For the third time I had seen this guy. How'd he manage to get on the Nomads team so fast? Was he even going to play, or was he just here as back up for the team? Is that why he was talking with Tyler earlier at lunch? I had so many questions, but at this moment it didn't matter, I was just happy to be able to watch him kick a ball around.
He didn't see me when he looked up into the bleachers, although I wasn't surprised . . . quite the crowd had gathered, and he wasn't necessarily looking for me.
From where I was sitting with my friends, I could see Louis laughing with his teammates. He was wearing a green coloured t-shirt to match the rest of the team. I guess they hadn't had time to make him a jersey in such a short amount of time. Other than wearing a regular t-shirt, Louis was dressed up in soccer gear. On Louis' long muscular legs he had shinguards and knee high socks. His feet adorned black cleats, which matched his black sports shorts.
I watched as he lightly jogged away from the team, grabbing a ball and kicking it with his right foot. He ran so playfully, kicking the ball between his feet, around some of the teammates, and into the goal on the other end. After kicking the ball into the net, he turned around and threw his arms into the air, smile spread across his face. Louis ran back to his team's side of the field, still holding his arms in the air and hollering. I couldn't help but stifle a giggle.
"What are you laughing at Tarin?" My friends were all staring at me, Britney waiting for an answer.
"Oh, I just thought of something funny is all," I nervously laughed. "Well, what was it?" Penny asks, raising an eyebrow. I stay quiet. She looks over to the field and her eyes land on him. She knows exactly what I'm giggling about. She knows me too well. And so she stands to her feet, points and me and yells, "liar!" The girls all break out into laughter and I laugh and cover my face out of embarrassment. I felt the heat begin to gather at my cheeks as I felt a bunch of eyes turn in our direction. I nodded my head and put my index finger to my lip, telling them to be quiet as we all laughed.
When I looked back up at the soccer field, I could see Louis had stopped in the middle of the field and he was looking up towards the bleachers. He was looking at me. And then he smiled. I couldn't help but smile back. After smiling even wider at my smile, he continued on his way kicking the ball between his feet. I bit my lip as I watched him kicking the ball all around the field, doing many tricks with his feet as he went along. Just then I'd come to a conclusion:
Louis was too smiley.
If that's even possible.
Just then a whistle blew, drawing my eyes away from Louis and towards the sound. The game was starting. The teams jogged towards their coaches, huddling in circles and chatting before the game started.
After chatting for a few moments, each team lined up on either side of the soccer field. I scanned the Nomads on the field, looking for Louis but disappointment overwhelmed me when I finally found him sitting on the bench below the bleachers. I could only see his hair and his back, t-shirt clinging to his sweaty back. He seemed content as he sat on the side and cheered on his teammates.
By half-time the Nomads were winning five nothing, and Louis still hadn't played, although he waited patiently on the sidelines continuing to cheer on his friends. Both the Nomads and the rival team the Vikings caught their breath as they sat on their benches, quenching their thirst while on a break. They all talked and laughed as they relaxed for the minutes they had.
When their time was up they all headed back out onto the field, opposite the sides they'd been on in the first half. I watched as the goalies set themselves up into the nets until I saw Louis running up behind the rest of his team. He ran into a forward position getting into a position, ready to run. A large smile was spread across his face as the excitement overwhelmed him.
He seemed happy as he waited for the whistle to blow. Louis' body formed into the pose of a lunge, stretching his leg muscles. He yelled to some of his teammates though I couldn't hear what it was. They all doubled over in laughter and took back to their positions.
The whistle blew and the game began. I watched in amazement as I saw Louis running as hard as he could with the soccer ball bouncing between his left and right feet. The ball was moving so fast between his feet I had trouble watching it. His brow furrowed in concentration. I found myself fascinated with the way he handled the soccer ball. His t-shirt formed to his body and I could see the toning throughout his arms and legs as he worked them. His muscles were flexing, and though he was sweating, his hair seemed to stay in its normal place — it was still pushed to the right side of his forehead.
I can't remember the last time I'd ever felt this way.
* * *
Throughout the last half of the game, Louis scored three goals — more than anyone on the team had scored. All of his teammates tackled him in a hug when he scored the final goal, five seconds before the final whistle blew.
As I walked down the bleachers, he was picking up his soccer bag and he looked up at me, "Tarin, right?" I walked up to Louis as he talked.
"Yeah! Louis, right?" I smiled.
"Got that right love!" He laughed, "did you enjoy the game?" We were now walking together towards the parking lot.
"Oh it was awesome! Congrats on scoring the last goal! It was one hell of a goal!" I looked up, completely overwhelmed by the sea of colour swirling around his irises. Beads of sweat rolled down his hair as he took a swig of Gatorade.
He smiled, "thanks. I was pretty surprised myself."
As we walked up to my car I turned around, back pushed up against my window, "don't be so modest," I say.
He smiled and laughter erupted lightly in his chest. He used his right hand to push his hair to the right of his forehead. He leaned in towards me. I could smell his cologne which was tantalizingly mixed with his fresh sweat. He leaned in closer to my ear and whispered, "I'll see you around love." I closed my eyes as I felt his soft lips touch my left cheek.
I had to rest my hand on the roof of my car, breathless.