Amore And Pizza

Hey, I'm Avery. I thought I had it figured out, ya know? I thought I had distinguished the difference between love and imagination. I was SO sure that no one could ever love me. Especially someone so extraordinary like Niall. But for once in my sob story of a life, I WANTED to be proven wrong. But I was right. Again.

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7. Soap Apparently Doesn't Solve All Of Life's Problems

     "Avery! How'd it go?" I feel Kalley's arms around my neck as she pulls me in for a hug.

     "Really good. I beat Harry one-on-one." I couldn't suppress the smirk that came over my face. She laughed.

     "Holy crap, Avery! There's no way you're not going to be on the team! Maybe you'll even get first string, so you can play against East Denver."

     "Maybe! Oh, and thanks for the awesome spandex." I say. She looked at my neon spandex she had bought me.

     "No problem. Your butt looks awesome. Come on, we're about to start." I laughed and followed her to the bleachers on the side of the gym. Then gym was about the size of half a football stadium, with black bleachers that were a good 20 rows up. On the gym floor four nets were set up. 

     I sized up the coach. She was a pretty brunette with brown eyes. She was extremely tall for a girl, at least 6ft. Just like Mr.Hughes she haid a whistle around her neck, a clipboard in one hand, and a baseball cap on. She was wearing blue athletic shorts that showed off her fit, tan legs, and a black tee. She blew her whistle, signaling us to listen up.

     "Hello ladies. I'm Ms.Carr, but you can call me Sally. Each year we have tryouts for everyone who signs up, regardless of how long you have been on this team. I'm going to assess your skills in all positions. I'll be using the help of our JV coach, Julianne, and my sister, Amanda, who is a coach for college volleyball." I looked at Sally's sister who was pretty much identical to her. I wondered if they were twins. The JV coach Julianne had an unsmiling face, framed by black hair that was graying at the roots. Her blue eyes looked fierce. "We are going to split you up into four groups based on your grade." She directed all of us to our appropriate nets. At the junior's net there were twelve girls including me and Kalley. "First, let's stretch." Kalley and I followed Sally's routine, yelling/counting along with her. When we finished Julianne the JV coach spoke up.

     "I'll be leading your conditioning, today. Since we only have an hour here, we'll only do the basics. If you can keep up, you can stay." My stomach dropped a little.

     "What does she mean? Are her workouts that hard?" I asked Kalley. She nodded.

     "She's pretty brutal. Don't worry, though. You'll do fine." I didn't feel much better even when she gave me a reassuring smile.

     "We'll start with some warming up. 3 laps." I joined the long line of girls in various colored spandex and high ponytails. I kept a steady pace with Kalley, who was surprisingly good at running. I could feel the exertion wearing me down from soccer practice. We finished and waited for further instructions. "Alright. Everyone return to your nets and do 50 sit-ups, bicycles, and wall jumps." We did as instructed. After about 10 minutes my legs were on fire. Kalley looked at me worried.

     "Maybe you should tell the coach you just had soccer tryouts too. I'm afraid you're going to pass out."

     "I'll be fine, Kalley. I just need to hydrate. I'm going to get some water." I jogged over to the water fountain, trying to not get noticed by Julianne.

     "Avery!" I turned as Niall, flanked by Harry, Louis, Liam, and Zayn walked in through the doors.

     "Hey! You guys came!" I smiled at each of them in turn.

     "Wouldn't want to miss girls in spandex." Louis laughed, Liam joining in.

     Niall came up to me and hugged me."I just came to see you." Niall whispered in my ear. I shivered. He held me at arms length and said, "You look exhausted. They working you hard?" I nodded.

     "It doesn't help that I just had soccer. I'll be fine. But I should get back. Julianne is a little scary. See ya." I waved to them and jogged back to Kalley. I remembered Louis' comment about girls in spandex, then of the first time I met Harry. I stopped and looked back at the guys. Louis and Liam were true to their word. They were looking at other girls. Niall was looking at his phone, Zayn was waving to Kalley, but Harry. He was looking at me. Not any other part of me but my eyes. He smiled like he knew why I looked back. I smiled and turned around again, joining Kalley.

     "Good, no one passed out. Julianne sure works you guys hard sometimes I want to faint just lookin' at ya." Sally smiled as she took command. "Alright. I want everyone to find a partner and start peppering. If you don't know what that is, it's bump, set, spike. You want to keep that pattern as long as you can without losing the ball. I'll give ya five minutes." I grabbed a ball from one of the carts and stood across from Kalley.

     "You know I never asked, what position do you play, Avery?"

     I set the ball up for Kalley, waiting for her to spike it before I responded. "Setter. Definitely. I like the net." She grinned.

     "Great! I play right-hitter, you can set me up." We continued to pepper for a couple of minutes. We lost the ball twice, but they were both my fault. I wasn't good at digging. It didn't help that Kalley was a good spiker. She aimed perfectly and hard, too. I was happy that my sets were always where I wanted them to be, setting Kalley up for a good spike.

     Sally blew her whistle and we stopped. "I want at each net for everyone to stand where they are most comfortable playing. I made my way over to where a setter usually stands. I watched as Kalley made her way to the right side of the net. There was only one other girl who stood in the same spot I did. I smiled at her but she didn't return the favor. Rude, I thought to myself. Sally had us all work on the rotations. Thankfully, we did these on my last team so I wasn't completely lost. Next, she had us play as if we were in a real game. Kalley ended up getting put on the opposite side of me with the other girl who wanted to be setter. I didn't get a lot of great passes to set with, but I adjusted good enough to set up some nice spikes. I even took the liberty once to tip it, getting it over the blocker's fingertips. I heard Niall and Harry cheer for me when I did that. That was embarrassing.The coaches took turns watching each court. I got nervous when Julianne pointed at me and whispered something to Sally.

     Sally blew her whistle and motioned for us all to sit on the bleachers. "Good work, everyone. We have seen a lot of talent here today. Tomorrow you can come here to see if you made it. We have five minutes left, let's see some serves." Whew, serving. That I had no worries about. I grabbed a ball and felt the cool material on my palm. I hit it a couple of times to the ground, before throwing it in the air to jump-serve. It felt good to do that again. When practiced ended, I walked with Kalley to the bleachers.

     "You were amazing, as always." Zayn said to Kalley, pulling her in for a long, deep kiss. I turned away from them awkwardly and found myself right in front of Harry. As in right in front of him. His nose almost touched my forhead. I backed up a little.

     "You weren't too bad yourself." He grinned cheekily at me. I rolled my eyes.

     "Says the guy who got beat by a girl." We both laughed.

     "You still have choir don't you?" I nodded and groaned. "Well, good luck. The way you're day's going I wouldn't be surprised if you became famous over night." I rolled my eyes again and waved to him as he left. I had a small piece of me fall when he didn't hug me like Niall did.

     "It's official. You're a beast." I turned to look at Niall, who was grinning so much his face looked like it could rip.

     "Thanks, I think. I'd love to stay, but I should shower before choir." 

     Niall nodded and held his nose. "Yeah, that's not a shabby idea." I punched him and turned to leave. "Oh, Avery?" I turned to look at him. "Zayn's driving us home." I nodded and ran to the locker rooms. I thought he was going to say something romantic like, "Even when you're sweating like a pig you're beautiful." You know, classy Romeo and Juliet stuff. I hopped in the showers and tried to scrub away all the mixed feelings I had.

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