Elle let out a deep breath and faced me, hands braced on my shoulders. She looked so serious as she explained, "Sof, I have been saving for this shit for five years. I could probably feed the whole American team with the money I have, okay?"

"That explains why you haven't given me any gifts for the last half decade."

Elle let out a snort, "consider this the five years' worth of back gifts then."

We were led to a room in the fifteenth floor. Although we were staying at an expensive hotel, Elle got us the cheapest room there was with just a double bed and an en suite bath. "Anyway," she explained, "I wouldn't spend so much time here a few weeks from now."

She's leaving me?

"Why?" I asked.

Elle lightly tapped the tip of my nose, "I'm not gonna be sleeping here much."

"Why?" By now, I probably sound like a dumb person.

She looked at me like I was a dumb person, "I'm gonna be banging Tanner Shepherd soon."

I resisted the urge to knock my head on the door and just proceeded to fix my things on the closet instead. If Elle had her way, we would be here until the end of next month, which also signals the end of the Cup. If I were to be honest, I still think that the Americans won't be able to go past the Top Twenty. They might be great but all those guys from South America and the Europeans will be on their asses from the start. I'd say the USMNT were lucky enough to draw a group with the Koreans and Australians. Then again, they were grouped with the defending champions, Argentina, and I bet those Latinos will be thorns on Tanner Shepherd's drool-worthy behind.

The air was buzzing with tension and excitement, thousands of football fans crammed into a stadium to watch the opening ceremony of the 18th Legends Cup. Someone's elbow was rubbing on my ribs as we saw the performers parade the national colors of the participating teams. You'd think that since we had more expensive tickets, we'd be more comfortable than those who watch in the general admission area. Freaking bullshit, I tell you. It's hot and humid and somebody has already spilled some kind of sticky liquid on me in the forty minutes that I have been sitting here. No one is even playing yet.

Elle, sitting beside me, was wearing some daisy dukes, and a USMNT-inspired cropped shirt. Her blonde hair falling on her shoulders, the ends curling naturally. To some stranger, she would probably give off the vibe that she just woke up amazingly like this. I knew, for a fact, that she spent three hours that morning curling and uncurling her hair and doing her barely there makeup. I looked down to what I was wearing – my trusty cutoff shorts, a yellow and green shirt, and my old, unwashed white tennis shoes. Elle may be the USMNT's biggest fan but I got my eyes set on Brazil.

"Do you see them?" Elle was busy looking over the heads in front of us, her eyes scouting the stadium like she was a tiger on the prowl.

I looked at the faces of the thousands of people in front of us, no idea who I should be looking for. "Who?"

Elle stopped munching on her nail just in time to give me a playful glare, "you know who."

I huffed, "Elle, they're playing their first game in a few hours. They're probably warming up or something."

The USMNT is going against the host, South Korea, in the same stadium a few hours after the opening ceremony which explains the number of Korean fans out today, which also explains the number of hours it took Elle to get herself beautified. I have no idea what she's planning to do after the match but I'm pretty sure we won't be going to any happy hour get together with the players.

Elle jabbed me on my side and offered her packed junk food, "eat up, bitch. We're gonna be here a while."

After the opening ceremony, it took around an hour while the people set the stadium ready for the opening matches. USA was going against South Korea, which will be a very exciting game because South Korea has a home court advantage and it will be fun watching Elle lose her mind over a yellow card.

To Elle's defense, she really doesn't care who hurts Tanner Shepherd. I can't imagine how she will react if he gets a girlfriend. "Does he have a girlfriend?" I asked her nonchalantly, looking into the field as some of the teams' staff trickle in.

Elle nodded looking like she didn't really care.

"Really?"

She nodded again. Weird.

"And you're okay with that?"

"Of course, Sofie. I'm the girlfriend." Oh.

"Sometimes I think your mother dropped you on your head when you were a kid."

She just laughed at that and offered me a bottle of soda, which I was so thankful for because the heat was killing me.

The thing with drinking two bottles of soda in an hour's time, though, is that I had the urge to pee a few minutes before the game broke for halftime. No one has scored a goal yet and Tanner didn't start, which made Elle furious. "According to my Twitter stalking skills, he had some kind of trouble with his ankle during one of their warm up games a couple of days ago," she said with a slight annoyed tone on her voice. She continued to scroll down on her phone, "He opted to sit this game ~ boooooooo!" Elle never got to finish her sentence because South Korea just made the opening goal and the roar of the people was deafeningly loud, flooding Elle's voice of disapproval.

The Koreans behind us jumped for joy while Elle pulled, kicked, and screamed to her heart's content. If anything, no one can deny how passionate she was about the game.

That first goal should've become a warning of some sort, though, because, contrary to what I have been thinking, South Korea trampled the United States with a 2-1 win. It took all of my power not to laugh at Elle as she cried fifty percent of her body fluids out.

"Elle," I put my hand over her shoulder, "it's the first game. You don't have to cry."

She sobbed, "We're not gonna go past the group stage!"

I flicked her hair, "It's the first game! Stop being such a drama queen. They just have to win all their remaining games. It's easy."

"You told me South Korea was going to be easy."

I shrugged, "Oh, you know. Home court advantage shit and all."

She let out another disappointed groan, "Fuck this shit."

Argentina and Japan were playing next so I slowly dragged her out of the VIP area. "E, hurry. I have to go pee." Even I didn't think I could keep my pee in for more than three hours, "My fucking bladder's going to burst."

Elle pouted, "Can it wait just a few more minutes?"

I shook my head, "No."

"There are a million of people wanting to go outside, Sof. It's going to be a stampede."

I shifted my legs from left to right, "But my pee is literally dripping out of my vagina as we speak." I did a jiggle just to prove my point.

Elle didn't look like my bladder situation mattered much to her, selfish bitch. "You are gonna get stepped on by people, you little thing." She always loved to joke about my height even if, at 5'7", I am by no means short. She was just an inch taller than me.

"Just come with me, you selfish bitch." I slapped her arm.

"Elle, just wait for some of the people to go out of the stadium."

I rolled my eyes at her. I can already feel my bladder starting to give out, "Just stay here, okay? I'm gonna go pee, you lazy witch."

With one final look, I turned around and head for the urinals. It took me ten minutes to get to the nearest one and another fifteen minutes before I finally managed to let it all out. I took my phone out to text Elle and tell her to just keep her cool for another ten minutes before I can go back to her.

Just when I got out of the restroom and back into the hallway, a large group of non-English speaking people emerged, heading for the front door. I decided to put the phone back in my pocket and braced myself for the crush of the crowd, going into the opposite direction.

There were more than fifty of them going out while I was the only one going back in to the stadium, so I carefully ducked and avoided the screaming and chattering fans, still high from the South Korean win.

I could see the entryway back to the stadium when I got hit, pretty hard, by a tall guy wearing a grey and blue hoodie. He looked like he was rushing out of the viewing gallery and didn't even stop to say sorry when he bumped into me. Talk about being a Class A jerk.

I hurried back into the stadium and saw that Elle was nowhere to be found. What the hell. I went back out to look for her but she wasn't one of the people who were milling around. I tapped my pocket for my phone so I could call her when I noticed that my phone was missing. I looked inside my bag and tapped my other pocket and still, no phone.

Fucking. Shit.

I think I just lost my phone.

I checked my pocket once again to see if it was there but, just like the first three times, it was not there. I'm going to cry.

I rubbed my palms on my face and thought about the last time I remember holding my phone. I just got out from the restroom and decided to put it back in my pocket because there were hundreds of people waiting to bump me on my way back in. Right? Did I drop it? Impossible, I would've heard the crash. Or maybe I wouldn't have because of the noise and the loud voices… but someone would've seen me drop it, right? Shit. I'm pretty sure I put it back in.

On the verge of crying, I caught a glimpse of a familiar blue and grey hoodie and a thought came to mind.

No.

Could he?

I didn't see his face because he was walking fast but could he have stolen my phone? Was that the reason why he bumped into me a little too strongly?

My feet eventually did the thinking for me as I ran towards grey hoodie guy. "Excuse me!" I called out to him. "Excuse me! Grey hoodie guy!" I tried to be specific because we were surrounded by hundreds of people. "Grey hoodie guy! Hey!" I tried calling out to him again but nope, he was having none of it.

I managed to run up to him and tapped him on the shoulder, "Hey, grey hoodie guy." I was expecting him to turn around and face me but he just walked faster and weaved through some Korean teenagers.

Then it clicked. Why would he not turn around and face me instead of talking to me? Why would he walk faster just so I couldn't catch up with him? Duh, because he has my phone.

The. Little. Shit.

"Heyyy!" I called out to him again but he just continued to keep his head down and walked a little faster.

So I did what any normal girl would do. I took my right tennis shoe, aimed it at his head, and fired. I watched as the shoe flew out and hit him square at the back of his head. Well that made him stop.

As I limped my way to him, I saw him grab the back of his head with one of his hands and slowly, like watching the minutes go by before the end of the class, he turned around and picked my shoe. His head was still bent low as he walked towards me, clearly an angry gait on his stride. I stopped walking. I still couldn't see his face clearly but his hands were big and tanned. He had on some kind of acid wash jeans, and a pair of fancy running shoes. Oh shit, did he steal those too? He was only a few meters away from me when I noticed how gigantic he was. Not really gigantic, he was maybe six feet but his head was still bent down so I couldn't be sure.

Fuck, now I'm scared.

I was rooted to my spot when he stopped in front of me, head still bent down. He was breathing a little bit heavily and I think I read somewhere that breathing heavily can be a sign of lying or being nervous. Why would he be nervous? Duhh, because he stole my phone. Obviously. But damn, it could also be a sign of anger or annoyance. Damn.

He was holding my shoe with one hand and the other hand was inserted in his hoodie pocket. I hate to say it but, despite the anger (because I was angry too, okay) in me, I couldn't stop my hormones from noticing how he smelled so nice. Like a scent of mixed spice, musk, and man. I resisted the urge to sniff him and ground my teeth instead. God, he smelled delicious.

I was about to say something when he beat me to it, "Did you just hit me with your dirty shoe?" Except he had a European accent that I can't pinpoint so I couldn't understand him at first but it was so fucking sexy that it made me want to wet my panties.

"I—uh—I,uhhh…" Uhhhhh… What's happening again? Why am I here?

I think I just forgot I had a mouth.

Grey hoodie guy tilted his head a little just until I could see his eyes and I was met with the strangest hazel color. It was a clash of green and gold with a hint of grey. It reminded me of a field with an overcast of storm clouds.

I managed to catch myself before I drool all over him and focused at the problem at hand, also known as him possibly stealing my phone.

"Yeah, I did!" I said with as much force as I could, hiding my nervousness, "Did you just steal my phone?"

His head was still angled to the floor so I heard, more than I saw, him snort, "Why would I do that?" There goes that accent again. And there goes my panties.

"Because!" I started to say when I heard a faint but familiar sound that stopped me from opening my mouth further.

The sound stopped for a few seconds and then it started to ring again. Then I felt it, a heavy, rectangular, vibrating thing wedged between my left butt cheek and my shorts.

Oh god, oh god, oh god.

I think I just found my phone.

"I…" I gulped, not wanting to say anything, too afraid to even touch my back pocket in fear that I would find my phone there.

"Are you not going to answer that?" Grey hoodie guy asked and it was my turn to watch the floor and count the mud stains on the carpet.

Fuck, fuck, fuck. Fuuuucccckkkkkk.

"I…"

"You?" He asked again.

I stood there staring at his beautiful eyes with my phone ringing in my back pocket and me refusing to answer it. I was, for sure, at a loss for words.

To make things even worse, grey hoodie guy decided to lift his head up to look at me and time stopped.

Time just, I don't know, it went away or something.

I knew we were still surrounded by hundreds of people but I can't see them. I could only focus on the perfect cupid bow on his upper lift, the slight stubble on his face like he forgot to shave that morning, the strong jaw, and the eyes. Oh, yes, the eyes.

When he noticed me staring at him, he gave a little smirk, barely noticeable but it was there. That was when my subconscious kicked in and fed information to my consciousness. I knew I saw that non-smirk somewhere. I looked at his features again, one by one clicking them into place until a face came into view.

And not just any face. A very familiar face.

A face that was plastered in my sister's dorm room walls the last time I visited her a few months ago.

A very, very, famous face.

A face that millions of girls fantasize about.

A face that just won the highest award to be given to an active football player in the world earlier this year.

A face that was just declared the best footballer of this generation.

Holy fucking devil.

I think I just threw my shoe at Gabriel Rui Lessa.

-oo-

How was it, how was it? :) I would love to hear from you so please please please feel free to leave a review or you can PM me always. Thank you for your support. You guys are awesome.

xxxCeline